Monday, 30 June 2014

My review of Since Forever Ago

Since Forever Ago by Olivia Besse
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon 

Since Forever AgoFresh off the heels of a devastating breakup, Riley Benson is a mess. But with her ingenious plan to become a ball-busting heartbreaker herself, she’s pretty sure she’ll survive. After all, what better way is there to get revenge than to move on?

Riley’s determined to become the perfect bachelorette—she’s going to drink like a bro, belch like a beast and swear so much that she’ll make even the most seasoned sailors blush. After all, those are the qualities that every guy’s secretly looking for…. aren’t they?


Max Fletcher is in love with the girl who gave him chicken pox and his first broken leg. When his best friend seems to finally be out of the picture, he can’t help but want to keep Riley all to himself. And, after coaching her with the very best of the very worst love advice, it seems as if he might actually get what he's wanted after all those years. But just as the two come to the realization that they're actually kind of perfect for each other, along comes a secret that threatens to tear them apart.

Initially, all I heard about this book was that the main character was annoying and whiny and it wasn't worth the read. On the other hand, I have a slightly different view. As Riley gets over her cheating ex-boyfriend and fails to see that her best friend Max has loved her for years now, he pulls out all the stops to make sure that she would eventually notice and choose him. However what most readers found difficult was the fact that Riley does wallow in self-pity, has emotional break downs, and moans and whines that she will die alone as a crazy cat lady. Once you get past it being "annoying", it simply becomes endlessly hilarious.

Since Forever Ago is a contemporary novel that really made me giggle with its charismatic and comedic characters. I adored both Riley and Max. Max especially when he tries to give her "tips" on all the qualities that guys like to see in a girl on a first date. Sadly for Riley, guys do not particularly warm up to girls who turn up in sweats, have no matters, and like to boast about how many burritos they can eat in a short period of time. 

Of course, Riley was not the most likable at times as her decisions were rash and she acts a bit like of teenager rather than someone in their early twenties, which I didn't mind too much because it just made the book even funnier. By the end I came to like her.

The plot involves Riley really figuring out her love life, what she wants, and what she deserves. Her boyfriend of six years cheated on her and she begins to see that Max could be more than a best friend. The story line is full to the brim with drama, heartache, and bursts of humor.

Since Forever Ago is a book that I would recommend to those with a slightly more opened mind and don't mind their main characters being whiny and rash. Other than that, there is plenty more to appreciate, like the humor and moments of cute romance that melted my heart. For me this is a solid three as it is definitely marmite. 
Rating
A review copy was provided by the author

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Book Haul (#87)

Hey,

I hope you've all had a good week in books. I feel like I'm on fire you know, I've read like three books. I'm slowly being drawn out of my reading flunk and it feels amazing. Also, summer is fast approaching and I can feel my body inching to hibernate for a few weeks. 

This week I received:
Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)Since Forever Ago
Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2) by Stephanie Perkins - Received -
Thank you, Usborne! I really loved Anna and the French Kiss, I read it in 2012, but never got the chance to pick up the US version of Lola. NOW HERE IT IS! Being released in the UK and all. I'm ready to dive into this and get ready for the third book, too.
Since Forever Ago by Olivia Besse - Received -
I've finished this and my review will be posted on Monday. Though I had read some pretty low rating reviews, I was worried about starting it, but I actually liked it!
Wide Awake (Wide Awake, #1)Shimmer (The Rephaim, #3)
Wide Awake (Wide Awake #1) by Shelly Crane - Received -
Thank you, Shelly Crane! I've also finished this one as well (in one sitting). I was very intrigued by the premise and ended up really liking it. My review will be up soon.
Shimmer (The Rephaim #3) by Paula Weston - Received -
Thank you, Indigo / Orion Publishing! I have really, really enjoyed this series so far and I am so excited to finally be able to read what happens next in this addictive angel story.

Leave a link to your Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves/In My Mailbox/Letterbox Love/Showcase Sunday in the comments so I can check it out!

Enjoy all your books,
Sam :)

Thursday, 26 June 2014

My review of The Oyster's Autobiography

The Oyster's Autobiography by Kitty Kilby
Release Date: June 12, 2013
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon 

The Oyster's AutobiographyShy girls don’t yarn-bomb the school fence at dawn, and they definitely don’t skip school to hang out with Patrick Hayes—student council president, football vice-captain (and president of his own fan club). But then, best friends don’t usually resort to blackmail.

