Thursday 28 February 2013

Book Review - Speechless

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Mira Ink
Release Date: 1 Feb 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1848451926

 Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

My Review
I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I saw quite a lot about this book online and thought it sounded interesting, I was a bit hesitant at first as I had read 'Saving June' by the same author and really didn't like it, but when this one came up I thought I might as well give it a go, the blurb sounded interesting and everything I had heard about it was positive so I requested it.
I started this book when I go home from work, i had half an hour until I had to go out to my sport club, I got about 20% through and actually didn't want to put it down. When I got home I quickly checked this blog and replied to a few emails and then decided I would read a bit more, it was only about 11 so thought I had a good hour. 
Well, lets just say I finally went to bed at 12.45 am but I had finished the book. I knew I should put the book down and get to bed but I couldn't do it. I told myself one more page, just this chapter, a couple more lines, but everytime I would extend that and read a bit more until I got so close to the end I couldn't possibly stop.
Chelsea is 'best friends' with Kristen the most popular girl in school, they share everything. Chelsea is known for having a big mouth and spreading secrets around and ultimately that is her downfall, whilst at a party she blurts out someones secret and it changes everything. Someone nearly gets killed and two others get arrested. Everyone blames her for everything going wrong, she's convinced that her big mouth is the cause of all of her problems so she takes a vow of silence. If she doesn't speak, she can't hurt anyone. 
Life sucks when you can't share your side of the story, I did sponsored silences at school and always struggled, I had something I wanted to input, correct, change, it's frustrating. And I wasn't particularly popular and I certainly didn't have people insulting me and trying to attack me. Chelsea takes so much and just refuses to fight back, that actually takes great control and courage. I actually felt scared for her.
But sometimes unexpected things happen, she ends up making friends, and maybe falling for the sweetest boy in the world.
I really didn't know what to expect from this but I really enjoyed the story, I felt a strong connection to Chelsea, you get into her mind a lot as she has a lot of time to think whilst she isn't talking. I also found it quite interesting as to what she chose to write down. She says that she can trust what she writes as she has to think before she puts it down, whereas talking is ininstantaneous and can come out wrong, and I thought that was a great point to make. A lot of people, in fact 99% of the population don't think before they speak and this book has made me think more about how my words could affect other people.
It is well written and flows smoothly, it is definitely one that will have you turning pages to see what comes next. The plot twists and turns and bulds up fabulously to the end. It's a sweet story with a strong message. There is a real mix of characters that will make the whole world more real, you will hate some and love the others, and the more you get to know them the more they pop off the page.
Well done Hannah Harrington, this book is awesome.   

My Rating

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop

This Giveaway hop is being hosted by 'I Am A Reader, Not A Writer' and 'Jinky is Reading'
These are awesome blogs, stop by and check them out.

Now, to the hop:

This Giveaway hop runs from February 28th - March 7th

What is a giveaway hop?
Simple - Each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another.
For followers this means lots of chances to win free books.
For blogs hosting a giveaway it means lots of new visitors.
It's a win-win!
There are currently over 135 blogs signed up so that's a lot of prizes to win. :D

So here's my Giveaway -

You can win a copy of 'Cloaked' by Alex Flinn. bought from 'The Book Depository 

This is a great book, I love Alex Flinn's twists on fairytales.'

Here are the rules:  
1) Competition opens 28th February 2013
2) Competition closes on 7th March 2013 Midnight GMT    
3) Enter your Name, E-mail and Blog Link in the Linky List Below (email will be hidden, if you don't have a blog just enter your Facebook or Twitter page)
4) You Must be a Follower to enter! 
5) One Name will be selected at random from the list.
6) Contest open Internationally
7) Winners will be contacted by e-mail
8) Winners will have 3 days to reply or another winner will be selected.

You MUST fill in the Linky form to be in with a chance to enter. Do NOT put your details in the comments section.
I don't have time to go through all the comments or add you on the list myself. 
All you need to do is put your name/blog name in the box that says 'Contest Entry', a link to your blog/facebook in the box that says 'Link' and then your email address in the box that says 'Email'

Good luck to everyone.

