Tuesday, 23 September 2014

REVIEW: Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson

22814913I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any form.

Author: Jessica Thompson
Published by: Coronet on 31st July 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Chick-Lit
Pages: 441
Format: Paperback
Source: Hodder & Stoughton, bookbridgr
Links: GoodReads | Waterstones | Wordery

Summary:

Ben Lawrence seems to have it all - the hot job, the flashy car, and the luxurious apartment. But there is a tragedy hidden in his past.

The events of that day have stopped him truly getting close to anyone. He made a promise that love was the price he would pay for his mistakes.

When Effy Jones - a bright, ambitious, charity founder - walks into Tower 100 one autumn day, little do they know that their lives are about to be turned upside down.

Paper Swans tells of how true love conquers all, and when everything is broken one person can help mend the pieces.





This book has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. And with a beautiful cover is an equally beautiful story.

Paper Swans tells the story of two ambitious adults - Ben Lawrence and Effy Jones. Whilst Ben is known as a business prodigy in one of London's most famous PR company's, Effy is working to achieve her dream to open a charity to help those unfortunate in Uganda. Ben's company decides to help fund and support Effy's charity which leads to them both having to work together. When Ben and Effy start a relationship, one small mistake from Ben leads everything into disaster.

Whilst the summary may give off the impression that this book is about a 'lovey dovey' relationship, the story is far more than that. Paper Swans is one of the rare books I have read where it deals with mental illness. In this case - Ben. After suffering from a tragic loss as a teenager, it continues to haunt him in his years and affect his life in the worst way possible as he grew into an adult. He continues to blame himself for what had happened which leads him to neglect close relationships with people, especially women, in fear he would only end up hurting them too.

It was easy to sympathize and love Ben as we are briefly given small fragments of his past as he speaks to his psychologist. Both Effy and Ben are flawed characters that were developed flawlessly. The writing is a mix between simplistic and descriptive yet casual and enjoyable at the same time. Thompson's writing just draws you in and really has you mold into the world she has created. The story takes place within modern day and age, moving forwards into 2015. The story was told at a good pace from both character's points-of-view.

I was taken by how realistic everything seemed, it's clear the author really knows her stuff. You really are forced to feel emotions throughout the book. I'm amazed with how Ben had progressed and handled his mental illness as he slowly built up confidence once meeting Effy. Their relationship was something I admired and loved reading about. I'm sure this book is easy to relate to concerning the characters, and did well to relay the message of how people with depression and other mental illnesses are really suffering and can easily hide it away from other people.

Overall, this was a lovely and breath-taking book and I loved every single page. I would highly recommend people to read this.

Rating:
Gold Wreath
Wonderful read.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

REVIEW: A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any form.

Author: David Almond
Published by: Hodder Children's Books on 2nd October 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Links: GoodReads | Waterstones | Wordery

Summary:

"I'm the one who's left behind. I'm the one to tell the tale. I knew them both...knew how they lived and how they died."

Claire is Ella Grey's best friend. She's there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards.; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story - as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.




This is a retelling of the 'Orpheus and Eurydice' greek myth - which is one I had never even heard of. I'm also a huge fan of David Almond ever since reading Skellig as a child back in my years in primary school. A Song for Ella Grey truly intrigued me and the summary sounded very promising. I'm sad to say that this wasn't one of Almond's better novels.

The writing style is a little different with a stronger use of punctuation that you wouldn't find in most YA books. Though lyrical and poetic, I was confused in most parts when reading the story. In terms of plot, there isn't one. Not really. 

We meet Claire and Ella Grey, two best friends who share a very strong bond, one which I admired. Majority of the story was told from Claire's point-of-view as we know from the summary that Ella Grey dies so Claire is left to narrate the story. Claire and her friends discover Orpheus on a beach where his singing enchants anyone who listens. His back story is a little mysterious as socialization is not something he is fond of. He meets Ella through Claire and the two of them start a relationship which leaves Claire wondering if she is losing Ella to Orpheus. 

Ella's personality just didn't win me over and I felt like I didn't know her at all. Her death is sudden and a little rushed that I just didn't feel any sympathy. There were a lot of elements towards the end that really put me off and irritated me. The only relationship that I did understand was the friendship between Ella and Claire. It's implied that Claire harbors strong feelings for Ella but she chooses to support and respect Ella's choices. I also wished to know see more about Orpheus, though we do get a chapter from his point-of-view. The events following Ella's death were truly disappointing and a shame as it could have been better.

Even with the tragedy, the ending wasn't one of the best and I'm really dissatisfied with how the story turned out. To an extent this was an okay novel, the beginning was more enjoyable to read than the end in my opinion. There are fantasy elements that connect the story back to the myth but it just didn't work for me.

Rating:
Green Wreath

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Memory of a Childhood Book


I've read quite a lot of books in my time and lately I've been wondering about a certain book which oddly meant a lot to me. (Still does!)

I was around 12 when I was scrolling through the books in my school library and I picked out Child X. Back then, I never used to glance at the author behind the book or the publishers, not even the book covers. I just used to go by title and the summary on the back. (God how I wish I could still be like that now!) So something drew me to Child X, perhaps the title, and I chose to read it.

So I read it.

Then I read it again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

By now, I probably have read it over 20 times. I loved it. Still do! To a point where I had to keep renewing my loan at the library so I could continue reading it every day. (How selfish of me, I know.) The story was just beautiful and as child, I could understand the protagonist's feelings. It's strange as there wasn't a lot the protagonist, Jules, and I had in common. I hadn't even read Northern Lights at that age which held an important place in Jules' heart.

