Thursday, 31 July 2014

#Review: The Book Of Life by Deborah Harkness (All Souls Trilogy #3)

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)Book: The Book Of Life 

Series: All Souls Trilogy (#3)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Publisher: Headline

Received for review

Adult read

Rating: ✪✪✪✪✪

Goodreads * Amazon * Book Depository

Blurb:

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Timesbestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.


Review:

"The Book Of Life is incredible. I want Diana to weave me a spell so I can create words to do this book justice."

I love the All Souls trilogy and the last book in the trilogy, The Book Of Life was amazing. This series is one of my all time favourites.

Deborah Harkness is an incredible story teller. The way she creates the world, the way you fall in love with and care about the characters and the way you hate some of the characters and would gladly help Matthew and co get rid of them is incredible. 

The Book Of Life was so amazing the way it all came together and the surprises sprung on you along the way makes for a roller coaster ride I didn't want to get of.

One of my favourite parts of the book was chapter 18 when you get an amazing shock. I was so gripped in Diana's emotions and it was amazing to see pure joy for Diana after such a long and treacherous journey she has already been on throughout the series. The character that appeared made my heart flip. This character has fast become one of my favourite of the series.

A rarity in a book for me is when I love so many characters in a series. And with the All Souls Trilogy I loved loads of the characters. I loved seeing Gallowglass again. My heart ripped for Gallowglass when Diana realised he was in love with her and he always knew that even if she knew she would never be his. I also love Chris. I love that a human was introduced into the series. I also love Marcus. I am so happy for him now he has found a mate in Phoebe. Phoebe was such a headstrong character and was great at putting everything into perspective.

Overall I just cant explain how much I love this series. The writing, the characters, the whole package is perfect. If you haven't picked up the series I really recommend you do. The All Souls trilogy is a pure joy to read!


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #12

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're excitably anticipating.
City of Halves by Laura Inglis
City of Halves
London. Girls are disappearing. They've all got one thing in common; they just don't know it yet...

Sixteen-year-old Lily was meant to be next, but she's saved by a stranger: a half-human boy with gold-flecked eyes. Regan is from an unseen world hidden within our own, where legendary creatures hide in plain sight. But now both worlds are under threat, and Lily and Regan must race to find the girls, and save their divided city.


Expected Publication: August 7th via Chicken House

My thoughts:

I have already read City of Halves and enjoyed it. Check out my review here

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Before You by Amber Hart Release Day

beforeyou-releaseday

We're so excited to celebrate the release of BEFORE YOU by Amber Hart from Kensington Teen! This multicultural romance has us swooning!

Before You revised

ABOUT BEFORE YOU

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn't stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.

 EXCERPT:

“Hi, I’m Faith Watters.” Those are the first words I speak to the new Cuban guy in the front office. He grimaces. He’ll be a tough one. I can handle it, though. He’s not the first. I can’t help but notice that he looks a lot like a model from the neck up—eyes the color of oak, strong bone structure. Everywhere else, he looks a lot like a criminal. Chiseled, scarred body … I wonder for a second about the meaning behind the tattoos scratched into his arms. One thing’s clear. He’s dangerous. And he’s beautiful. “I’ll show you to your classes,” I announce. I’m one of the peer helpers at our school. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it counts as a class. Basically I spend the first two days with new students, introducing them around and answering their questions. Some parents with kids new to the school voluntarily sign their students up, but it’s only mandatory for the international students, of which we have a lot. Mostly Latinos. This Cuban guy towers over me. I’m five six. Not tall. Not short. Just average. Average is good. This guy’s not average. Not even a little bit. He must be over six feet. I glance up at him, kind of like I do when I’m searching for the moon in a sea of darkness. “Looks like you have math first. I’ll walk you there,” I offer. “No thanks, chica. I can handle it.” “It’s no problem,” I say, leading the way. He tries to snatch his schedule from my hands, but I move too fast. “Why don’t we start with your name?” I suggest. I already know his name. Plus some. Diego Alvarez. Eighteen years old. Moved from Cuba two weeks ago. Only child. No previous school records. I read it in his bio. I want to hear him say it. “You got some kinda control issues or somethin’?” he asks harshly, voice slightly accented. “You got some kind of social issues or somethin’?” I fire back, holding my stance. I won’t let him intimidate me, though I’ll admit, he’s hot. Too bad he has a nasty attitude. The side of his lip twitches. “No. I just don’t mix with your type,” he answers. “My type?” “That’s what I said.” “You don’t even know my type.” No one does. Well, except Melissa. He chuckles humorlessly. “Sure I do. Head cheerleader? Date the football player? Daddy’s little girl who gets everything she wants?” He leans closer to whisper. “Probably a virgin.” My cheeks burn hot. “I’m not a cheerleader,” I say through clamped teeth. “Whatever,” he says. “Are you gonna give me my schedule or not?” “Not,” I answer. “But you can feel free to follow me to your first class.” He steps in front of me, intimately close. “Listen, chica, nobody tells me what to do.” I shrug. “Fine, suit yourself. It’s your life. But if you want to attend this school, it’s mandatory for me to show you to your classes for two days.” His eyes narrow. “Who says I want to attend this school?” I take the last step toward him, closing the gap between us. When we were little, Melissa and I used to collect glass bottles. Whenever we accumulated twenty, we’d break them on the concrete. When the glass shattered, the slivered pieces made a breathtaking prism of light. I cut myself on the glass by accident once. It was painful, but worth it. The beauty was worth it. It’s funny how the bottle was never as beautiful as when it was broken. 