Visit the other blogs taking part:

Book Promo - Monster Mirror

Monster Mirror blurb:

A plan to keep evil from spilling out into the world is tested…
In a world where terrifying creatures roam the night, all seventeen-year-old Mia wants is a quiet summer in safe, supernatural-free Cape Livingston. After a wrong turn into an unknown area, she learns the Cape isn’t as predictable as expected.
Mia must protect herself from the paranormal world ready to destroy her life by using everything she’s learned from the horror movies she watches.
Will her training be enough to tip the scale in her favor? Will her choice between the boy she loves or the boy determined to deliver her as a Swap be the right one? Is her future with the Monster Mirror inevitable?

Monster Mirror excerpt:

I live in a world filled with paranormal creatures. They showed up almost twenty years ago. That’s when the Reveal happened.
Hollywood stopped making new horror films when the real things showed up, so I catch my supernatural education from the net’s streaming movies. “Mia,” my mom used to say a lifetime ago, “stop with all the scary movies already. Switch to rom-coms.” No way. Maybe all this interest in the supernatural was premonition and preparation for me.


Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a special spot?
Most of my writing is done at my desktop computer in a room where I can lock the door. This is really important in my house as the second I sit down to write, everyone (including the dog) seems to need immediate attention and have questions that only I can answer. Okay. I guess I’m hiding, right?

Favorite TV shows?  
I like the whole spectrum! When it comes to comedy, I adore The Big Bang Theory. The writing and actors are fantastic. Plus, am I the only one who finds Sheldon kinda hot? On the complete opposite side, The Walking Dead is one of my favorite dramas. I love the characters, action, emotions, and the show moves so fast, you can barely catch your breath. Right in the middle, The Vampire Diaries is a must-see for me. Probably because I want to be Elena.

Can you tell us a bit more about your book and how it came about?
I love to read paranormal stories, and the concept of Monster Mirror just came to me. There’s a strong female character, two boys that vie for her attention, and story that’s revealed layer by layer. Some of my beta readers told me the evolution of the story was amazing.

When you write, do you plan the storyline or just go with the flow and see where it takes you? Plotter or Panster?
I plot for the most part, but leave enough room to let the characters take me where they want to go. Sometimes we go to the strangest, most unexpected places. Monster Mirror started off in a little lighter in tone, but the final story ended up a bit darker than I’d anticipated. Which is all good, since dealing with life and death can be dark.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?
Not really. Although the issues are universal: love, hate, loyalty, fear. Just about everyone can relate to Mia, my main character in Monster Mirror.

Do you listen to music when you write?
I like it quiet with no distractions. But when I listen to music, I create my own little video in my head, starring the characters in scenes from Monster Mirror.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

You've probably seen this on some of the other blogs but I have to show my <3 for="" of="" p="" series="" this="" videos.="">
If you have ever heard me speak you will know that I dislike 'Pride & Prejudice' by Jane Austen. I had to study it at school, reading it as a class text frustrated me and I swear my teacher was more interested in seeing Colin Firth in the film than actually studying the text which left me with a rather intense dislike of the whole thing.

So why am I watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries? Well, I saw a link on another blog and thought I recognized one of the actresses in the freeze frame. Not intending to watch more than five minutes I loaded it to see if I could work out who they were.

And that, as they say, was that. I was hooked. I found the actresses to be charming and totally charismatic, the modern twist on the story was awesome and I got totally into it.

If you don't know what I am talking about, here is a link to episode 1, I bet you won't be able to click away after just 1:

Currently there are 91 episodes!!!!! Which I have watched in 3 days. Right now it is 1:45 am, as I was just going to watch 'a couple' of episodes but ended up going through and finishing the last of the playlist.

There are also 'spin-off' videos told from Lydia's point of view which are another fantastic insight to the story. I watched them 'side-by-side', so I would alternate between videos to get the full picture of what was happening and it just made everything so much more real.

