Saturday 23 May 2015

Book Review - Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

Title: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll
Narrator: David Horovitch
ISBN: 9781407486796  
Enter the magical world of Wonderland, follow the white rabbit and meet the Queen of Hearts, but don't get caught there!
 My Review
I have always been a fan of Alice in Wonderland, mostly from watching the Disney film as a child. I read the book a few years ago and found it strange and very different but still enjoyable, just different from what I expected. We are hosting an Alice event at the library next week to celebrate 150 years since it's original publication so I though it would be a good time to re-read it, but being short of time I picked up the audiobook to listen to in my car. The narrator is fun although Alice's voice is a bit squeaky at times but once you get used to it, you get swept up into the world. 
The book is wacky and fun with some very strange ideas but that is all part of it's charm. And I still love the story as much now as I did as a child.
My Rating

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Book Review - The Book Thief

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Black Swan; Film Tie-in edition edition or Random House AudioBooks
Release Date: 29 Dec. 2006 or 30 Jan. 2014 (paperback)
ASIN: B002SQ677Y
ISBN-13: 978-0552779739

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
It's a small story, about:
a girl
an accordionist
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.

My Review
I have been intrigued by this book for years and always said I would try it, even more so when I saw there was a film coming out (I refuse to watch the movies until I have read the book). It is by no means my usual kind of read, but it has a lot of good reviews and everyone I know who has read it has said it was good, meaningful and emotional. However it stayed on my list a long, long time, so when I saw it in the library on spoken word CD I decided to borrow it. I always have a book to listen to in my car and this filled a gap perfectly. The narrator was brilliant, he had the accent presented perfectly and I found it really easy to listen to. 
Liesel is sent to stay with a foster family as war breaks out across Germany. She goes to live on Himmel Street with Hans and Rosa Hubermann. The book is narrated by death which is very different but also a very interesting angle and he tells Liesel's story of how she got there and how she makes it her home. How she grows up and all that she experiences, from seeing Jews being marched through town and persecuted, making friends, going to school and dealing with the effects of war on her family and friends. As it is narrated by death it also means that we get a wider view of events going on elsewhere in the country during the war and presents a bigger picture. But the main focus is always Liesel and she is such a loveable, excitable and somewhat mischievous character that you can't help but like her. My favourite character was Rudy, he is so cheeky, funny and tries so hard that your heart goes out to him, even when he's naughty. 
I found this book to be very enlightening and interesting and emotional. I laughed in a few places and cried in others. I found myself hoping with all my might that the characters would survive, through the many trials and tribulations, and I'm not going to give away the ending, but I have to say that it moved me to tears. 
This book is beautifully written and full of imagery. The characters are so realisitc you can really picture the little streets, shops and houses and all of them moving around and going about their lives. Like long lost friends. 
I would strongly recommend this book to everyone and even the spoken word version as it will sweep you away in the narrative and you won't want to turn it off. 
I just hope the film is just as good.

My Rating

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Book Review - Dance of FIre

Title: Dance of Fire
Author: Yelena Black
Series: Dance of Shadows (Book 2)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Release Date: 12 Mar. 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1408829981

All dancers dream of the chance to try out for the Royal Court Ballet Company. Only two dancers from the elite New York Ballet Academy will have this honour. Vanessa is one of them. She dances with grace and elegance, and a fury that is unmatched. Justin – strong, sexy and caring – will be her partner. But the thrill of travelling to London for this once-in-a-lifetime competition is shrouded by their past and the demands of an ancient organisation. The Lyric Elite needs them to win the contest and to infiltrate the Royal Court Ballet in order to seek out a dark society of Necrodancers. Vanessa will dance like she has never danced before, but not for them. Vanessa is there to find her missing sister, Margaret, and she won't let anything get in the way of that ... Fierce rivals, dark forces and hidden motives weave together.

