Sunday, 27 January 2013

Showcase Sunday #14

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky over at Books, Biscuits & Tea where we showcase all of our recent book grabs.

Since I haven't done one of these in a while, I do have quite a bundle of books to show you. Some I got way back for Christmas (I know, I know... why haven't I got on to doing this sooner?!) and others I'd bought with my Christmas money. ;) Only one review book included here, I'm afraid - I think I've got a couple more on the way though! So, without further-a-do, here is the long-awaited book haul! :)



Me, Suzy P. by Karen Saunders - This book was money well-spent. I LOVED it! Can you believe it?! It was a chick-lit and I loved it! That, like, never happens! I usually hate chick-lit books! :3 You can click HERE to read my gushing review! ^.^

Origin by Jessica Khoury - This was one of the books I'd put on my Christmas wishlist and, thanks to my super amazing parents, I got it! I also loved this one - the story was so original!

Enclave by Ann Aguirre - Yet again, another wishlist book. This was probably the one book I was most excited to get for Christmas as it has been on my wishlist since forever! Did I enjoy it, you ask? Yes, yes, yes! :D

Echo by Alyson Noel - I got this one so far back, I can't even remember if it was a gift! :3 This is the second book in the Fated series and since I thoroughly enjoyed book one, I'm hoping I'll like this one too! :)

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna - This is the one review book of this haul. Random House very graciously offered me a review copy of this book a while back and I absolutely adored it! It was one of the best debuts I've ever read! My review can be found HERE. :P

Ashes & Shadows by Isla J. Bick - These books were also on my Christmas wishlist - I've yet to start reading them though! I did start reading Ashes at one point but it had a bit of a slow start so I put it off to read another book. However, I'm most definitely going back to them soon! xD

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards - This was another Christmas pressie that I was super excited to receive. This had been on my wishlist for a while and I think it was the first one out of all the books I'd got that I read. I gave it three stars (I think, anyway) on goodreads just because it was a little confusing and slow. :)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - OMGGGG - I have a John Green book! I finally (finally!) gave into my friend, Cat from Through a Cat's Eyes and bought it with my Christmas money. She had been begging me for months to read it and I finally gave into her pleas. All those sparkling reviews from book bloggers also helped! I'm going to go straight on to this after I finish the book I'm currently reading. ;D

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass - Woooooop! Another wishlist book I finally managed to get my hands on! As I'm sure quite a lot of you bloggers know, I've been wanting this book for AGES! So I am super, super excited to have it now! xD

What books did you get this week? Leave links below and I'll stop on by!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Let's Discuss... Self-Publishing!

Hey everyone! Today I thought I'd do a little discussion post for you all since I haven't done one in ages! I was kind of stuck on what topic I should do for a while but I finally came to the decision to write about one that's quite controversial to a lot of readers. Self-publishing.

Now, the reason I'm doing this is because I am genuinely interested as to what you, yourself, think of self-published authors. I've seen a few bloggers who are very much behind self-publishing and do all they can to advertise the author's work/s on their blogs, but I've also followed a few bloggers before who I've not seen review a self-published book or advertise a self-published author through an interview, guest post or anything else even once. And I want to know why. In both cases.

Personally, I feel like some self-published authors deserve as much publicity as published ones. The reason for this is because I've read a few great self-published books myself. For example, Reckless Magic is one I can think of off the top of my head. I read this a while ago (and I mean a long while ago!) but I can still remember just how much I loved it even to this day! And true, even though the editing wasn't perfect, I still loved the storyline, characters and the romance. I simply managed to ignore the rough edges because I just loved everything else so much.

However, as much as I would like to say I always grasp the opportunity to review a self-published book - in all honesty, I don't. Or, I feel like I just don't do it enough. And due to this, I feel like a terrible book blogger. This is because a few things turn me off when a self-published author asks me to review their book. For one, I've read self-published books before where the editing really did affect my enjoyment of it and, consequently, without wanting to admit it, this has tainted my outlook on self-publishing.
 