Nevertheless, I somehow felt connected with Jules and wanted nothing more than to materialize in her world and become her friend. I'm not sure what made me feel so connected with Jules but perhaps I knew back when I first read it. All I know is that it still means something to me. What happens to Jules in the story is very real, it could happen to anyone and it most likely has happened to teens around the globe. It was quite the emotional book about a girl trying to fight through the hardships of her life and stay strong even when the going gets tough. Jules was a very important character to me and I know Child X helped me to feel more positive about myself.

On top of it all, the book was by L.A Weatherly who coincidentally is now one of my most favourite authors! She is the creator behind my all-time favourite trilogy, the ANGEL trilogy! You couldn't imagine how astonished I was when I discovered this. There is just something about her writing that instantly draws my attention, maybe I subconsciously knew I had read her work before when I first started reading her ANGEL trilogy, who knows!


So when I met her when she went on tour for her book Angel Fever, I was extremely nervous, more than usual (my sister was witness to that) but she was wonderful and so lovely! I didn't get the chance to mention Child X to her then but I do want to say a huge thank you to you Lee for writing such meaningful books that I have grown to love so much. Especially for Child X which still holds a special place in my heart today!

Do you have a special childhood book too? Let me know!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Blog Tour - Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening

Welcome to my stop in the Mortiswood Blog Tour!
I'll be reviewing Gina Dickerson's YA Fantasy book - Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening.


Published by: CreateSpace on 1st November 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 315
Format: eBook
Source: Author

Summary:

“They’ve been waiting lifetimes for you, Kaelia. They want you and will stop at nothing to have you.”

The warning’s rung in Kaelia’s ears since she discovered she’s far from the ordinary girl who grew up in the coastal town of Margate. She has power. The first time she shows it, death strikes, the second, she loses someone special, and on the third, her mother disappears.

Destiny is coming for Kaelia and there’s nowhere she can hide. THEY have stepped out of the shadows to find her. For generations, there have been whispers of The Chosen One. They speak of a name - Marrock - whose destiny entwines with that of The Chosen One.

Kaelia must avenge the wrongs, uncover who Marrock is, find her mother, and ...

FIGHT

Facing forces of depraved evil, magic, and myth, Kaelia’s search leads her through magical forests and unearthly realms.

Who, or what, can Kaelia trust? Is she strong enough to survive the horror? All she knows is her life will never be the same again...
 





Where to begin? 

This is a highly magical book with massive amounts of creativity. I'm a huge fan of Fantasy so I was more than happy to give Mortiswood a try. I must commend Gina Dickerson on her imagination because quite frankly, I was quite impressed with the world building and all the ideas used throughout the book.

The story is based on Kaelia, our protagonist who one day discovers she is 'The Chosen One' and that her destiny lies with a guy called Marrock. After her Mother's disappearance and the death of her Father, Kaelia has to embark on a journey alone to get her answers and seek out her destiny. Her journey isn't an easy one as she goes through an assortment of challenges and battles along the way.

The book was very action-packed and incredibly fast paced. As thrilling as it was, I'd have preferred if the pacing was a little slower as we do have multiple points-of-view throughout the chapters which sometimes got a little confusing but it worked out fine. I took a little time to get into it at first but about a third way through I found myself really enjoying the story. I really liked Kaelia once she set off on her mission and I adored her friendship with the Wolf she meets. There's always something about animal-human friendship that really draws me in. Kaelia and Bran's friendship was amusing and I'm curious as to what will become of them.

With the casual writing, I found it easy and quick to read. There are lots of plot twists and gore and excitement. I would have loved to have seen the development of Calix and Cadence's relationship too as Calix was someone that intrigued me. 

The ending was very dramatic with that cliff hanger! I really want to know what becomes of Kaelia and the other characters. In many ways, this book is very unpredictable and I loved that. I look forward to reading the next book!

If you are a fan of supernatural elements, love magic and intense plot twists, then give Mortiswood a go!

Rating:
Bronze Wreath
 (3.75 out of 5 stars)


About the Author:


Gina Dickerson lives by the Thanet coast on the north-eastern tip of Kent, in the UK, with her family and playful Siberian husky. She is a full-time author and writes romantic suspense with a twist, horror, and fantasy because her characters refuse to play nice and wind up with more than a few bone-rattling skeletons in their closets.

She is the author of the murderous romantic suspense novels Lies Love Tells and Unveiling Christmas, the twisted short story collection, Underleaf, as well as the fantasy, adventurous romance series Mortiswood Tales - the first in the series being Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening. She has also written fashion and shopping columns for a local newspaper.

When she’s not writing, Gina loves rummaging in vintage clothes shops, taking way too many photographs, and leafing through fashion glossies.

Gina's Twitter: @GinaDWriter

Monday, 1 September 2014

August Wrap Up!

IT'S SEPTEMBER.


God, time flies fast doesn't it? It's been a very crazy summer and for most, school has either started or is about to start which sucks. I have a few short weeks before I'm due back to purgatory myself - which bites.

But I promised myself to read as much as possible this August and I'm proud with the number of books I managed to read! (It still seems like less, but at least it's more than usual.)

To begin with, at the start of the month I was in the middle of my #NightSchoolMarathon - which, if you have been living under a rock all these years is a fantastic YA Thriller series by C.J. Daugherty which you absolutely MUST read. Immediately. - so I read Fracture and Resistance which in my opinion was a great way to start off the month.


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GoodReads: