Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - Book Review

An emotional roller coaster that has changed my perspective on life.

Summary Courtesy of Amazon : 

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

I asked to borrow this book of my brother's other half (and friend :)) Louise when I saw her talking about it on Facebook. Just days later I was presented with a signed hardback copy of this book with a smile. I didn't know anything about it, I am not even sure I read the back of the book fully before I started it but this book gripped me and made me think about life in a way I never have before.

Yes I knew the books protagonist, Hazel, had terminal cancer but this book is more than cancer, more than an illness but something I can really relate to - a book. The Imperial Affliction. The book that finished halfway through a

I knew that a book on this topic would include a lot of emotions, but it wasn't the ones I expected. I fell in love with Hazel and Gus and their travels to find out answers about this book. I laughed, and I cried... a lot! But when it finished, in a twist I didn't even think of, I was not sad. It made me stop and think. I was happy that the characters could now be happy.

It is one of those books that I cannot talk about fully in a review, because I want you all to beg, borrow and purchase this book yourselves and experience it. John Green, I am now convinced, is a fantastic writer and you don't read his words off a page, you experience them.

I finished this book in record time, even though at one point as I sobbed in my puzzled boyfriend's arms that it was too sad to finish. But I am so glad I read this book. As I have seen in other reviews even writing about this book is sad, I am tearing up thinking about different sections. But I still urge you to read this book to find out why.

Ironically just a day after I finished this book I travelled to Amsterdam, and lets just say I couldn't travel to Anne Frank's house for fear of bursting into tears on the top floor!

This is not normally a book I would read, I like fantasy, demons, vampires and werewolves. But I enjoyed it just as much because the style was so effortless and the narrative to emotion packed. Because of this I will score it among some of my favourite books as being:

9/10 (lost 1 mark because I am still crying!)

I want to know, in the comments below what you thought of this book. Please tell me other people cried! What should be my next read from John Green?

Thank you all for reading,

Love Rie x

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Reading in the Sun!

As some of you will already know I finished my three year degree this week. Capped off with an a pretty good exam I feel great, and not too sad, that I am leaving this chapter off my life now! The last few days I have just been laying in the sun in my local park reading which has been fantastic! We have been having a little mini heat wave here and it has made perfect sun bathing whilst reading conditions.

So I think I Would give you a short low down what I have been reading and what will be coming next. Think of   it as a What are you reading Wednesday, but on Saturday!

Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey
This is the #2 book in the dragon riders of Pern series. I have done a mini review of this over on Facebook but basically I love it. I gave it an 8/10 because it has an amazing narrative, some quick arse characters and a fantastic fantasy world. Its big down fall is being quite complicated with about double the amount of characters that I feel I can take in to start with. But once I got my head round all the different name I loved it, and I can't wait to get started on the next ones (and I have three of them to read by next Monday if I am to keep Mr Phillips happy!).

No Good Deed by Bill Blais
I was sent this as part of an up and coming blog tour but I couldn't help but sneak in what I thought of sooner. I have done an interview with Bill earlier this month and I was really excited with the promise "My goal is to give readers something they haven't had from the genre to date" (Blais. 2012). He was not wrong, this fantasy is a little bit more grown up, and little bit more complex and a little bit more awesome. Full review to come in July!

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
This book was part of my Teaser Tuesday this week, when I had only just started it. I am reading a couple of books at the moment, which is the only reason I haven't had time to finish it. Reading a Armstrong book is like coming home, this one is from her YA series Darkness Rising but the style is so easy to read and so familiar that it would be fantastic if she was writing about bin bags. Yet the narrative is also awesome and action packed! The first chapter leads straight on from The Gathering at a staggering pace and the first quarter of the book is so action packed I was left catching my breath! 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This book was lent to me Miss Dombey more than a few weeks about and I hadn't found time to read it. But as it was such a glorious day yesterday I thought that I would leave the Kindle at home for a day and read this instead. My gosh it is such a fast read. I have power through 3/4 of it in less than 24 hours and I am sure I will be done by the end of today. I can tell its going to get emotional but I fear there will be a twist before I reach the end!

What's coming next:
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey

Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
Let me know in the comments below what you will be reading this weekend and what is coming up next!

Thanks, as always, for reading,

Love Rie x

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Teaser Tuesday #2

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• Be careful not to include spoilers (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong #2 in the Darkness Rising series.
My Teaser:
"I lunged for thje dog's collar and, just then, I heard a gasp. Everyone was yelling and wind rushed through the half-open door and I shouldn't have heard anything. But I heard that gasp." (4%)
I hope this has teased you enough to go out and take a look at this great YA fantasy series!

I have also decided to film my Teaser Tuesday this week, let me know what you think!

Let me know in the comments below your Teaser Tuesday or a link to your post :)

Thanks for reading (& watching),

Love Rie x

Friday, 18 May 2012

Author Interview: Bill Blais

This is my second instalment in a series of posts for the Kelly and Umber series, which consists of an interview with the author Bill Blais. If you want to know what I am doing this series of posts please go back and check out my first post.

This is only the second author interview I have conducted, and the first one to go up on the blog (the other one will go up a bit later in the year). It is thus fair to say that the question that I asked were fairly bland, but I was really happy with the response I received, and I hope you will be too:


Rie: How long have you been writing?

Bill Blais: Well, the first story I wrote was during my sophomore year of high school English class, which would be, whoa, almost 25 years ago. I wrote more pieces during that year and the years that followed, submitting when I thought I had something worthwhile and receiving the requisite (and largely deserved) rejections. A few years after college, though, I hit a lull of several years. I continued to toy with writing, but I wasn't really serious and produced only a couple of complete pieces during that time.

All that changed in 2004. That year, as my 32nd birthday approached, I realized that I hadn't become the published author I had imagined I would be all those years earlier. Of course, the reason was simple enough: I wasn't writing. Not seriously.

So I challenged myself to write a complete novel -- beginning, middle and end. If I could finish that, then maybe I had a chance. If not, I would put that dream aside for good.

It took me a year to write the first draft of Witness and almost three more to revise it (13 times!), and it was an incredibly frustrating, exhilarating, painstaking process (my wife deserves a martyrdom for sticking with me through all that), but I did it. The very best part, though, wasn't finishing the book, but itching to start the next one. That was the moment that I truly felt I was doing what I should be doing.
Since then, I really haven't stopped.

Rie: Why did you first decide to start writing fantasy fiction?

Bill Blais: Oh, the genre was a given long before I even considered writing. My first books were Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Thomas Covenant, Dragonlance, et cetera. I wanted desperately to be swept away to these worlds. When I got older and started to consider writing, fantasy was a natural choice. I'm also a fan of science fiction, historical fiction, and mysteries, and I'm working in those directions, as well.

Rie: Who are your favorite authors?

Bill Blais: It comes down to good writing, and I tend to prefer time-tested authors, like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Patrick O'Brian, and Henryk Sienkiewicz.

Rie: What can readers expect from the Kelly & Umber series?

Bill Blais: My goal is to give readers something they haven't had from the genre to date. I don't lay any claim to true originality, but I try to avoid convention and pre-conceived expectations wherever I can.

Rie: Is the character of Kelly based on anyone you know?

Bill Blais: Yes and no. Like all the characters I write, I want to make her as realistic and honest as possible. For me, this means imbuing her with traits I am familiar with from my own experience and relationships, but it also means allowing her to use, change, or discard these traits as she sees fit in the development of her own unique character. I know that sounds a bit evasive, but it's true.

Rie: Are you writing anything at the moment, if so what?

Bill Blais: Time's been a little tight with the new baby girl, but I'm just finishing up the final (hopefully) revision of a science fiction short story I want to get out in the next couple weeks. I tried a different approach with this one and it was a fun ride, but I have trouble with short fiction, because they have to be, well, short, which is not my strong suit.

Rie: What will be your next book release?

