Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Get Ready For Dangerous Creatures: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have a brand new series set in the same world as their Beautiful Creatures series.  I am so excited! I love this series and can't wait to read the new series!

Dangerous Creatures is available to pre-order now and will be published 20th May.

I will be re-posting my reviews of the Beautiful Creatures series each week to get you ready for Dangerous Creatures.  If you haven't read them yet I highly recommend them (the film is awesome too!)  And if you have, well, it's a good time for a re-read:-D

From Goodreads: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. 

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

I really liked this one.  It's one of those stories that pulls you in with a slow building intensity that works superbly.  I loved that it was narrated by Ethan - not only did I really like him but having it told from his point of view insured the book caught my interest.  Other authors may have gone with the more obvious choice of having Lena narrate the story.

I really enjoyed all the mythology and having it set in the South.  It gave it an authentic feel and made the book incredibly atmospheric - with a kind of claustrophobic sense of life in a small town with everyone knowing everyone else's business. I don't want to say too much about the story because I went into it not really knowing much about it and I really enjoyed the mystery aspect - having to work it out alongside the characters.

My favourite aspect of the book is Ethan and Lena's budding relationship.  It is one of those intense attractions we've come to expect from this type of paranormal story but it also feels as if a gradual and genuine connection develops alongside this intensity.  I really liked both characters and am looking forward to seeing how their story progresses in Beautiful Darkness.

A minor complaint would be that I occasionally lost track of what was going on.  There were a couple of scenes that came across somewhat fragmented and I had trouble working out what was happening - even after a reread.  This didn't affect my enjoyment though - in some ways in added a bit more mystery to the proceedings - but it did interrupt the flow a little bit.

I adored the ending and it sets the next book up as a must read for me.  I am looking forward to immersing myself back into this world and spending time with these characters.  Can't wait!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Crafting Corner (3)

Crafting Corner is a feature by Sarah @ Feeling Fictional

I've not been doing much crafting this month - I seem to be reading more which is good!  But when I have been crocheting I've been working on a blanket for a friend's daughter.

The blanket is a Wool Eater blanket - I love this pattern. It's really has a lot of texture and the bigger it gets the more weighty it is. You can find the pattern on Sarah London's website here.  When I'm finished with this one (I'm making this one to 13 or 14 rounds) I'm planning on making myself a really big one (I'm hoping for at least 25 rounds but would love it to be even bigger!)

I also bought some new books on needle felting that look really good! I haven't had a chance to try them out yet - hopefully I will for next month. But here are the books in case you fancy looking them up:

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Blinded by the Light Blog Tour (Cover Discussion)

I'm really please to have Joe Kipling, author of Blinded by the Light, stop by to talk about her book cover.  I love all things to do with book covers - it amazes me what a difference they can make and I absolutely love to hear what authors think of their own covers!

Book covers – ‘when the vision becomes reality’

I titled this blog ‘when the vision becomes reality’ because I feel that as a writer you create a vision of the world that you want to share with your readers and an important part of sharing this vision is the cover art. The cover is the reader’s first introduction to your story and it can communicate so much. It is often the book cover that is the deciding factor in whether the reader picks your book up off the shelf - or as we’re in the 21st century, press ‘click to buy’ online.

As a debut author I found the whole process of cover design really interesting. Watching the transformation from the initial pencil drawings to the finished piece was fascinating. At the start of the process I had a very definite idea about the ‘look and feel’ that I wanted for the book cover. Well, needless to say the finished product looks nothing like I envisaged it. It taught me an important lesson . . .to stick to writing and leave the artwork to the professionals.

Having a cover artist who really understands your story and fully embraces the world you’ve created is, for me incredibly important. While working on Blinded by the Light I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with a really talented artist called Billie-Jade McNeil. At our first meeting I was impressed that Billie-Jade had clearly read the book and had carefully thought through each of the 4 concepts she’d developed.