Now, I know this is unfair to some self-published authors for one main reason in particular. Not all self-published authors are self-published because their books have been rejected from publishing companies. Some authors have just decided to go indie because they feel it suits their style more. I really admire and respect this. They're trying to get a name for themselves on their own. They want to get a reputation without the help of a publishing company. Which, I think, is really brave and honourable. I mean, in all honesty, who, out of us, doesn't get excited when we see a new book coming out from HarperCollins? Or Random House? I know I certainly do. So, don't you see? These authors who've decided to go indie have willingly taken on big publishing companies like these. Isn't that kind-of amazing?
 
So, overall, I think I sit on the half-way mark when it comes to self-publishing. As much as I feel like, as a book blogger, I should be all for them... I'm just, well, not. My outlook has, admittedly, been tainted because of past reading experiences where the editing has just got in the way of the enjoyment of it all. However, I do think that a reader owes it to all those indie authors out there to try at least one self-published book at one point in their lives. I'm certainly going to try and read a few more. :)
 
What about you? What do you think of self-publishing? Are you all for it? Against it? Why? Have you read any self-published books before? What did you think?
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review: Me, Suzy P.

Author: Karen Saunders
Edition: Templar eBook
Released: January 1st 2013
Series: No, standalone
Pages: 352 approx.

14-year-old Suzy Puttock and her three best friends lead an average teenage life, spending most of their time in school, home or hanging out in cafes. Side-splitting mishaps and cringe moments have a nasty habit of following Suzy wherever she goes, but otherwise life's pretty normal - she's been going out with Danny since forever, her nutty older sister Amber's wedding is taking up all her family's attention and her annoying younger sister Harry is intent on making her life a misery. But when gorgeous new boy Zach starts showing Suzy attention, she wonders if the grass may be greener on the other side of the romantic fence. Before Suzy knows it, she has broken up with Danny, there's a huge rift in her friendship group and life is careering off track. Can she sort herself out before things are messed up completely?

MY REVIEW:

You know how I'm always saying chick-lit/contemporary books aren't my thing? Well, on this occasion, feel free to call me a hypocrite because I LOVED this book. Now, if you've stuck by this blog long enough to know how stubborn I usually am when it comes to reading these genres, you may be thinking: Rachel, why did you even pick up a chick-lit book in the first place?! Well I have the lovely Cliona over at Bookster Reviews to thank for that! Cliona posted an excerpt of this book a couple days ago and, hey ho, I loved the excerpt so much so that I instantly bought and downloaded the book on to my Kindle app yesterday, read it in only a number of hours and now need to fan-girl about how much I loved it with all of you. It was that amazing! xD
 
I don't think I'm ever going to get over just how exciting this book is to talk about! And it's a chick-lit book at that! I'm literally bobbing up and down like a lunatic just thinking about it. Seriously though, a book that can make me laugh as hard as this one definitely deserves a medal. As well as one that can make me cringe as much too! It was unreal the amount of times I had to calm myself down before I woke up the whole house laughing my head off, let alone how many times I had to hide under a pillow cringing at something Suzy had done. She was so accident-prone it was hilarious! Believe me when I say, if you're ever in a sour mood, read this book. I bet you anything it will brighten up your day! :P
 
The main character, Suzy, is your not-so-average, average teenage girl. I just adored her! She was the perfect narrator for a story such as this and I can't imagine Saunders ever having made up a better main character. Suzy was stubborn, compulsive, bold, vulnerable... I don't think there are any teenage girls out there that couldn't relate or empathise with her - even if it's just a little bit! After the first couple chapters I was pretty sure that I was going to prefer Zach over Danny but as I got further and further into the story I knew this wasn't going to be the case. So another character I grew to love was Danny. There was so much more to him than what I first thought. I also enjoyed both Millie and Jamie's characters and found their relationship really sweet. ^.^
 
