Monday, 13 April 2015

Book Review: Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier.

Product details:
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Hardcover, 336 pages.
Release date: April 14th 2015.
Rating:  4 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

 Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yep, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially this one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys perform dark magic rituals.

The really weird thing is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where’s she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But they seem to know things about her in real life that they couldn’t possibly know, which is mystifying. Then again, Liv could never resist a good mystery. . . .

Like stepping into a warm embrace from an old friend, Dream a Little Dream, the first in Kerstin Gier’s Silver trilogy, was, for me, a welcome return to the world of paranormal fiction. I’d kind of abandoned all things paranormal, you see. In the way that sometimes close friends drift apart because they  bore each other of just no longer have any common interests, I thought that my time with paranormal YA was done. Not so. After so long away from the genre, Dream a Little Dream and its wilful protagonist, Liv Silver, were like a total breath of fresh air for me - which made for a page-flipping and totally fun reading experience.

In fact, if I was to summarize this book in one word, then it would be just that: fun.  This book, just like its protagonist, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as a result it’s just so much fun.

Liv Silver’s life is unconventional to say the least. At just fifteen (almost sixteen) years old, she’s lived in more places that you could even imagine. Now, thanks to her mom’s new job – and new boyfriend – Liv, her sister Mia, and their au pair, Lottie, who is like one of the family, are settling in London. So far, so good.  Liv soon enrols in Frognal Academy, a very posh school, where the girls have names you thought only celebrities gave their unfortunate offspring, the boys are super-hot and have great hair, and where everybody who is anybody finds themselves subject to gossip courtesy of the ‘Tittle-Tattle Blog’ Frognal’s very own Gossip Girl style blog, complete with an anonymous author known only as Secrecy.

Ha! That gives me an idea. Maybe the secret author of the blog is one of those super-hot boys, all with their very own Edward Cullen hairstyles.  Hmmm…I wonder.

Anyway, even though the Tittle-Tattle blog seems mildly obsessed with her, that’s the least of Liv’s problems. You see, Liv’s been having these dreams, and granted, the dreams are not all bad: for one, they feature super-hot Henry, Liv’s number one crush, but there is an ominous sense to these dreams – like maybe these drams are the devil’s work at play. Oh, and there’s also the fact that the dreams seem totally real. Liv is not one to let sleeping dogs lie, nor is she one to forget about her dreams the very next day. So little by little, Liv starts to investigate, and along with the help of a detailed dream journal, what she uncovers is very strange indeed.

Filled with secrets and a mystery that will keep your mind ticking over, Dream a Little Dream is a charming, compelling read and a strong starter to the Silver trilogy. In Liv Silver and her snarky little sister Mia, Gier has struck gold. Our heroine Liv is inquisitive, but not reckless, level-headed and quick-witted. Also, while there is romance in this book, Liv’s life doesn’t revolve around boys. In fact, she is quick to laugh at her own soppy behaviour as she starts to fall for the enigmatic Henry, a boy whose hand she holds in her dreams, but who in reality is something of an enigma.

Dream a Little Dream contains a lot of characters, and sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate one hot boy from the next, while the mystery of the book does become a little predictable in places. Nevertheless, this is a very fun, imaginative read that delves deeply into the world of dreams. I especially loved discovering what lay behind the various ‘dream doors’ detailed in this book and I can’t wait to read all about Liv’s further adventures as the trilogy continues.

Read this if you liked The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus, or C.J. Daugherty’s Night School.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Easter Break!

Image via We Heart It

I'm taking my annual Easter (Blog) Break!

See you in (approx). two weeks!

In the meantime....

Enter 'The Duff' Prize Pack Giveaway

(UK & ROI)

Enter my UKYA Giveaway



Friday, 27 March 2015

Cover Alert: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten.

As you all know, I  just love a good cover!

I love a good cover comparison too.

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls has very different UK and US looks.

Pitched as Gone Girl meets Thirteen Reasons Why, I've been totally intrigued by this book ever since I first heard of it. 

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls is released in July 2015 in the US and UK - so still a little bit of a wait to go. I have a feeling this one will be worth it!

UK Cover

When June met Delia, she was a lifeline. Their intense friendship gave her a sense of belonging, of security, that she’d never had before. She felt braver, smarter, funnier, more attractive when Delia was around. But then something went wrong, and Delia and June haven’t spoken for a year when an announcement is made at their school that Delia is dead.

June barely has time to mourn before Delia’s ex-boyfriend convinces her that Delia didn’t kill herself but was in fact murdered, and June is fast swept into a tangle of lies and deceit – and a conspiracy she can barely conceive of, never mind believe.

Stylish, sexy and atmospheric, with so many twists it will leave you breathless.

US Cover

So, which one do I like best?

I have to say that I'm having a really hard time choosing! I saw the US cover first and loved it: it's different to anything I've seen in YA in a while and I like that. I think it really stands out. It makes me want to know more about the story. Then, I saw the UK cover and...I really like that one too. It's not as standout different as the US cover but I think it would look really pretty on my bookshelf, nonetheless: and I really like the font they used on the cover.

I guess I'm on the fence with this one. Maybe. The UK cover is growing on me more and more with each passing minute...

How about you?

From Page to Screen: The Duff by Kody Keplinger - win a Prize Pack! - UK & ROI.

As you all know, Kody Keplinger's YA hit THE DUFF is about to hit the big screen! 

To celebrate the movie release - in theaters April 6th - I have a great goody bag up for grabs with thanks to Hatchette UK.

The goody bag includes the movie-tie in version of the book along with a host of other goodies - see pic below for details.  I am loving the tote!

