Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Movie Books: Divergent




As you can read here, I'm a massive Divergent fan! I bought tickets for the movie from the moment they were available here in Belgium. The cast held a few surprises, but I already saw a few trailers and interviews etc. before seeing the movie, so by the time I actually sat down in the theater, I had made my peace with the casting.
Like we see in all movie adaptations, a few details are left out and some things just are more clear and hold more meaning when you read about them in the books, but over all I feel like the movie really captured what the book trilogy is all about. [Just wanted to add - without giving away spoilers - that I did found the control room -scene disappointing: it's a crucial moment and I do feel they deviated too much from the book, on this one.]
Is this the greatest movie of the year? Probably not, but it did stay true to the world and characters Veronica Roth created and I will definitely watch Divergent again and will be just as enthusiastic about Insurgent, when that film comes out!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Book Tag – My Reading Habits


Another fabulous book tag: "my reading habits". I was tagged by Simona and Victoria. Thanks girls! 
Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
I have a very comfy "grandpa chair", but my bed with a blanket will do as well. Blankets are key! Unfortunately I had to leave my grandpa chair behind when the boyfriend and I moved to a new apartment (my brother is taking care of the chair now - ON LOAN!), so I'm still deciding on my new favourite reading spot.
Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Definitely bookmarks. I have a lot of them and it's one of my favourite things to collect.
Some of these are souvenirs (France, Prague, Amsterdam,...) others are gifts (Marie, Simona, Thomas,...)
Love love love bookmarks! 


Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or certain number of pages?
I usually try to stop at the end of a chapter, or page, but I can stop at random as well.
Do you eat or drink while reading?
Tea and biscuits maybe. Usually just drinks.
Do you watch TV or listen to music while reading?
I do sometimes intend to do both, watch TV and read, but I usually end up focusing on only one thing... the book! I do sometimes put on music, but after a few pages I've usually blocked out all background sounds, including music. So I don't really bother with music.
One book at a time or several at once?
If the book is good: only one at a time. But if I'm in a bit of a reading slump, I usually start more than one, just to see which one will get me reading again.
Reading at home or everywhere?
Everywhere. Mostly at home, of course, but I never get on a train or go to a doctors or hairdressers appointment without a book. 
Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Silently. I used to read parts of the Harry Potters out loud, to practice my English -pronunciation. But now that I'm sharing a flat with someone, I stopped doing that ;-)
Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
NEVER. Nope, no. I wouldn't want to spoil it. I usually even skip the blurb: I read it when I pick out the book, but never re-read it just before reading. It often gives too much away and I like to be surprised. Predictable reads usually aren't fun.
Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I try to keep the spine like new for as long as possible, but I'm not obsessed with it: it's not worth finger- cramps! I like second hand books as well, those usually have cracked spines!
Do you write in your books?
NO! A school text book, maybe. Never in a novel. Unless it's the title-page: there's nothing I love more than books with a history/ with a dedication written inside. I write my name and the month/year I bought the book inside every book, and I always mention if it was a gift/ special occasion/location.
Thank you Simona and Victoria for tagging me, I had so much fun writing this!
I tag Laura, Ana, Alba and Isabell!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Book Blitz: Crazy, Undercover, Love - Nikki Moore

The day has finally arrived!! Nikki Moore's debut novel with HarperImpulse - Crazy, Undercover, Love - is released as an ebook today, 24th April 2014

 If you like pacy, sexy romance and fancy a long weekend in Barcelona with a smoking hot guy this one's for you! 



 Want to know more...? 

When uber-feisty career girl Charley Caswell-Wright takes on the assignment as PA to the gorgeous Alex Demetrio, CEO of Demetrio International, she's there under entirely false pretences; to get her life back on track. Having lost the job she worked so hard to earn, she’s determined not to give it up so easily, especially when she didn’t deserve to lose it in the first place. Mr Dreamy CEO is her only chance of clawing back her career – and her reputation. So she has to keep things strictly professional… boy, is she in trouble! 

To buy Crazy, Undercover Love as an ebook:- Amazon Google Play - iTunes -  Kobo Sainsbury's 
Or to buy it as a paperback on pre-order, released on 26th June:- Amazon 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What people are saying about Nikki's other stories... 

The Love Letter and A Day in the Life... HarperImpulse short story collection Be My Valentine, with Teresa F Morgan and Brigid Coady, attracting 4 and 5 star reviews. 

 'I loved all 5 stories and will look out for more books by each author.' CometBabesBooks, Amazon 
 'Whilst I enjoyed all of the stories, I particularly liked Nikki Moore's … her voice as an author really resonated with me and I can't wait to read more of her work.' Kate Beeden, Goodreads 

Nikki's short story A Night to Remember in the Mills & Boon/Romantic Novelists Association anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply which has also attracted 4 and 5 star reviews. 

'My favourite story was A Night To Remember. I think what drew me to this … was its resonance with real life. I'm not going to spoil the story but I could feel the emotions spilling out of the page - it was beautiful.' Beckie, www.beckiesbookmix.blogspot.co.uk 

'A Night to Remember - Beautiful, devastatingly so.' Cheryl M-M, Goodreads & http://mmcheryl.wordpress.com/ 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About the author.
Nikki Moore lives in beautiful Dorset and writes short stories and sexy, pacy romances. A finalist in several writing competitions including Novelicious Undiscovered 2012, she graduated from the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers' Scheme after four years and and has contributed to their magazine Romance Matters. She has far too much fun attending the annual RNA conference and has previously chaired a panel and taken part in a workshop at the Festival of Romance. She blogs about some of her favourite things – Writing, Work and Wine – at www.nikkimooreauthor.wordpress.com and believes in supporting other writers as part of a friendly, talented and diverse community. You can find her on Facebook or on Twitter and she invites you to pop in for chats about love, life, reading or writing!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Book review: Revolt - Qaisra Shahraz

 

A multi-layered, multi-faceted story of love and loss, finding and losing, and mixed-race marriage, Revolt is the tale of three wealthy sisters and the problems that no amount of money can solve. There is a daughter, abandoned because of an impulsive marriage, an aunt who pines for lost love, and a bridegroom with the biggest problem of them all.

Set in England and the fictional village of Gulistan in Pakistan, with its fascinating array of quirky, eccentric and unforgettable characters, Revolt centres on the forthcoming marriage of two rich cousins and the often hilarious but always deeply moving pitfalls and perils of living in a place where everyone knows everybody's business. Underpinning the action is the compulsive and pervading need to resolve the conflict between Pakistani Muslim values and those of the modern West.

A brilliantly incisive portrait of small-town life, exploding into a panoramic portrayal of the nature of change, freedom, pride and prejudice, Revolt also reminds us of a darker, more threatening world. Immensely readable, dramatic and beautifully evocative, this book will enthral, as the action unfolds and the tensions play out to their startling resolution.


My opinion.
Wow. What a novel. 
It took me a while to get into the story. I found the amount of Urdu words used in the book very confusing at first. A lot of characters were introduced in the first few chapters, with (for me) difficult names, all of which made it a bit harder to really get absorbed into the story and the character's lives. But once you got used to some of the Urdu words and the characters, it became such an amazingly intriguing read. 
One of the great things about Revolt is the very large amount of characters, and their diversity. One big story with all those individual stories intertwined... Such a "rich" book. Not only are the characters very different from one another, they each got a different story to tell and the book introduces so many different themes... You never get bored!

Personally, I haven't been in contact much with Muslim or Pakistani culture, so Revolt really showed an unknown world and I feel it taught me a lot about their values and customs. Although very enriching, it was frustrating at times as well. I had a hard time with the dutiful wife -roll. How much those woman sacrificed for the sake of their marriage... And the amount of (verbal!) abuse they have to endure!

Qaisra Shahraz is obviously a very talented story teller and she transported me to another, unknown, part of the world.

Revolt is an amazingly intriguing and rich story. It brings so much diversity in both characters and themes. Qaisra Shahraz introduces you to a new world and transports you to a little Pakistani village, while making you forget the world around you.