Boys, bullies, family troubles... There's something really quite realistic to this book that teenagers can easily appreciate. There's also a few twists thrown in to keep the attention of the reader and, even though I did guess one, I still felt for the characters when it was revealed. And the ending to this book? The author rounded it off perfectly! It left me with a smile on my face that refused to budge for hours. If all chick-lit/contemporary books are like this one then I've certainly been missing out! I really hope that this wasn't just a one-off though, because I now have high hopes for this genre! ;)
 
In conclusion, I loved Me, Suzy P and I easily recommend it to anyone willing to give it a go. Even if you were like me and you try to avoid the chick-lit genre at all costs, give it a go. You might end up loving it as much as I did after all! If you don't, feel free to blame me! Not only is this book funny - hilarious, even - it's also heart warming, relatable and will have you smiling like a lunatic at the end. There's a great range of multi-dimensional characters as well and Suzy is easily loveable. I'll definitely be checking out more of Saunders books if she decides to bring out any more - which I hope so! :D
 
FIVE STARS! xD
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Interview with Author, Andy Gavin!

Hey everyone! Today I've got a little interview to share with you all with author, Andy Gavin! His latest book, Untimed, is a YA adventure time travel novel that came out last month. Before we get into the interview, here's some more about it. :)

Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.

As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.

Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.

When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.

And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!

 
~ ~ ~
 
First off, can you tell us a little about yourself and your book, Untimed?
I’m an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There I created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. I sleep little, read novels and histories, watch media obsessively, travel, blog (a million hits last year!), and of course, write.

Untimed is my second novel.

Have you always wanted to write a book about time travel? Is there a particular reason for this?
Typically, Untimed began from a fusion of ideas. Lingering in my mind for over twenty years was a time travel story about people from the future who fell “downtime” to relive exciting moments in history (until things go wrong). I worked out a time travel system but had no plot or characters. Separately, in 2010, as a break from editing The Darkening Dream, I experimented with new voice techniques, especially first person present. I also read various “competition.” One of these was The Lightning Thief (the first Percy Jackson novel), which has an amazing series concept (if a slightly limp execution). I love mythology and history, and liked the notion of something with a rich body of material to mine. I wanted an open ended high concept that drew on my strengths, which brought me back to time travel.

Some of the mechanics from my earlier concept merged well with a younger protagonist, voiced in a visceral first person present style. I started thinking about it, and his voice popped into my head. I pounded out a chapter not too dissimilar from the first chapter of the final novel. Then the most awesome villain teleported into the situation. I can’t remember how or why, but it happened quickly and spontaneously. Tick-Tocks were born (or forged).

If you could choose to be any character out of any book, who would you be and why?
I’d like to be a mega-AI from some “Culture” novel like Consider Phlebas, that way I could think trillions of complex thoughts a second and live forever.

We all know that each author has a different writing style. How would you describe yours?
I’m a very visual writer. I see each scene in my head like a movie and I try to paint it for the reader. I also like to think that my style is very descriptive, yet rapid and compact. I’m very conscious of all the things that need to be conveyed coming into a scene, and I try to dole them out in rapid splashes. I don’t open with a big block of description, but jump right into things and tease out the information and descriptions bit by bit as part of the action. In editing, I try to remove anything non-essential or redundant. Untimed is only 75,000 words, yet a tremendous amount of stuff happens. It’s very spare and efficient.

I like dialogue and action, and I think I’m very good at both. I try to keep the banter snappy and rapid fire, and I like to think I can handle pretty complex action scenes with multiple simultaneous goings on.

If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be and why?
I’ve thought about this a lot. Probably I’d be a telepath/pusher like Professor X. The combo of reading minds and controlling them would be totally badass, if horrifically unethical. And I’ve always been keen on having all the information. A vampire wouldn’t be too bad either if I didn’t have to kill my victims, only snack a bit.

Are you currently in the middle of writing (or planning) any other books? If so, could you tell us a little about it?
Yep. Right now, I’m writing two more novels and adapting Untimed into a screenplay. The new books are the Untimed sequel and a totally separate short novel that involves old school fairies and iambic pentameter.

Quick-fire Questions:

Favourite Colour? Azure blue. The color of the water off the coast of Capri on a bright summer day. I’m particularly drawn to it in translucent forms: as copper based glazes on pottery (I love a particular Chinese blue glaze made in the Imperial workshops), blue glass of the right hue, or even those “Ice Blue” clear mints.

Favourite Animal? Chinchilla. They’re just too cute.

Favourite Weather? Balmy coastal evenings like you get in Hawaii or Florida.

Favourite Genre? I mostly read speculative fiction (SciFi, supernatural horror, and Fantasy) and so the same would be true of my writing. I wouldn’t usually be drawn to a fully naturalistic story.

Favourite Book? That would be tough. If I had to pick a single favorite it would be George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones (and the sequels).

~ ~ ~

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Book Review: Born at Midnight

Author: C.C. Hunter
Edition: St. Martin's Griffin Paperback
Released: March 29th 2011
Series: Shadow Falls #1
Pages: 406 approx.

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…


MY REVIEW:

I don't know how I even came to own this book but all I can say is that I'm very glad I did! This book had a great plot, well-developed characters and a very engrossing writing style - I loved every second I spent reading it. I know there've been a few mixed reviews on this book, but I'm definitely on the side that loved it! But what to say that might persuade some of you... Yes, it was amazing, and yes, I loved it, but how to turn my gushing into words... Hmmm.

One of the main aspects of this book that I loved the most was the plot. At first, I thought parts of it might have resembled Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins but I never really compared the two whilst reading it. But if you loved one then I definitely think you can love the other! Anyway. Born at Midnight was rather unique compared to a lot of other supernatural/paranormal books out there in the way that the author involved a lot of different supernatural creatures. There were vampires, faeries and shapeshifters to name a few! I mean, shapeshifters! How many books have you read about shapeshifters?! This book was also really surprisingly funny at times. And I mean the laugh-out-loud kind of funny! I was literally in tears at one point. I won't give too much away about what had me on my knees wheezing but I will say this. The whole kitten/Perry scene was to blame! Even thinking about it, I can't help but smile! :3

Even though this book was in third person, I still really loved the main character Kylie. She's one of those characters with attitude! She could hold her own and always had a witty remark up her sleeve when needed. Between Kylie's two suitors, I admit I'm Team Lucas. He was mysterious and dark... and what can I say? That always intrigues me! Though Derek was an alright character and all, he was just too insistent and clingy for me to like him as much as I could have, unfortunetly.

In conclusion, Born at Midnight proved to be a very enjoyable read. The main character was snarky and confident, a bad boy/werewolf was involved and there was the constant mystery of what Kylie's full supernatural ability actually was that kept me hooked. Even though I read this book a few months ago - if you're wondering, I've been writing this review with the help of notes! ;) - I've still yet to get my hands on the next book in the series, Awake at Dawn. Hopefully I'll get the chance to read it sometime soon though - I want to know what's going to happen to Kylie next! Oh, and almost forgot! I recommend this book to lovers of snarky, witty main characters, paranormal/supernatural lovers and Hex Hall fans!

FIVE STARS! xD
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Follower Appreciation Giveaway! xD

Ohmygosh! This blog has over 400 followers! Wh-wh-what??? I can't believe it! I am so super, super proud! I never ever thought I would reach this many when I first started blogging... but, what can I say? You guys are awesome! I LOVE you all! <3

To mark this joyous day, I think a giveaway is in order, don't you? ;D You do? Okay then! How does a YA book of your choice (up to £10) from The Book Depository sound? Does that suffice? :P

I thought so! :D

So to be in with the chance of winning a YA book of your choice - up to £10 - from The Book Depository, just read the following Terms & Conditions and then enter via. Rafflecopter below!

