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The First Last Kiss
The First Last Kiss
by Ali Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ali Harris is Fab!, 29 Jan 2013
This review is from: The First Last Kiss (Paperback)
Ali Harris's debut novel Miracle on Regent Street is one of my all-time favourite chick-lit books so when I heard about The First Last Kiss I was incredibly excited to read a new book from her and had very high expectations. Although I didn't love The First Last Kiss quite as much as Miracle on Regent Street it was still an exceptional read in its own right.

The book alternates between chapters from present day to the past with snippets about the different kinds of kisses in between. The chapters told in the present take place during a day counting down the hours until Molly's big move, without Ryan. We know from the start that Ryan isn't in Molly's life anymore but we're not told why and as the story goes on in these chapters you get clues as to what has happened to come between this amazing couple.

The chapters told in the past tense are told at different times during Molly and Ryan's relationship so one minute we'll be reading about them falling in love as teenagers the next as a married couple going through a hard time. It's as though we are given puzzle pieces that we put together as the book goes on - the big picture being Molly and Ryan's love story. Although I really like the idea of the book being told this way and found it very unique I did get confused at times trying to remember what had happened on the timeline and where exactly we were in the story. I enjoyed the snippets on the different kinds of kisses and really loved how they fit into the plot as the relevance is made clear towards the end of the novel.

The romance in this book was absolutely beautifully written and very realistic which was refreshing to read. Ryan and Molly have arguments, tough times in their relationship, and are far from a perfect couple, yet they still have this epic love story. I loved how their romance wasn't all rainbows and sunshine and how they had to put effort and compromise into their relationship to make it work. Ali Harris has created a love story that people will relate to and yet it still has that fairy tale feel to it.

I had a love/hate relationship with the characters in this book. Again they are entirely realistic and can be quite hard to like at times when their bad sides show. Younger Molly really frustrated me at times but she grows a lot throughout the book and by the end I loved her. My favourite characters throughout were Ryan and Mia, Ryan is such a loveable hero as he's just such an all-round good guy and Mia was always such a fantastic friend to Molly.

The First Last Kiss kept me guessing as to where it was going to go and although the last few chapters were really heart-breaking to read the ending has a beautiful hopeful message. The First Last Kiss was a rollercoaster of emotions to read and will stay with me for a long time to come. Ali Harris is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and I can't recommend her books highly enough.

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence Series Book 1)
The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence Series Book 1)

4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for fans of Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry!, 21 Jan 2013
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I fell hard for this book. I had "the feeling" about it so I bought it and read it straight away as soon as I stumbled across it on the Kindle store. This book totally lived up to my expectations and was by far the best 77p I have ever spent!

The book centres on Callie and Kayden and is told in their alternating view points throughout the novel. Callie was raped at a young age and Kayden has been abused by his dad since childhood. Both of them deal with their issues in a very different way Callie by making herself as unnoticeable as possible and Kayden by not caring about anything and covering it up with the cool popular guy façade. Both of them have suffered in silence until one night Callie accidently witnesses one of Kayden's father's beatings, steps in, and saves Kayden's life. It's from there that the story really takes off.

As well as Callie and Kayden there are also their best friends Seth and Luke who have also had their fair share of problems. All of the characters in this book are deeply damaged and didn't have the best of lives back home so when they start college it's a chance for them to craft a new life of their own and start over. So far this is probably sounding like a really depressing read but what I loved about it is how these damaged people come together and create a safe and happy place amongst them really solidifying their friendship. Each character wants to better their life and Callie and Seth even create a list of things they want to do but are afraid to and one thing must be crossed off every day. I loved the idea of this and thought it a brilliant way of facing your fears so much so that I'm planning on starting my own list!

The romance in this book was so incredibly beautiful. I loved watching not only Callie and Kayden's love but their trust for one another grow throughout the book. They both bring out the best in each other and for the first time in their lives they each have something to live for. This was one of the most achingly romantic, not to mention steamy, books I've read in a long time and how gentle and patient Kayden was with Callie made him one of my new favourite book boys.

This book ends on a killer cliff-hanger and I am so happy the sequel is coming out in February because I have to know what happens next! The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden was the kind of book I thought about for days afterwards and raved about to anybody who'd listen. Fans of authors such as Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry are sure to find a new favourite author in Jessica Sorensen.