Picture
ABOUT AMBER HART 

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, UNTIL YOU FIND ME, and sequel to UNTIL YOU FIND ME (untitled as of yet). Represented by Beth Miller of Writers House. She lives outside Washington, DC with her family and English Bulldog. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

#Review: City of Halves by Lucy Inglis

City of Halves
Book: City of Halves 

Author: Lucy Inglis

Publisher: Chicken House

Release Date: 7th August

Received copy for review

Rating: ✪✪✪ .5

Goodreads * Amazon *Book Depository

Blurb: 

London. Girls are disappearing. They've all got one thing in common; they just don't know it yet... 

Sixteen-year-old Lily was meant to be next, but she's saved by a stranger: a half-human boy with gold-flecked eyes. Regan is from an unseen world hidden within our own, where legendary creatures hide in plain sight. But now both worlds are under threat, and Lily and Regan must race to find the girls, and save their divided city.


Review:

When I heard about City of Halves I was really excited to read it as I thought it sounded like something I would really enjoy. I did enjoy City of Halves, however there was something that I just couldn't put my finger on that made me not give it higher than a 3.5* rating.

The story was fast paced which I liked and the action started straight away which I really liked. City of Halves is quoted as a must read for all The Mortal Instruments fans and I couldn't help comparing both books and finding similarities. However even though there was similarities the bulk of the story was different and interesting and I enjoyed reading about the legendary creatures.

City of Halves had a strong female and male lead. I really liked both Lily and Regan. The insta love was of course typical but I kinda heart insta love. :)

City of Halves had everything going for it to be a great read but it just didn't meet the bar I had set for it to be an epic read. The comparison to mortal instruments put me of slightly and I just wish it hadn't done that.

In the end I did like the story even with the issues I had and I will pick up the next book. Sadly all books we hope to fall in love with don't always work out!


Friday, 25 July 2014

Cathryn Dresser's Perfect Picnic & #Giveaway



*I do not own the image*
 
Summer is here and that means picnic time! It is great when it's sunny and we can pack a basket full of yummy food and grab a blanket and go on a nice picnic. Baker and author of cook book Lets Bake!, Cathryn Dresser has kindly wrote a post on her perfect picnic. She has even given us a wonderful recipe for Easy Feta Cheese Triangles! Cathryn's wonderful book full of yummy recipes is available now via Amazon and all good book stores! Check out my review of Let's Bake here


Let's Bake
 
The perfect picnic is just getting together with your favourite people in a special outdoor location with some tasty fayre in tow

The best place for a picnic can be pretty much anywhere.  We usually chose a place that we love. Be it in the garden, a park, the woods, open fields or on the beach.  But here are some of the things that help us to have the best picnics. For me the spot chosen should be somewhere with ample space- we need plenty of room to stretch out and relax, plus enough flat ground for laying out our picnic rugs and delicious spread. Then we want that bit of extra room for little (and big) people to run and play. 

good view is also always a bonus.  We often chose our picnic spot depending on what time of day it is and what atmosphere we want to enjoy, if we want a vibrant lively picnic we may head to the seaside or if we are wanting something more quiet and peaceful we head off the beaten track and aim to find an undiscovered spot.

But...of course no picnic is complete without some scrummy food. We choose food that is simple, easy transport and then to eat on laps and mostly with fingers.  The best picnic grub should be interesting too, whilst we love sandwiches we also love making other savoury tasties too.  A good balance of savoury and sweet food makes for a good spread and keeping all the food at the right temperature is important.  

And don't forget drinks, we always take plenty of water to drink (and water for the dogs to drink too...if they are lucky enough to be invited)!

Here is a recipe for easy feta cheese triangles which are a perfect picnic basket addition. 

ENJOY!


*I do not own this image*

LET’S BAKE
© CATHRYN DRESSER
ORION CHILDREN’S BOOKS, 2014

 Easy Feta Cheese Triangles

 
Makes 8 parcels

Prep time: 30 minutes Bake time: 20 minutes

These crispy cheesy pastry triangles are great for picnics, snacks or lunches.