To be in with a chance to win just fill in the Rafflecopter form below:

Labelling is a huge issue in our society today. 
 The Duff is partnering up with Ditch the Label - a charity who are trying to overcome this.  If anyone of you are suffering with any bullying make sure you check out for advice and someone to talk to.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Serious Bit:
+Giveaway Open to Entrants in the UK & Republic of Ireland.
+Winners details will be supplied to Hatchette UK.
+Prize will be sent directly from Hatchette UK.
+I bear no responsibility for prizes lost or undelivered - alternative prizes will not be offered.
+This is a sponsored giveaway: please refer to T&C's for further information.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Five Years On: The Ever-Changing World of Books and Blogging.

Image via We Heart It

Well, I've just had a fun trip back through the blog archives. Let's rewind for a sec. The year is 2010, the YA paranormal explosion is in full swing, Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall is the book everyone's talking about, and somewhere out there, a lady named Veronica Roth is writing epic things about a girl named Tris and a boy named Four. But nobody has heard of Veronica Roth just yet. Oh, how things have changed...

There have been so, so many changes in the reading and blogging world in the past five years.  I don't usually do much to celebrate milestones on this blog, but it's five years later, and I fancied a look through the archives, so here we go.

Here are five big changes in books and blogging that have happened in the past five years.

The Death of Paranormal Fiction.
OK, OK, Paranormal fiction hasn't, nor will it ever, die. But you have to admit that it's taken a back seat lately. Cast your mind five years back. Thanks to the success of Twilight Paranormal fiction was EVERYWHERE. When I started this blog I was hooked on Shiver, Hush Hush and Alyson Noel's The Immortals. I couldn't get enough of Vampires, Demons and Werewolves. Funnily enough, as I'm writing this, I'm actually reading a Paranormal YA - something I have done for ages now. So, maybe it's making a comeback already. Remember the Angel explosion in YA of a few years back - and the Fae. Remember when Faerie books where the hot new thing?! Vampires are still my faves, FYI.  I'm old school like that. Although I'll have a forever soft spot for Cynthia Hand's angel-themed Unearthly series.

The Dystopian Fiction Explosion.
I just had a look through the Dystopian fiction archive on the blog, and let's just say that now I'm even more thankful for my guest reviewers!   It's safe to say that I didn't really welcome the explosion in popularity of Dystopian fiction with open arms. I'm not a huge fan. I guess I just find it all so bleak and depressing.  There are books that I like -even love-  in the genre: Never Let Me Go is one of my all time faves, I loved The Hunger Games series (when I finally got around to reading it!) and I'm a big fan of Divergent (and Four) but as for the rest, I can take or leave them. I haven't read any Dystopian Fiction in ages - not since I finished Allegiant, and I think the genre is a little worn out these days. I remember the fanfare around the release of Delirium, Matched and all the rest: and it seemed that every day I had an email in my inbox heralding the arrival of the new Hunger Games. For me, of the Dystopian fiction I've read, Divergent is the only book that even comes close to THG. A lot of the Dystopian fiction I read was really, really slow moving, and well, boring.

eBooks and how Netgalley Changed Everything
Ha! So in my trip back through the archives I happened upon a post in which I announced I had no intention of ever getting an eReader, proudly declaring in my review policy that I did not accept eBooks, thank you very much. Then Netgalley happened, I read a few books on Adobe Digital Editions my computer, and decided that yeah, that wasn't going to work, and soon I was sitting pretty with my shiny new pink eReader. Remember the excitement when HarperTeen signed up to Netgalley? Remember the joy of auto-approval!! Of course, today we have Edelweiss too, but that wasn't around back then, it was just Netgalley. Oh, and Galley Grab - but that didn't stick around.

Before Netgalley we had book tours. Remember them? Wow. The days of book tours (and having a week to read the book before sending it on) seem so long ago!

UKYA Totally Arrived
So, I'm pretty sure UKYA existed five years ago, but back when I started blogging, I didn't really know about it. The first UKYA book I remember hearing about in any great detail or with any great social media fanfare was Cat Clarke's debut, Entangled. Nowadays, Cat Clarke, along with James Dawson,  Sarah Alderson, Keren David and a whole host of others is a UKYA superstar and UKYA just seems to be growing in strength with each passing year. Also, in the past five years I've gone from reading absolute zero UKYA to counting down the days to certain releases: Dawn Kurtagich's The Dead House is top of my 2015 UKYA wish list. My all time UKYA faves are Cat Clarke's Undone and Cruel Summer by James Dawson. I also loved Lobsters by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen - such a great summer read!

New Adult Fiction Was the Hottest Thing Around.
New Adult Fiction or NA as we now know it arrived with a bang a few years back via the medium of self-publishing. New Adult fiction was fun, it was flirty and it was risque, crossing the PG boundaries of YA. I jumped on board, reading books by Molly McAdams, Tammara Webber, Cora Carmack and Colleen Hoover to name a few. Traditional publishers were quick to react: snapping up all these self-publishing superstars and their established fan bases. Suddenly NA was everywhere. Now, I'm not sure: I know Colleen Hoover is still really popular, but I have to admit that I haven't really been keeping tabs on NA. Most NA I read followed a formula, and I tired of it quickly. The only New Adult book I ever recommend as one of my favourites is Deeper by Robin York. During the NA Explosion years I read a lot of NA that was pretty, um, bad. This also happened with Paranormal YA during that explosion. Yikes.  Let's not even go there.


There you have it. Five things that have changed in the world of books and blogging during the past five years. I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane!

What major changes have you noticed in the world of books and blogging since those days of crazy Twilight fandom when we were all so obsessed with Rpattz's hair?  Let me know in comments!

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