The whole cast is fantastic and portray such well known characters fantastically. And as the story progressed I kind of forgot that they weren't real people, I became a part of their story. I laughed and cried along with these videos and I can't wait for more. Please say there is going to be more!!!

It was interesting for me to watch not being a fan too, also reading the comments to see what ral fans said about it too. I think it gave me a slightly different edge to it as I didn't always know what was coming or 'supposed' to happen, but it didn't hinder me at all and I don't think it would if you were a fan of the original either. Simply put they did an amazing job and they should all be so proud.

And has my view on Pride & Prejudice changed? I know this is updated and adapted for modern day but it has made me want to go back and read the original, would be interesting to see exactly what was changed and also what was kept 'the same'. I never thought anything would get me to pick it up again but this has. So well done to the cast and crew just for that.

Anyway, that's about as much gushing as I can take, I am going to try and get a few hours sleep before I have to be up in the morning.

In the meantime why don't you check out the video - but be warned they are HIGHLY ADDICTIVE! :D

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Book Novella Review - As They Slip Away

Title: As They Slip Away
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe (book 0.5)
Release Date: 11th January 2013

Taking place on the spaceship Godspeed before Amy Martin wakes up and Elder takes leadership, this novella describes life at the Hospital during Eldest's reign. Focusing primarily on background characters, readers will see fan-favorite characters Harley, Orion, Victria, and more.
Selene is a singer on a spaceship that only values people who can provide important skills that enhance survival. As her friends--fellow "loons" in the Hospital--start to join apprenticeships to turn their skills into valuable labor, Selene is sent with a handful of other students to learn about the importance of art from the Recorder, Orion. The assignment pairs her with a young sculptor, Luthor, and their dangerous romance proves just how terrifying living trapped on a spaceship under the rule of a heartless dictator could be.
This tragic tale explores the background of a previously unknown character, linking the history of the ship and its residents to Amy and Elder, giving depth to the world of Godspeed.

My Review
I got this from Beth Revis' blog on a free download. If you go to Goodreads it has a link to where you can download this too.
This is set before the main series starts, but is definitely one for the fans. It features characters that we meet in the background of Across the Universe. Of course Harley plays a part but this mainly focuses on Selene.
Selene lives in the hospital wing where they are all classed as 'loons' those with artistic talents get put there, they are now being given a chance to enhance their skills, some may serve a purpose on the ship later, as a singer Selene knows she is pretty useless but when Luthor starts paying her attention she feels special until she sees another side of him. 
I think we do meet Selene briefly in the main book when Amy goes running in the field, it was interesting to see a background story to the characters we have heard about before, it gives a whole other dimension to the book.
This story is quite sad, Selene doesn't have the best of lives and Luthor is horrible to her, we know he is dangerous but this gives a whole other angle to it.
As I love the series this is an essential read, definitely one for fans. 

My Rating

Book Promo, Interview & Giveaway - Untimed Book Summary:
Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.

As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.

Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.

When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it. And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!

Link to excerpts from Untimed: Gavin's Bio:
Andy Gavin is a serial creative, polymath, novelist, entrepreneur, computer programmer, author, foodie, and video game creator. He co-founded video game developer Naughty Dog and co-created Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. He started numerous companies, has been lead programmer on video games that have sold more than forty million copies, and has written two novels.

His first book, The Darkening Dream, has been well-received by fans and critics alike. Publisher’s Weekly called it “gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying.” Untimed is an even more ambitious follow-up. It is a lavish production with a cover by acclaimed fantasy artist Cliff Nielsen and twenty-one full page interior illustrations by Dave Phillips.

Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $24.00 hardcover
Publisher: Mascherato Publishing
ISBN: 9781937945053 ebook, 9781937945046 paperback, 9781937945039 hardcover
Pages: 325
Release: December 19, 2012

Amazon paperback buy link ($14.99):

Kindle buy link ($5.99):

Andy Gavin's Web Site:

Andy Gavin's Facebook:

Andy Gavin's Twitter:

Andy Gavin's Blog:

Andy Gavin's Pinterest:

Andy Gavin's Wikipedia:

Andy Gavin's Goodreads:

Untimed Goodreads:

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blog tour site:

Who was your favourite author as a child? Who is it now?

When I was very young I used to obsessively reread certain novels, among them a number of Alexander Key books like The Forgotten Door and The Case of the Vanishing Boy. Now-a-days, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is probably my favorite. I have a lot of favorites though: Dan Simons, Tim Powers, Orson Scott Card, Guy Gavriel Kay, Sherri S. Tepper, Octavia Butler, Ian M. Banks, Jack L. Chalker, Robin Hobb, Stephen King, Gene Wolfe, Katherine Kurtz, Vernor Vinge, and many more.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be an author?

I’m a lifelong creator and explorer of worlds. As far back as first grade I remember spending most of the school day in one day dream or another. I had a huge notebook stuffed with drawings, story bits, and concepts for an elaborate Sci-Fi/Fantasy world I cobbled together from bits of Star Wars, Narnia, and Battlestar Galactica. By fourth or fifth grade not only was I loosing myself in every fantasy or Sci-Fi novel I could, but I was building Dungeons & Dragons castles and caverns on paper. Then from 1980 on the computer.
Over the following decades I wrote dozens of stories and created and published over a dozen video games all set in alternative universes. And as an avid reader (over 10,000 novels and who knows how many non-fiction volumes) it was no surprise that I eventually decided to write some books of my own.

Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a special spot?

My work space is extremely messy but with a great view of Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean. I write on a 12 core Mac Pro with two Apple 30” monitors. Yeah, I’m a computer geek, and an Apple weenie to boot. I write in Scrivener which is a totally awesome writer’s word processor. Any writer still using Word is crazy J.
Unless something distracting is going on I try to have my butt in the chair by around 10am (after working out) and more or less keep it there until around 6pm. If drafting new prose I try to do about 2000 words a day. I write, then I do a polish pass. If I had to rewrite significantly during that pass I’ll do a third sweep to cleanup.

Can you tell us a bit more about  your book and how it came about?

Typically, Untimed began from a fusion of ideas. Lingering in my mind for over twenty years was a time travel story about people from the future who fell “downtime” to relive exciting moments in history (until things go wrong). I worked out a time travel system but had no plot or characters. Separately, in 2010, as a break from editing The Darkening Dream, I experimented with new voice techniques, especially first person present. I also read various “competition.” One of these was The Lightning Thief (the first Percy Jackson novel), which has an amazing series concept (if a slightly limp execution).  I love mythology and history, and liked the notion of something with a rich body of material to mine. I wanted an open ended high concept that drew on my strengths, which brought me back to time travel.
Some of the mechanics from my earlier concept merged well with a younger protagonist, voiced in a visceral first person present style. I started thinking about it, and his voice popped into my head. I pounded out a chapter not too dissimilar from the first chapter of the final novel. Then the most awesome villain teleported into the situation. I can’t remember how or why, but it happened quickly and spontaneously. Tick-Tocks were born (or forged).

When you write, do you plan the storyline or just go with the flow and see where it takes you? Plotter or Panster?

Personally I find the two different modes: plotting vs. just writing, to use different sides of the brain, and therefore useful to stagger. I can only handle a few days of plotting before I need the release of getting it out there. There really isn’t any rush in writing as good as just pounding out a great scene that’s already gelled in your head, and it’s even better when the scene and characters take on a life of their own and bring something novel to the process. Looking back on it, I realize that as a computer programmer I took this same exact alternating approach (between designing the algorithm and just coding) and that the rush and rhythm were nearly identical. 

Time Travel is a tricky subject to write as there are so many variables and knock on affects. Did you ever struggle keeping things in order? Did you have any techniques that helped you?

