Saturday, 29 March 2014

Stacking the Shelves: March

What is Stacking The Shelves all about?
Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
Welcome to my monthly round up! June's been a weird month, l
I tried to be more frugal with Amazon and I ended up with a lot of 'follow up' books! 
Actual Shelf!
The Thing about the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt~ Finally decided to get this one as it was free postage with....
Once We Were by Kat Zhang ~ I had to get this asap especially as it's hard to get over here! 
Virtual Shelf!
Delilah by Jessica Sorensen~I love that Jessica does free novellas to accompany her series!
Kiss the Sky by Krista and Becca Ritchie~ Had to get this as it was 77p!
Review Shelf!
 The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski~ Just as good as I'd imagined!
Four Years Later by Monica Murphy~ I requested this last year and just got approved which was a pleasant surprise.
Southpaw by Raen Smith~ Follow up to Southbound Surrender.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell~ I love Eleanor and Park so I downloaded this as soon as I saw it was read now.
Torn Away by Jennifer Brown~ I always see great reviews for Jennifer Brown so looking forward this. 
The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel~ Great blurb! 
Blog Tours
 How to Say Goodbye by Amber Lin~ I'm not sure if I'll love this one but I had to try it after seeing the cover!
Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr~ Accidentally started in the middle of this series but I loved the characters.
After The Storm by Marie Landry~ Companion to Waiting for the Storm featuring Charlotte's sister Ella.
The Year We Fell Down by Marina Bowen~ I love the blurb and the concept!
Quite a heavy month!
How was your March?
Much Love!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Interview: Melody Grace.

I'm thrilled to have Melody Grace, Author of the Beachwood Bay series answering a few questions!

Melody Grace is the USA Today bestselling author of UNBROKEN and UNTOUCHED. A small-town girl turned SoCal beach-lover, she spent years with her nose in a book before deciding it was time to write them for herself. She loves bad boys, good books, and pistachio-flavored ice-cream.
Where did the idea for Beachwood Bay come from?
It was all about Juliet and Emerson and their passionate affair! I was thinking about first love, and how sometimes we never move on, and it all pretty much flowed from there. I knew it was a summer romance they'd shared, so I got to thinking about a little beach town…. The details just came together, until I could imagine Beachwood Bay like it was a real place.
Did you plan BB to be a series from the beginning?
As I got further into the book, I knew there were supporting characters who deserved to get their own story. Brit, Garrett, even Carina. She was such a villain in Unbroken it made me so curious about her life, and what she was hiding under that perfect exterior. I love revisiting the town and spending time with everyone. They're like family to me now. (Except the guys. They're not related. Because that would be weird ;)
What else are you working on?
I have a YA coming out in the summer under a different name, DANGEROUS BOYS by Abigail Haas. It's dark and twisty and not at all like Beachwood Bay! And I'm so excited to get started on the next chapter of the Beachwood Bay series. A new family is moving to town, starting with angsty rock star Dex Callahan...
Random Questions
Ebook or paper/hardback? Real books for reading in the bath, ebooks for reading smut in public.
Favourite colour? bright pink.
Favourite character you’ve created? Still got to be Emerson.
Early bird or Night owl? Early Bird.
What are you reading at the moment? So many! I just got into the Sinners books by Olivia Cumming, and I'm stocking up on new books by my faves, Kendall Ryan, Lauren Blakely, and Monica Murphy.
Leave us with a teaser/quote from Unconditional?
Garrett reaches out and trails a finger down the side of my bare neck.
I feel his touch through my whole body, hot and heady, a surge of fire. Our eyes lock, and something fills the air between us, shimmering in the fading dusk light. Something I haven’t felt in so long, I almost don’t recognize the pull snaking through me, clawing in my blood.
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Thank you to Melody for answering my questions. Make sure to look out for my review later on!
Much Love!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Spring Bloggiesta To Do List!

Spring Bloggiesta started today and runs until midnight Sunday! Participate when and how you want. This is your time to improve on those little things about your blog you’ve been thinking about for months, mark off those long to-do lists and possibly even discover a few great new blogs. Whether you have days, hours or just a few minutes we hope you’ll join us! Check out their website for the mini challenges and to link up.

With my work being short staffed I've really been struggling with consistent diverse blogging this month. Luckily Spring Bloggiesta is here in time for me to catch up/get ahead of myself blog wise.

To Do!
  • Comments~ Make sure I'm as up to date with these as I think I am. I find one or two comments always slip under my radar!
  • Posts~ I've actually got several post series ideas to get written up and scheduled! Realistic goal 4 posts scheduled by Sunday,
  • Reviews~ I'm planning on doing the bulk of my review writing next week but I want to draft up at least 5 ready for myself.
  • Challenges~ It's time for me to do a quarterly check in with all my challenge goals so I want to get that post done.
  • Blog Design~ I really want a new unique design so I want to do research this Bloggiesta!
Simple goals but hopefully I can get them done. Make sure you check out my NetGalley mini challenge as well!

