Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: On the Fence by Kasie West

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine. Its a chance to spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week I'm waiting on...

On the Fence by Kasie West
Expected Publication: July 1st 2014 by HarperTeen

The Distance Between Us was one of my favourite contemporaries last year so I’m interested to see how this one turns out. The synopsis makes it sound like the perfect summer read, I can see myself now, sitting in the sun with an ice cold drink in one hand and this book in the other. I hope it lives up to my expectations but I’m sure it will, as I’ve seen nothing but great reviews for it so far.

Book Review: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
Published September 2009 by Harper Collins
Paperback, 636 pages
Synopsis:
The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler's armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.
Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander's impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.
My Thoughts:
My heart of stone has been shattered into a thousand pieces. It feels like a pickaxe has been taken to it and damn, it hurts. The Bronze Horseman is like no other book I’ve read before, so many authors have tried and failed to bring me down but Paullina Simons rose to the challenge and crushed me like a bug. I may never be the same again.

This will probably be one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever written, I can’t seem to put my thoughts coherently into sentences; I’m still reeling from all the emotion! The Bronze Horseman is a tale of suffering, survival and above all what it means to be in love. 

“Love is,” she repeated slowly, looking only at Dasha, “when he is hungry and you feed him. Love is knowing when he is hungry”

Although this isn’t the type of book I’d normally go for I decided to pick it up anyway. I’m going to be honest here and say that it intimidated me. First of all, it’s a chunk of a book and I didn’t think I’d  actually manage to read it all. And secondly, its historical fiction, so to say that it’s out of my comfort zone is an understatement. Historical fiction hasn’t ever been one of my go to genres let alone historical fiction with a boatload of romance! 

Time ceased to exist while reading this, I was so invested in Tatiana and Alexanders story that I simply couldn’t put the book down. Whenever I didn’t have the book to hand my thoughts were with it. I was desperate to find out what horrors Tatia and Shura would have to face next in this hell bent society. I found myself ignoring family and friends so I could fully immerse myself in their story. Who has time to do anything else while reading such an epic book? What is food? What is this thing called the outside world that people rave about? Who needs a social life when there is fiction? Let me tell you now, my ignorance was worth it as this book has taken me on an emotion fuelled journey. 

Paullina Simons writing is not only heart achingly beautiful but also incredibly descriptive. I felt like I had been transported to Russia and was in the midst of it all surrounded by these characters I’d grown to know and love so well. With her writing being so descriptive you can imagine how sexually explicit it got; yeah… this isn’t for younger readers.

"Why did we spend two days fighting when we could have been doing this?" 
"That wasn't fighting, Tatiana. That was foreplay.”

Never have I cried so much while reading a book, my heart feels weak from all the damage its taken and yet I still want more. I know for certain that this will always have a place in my heart and will be a re-read time and time again. I can only hope that I’ve convinced some of you to give it a chance, as I’d love to be able to discuss it further. 

After reading The Bronze Horseman I knew I had to buy the next two instalments in the trilogy. I was meant to be buying holiday clothes but instead have chosen fiction; my order from Amazon should be coming tomorrow. My mum thinks that I’m ridiculously sad for desperately wanting the next two books but she just doesn’t understand. I’m slightly nervous to continue reading, as with the way this one ended I’m not sure I can handle any more heartbreak. I guess we’ll have to wait and see! 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Published September 3rd 2013 by Indigo
Paperback, 419 pages
Synopsis:
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
My Thoughts:
You know when you go to a concert and the band leaves the stage because its “over” but the crowd knows that there will be an encore, so everyone starts chanting “WE WANT MORE, WE WANT MORE!” over and over until they come back on. Well, that’s all I can hear in my head while writing this review. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book I cant help but feel a little let down with the ending. This is a standalone novel but could easily be part of a duology or even a series. Has Holly Black purposefully left this open ended or is that really it? 

