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:

The Bridesmaid Pact by Julia Williams
One for all and all for one! As children, Sarah, Dorrie, Beth and Caz were inseparable and vowed to one day be each others bridesmaids. But life got complicated. Now they have one last chance to fulfil their promise. Dorrie is planning her ultimate Disney wedding to the delicious Darren and is determined to have her friends back together for the Big Day. But Dorrie's fairytale is not all that it seems! Beth is desperate for a baby and is starting to resent her more fertile friends. Is a mistake from her past about to destroy her future? Caz's wild streak has tested her friendships over the years. One by one she has let her friends down, not least when she commits the ultimate betrayal to Susan. Can she change her ways and more to the point, does she really want to? Married to Steve, Sarah is plagued by doubts that she went down the wrong path. Does Sarah have the strength to make a change and will she ever be able to forgive Caz? As Dorrie's big day dawns, all eyes are on whether the ultimate act of friendship will be honoured and obeyed!

I've read Strictly Love by Julia Williams and enjoyed that. I also have Last Christmas sitting on the shelf, but as I didn't get a chance to read it over the festive period, and been one of those people who really do like to savour Christmassy stuff for December, I've been saving it. I do love the sound of this one though! (released 27th May 2010)

And of course my second book this week is one I'm sure a LOT of people are waiting for!

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by the riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits.

In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

I wasn't that big a fan of Eclipse, I had problems with some of it, but this sounds really interesting! It's due for release on the 5th June, which is also my birthday (gift to myself?)

Book Review: Mile High Apple Pie by Laura Langston, Lindsey Gardiner

'My Grandma's not the wrinkled kind; she's the special kind instead. She wears trainers with yellow laces and she laughs very loud. She remembers lots of things like milk carts and special songs. But some days, her remembering is not so good ...'As time passes, this little girl grows up and her grandma grows older. Even if at times coming to terms with Grandma's not remembering is difficult, there are still some very special things Grandma does remember - like how to make mile-high apple pie. And when Grandma suddenly can't remember who Margaret is for sure, Margaret reassures her: 'I am Margaret. I am your remembering.'

It was purely coincidence that my daughter chose this book at the library at this particular time, as my own Grandmother (her Great Grandmother) is now in the early stages of dementia. My daughter has found this difficult and I think was a little frightened of her.

Mile High Apple Pie explains dementia in a simple and touching way through the eyes of Margaret. My 5-year-old child could easily identify with this little girl, and it was clear that she shared the some worries as Margaret. I found the opportunity to discuss how her own Nana would in all likelihood get worse, quite easy during this book. It was wonderful how the grandmother in the story was presented as someone who had led an interesting and fulfilling life. I think for children, old people quite often appear to have always been old and I liked being able to talk about our own Nana and how she used to be, and how she still likes a lot of the things she used to do, even if she can't manage to do them anymore.

I also really appreciated the way Laura Langston explained how even though Grandmother couldn't remember Margaret, she still knew she loved her, and when she saw her thought of pleasant things. While my Gran isn't quite at this stage yet, it is likely to come and for a small child it must be confusing and frightening. I really did feel that the book might have prepared my daughter for this, as she said 'If Nana forgets us, she will still love us'. My daughter didn't find it upsetting, she was just interested and I think she now has a little understanding of how her Nana may be. Margaret uses a lot of visual things to help her grandmother remember, such as favourite flowers and music, and both my daughter and me probably found this useful and I have encouraged my daughter to make things for her Gran that will remind her.

The book is illustrated by Lindsey Gardiner and the pictures are quite stunning. Each double page has a bright and colourful scene with plenty of detail to look at. The characters are soft and sweet looking and appeal to young children. At the end of the book is Grandma's very own mile-high apple pie recipe and instructions, which I thought was a really nice touch.

I really do have to credit Laura Langston for skilfully tackling a complex and emotional subject delicately and simply, in a way that young children will understand. The book is just 26 pages long with 2 or 3 sentences per page. The text isn't huge but would be suitable for a young reader, however I think this is probably a book best shared with a child as they are bound to have a lot of questions. In this age where our own parents and grandparents live longer, it is likely that our children will at some point have to deal with old age and dementia. I highly recommend this book.

Book Review: Need by Carrie Jones

Zara White has had a pretty traumatic time. Struggling to cope with the loss of her beloved stepfather, she collects and obsesses over phobias, reciting them to herself when she is nervous. Her Mother has sent her to Maine to live with her Grandma, hoping this will help her to heal.