    

Thank you so much to Karen at Arcadia Books
for giving me the chance to read and review Revolt.
I really enjoyed this memorable book!


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Chocolate Book Tag

Chocolate Book Tag


A while ago I was tagged by Simona from Sky's Book Corner. Not just any tag, but a Chocolate tag! How exciting! Still enjoying all this Easter chocolate, so what better moment to compare some delicious books with some very delicious chocolate? I've read a lot of books so to chose only 1 book for each type of chocolate is almost impossible. So I'm going to focus on the books I've only recently read.
Links to reviews are in the book's titles!

Dark Chocolate: a book that covers a dark topic
I picked Saving Rain & the entire Rain Trilogy by Karen-Anne Stewart. It's a wonderful, epic romance, but it also handles topics as abuse and human trafficking. Absolutely adored these books!










White chocolate: your favourite light hearted/humorous read
I recently read How To Get A (Love) Life by Rosie Blake and I really enjoyed reading it. Perfect "white chocolate book"!











Milk chocolate: a book that has a lot of hype that you're dying to read
For months now The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman is haunting me on social media. Everyone's talking about it and everyone's loving it!
Lucky for me, I won a copy of this book and it is now impatiently waiting for me on my bookshelf.








Chocolate with a caramel centre: a book that made you feel all gooey in the middle whilst you were reading it
I just had to pick a Katy Regnery novel for this caramel chocolate! See Jane Fall is one of my favourite books of the year so far and it fits this kind of chocolate perfectly. Nothing better than a Katy -novel for some gooey romance feelings!










Wafer Free KitKat: name a book that has surprised you lately
First, I have to admit that I've never had a 'Wafer Free KitKat' so now I'm really curious to taste this! That being said, this is not a very easy category, but I'm going to go with Revolt by Qaisra Shahraz, the book I'm currently reading. It has anything from culture (shock!) to romance to family problems to village gossip. It took me a while to get into the story, but it ended up really surprising me and I'm now over 75% in and really loving it!







Snickers: a book that you're going nuts about
I'm still fan -girling over Divergent by Veronica Roth, so I have to pick that one! It's a brilliant read and I loved the movie (this book is also a part of my "movie book challenge"!).










Hot Chocolate with Cream and Marshmallows: a book you would turn to for a comfort read
Breaking the rules here, but I cannot choose between these two brilliant books by Aven Ellis: Connectivity and Waiting For Prince Harry. Both are amazing and I would definitely read them again, any time I just wanted to escape with a lovely, warm, comfort read.










Box of Chocolates: what series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and something for everyone?
I don't think there was ever any doubt as to what series I would pick: HARRY POTTER! I first read the books when I was about ten years old and I became obsessed. I've now turned 22 and... you guessed it: still obsessed! The books seem to bring me something new each time I read them. I loved them as a kid, I still love them as a young adult and I'm convinced that I will still recognize myself in some characters or in parts of the story when I have kids and even grand kids myself. 




Thank you so much, Simona, for the tag! I really enjoyed writing this post!!

By now I guess almost every book blogger has been tagged, so I'm tagging... authors!

- Karen-Anne Stewart
- Rosie Blake
- Hannah Beckerman
- Katy Regnery
- Aven Ellis



Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Giveaway: The Dead Wife's Handbook

THE GREAT EASTER GIVEAWAY WITH THE DEAD WIFE'S HANDBOOK




It's Easter and those nice people at Amazon have reduced the price of both the Kindle and the BEAUTIFUL paperback of The Dead Wife's Handbook. 

So to celebrate, we're combining the two things we all love the best - books and chocolate - in a great Easter giveaway.

Just purchase a copy of The Dead Wife's Handbook on either Kindle (£2.62) or in paperback (£3.49), tweet a proof of purchase to @hannahbeckerman on Twitter, and you could win this DIVINE Hotel Chocolat Easter Bunny that will be delivered DIRECT TO YOUR DOOR (UK only) [pic attached]

What are you waiting for?! 


eBook:

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Competition post! Win an iPad Mini with "The Guestbook" & Carina!