This book had been on my radar for quite some time prior to this review. Having not read anything by Holly Black before I thought it was time to give her a go. Believe me, it certainly won’t be the last time I read a book of hers. Although this had its flaws, I was able to look past them and enjoy the book for what it is. 

Admittedly I'm always sceptic to read paranormal fiction as it has become annoyingly tiresome since twilight. I mean, what vampire sparkles in the sun and is a vegetarian? I'm sorry Edward but you just aren't cutting it for me. I want malicious, natural born hunters. I want vampires who kill with no remorse and take everything they can get. I’m not looking for a love story. I’m looking for straight up badassery! You’ll be glad to know that this book has it all, everything that I mentioned above and more is included is this brilliantly crafted novel. 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was a refreshing read as it is the polar opposite of Twilight. Right from the offset I knew that I was going to enjoy this book, the premise was exciting and Holly Blacks writing was incredible. I didn’t think that I’d get so caught up in this world that Black has created but I crave more of it. No, I don’t crave it…I need it. 

I don’t want to spoil you too much; instead I urge y’all to give this book a chance because if you’re anything like me then you’ll love it. This is an unforgettable book that I know I will enjoy rereading over and over again. I can’t help but think that paranormal fiction is finally redeeming itself; with authors such as Holly Black, Julie Kagawa and Jennifer L Armentrout around I have hope for the genre.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine. Its a chance to spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week I'm waiting on...

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins
Expected Publication: April 29th 2014 by Harper Teen

I fell in love with this trilogy when I read Sweet Evil last January. I’m gutted that it’ll be coming to an end very soon but I cannot wait to read this finale. If you like swoon worthy romance, hot British boys and badass angel vs. demons action then this trilogy is the one for you. You will devour it in a matter of hours...

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Book Blitz: The Accidental Socialite by Stephanie Wahlstrom


The Accidental Socialite
by Stephanie Wahlstrom 

Release Date: April 15th 2014
Swoon Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Quirky and clumsy twenty-two-year-old Paige Crawford arrives in London on a cold Saturday in January. Just when Paige starts to think that moving thousands of miles away from home with no real plan was a bad idea, Jason Frost appears. Confident and classy, Jason is the complete opposite of Paige and just what she needs in her life, or so she thinks.
But before their romance has time to blossom, Paige trips and falls into the arms of a mysterious man on a drunken night out. She’s snapped by paparazzi, and newspaper headlines the next day suggest that she’s having an affair with a married footballer.
Paige finds herself instantly elevated to tabloid celebrity status which isn’t exactly a picnic, particularly when trying to juggle her new job at Fashionista magazine, a catalog of dating disasters and a nagging doubt that she maybe she can’t conquer London after all.
When a trip back to Canada for Christmas reminds Paige why she left her old life behind, she returns to London with renewed vigor realizing that while jobs, flats and men may come and go, friends in London are forever.

I wouldn’t normally pick up a book like this but it sounds like it’ll be a great, light-hearted read that’s perfect for a lazy summers afternoon. Below you can find an excerpt taken from the book, so make sure to check it out and if you keep scrolling you’ll find a giveaway where you can win not only an ebook copy of The Accidental Socialite but also an Amazon gift card. I know I’d like to enter that! 

About the Author:
Growing up in Edmonton, Canada, a significant amount of Stephanie’s time was spent making up and acting out stories. She was studying to be an actress when she realized there weren’t any parts for women being written. So, Stephanie wrote herself a short screenplay just to be in it and quickly realized that writing was her true passion. She graduated from the University of Alberta with an English and Sociology degree and she also has a Bachelor of Motion Picture Arts from Red Deer College. She moved to New York on a whim after University and has written a variety of TV shows including an environmentally friendly lifestyle series and a tween magazine style show about celebrities. Stephanie moved to London in 2008 and aside from being obsessed with Eggs Benedict, shoes, Fruit Roll Ups and travelling, she also works in Children’s Television. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Procrastinating instead of blogging...

So many books, so little time. I wish that was true but unfortunately it isn’t. You’d think that with being jobless I would be reading a lot more books. I’m not. I was hoping that I’d be posting regularly as well, yeah, about that…I’m trying my hardest but keep getting distracted. If procrastinating were a job I’d be well away by now. I would be rolling in the dollar. You see, I love blogging but writing up posts can become quite boring. I give myself “breaks” during these blogging sessions that result in me watching Youtube videos for hours on end.  I’ve heard that a lot of bloggers write their posts days, sometimes weeks in advance. How do you do this? What is your secret? I must know! I’m a one post at a time kind of girl. I write them up as and when I feel like it. This isn’t always a good thing but I just cannot bring myself to write more than one post in a sitting. I would like to blog more often so words of motivation would be nice. Just saying.

I’ve realised that I haven’t actually gotten to my main point yet. I’m rambling again!

A couple of weeks back Alison from AlisonCanRead wrote a post discussing her blogging distractions and I found that I could relate to a lot of them. After reading this post I felt inspired to write about my own distractions. Nearly three weeks have passed and I’ve finally found the courage to conduct this post. I must’ve been procrastinating ;) So lo and behold, here’s what keeps me from blogging:

Once Upon A Time
This is a newbie show to me but an absolute stonker of one. With both Pretty Little Liars and The Walking Dead reaching their season finales I found myself lost without having anything to watch. I needed something that I’d be able to sink my teeth into, something that I could binge on and feel good about it. With three seasons of magical goodness to look forward to I definitely chose right.  I’m trying to pace myself while watching this but it just isn’t happening. I’ve nearly watched the whole of season 1 in under a week and that my friends, is what I call dedication! I also have no social life so…

Travelling
This is always a good reason not to blog. This past week I took a trip to London with my mother and it was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. We ate a lot, we drank a lot—the bars in London are amazing—and we walked a lot. I dragged my mum into Foyles; it’s the biggest bookstore in Europe apparently! Obviously it was the highlight of my day. The Young Adult section was unlike any I’d seen before. I could’ve died on the spot from happiness. I’m also going to York with my Nan this upcoming Wednesday and it should be a lovely day out. I like getting out of the house so when the opportunity presents itself I take it.

Goodreads & Amazon
When I’m not reading or writing about books I’m probably looking at them on these two sites. I’m seriously addicted to them. As a result of that my Amazon wishlist is out of control.

Nail Polish
I never used to care about painting my nails but in the past year its safe to say I’ve became obsessed. I’ve gone from owning about 2 nail polishes to having close to 100. Money well spent. You can’t do anything while painting them either as you may risk ruining them and then you’ll have to start over.

The Sims 3
If you don’t like the Sims then you’re lying to yourself. This game is seriously addictive. I tell myself that I’ll only go on it for an hour and then I’ll realise that its 3 in the morning and I’ve been playing all day. I’ve always been a fan of the Sims franchise so when they announced that the fourth game would be released this year I was ecstatic.

Food
Because why would I want to be blogging when I could be eating? A month ago I put myself on a diet and it was going great, until it wasn’t. There’s so much tasty food in my house how can I not be distracted. I did manage to lose a stone in weight and I am still fairly active but why should I deny myself this yummy goodness? I’m only 19 so I shouldn’t have to worry about my waistline just yet.

Drinking
I’m not saying I’m an alcoholic; I just like the odd drink with my mates every now and then. Also, have you ever tried to read with a hangover? It is impossible. I tried it last week and it wasn’t happening.

These are just a few of the things that distract me from getting things done. I could list many more but I fear this post will get too long. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, there’s not much to take away from it but I find its always interesting to read about other peoples “problems” shall I say? Now I’d like to know what distracts you and how you motivate yourself when all you feel like doing is watching some good old-fashioned television.