My Review
I wasn't sure by the ending of the first book but I wanted to know what happened next, there were too many mysteries still to be solved not to continue so I ordered this book and waited for it to arrive. 
First of all, I have to admit the cover is absolutely stunning, these books certainly do well on the aesthetic view. I had an evening in and no coursework imminent (a rare occassion) so I decided to get stuck into this book. 
Vanessa and Justin have got a place in the Royal Court Ballet competition, but it's not entirely about dance, they have been sent by the 'Lyric Elite' to try and find the rest of the Necrodancers. This featured a lot more in this book and I still had a hard time accepting the whole ballet dancing to raise spirits thing, I was skeptical for a while but actually the more i read, the more I started to believe it and see where the author and characters were coming from. 
There are a number of new characters and they fit in well, I loved her Russian room mate, strong and a bit snotty but caring deep down. The whole Ballet school and competition is well set up and I found myself picturing the halls and practice rooms. As it is set in London, I could picture a lot of the places they visit as I have been there in reality, which made it seem all the more real. 
Justin really grew as a character in this book and I found myself liking him more and more, he is strong and silent but at the same time you know you can trust him.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this book that will keep you guessing throughout, and right to the end of the book you will be trying to figure out who is the bad guy, what really happened to Vanessa's Sister and if they will get back alive.
Overall this book is enjoyable and fast paced, and just as good as the first, but somehow I am still a little bit on the fence about the whole thing, the dance aspect is fabulous and I love that, but the paranormal aspect is still a little far fetched at times. 
This is a series that keeps me intrigued and I would read more if it came out, and I would recommend people try it for themselves. 

My Rating

Cover Reveal - Diamonds are Forever

Diamonds are Forever Cover Reveal

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas … but that doesn’t matter when you live there. Sisterhood, first crushes and scandalous secrets explode in book three of Michelle Madow’s The Secret Diamond Sisters.

Title: Diamonds are Forever

Author: Michelle Madow

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 27, 2015

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters #3

Format: Print

ISBN: 978-0-37321-152-4


It's cold outside, but the drama is hot!

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah's flirt-mance with international pop star Perry Myles continues as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is it "meant to be" with Perry, or has the right guy been in front of her eyes this entire time? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—Brett…and with Adrian and Rebecca's wedding approaching, they feel more pressure than ever to reveal their relationship. Peyton might be figuring out a direction for her future, but she feels responsible for her bodyguard Jackson being fired, and wonders if the best way to find solace for her guilt is in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison's ready to tell the Diamond sisters the truth about the huge secret she's uncovered. And with Oliver, the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life, in the hospital fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamonds more than ever.

Pre-order at: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository  |  Books A Million  |  Goodreads

Other Books in the Secret Diamond Sisters Series:

Title: The Secret Diamond Sisters

Author: Michelle Madow

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 25, 2014

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters #1

Format: Print

ISBN: 978-0-37321-109-8


Three sisters. One billionaire father. What could go wrong?

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Title: Diamonds in the Rough

Author: Michelle Madow

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 28, 2014

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters #2

Format: Print

ISBN: 978-0-37321-136-4


All-access doesn't mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side.
Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.

Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow's riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.

Praise for The Secret Diamond Sisters:

“Sexy and electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps.” -Booklist

“This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride.” -RT Book Reviews

“I opened The Secret Diamond Sisters and was transported to Vegas … there was never a dull moment! It’s the helpless romantic's dream.” -LitPick Five Star Book Review Award

“Highly addictive! Hold on tight, because The Secret Diamond Sisters throws you head first into the Vegas fast lane. Three every day teens navigate the slippery slope of wealth, popularity, and too much freedom, along with family drama, cat fights, and more gorgeous guys than should be legal. A fun ride not to be missed!” – Rachel Harris, NYT Bestselling Author

“Michelle Madow has followed in the platinum heel-steps of Cecily Von Ziegesar (Gossip Girl), Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars) and Ally Carter (Heist Society) in what seems like the first season of the Diamond girls’ romantic, shocking and lavish lives.” —Nathan Siegel, Goodreads Reviewer

“Boasting juicier secrets, more extravagant luxury, and higher stakes consequences, Michelle Madow has shown that in her world of decadently sinful Las Vegas nothing is as it seems, and all bets are off.” -Glass of Wine Reviews

Author Bio:

Michelle Madow wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college.

