Thursday, 14 August 2014

Happy ISLA day!

I know, I know...


I said I was taking a blog break, and I am -but I couldn't resist checking in today to celebrate the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. I've been wanting to read this book for a long, long time now and it's finally HERE!

So, are you reading?

Got a little ISLA party planned?

Were you lucky enough to get your hands on an early copy? If so, what did you think?

I'd love to know!

Happy ISLA day!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wrapping up Summer Spotlight with an International GIVEAWAY & a Blogging Break!

Time to wrap up my Summer Spotlight feature and say goodbye to all those bright and breezy summer contemps that I've been enjoying over the last few months. I'm very much a seasonal reader - and as the days get shorter and the nights get longer I'm already building my Halloween reading list! 

But, I couldn't say goodbye to summer without mentioning some of my favourite reads of summer 2014 and a special giveaway for YOU!

Summer 2014 Favourites

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Honorable Mentions

Come Back to Me by Mila Gray

Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

Brooklyn Girls: Angie by Gemma Burgess

Nantucket Red by Leila Howland


If you'd like to win ONE of the books from my list of summer favourites and honorable mentions, then just fill in the Rafflecopter form below.
The usual rules & T&C's apply: Check them out here.
One winner will win one book from the eight listed above.
Competition is International -wherever The Book Depository ships.
The book will be purchased or pre-ordered and shipped direct to the winner from The Book Depository.
I will personally ship the book to the winner if I have a duplicate copy of the book in my possession.
Competition closes: August 29th 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And now, with Summer Spotlight all wrapped up, it's time for me to take a blogging break! I need these blogging breathers once in while to catch up on reading and on life!

Expect to see me back sometime in September with reviews of some great new releases (ISLA is on my radar, as is Trial by Fire by Josie Angelini) and possibly some new features too!

See you then!

P.S: I'll still be hanging out on Twitter and Goodreads during my break if you want to say hi! :)  


Corvus & Lovereading Team Up for Love At First Write - an exciting competition for debut romantic novelists!

Do you have a romantic novel in you?

 Is it based around an original first encounter?

From Romeo and Juliet’s fateful kiss to Elizabeth’s clash with the proud, rude Mr Darcy at the Meryton ball, writers have proved that true love springs from the most unlikely of encounters.
LoveAtFirstWrite is looking for a romantic novel with an original set-up, written with flair and charm, so that its creator can find their happy-ever-after with their new publisher.

So if you are a debut novelist looking for your first publisher, it's time to enter the LoveAtFirstWrite competition in partnership with Corvus and Lovereading. Simply tweet the idea for your novel @CorvusBooks #loveatfirstwrite and send us a book synopsis and first chapter to between 12th September and 12th October 2014.

Entries will be read by the Corvus editorial team, then a shortlist judged by a dedicated panel of experts, including Maddie West, Corvus Editorial Director, Sarah Broadhurst, Lovereading Lead Reviewer, Elisabeth Gifford, author of The Secrets of the Sea House and Lindsey Mooney, Kobo Vendor Manager, UK & Ireland.

Entrants will need to submit the following:
1) A book synopsis
2) The first chapter (no more than 5,000 words)
3) The story can come from any genre of romantic fiction but the entry must show the protagonists’ first meeting.
Entrants must not have been previously published and should be based in the UK or Ireland. 
Entrants are also encouraged to tweet how their characters meet in less than 140 characters @CorvusBooks.

The winner will be announced in November 2014, and will have their novel published by Corvus as an eBook and paperback original in 2015.
Good luck & happy writing!

Source: Press release.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Book Review: Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little.

Product details:
Publisher: Harvill Secker.
Hardcover, 400 pages.
Release date: August 7th 2014.
Rating:  4 out of 5.
Ages: Adult.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

'As soon as they processed my release Noah and I hit the ground running. A change of clothes. A wig. An inconspicuous sedan. We doubled back once, twice, then drove south when we were really headed east. In San Francisco we had a girl who looked like me board a plane to Hawaii.

Oh, I thought I was so clever.

But you probably already know that I'm not.'

LA It girl Janie Jenkins has it all. The looks, the brains, the connections. The criminal record.

Ten years ago, in a trial that transfixed America, Janie was convicted of murdering her mother. Now she's been released on a technicality she's determined to unravel the mystery of her mother's last words, words that send her to a tiny town in the very back of beyond. But with the whole of America's media on her tail, convinced she's literally got away with murder, she has to do everything she can to throw her pursuers off the scent.

She knows she really didn't like her mother. Could she have killed her?

Billed as ‘Gone Girl meets Mean GirlsDear Daughter, Elizabeth Little’s fiction debut introduces Janie Jenkins, a former Hollywood IT girl who, age seventeen, was jailed for her mother’s brutal murder. Ten years later, Janie is free on a technicality, but the world at large still believes her to be a cold-blooded killer. With the media - led by a blogger who is out for Janie’s blood- on her trail, Janie’s re-integration into society was never going to be easy. In fact, it’s impossible for Janie to live any kind of normal life at all. Then again, Janie Jenkins never wanted to be normal; what she wanted was notoriety – and she got that in spades.  Janie’s memories of the night her mother died are hazy, but she’s sure there’s more to the story than meets the eye.  While Janie pretty much hated her mother, she’s just not sure she’s capable of murder.

Then again, maybe she is.