T&Cs:
  • You MUST be a follower to enter this giveaway - after all, it is a follower appreciation giveaway! ;)
  • This giveaway is open to bookworms from ANY country as long as The Book Depository ships there for free! To check if you are eligible, click HERE. :)
  • I am NOT responsible for any packages lost in the mail.
  • If you win, you MUST pick a YA book that is £10 or under. ^.^
  • You must be 13 years or older to enter. After all, a YA book is a Young Adult book after all. :)
  • The giveaway is opened until February 1st 2013.
  • If you win, please understand that I will need to email you for your address. Please have parents permission! :P
  • Once a winner has been chosen, they will have three days to reply or the prize will go to someone else. Let's hope that doesn't happen! :(
  • Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to be in with a chance of winning! The first entry (following via. GFC) is mandatory but, once completed, there will be loads of other extra entries to do! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Well, all I can say now is, may the odds be ever in your favour!
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo
 
PS: The is only the second time I've used Rafflecopter so I hope it goes smoothly... If you find a problem just shoot me an email! xD

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Introducing... Aspiring Writer, Yasmin!


Hey everyone! Today I've got something a little different for you all - I've decided to spotlight a fellow teen blogger and aspiring writer! Yasmin is a lovely person and a rather talented writer based on what I've read! A little while back she sent me an excerpt of one of the books she's currently writing, under the working title, Escalation and has very graciously allowed me to share a little of it on this blog today!

~ ~ ~
 
Footsteps. Praire stopped in her tracks, pricking up her ears. She held her breath, shifting her on concentration on whoever, or whatever, it is that was tracking her movements. As she paused, she heard the sudden pacing clumsily getting grips of its self and waiting for her to make her next move. Whoever you are, you are pathetic at stalking. She took a few steps forward, determined to trip her shadow up. She listened for the continuation of the footsteps behind her, which delivered. Distinguishing such hefty steps splashing into the puddles wasn’t complicated, albeit the heavy pitter-pattering of the rain. The dragging in the feet was distinct; she knew one person who carried such feet beneath him. Plus, he didn’t have a propensity for discreetness or subtlety.

She spun around on her heel and briefly scanned the scene before her. Behind a dumpster, a shadow was splayed across the street, displaying the vague shape of a hooded figure ineptly crouching down quickly. She rolled her eyes. She crossed the road to the tea café beside the dumpster and sat herself down on one of the tea chairs assembled. It was damp beneath her behind, but she chose to take no heed to it. Better out of the rain than in it, she figured.

“Your stalking skills are appalling, Marco.” She bluntly said, directing it to her follower. She saw his shadow rise from behind the dumpster like a building being erected from rubble. His gargantuan size couldn’t be mistaken for anyone else on these streets. His appearance reminisced of a vigorous and wealthy boy that had lost his dignity to the bad side of town: rugged, sturdy, reasonably priced clothing that had just been washed recently and a pristine pair of shoes. “Wait, tell me again, how have you survived on these streets?”

An unmistakable, crooked grin spread across Anton Marco’s face as he walked over towards her, hands fumbling in his jacket pockets, as though he was struggling to keep hold of an important and valuable delivery stuffed in his pockets. After all, he was a delivery boy and a messenger. There was no way of knowing what he held with him. But, whatever it was, it almost never held high significance. He wasn’t all too trustworthy or reliable or careful enough to carry such things. He shook the water out of his hair and stepped under the canopy to sit himself beside her. “Don’t give me crap about my stalking skills.” He reached into his bag and drew a package from it. “Lucy buzzed me just now. Told me to give this to you to take it to wherever she is.” He left the package atop the table and folded his arms, watching Praire as she examined the parcel. It was brown, wrapped scrappily (Marco’s trademark) in a rectangular shape and stamped on one side with big, black, blocked letters: ‘15’ and two spears that cross to make an X behind the numbers.

This was the mark of the black market in Sector 15.

~ ~ ~

How good was this excerpt? Let me answer for you. It was amazing! Yasmin is definitely talented at writing! I'm already really intrigued as to where this storyline could possibly be going and the main character, Praire, is very mysterious and you easily want to know more about her. I'm also really intrigued by the relationship between Praire and Marco... is there something worth noting between them? Oooooh, I'm just so intrigued by everything! If you would like to see more of Yasmin's works along with book reviews (etc), then check out her blog, Bootiful Books. Go and share the love by leaving her a comment and following! ;D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 4 January 2013

Book Review: The Lost Girl

Author: Sangu Mandanna
Edition: Random House Paperback (Early Copy)
Release: January 3rd 2013
Series: The author states that there might be sequels.
Pages: 390 approx.

Eva's life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination--an echo. She was made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her "other," if she ever died. Eva spends every day studying that girl from far away, learning what Amarra does, what she eats, what it's like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything and everyone she's ever known--the guardians who raised her, the boy she's forbidden to love--to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.


MY REVIEW:

There's actually quite a funny story as to how I received this book for review... When I requested a copy of this book a while ago now, I had actually mistaken it for another. So when I received it through the post, I was more than surprised to find out that it was, in fact, not the book I had been anticipating. Logging on to trusty Goodreads to research it, I was greeted by yet another surprise. The Lost Girl was actually on my wishlist along with the other book I had mistaken it for (though I must have forgotten about it)! Thoroughly intrigued by this point, I cracked the book open and started to read. Little did I know that I would be so hooked to the story that I would be up until 3:30am!

The plot line was unique and refreshing as well as emotional. I was rather surprised at how emotional I found it at times! What affected me the most was probably the attitude everyone seemed to have toward the 'Echoes'. Most thought them heartless, unfeeling creatures and I really felt for Eva because barely anyone seemed to understand that she was just like everyone else on the inside. The fact that Mandanna had managed to make me feel for her characters and empathise with them as much as I did is really admirable. This is only her debut novel and she has done amazingly well to have got such a reaction out of me. Already you can see the talent she has. I will most definitely be looking out for more of her novels!

The main character, Eva, was very multi-dimensional on a whole. She was brave and strong and smart but still with a vulnerable side to her that made her realistic. She was also a fighter and she had a spark inside of her which made her a very likeable character. Sean was also a great character. He was sweet, loyal, brave and genuine and I enjoyed the relationship development between him and Eva as you were never really sure what would happen between them when they were together. I also loved Nik and Sash (Amarra's little siblings) and got really attached to them. They were just adorable! Amarra, however, was another story. Even though I didn't really like her (for reasons which will be obvious to those of you that have read the book), I could still understand her thoughts and feelings and where she was coming from.

At first, I had thought this book was simply a standalone and so, when I came to the ending, I found it quite abrupt. Then I went on to the author's website and read that she was possibly thinking of making it a series depending on how well The Lost Girl did. Since I'm not sure whether or not there is going to be a sequel, I don't know what to think of the ending. For a standalone it's pretty abrupt and leaves the reader wondering (about what I will not tell :P)... but for a series it would be a good ending - it leaves the reader wanting to find out more. However, this in no way affected the enjoyment of the book. I still loved it!

Overall, The Lost Girl proved to be an amazing and very well-written debut from author Sangu Mandanna. The storyline was unique, exciting and emotional and all the characters had many layers to them and you could empathise with each. I highly recommend this to everyone who even remotely likes the sound of it. If there is indeed a sequel, I know I'll be first in line to buy it! ^.^


FIVE STARS! :D
A huge thank you to Random House for providing me with a review copy!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

My 2013 Reading & Blogging Goals/Resolutions + EXCITING News!

Before I start I just want to wish you all a Happy New Year - I hope 2013 treats you all well and you get lots of bookish goodies! xD You also may have noticed the new layout. Well it used to be my old layout... but now its back! Anyway that's not really the point. Basically, I'm still having a few technical difficulties with this blog and, even though I swapped layouts to see if that would help, it didn't! :( So, unfortunetly, I can't customize any layouts or anything and so we are stuck with this. I hope that's okay? :3

Anywho, on to better things. First off, the goals/resolutions. I've never actually set myself any resolutions or goals since starting blogging so I decided I would do that this year. Without further-a-do, here they are!
 
MY 2013 GOALS & RESOLUTIONS:
  • To read 50 books, or thereabouts. I actually managed to read near 80 books in 2012 but I know that with the amount of exams and studying I have to do this year I may not have as much time as I'd like to read. So 50 books sounds good enough! :)
  • To post at least one or two reviews every week. I do usually post more though so we'll see how this one goes.
  • To do more discussion posts. I LOVE reading and preparing discussion posts but it is a lot of work... However, I am hoping to do more this year than I did last year!
  • To read a few classics. I've wanted to do this for quite a while now but I never have. That's going to change this year... hopefully! My wee mummy recommended Sense and Sensibility to me a few days ago so I think I'll start with that one! :)
  • To take breaks when needed! Now, I know this doesn't sound like that great a resolution... but I need to include it! As already mentioned, I'm going to have a lot of exams around this year (around May time I reckon), and I'll need to substitute the usual blogging time for studying time. I know, I know, sad times! :'( I hate that my blog is going to suffer because of school work... but it needs to be addressed! Also, if I fall into a blogging or reading slump there's no point in putting up a load of rubbish posts either.
  • To meet new bloggy friends and to follow/comment more on other blogs. I LOVE making new blog buddies and chatting and discussing books so I'm hoping to do more of that this year! Leave your link below if your a new follower and you have your own blog - I will stop by, it's a promise! xD
  • To reach 80,000 pageviews (currently 73,356! :D) and, fingers crossed, get some more followers (currently 397 xD)! I can't thank my usual visitors and followers enough! I LOVE you all! :)
  • And finally, to catch up on my review pile! I've started to get behind! :O
Now on to the exciting news! Veronica Roth's Divergent is being made into a MOVIE! OMG, OMG, OMGGGG! I cannot explain in words just how excited I am! I LOVED this book SO much and... eeeeeek! IT'S BEING MADE INTO A MOVIE! Which, I believe, will be coming out in 2014... OMG, OMG, OMG! Do you want to see the actress playing Tris? Do you? Do you?! Well, here she is!

 
Her name is Shailene Woodley and she's actually in her early twenties I believe - she does have a slightly younger-looking face than that of someone in their twenties though, so I think she could pass for a sixteen-year-old Tris! I hope she's good... because if this movie butchers the book, I'll cry! The director is a man called Neil Burger and, since I haven't seen any of his movies, I don't know if he's good or not! I hope beyond hope he'll do a great job. No scratch that, a FANTASTIC job! But I reckon they already know that there will be so much hype for this movie because so many people love the book and will have hired the very best directors, crew, actors/actresses. Here's hoping! I've also read that Evan Daugherty is writing the screenplay... It may interest you to know that Daugherty wrote the screenplay to Snow White and The Huntsmen also. :) As for who's playing Four, it was rumoured that there were four boys being tested with Shailene to see who had the best chemistry with her in November of last year. These four boys were Luke Bracey, Brenton Thwaites, Lucas Till and Jack Reynor (below are photos of them in the above order).
 
 
None of these actors even remotely resemble the Four I had imagined... but as long as the one chosen does a good job I'll be happy. Who do you want to play Four?
 
Let me just stress that this information may not be reliable! Everyone knows that the internet isn't always the best source! But since I'd seen most of this information on a number of sites I decided to post about it to get you all a little excited. Feel free to punch me if I get your hopes up and I'm wrong! :(

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: I haven't posted up a review this week so expect one up tomorrow or Friday! ;)