Monthly Archives: January 2014

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Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil #1)

Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil #1)Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Series: Sweet Evil #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 1st 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 453
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Sweet Evil is such a brilliant YA Paranormal, I feel so refreshed, because sometimes it can be really hard to sieve through the most awful crap in this genre. Although I’ve read a lot of great YA Paranormal books, this one was different, but also incredibly the same. It had the innocent girl who was ignorant about the para world and the inevitable bad boy. But these are used for good reason: the innocence gave Anna time to grow, and the bad boy appealed to me in every way. That’s not to say Kaidan didn’t frustrate me–he seriously did.

The book is set around a really interesting premise about Demons and Angels, where good, Christian Anna is half-Angel and half-Demon. This makes Anna’s character more interesting because she has to deal with things she’s never even dreamed of. Kaidan and Anna are Nephilim–children of Demons. They have to work to corrupt society and humanity, which is pretty soul-destroying. I thought this was so inventive and unique, I’ve never read this kind of premise and it intrigued me all the way through the book. Anna has never gotten drunk or been high, and suddenly these substances are calling to her and she’s expected to use them. Otherwise she will be killed.

Kaidan is such an awesome bad boy, and even though it annoyed me how caught up Anna was with him–I still really loved his character. He drew me in even though he was frustrating. He’s also part of a band and plays the drums…so, yeah. There was a lot of mixed messages and hot and cold about him. There’s attraction between Anna and Kaidan, but they can never be together because their life is dedicated to working.

I enjoyed the way Anna begins to discover who she really is, and her relationship with Patti. They both loved each other so much, a love that I can identify with but don’t see it often in books, for some reason. The parents are always unreasonable or sometimes simply dead, but Patti’s character really warmed my heart and I could feel her love toward Anna through the pages.

Rating: 5 Stars–the premise was so unique and interesting, I began to get invested in all the characters and I’m really desperate to read the next book! (Edit: I read the next book and it’s just as amazing!)

five-stars

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Things I Covet

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heeeart1 Double happiness necklace: I was reading Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman, and the double happiness story and symbol comes up, I love the idea behind it and think this necklace from Etsy is really cute.

heeeart2Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: I’ve seen Beauty Queens around for a while and I haven’t read any books by Libba Bray, so this is something I’d love to read!

heeeart3The Head and the Heart–Let’s Be Still: I now have a Spotify account and I’m loving it. I found the track 10,000 Weight in Gold by The Head and the Heart and it’s been my jam for the past week or so.

heeeart4Asos Headband: I love wearing hats but knitted headbands aren’t something I’ve tried, I found this on Asos and really liked it.

heeeart5Barry M in Ice Cream Pink: I can’t paint my nails often because of school, but this colour from Barry M is pretty.

heeeart6Topshop cutout boots: I adore the cutout boots trend and recently asked for a pair for my birthday!

heeeart7Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson: After I heard Tiger lily was based on Peter Pan, I’ve wanted to read it! Peter Pan was one of my favourite stories as a child and I want to see how this version pans out.

heeeart8Topshop Badger socks: Who wouldn’t want badger socks?

These are the things I’ve seen this week and thought were cute. What books/beauty/clothes/music have you been lusting after this week?

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Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spines, and it’s when you showcase the not yet released titles you can’t wait for!

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Isla and the Happily Ever After looks so awesome! I loved Anna and the French Kiss and am going to buy Lola and the Boy Next Door soon. We didn’t get to see much of Josh in Anna, but he seems like the shy, drawer type, which I think I’ll love!

What are you guys eagerly anticipating?

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Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Published by Usborne on December 2nd 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 372
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Anna and the French Kiss is such a fluffy, warm book that cuddles you when you read it. It’s about an American girl who gets sent to a boarding school in Paris for her last year of school. The boarding school is for Americans, and I loved the Paris aspect of the book. They say Paris is the city of romance, and that added to the magic of the book.

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Anna was such a joy to read. Her voice was hilarious, witty and something I entirely identified with. I just wanted to reach into the book and be her best friend. I read the first page, laughed and knew, just knew  this was going to be a 5 star read. Anna never annoyed me throughout the whole book–which is quite a feat! Her passion for films is like my passion for books, and she has a dream of becoming a film critic and writes on her blog. I could really identify with it, the way she would escape off to different cinema’s in Paris and watch old films. She jumps out of her comfort zone and into an entirely different country with, actually, not much complaining. Which is good, because no one wants to read about a big whiner. She embraces Paris a little later in the book and starts to learn French and grow up a little.

