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Book Mail: Advance copy of Misfit by Charli Howard.

Absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of “Misfit” by Charli Howard – an international curve model and body activist whose charity, The All Woman Project, goes into schools to teach children about body image and mental health issues.

Here’s the blurb:

So, how did a slightly bonkers misfit with anorexia, bulimia and anxiety decide to solve their problems? I became a model. As you do.

Charli Howard had always wanted to be normal – but for some reason, she couldn’t quite find out how to do it. As a teenager, she felt like the only one who struggled with anxiety and self-esteem issues when everyone around her seemed to fit in. So she tried to embrace standing out: by becoming a model. Believing it would make her happy and envied, she set out single-mindedly to make it – and she achieved her dream. But the reality wasn’t quite as glamorous as she’d hoped. The pressure on Charli to look a certain way took an extreme toll on her body and self-image, and no matter how thin she got, she was never thin enough.

When Charli, though medically underweight, was fired by her modelling agency for being too big, she decided she’d had enough. She used her platform for good and spoke out about the insane standards of the modelling industry, whose images influence young women and girls all over the world. Now, Charli is comfortable in her skin for the first time ever, working happily as a plus sized model in New York. Here, she shares her journey, from anorexic and bulimic teenager to happy, healthy twenty-something.”

I actually feel quite emotional about reading this book to be honest. Maybe it’s because I have a baby girl now and I hope she never ever falls victim to body shaming.

Charli is an inspiration to thousands of girls and I hope that when my little girl Willow is older, she’ll read this book and feel empowered. That she’ll feel comfortable in her own body, be proud of it, and that she’ll become a confident young lady that I know she can be.

“Misfit” will be released 22nd February 2018.

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Halloween Bookfest. Book #1!

With it being Halloween month I, of course, wanted to fill my TBR list with scary, spooky books perfect for the season. I actually kicked my spooky Bookfest off with a book that may not be scary to read but is filled with scary “vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness” and that book is Demons of the Hellmouth A Guide For Slayers by Rupert Giles (Nancy Holder). 

 

How gorgeous is that cover?! I couldn’t have envisaged anything more perfect!

 
I received this as a gift from my boyfriend for my birthday last week. I cannot begin to tell you how excited and happy I was when I received it! Out of everything, this is what I had been wishing for the most. I began reading it on Saturday (had to finish reading The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman first) and finished reading it this morning (Monday). I loved it! It’s a little similar to The Monster Book but is written as though it’s Giles’ journal and the book itself is even designed like one, complete with photos and drawings -some made to look like they’ve been stuck in with sticky tape! – and also cool little side notes from the Scooby gang which makes it a little less “stuffy” 😝 to read.

 

The moustache on Sunday made me chuckle. As did Xander’s “dollars in the waistband” comment!

 
 

“Party in my eye socket” oh lol!

 
Being a huge Buffy fan, I felt so nostalgic and emotional reading it! It brought back so many memories! Like oh page 112 when Giles writes, ‘…my dream seemed to center around Spike being my son, an attack from the First Slayer, and … cheese.’ I was instantly transported back to the episode of Restless and the Cheese Man! “I wear the cheese, it does not wear me”. I love the Cheese Man! He was my favourite thing about that episode lol!

It was such a fantastic read and now I want to go and watch Buffy from the very beginning!

So what’s next on my Halloween Bookfest?? Well, I have decided to read some classic Stephen King and go with Misery. I loved the film but have never read the book so it’s time I changed that. I think I might need to leave the main light on for this, rather than ready by torchlight under the covers. Eek!

Half Bad By Sally Green – Book Review.

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Title: Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy, #1)
Author: Sally Green
Published: 3rd March 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400

Blurb:

“Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.”

This is a really short review today so I apologise. I have been reading Half Bad for the past few days now but sadly, I felt here nor there about the book which is such a shame as the idea behind it was great. I struggled to be pulled in by the story and didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters. Maybe it’s a different writing style to what I’m used to? I was also shocked at how much violence the main character endured for someone so young! It was quite surprising to see that in a book. I seem to be one of the few who didn’t get on with the book as it seems to have gotten a lot of good reviews and ratings but it just wasn’t for me. I’m unsure as to whether I’ll read the next book in the series but I’m told it is much better than the first.

Have you read any of the books in this series, or maybe you’re planning to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Honest Reviewer. Always Am, Always Will Be!

Credit goes to the amazing illustrator, Quentin Blake.