Just to let you know, I made an Instagram account to run alongside the blog. If you'd like to follow me then my username is annoushkareads. I'd be extremely grateful if you guys took a minute to check it out. Cheers!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Cover Reveal: Whatever Life Thows at You by Julie Cross

Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross
Expected publication October 7th 2014 by Entangled Teen
Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas is too young to remember her dad’s glory days as a pitcher for the Yankees. So when her father is offered a coaching position with the Kansas City Royals, Annie is intrigued to see the baseball side of her dad. Of course, knowing he’ll be a mentor to hot young rookie pitcher, Jason Brody, certainly makes it more enticing. 
After an awkward first meeting with "Brody" involving very little clothing and a much-too-personal locker room interview, Annie’s convinced she knows Brody’s type: arrogant, self-involved, bossy. As her dad grows closer to the pitching phenom, the friction between Brody and Annie increases. But when opening day arrives and it looks like both her dad and Brody may lose their dream jobs, Annie steps up and offers support. She and Brody call a truce that grows into friendship—and beyond. Falling for a rising star who’s quickly reaching a level that involves rabid female fans is not what Annie would call smart, except suddenly she’s getting hints that maybe this crush isn’t one-sided after all. Could someone like Brody actually fall for a girl like her?
My Thoughts:
I absolutely adore this cover! The image isn’t quite monochrome but has a greyish tinge to it; this makes the title stand out. The black and yellow writing really compliments the contemporary theme of the book and also the image. If I saw this in a bookstore then I’d be compelled to pick it up, its so simple yet gorgeous. 


About the Author
Julie Cross is the International Bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, and the final installment, Timestorm (St. Martin's Press). She's also the author of Letters to Nowhere (8/13), a mature young adult romance set in the world of elite gymnastics, as well as several forthcoming young adult and new adult novels with publishers like Entangled, Sourcebooks, HarperCollins, and St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books.

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She's a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She's a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credibility's, Julie Cross is a committed--but not talented--long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict. You can find her online via twitter, her personal website, email, facebook, Goodreads, or co-moderating the YAwriters section of reddit.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

Cover Reveal Organised by:

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Published November 8th 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton 
Hardcover UK, 513 Pages
Synopsis:
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.
And its snap split the world in two.
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.
My Thoughts:
Can we please take a minute to appreciate the goddess that is Laini Taylor? I adore this woman and her mesmerising writing. If you haven’t read anything by her yet then you need to reevaluate your life choices. Okay, so maybe that was slightly harsh but seriously, I urge everyone to go and pick up this series! 

After learning that Akiva was at the centre of the Chimaera massacre, the soul reason for the death of her family, we see Karou turn her back on him for good and venture into Eretz with an unlikely companion. Here she makes a shocking discovery that everything she once knew and loved is gone. Or so she thought… Fast-forward to Days of Blood and Starlight where riddles aren’t always what they seem.

Who said romance is dead? Well…Laini Taylor did. Days of Blood and Starlight steers away from the romantic aspect of things and focuses on the nitty gritty. This may be disappointing for some of you but believe me when I say it makes the book better. I loved the storytelling in this installment; in the first book we’re only given a glimpse of Eretz and its history, it focuses more on Karou and the burning question of who she is. Whereas in this second book Laini Taylor paints the bigger picture, we’re shown the repercussions of war and the effects that it’s had on not only the Chimaera but also the Seraphim.

There are several new characters and storylines introduced to us in this sequel; I can only hope that Laini will carry on with them in the final book. I’d like to know what happened to the two sisters and whether Karou will resurrect the Dashnag boy. I thoroughly enjoyed that this book didn’t solely revolve around Karou as we’re able to see things from multiple perspectives. My new favourite has to be Ziri as he is such a loveable character; I couldn’t say anything bad about him! I know I haven’t mentioned any of the old characters, but have no fear; most of them make an appearance at some time or another.

Although I’m slightly annoyed with myself for waiting so long to read it, I’m glad I did, as now I wont have to wait as long for the finale. I can’t wait to see how Laini progresses the story in order to get to the ending that this series deserves. I know that this review probably doesn’t do the book justice but I’d like to think that it’s pushed y’all to read it already. Go on, I know you want to! 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Feature & Follow Friday #15

Feature and Follow Friday is a blog hop hosted by AlisonCanRead and Parajunkee, its a simple way to gain some appreciated exposure to bloggers and to make friends while doing so. The two hosts feature a blog for the week, so you never know it could be you one day! If you'd like to follow me then you can do so using Bloglovin or GFC, leave a comment below to say Hey and I'll be sure to follow you back :) Be sure to check out the hosts sites as well as they're awesome.