If you have any insights, tips or recommendations for blog design please let me know!
Good Luck!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Spring Bloggiesta NetGalley Mini Challenge!

Welcome to Bloggiesta! I hope you are all working away on your to-do list. I have been a bloggiesta participant for ages so I'm excited to host my very own mini challenge!

NetGalley is both a blessing and a curse to bloggers~ it's so easy to request titles but before you know it your Feedback to Approval Ratio is way down and your TBR is way up.... This challenge will help you get a handle on NetGalley this Bloggiesta.

Improve your Feedback Tips and Tricks!
  • Didn't Finish the book. Make sure you still send feedback. I usually put a paragraph in the thoughts for publisher section thanking them for approving me etc..
  • Not posting the review for awhile. Do the feedback and put the date for the review in the thoughts section.
  • Go back through your approved books. I often find that I forgot to do feedback on some of my earlier approvals. This is actually how I got my ratio up when it came in!

Mini Challenge
This Bloggiesta I challenge you to improve your ratio either by going back over your approvals or writing up reviews!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let me know your NetGalley tips and tricks!
Much Love and Luck!

Behind the Blog: 4 Hearts to 4½ Hearts!

Last November when I changed up my rating system I decided to convert some ratings. I do sometimes rethink ratings so I thought I'd do a post about why.

Easy by Tammara Webber.
Lengths by Steph Campbell and Liz Reinhardt.
Lost and Found by Nicole Williams.
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Since the original reading and reviewing I have picked up these five books over and over. Rereading scenes, refreshing my mind of quotes or simply reminding myself of how much I enjoyed them!
Start of a great series.
With Lengths and Lost and Found they both sparked great follow ups which I found myself loving but also realising how well written, characterised and enjoyable the first instalment was. With The Selection after The Elite I found cleverly hidden hints and great follow up on little details.
Most importantly these five books have continued to entertain me long after I have finished them!

Do you ever go back and change ratings?
Much Love

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Cover Reveal: Make it a Double by Sawyer Bennett.

Brody Markham has endured a nightmare, spending the last five years in prison and losing everything that was dear to him. Now he’s back home, trying to survive in a world he doesn’t recognize anymore. While his family and friends desperately try to reach through to him, he shelters himself further and further away from their love.
Alyssa Myers has worked her entire life to distance herself from the luxurious and privileged lifestyle in which she was raised. Running her non-profit agency, The Haven, she is content to spend her days helping abused animals find sanctuary, which fulfills her in a way that money just can’t buy.
Maybe it’s that she recognizes in Brody some of the same characteristics she sees in her homeless wards, but Alyssa is powerless to stop her personal quest to make Brody whole again.
While Brody struggles to surface from the darkness, Alyssa tries to protect her heart in case he’s not willing to accept the light that she offers him.
Make it a Double is the second book in Sawyer's latest series Last Call although it can be read as a standalone. I loved her Off series so I have high hopes for this new one!

Let me know if you love this new series!
Much love!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Spring Reading Thing.

The Musings of a Book Addict is hosting an amazing 3 month reading challenge – The Spring Reading Thing! 20th March- 20th June 2014.
I've had a bit of a slow start to the year both blogging and reading so this no pressure long term challenge is just what I need. 
I'm hoping to read 40 books- I need to get back on track to meet my 2014 goals
I've got a vague reading list but 3 months is long time to plan your reading!.
  • Once We Were by Kat Zhang.
  • Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund.
  • The One by Kiera Cass.
  • Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff.
  • Just One Year by Gayle Foreman.
  • None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing.
  • Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott.
  • Over It by Sarah Billington.
  • Escaping Me by Elizabeth Lee.
  • ...
Will you be joining in?
Much Love

Monster Reviewathon: Sign Up!

The Monster Read and Review-a-thons are a great chance for us all to get together, read some fabulous reads, and get to those reviews that we know have been sitting there waiting to be done for a little too long. You can read as much as you want. Review till you cannot review anymore. Whatever works best for you! In addition to the Thons, we will be hosting some fun related challenges, great prizes, and a Twitter party. You decide how much you want to participate. Whether it is just for a few days in reading then switching to reviewing or only participating on one or the other… what you get done depends on you!
– From The Book Monsters

I definitely need a reviewathon to catch up on my reviews! Once again I'm hoping to get ahead of myself..... Fingers crossed!

  • To schedule at least 5 reviews.
  • To draft 6 reviews.
Are you taking part? Will you be reading or reviewing?

Much Love!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Reading through the Ages- Primary School!

