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A Month Of Blogging plus Winners and Awards!

I only realised today that yesterday was my one month anniversary for my blog. Well strictly speaking I created the account and blog last year, posted a couple of reviews I'd written for another site and then forgot about it.

So what made me come back to it last month? Well as well as reading other blogs, starting with the very knowledgeable and all round fantastic Chicklitreviews and clicking links from there and thinking "I'd love to do that", I decided that in 2010 I wanted somewhere to collect the reviews I'd been writing for other sites as well as other booky thoughts in a kind of diary. I actually had no idea about the book blogging community when I started out. I absolutely love it, everybody has been so incredibly friendly and welcoming, especially as I kind of just jumped right in and started commenting all over the place. I'm not so forward in real life and tend to hide in the sidelines, so I really do appreciate the welcome I have had!

So what's happened in the first full month here at Rhiana Reads...?

Well I've reviewed 10 books, luckily none of which have been terrible...I'm having a great year so far book wise. I am honest though with my reviews, so if I don't like a book I will say!

I've hosted an author interview with the lovely Louise Douglas, who kindly gave her time despite me being new to book blogging. I've also hosted 2 giveaways, one which ended today for two signed copies of Louise's book, Missing You congratulations Gaby and thelittlereader who were the lucky winners.

Update: The winner of The Book Of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern was Ya Vampire Books. Hope you enjoy!

My other giveaway for The Book Of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern runs until Sunday. It was originally a 20 followers contest, but I've somehow managed to almost quadruple that! I now have 74 followers, thank you! I'm really surprised and pleased that anyone thinks I'm interesting enough to follow. I'll have to get my thinking cap on for a 100 followers celebration giveaway. Watch this space.

I joined 3 challenges:

I've also had a few awards passed onto me which are really appreciated. Here is one I received from Amelia @ Imagination in Focus

1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!

2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.

3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to this post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.

4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners. (Click here for the Mr. Linky page.)

Becky @ The Bookette
Chloe & Leah @ Chicklitreviews

And I joined Twitter! Which had me totally confused at first and I'm just getting to grips with now. Again, I've just jumped in a bit, sorry! If you're not following yet, but think you might want to (hint hint ;-) ) you can by clicking the little logo in the sidebar.

So that's it. I can hardly believe that until a month ago the most technical thing I'd done on the net was upload a picture to Ebay (I'm not kidding!) So I've learned a lot too. I'm really pleased with how my blog is going and hope to build on it in the coming months.I've been mulling a few things round to improve it, mainly wondering if I can separate my YA and Adult posts some way as I'm not sure if it's a mixed message and confusing? If anyone has any tips or suggestions just let me know! I'll stop rambling now...sorry for the long post (something else I might have to work on)!

March Releases I'm Looking Forward To

So many fab new releases coming up this month, here are a few that have caught my eye or have me excited. Mostly brand new releases in the UK, a couple are paperback releases I missed the HB editions of.

There's too many to post the synopsis for each and everyone, but if you click the image it will take you to Goodreads where you can find out a bit more.

So what's caught your eye in the upcoming titles this month? Will anyone be reading or has already read any of these?


Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine to highlight the upcoming releases we can't wait to read.

This weeks choice is The Fools Girl by Celia Rees. I adored Witch Child and Sorceress and read them both in just a couple of days, so I'm really looking forward to Celia's new book.

Violetta and Feste have come to London to rescue the holy relics taken from the church in Illyria by the evil Malvolio. Their journey has been long and their adventures many, but it is not until they meet the playwright William Shakespeare that they get to tell the entire story from beginning to end! But where will this remarkable tale ultimately lead Violetta and her companion? And will they manage to save themselves, and the relics from the very evil intentions of Malvolio?