To celebrate the launch of TheGuestbook Carina are giving away an iPad Mini! All you have to do is enter the competition here: http://bit.ly/1ghbojW

Simply enter your details for your chance to win an Apple iPad Mini pre-loaded with all the holiday reading you could possibly need!

Also, make sure you keep an eye out for author Holly Martin’s daily holiday tips and fun over the next month by following @UKCarina

Holly Martin's The Guestbook welcomes you to Willow cottage - throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook.

You can buy The Guestbook here, available for 99p for a limited time http://amzn.to/1etluti


My review for The Guestbook by Holly Martin here.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Book review: How To Get A (Love) Life - Rosie Blake + Q&A


Some people book last-minute holidays, walk barefoot in the grass or party on a week night. Not Nicola Brown. Nicola is the kind of girl who double-locks the front door, leaves the plastic covering on new furniture, sticks to a super-strict diet and definitely, absolutely Does Not Date.

Her colleague Caroline – loopy, warm and exasperated by her, knows that Nicola's reluctance to lose control means she's living only half a life. And so she lays down the gauntlet: Nicola must cast aside her hang ups and go on as many dates as it takes to find true love in time for Valentine's Day.

The pick of local men is, quite frankly, a bit rubbish. And there are only three months until February 14th. Surely it's an impossible task? But, as Nicola is about to find out on her dodgy dates, letting go isn't quite as scary as she imagined. In fact, it's rather a lot of fun...


My opinion.
I was so thrilled when I got the opportunity to read (& review) How To Get A (Love) Life. I had heard (... well... read) so many great things about it and the cover really stood out and seemed to pop up everywhere. Gorgeous cover!
     The book definitely lived up to my expectations. Nicola is a very interesting main character and I really enjoyed being a part of her journey. And what a journey that is! Not only did she agree to take on a bet to find a date in time for Valentine's day, she also has to let go of the patterns she created over the years. She's stuck in her ways and it limits her. But will she be able to take that big jump in the unknown, by "loosening up"? Or has her friend and colleague Caroline pushed her too far?
     At times I wasn't sure whether I wanted to laugh or die out of humiliation: those dates! I really hope Rosie Blake didn't write all that out of life experience... [Let's find out in the Q&A below!] I would have given up on finding love all together! Poor Nicole! Luckily she has a lot more patience and perseverance than I have. I do have to say thank you, Rosie, because I appreciate my boyfriend even more now, after reading How To Get A (Love) Life!
     How To Get A (Love) Life is a laugh out loud, endearing story about finding love, and trusting the unexpected. I really, really loved this book and I simply cannot wait to read more by Rosie Blake! 


   


I'm very happy to welcome Rosie Blake for a chat about her book(s) and about herself!

Was it always your dream to become a writer? What inspired/ still inspires you to write?
No I came to writing quite late in my life because my original dream was to be a Country and Western Singer. The thing was I couldn't sing and wasn't from the Deep South. So I scratched that dream and focused on writing. My passion for it came from reading other people's books and becoming lost in the worlds they created. Enid Blyton, Jilly Cooper, Helen Fielding, Emlyn Rees and Josie Lloyd - I wanted to write amusing books with vibrant characters. 


Where did the idea for How To Get A (Love) Life come from?

I wanted to write a character transformation novel. I do believe people can get themselves into a rut and sometimes something extraordinary needs to happen to nudge them out of it. Then I knew I had lots of amusing date stories stored up in my brain, so they needed a home...


How did Nicola's character come about?
Nicola was my lovely girl in a rut so to speak..!


Were any of the worst-date-scenario's based on true events?
I'm afraid so. There was an actor I was dating who spent one evening showing me head shots of himself and asking me to rate them for his little book. Thus Chris was born...


A few years ago you wrote "Harry Potter: The Musical". Being a Potterhead, I have to ask: is there any way we can watch this? What made you write this piece?
Ha, ha, I did! I did! My friend wrote the music and I did the words. It was SUPER inappropriate all about Harry and his sock puppet friend who was his only mate. It was performed by the Bristol University Musical Society one weekend in 2004. I wanted to play Harry but they wouldn't let me. 


Can you reveal anything about future projects?
Yes! I am writing Book 2 at the moment and in love with the setting. A lot of it is based on an island in Malaysia and it is gorgeous being back there in my head all the time. Also I fancy my hero. Quite a lot. The story is about a girl who marries a boy aged 8 in the school playground. When life doesn't pan out as she imagined she decides it would have been OK if she had stayed married. So starts a global search to find her first husband and the madness begins...


Facts about Rosie
Favourite colour YELLOW!! It's probably pretty obvious because of my book cover, website etc 
Favourite song Ha, ha, YELLOW! Actually this can stay as I love Coldplay big time.
Favourite hot drink Really milky hot chocolate. 
Favourite holiday destination Cornwall out of season or Pembrokeshire. I just got back from there and it is completely DELICIOUS.
A random fact about you people would never guess David Beckham, dressed in just a towel, has told me off for singing '2 become 1' too loudly. 


Haha, thank you so much for this Rosie! Such a fun interview!
I'm really sorry you didn't get to play Harry - I'm sure you would've done a great job. I'm going to YouTube hunt now for some footage ;-)
Book #2 already sounds like a winner to me! Can't wait!

Big big thank you, again! Thank you to Kerry at Novelicious as well, 
for contacting me and for the amazing opportunity 
to read and review How To Get A (Love) Life!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Book review: To Catch A Creeper - Ellie Campbell



Cathy is riding high in her brand-new job at a (surprisingly bitchy) top London advertising agency working with best friend Rosa. But when Rosa’s pregnancy goes amiss and enemies sabotage her new career, she finds herself leading a chaotic double life of lies and deception, hiding a shameful secret from all, especially husband Declan who appears in the throes of a nervous breakdown. 

Meanwhile she’s agreed to unmask the notorious Crouch End Creeper, a burglar terrorizing their neighbourhood. Little does she know that her meddling, assisted by fellow mothers (the Wednesday Once Weeklies) and the Neighbourhood Watch, will lead their dangerous opponent to murder. And that it's not only the tall elegant transvestite who is placing herself at risk...


My opinion.
Cathy and the other characters are introduced in Ellie Campbell's first novel Looking for La La. Although it's not necessary to read both books, I do recommend it. I don't think I would have understood the characters and the situation as well if I hadn't read Looking for La La first.
I really enjoyed reading Looking for La La, as you can read here (I gave it 5 stars!). I struggled with Cathy, the main character, but I was very relieved it didn't stop me from really enjoying the book... I'm afraid I cannot say the same about To Catch a Creeper. I got really annoyed with Cathy and I had a hard time connecting with her. I felt she was even more superficial, naive and socially awkward than she seemed to be in book #1.
In Looking for La La Cathy struggles with finding her own identity again. After being a stay at home mum for so many years, she seems to have lost her true self. She was desperate to find herself again as an individual, and how she fit in her marriage. In To Catch A Creeper she seems to have succeeded most of that. Until everything, of course, goes completely wrong. Her "2 day old career" is falling apart and she no longer recognizes the man she married. The story has a lot of twists and again you catch a glimpse of 'day to day life' in a London suburb. Cathy's friends are a very diverse, very mixed group which adds to the story because they all bring something very different. I would have liked to have read more about her relationships with Dec. and Rosa. The story hints at their problems and how these relationships will eventually evolve, but Cathy's (ridiculous?) search for the Creeper overshadows both.



 

About the author(s)

Ellie Campbell is the author name for two sisters, Lorraine Campbell and Pam Burks, who write together collaborating by phone and email from Surrey, UK and Colorado, USA. They have published three books, How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad and Looking For La La.

Connect with 'Ellie' via Twitter,Facebook and their website!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Check out Looking for La La

 My review
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you to Lorraine and Pam,
for giving me the opportunity to read 
both "Crouch End Mysteries"!