Q. Late April Fools. What was the best prank you’ve played or had played on you? Share!

This question is quite hard for me, as I’m not the biggest prankster and I’ve never been pranked. I don't think that playing pranks on people is as big as it used to be as I haven't witnessed any ever. April fools definitely isn't popular within my circle of family and friends. However I do love watching Youtube videos in which people are pranked, they’re hilarious! 

The only person I’ve ever pranked was my mum and it was probably the lamest one ever but it did make her scream. At Christmas we received a spider catcher and with that came a super realistic fake spider. I thought it’d be a good idea to hide it in a place where she least expects it… the brown sugar. A week had gone by and still nothing had happened. I was starting to worry that she wouldn’t find it until one fateful afternoon where she decided she wanted a coffee. Her reaction was everything I could’ve wished for. My prank was successful in scaring the living daylights out of her. 

I haven’t seen the spider since that day so I’m worried that she’s put it somewhere in the house for me to find. I can’t relax knowing that it might be out there somewhere!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Gateway Books/Author

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish, every week there is a different topic in which you answer back to! The feature was created as a way to share their top tens with everyone. Anyone can join in so come along and share your top ten lists with us all!

As you may have noticed I haven’t really been participating in memes this year. I can never be bothered to write my response to the chosen topic but this week I’m raring to go so I thought Id jump on board!

1. The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
When I was in high school I absolutely adored this series. For about a year it was all I could think about, which is slightly embarrassing. But this obsession is what kick started my love for the paranormal genre.

2. Jacqueline Wilson
If you grew up in the UK then you’ve probably read at least one book by this author. Jacqueline Wilson was a big part of my childhood; I’ll always remember my uncle sending me her books for Christmas. Her books have always held a special place in my heart, as they were what got me into reading.

3. Stephanie Perkins
I didn’t read much contemporary until I picked up Anna and The French Kiss, since that fateful day I cannot get enough of it.

4. Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella
For as long as I can remember my mum has been trying to get me to read chick-lit and 90% of the time my response has been no. However when we were on holiday a couple of years back I decided to give it a go. I ended up reading Remember Me and it completely changed my opinion of the genre. Chick-lit is perfect for the summer season, you should try it out as you may be surprised!

5. Wait For You by J. Lynn
I didn’t realise what I’d been missing out on until I read this book. I’d always been quite reluctant to read something by Jennifer L Armentrout but after this I’m up for giving anything by her a go.

6. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
How can the Narnia books not be on this list? This is another series that fueled my passion for reading during childhood. My mum bought me a lovely box set of these books but I have no idea what happened to it.

7. Ellen Hopkins
Books written in verse were a mystery to me until I read Crank by Ellen Hopkins. I thoroughly enjoyed this style of writing and wouldn’t mind picking up some more books written in this particular format.

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Markus Zusak annihilated my heart with this book. I never thought that I’d love it as much as I did and its inspired me to read more books set during the Holocaust/World War 2 period.

9. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Probably the only book I enjoyed at school—the English class I was in had to read some utter crap—it opened my eyes to classic literature. That being said I haven’t read any “classics” as such since leaving school three years ago.

10. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
I’ve got an aversion to adult fiction. I don’t know why but I find it terribly hard to get excited by an adult novel. I think it might be because a lot of the time I’m not sold by the blurb and advertising methods the publishers use. Earlier this year I decided to pick this up and it hasn’t left my mind since. It was so damn good! I’ve now challenged myself to broaden my age range and read a few more adult books. 

Wow I didn’t think my responses would be this long! Anyway, I’d love to know what authors/books are on your lists so leave a comment below with a link to your post.

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