Released in the UK April 5 2010

Review: Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings

"I've seen a ghost," said Emily. "Well, not seen one exactly. Heard one. At least, I think I have!" Everything has a rational explanation. Unless it doesn't. Welcome to Weirdsville! Woodsville is not like other towns. Night falls a little earlier there, the shadows are darker and denser, and everyone knows it's a place where strange things happen. Even if they won't admit it. Bethan would prefer to be anywhere but here. Jay has his theories, but isn't ready to share. Hashim sees more than he'll say, while Kelly's demons are all too flesh and blood. But Emily's freak-out brings them out of denial and face to face with the supernatural. Anywhere else, Friday night would be date night. But not in Weirdsville! (from

I love a good ghost story, so when I first heard about Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings I was eager to read it. The cover of the book promises a spooky tale, with a face hidden amongst smoke from candlelight, but would it live up to my expectations? I’m glad to say it definitely did.

The book begins with local gang leader Carter walking his Staffordshire bull terrier in a menacing Bill Sykes kind of way. For the first couple of pages I wondered if I was actually going to like this book at all but very quickly it takes a spooky turn and I was hooked.

The story centers around 5 teenagers, thrown together for a school project. What was brilliant about the characters Rook Hastings has created is how vividly real they are. It’s been a while since I was at school, but I could put the name of one of my old classmates to each and every one of the five. The characters did run the risk of being typical stereotypes, but I think it’s credit to the author that she didn’t just give them recognisable characteristics, but also gave them enough depth so that as a reader it’s easy to become involved with all of them. The book is told in the third person, and this works very well as we are given an insight into their own personal lives, which eventually link up and create a bigger story.

Woodsville is also a fabulous setting. A poor, dingy working class town blighted by sink estates and gang crime it becomes the perfect breeding ground for supernatural horrors. Hastings’ descriptions of Woodsville, nicknamed Wierdsville, are hugely atmospheric. The way she describes the sky, the air, the smells and the oppressive atmosphere in the town make it very easy to imagine and become a part of.

While this book is very spooky, I don’t think it’s too horrific and so would recommend this for most ages from 12+. There isn’t any graphic violence in the book, but it is threatened and suggested. It is quite sinister at times, but I loved that! It certainly beats the Point Horror books I read as a teen. The relationships between the characters are a little flirtatious at times but nothing more. Again I thought Rook Hastings managed to get these dynamics just right and portray the awkwardness and self-consciousness of fledgling relationships between all the characters and it was nice to see it develop, as they became a team.

Nearly Departed isn’t a long read at only 265 pages, and the utterly compelling writing means I found it a very quick read too and had finished within a couple of hours. The entire book though was wonderfully suspenseful and full of twists and turns, so I didn’t really know what was going on until right at the end. This was one of those books I really couldn’t put down and had to drag myself away from to do the things I had to do. Despite having wild guesses throughout, I was still shocked at how things turned out, this is certainly not a predictable read! The only tiny criticism I have is with Jay's Grandfather and his explanations of the paranormal activity, which did leave me a little confused but I'm hoping these are explained in greater detail in the following books. Other than that I loved this book and would highly recommend it. This is a great ghost story with a modern gothic-like feel. There’s a huge cliffhanger at the end and a snippet from the next book in the series that makes sure I’ll be keeping up with the series, as I can’t wait to find out more about Wierdsville!

My Rating: 4.5/5

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ One Persons Journey Through a World of Books where participants share the books they are currently reading, as well as the ones they have just finished or planning for the following week.

Last week I read:

The Dating Detox by Gemma Burgess (Review coming soon!)

Currently Reading:

Up Next:

I'm going to decide as I go this week. Last week I didn't get anywhere near what I planned read. Mostly because it was school holidays and I had a five year old to entertain! Back to school this morning though and I'm going to spend the afternoon reading.

An Update: Just wanted to add this book to my reading this week as I read it yesterday and it's
fab! Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings. Review coming soon!

Don't Forget:

Read my Interview with Louise Douglas and enter to win one of two signed copies of her amazing book, Missing You. Enter here!

Hope everyone enjoys their books this week.

Book Review: Evermore (The Immortals) by Alyson Noel

The sole survivor in a car crash, which wiped out her family,sixteen-year-old Ever’s life has changed beyond recognition. Not only has she been forced to move to California to live with her aunt, Sabine, but the trauma of the crash has awoken psychic abilities within her. Constantly bombarded with the thoughts and auras of those around her, Ever is struggling to fit into her new high school. That is until the mysterious and handsome Damen shows up. But there’s something odd about Damen. Beside only having eyes for Ever when every other girl is fawning at his feet, he is the only person Ever has met since her accident whose aura is invisible and whose thoughts she can’t read. Who is he and what does his presence mean for Ever?

Evermore is the first book in The Immortals series by Alyson Noël

I didn’t want to start a review comparing this book with Twilight, but really it’s impossible! There ARE a lot of similarities. Ever is the new girl at school, Damen is stunningly handsome and often speaks like he is from another time, he moves so fast it’s like a blur, Wuthering Heights gets a couple of mentions and there’s a bit of creepy watching while she sleeps. BUT it’s also very different, and actually wasn’t what I expected.

I got into this book really easily. It begins with Ever at her new school and flashbacks to the accident, which killed her parents and sister. Ever was instantly interesting, her psychic abilities adding a new unusual dimension. I also felt sympathy for her straightaway and felt that Alyson Noel had created an intriguing and solid teen heroine. Anyone who stumbles across my Twilight reviews (in particular Eclipse) elsewhere on the web will know that I had a massive issue with Bella. Ever’s character is, in my opinion, more likeable, endearing and has a feisty side that makes her more interesting and far less irritating.

I also liked how very little was given away about Damen, so it became difficult to know if he was a good guy or not. From the build up and for most of the book, I thought I knew what Damen was about, but it turned out I was wrong. His character isn’t explored that much in this book, but the foundations are set for future installments and his could be a fascinating story indeed.

Alyson Noël’s writing is incredibly compelling. Her writing is fast paced and makes sure you just can’t stop turning the pages. I kept thinking ‘one more chapter’ then, before I knew it, had read a great chunk of the book. Each chapter is quite short, and she avoids going into monotonous over detail, so the book flows nicely and easily.

While I really enjoyed Evermore, I did find a few flaws, which stopped the book being truly amazing. One of Ever’s psychic abilities is to see dead people, and her little sister Riley is one of them. She plays the part of an irritating younger sister, who just happens to be a spirit who hasn’t quite made it to the other side. Noël writes her as an almost comedic caricature, which could have been amusing in a different book but didn’t really seem to fit well in this one. I think she deserved to be taken a lot more seriously and the reasons of her being there could have been investigated a little more deeply.

I also felt there were inconsistencies with some of Ever’s psychic abilities, in particular the ability to see auras. Long passages would go without this ability being mentioned, and then it seemed to be pulled out the bag occasionally when it was remembered. While there is an aura colour chart at the beginning of the book, there is really no need, as auras are never really discussed with any depth, and when they are it’s obvious and self explanatory.

The romance between Ever and Damen is nicely developed. Rather then just fall straight into his arms, Ever is unsure to begin with and the romance comes slowly. The intensity of the relationship between Ever and Damen builds rapidly towards the end of the book and revelations about both of their pasts leave me eager to read more and hopeful of a dramatic and passionate love affair.

Evermore is the first book in the Immortals series, with Blue Moon due to be released next month in the UK followed by Shadowland, Dark Flame and as yet untitled books 5 & 6. I’ll definitely be keeping up with the series, as despite my criticism’s I did really enjoy it and there is great promise for the rest of the series. While some of the book is a little cheesy and predictable, it’s also original and intriguing with some real breath-holding moments. I found it difficult to put down, got completely absorbed, and left wanting more. I can't wait to read Blue Moon.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Author Interview: Louise Douglas plus WIN a signed copy of Missing You!!

I've become a big fan of Louise Douglas after loving both her debut novel, The Love Of My Life, and second novel, Missing you (released earlier this month). So when Louise agreed to be my first author interview, I was more than a little bit excited! So without any further ado, let me introduce her!

Louise Douglas is a writer, based in the West Country just outside Bristol.

The paperback version of her first novel, The Love of My Life, was published by Pan Macmillan in January 2009. A love story with a dark twist, it was long-listed for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award and the Waverton Good Read award and has been widely translated.