I first read the blurb for Dear Daughter back in May of last year when the rights sold, and ever since then it’s been sitting pretty right at the very top of my wish list.  Give me something that promises the new Gone Girl, and I am all over it. Unfortunately while I’ve read a whole lot of ‘next Gone Girls’ I’ve yet to find one that measures up to the dark, twisty brilliance of Gillian Flynn’s mega-hit.  Dear Daughter has a lot of great selling points; it is stylish and scandalous, the writing is stellar, and, as anti-heroines go, Little has hit the jackpot with Janie Jenkins: smart, quick-witted and with an acid tongue, Janie has a perfectly cutting answer for everything thrown her way.  Dear Daughter is a page-turner too; you’ll want to read it in one-sitting. But where Dear Daughter all falls down is in its conclusion, which, in contrast to the dark edge-of-you-seat tone of the book, is all a little rushed and formulaic, even light-hearted and comedic at times. Less Gone Girl then, more Murder She Wrote.

Dear Daughter is a smart read, but, I fear not as smart as it likes to think it is: a little bit like Janie herself. A certain amount of suspension of disbelief is needed for true enjoyment of this book, because certain elements of Janie’s tale just don’t add up, especially when her search into the truth about her mother’s murder leads her to an isolated small Twin Peaks-esque town where everyone has a secret.   I guess I can’t go into detail here because then I’ll be delving deep into spoiler territory, but there were elements of this story that didn’t work for me; the plot seemed to be tightly woven at first, but if I took a second to question it, then it unravelled. So, my best advice here is to not question too much- just go with it and enjoy the ride.  Enjoy Janie. Enjoy the cryptic clues and the strange small town. And enjoy trying to figure out the mystery of it all.

Ultimately, while Dear Daughter won’t be making my end-of-year favourites list, it is possibly one of the best written debuts I’ve read in a while.  I loved Little’s style and voice, and certainly look forward to reading more from her in the future. I felt like Dear Daughter needed a bigger twist; something really dark right at the end to astonish me and leave me dumbfounded. It doesn’t have that, but it does have a whole lot more to savour and enjoy. Check it out if you enjoyed Gone Girl or Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.

Please read if you subscribe to (and want to keep reading) this blog!

Image Via: We Heart It

Time to get technical!

Also, I'm not sure if ANYONE will see this post - and you'll see why if you read on.

So, here's the thing: This morning, while I was happily working my way through some Stacking the Shelves posts, I noticed that on those sites that enable linking to the latest post on your blog, the latest post showing up for me, was, well, not my latest post at all. In fact, my latest post showed up as my review of Lobsters, which was posted way back on July 21st.

In short: My RSS feed had stopped working, um, two weeks ago. Now, it's fair to say that there were signs - lots of signs - that this had happened, and I should have noticed sooner. For one thing, over the last two weeks, my stats have dropped an enormous amount - I don't pay very much attention to stats, it must be said, but, I mean my stats have dropped so much over the past fortnight, that even I noticed.  Also, I haven't been getting very many comments on my latest posts, but that, in itself, is not all that unusual to be quite honest.

Now, I subscribe to my own blog via Bloglovin and Email - I do this so I can be sure that everything is running smoothly and my blog is updating properly. Ha! You might be starting to think right about now that I'm a bit dim-witted, and maybe I am, but did I notice that my blog wasn't updating on Bloglovin or that I wasn't getting those thrice-a-week emails?

NOPE!  I did not!

So, if you subscribe to this blog -via Bloglovin, Facebook, Email - you won't have been getting updates either. Sorry about that.

Anyway, I fixed the problem (at least temporarily - I think), and much as I want to blame Blogger for all of this (I like to blame Blogger for everything that goes wrong on this blog), I think, after some investigation, that I can safely say the fault was all mine.

I went to Feedburner and was told that my blog was too big for it to handle. Huh?

Further investigation showed that I should not type up my reviews in Word and then post them to Blogger -because by doing that (for over four years) I've been adding a whole lot of extra code/unnecessary html - to my posts. Who knew? Possibly you - but certainly not me.

My temporary fix consisted of updating my Feedburner link as instructed and manually deleting that extra code from a bunch of reviews. Hey, I said it was a temporary fix.  I don't know of any other way to fix it.

For now, the blog seems to be updating again - at least via Bloglovin, Twitter and Facebook. I'm not sure about those email updates yet - I'm writing this on Sunday night and my email alerts, if they work, won't come through until Monday morning. If you're reading this, and you subscribe by email, then my fix worked if  you get the Stacking the Shelves post on Monday and this one on Tuesday. If the emails are not working, I do not know how to fix that, so...

Feedburner is no longer supported by Google, and it seems glitchy, so I will look into an alternative. If you have any suggestions, let me know!  Also, my blog probably isn't updating in your sidebar if you have it there - actually a bunch of other blogs in my sidebar are not updating with their latest posts - I don't know how to fix that.  I really feel lately like Blogger is breaking down - it is SO glitchy! And everyone keeps telling me to move to Wordpress, but that really seems like a lot of work for me -and this blog already gives me enough of a headache without throwing even more work into the mix!

If you do want to follow this blog, I recommend BLOGLOVIN - I'll be keeping a closer eye on there from now on to make sure that it's updating properly!

I'm also having problems with the comments on the blog at the moment, but that's a whole other story (and I'm pretty sure it is not my fault!)
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