But something strange is going on in Maine. Young boys are going missing, and this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Everyone tells Zara she mustn’t go out after dark. Then there’s the creepy guy following and pointing at her, leaving trails of gold dust behind him. When her new friends mention Pixies, and not the cute Tinkerbell type, Zara isn’t convinced. But as things get weirder and her life is put in extreme danger, she is forced to accept that maybe there is something in it after all. But just what do they want with her? Is anyone in Maine who or what they seem?

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did! I was intrigued enough by the Pixie premise to buy Need, but was worried it would be quite gimmicky and silly. And if I’m honest, some of it is…a bit. But I enjoyed the book so much, I was willing to overlook this and just get engrossed in the story.

The strength in this book is Zara herself. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I really, really liked her character. From the synopsis on the back of the book, I was expecting her to be weak but she certainly isn’t. The beauty of her though is that she doesn’t realise her strength; she is gutsy and brave without being aggressive and sarcastic. This gave her a really refreshing voice and I warmed to her from the very beginning. She’s an active member of Amnesty International, and this kind of sums up her moral attitude, in that she is keen to stand up for the underdog whether it’s the captives she supports through Amnesty or her oddball new friends at school.

Zara’s phobia collecting was very interesting too and different to what I expected. Rather than being consumed by phobias, it seems it’s the idea of them that fascinates her more. Each chapter begins with a phobia and a small description and I learned quite a few I’d never heard of before! This was really unique, I’ve never seen anything like that done before and it gave the book and Zara herself a real quirky feel. I also enjoyed the relationship between Zara and Nick Colt, which seemed very genuine.

There are some flaws in the book, which annoyed me a little. I thought the discovery that the creepy man stalking Zara was a pixie was very sudden, and without build up. I also thought that the idea of Pixies was accepted too easily and didn’t ring quite true. However, I did like the story about the pixies, which while it wasn’t entirely unpredictable, it was interesting. There are some other supernatural/mythical creatures along the way, which I wasn’t expecting and made for an exciting and action packed story that I raced through and struggled to put down.

I ended up really enjoying Need. Yes it’s predictable in places and a little bit implausible at times, even allowing huge stretches of imagination. But Zara as a narrator is compelling and intriguing, there’s plenty of original twists and fast action and it was easy to just put my criticisms aside and be swept along with the story. I’m looking forward to reading Captivate soon!

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.

Read Last Week:

Just one, Need by Carrie Jones (review coming right up) Well that's not strictly true but I'm not sure you'd be interested in all the social welfare and policy books I've waded through! The good news is, apart from one exam in May, I am now done with assignments!

Currently Reading:

The Fools Girl by Celia Rees
A Spring affair by Milly Johnson

Hope everyone enjoys their books this week!

Book Review: My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey

The Drakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer. (from Amazon.co.uk)

After receiving this book and seeing some positive reviews I was quite looking forward to it. My Love Lies Bleeding turned out to be bit of a mixed bag for me.

The Drakes are an ancient vampire family, and their daughter, Solange, is approaching her sixteenth birthday, where she will transform into a full Vampire. Being the only known female born vampire, she is prophesised to become queen. However reigning Queen, Lady Natasha has no intention of handing over her crown, not without a fight and the result is all out clan war.

I have to be honest and say, to begin with I found this book confusing. In fact I was sure there must have been a previous book in the series, but there isn’t. This is the first. The problems I had were that the different clans, families and vampire politics weren’t really explained, it seemed like it was presumed I knew what the author was talking about. I had to keep flicking back to work out the difference between Helois-Ra and Hel-Blar. As for the Drake family themselves, with seven brothers, Solange, Mum, Dad and human best friend Lucy as well as a host of cousins, aunts and distant relations that dropped in and out, I found it quite hard to keep up. Maybe I've just not read enough Vampire books in the past.

Despite this, I kept going and I’m glad I did as I quite enjoyed the second half of the book where things pick up and slot into place. At only 250 pages long, this is a quick read, but plenty of action is packed in between the pages. I also really liked the idea of The Drakes, being an old traditional family with an abundance of history. It’s like a vampire family saga, with decadence, wealth, tradition, passion, jealousy, loyalty, treachery and deception making it an intriguing read.

The book is told in alternating chapters from best friends, human Lucy and almost vampire Solange. I didn’t really warm that much to Lucy and found her irritating at times. She’s supposed to be feisty and impulsive, but to be honest I found a lot of her wise cracks just ridiculous and inappropriate. I also felt a lot of the time, she should butt out of the Drakes business and much preferred to read from Solange’s point of view. Her story is far more interesting and I’d have been happy to see Lucy as a minor character. Maybe she is integral to the rest of the series, I don’t know. I just didn’t really get her that much. I also preferred Solange’s romance than Lucy’s and would read the next book in the series just to see how that developes.

Overall, My Love Lies Bleeding isn’t a bad little read. It’s not the best-written book you’d come across, but it is entertaining enough. It’s a quick read too, and doesn’t require a lot of effort once you get over the confusing beginning. I will read the next in the series as I’m intrigued to see how things work for Solange and the rest of The Drakes!

Thank you to the publishers for sending me this book for review.

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 Karma Club by Jessica Brody

US 27/4/2010 UK 30/6/2010

Madison always thought she understood how Karma works. It's that mysterious, powerful force that brings harmony to the universe. You know - do good things and you will be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what's comming to you. A sort of cosmic Balancing act. But when Mason Brooks, Maddy's boyfriend of two years, gets caught tongue-wrestling with Miss Perfect Body Heather Campbell, and absolutely nothings happens to either of them - exept that they wind up the hot new coupl of Colonial High School, it seems like Karma has officially left Maddy in the lerch. That's why Maddy and her best friends, Angie and Jade, decide to start the Karma Club - a secret organisation whose sole purpose is to clean up the messes that the universe has been leaving behind. Wheather they're modifying Heather Campbell's acne cream as part of 'Operation Butterface', or righting a few wrongs when it comes to Angie and Jade's own slimy exes, they know they're just doing what karma should have done in the first place. They're taking care of one another.

As soon as I saw this book on a couple of other blogs it went straight onto my wishlist. I absolutely love the UK cover, so I'll be hanging out for that one. This book sounds fab, and the trailer below suggests there's more to it than would first appear.

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.

Read This Week:

My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey (review coming soon)

Currently Reading:

Need by Carrie Jones

Up Next:

I haven't been planning books recently, but these are definitely my next reads as I'm really looking forward to them both!

Competition Winner:

Congratulations to Dwayne who was selected by Random.org to win one signed copy of Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings.


To Chloe and Leah at Chick Lit Reviews who are celebrating their first birthday with some fantastic giveaways and events this week.

Hope everyone enjoys their books this week!

Book Review: Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor

Lucy Brown has never been happier. About to marry the love of her life, Dan, she’s living the life she always wanted. But on the eve of the wedding, Lucy has an accident and dies.

But that’s only the beginning, because Lucy has just woken up in limbo and has a choice to make. She can go up to heaven, where her beloved parents and eternal happiness await her, or she can return to earth to Dan … as a ghost. Lucy barely has to think about it and rushes back down to earth. There’s a catch though as before she can become a ghost she must complete a task. She must find love for scruffy computer geek Archie and she only has 21 days to do it. To make matters worse Lucy finds out that her best friend Anna is already hitting on a grieving Dan. Time is running out, but can Lucy ever complete the task and finally be with Dan forever?

You know how there are some books you pick up and know from the first few lines you’re going to love them? Well for me this definitely was one of them! I immediately warmed to Lucy, who is a little ditsy but completely loveable. By page 9 I’d already laughed out loud a few times, with a scene where Lucy is reminiscing her first date with Dan having me in stitches, while scarily being able to relate to and cringe along with.

Lucy’s death happens very early in the book, but if your thinking this may sound a bit morbid you’d be wrong. The details of her death are kept to a very bare minimum, as that’s not what the story is about. If you’re completely unable to suspend reality and just go with a story then to be honest, this probably isn’t going to be the book for you. From this point on Lucy returns to Earth as a Living Dead and moves in with fellow wannabe ghosts Brian and Claire.

I absolutely loved the interactions between the three housemates, who are so completely different in every other way but one. While the story is told in the first person from Lucy, I also found myself really warming to both Brian and Claire and becoming wrapped up in their personal stories too. Despite being dead, the three all have something to learn about themselves before they finally pass on and I thoroughly enjoyed each ones journey. I thought Claire in particular was a fantastic character and her story is incredibly touching. Lucy’s human task, Archie is also extremely well written with characteristics that are so realistic I could imagine him perfectly. I think it’s a huge credit to Cally Taylor that in a story that defies reality, she manages to create such perfectly believable characters.

I flew through this book once I got time to settle down properly with it and finished the 370 pages in a couple of days. The writing is fast paced and I found it very easy to get completely engrossed in. I was also never quite sure where things were going. Lucy may well be a typical chick lit character, but her situation isn’t typical of the genre at all and so I really didn’t know quite what to expect. There are a few twists and turns along the way that kept me intrigued and a real shocker at the end which I didn’t see coming at all.

While I did have tears with this book, most of them came from laughing or because it was just so lovely and touching, not because it was depressing. Heaven Can Wait was a real emotional roller coaster of a read to me, taking me from laughter, compassion, sadness and joy. Lucy’s love for Dan is so simple and beautiful it’s hard not to get wrapped up in it all. If you love chick lit, then you will love Heaven Can Wait. Perfect beach read or cosy weekend in, this is a real treat of a book and I highly recommend!

Thanks to Cally for sending me her book for review.

Book Review: Jane Airhead by Kay Woodward

Inspired by her obsession with The Book, Jane Eyre, 14 year old Charlotte is looking for a living breathing Mr Rochester. Worried that she’s been single far too long, she decides it’s her duty to find the perfect man for her lovely Mum (and of course the chance to wear a gorgeous but not too frilly bridesmaid dress would be a bonus).

So when the new French teacher Mr. Grant arrives at school, Charlotte decides immediately he’s the one. Convinced she has engineered the perfect match, Charlotte’s smugness is short lived, as Mr Grant seems to be the complete opposite of perfect! Can Charlotte stop her mum from making a huge mistake? And will her meddling mean she’s too busy to catch her own Mr. Rochester?

Charlotte is THE most adorable character; it’s hard to not fall in love with her. Full of the best intentions this romantic dreamer lets her imagination run riot, usually putting two and two together and coming up with five. I loved how she came to wild conclusions from almost nothing when it came to her Mum’s relationships, it reminds me of some of my own wild wonderings about my parents when I was (a lot!) younger.

I also really appreciated how Kay Woodward made Charlotte an unconventional heroine. A love of books probably isn’t something a young teen would automatically see as cool, but Charlotte manages to make it so. Her passion for Jane Eyre is contagious, and I can imagine many a girl being tempted to go and have a peek herself after reading Jane Airhead.

Jane Airhead is probably suited to the younger teen reader. I know I would have loved reading this when I was aged between 10-14. It’s sweet, funny and with just the right amount of romance to leave you with a big sigh. I’m sure if I’d read this book as a pre teen myself I’d have been inspired by Charlotte, she’s exactly the type of character I’d have aspired to be. It would also have had me dusting off my Mum’s ancient copy of Jane Eyre as soon as I’d finished the last page! I'm passing this on to a friends 12-year-old daughter who I just know will really enjoy it too!

Thanks to the publishers, Anderson Press for sending me this book for review.

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:

Single In the City by Michele Gorman

It's official. Hannah has left her friends and family in the US behind and is following her dream. To live in London. Unfortunately she's completely unprepared for what's in store. She's going to find: her dream guy - a prince or Hugh Grant would be nice. Or does she have to settle for her half-naked Australian housemate or an 'English gentleman' with terrible hygiene habits? Her dream job: something fantastic in fashion. So how has she ended up being the mini-me for an evil party planner who doesn't even trust her to arrange the paperclips? Her dream friends: but everyone in London seems to have known each other for years and Hannah's having trouble getting to know nice people. Who's she going to have fun with? Dream life? Should Hannah just dream on? Maybe it would have been simpler and cheaper to just get a new haircut. Was she mad to move 3,000 miles away from everyone she knows? Will she ever find love and her perfect life in England?

Single In the City by Michele Gorman is released in the UK on the 24th of June 2010

I think this sounds like a really fun read and the cover is just too cute!

Quick Reminder: I interviewed Author Rook Hastings on Monday and have one copy of her fabulously spooky YA book, Nearly Departed, to giveaway here

Louise Douglas wins the RNA Peoples Choice Award 2010!

BIG congratulations to Louise Douglas who won the RNA Peoples Choice Award 2010 for her brilliant novel, Missing You.

I absolutely loved this book (read my review here) and Louise was the first author I interviewed (read the interview here) with 2 lucky people winning signed copies (which are on their way right now!)

Other Award Winners:

Romantic Novel Of The Year: Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon
Romantic Comedy Of The Year: The Nearly Weds by Jane Costello
Love Story Of The Year: Animal Instincts by Nell Dixon

I haven't read ANY of these other books so I've linked to Goodreads for you to check them out!

Congratulations to all!

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.

Read This Week:

Chocolate Wishes by Trisha Ashley
Jane Airhead By Kay Woodward

(reviews to come soon)

Currently Reading:

Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor

Not sure what next, I have a couple of books for review so probably those. I also bought the first two books in the Blue Bloods series last week which I'm keen to read.

Interview and Giveaway

This Weeks Author interview is Rook Hastings and I have a signed copy of the fabulously creepy Nearly Departed to giveaway. Check it out here

Hope everyone enjoys their books this week!

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