Bill Blais: I expect to publish Another Night at the End of the World, a more traditional fantasy novel, this summer. After that, the third Kelly & Umber novel (currently titled The Road to Hell) is on schedule for this coming winter. Finally, the second in the All Prophets are Liars series (also outlined and prepped) should be ready for a summer 2013 release. There might also be a sci-fi novel slipped out in between sometime.

Because I'm obviously short of things to do.

I think you will agree that Bill is fantastic interviewee, and a big congratulations for the birth of his little girl, as well as some great little books.

You can read other (more creative) interviews with Bill as he has taken part in his book tour here:

  • The Land of Oz - Some great answers around how becoming a new Dad has affected Bill's writing.
  • Left and Write - Find out what Bill would bring save if the Zombie Apocalypse came upon us! 
  • Raine Thomas - Find out what the biggest compliment Bill has ever received about his books. 

You can find out more about Bill on his websiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

The next post in this series with be a book review of the first book in the Kelly & Umber series, No Good Deed

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

Interview organised by the wonderful Annabell Cadiz at Illuminated tours.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Cover Reveal: Hell Hath No Fury by Bill Blais

I first heard about the Kelly and Umber series on the Moonligh Gleam's Bookshelf blog when she hosted a giveaway for the second book in the series, Hell Hath No Fury , which I quickly entered. However I was dissapointed to find out the giveaway was restricted to the US & Canada. After speaking to the author Bill Blias I was approached to ask if I would like to host a cover reveal and interview with him here on my little bloggy to make up for it! 

So I am please to introduce a series of posts on the Kelly and Umber series! This first post is a cover reveal and a synopsis of the second book to let you know what it is about:

The second book in the Kelley and Umber series - Hell Hath No Fury

After the horrific events under the streets of NewYork City, Kelly McGinnis quit the team of demon hunters who had recruited herand did everything she could to put the experience behind her. Six monthslater, life is nearly normal, complete with bills, school for her children andhospital visits for her husband.
Dreams of Umber --the handsome and intriguing incubus she saved--continue totease Kelly’s sleep, but it is only when far darker dreams--and worse--begin toinfect her children, that Kelly discovers what happens if you stop hunting
They start hunting you.

About Bill Blais:
Bill Blais is a writer, web developer and perennialpart-time college instructor. His novels include Witness (winner of the NextGeneration Indie Book Award for Fantasy) and the Kelly & Umber urbanfantasy series. Bill graduated from Skidmore College before earning an MA inMedieval Studies from University College London. He lives in Maine with hiswife and daughter.

You can read a sample of the first book in the series No Good Dead here:
And a sample of Hell Hath No Fury here:

You can get both these books on Kindle for just £1.95 each.

Thank you so much for reading, if you like the sound of the book please pop along and have a read of samples and let me know what you think.

Love Rie x

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Book Tag

Apologies for the absence of late. A lot of exciting things have been happening over the last few weeks and along with a lot of uni work for the final push of my degree I haven't had a lot of time for myself. But I am planning to get back into the YouTube videos very soon and may even try my hand at vlogging :D

Right so on to today's post. I have decided to do a Book Tag! 6 rules and tons of questions >>>>

The Rules:
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of your favourite book cover
3. Answer the questions below
4. Tag a few people to answer them too
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you've tagged them
6. Make sure you tell the person who tagged you that you've taken part!

What are you reading right now?
Dragonquest by Anne McCaffery

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R Tolkien
  2. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  4. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  5. Divergent by Veronica Roth
What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
I am not a big magazine reader, much preferring to read a book at any opportunity. However I often have a Top Gear magazine lying around that belongs to my boyfriend.

What’s the worst book you've ever read?
There are very few books that I hate, and even worse haven't finished. But I particularly despised Fateful by Cheri Smidt. I got is for free of Amazon with high hopes and didn't get past the second chapter, it was like Twilight but worse!

What book seems really popular but you actually hated?
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo . This was just not what I was expecting and found it super difficult to read. But I hope that I will tackle it again soon.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, but it comes with a warning! It will hook you in and you won't be released until you finish the series. So well written and addicting!!

What are your 3 favourite poems?
I have never been the biggest poetry lover. But I do love some of the stuff I studied at school and college. I would recommend to anyone The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy - the whole collection is really clever. Simon Armatiage is also good! Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare is also a gooden!

Where do you usually get your books?
Amazon kindle store and Waterstones thanks for lots of book vouchers from friends and family that know me very well.

Where do you usually read your books?
In bed, at the table whilst eating breakfast/ lunch/ dinner, in the living room whilst other people are eating, on the train, anywhere I can!!

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
Going to the library with my Grandparents or Mum and being able to choose a book to read :)

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
The The Hunger Games and Catching Fire .

Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
Not really. Maybe when listening in to other peoples conversations of the train I am not really reading :P

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
As much as well all say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover we all do it. I was first attracted to the True Blood series because of the cover of the first book!

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I loved anything by Jacqueline Wilson as a chile, but Harry Potter stole my teen years.

What book changed your life?
I find it difficult to pin down just one book that changed my life. But the book that will always stick with me is one I have not finished - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, what happened to Hassan in the opening chapters has stuck with me and haunted me since!

What is your favourite passage from a book?
No single passage has stuck with me as much as this quote:
"Children who don't eavesdrop on adult conversations are doomed to a childhood of ignorance" Kelley Armstrong, Men of the Otherworld
What are your top five favourite authors?

  1. Kelley Armstrong
  2. Jeffery Deaver
  3. Suzanne Collins
  4. J. K. Rowling
  5. Anne McCaffrey

What book has no one heard about but should read?
City of the Falling Sky by Joseph Evans - first time book of young British author and one of the best YA's I have read in a long long time.

What 3 books are you an “evangelist” for?

  1. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
  2. City of the Falling Sky by Joseph Evans
  3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

What are your favourite books by a first-time author?
Hopefully you can tell by mentioning this book in the third question in a row: City of the Falling Sky by Joseph Evans!

What is your favourite classic book?
Define a classic?

3 other notable mentions?

  1. If you normally read YA try some adult fantasy fiction. The Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong is the best I have ever read!
  2. Hunt for the Phoenix by the Byfords is a great read and I the authors are very friendly on Twitter.
  3. Don't normally read? Try a Garfunkle Puzzlebook - fun for all the family!

I tag:
Grazing Pages, All Things Urban Fantasy, Moonlights Gleam's Bookshelf, and YOU!

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Bookish Wonders #2

This second post in my Bookish Wonders series is all about book nerd jewellery. After finding a picture of the Library Necklace on the Book Riot website I fell in love. But after a feverish hunt of the interweb I was left heart broken. At $340 (£215) these are well out of my price range. But fear not I have found some super cute and a lot more affordable bookish jewellery for you to browse!

I have officially fallen in love Library Necklace. Can I borrow $340 off someone please?!
Antique Bookshelf Necklace by Coryographies (Made to Order)
These mini bookshelves are made to order and super cute! And at on £25 a pop I think they are a bargain!
Three book necklace, decorative leather journals on silver coloured chain.
I found these little beauties on Etsy for just £12.50! This Three Book Necklace is adorable.

Dangle earrings, red/brown leather books
Of all the jewellery I have found, I think these have to be my favourite! These Book Earrings are right up my street - LOVE! And at only £8.37 I think you can expect to see me modelling a pair of these very soon. 
Mini Leather Journal Necklace with Skeleton Key - Mini Book Pendant
Fully functional Mini Leather Journal Necklace OMG! And only £15.82?!?! How do these people make a profit?
This little home made Hunger Games Necklace from Australia and so cute. But with only 6 left on this ebay store and only £14.07 I fear that these may sell out very soon.
These Harry Potter Book Necklaces are from a seller on ebay and I think  they are perfect for a HP Nerd like me!
Even better they are only £3 each or £21 for the full set!

I have no idea what the quality of these Twilight Book Necklaces is but at £3.50 each I think they are so cool.
Maybe a little too much tho!
So what do you think? Is book jewellery a super cute fashion accessory for a book worm? Or a little to much like a book fetish?!

Thanks for reading, 

Love Rie x