 
I had a message on Goodreads waiting for me this morning. It was from an author offering me an incentive to basically hurry up and read and review her book. The incentive? $50 or books from my wish list on Amazon. Awesome, right? Not exactly. There’s a catch … She wants a 4-5 star rating and glowing review of her book. I would happily take the offer and give her that rating, and that review she so wants, IF I genuinely thought the book was that amazing but it’s not and I am not in the business of giving dishonest reviews just to earn a bit of cash. So, thank you, but no thank you.
I know we would all love to get paid for something we love doing but not like this! I would be potentially misleading someone into thinking it’s a great read only for them to be really disappointed and I’m not willing to do that. I have morals and I’ll stick by them, thank you very much! Now, if I’d been offered money to give an honest review then I would have happily obliged.

Book Review: Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend.

  
Title: Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend

Author: Cora Harrison

Published: 3rd February 2012

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Blurb:

“Jane wants to meet a hero worthy of her extraordinary imagination: a gentleman who is dashing and daring and handsome and brave; who can dance like a viscount and duel like a king. Jane and Jenny are whiling away the season in Bath and there are plenty of dances, rumours and scandals to entertain them. But a good reputation, once lost, is gone forever; and Jane is in danger of becoming the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons…”

When I first started reading this book I felt neither here, nor there about it. It just wasn’t really pulling me in and I didn’t get that I-want-to-stay-up-til-the-wee-hours-reading kind of feeling from it. However, the further I got through the book, the more I warmed to it. Once I had gotten to the end, I had the warm fuzzy feels and wanted to clutch the book to my chest and sigh happily! It was a really lovely read. Having not read Cora Harrison’s previous book “I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend”, I didn’t know what to expect and for some reason had it in my head that it was going to be some kind of modernised story about Jane Austen so I was thrilled to discover that, no, it was in fact set in 1791 when Jane was a budding author-to-be. The story was centred around, and written from the point of view of, Jane’s cousin, Jenny (though her real name was also Jane). I loved that it was written like a diary – complete with cute little drawings – and was written in a style fitting of that era. I love how they spoke back then! Jenny writes about her family, her and Jane’s trip to Bath (which involved going to balls and wearing exquisite dresses) and also about her love, Thomas Williams, a Royal Navy captain, who wants to marry her but her brother (who is her guardian) and his wife won’t allow it. With the help of Jane and her childhood friend, Harry, Jenny and Thomas write to each other in secret (Not surprisingly, Jane saw this as very romantic) and Jane was determined that Jenny and Thomas would be married. It was great seeing it all unfold and I found myself worrying that Jenny and Thomas wouldn’t get their happy ever after. I really liked how Jane was portrayed. She was so witty and she was also a bit of a flirt! But you discover, that in spite of all that flirting, she’s fallen for a boy and wants to have her own happy ever after with him!
This book is a fabulous summer read; something to take on holiday with you to read whilst relaxing on the beach, maybe. If you love a bit of romance with a taste of the classics about it, then this is for you!
Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan for kindly sending me this book to review. It was truly a delight.

Review: The Chair by R.R. Sechi

Title: The Chair

Author: R.R. Sechi

Published: 21st February 2014

Publisher: Independent

Format: Paperback

Pages: 145

Blurb:

“John Anderson goes to the site of an old dilapidated mental institution called, ‘Willow Brook’, in the hope of finding a special chair previously used for electro-shock therapy. His wife, Jess is a ‘white’ witch who believes the chair possesses supernatural power. With the correct spells and incantations, she thinks that she may be able to control and direct its spiritual energy to her own devices. Some might say, they should have left it where it was…”

When I discovered that this was about a chair in a mental institute, my initial thought was: “Ohhh crap! Stories about mental institutes never end well” and by “end well” I mean that it’ll be mega spooky and will more than likely scare the crap out of me! That was then …

Does anybody else find it hard to get into a book when there’s lots of bad punctuation that hasn’t been corrected? Well that was my problem. By the third page, I just wanted to give up and throw it across the room. There were commas in the wrong places and commas where there should have been full stops. In general, it just wasn’t reading right and therefore the story wasn’t flowing the way it should. As a proofreader, problems like this really irk me. The author also changes the character’s thoughts from italics to normal and are sometimes in speech marks and sometimes not which was a teeny bit annoying.

At one point in the story Sarah (John’s girlfriend’s best friend) and John sit on the chair and get transported back to the 50s. Sarah finds herself in the body of a woman called Liz but a couple of pages later, Liz’s friend, Sherrie, calls her “Sarah” instead of “Liz”. Oops! As you can see, I found the story to be inconsistent at times. Another example being: The author seems to go from implying that John hardly knows his girlfriend’s best friend, Sarah, to then saying she’s the couple’s best friend and then back to saying John hardly knows her and that she’s Jess’ friend, not his. Also, as you may have seen from the blurb, John’s other half is known as his wife, yet in the book she’s his girlfriend. These kinda things really shouldn’t have been over looked by the author.