First of all, I had to come up with a unique new system that allowed multiple visits to the same time period, but wasn’t too overpowered. If your characters are too powerful, there is no jeopardy. So I had to invent all the restrictions and deal with the issues of paradox (and I think I have a crafty new solution there). Then I had to figure out how to make returning to the SAME action actually interesting for the reader. That was even harder.
Getting the overlapping / paradox stuff working took a lot of diagramming and experimentation.

If you could live in any time period which would you choose and why?

For cool factor, I’d want to be an incredibly rich Patrician Roman, living by the bay of Naples a good 80 years BEFORE the eruption of Vesuvius. They had heated pools, awesome frescos, three day banquets, and… slave girls (just kidding). Actually, today is really the best, and that’s one of the themes of Untimed. We have more personal freedoms, more overall wealth, and much, much better medicine. Try getting an infection in the second century BC. 

Are any of your characters based on people you know?

Perhaps, but I’m not telling. Really, like most authors, I just borrow bits and pieces of traits from people I know and even from characters in other books and movies. Literary tradition (I include TV and film here) supplies a lot of rough templates.

How many books will there be in the series?

At least three. I have outlines for that much. Really rough outlines I’m only partially happy with – but that’s the way of it. I’m never happy with the outlines. I hate outlines. They bite.

What was the hardest thing about writing this series?

Action and dialog scenes are easiest for me, with scenes involving deep emotional crisis are the hardest. One of the worst to write in this novel was right at the act 2/3 break (a notoriously difficult spot) where Charlie comes to the realization that his Dad isn’t always right. There’s a lot of exposition in this scene, and a lot of conflict. Trying to keep it moving and lead to a believable outburst was a real challenge. Multi-layered time travel action is easy by comparison.

Actually, that’s not totally true, as when Charlie has to come to the same time and place multiple times makes for a sophisticated puzzle. Just one layer can be complex in its own right, like the central church fire scene. Repeating the action is really hard, in no small part because you don’t actually want to repeat, that would be boring.

A lot of authors have playlists for their books. Do you like to listen to music whilst you write and if so can you give us any recommendations?

I’m a very eclectic music listener. 70s and 80s rock. Some new stuff (including Lady Gaga and Katy Perry). Lots of classic Jazz (like Miles Davis), lots of classical. All sorts of weird stuff from Ottoman court music to Tibetan monastic chants to medieval Spanish tunes.
Lyrics interfere with serious writing or editing so trance techno is one of my favorite genres for that. Or something spacy like jazz or Tangerine Dream if I don’t want to pound.

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Monday 25 February 2013

Book Novella Review - Turned at Dark

Title: Turned At Dark
Author: C.C Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls (book 0.5)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: 15th March 2011
ISBN13: 9781429996471


Turned at Dark is a bonus Shadow Falls short story
Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang did not believe in ghosts, until she sees her dead cousin in a dark alley. She did not believe in vampires, until she turns into one. Should she follow her vampire cousin’s lead and walk away from everything she knows, or join Shadow Falls, a camp for special teens.

My Review
The Shadow Falls series is one of my all time favourite series, I'm on the 'Street Team' for the series to help promote it, It's just one of those series that captures your heart and mind.
I downloaded this short story a while ago and was really excited to read it, but I had to finish the book I was reading then it ended up in my 'pile'. If you watched my TBR video I posted yesterday, I went through everything I had and I saw this listed. As it was only 32 pages I decided to dive in. 
C.C Hunters writing just grabs you and pulls you in. Within the first paragraph I was back into the world. This novella follows Della and shows us how she became a Vampire, when everything in her life changed. I always liked Della so it was great to see an insight into her past and how she dealt with it and why she ended up where she did and with the attitude she has.
I want more like this, 32 pages passed in a flash and i wanted more.
I'm now even more excited and looking forward to the newest book 'Chosen at Nightfall' which is due out this year in June! These characters have become like friends to me and I want to see what they are up to now. 
C.C Hunter is a wonder with words!
If you haven't read this series yet, you are seriously missing out, find a copy of 'Born at Midnight (bk1) and get stuck in!

My Rating