The Snow Child
The Snow Child
by Eowyn Ivey
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Heart-breaking, Magical and Beautiful, 9 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Snow Child (Hardcover)
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Following the roaring success of The Snow Child last winter I knew that I had to make it a priority read this Christmas. From the synopsis it sounded like the perfect book to get me into that magical childlike frame of mind, and I'm so glad that I finally read it because this book was, in a word, enchanting.

The start of the book is really quite heart-breaking with one half of our beloved couple Mabel attempting suicide. Mabel and Jack are so utterly alone in their relationship and are still grieving for a baby they lost years ago and with it their one chance of being parents. The first few chapters are really gutting to read in a beautiful yet fragile kind of way, until in a rare act of tenderness and joy they build a snow girl together during the first snow fall of winter.

The book reads as part adult fairy-tale, part historical fiction on life in rural Alaska during the 1920's. I have to say that I enjoyed the fairy-tale aspect to this story the most but can see how the setting created the perfect backdrop for this story. At times the solitude and snowy landscape of a wintery Alaska made the place read like a magical land itself.

I think that what I loved most about this novel was how you never really know exactly what Faina is or how she came to be. Throughout the book you're not quite sure if she is the little snow girl Jack and Mabel built come to life, if she belongs to someone else, or if she's simply a figment of the couples imagination. I loved the mystery and magic surrounding Faina and although some things are cleared up as the story goes on there is still a lot of room for the reader to interpret the story in their own way.

Reading The Snow Child had the same effect on me as the fairy tales I read and loved growing up did and will be sitting proudly next to the classic fairy tales on my bookshelf. In turns heart-breaking, magical and beautiful this book will awaken the inner child in adult's worldwide.

by Tammara Webber
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY! A Book That Calls Abuse by its Name!, 6 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Easy (Paperback)
New Adult is a genre that is receiving a lot of love lately and so being this genre's target audience I figured it was high time I gave one of the genre's big guns a read and was recommended to start with Easy. Because this is my first New Adult book I'm going to talk about my experience with the genre as well as my thoughts on this book.

Easy starts off with an attempted rape scene which is pretty much like jumping into the deep end of the pool! This could have been too much too soon but as this book is set around the subject of abuse it sets the story up well, is tastefully handled, and important to the rest of the novel.

One of the things I loved about Easy is how it sets an excellent example for young women. In my opinion there are too many books out there at the minute that glorify abusive relationships not just the physical kind but the mentally unhealthy ones too. All too often absolute psychopaths that I'd want a restraining order against are portrayed as misunderstood irresistible bad boys who simply need love to save them. After being in an abusive relationship myself I can't help but wonder what kind of example these books are setting? A potentially dangerous one if you ask me with these sorts of relationships on the rise. I feel like Easy sets the world back to rights with women telling somebody, learning self-defence, standing up for one another, and perhaps most importantly of all calling abuse by its name.

Our heroine is Jacqueline and I really liked her voice. It's much more mature than a YA character but just because she's older doesn't mean she's perfect, she still makes mistakes and grows throughout the book. At the start Jacqueline is getting over her three year relationship. I feel like this will be something I enjoy about NA books. Getting over your first serious relationship is something I've always wanted to read about but is never offered in YA as the characters are usually at the stage of finding that first big love. It was interesting to watch Jacqueline go from high school romance to her first adult relationship and was something I could really relate to as a twenty something reader.

Jacqueline's love interest Lucas was such a swoon-worthy guy. Not only is he intelligent, gorgeous and artistic but he also teaches self-defence class and is all for women knowing how to protect themselves. I adored Lucas from the start and only loved him more when we find out what skeletons he has in his closet. I also loved how Jacqueline and Lucas's stories tied together nicely creating a strong message to this story. Their romance not only has substance to it but is also incredibly hot and steamy without being full out erotica, another thing I think I'm going to love about New Adult Fiction.

Overall my first experience with this genre was definitely a good one and thanks to Easy I have already bought some other New Adult titles to try! If you're new to this genre I'd definitely recommend giving this book a go. Steamy, romantic and empowering this is a book about things not ending up as you might have originally planned, only to find that you're exactly where you're meant to be.

How to Save a Life
How to Save a Life
by Sara Zarr
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful and Moving Story, 10 Dec 2012
This review is from: How to Save a Life (Paperback)
I'd read and loved Sara Zarr's `Story of a Girl' a few years back and so when I heard that her latest novel How to Save a Life was being published in the UK as her debut over here I was really excited for UK YA fans to discover what a talent this author is.