The constant misuse of “feint” instead of “faint” became really annoying and made me wonder if the book had been proofread by anyone before the author published it. (He eventually did get it right). This can also be said for the misuse of “to”, “too” and “two” and also “their” and “there”.
I can’t say I really liked the protagonist. He was quite weak willed and was clearly governed by his penis. In the beginning he seemed so sickeningly in love with his girlfriend (I even wondered if he was under some spell) that he would never hurt her, yet further into the story it didn’t take much for him to give into sexual desire and fall into bed with her best friend!
Imagination was a little lacking at times. For example: Sarah’s husband, Rick, sits in the chair as joke, disbelieving their claims that it has magical powers. He then disappears but comes back several hours later engulfed in flames. Both Jess and Sarah faint and then, after trying to unsuccessfully douse out the flames, John faints too! And I thought, “Really? That’s all you could come up with?”. I know it’s a shocking thing to happen but I honestly thought the character would have the balls to stay conscious and at least phone the emergency services! Shortly after, there is a scene where after ringing the police, they are handcuffed and taken to the station to be questioned. The police are adamant they are all guilty of murder, yet they haven’t even investigated the scene to find out how exactly Rick caught on fire! The only reason the police eventually go back to the house is because they were at a “dead end” and so want to see if they can find evidence to actually put John, Jess and Sarah in jail. They also go in an unmarked car! I find it very hard to believe that investigating a crime scene would actually work this way. I mean, why go in an unmarked car? It just looks suspicious! And only going there as a last resort? That’s ridiculous. They should have had an investigation going on at the house anyway!
The author seems to forget what he calls his characters as at one point Detective Inspector Barnes gets referred to as “John” which is actually the main character’s name. Now, it could be possible that his name *is* John too, but giving characters the same names in stories is usually avoided so it’s highly unlikely that this is the case.
Over halfway through the book, Barnes tells John, Jess and Sarah that he’s no idea how he’ll tell his peers about what has happened regarding the chair and the mysterious deaths and that they’ll probably be re-arrested. He then says this again to them a little over a page later! It’s just not necessary and this wasn’t the first time that something was repeated in the book. Repetitiveness is a pet peev of mine I’m afraid.
Near to the end of the book, Jess and Sarah have decided to return the chair back to the mental institution. Sarah suggests they should just leave it near the entrance but Jess says, “John told me he took it from somewhere in the basement so maybe we need to leave it there as whatever we do, I don’t want to have to come back!” What? Plot-wise, this just doesn’t make sense! The institution was burned down and is now derelict so why would they even need to go back? To me, it looks as though the writer has got something planned to happen in the basement and needed a way to get to that point. – It didn’t quite happen that way which made Jess’ earlier statement even more pointless.
The writing comes across as very amateur. In fact, I was reminded of when I was in year 9 (age 14) and my English teacher had crossed sections of my story out due to it being unnecessary or irrelevant to the plot. That is what I wanted to do with this book!
I was so relieved when I got to the end. I stuck with it in the hopes things would improve but sadly they didn’t. There was also no explanation as to why the chair seemed to have magical powers and would transport a person back into someone else’s memories who had previously been in the chair.
As you can see, I seem to have a lot of negative feelings towards this book and not a lot of good things to say. The premise of it was a good idea. It wasn’t exactly spooky like I thought it’d be and to be honest it was quite a frustrating read, though you may have guessed that. It’s not really a book I would recommend unless you can overlook the things I can’t.

If you would like me to review something please feel free to get in touch. I’d be happy to help. You can find out more on the “Requesting a Review” page.

Review: Attachments

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Title: Attachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: 2nd February 2012
Publisher: Orion
Format: Paperback

Blurb (Waterstones):

“It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange. At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say to her? ‘Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mails – and also, I think I love you’. After a series of close encounters, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart, and find out whether there really is such a thing as love before first-sight.”