Ingredients:

80ml oil, plus a little extra to grease the baking trays
A bunch of 8 or 9 spring onions, finely chopped (or snipped with scissors)
150g frozen peas
100g ricotta cheese
A handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
200g feta cheese
75g unsalted butter, melted
12 sheets filo pastry
Pinch of salt and pepper

You will need:

2 baking trays
Frying pan
Weighing scales
Wooden spoon
Large bowl
Kitchen paper
Small saucepan
Damp, clean tea towel
Pastry brush
Small sharp knife
Dessertspoon

1.  Preheat the oven to 200˚C/180˚C fan/gas mark 6. Lightly grease 2 baking trays.

2. Ask an adult to heat 1½ tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the spring onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the frozen peas and stir them all around so that they start to defrost and go bright green. Tip into a large bowl and leave to cool for about 5 minutes.

3. Stir the ricotta into the pea mixture, add the mint and season with salt and pepper. Pat the feta dry with some kitchen paper and crumble into the mixture with your fingers. Stir together, and your filling is ready.

4. Ask an adult to help you melt the butter in a small saucepan, then mix in the rest of the oil and set aside.

5.Open the filo pastry and flatten it out on the worktop. Cover it with a damp, clean tea towel while you work to stop the pastry from drying out.

6.You need 3 sheets for each triangle. First, take 1 sheet and lay it on the worktop, brush with the oil and butter mix, then lay another sheet straight on top. Brush this sheet with the oil and butter, then lay the third sheet on top and brush again.

7. Ask an adult to help you to cut the pastry rectangle in half lengthways with a sharp knife, so you have two long rectangles.

8.Place 2 heaped dessertspoons of filling in one corner of the first strip of pastry. Gently lift the filled corner over diagonally and fold tightly to make a triangle shape. Continue to lift and fold, keeping the triangle shape, to the end of the pastry. You should now have a neat triangle parcel. Do the same with the other piece of layered pastry.

9.Repeat the layering, filling and folding until you have used up all the pastry sheets and filling. You should now have 8 triangle parcels.

10 Put the triangles onto their prepared baking trays and brush each one with       the remaining butter.

11. Ask an adult to put them in the preheated oven and bake for 15–20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 3 days.

LET’S BAKE by Cathryn Dresser, published by Orion Children’s Books, 2013.

Giveaway:

Orion Publishing has kindly offered a copy of Cathryn's Dresser's book, Let's Bake to one lucky winner in the UK/Ireland!

Giveaway Ends 8th August 2014

Giveaway sponsered by Orion Publishing


 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 24 July 2014

#Review Head Over Heart by Colette Victor

Head Over HeartBook: Head Over Heart

Author: Colette Victor

Publisher: Chicken House

Pages: 240

Recived for review

Rating: ✪✪✪

Goodreads * Amazon * Book Depository

Blurb:

Zeyneb is like any other thirteen-year-old British girl, juggling the demands of her social life, school work and family. But as a Muslim girl attracted to a non-Muslim boy she has more difficult choices - and one very big decision. Now a woman in the eyes of her religion, she must decide if she will wear a headscarf. Zeyneb wants to make the right choice, not just for her family or friends, but for herself.

Review:

"Everyone young and old should read Head Over Heart as it is a story and struggle that is affecting young and old right now across the world."

Head Over Heart is a book about a young girls struggle to find a balance between her faith and the society she lives in. Colette Victor was great at betraying the feelings and confusion Zeyneb was going through. To follow the tradition of her faith but struggling with the demands of her daily life at school and with friends.  Can she be a good Muslim girl and make her family proud and embrace the world she lives in?

Zeyneb is a 13 year old girl brought up in a Muslim household and she is trying to decide whether she should wear a headscarf, she also finds herself falling for a non muslim boy. The woman in her family wear a headscarf but she isn't sure if it's the right thing for her. Throughout Head Over Heart Zeyneb struggles with this decision. She wants to make her family proud but doesn't want to be treated differently by her peers. In the end Zeyneb has to decide is it the right thing for her and not want everyone else wants and thinks.

Head Over Heart feels very real with so many faiths living in the one town or city sometimes even the same household in the world today. And the struggles people young and old go though to fit in. These are emotions and feelings that are happening right now. She doesn't just have to contend with being a typical teenage her faith factors into her decisions. I think Zeyneb comes to realise that her faith is who she is it's not seperate from her.

Head Over Heart may be a story but it's a powerful one. It shows you that we as a society can ridicule someone for being who they are, may it be their religion, their sexual orientation,  if they like one band over and other and we don't stop to think what that person may be going though and the reasons behind it. Head Over Heart is a story that will stick with you!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #11

 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're excitably anticipating.
 
Invaded ( Alienated #2) by Melissa Landers
 
Invaded (Alienated, #2)
 
 
The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe...until a threat to both their worlds reunites them.

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?
 
Expected Publication: Feb 3rd 2015 via Disney -Hyperion
 
My Thoughts:
 
Alienated is one of my favourite reads of 2014 and I can't wait for the sequel. I frickin love this cover it's as beautiful as the Alienated cover. I can't wait to see what happens next. I need this book NOW! Hurry up 2015!