How to Save a Life is told alternately between Jill and Mandy two girls who couldn't be more different. Jill is grieving the death of her father when her mom announces that she is going to adopt a baby - a life for a life. Mandy is young, vulnerable and pregnant and is planning on giving her baby to Jill's mother. But through both death and new life the two girls have one thing in common- they're both after a new beginning.

The topics of teen pregnancy and bereavement have both become really overused subjects in YA and what impressed me most about this novel is how Sara Zarr took two really overworked topics and created something totally fresh by combining them both together. Whilst this book deals with grief and teen pregnancy at its heart is a moral on the true meaning of family. I loved the direction that Zarr took this story and how unique and entirely hers she made these topics.

Jill and Mandy are two beautifully flawed characters. Jill I liked instantly and despite Mandy coming off as a bit of an odd ball at the beginning by the end she turned out to be my favourite character. You get to know more about the kind of life that Mandy's had and the reasons behind giving up her baby as the book goes on and my heart definitely went out to the girl. Both characters have their faults and are far from perfect but ultimately I just wanted to reach inside the book, give them both a big hug, and help them through their problems.

I'm not usually a fan of love triangles in the slightest but in this book it was done really well. Jill has to choose between her long term boyfriend from her former life (before her dad died) or a guy who's fallen in love with the new Jill post dad. I loved both guys but was rooting for one in particular. This love triangle was done beautifully and was relevant to Jill who is caught in a type of limbo in her life between the past and the present with her grief so it only made sense that would be reflected in her love life too.

How to Save a Life was a beautiful book. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending and the last few chapters brought on the tears. If you're looking for a book with a lot of heart, endearing characters, and a hopeful message I'd fully recommend this novel.

Tiger Lily
Tiger Lily
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captured My Imagination and Heart, 5 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Tiger Lily (Hardcover)
I've been on a huge Peter Pan kick recently and have enjoyed re-visiting Neverland. Neverland is the kind of fantasy world that is so detailed and rich with imagination that even now as an adult I can't shake the feeling that this place must exist. Picking this book up I was really excited to revisit one of my favourite magical lands from a character I knew little about but was always intrigued by, Tiger Lily.

What surprised me about this novel is that it's actually narrated by Tinker Bell a mute fairy who because she goes unnoticed is an observer of other people's thoughts and feelings. At first I wasn't sure how well that would work but it worked brilliantly as Tink flutters around Neverland spying on everybody. Tink was probably my favourite character, her little fairy heart holds so much love for Peter Pan but because she knows she can never be with him realistically, she wants Tiger Lily and Peter to be happy together. Tinker Bell was such a good friend and I fell in love with her character instantly I also felt really sorry for her at times as she loves these people she watches and becomes so invested in their lives yet nobody but Tiger Lily saw her as anything but a funny little bug.

After only a couple of chapters I was absorbed in this world and could tell that it would be a 5 star all-time favourite book of mine and a large part of that was down to Jodi Lynn Anderson's writing. I'd never read this author before Tiger Lily and I only wish I'd discovered her sooner because Jodi's writing is phenomenal. Jodi brings Neverland to life as the magical enchanting place I loved as a child but she also adds her own spin on it and makes it darker so it suits a Young Adult audience. Whilst I was reading I'd jot down so many quotes because there were so many sections of this book that moved me.

Whilst set in Neverland this book had a real contemporary feel to it. After all Tiger Lily is but a teenage girl whose fallen in love for the first time with a boy she shouldn't have. I can't imagine any girl hating this book. After all, we've all been young girls after a fairytale of our own at some point, right?

What I loved most about this book, gorgeous prose aside, were the characters. Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily, Tik Tok, Pine Sap there are so many to love. Surprisingly I couldn't stand Peter or Wendy. Peter, whilst charming, was trouble from the start and I wanted to warn Tiger Lily to stay well clear. Then Wendy comes along and ruins everything for Tiger Lily and by this point you've come to love this messy haired girl with the brave and thirsty heart so much that you can't help but feel animosity toward Little Miss Perfect Wendy. I was actually rooting for Tiger Lily's best friend Pine Sap throughout whose obvious love for her made him so endearing.

Tiger Lily opened up both my imagination and my heart and left me totally spellbound. Jodi Lynn Andersons writing was so beautiful and poetic that I'll definitely be looking out for her other novels. This book has a strong and imperfect heroine, a beautiful love story, and a dash of magic. It's one of my favourite books of 2012 and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)
Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)
by Laini Taylor
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Most Anticipated Sequel of 2012, 28 Nov 2012
Daughter of Smoke and Bone was by far my favourite book of 2011 and so naturally Days of Blood and Starlight was my most anticipated release of 2012. So much so that I dropped everything when it arrived so that I could devote an entire weekend to reading it.