Fifteen-year-old Mabs is the shadow to Olivia’s sun. That’s how it’s always been. But when Olivia goes on a semester-long exchange to France, Mabs can no longer hide behind her best friend.

When a letter arrives, postmarked Paris, the last thing Mabs expects is blackmail. And unless she completes the enclosed list of dares by the time Olivia gets home, Olivia will send the love poem she stole from Mabs’s diary to the boy it was written about.

What’s even worse than the possibility of Rob Eno (her way too easily decipherable codename for the former object of her affections) seeing that poem, or her best friend thinking that she’s a friendless recluse who needs to be blackmailed into getting a life, is having to admit it just might be true.


After a few humiliating attempts, Mabs realises the only way she’s ever going to get the list finished in time is to enlist the help of an extrovert. Enter Patrick Hayes, her brother’s pain-in-the-neck best friend. The ultimate extrovert, he might be the only one who can help Mabs finish the list, and step out of Olivia’s shadow.

The Oyster's Autobiography is a short and sweet novel about experiencing situations outside of your comfort zone and first love. How could I resist the hilarious-heart-warming novel? 

Mabs is extremely shy and not outgoing at all. She has one friend, and when that one friend goes away on a trip, she leaves Mabs with a list of things that Mabs should try out. Why would Mabs do all these tasks? Well, her best friend is prepared to send out a love poem stolen from Mabs' diary to her long-time crush "Rob Eno". Yep, uh-oh.

The story was a whole big ball of cuteness and laughter. I wished that I was Mabs, and my brother had a hot best friend who just came round all the time. She cracked me up every time she attempted a task on the list, which compelled me to read on.

Lucky for Mabs, she has Patrick, her brother's best friend, to help her through the tasks. I LOVED Patrick! If I had a Patrick in my life, I would be so, so happy. He is full of jokes, loyal, and is all around lovely and caring. He is one of the characters that you will be drawn to to the most.

If you need a book that is quick to grab your attention from the beginning and hold your attention until the end, while offering a set of comedic and romantic characters, this book is perfect for you. For me, as a person who is not too keen on eBooks, The Oyster's Autobiography was just an ideal book to read as an eBook because it was short, enjoyable, and left me so satisfied by the end.
Rating
A review copy was provided by the author

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (109)

Hey,

This week I'm waiting for...
Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

I really enjoy Miranda Kenneally's Hundred Oaks series. It's a solid and likable contemporary series and each book brings something different. I haven't read the fourth book, Racing Savannah, yet but the first three (Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker, and Things I Can't Forget) were great and Breathe, Annie, Breathe sounds FANTASTIC! I love the sound of it. And Jeremiah.
Leave a link to your WoW post in the comments below so I can check it out!

Have a good week,
Sam :D

Monday, 23 June 2014

My review of Fire and Flood

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1) by Victoria Scott
Release Date: March 6, 2014
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository
Fire & Flood

Tella's brother is dying. He's got cancer, and Tella is helpless to save him. Or so she thought. When an invitation arrives for Tella to compete in the Brimstone Bleed, a deadly competition that will lead her through treacherous jungle and scorching desert, she doesn't think twice. Because the prize is a cure to any illness. But Tella will be facing more than just the elements.

In a selective competition where the winner can win a cure to any illness for a member of their family, no one's going to give up very easily. Fire and Flood is jam-packed full of action and  romance set it two breathtaking landscapes that fulfilled and tempted me for more. 

Tella is at the Brimstone Bleed for her brother. She has accepted her place within the competition for a chance to win him a cure to his cancer. The competition involves the competitors to survive four different landscapes. To help through each landscape, you are given a "Pandora", which is basically our equivalent of a pokemon. I especially loved Tella's Pandora "Madox"  who is absolutely adorable and was just the perfect companion.
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I really liked the idea for Fire and Flood despite all the talk of it being a rip-off of The Hunger Games. Yes, sure, when you look at it at a certain angle it seems like it's another book about competing in a corrupt system, blahblah. But, like all stories, there are its own quirks, differences, and unique spins and surprises. I thoroughly loved the idea of "Pandoras" and having lots of different landscapes to compete in.

I didn't mind Tella, but I've read so many reviews that raved about how hard she was to like. I found her relatively relatable. She is spurred on by the thought of saving her brother, and yes, she worries about how she looks sometimes. I don't know about you, but I'm a teenage girl and the thought would cross my mind every once in a while too, especially if there's a gorgeous guy in my presence. And it's not even like the whole book was her spent talking about how dirty she was, they were off-hand comments, brief thoughts. But overall, I liked her . I liked her compassion that she shows for not only people but the animals/Pandoras too. 

The love interest, Guy, is a pretty cool guy. ;) I thought he was an interesting character, and I always wanted to find out more about him. I will admit that the romance between him and Tella did happen quite fast, but I didn't mind too much. The romance didn't take over the story so you still got your taste of action, mystery and a whole load of excitement. 

I would definitely recommend Fire and Flood to those who like The Hunger Games, The Testing, or even The Selection, because even if this novel does not measure up to them you would of still had a enjoyable reading experience, much like I did and that's why I'm rating it so highly. I believe that the series has a lot more to give and so do the characters. There is plenty more room for the characters to develop, grow, and show more of themselves.
Rating

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Book Haul (#86)

Hey,

How have you all been? What are you reading? HAVE YOU SEEN THE FAULT IN OUR STARS? Yes, I know that the film came out early June in the US so many of you probably have seen it, but I saw it on Friday and I am still feeling the impact of the story. The book left a mark, but so did the film. The actors were brilliant. What do you think?

This week I borrowed:
AttachmentsStorm and Stone
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - Borrowed -
I still haven't read anything by this author and I really need to get my hands on Eleanor and Park because apparently that one is the best. 
Storm and Stone by Joss Stirling - Borrowed -
I enjoyed the Benedict series by Joss Stirling so I'm not going to stay away from this book. From what I know, this is a standalone novel.

Leave a link to your Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves/In My Mailbox/Letterbox Love/Showcase Sunday in the comments so I can check it out!

Enjoy all your books,
Sam :)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (108)

Hey,

This week I'm waiting for....

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)
Release Date: August 14, 2014
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

I really, really enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss for it's adorable characters and fluffy romance. I have yet to read Lola and the Boy Next Door but I simply know that I'm going to love it, like I know I will love this one as there is some appearance of Etienne and Anna!!

Leave a link to your WoW post in the comments below so I can check it out!

Have a good week,
Sam :)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Otherbound

Hey,

I finished a wonderfully thoughtful book recently which really intrigued me because it was a concept that I had never really come across before. Otherbound (check out my review) offers an interesting story line that I don't think is getting enough attention! A boy who can see into another world every time he blinks? LIKE WHATTT!
Otherbound
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Amara is never alone. Not when she's protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they're fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she's punished, ordered around, or neglected.

She can't be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he's yanked from his Arizona town into Amara's mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He's spent years as a powerless observer of Amara's life. Amara has no idea . . . until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she's furious.

All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan's breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they'll have to work together to survive--and discover the truth about their connection.

I have my ARC of Otherbound that I would like to giveaway for someone else to enjoy. This giveaway is international. To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:
**Giveaway Closed*
Winner:
Esme

Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who entered.
Have a good week,
Sam :)


Monday, 16 June 2014

My review of The One

The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
Release Date: June 5, 2014
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

The One (The Selection, #3)For the four girls who remain at the palace, the friendships they’ve formed, rivalries they’ve struggled with and dangers they’ve faced have bound them to each other for the rest of their lives.

Now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realises just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.


A fulfilling and swoon-worthy story is what awaits you in this final installment in The Selection trilogy. Cass has put together a captivating dystopian world that readers can easily slip into with characters who you will slowly begin to hold close to your heart.

After being put through many tasks and challenges to come one closer to becoming the Prince Maxon's wife, America has made it to the final four. Unsure of how Maxon truly feels about her and the other girls, America also has to juggle the King's bullying tactics into getting her to leave and the rebellions rising outside of the palace walls. But however important that all sounds, we as the readers just want to know: WHO WILL MAXON CHOOSE?

I've loved every moment of this engrossing tale of romance and rebellion, and also watching each character grow and come into their own. Loose ends are tied and the characters who I absolutely loathed at the start of the story began to work into my good side. I felt like speed reading through the whole book just to see who Maxon ends up with, but I didn't! The incentive does stop you from putting the book down for very long too.

America is courageous and is so many things that I also wish I could be. Her and Maxon share a complicated relationship, and with the other girls left in the competition it is really hard to tell how Maxon also feels about them. I couldn't stop loving Maxon though, he's your ideal prince charming who draws you in with his winning smile. 

But there's Aspen. America's sweetheart from home who still lingers as a soldier in the palace. I loved him as well as Maxon and this simply tore me in two. The whole story just made me feel so many emotions and forms of "asdfghjkl" I could of gone into cardiac arrest. 
However, eventually you will find yourself, like me, swaying to one of the boys.

Overall, I enjoyed the way Cass tied up the trilogy despite the fact that I felt the ending was slightly rushed and could of been stretched out a bit more to give readers a chance to process and understand every detail. If you're looking for a light dystopia with a heavy focus on royal romance then definitely pick up this trilogy. The story is easy to slip into and the characters are brilliant. After reading this book, I just want to be a princess.
Rating
A review copy was provided by the publisher

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (107)

Hey,

This week I'm waiting for...
Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs. 
But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

What an intriguing concept! I'm definitely putting this high on my to-read list. Kyra sounds like a kick-butt and awesome protagonist.
image
Leave a link to your WoW post in the comments below so I can check it out!

Have a good week,
Sam :D

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Excerpt and Spotlight: Lost in Starlight

Hey,
Today bestselling author, Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share! She will be publishing a brand new Upper YA / Sci-Fi romance series: the “Starlight Saga” with scorching-hot character chemistry, exciting suspense, and epic romance. Want to find out more? The cover and blurb are available below, and also an exclusive extract from the book.
Lost in Starlight (Starlight Saga #1)
Release Date: June 26, 2014
Is a star-crossed romance worth sacrificing your own life?
High school senior Sloane Masterson lives a quiet existence. She has awesome friends, gets excellent grades, and writes a column for the Haven Gazette. But her life goes from dullsville to bizarro when she witnesses mysterious loner Hayden Lancaster performing some freaky superhuman feats.
Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, and she’s not above stalking. But one look into Hayden’s remarkable eyes, and she’s crushing hard. 
Even at the swoonworthy hunk’s insistence that hanging out with girls like Sloane is “off limits” by his strange family, she can’t resist him or wanting to solve the mystery. 
Things get really complicated when a beautiful alien sets her sights on Hayden—and this devious girl’s not looking for a green card!
Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, über snobby extraterrestrials, and getting a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating. As their diverse worlds collide and the romantic sparks fly, Sloane must decide if Hayden’s secrets are worth risking her life to protect.
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Enjoy a sneak peak of the book below:
I don’t usually stalk boys, but if I hadn’t been spying on Hayden Lancaster, I never would’ve seen the mind-blowing fork-bending incident. 

My best friend, Viola Saks, shifts in her seat, her nose stuck in the latest Jack Kilborn novel. Totally oblivious to my new stalkery tendencies. She prefers her book boyfriends over real guys, and I gotta admit, she has a point. Fictional hotties fighting paranormals are way more exciting than the real thing.

“Are you scoping out a new story?” Viola asks from behind her book.

“Maybe. Right now, I’m only observing,” I say. “People watching.”

Tiny white lie. I’m secretly kicking off: “Operation Lancaster.”

With a sigh, I scoot back the creaky plastic chair and rest my chin on my fist. Lunch hour is the best time to study my classmates undetected. 

Not that I’m a bad person. Honest. I’ve never narced on anyone. I don’t kick puppies. And I normally don’t play at undercover agent. Well...until today.

As two girls pass our table, one squeals and punches her friend in the arm. Ouch!

To me, the lunchroom is more than just a place to chow down on industrial-grade food. It reminds me of a prison scene, with its hostile mingling and violent chaos, like inmates at mealtime. This is where I discover the most newsworthy stories. Haven High’s cafeteria is the perfect spot to catch up on gossip, observe clique wars, and witness any mean girl activity. Saying the cafeteria is only for eating is like saying an underground lair is only for plotting world domination. If you can survive a high school lunchroom, then you can survive anything, well, with the exception of a zombie apocalypse. 

My gaze scans over the other students. The yuppie dressed in-crowd clusters in one corner, as if they would rather not socialize with the peasants. Overachievers study instead of eating. Kids-most-likely-to-drop-out take their food and trudge outside. Social rejects are scattered throughout the room. And my group—a mix of geeks, emos, and Goths—are mostly assembled in the back of the room. Some would say that I’m queen of the geekdom, and I wear my invisible crown with honor.