Her second fiction book, Missing You, has just been published. (taken from Louise's website

Missing You has been shortlisted for the People’s Choice Award in the 2010 Romantic Novelists’ Association Pure Passion Award. The winner will be chosen by public vote and announced on the 16th March. If you've read Missing You and would like to vote, you can do so here

And now on with the interview!

Can you tell us more about your book, Missing You, and where the inspiration came from to write it?

I wanted to write a love story from the point of view of a man who had been badly hurt because mostly, in books, it is the man who lets the woman down, not the other way round. Also, at weekends I'd see young fathers playing with their children in the park but they don't appear much in literature either, so I'd had Sean and Amy in my mind for probably a couple of years. Fen's story actually came to me while I was cooking bacon sandwiches at a stall at Glastonbury Festival 2008! I spent most of the festival in my own dream-world thinking about her and after that it wasn't too difficult to merge the two stories together.

One thing that really stands out to me in both of your books is how believable and real your characters are. Do you base them on people you know or yourself? Who is your favourite character?

Thank you! I don't consciously base the characters on people I know, but I do try to make them behave like real people. Sometimes that doesn't work in the context of the story, and then I know the story is wrong. It's hard to choose a favourite, but I am very fond of Sean, and also Amy.

I loved the character of Sean in Missing You. If the book was ever to hit the TV or big screen, which actor would you like to see portraying him?

That's a brilliant question! I think it would have to be James McAvoy if he was available...

I read on your website that as well as being a mum to three sons, you also still have your day job. How do you find time to write? What's a typical day like for you?

I don't work full time anymore, only three days a week. Even so, I usually write in the evenings, often late into the night when I can be on my own. I really enjoy the day job as it means I get out of the house and talk to different people because writing can be a bit lonely. I'm so lucky to be able to do both really. Every day features at least one dog walk, quite a lot of cooking, time with friends if possible, some work, some reading, some writing and being with the family. My guilty secret is watching Come Dine With Me, sad to say I am completely addicted.

How did you get published and what's the best thing about being a writer with a published book? Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

When the first book, the Love of my Life was finished, I sent off three chapters and a synopsis to agents, picking the most likely 'matches' for me from The Writers and Artists Yearbook. I was very, very lucky that my wonderful agent Marianne Gunn O'Connor got back to me and asked to see the whole book and soon after agreed to represent me. She secured the publishing deal with Pan Macmillan. I know it's a cliche, but it was something I'd wanted all my life, and the single happiest moment of my entire career. The best thing is meeting some wonderful people, and learning all the time, from reviews like yours and from taking advice and help from people much more talented and clever than I am.

I'd advise aspiring writers to make their first book as good as they possibly can before sending it off to agents, and to make sure they follow the submission guidelines to the letter. It's a very competitive world out there and you need to give yourself the best possible chance. And there are some great alternative routes to publication, Pan Macmillan has a new writers' scheme and the Romantic Novelists' Association also helps new writers.

Which authors and books do you enjoy reading?

It's difficult to answer that because I read everything and anything although I'm not keen on horror or anything that features a lot of violence. My favourite book ever is To Kill a Mockingbird. Last year I particularly enjoyed Jenny Downham's wonderful Before I Die, Milly Johnson's A Spring Affair and The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I recently reread Wuthering Heights, My Cousin Rachel, The Midwich Cuckoos and three Donna Leon and they're all as good as I remembered.

Finally, can you tell us what you're working on next?

I've just finished the final draft of my third book and it's with Marianne so I'm waiting to hear whether she thinks it's any good or not. It's very nerve-wracking as I don't know if she'll come back with the thumbs-up or if it'll be back to the drawing board for me. I'm sorry but daren't tell you what it's about yet in case I have to start again from scratch.

Thank you Louise for agreeing to be interviewed and the very best of luck in the Pure Passion Awards!!

Now Your Chance To Win!!!
Would you like a chance to win a copy of Missing You by Louise Douglas? I have not one, but TWO signed copies to giveaway, kindly given to me by Louise herself.

Fen works in a bookshop and is devoted to her young son, Connor, but she keeps herself to herself. Haunted by guilt and a terrible secret, Fen lives a compromised life, isolated from her family, far from home and too afraid of the past to risk becoming close to anyone. She is constantly looking over her shoulder, knowing that one day the truth will catch up with her.

Sean, on the other hand, is enjoying a seemingly perfect life. He has a successful career, lives in his dream home and adores his beautiful wife, Belle, and their six-year-old daughter, Amy. That is until the day Belle announces she has found someone else and wants Sean to move out.

Circumstance throws Fen and Sean together. Slowly their quiet friendship turns into something much deeper and the joy they find in one another eventually gives them the confidence to trust and love again. But will the past tear them apart just as they find happiness?

You can read my review of Missing You here

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment at the end of this post before midnight (Uk) Thursday 25th February. You don't need to be a follower and this giveaway is open internationally.

The two winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 26th February both here and on my twitter page (and by email if you leave one) You will have 48 hrs to contact me with postal details and after that the prize will be offered to someone else.

Want extra entries?

+1 follow my blog
+1 follow me on twitter
+2 Tweet about this give away (provide link)

That's a possible 5 entries! Good luck!

Book Review: The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell

As After The Party by Lisa Jewell was my Waiting On Wednesday book choice this week, and a few people commented that they had never read anything by her before, I thought I would post a review I wrote last year for her most recent book, The Truth About Melody Browne (which also happens to be one of my favourites too)

When she was nine years old, Melody Browne's house burned down, taking every toy, every photograph, every item of clothing and old Christmas card with it. But not only did the fire destroy all her possessions, it took with it all her memories - Melody Browne can remember nothing before her ninth birthday. Now in her early thirties, Melody lives in a council flat in the middle of London with her seventeen-year-old son. She hasn't seen her parents since she left home at fifteen, but Melody doesn't mind, she's better off on her own. She's made a good life for herself and her son and she likes it that way. Until one night something extraordinary happens. Whilst attending a hypnotist show with her first date in years she faints - and when she comes round she starts to remember. At first her memories mean nothing to her but then slowly, day by day, she begins to piece together the real story of her childhood. Her journey takes her to the seaside town of Broadstairs, to oddly familiar houses in London backstreets and to meetings with strangers who love her like their own. But with every mystery she solves another one materialises, with every question she answers another appears. And Melody begins to wonder if she'll ever know the truth about her past.

I'm a big fan of Lisa Jewell and as a rule, always enjoy her books. What I really like about her books is that while being predominantly chick-lit, they have a uniqueness about them and aren't afraid to tackle the grimmer aspects of life. From the moment I opened this book I was absolutely hooked. I was already interested by the premise when I first heard about the book, however I wasn't prepared for the fantastic story I found within it's pages.

Melody was instantly easy to like and relate to. I find that Lisa Jewell's female lead characters are real and solid and this was certainly the case with Melody who came across as familiar and as approachable as anyone I have met. In the first few pages we are introduced to a 9 year old Melody, awakening from unconsciousness after a house fire with no memory of her former years at all, and a thirty three year old Melody who has had a child very young, worked hard to live a stable and steady life, but who has concerns about her own identity now her son is almost grown up. I was both intrigued by the mystery of the house fire and Melody's memory loss and connected with adult Melody immediately.

As Melody starts to have flashbacks and regain her memory, a very complex and touching story unfurls. I wasn't expecting anything quite so serious and was constantly surprised with the way the book would go. In this book Lisa Jewell tackles some very serious subjects, such as child loss, depression and the effects of a marriage break-up on children. I thought that this was done in a particularly human and realistic way and was at times very sad and touching, while also managing to be warm, humorous and loving.

I think Lisa Jewell has achieved in this book the perfect balance of serious subjects and an entertaining and beautifully real, optimistic story. She has created characters that are easy to care about, an intriguing storyline full of twists and turns, and an ending that will leave you smiling...perfect! I absolutely loved this book, and devoured the 326 pages in less than 24 hours. I already really liked Lisa Jewell as an author, however I think this book has just propelled her to one of my favourites. If you have enjoyed Lisa Jewell books in the past, then I recommend this highly, it's her best yet. If you've never read any of her books before, then you definitely should give them a go!

My Rating: 5/5


I've moved ... you can now find this blog at CosyBooks.Blog ...same content, different place!

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