St Clair is so awesome and dreamy, he was the perfect mix of humour and sweet personality. He was also frustrating though! I wanted to hit him on the head sometimes because he didn’t know what he wanted! I loved the way they interacted and how genuine St Clair was…I just…dreamy sigh. Together, St Clair and Anna become close friends and explore Paris together, while the tension crackles between them. They didn’t just explore the usual tourist-y places, but also their secret places that made this book different.

Anna and the French Kiss is hilarious, gut-wrenching and amazing. It’s one of the most perfect YA Romances I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to read the next instalment of Lola and the Boy Next Door.

five-stars

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Review: The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop

Review: The Isobel Journal by Isobel HarropThe Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop
Published by Hot Key Books on November 7th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
THE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author's sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: 'Love', 'Friends, Art and Otters' and 'Me'.

*This book was given to me for review purposes by Hot Key Books, this does not affect my review in any way*

The Isobel Journal is a book filled with drawings, captions and photographs by Isobel Harrop, to illustrate her life. I’d never read this kind of journal-style book before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a style of book that I loved and will search for more of in the future. I was reading it when I was in exam mocks period, and it thoroughly cheered me up and made me forget all the stresses I had going on! There is something about this book that is so endearing and I’ve re-read it many times since my first read. Harrop’s voice is one that any teenager can relate to and enjoy. It’s the kind of book where you can sit down, get comfy, and drink a cup of tea whilst looking at the pretty pictures and funny writing.

The pictures are in the style of a scarp-book drawn by Isobel Harrop with observations about daily life and random comments. I found it so interesting to read about another teenager in this kind of format. It was quirky, refreshing and such fun to read through!

I really loved stepping outside my usual fiction reads and sitting down with this one!

Rating: 4 Stars!

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abc challenge

The 2014 ABC Challenge

abc challengeMy awesome book blogger friend Kayla from The Bookish Owl and I, come together to bring you: The 2014 ABC Challenge!

The concept is rather simple; you read the entire alphabet of books beginning with A, B, C and so on. For example, for A you could read Anna and the French Kiss and for B you could read Bloodlines by Richelle Mead. You don’t need to read the alphabet in order, so long as you read a book for every letter. As you get to the lesser used letters such as: X, Y, Z, you can read any book if the authors name contains that letter. For example, for the letter X, you could read The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

When reading something beginning with “The”, it does not count for the letter T. Instead, if you’re reading The House of Hades by Rick Riordon, it will count for the letter H. However, if you happen to know a book beginning with X, Y, Z anyway (Zombies vs. Unicorns) we encourage you to read that instead!

I have confirmed that there WILL be a prize for the first person to complete the alphabet!

Kayla and I are so excited to be bringing this to you. If you want to join, click HERE to sign up, and you can also join the Goodreads group made specifically for this challenge! There we will be discussions on the books we are reading and you can take part in the general bookish fun! Sign-up up closes on February 10th–after that you can still sign up, but you cannot join the Goodreads group or win the prize.  It officially starts on the 10th, so don’t go adding your books to the lists until that date.

After finishing the book, we would appreciate you talking about the book in a couple of sentences, whether you liked it or disliked it etc. This makes the discussions more fun! You can also do buddy reads, track which letters you’ve completed and shamelessly promote your blog/vlog!

You can sign up HERE

You can join the Goodreads group HERE (make sure you’ve signed up first!)

You can read Kayla’a post and awesome vlog HERE

If you have any more questions, comment below or tweet me via @hardcoreheroine and Kayla @levenin. We hope to see you doing the ABC Book Challenge!

Keeping-Her

Review: Keeping Her by Cora Carmack (Losing it #1.5)

Review: Keeping Her by Cora Carmack (Losing it #1.5)Keeping Her by Cora Carmack
Series: Losing it #1.5
Published by Ebury Press on August 13th 2013
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 176
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-stars
Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather . . . ahem . . . complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right?

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren't quite as ready for their future as they thought.

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.

I really loved Losing it and I adore Garrick and Bliss. Keeping Her was a really cute ending to their lovely story. Garrick takes Bliss to England (specifically London) to meet his parents. There isn’t much to say because it’s a small story, and I’ve already professed my love for this couple already. I read it straight after Losing it because I wanted to continue this sweet love story.

I really loved the way Carmack handled the relationship between Bliss and Garrick’s mother. It started off as fairly cliche and uninteresting. However, as the story went on, things became different and therefore more intriguing. I enjoyed seeing Garrick and Bliss’s relationship being tested as well, because it’s always fun to see what happens after the HEA and how they act when things get tough.

We get to meet some of Garrick’s London school friends who I found really funny and brought some humour to the short story. Also, once again it’s in dual POV, therefore we get to know what’s going on in Garrick’s head! It’s fun to be inside Garrick’s head, but I connect with Bliss’s character so much. Her embarrassing moments and neuroticism are so realistic and it makes me adore her character.

Overall, it was a really sweet story and something I greatly enjoyed. If you haven’t read Losing it, I urge you to discover the amazingness of Bliss and especially Garrick. Then follow it up with Keeping Her! These books have really made me more confident in reading New Adult novels, because I’d never read them before. So read them if you’re thinking of trying out this genre!

Rating: 4 Stars

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WhereSheWent (1)2

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Review: Where She Went by Gayle FormanWhere She Went by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #2
Published by Definitions, Random House on April 5th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.

And three years he's spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.

Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?

Where She Went is a powerful Contemporary Romance, and it worked so well because it’s the sequel to If I Stay. In If I Stay, Mia’s entire family are killed in a car crash and she is left in a coma. Mia has an out-of-body experience where she sees everything happening in the hospital around her. This is where I grew to adore Mia and her family, and her relationship with Adam. Therefore, it was a complete and utter devastating surprise when I saw in the blurb of the sequel, that the couple had broken up.

Where She Went wouldn’t have been so compelling if I hadn’t known these characters before and deeply cared about them from the beginning. Except, this book explores a fresh concept. Instead of seeing the world and events through Mia’s eyes, the entire book was in Adam’s perspective, not something I was gung-ho about until I read it, and realised how funny and realistic Adam’s character really is.

Like every other person reading the book, I was rooting for the two to patch up their troubles and get on with life. However, matters were not as simple as that. After the accident, Mia of course has been emotionally scarred, and Adam had some input into that. Forman slowly reveals what happened between the two after the accident and how they both (but especially Mia) held a turmoil of emotion surrounding the accident against each other. Pent-up feelings like resentment, blame, fear–all the nitty-gritty stuff–and let me tell you, Forman was not afraid with a little build-up and then confrontation–something that I loved.

I always loved Adam, and even though he’s more troubled and lonely in this book, I felt closer to him. I related to him, and his character was so complex as Forman peeled back the layers one by one. Mia is more distant, but she expresses her emotions and her fury at Adam, and the accident. Even though I wasn’t inside her head, I didn’t need to be.

If I Stay could have been left a stand-alone and I’m sure people choose not to read the sequel. In fact, I walked around for a couple of days before realising there even was a sequel, just assuming Mia and Adam were living happily-ever-after. However, I’m incredibly glad Forman decided to write a follow-up, because it gave the characters more authenticity and rawness that I have honestly never read before. I clearly need to read more of this type of book because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I urge you to go away and read If I Stay and then embark on Where She Went. It’s perfect for Contemporary Romance lovers who don’t mind getting into gritty and realistic (but incredibly loveable) characters and emotional scenes.

5 Stars–I loved it because it’s incredibly character based and even though the plot was interesting, I was compelled by the depth of characters.

five-stars

favebooksof2013

Favourite Books of 2013

I actually have a ton of 2013 reads on my TBR at the moment, so I’m interested to see if any of those reads could join this list. This is my 2013 list of the best books released in 2013. As you will see, a lot of these are Dystopia and Paranormal, because those are my favourite (sub)genres. However, if you want to see a list with a bit more Contemporary, check out my Favourite Backlist Books of 2013 post that I’m publishing next week and there will be quite a few there.

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Honourable mention: Geek Girl by Holly Smale, The Elite by Kiera Cass, The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead, Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout and Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins.

 What are your faves of 2013?