*sighs happily* I could just go right back to the beginning and read this all over again. If books were types of hugs, this would be a great big cuddly, cozy, bear hug! I truly loved it. I felt the ending was a little rushed but it didn’t make me love it any less. It’s funny and romantic and oh so nostalgic. It was set around the turn of the 21st century, I would have been 16 then, so it really took me back to those days. It had me on edge not knowing whether Lincoln, the IT security guy who has to read all the emails that have been flagged, and Beth, the movie reviews reporter, would ever end up together; Whether he would ever come clean or even *how* he would come clean. – How on earth was he going to tell Beth he’d fallen in love with her from reading her’s and Jennifer’s emails to one another? Admittedly, it does sound shifty but, come on, it’s kinda romantic! I loved Rainbow’s writing style for Beth and Jennifer and the fact their conversations were set out just like emails. Their characters were such a hoot. It felt like they were your best friends, too. They were funny and chatty and when they were going through bad times you wanted to be there for them and help them through it or put the world to rights with them or insult all of man kind and have a boyfriend bonfire (yeah I’m totally channelling Phoebe and Rachel from Friends right now) when they’re having guy problems. They really had me laughing at times – actually a lot of the time – and reminded me so much of me and my best friend. I had to chuckle when Beth revealed to Jennifer that she was following *cough* stalker *cough* Lincoln – aka “my cute guy” – around because she fancied him. Finding out that she’s done that, really had me rooting for her and Lincoln. And I thought surely, because she fancied him so much so she had the overwhelming urge to follow him around, that it was destiny, they HAVE to be together and she would just HAVE to forgive him for his not-so-traditional way of falling for her seeing as, ya know, she’d been stalking him and all! I wanted them to get together so bad. There was one point, near to the end, where I felt so deflated and sad because I really didn’t think this was going to happen. My boyfriend even asked me what was wrong. When I told him why, his response was, “it’s just a book”. Now, isn’t that the typical response given by someone who doesn’t read?! *sigh* They just don’t “get it”. By the time I’d got to the last page I had this massive smile on my face. I loved it! Loved it! Loved it! I know some have said how unrealistic the outcome of Lincoln and Beth was but, hey, that’s fiction for ya!

Review: Dark Child (Covens Rising): Episode 1

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Title: Dark Child (Covens Rising): Episode 1
Author: Adina West
Published: 3rd July 2014
Publisher: Momentum
Format: Ebook

Synopsis:

Kat Chanter isn’t your ordinary girl. And she isn’t your ordinary vampire, either. The ruthless Directorate would go to any lengths to have her power – including murder. And when that leads to a war between races, Kat’s fate becomes the ultimate prize …

Kat is done with being on the run, or so she hopes. A new pathology job in Paris is her big chance to start afresh, far from the Tabérin Directorate who want her dead. Sure, adjusting to life as a half-vampire, half-human hybrid in transition poses its own challenges, but it’s nothing Kat can’t handle … until the past starts to catch up with her.

When she’s approached by one Tabérin male from her past, she can explain it away. But add in another territorial Tabérin with a newfound conscience and it’s starting to get crowded on Kat’s Montmartre window ledge. Past experience tells Kat to be cautious, especially in her vulnerable state. But how can she tell friend from foe?

I have really mixed feelings about this book and in the beginning I had a few problems with it; I found it hard to connect with a couple of the characters and it lacked detail in a general sense and also when describing the main characters. It was all just very….vague. For quite a way into the story I had no idea what the main character, Kat, was or what she was transitioning into, and only by the blurb did I know that she was half vampire, half human hybrid. This was not explained in detail in the story. A few times I found myself feeling a little clueless about what was going on. I wanted to know more of the backstory, something that explained what the characters were part of, why Kat was running away from some kind of group called the Tabérin Directorate (again, this was explained in the blurb but not in detail in the book), and what had happened to Kat for it to be described as “….her life went to hell in a hand basket a couple of weeks ago”? I really would have liked that to have been elaborated on. Instead, it was just a brief recalling.

This is actually a sequel to the series “Dark child: Awakening” so if you haven’t read that then I definitely don’t recommend reading this first.

I really liked that it was written from four characters PoVs: Kat, Ben, Dominic and Imara’s and I wondered if their paths would cross. Paranormal is my favourite sub-genre so I love that vampires, shifters and witches were in it. There was an air of intrigue and mystery about the story that had you wanting to know more. Although I initially thought the story was lacking in detail and was quite vague, as the story goes on, it does unravel some more and you’re told more about what happened in the past and a little more about the characters. I found that I was drawn more to Ben and Imara’s story than Kat and Dominic’s. Although Dominic and Kat did begin to grow on me. Despite my negative feelings, by the time I’d got to the end of the book, I’d found that I had enjoyed it and really wanted to find out what happened next. Especially with Yara who was Ben’s love interest. Why was she drinking the blood? Was she born that way or made? And what was she exactly? A witch, vampire, or shifter? Why was she being held captive in her own home? I was also interested to know where Falcon goes off to as he seems really secretive. I’m hoping there’ll be answers in the next episode of the Covens Rising series.