This series is an expansion of a Guest Post I did over at Sniffly Kitty years ago!
It like a through the years in books- I've divided this into school years as that's what I relate books to in my mind.

Primary School- Reception- Year 2 (ages 4 to 7)
Elmer and Six Dinner Sid

Favourite books of reception class by a long shot! I loved Sid and no matter how many times I read it or had it read to me I still laughed at his six dinners :P. Elmer used to entertain me endlessly.

Enid Blyton

Hands down my favourite childhood author. She cultivated my love of reading. I was issued my own library card so I could borrow  the Secret Seven and Famous Five books to my little heart’s content. My Uncle brought me the Magic Faraway Tree and the Naughtiest Girl Again and I think along with the Wishing Chair I loved them the best!

Dick King Smith

I loved his Sophie books so much I wanted to live on a farm too! I also loved Dodos are Forever and Tumbleweed. My library had a big selection of his books which I worked my way through!
Jacqueline Wilson
A close second to Enid Blyton is the amazing Jacqueline Wilson and her skill for writing about realistic but difficult childhood situations. Her books entertained me from 7 to at least 16 and even now, I reread them.

I love reliving my childhood by books!
Let me know what books you loved during this age!
Much Love

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver.

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

I was intrigued to read something contemporary from Lauren Oliver.

What I loved:
Concept- I loved the concept of Panic. It was so well thought out and all the potential holes, such as why no one told, were clearly covered. I liked that you never really understood the games or the participants fully. All the motives were different and the challenges were surprisingly intuitive.
Setting- I found Carp to be the perfect setting for Panic. The implied demographics of the town explained the popularity and anticipation of Panic. It was clear why so many people felt they needed to win and were willing to lie and betray others. The layout and seclusion of the town was also perfect for the playing of the game with lots of different spots for the game to take place without anyone else knowing!
Viewpoints- I enjoyed Heather and Dodge's viewpoints. They had slightly different backgrounds and motivations but started out as underdogs. I liked that they gave such different interpretations of scenarios and it was interesting to see what they did and did not pick up on. I loved that it revealed the corruption, decisions of side characters as well. I also found that despite the two viewpoints both characters still surprised me throughout the book!
Characters- The whole cast of characters were brilliantly distinctive and well written. I enjoyed all of their individual backgrounds and interactions but I'm going to comment on my favourites! I liked Nat especially seeing her from the two viewpoints, it was clear to see that her initial portrayal as just a popular girl was a fa├žade as she had hidden depths, motivations and issues. Bishop and Heather's interactions and relationship also had hidden depths, and as the game progressed it became more and more complicated. I loved their easy friendship in the beginning and how obvious their feelings towards each other were. Anne was completely outside of the Carp/Panic world and seemed like a level headed person willing to offer Heather a decent job as well as encouraging her to do more with herself. I really enjoyed the extra layer she brought to the book.

What I Didn't love:
Lack of resolution- I felt the book could of done with an epilogue to give a more in depth ending or at least one more chapter from Dodge's point of view. I'm still wondering why certain characters did what they did!  I also felt some issues were skirted over e.g. Nat's possible Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I really enjoyed the concept and structure of Panic and all the twists and turns!

Have you read Panic?
Leave me a link to your review below if you've reviewed it!
Much Love!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Thoughts on Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn.

Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none.

When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of.

But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?

I've been a fan of Nyrae Dawn since I started blogging, I've read the majority of her books and reviewed a few as well as interviewing her. Naturally I assumed I'd love her latest Young Adult title.... But I didn't. I'm not even sure why I just couldn't get into it. A couple of the characters grated on me I suppose but that's happened before and I've still enjoyed the book hmmm...

Bottom Line
I only skimmed Searching for Beautiful but I still found it to be beautifully written with great realistic characterisation. It seemed to cover many themes successfully with a positive moral message that avoided being preachy! I am disappointed that I didn't love, or even finish,this title like the rest of Nyrae's books but I would still recommend picking it up yourself!

Let me know if you love it!
Much Love

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Stacking the Shelves Follow Up: February

Yearly follow ups on my monthly stacking the shelves posts.

I have a bad habit of buying lots of books and then not getting around to reading them...... Please tell me this happens to other people?
Hopefully these posts will make me accountable and encourage me to read the leftovers :)

Make It Last by Bethany Lopez.
I Choose You by Bethany Lopez.
Trust in Me by Bethany Lopez-
Measuring Up by Nyrae Dawn.
Double Clutch by Liz Reinhardt
Fall Guy by Liz Reinhardt.

Between The Lines by Tammara Webber.
None of The Regular Rules by Erin Downing.
My Paper Heart by Magan Vernon.
The Disgrace of Kitty Grey by Mary Hooper.
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza.
Perception by Lee Strauss.

More reviews but more leftovers!
Which of my leftovers should I read first?

Much Love!