This sequel was very different to Daughter of Smoke and Bone for many reasons. Firstly it definitely has more of a Fantasy feel to it, now that the cat's out of the bag and we know what Karou is the world of Eretz is ours to explore in this novel. Secondly, whereas Daughter of Smoke and Bone was veiled in mystery and magic Days of Blood and Starlight is very war orientated making it at times a bleak and heavy read. And lastly whilst the first book in the series had a gorgeous romance there is none of that in this book with Karou and Akiva apart doing their own separate duties on their opposing sides of the war. That's not to say that I didn't like these changes, this book was excellent, but in a completely different way than Daughter of Smoke and Bone was.

One of the things I loved about this novel was the return of some of the characters I got to know and love in book one plus the introduction to some new loveable faces. The book focuses on many different characters throughout Karou, Akiva, Zuzana and Mik along with new characters Ziri, Sveva, Sarazal and Rath to name but a few. This gives the reader not only an opportunity to catch up with everyone but also different vantage points to view the war from and the effect it's having on different parts of Eretz and the people that live there, not to mention the effect this war is having in the human world. Because there are a wider range of characters keeping up with the different subplots and who everyone is proved tricky at times, it's definitely a book that requires your full attention something you may want to take into consideration before reading.

As always Laini Taylor's writing was absolutely sublime. She has a way with storytelling that makes every chapter feel like its own little story that fits in as a piece of a bigger picture. Her writing is very description heavy and whimsical which is perfect for setting the scene of Eretz. I loved how there was also witty light-hearted banter between our human characters to lighten the mood when needed. I especially loved Karou and Zuzana's conversations as I just adore both girls and their friendship.

The ending to this book was absolutely incredible with plenty of twists, turns, and shock revelations. I wasn't sure if this books ending could live up to the epicness that was Daughter of Smoke and Bones' but Laini Taylor has done it yet again and managed to completely surprise me. Overall Days of Blood and Starlight was an incredible book, although I didn't love it quite as much as Daughter of Smoke and Bone it was still a strong and worthy sequel that sets things up brilliantly for what I'm certain is going to be an explosive last book to this enchanting series.

Time Between Us
Time Between Us
by Tamara Ireland Stone
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.86

4.0 out of 5 stars A Book With a Lot of Heart!, 15 Nov 2012
This review is from: Time Between Us (Paperback)
When I first read the synopsis for Time Between Us and heard that it was being pitched as `The Time Travellers Wife for teens' I knew that this was a book that I would enjoy. The Time Travellers Wife is one of my favourite adult novels and with YA being my preferred genre I felt sure that I was on to a winner, and this book didn't disappoint!

Needless to say Time Between Us is definitely one for the romantics! Our heroine Anna is from 1995 and lives in Chicago - the same place she's lived her entire life. Anna has big plans for the future and wants nothing more than to travel the world, enter Bennett. Bennett's a seventeen year old time traveller from San Francisco 2012 and his time traveling has happened to land him in Anna's time and place. As the couple get to know and trust one another Bennett reveals to Anna his secret and to her delight finds that he can take her to anywhere in the world at any time, as long as it's during the seventeen years Bennett has been alive, at the blink of an eye.

Anna and Bennett were great characters who had a beautiful love story. Anna really stood out to me as a fantastic heroine and a good role model for teen girls. She's ambitious, hardworking, and isn't afraid to dream big or naïve enough to think that life will be handed to her on a plate. As well as being a love story Time Between Us is also Anna's story as she grows as a person and takes charge of her own destiny.

Bennett's version of time travel was unique to any other book I've read on the subject and was never confusing or hard to follow like some time travel stories tend to be. A key theme that was brought up was that of `the butterfly effect'. I thought it was very cool and considerate of Bennett that he had these rules not to change anything so as not to mess with the future. Like he says, sure it could make the future better but it could also make it a lot worse. I liked how Bennett believed he had to let people make their own choices, shape their own destinies. And that these things have to happen so people become who they're supposed to be.

In a lot of ways this book was very different to how I thought it would be. Of course it's very romantic, but it also has a lot of underling morals at its heart too. About how people have a knack of coming into your life precisely when you need them, and the importance of living life to the fullest. How when life's kind enough to offer you a second chance you should grab it with both hands. This is a story about falling in love and letting that person enrich your life but not become your only means of existence.