The Buried Covenant Review & Giveaway by Shawn P Keenan – By L

 Shawn Keenan kindly put his book up for review with us! Here is a a snip-it

 “Being hardheaded is a common character flaw, but most teenagers can’t crack a concrete curb with their skull. And while a skilled skateboarder appears to defy gravity, he can’t keep water from pouring out of an upturned cup. Unintentionally tapping into latent powers has brought Jayke Wolff to the attention of the Aduro, an ancient society plotting an apocalyptic new world order. He’s now their number one draft pick, and they’ve dispatched their most seductive member to close the deal. It shouldn’t take much convincing a hormonal teenage boy to turn his back on a cryptic covenant for a future of self-indulgence and unchecked power. But if Jayke can’t be tempted by pleasures of the flesh, the flesh can be influenced in less pleasant ways as well. Armageddon can’t wait forever. Killing Jayke will also work. Not remembering your past and not believing in your future can make it hard to choose who you’re going to be. Jayke has to decide how much of his teenage life he’s willing to sacrifice for a greater good. After all, you’re only young once.”

I was drawn to read this book because it sounded slightly different to what I have previously read. It took a while to get going – about 40% of the way through was when the questions began to ring in my head. However something was still grabbing me and making me read on. I loved how Keenan managed to bring a sort of ancient-ness ( is that even a word?) to an up-to-date story. I really liked how Jayke had no idea who he was, he had an incline but no diea then bam his whole life changed!

I thought the characters were well thought through, everyone had a part to play – there was not one person in this book that could have been missed. I kind of got a Charmed feel for this book – remember that show? I love it!!! I couldn’t pin point another book to say if you liked this….. then you would would love this because I don’t think I’ve read anything like this before. However I would put it in the same genre of MR Merrick Protector Series.

My favorite part of this book was the moral of the story – the same moral I live my life by “My life was mine to mess up, mine to get right, but unquestionably mine to experience. Freewill. For better or for worse. I was wired to make my own decision in life. And I’d make the right one tonight” I just love that quote – seems to be serving my life quite well!

So do you fancy winning a copy? Shawn has kindly given us 5 copies to giveaway! All you need to do is follow both @SLFictionLovers and @ShawnPKeenan and tweet:

“ @SLFictionLovers I want to win a copy of The Buried Covenant by @ShawnPKeenan “

Giveaway closes on Wednesday at 8pm GMT and the 5 winners will be announced at 10pm.

Rachel Caine’s The Morganville Series Review by Emma

The great thing about arriving late to the Morganville party is that you have eleven phenomenal and gripping books to sink your teeth into (pun completely intended), before you run out and have to wait four excruciating months for the next book to be released.
I managed to read all eleven of The Morganville Vampires books in just eight days, only stopping for meals and sleep (begrudgingly). Of course, as with any book series, it did seem to slow down and drag a little in the middle, most likely due to the fact that I wasn’t going to stop reading until there was nothing left for me to read. Whether anyone else would have this same problem or not, I don’t know, perhaps it was my fault for reading too much of it all at once, sometimes, a gap between books is a good thing.
Let’s just say that any issues with the series dulling down, is a completely moot point by the time you get to the last instalment, currently available, Last Breath, which had me absolutely hooked, shouting at my family to be quiet so I could focus, and holing myself up in my room so that I could get some much needed peace to immerse myself fully into the world of Morganville.
If you like your vampires a little less sparkly and a lot more mythical, then this is definitely the series for you.
Meet Claire Danvers, a sixteen (almost seventeen) year old girl who is incredibly advanced in years and has already graduated onto college. She wants to attend Harvard but her parents want her to stay nearer to home to begin with and transfer onto another school in a few years’ time. So that’s how she finds herself as a student at the Texas Prairie University. But all is not as it seems and it soon becomes apparent to Claire that there are more important people living in the town, people who offer their “protection” to those who are beneath them.
After a run in with her arch nemesis, Monica, Claire decides she can no longer live in the dorms and so she sets about finding herself somewhere to live and this is how she meets her new friends, gothic Eve, hot headed Shane and secret hiding Michael Glass.
I won’t say much more because I really don’t want to spoil the stories for anyone who hasn’t read them yet but I honestly think that anyone who enjoys young adult, vampires, a fearless heroine, or a mix of all three, will definitely want to add this series to their “Must Read” list.
Bravo to Rachel Caine for creating a world so gripping and realistic. This is a town I would definitely like to live in.
Books in the series:
Glass Houses
The Dead Girls’ Dance
Midnight Alley
Feast of Fools
Lord of Misrule
Carpe Corpus
Fade Out
Kiss of Death
Ghost Town
Bite Club
Last Breath
Black Dawn (due for release May 2012)

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