Letterbox Love #36

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

I have a sole book this week so no vlog to show you. The book deserves a post though!  

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Bought:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Eee! This is a signed copy purchased through Waterstones. Such an emotional book, I needed my own copy. 

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What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Film Friday Review: Rush and The Fifth Estate

rushRush 

Based on a true story, Rush follows the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

Although Formula 1 and sports-related movies aren’t really my thing, this has been getting fairly good reviews. The trailer looked sufficiently dramatic, and there wasn’t really much else showing of interest. And, y’know, Chris Hemsworth….

The film features mainly on the tension between the two main characters and the differences in their lives and the way they approach racing. Although there was some track action for those who like that, I wouldn’t say it was the main focus of the film. Although at one point I did have to watch through my fingers! 

I have to give the makers of Rush credit for making me want to see something sports related. Although its not something I would watch again, I did enjoy it and it was a lot more dramatic than many sports-related movies! 7/10 stars.

The Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate (2013) Poster

 

The Fifth Estate is also based on a true story; of the scandal behind Wikileaks. 

There were two main reasons I wanted to see this film. 1) I didn’t know much about Wikileaks and thought it was a good opportunity to become a bit more knowledgeable and 2) Benedict Cumberbatch.

 

I felt like the film was good and I definitely came away feeling more informed. Unfortunately, I also felt a little bored. There was next to no action in this film, and no suspense at all.

However, I did come away wanting to find out more about Wikileaks and it did make me think about censorship, and whether revealing secrets (especially those of national security) is a good thing or not. I’m all for free speech, but when it potentially endangers others, especially those undercover, the line becomes very blurry between right and wrong. 7/10 stars.

 

Waiting on Wednesday #45

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

The Rule of Three

One shocking afternoon, computers around the globe shut down in a viral catastrophe. At sixteen-year-old Adam Daley’s high school, the problem first seems to be a typical electrical outage, until students discover that cell phones are down, municipal utilities are failing, and a few computer-free cars like Adam’s are the only vehicles that function. Driving home, Adam encounters a storm tide of anger and fear as the region becomes paralyzed. Soon—as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends—he will see his suburban neighborhood band together for protection. And Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys to his survival.

Computers shutting down? Sounds like a nightmare to me! The Rule of Three looks like its going to be an amazing post-apocalyptic adventure.        

Due to be released by Farrar Straus Giroux in January 2014.

 What are you looking forward to this week?  Please share your WoW in the comments!

Book Review: Acid

AcidAcid

by Emma Pass

Published: April 2013 by Random House 

Version: Ebook from publisher and Netgalley (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4.5 sofas

The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary. 

When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn’t know who to trust?

Strong, gritty writing, irresistible psychological suspense, and action consume the novel as Jenna struggles to survive against the all-controlling ACID. Seriously sinister stuff.

From the cover alone, I knew I had to read this book. It looks awesome with a powerful protagonist. I got approved on Netgalley for it around the release, but for one reason or another I never got round to it. BIG MISTAKE. I know other bloggers who absolutely adore it, and now I know why.

We meet Jenna in dystopian-Britain who has been put in jail for the murder of her parents. One of the things I love about dystopian novels is how real they can be, and scary to think that this COULD be our future. Acid does just that. In the future, ACID is the governing body, and they are not afraid to show it.

I think Jenna is one of my favourite female main characters. She has a lot of courage and spunk, especially when we learn about some of the things she has been through. Although she is continuously knocked down she never gives up, and I really admire her for that. There was a little bit of romance, but I liked that it didn’t overpower the story itself. 

The only reason I couldn’t give Acid 5 sofas was because the story was just a little too predictable. Although I think the storyline is great and there are several twists along the way, you just can’t get rid of the stereotypical dystopian storyline. As such, I kind of knew where the book was gonna end up, but its how we got there that really makes the story unique.

If Acid is a book that (like me) you didn’t read on its release, I implore you to do so now. It is original and thrilling, with plenty of twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. One of the most intense debut novels of this year! 4.5 sofas.

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Letterbox Love #35

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

A tiny haul for me this week!        

Received for Review:

The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton

I wasn’t expecting this in the post but it looks amazing, and I love the squirrel on the cover! Thanks Random House.  

Twinmaker by Sean Williams

My first review book from Electric Monkey, and its a whopper!

Bought:

I Am J  by Cris Beam

It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It) by Julie Ann Peters

Borrowed:

In Bloom by Matthew Crow

I was lucky enough to meet Jim at an event this week, and he very kindly lent me his copy of this book! He says its BETTER THAN TFIOS. 

What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Book Review: Finding It

Finding It (Losing It, #3)Finding It

by Cora Carmack

Published: 10 October 2013 by Ebury Press

Version: Ebook received from InkSlinger PR (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong…

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She’s having the time of her life . . . or that’s what she keeps telling herself.

It’s a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you’re afraid you won’t like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey’s loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey’s mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

I am thrilled to be taking part in the review tour for Finding It (organised by InkSlinger PR). I have adored Cora’s previous books and was excited to hear more about Kelsey. I always eagerly anticipate Cora’s books as I know just what to expect: a little bit of sexy romance combined with funny awkward moments, and above all a great story. I can tell you know that Finding It certainly did not disappoint, so if you loved her others you should definitely pick this up. And if you haven’t, you really should! 

We follow Kelsey (who we met in Losing It) as she goes travelling around Europe. Kelsey is a fun loving character, but when she appears to be followed by a sexy soldier, it sends her party plans out the window. 

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“Adventures don’t happen when you’re worried about the future or tied down by the past. They only exist in the now. And they always, always come at the most unexpected time, in the least likely of packages. An adventure is an open window; and an adventurer is the person willing to crawl out on the ledge and leap.”

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I’d love to be able to travel around Europe and visit all the romantic and exotic locations, such as Italy and Paris. I’m just not brave enough to do so! This is one of the reasons I fell in love with this book; each location Kelsey and Jackson travel to makes me more wistful of beautiful places. Sometimes fun and usually romantic, each setting is special in its own different way, and this set Finding It apart from Cora’s other books, which have both been focussed around  America. 

Kelsey as a character was quite hard to love. The way she wore her happy mask showed pretty much from the beginning that she was a girl running away from something. Heavily in denial about her baggage, she threw herself into the partying lifestyle. In a way, she reminded me of Max from ‘Faking It’. Unfortunately, while Max’s story hit me hard and made me fall in love with her, I just didn’t take to Kelsey the same way. Whether it is because I was more invested in Cade as a partner than Jackson, I’m not sure.

If you love European romances, this is definitely the book for you. Fun and very romantic, this made me want to explore secret locations all over the world. Yet another winner by Cora! 4 sofas.

Author Bio

Cora Carmack bio pic

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

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FI Review Tour

Letterbox Love #34

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

Double event time this week! Apologies for the lateness of this post, but it has been manic.        

Received for Review:

Geek Girl 2: Model Misfit by Holly Smale

I’m SO happy to finally have my own copy of this, thanks to Harper Collins! I read the ebook version, and review to come soon! (Spoiler: It was epic 😀 )  

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Thanks very much to Quercus! Look out for the cover reveal posted on Monday for this one.

Shadowlark by Meagan Spooner

Thanks Random House! This looks good but is the second in a series so not sure when I’ll be able to read it.

Bought:

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

The Running Dream by Wendelin van Draanen

Won:

Love Is a Number by Lee Monroe

This is a second copy. I originally won this from Michelle at Much Loved Books, but thought it had got lost in the post so they kindly sent a second copy, and now I have both of them! I don’t understand the postal system.

Swapped:

Call Down Thunder by Daniel Finn

Vanished by Meg Cabot

Thanks very much to Georgia for these! I love a good book swap 😀

Tempest and Vortex by Julie Cross

Shift by Em Bailey

Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Thanks Lucy! I can’t wait to read the Julie Cross books and Dead to You was a lovely surprise.

The Farm by Emily McKay

Thanks to Katie for this one which I’ve had my eye on for a while!

What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Waiting on Wednesday #44

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Here's Looking at You

The new novel from the bestselling author of You Had Me At Hello. What if the last person you wanted to see was the person you needed? After the runaway success of You Had Me At Hello, Mhairi McFarlane is back with a new cast of characters in her second book, Here’s Looking At You. In essence it’s an ugly duckling tale. Our heroine Aureliana returns to school after fifteen years for a reunion. School doesn’t hold happy memories for her, as being a roly poly Italian (known as the Italian Galleon), and always armed with a Tupperware full of pungent Mediterranean food, she was bullied incessantly throughout her years there. Now in her 30s, Aureliana wants to put the past behind her once and for all and face up to the bullies who made her life hell. But she is much-changed from the girl she once was – all curves and because I’m worth it hair – and no one recognises her when she arrives. Losing her bottle, she backs out on her plan for revenge and slinks off, hoping never to be reminded of her years at school again. But fate gets in the way, and after the reunion her path keeps crossing with James – major hunk and Aureliana’s major crush back at school. But alas, as a cronie to the bullies, Aureliana to this day believes that his beautiful exterior hides an ugly interior. As they continue to cross paths a love/hate relationship ensues until eventually something shifts, and they both start to discover what the person underneath is really like…Full of Mhairi’s trademark laugh out loud humour, Here’s Looking At You is a novel about facing your demons and being happy with who you really are.

I adored Mhairi’s first book, so I’ll definitely be snapping up Here’s Looking At You. Sounds perfect for a cosy winter’s night.       

Due to be released by Harper Collins in December 2013.

 What are you looking forward to this week?  Please share your WoW in the comments!

Cover Reveal: The Naturals

I am thrilled to be able to reveal today the UK cover of The Naturals, the start of a new series from Quercus by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Due to be released on the 7th November, this series looks like its full of power-strong girls including Cassie. A school working with the FBI for teens with exceptional abilities? Sounds like all sorts of awesome to me! 

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Cassie Hobbes is not like most teenagers. Most teenagers don’t lose their mother in a bloody, unsolved kidnapping. Most teenagers can’t tell who you are, where you’re from and how you’re likely to behave within moments of meeting you. And most teenagers don’t get chosen to join The Naturals.

Identified by the FBI as uniquely gifted, Cassie is recruited to an elite school where a small number of teens are trained to hone their exceptional abilities.

For Cassie, trying to make friends with the girls, and to figure out the two very different, very hot boys, is challenging enough. But when a serial killer begins recreating the details of her mother’s horrific crime scene, she realises just how dangerous life in The Naturals could be…

Book Review: The Bunker Diary

The Bunker DiaryThe Bunker Diary

by Kevin Brooks

Published: March 2013 by Penguin 

Version: Paperback from library

Rating: 3 sofas

Room meets Lord of the Flies, The Bunker Diary is award-winning, young adult writer Kevin Brooks’s pulse-pounding exploration of what happens when your worst nightmare comes true – and how will you survive?
I can’t believe I fell for it.
It was still dark when I woke up this morning.
As soon as my eyes opened I knew where I was.
A low-ceilinged rectangular building made entirely of whitewashed concrete.
There are six little rooms along the main corridor.
There are no windows. No doors. The lift is the only way in or out.
What’s he going to do to me?
What am I going to do?
If I’m right, the lift will come down in five minutes.
It did. Only this time it wasn’t empty . . .

I knew this book was going to be strange as soon as I heard about it. Kevin Brooks was one of my favourite writers as a young teenager, as his writing is just so emotive. So I went into The Bunker Diary with nervous anticipation. And the cover and tagline are completely intriguing! 

Linus wakes up in a locked bunker-like building, with no exit; only a lift. It appears he has been abducted. But by who? And why? Why him, what for? SO MANY questions surround this story. In the beginning it was a definite page turner as I wanted to find out more about Linus and how he was going to get out of the bunker. I really felt Linus’ powerless feelings. The book is written in diary format from Linus’ point of view, and it helps to dig deep into his emotions.

All the characters are really well developed in the book. Each one is quite different, and trying to figure out the connection between them was difficult. They all responded to the situation in separate ways; Linus tries to think of ways to escape, while others are in denial. I enjoyed this aspect of the book, as it made me think about what it takes for people to survive these sorts of ordeals. To know that this could have been based on a true story made it feel very raw. 

Towards the end of the book I could sense we were coming towards the climax, and was eager to discover how it was going to wrap up. I wanted to know who the abducter was and why he had taken these (seemingly) random six people and kept them in a bunker. 

The ending was just unbelievable. It left me turning the blank pages at the end, and wondering where the rest was. I had to go back and read the last couple of pages to actually confirm that the book did actually end like that. It completely shocked me, and probably left me with my jaw hanging open for quite some time. Not really suited to a YA audience, it was actually quite sickening. 

Gripping and unique, the plotline sucked me in. I loved the emotive writing but I just felt the ending was entirely WRONG. For that reason, I have to give The Bunker Diary 3 sofas