Overall Time Between Us was everything I hoped it would be and more. If you like romance or coming of age stories this is a book you won't want to miss. It's a beautiful and unique story that I only wish I could travel through time and give to myself when I was a teenager!

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
by Abby Clements
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Left Me With a Big Smile and the Warm Fuzzies!, 12 Nov 2012
Christmas is by far my favourite time of the year and as soon as Halloween is over with I allow myself to start getting a little bit excited for it! This means starting on my festive chick-lit books that I look forward to reading all year and at the very top of that pile this year was Meet Me Under The Mistletoe and so on November 1st I pulled this one down from the shelf and prepared myself for a heart-warming festive read and this book certainly delivered!

The book begins on November 20th with chapters alternating between Laurie and Rachel two very different leading ladies. Laurie and Rachel were best friends during high school but over the years have fallen out of touch as life has taken them down separate paths. Laurie is a city girl who works for a big fashion company in London and Rachel lives in the countryside and is a stay at home mum. But when things start going wrong in both women's lives during the countdown to Christmas, life throws them back together again when they agree to do a house swap to take a break and get their affairs in order. Needless to say the plot has a similar feel to that of the Christmas movie The Holiday which is one of my all-time favourites and if you're a fan of that film I think that you'll enjoy this book's theme too.

I love when books have more than one main character and I thought that it worked particularly well for this book. Prior to reading, in other reviews I read that you're either a Laurie or a Rachel kind of gal and I'd definitely say that I'm a Laurie. That's not to say that I disliked Rachel I just connected with Laurie more and enjoyed her chapters the most. I think that having two very different heroines works in this books favour because whether you're single or have a family, are a city girl or a country bumpkin, there is a lovable heroine for all to relate to.

Meet Me Under The Mistletoe was the perfect book to get me in the festive mood and is a brilliant read for this time of year. The beginning starts off as pretty much your usual chick-lit and the Christmas spirit builds as the book goes on leading up to and finishing on Christmas day, but will the girls be home and have their problems sorted in time for Christmas?

I finished this book with a big grin on my face and it left me with a warm Christmassy glow long after I put it down. Meet Me Under The Mistletoe was the perfect book to kick off this year's Christmas reading with, and what I enjoyed about it most was that unlike a lot of chick-lit novels I had no idea who either girl was going to end up kissing under the mistletoe! This was a sparkling, fun, Christmas story that fans of the genre won't want to miss!

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, Book 1)
What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, Book 1)
by Kat Zhang
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars What's it Like to Live in a World that Fears You?, 30 Oct 2012
What's Left of Me has to be one of my most anticipated books of this year. I love the dystopian genre and this books premise sounded so interesting. What's Left of Me is set in a futuristic world where everybody is born with two souls. After a certain amount of time one soul is supposed to become dominant and claim the body as its own whilst the recessive soul fades away into nothing. This book is about Eva a recessive soul who although has no control over her body has never completely faded away and so haunts her twin soul Addie. They are what's known as a hybrid and because they are feared and hated by the government Addie has to keep Eva's presence a secret.

What I didn't expect from this book is for the story to be told from Eva, the recessive souls, perspective. With their body being shared I fully expected a dual narrative between Addie and Eva and whilst reading from Eva's point of view didn't do much for me liking and understanding Addie's character it really got me into Eva's mind set and got me thinking about how horrible it would be to have no control over your body, to no longer exist to the people you love, to essentially haunt what used to be your life. I felt so sorry for Eva and was rooting for her to get equal rights over her own body along with Addie.

Although Eva loves Addie and never holds a grudge against her for being the dominant soul, Addie did get on my nerves at times throughout the book. Even though I knew she couldn't help how things were she was at times a bit selfish and I couldn't help resent her as she held Eva back.

The world that the girls inhabit is a scary one indeed and I felt the girls' fear and desperate need to stay together in a world where the government surgically want to remove and kill one of them. The only thing that made this book less than perfect for me was that I would have liked to have learned a bit more regarding the government and why exactly they feared the hybrids. I didn't really understand why it was so important for people to only have one soul and I hope that plus what's going on outside of America is touched upon more in the next book in the series.

Overall What's Left of Me was a fascinating read that had me completely absorbed. I loved the characters, I loved the love story, and I loved the unique plot. But most of all I loved how this book totally got me inside Eva's head and made me think about what life is like for her. What's Left of Me is a gripping futuristic read about what it means to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to change you.

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