The cover design we eventually selected was inspired by a scene that takes place in Chapter 2. MaryAnn has arrived at school after arguing with her best friends and starts to feel unwell. In the Neighbourhood where MaryAnn lives, people have an almost phobic reaction to sickness and disease. This means that when MaryAnn starts to feel ill she’s placed in isolation so that she can’t contaminate anyone else. As MaryAnn is escorted from the school by a team of Welfare officers there is a line which reads:

‘the tiles of the corridor gleamed brightly in the harsh strip lighting and the glare hurt my eyes.’

This quote was the inspiration behind the book cover. I can understand why Billie-Jade felt that this scene stood out. I’d designed it to create a sense of sterility but at the same time to be slightly claustrophobic. It really represents life in the Neighbourhood where people are closeted away behind a boundary fence living a very restrictive and slightly oppressive existence.

The title ‘Blinded by the Light’ also plays an important part in the cover. The Light are the governing body within the Neighbourhood. This government evolved from a pharmaceutical organization that discovered the cure for the Sandman Virus. Instead of sharing the cure with the general population they decided to make it available only to the people who could afford to pay. At the beginning of the book MaryAnn is literally blind to what is happening around her, as are many other people living in the Neighbourhood. During the course of the book MaryAnn’s eyes are opened and for the first time she’s exposed to the truth about the society she lives in. The placement of the flare behind the word ‘Blinded, is a deliberate attempt to make the title slightly uncomfortable to read, creating a brief illusion of blindness to the reader.

Thanks Joe!  I loved the placement of the flare - it's so pretty as well as doing what you wanted it to do!

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling was published Oct 2013 by Cillian Press Limited and is available to buy on Amazon at the following links:

Link to eBook
Link to Paperback

Joe also has a book giveaway on total teen fiction. Click here for more details.

Make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour - the information on all the stops is below.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

How to Love by Kate Cotugno

Publisher: Quercus
ISBN: 9781782060000
Release Date: October 2013
Source: Provided for review by the publisher.

From Goodreads: This is a love story. But it’s not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows.

This is real. This is life. This is how to love.


Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he’s never noticed her, until one day… he does. They fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town, leaving a devastated – and pregnant – Reena behind.


Three years later and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter Hannah. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again.

After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer again?(less)

Just brilliant! I was completely addicted to this. I loved both the characters – although not the ‘before’ Sawyer quite so much as the ‘after' one. ‘Before' Sawyer was just a little too messed up and he seemed intent on dragging Reena down with him! Yes he had issues and I can understand his downward spiral – I just didn't like the way he seemed to want Reena to do the same. But I loved Reena and how complicated and flawed she was. How flawed they both were – I read so many stories with the perfect character doing the right thing - and while this isn't a bad thing-  it’s great to finally have a story where it’s messy and complicated!

I also loved the way it was written – with the before and after segments. Reena’s relationship with her dad and Soledad. Plus her friendship with Shelbe. I wish she’d treated Aaron better though – I hated her a little bit for that.

Plus I liked the ending. For me – despite what happens next, if it works out or not, Reena finally let someone in! And that, to me, was the point!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Trouble by Non Pratt

Publisher: Walker
ISBN: 9781406347692
Release Date: 6 March 2014
Source: Gifted

From Goodreads: A boy. A girl. A bump. Trouble.

Hannah’s smart and funny ... she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby?

Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.

I have been looking forward to reading this from the moment I heard Non Pratt was writing it. And I LOVED it! It’s everything I love in a book – just awesome!!!

I loved Hannah. I love that she’s flawed – she’s not perfect but her heart is always in the right place and she is coping with a lot!

Baby daddy had a lot to answer for – but I didn’t hate him which I thought was good. It was complicated and messy but I'm glad that Hannah seems to realise he's not good for her.

Aaron – love him too! I loved how he treated Hannah and the relationship he has with his parents (how much he is trying for them) and I loved that he has his own story and issues to deal with!

I can say without any hesitation that I can't wait to read more by this author!


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