Then there’s Zach and Hayden Lancaster’s table. 

The brothers are both gorgeous in a way that should be totally illegal, but look nothing alike. Zach is a cocky, dark-haired, all-round jock. And Hayden is the tall, rockstar-sexy, drummer-type. He’s one of those guys who prefer to function in his own little world. 
Not sure which social group they fit into...the misunderstood-brooding-hot-guys crowd?

Flipping open my Hello Kitty spiral-bound notebook, I write that down. Check. After a sip from my juice box, I covertly scrutinize Hayden. He’s six feet tall, lean, yet muscular. The times we’ve passed each other in the halls, his eyes are usually twinkling as if he knows an intriguing secret. Today, Hayden’s wearing a blue short-sleeved, button-up shirt with faded skinny jeans, a studded belt, and scuffed Etnies. On one arm, he has several black rubber bracelets. Nothing too unusual about him. 

Except for one very odd feature. 

He has two different colored eyes. His light brown fauxhawk falls over his forehead in a messy yet somehow deliberate way, and lands over his one strikingly blue eye. The other one is green. Besides the rare heterochromia iridis, he seems to be just another smokin’ hot brainiac. 
I add to my notes: Weird eye color and member of the Amazing Hair Club. Check.
Wait. Why am I thinking about how über hot he is? Seriously not important. 

Hayden glances in my direction and his extraordinary eyes lock onto mine. I flush and an unfamiliar thrill shoots through my veins. Even from a distance, the boy looks mouthwatering good. Then his eyes harden into chips of ice.

Although I’m obviously busted, I can’t look away. For a second, his gaze flares into the hottest flame. As though ignited by kerosene, my body temperature rises. Hayden Lancaster is not just looking at me, but it’s as if he’s staring into the very depths of my soul. There’s a wariness lingering in his expression that I don’t understand. Frightened and intrigued all at once, I tear my gaze away and look down at the table.

An odd spark of panic hits hard. Is my hair tangled? My pencil skirt unzipped? Lip-gloss on my teeth? I grip the hem of my black tee under my leather jacket, the silver studded leather cuff on my wrist digging into my stomach, and yank it down. Much better. 

Possibly embarrassing situation averted. 

Just breathe. Relax.

Swallowing hard, I shift in my seat. The peculiar feeling in my chest gradually shrinks, as if a vacuum is pulling the swirling emotions from my body. I need a minute to calm down and take a sip of my grape juice box.

Viola’s flicks a page of her book and asks, “So what’s this new article on?”

I clear my throat and say, “Actually, I’m investigating Hayden Lancaster.”

“Should be interesting.” One brown eye peeks over the edge of the paperback. “Because of that hacker rumor?”

“Oh, yeah. The gossip this morning was off the hook. Supposedly, Hayden hacked into the school’s computer system over the weekend to change all his grades.” 

As a reporter for our online newspaper the Haven Gazette, a hacker scandal is way huge. In fact, I have my own column—Fright Night Babble—where I mainly review scary movies, but since my college resume is in dire need of some padding, this assignment is just too juicy to pass up. And working on the school paper turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected. At first, I envisioned a team of extra-credit nerds doing articles on food fights and cheesy school dances, but the students who contribute are actually wicked cool and write about some fairly serious issues, like cyberbullying and teen suicide. 

“Sloane?”

“Hmmm…”

“You know, this story is the perfect excuse to get closer to the guy you’ve been crushing on for the last few months,” Viola says.

More like six months, four days, and twenty-two hours. But who’s counting? 

“This is just for the paper. Someone has to write it,” I say, although a part of me is secretly thrilled at the prospect of getting closer to Hayden Lancaster.

Viola clucks her tongue disapprovingly. “That boy’s getting a serious rep.”

“True,” I say. “Everyone either wants to be his best friend, or they think he’s a some sort of psycho.” 

To me he’s only a news story. Never mind the fact that by a mere glance from the teen Adonis my insides turn into a quivering mass. I just have to remember that I’m a professional. I got this. And like any great journalist, I must note every detail, so I jot down: Hayden, hacker and computer geek. Check. 

“But the hacking isn’t the weird part...” I lean closer and lower my voice. “It appears he walked away with only a slap on the wrist. No expulsion or suspension, not even Saturday detention. Who gets away with stuff like that?” 

She rolls her eyes. “He does, apparently.”

“But why? How?” 

These are things I need to know. 

Viola shrugs, and then goes back to reading, and I go back to “Operation Lancaster.”

Even from several tables away, I can tell by Hayden’s jerky head movements that the brothers are engrossed in a heated discussion. Hayden’s angular features and flawless skin redden, and Zach’s square jaw clenches. 

Mid-rant, Hayden’s cell phone chimes and he scoots his chair back, the metal legs squeaking on the linoleum floor. He slides it out of his pocket and reads the screen. Then he scratches the stubble on his cheek with a worried frown. Zach tries to grab the phone, but Hayden shoves it back into his pocket. Glancing up, Hayden catches me staring. Again. His nostrils flare and his eyes flash with anger.

The unexpectedness of his glare takes my breath away. I lower my head and doodle in my notebook. A few seconds—that seem like hours—pass before I gather the nerve to look over at Hayden, who’s back to arguing with his younger brother. 

Viola lowers her book a fraction. “You’re totally staring at the Lancasters.”

“I’m not staring.” 

“Oh, right, you’re observing.” She tilts her head. “Most girls can’t resist guys like them. They have that...” 

Incredibly sexy quality? 

“Dangerous vibe going,” Viola finishes. 

“Yeah, I guess.”

Maybe I should write that down. I scribble: Sexy bad-boys. Check.

“Did you know that Zach and Hayden don’t date any of the girls around here?” Viola sighs. “Like they think they’re too good for us or something.” 

I slam my juice box on the table, red liquid shooting out of the straw. “Maybe that’s because everyone’s so damn cliquey at this stupid school. It’s just wrong, the way the other kids treat them,” I say. “Did you hear? Someone jacked up Hayden’s locker again with spray paint.” I’m beyond disgusted by some of my classmates’ Neanderthal moves. 

“Then maybe you should investigate who keeps screwing with the Lancasters instead. Seriously, Hayden and Zach can’t help being sexy and brilliant.” Viola is an advocate for social justice in high school, and totally reading my mind. “Besides, if Hayden got away with the alleged hacking incident, there’s no real story.”

 “Are you kidding me?” I pull out a bag of celery from my lunchbox. “Of course there is!”
“If you say so.” Viola points at my food. “Your mom on that health kick thing again?”
I pick up a stalk of celery and drop it. “Yup.” 
Viola reaches out a slender arm to nab a French fry. 
 “Seriously? How are you supermodel thin when you eat stuff like that?” I groan and glance at her slim figure clad in a body-hugging black dress with spiked heels, and her heavy Goth makeup. A silver eyebrow ring glints in the dull light. “I could eat only yogurt for the rest of my life and I’d still be your chubby sidekick.”

She scoffs. “You’re not chubby, Sloane. You’re extra curvy.”

Whatevs. Guess that’s just what people say when you’re a foodie like me. 
She sticks a bookmark in her novel and leans forward. “Whaddya got on Hayden and Zach so far?” 

I push my hair—originally blonde, and now dyed a bright purple—out my eyes and scan my notes. “Oh, well, not much. Just that the Lancasters moved to Winter Haven about six months ago. Hayden’s a senior and antisocial, and Zach’s a junior and on the varsity basketball team. And I heard that Hayden was booted from his last school in Castro Valley and he did a stint in juvie. Not that there’s a whole lot of trouble to get into around here.”

“Agreed. We seem to be short on our quota of cute psychos,” Viola jokes.

My gaze strays to the brothers again. The ropey muscles of Hayden’s stomach beneath his tight shirt flex across his midsection with each movement. I’ll bet my collection of Tim Burton DVDs that boy has rock-hard abs. 

“Doing anything fun this weekend?” Viola asks, interrupting my ogling. 

I shake my head. “Nope. I’m on babysitting duty.”

“Again? That blows. Your dad still out of town?” She grabs a fry off her plate and sticks it into her mouth.
I sigh. “Yup. Which means I’m stuck looking after the menace they’ve spawned.” 
“I think your little brother’s cute.”
“That’s because he doesn’t live with you.”
I chew on the end of my pen and check the Lancaster table. Zach’s eyes narrow to slits and his face darkens. Hayden’s tightly clutching a stainless steel fork in his left hand while quarreling with his brother. He blows out a frustrated breath. A bowl of potato salad sits uneaten on the table in front of him. 
I quickly scribble in my notebook: Hayden’s a lefty and brings his lunch to school. Check. 
When I look up, my eyes widen. Hayden’s ears have turned bright red and his whole body tenses, as if he wants to punch his smartass sibling. Then the metal fork clenched in his fist folds in half like it’s made out of pliable, soft plastic.
Pause. Rewind. What the hell?  
My jaw practically hits the table. Are my eyes playing tricks on me? Did that fork really just flop over like a warm Hershey bar? My body twitches with the urge to snatch up the utensil for a closer inspection. I blink and look again. Everything inside me screams to deny it, but really, how can I? The twisted stainless steel proof is right there in front of me. The bent fork still clenched tightly in his hand is like a beacon of unreality.
Hayden—sexy-lone-wolf—suddenly went from boring recluse to interesting hottie. 
Frantically, I draw a bent fork in my notebook and write: Hayden can bend metal objects with his mind. Check.
----------------------------------
The book will officially be available on June 26th so don't forget to check it out!
You can also read the first 3 chapters on wattpad, HERE! 
Find Sherry Soule: Blog Twitter | Goodreads 

Enjoy your week,
Sam :)

Monday, 9 June 2014

My review of The Winner's Curse

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: July 3, 2014 (UK) | March 4, 2014 (US)
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository


The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy, #1)Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.


Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

The Winner's Curse is a compulsory fantasy read for 2014! This compelling story begins with a general's daughter, our protagonist Kestrel, who impulsively bids for a slave an auction. She paid a high price and she can't seem to bring herself to understand why. Little does she know that she the price that she has paid is way beyond money.

A few chapters in, and don't think that you'll be able to leave your reading spot until you're done! This book is the perfect blend of fantasy and forbidden romance. I was drawn to the main character Kestrel who struck a brilliant balance between being strong heroine and having a delicate feminine side. Do not undermine her though! When it comes down to battle strategy, there's no way she will lose.

The only part of Kestrel's attitude is the way she does not truly value Ronan. Ronan is Kestrel's best friend's brother who is extremely friendly and has a great sense of humor. He also just happens to have focused all his attention on to Kestrel and slowly trying to win her over. The way Kestrel goes about her relationship with this great guy did not impress me at all and she definitely needs to show more consideration for his feelings.

So who could be worthy of the attention from such a deadly girl? Well, that's Arin. He begins as a defensive and closed young man, but with each bonding game of Bite and Sting and every intimate question, the two can't help but draw closer together. But Arin knows that his kind and Kestrel's don't mix and that nothing could ever happen between them. I just adored him. From the very beginning we know that there's something not so right about him and where his faith lies, but... you slowly warm up to and fall for him. Just like Kestrel does.

"Arin wondered if she would lift her eyes, but wasn’t worried he would be seen in the garden’s shadows.He knew the law of such things: people in brightly lit places cannot see into the dark.” 
The Winner's Curse was a story that I honestly didn't think I would love so much and hit me very hard with its brilliant fantasy storyline, characters, and attention to tension and detail! I did not want the story to end there and I know that there is so much more left to explore in the sequel.

“Isn't that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?” 

Rating
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Book Haul (#85)

Hey,

The weather is really brightening up over here in the UK! How are you all? What books have you been reading? 

This week I received and borrowed:


Thank you, Harper Collins! I was quick to read this book as it feels like I have been waiting decades for it. Gah, I couldn't be happier with this exquisite conclusion. My review will be up as soon as possible.
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor - Received -
Thanks again, Harper Collins Children's Books! This book sounded too good to pass up and I've read one other book by Kantor that I liked (If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?) so I can't wait to bust into this one.
Erased (Altered, #2)
Erased (Altered #2) by Jennifer Rush - Borrowed -
I enjoyed Altered and all that it had to offer, and I've actually heard that this is better than the sequel so I have high expectations.

Leave a link to your Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves/In My Mailbox/Letterbox Love/Showcase Sunday in the comments below so I can check it out.

Enjoy your books,
Sam :)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (106)

Hey,

This week I'm waiting for...
Beware the Wild
Release Date: October 21, 2014
It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. 

I've never read a story that involves any kind of swamp setting and it just sounds weird; like a good weird. And the cover looks super creepy! I suspect that this story should be interesting.
Leave a link to your WoW post in the comments below so I can check it out!

Have a good week,
Sam :D

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: 12 Years A Slave

Hey,

Recently I bought a copy of 12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup and I'm actually quite scared to start it. It's said to be an emotional and gripping read to get into, which also really excites me. The extreme slavery at one point in the world (which is also still happening on a wide scale) simply shocks me, but at the same time, I am interested and intrigued to find out more. Have any of you read it or seen the film?
12 Years a Slave
12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup 
Release Date:
September 3, 2013 (Written in 1852)
Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, 12 Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a series of Louisiana plantations.
After his rescue, Northup published this exceptionally vivid and detailed account of slave life. It became an immediate bestseller and today is recognized for its unusual insight and eloquence as one of the very few portraits of American slavery produced by someone with the dual perspective of having been both a free man and a slave.
I happened to buy a spare copy which I am offering for a giveaway. This giveaway is international and to enter simply enter the Rafflecopter below.
**Giveaway Closed**
Winner: Abbi L.
Thank you all for entering!
Have a good week,
Sam 

Monday, 2 June 2014

My review of Altered

Altered (Altered #1) by Jennifer Rush
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository


Altered (Altered, #1)Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. 

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.


Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Altered is a compelling and action packed science fiction novel that incorporates themes such as genetic modification, mystery, and romance all in one delicious read. The story is told from the point of view of Anna, obviously a completely normal girl, I mean, what's unusual about having four boys living in your basement, right?
shrugging animated GIF
Sam, Cas, Trev, and Nick are the four boys living in her basement and have done so for years now. They're part of her father's job that she has limited knowledge about. But no matter how much she tries to refrain from interacting with them... she can't. And when there's an opportunity for them to escape, they take it. And so does Anna's father who urges her to go with them. They must follow the clues left behind in order to find out what the project that the boys are a part of is all about. And why the people chasing them down need them so badly.

Talking specifically about our lovely boys of four. There's Cas: a humorous and childish boy who loves to make Anna laugh and smile. He was definitely one of my favourite characters while reading the book. Then there's Trev, who can think up a famous quote for any situation and remains one of the only boys that Anna feels that she can talk to about anything. Now, Nick. He's fired up like a firecracker ready to explode. He's not the easiest to get along with, but Anna still tries all of the same.

Who could forget about Sam? Sam is really the main guy. He plays Anna's love interest and the one who Anna would lay her life down for. They share a special kind of relationship which grows and blossoms over the course of the book as they share pieces of themselves they could never do before. I adored him and his rare smiles and protective nature. The swoon worthy moments were just... perfect. I like how they start small and get bigger and better!

The plot drew me in hard and fast. From page one you are kept guessing and questioning what's happening and why it's all happening. "Why the hell are there four good looking boys in her basement?" and "Could I have a Sam in my basement, please?" But not only the mystery elements of the book, there is also plenty of action scenes to change up the pace of the book and wow! Rush knows to handle a brilliant kick-butt scene.

Overall, I feel that Altered is a fantastic book that definitely needs to be given a chance by all as it offers a fulfilling and thrilling reading experience. I'm more than ready to pick up the sequel Erase to continue with this epic journey and to find out MORE ANSWER! And have more Sam time.
Rating

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Book Haul (#84)

Hey,

It's been a nice relaxing week at home. After all, it is ANOTHER half term. Not that I'm complaining, but these frequent half terms just make me so lazy.

On a side note, I've made another Twitter account which is specifically aimed at books. The one that I have now is also used for personal uses like keeping in touch with friends and updating my social life. But @Falling_Books is specifically for glorious books so feel free to drop a follow. 

Anyways, this week I bought and received:
12 Years A SlaveThe Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy, #1)
12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup - Bought -
This sounds like an heartbreaking book to read but I'm really excited to get into it. You can also check out my giveaway for a spare copy of the book on Tuesday!
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) - Received -
Thank you, Bloomsbury! I've actually already won a copy of this book so I will be giving this one away. And hopefully my review will be up soon. THIS BOOK IS FREAKIN' AMAZING!
Exposure (Virals, #4)
Thank you, Random House and Jenny at Wondrous Reads!

Leave a link to your Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves/In My Mailbox/Letterbox Love/Showcase Sunday in the comments below so I can check it out.

Enjoy your books,
Sam :)