Remembrance is the first book in The Transcend Time Saga, a three part series about reincarnation and true love that Michelle successfully self-published. The series was inspired by Taylor Swift's "Love Story" music video. Michelle's latest YA series, The Secret Diamond Sisters, about three sisters who discover they are the secret heirs to a Las Vegas billionaire casino owner, was published in March 2014 by Harlequin Teen. The second book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, released in November 2014, and the third book, Diamonds are Forever, will be coming out in November 2015. Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing.

Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling the world, shopping, Disney fairy tales, Broadway musicals, and loves talking with fans on Facebook (/MichelleMadow), Twitter

(@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow).

To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, join Michelle Madow's Street Team on Facebook!

Connect with Michelle:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

Friday 1 May 2015

Release Day Blitz - Bound by Prophecy

Title Announcement: Bound Series Book 3 by Stormy Smith

Today, Stormy Smith released the name of the third book in her highly anticipated Bound series and we’ve got the scoop!



If you haven’t picked up Bound by Duty or Bound by Spells, you’re going to want to jump on those now!

Book one – Bound by Duty

Nominated for Best Book hangover in the UtopYA 2015 awards!

boundbydutyAmelia grew up in a world of half-truths. She knows she's an Elder, but has no idea what that means. Her father reminds her daily that she must maintain control, but he refuses to explain why. Even worse, she's betrothed to the prince of the Immortals and doesn't even know his name.

Finally breaking free to live a few normal years at a community college, the last thing Amelia expects is to find her best friend in a cheeky southern girl, or fall for a self-assured human who sees her for who she is, not what she will become.

As she learns more about herself, Amelia realizes the line between love and duty is a thin one. As her power continues to increase exponentially and her questions are slowly answered, Amelia must make the ultimate choice. The question is, will her head win the battle, or her heart?


Book two – Bound by Spells

boundBound by Spells released March 19, 2015 and has been consistently praised for the dual point of view storytelling, as being better than Bound by Duty, and a book no one can put down! In lieu of potential spoilers in the description, take a look at what fans and bloggers are saying:

Serena Chase, from USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog said, "Featuring a cast of mages and shapeshifters with unique magical abilities, one destiny-shaping prophecy, a genocidal megalomaniac, and a budding, heated romance (or two!), this book is paranormal gold! Read the first book in the series first, of course, but once you finish this one you're sure to be salivating for the next release in this not-to-be-missed romantic paranormal series."

Megsandherbooks said, “I absolutely could not put this down...the lies, the deception, and the never ending struggle to find the truth had me on the edge of my seat eagerly flipping (er... tapping) to get to the next page…If you are a lover of unique stories filled with magic, shifters, action, suspense, friendship, and delusional power hungry villains you MUST one-click this baby!!!”

Fan Jolene Buchheit said, “There were moments when I had chills and moments where my heart was racing. When I turned the last page I was angry, because I can't wait for book 3!”


Stormy Bio PicAbout the author: Stormy Smith is the author of the Amazon best seller, Bound by Duty, and Bound by Spells. She calls Iowa’s capital home now, but was raised in a tiny town in the Southeast corner of the state. She grew to love books honestly, having a mom that read voraciously and instilled that same love in her. She knew quickly stories of fantasy were her favorite, and even as an adult gravitates toward paranormal stories in any form. Writing a book had never been an aspiration, but suddenly the story was there and couldn't be stopped. When she isn't working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy’s favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband or girlfriends.
Connect with Stormy: