Monday, 16 January 2017

REVIEW - Relativity by Antonia Hayes


Title: Relativity

Author: Antonia Hayes

Publisher: Corsair

Release Date: 19th January 2017

Source: ARC
‘A true storyteller: her characters are alive’ Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap

‘Wonderful; a beautifully written, heart-breaking novel’
S J Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep

‘Genuinely difficult to put down’ Greeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

‘I tore through it’ Courtney Collins, author of The Burial

Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy. 

His single mother Claire is fiercely protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him forever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.

Now age twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life. When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three together again.

Relativity is a tender and triumphant story about unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, and testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

This book is breathtakingly brilliant, a beautiful read, a difficult subject, an incredible little (well not so little he's 12) boy and the story of how his father came back in to his life.

Ethan is not a normal boy, he is obsessed with science and rightly so, he is brilliant with an incredible understanding of physics, astronomy and this of course earns him a place on the school bullies list but he has a happy home with his mum Claire.  

A single mum since her husband went away when Ethan was 4 months old, she has put her ambitions as a ballerina on hold to make sure her son has the best life possible, to keep him happy, healthy and kept oblivious to the reasons why she and Mark her ex-husband and Ethan's father are no longer together.

But an illness in Mark's family brings him back in contact with Claire, this brings up feelings good and bad and leads to Ethan discovering why his Dad left.

Told in flashbacks and from the POV's of Claire, Ethan and Mark, this truly has a wealth of emotions bursting from the pages.  As it is revealed to us bit by bit where Mark has been and how he got there, the characters go through emotional upheaval and it is apparent that Mark and Claire have already gone through a lot of the years and old wounds are being opened.

I devoured this is one afternoon, as I read it I felt I didn't know how it was going to end, some books keep you guessing, others lay it out for you, this didn't.  I'm glad it didn't.

Ethan has to be the standout character in the story, older than his 12 years, he shows maturity yet when he meets Alison she helps him become a kid again, the pair become fast friends.  He deals with everything that comes at him brilliantly, I couldn't have.

A brilliant emotion crushing read that will have you in tears several times over.

Thanks to Corsair for sending me a copy in advance in exchange for an honest review.







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Sunday, 15 January 2017

REVIEW - Brake Failure by Alison Brodie includes GIVEAWAY!


Title: Brake Failure

Author: Alison Brodie

Publisher: Clipboard Press

Release Date: 9th January 2017

Source: ARC
Brake Failure is a contemporary romance with humour, suspense and a kick-ass heroine. The story is set in one of the most fascinating periods of America's history: the months leading up to Y2K "melt-down."

"Is it too late to tell him you love him when you're looking down the barrel of his gun?"

Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is an English debutante, destined for Ladies Day at Ascot and taking tea at The Savoy. She knows the etiquette for every occasion and her souffl├ęs NEVER collapse. 

She is in control of her life, tightly in control. Until fate dumps her down in … Kansas. 

Ruby believes that life is like a car; common-sense keeps it on the road, passion sends it into a ditch. What she doesn't know is, she's on a collision course with Sheriff Hank Gephart. 

Sheriff Hank Gephart can judge a person. Miss Mortimer-Smyth might act like the Duchess of England but just under the surface there's something bubbling, ready to explode. She's reckless, and she's heading for brake failure. And he's not thinking about her car.

With the Millennium approaching, Ruby gets caught up in the Y2K hysteria. She joins a group of Survivalists, who give her a gun and advise her to stockpile basic essentials, such as gasoline and water-purifying tablets. So she bulk-buys Perrier, Gentleman's Relish and macaroons. 

Ruby, far from home, is making Unsuitable Friends and "finding herself" for the first time. She falls in with a gang of Hells Angels and falls foul of the law. At every turn, she comes up hard against Sheriff Hank Gephart, whose blue eyes seem to look deep into her soul. She desperately wants him but knows she can never have him.

She's angry at the emotions he arouses in her. Pushed to her limit, she bursts from her emotional straightjacket.

As the clock strikes midnight of the new Millennium, she's on a freight train with three million dollars, a bottle of Wild Turkey and a smoking gun.

What happened to Miss Prim-and-Proper? And why did she shoot Mr Right?

Note: Alison Brodie wrote this story from first-hand experience. She lived in Kansas during this time and was stunned by the hysteria, unnerved that the US government was spending $150 billion preparing for Armageddon. As Lionel Shriver says in her novel, We Have To Talk About Kevin: “1999, a year widely mooted beforehand as the end of the world.”


 A great fun read, Brake Failure is a flashback to the final year of the nineties and this craziness that came before Y2K.  Told in a back to front way, this is a crazy drive from start to finish.

We meet Ruby, who is, well she has had a privileged upbringing, a wonderful sense of entitlement and basically seems hellbent on getting one over on her step-sister.  To her the ultimate goal is Paris and her husband who she seems to use for her own personal gain rather than love is going to be her ticket to the City of Love.

Except that is not going to happen as he has to go Kansas first, oh and did I mention that it was 1999.

America comes as a total culture shock to Ruby, she is a fish out of water and a hypochondriac to boot, she should make friends easily in her small town!!

Friendship is not something Ruby has in mind when she keeps encountering the local Sheriff Hank Gephart who is igniting something in Ruby that her husband isn't sparking, not only is the local Sheriff giving Ruby major feels, her husbands boss is also set fire to her emotions, for the first time in her life she decides she is going to do what the hell she likes.

There may be consequences, they may not be good.

I'll not spoil the rest for you but this is a rollicking good read, well written and humourous with a lead character who can fearless and majorly annoying at the same time but you can't help forgive her.

Thanks to Neverland Blog Tours for providing me with a copy.











Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancesto
rs on her mother’s side. Alison was a photographic model for a wide range of products, such as Ducati motorbikes and 7Up. She was also the vampire in the Schweppes commercial.

A disastrous modelling assignment in the Scottish Highlands gave Alison an idea for her first romance novel, Face to Face. It was taken up by Dinah Wiener, the first agent Alison sent it to. Three weeks later, Alison signed a two-book deal with Hodder & Stoughton. Subsequently, Face to Face was published in English, German and Dutch. “Vain, but wildly funny leading lady.” -Scottish Daily Mail. It was also chosen as Good Housekeeping’s “Pick of the Paperbacks.”

Unfortunately, Alison then suffered from Second-Book Syndrome. The publisher’s deadline loomed but Alison couldn’t think of a story! She found the whole experience a nightmare; and this is why she cautions first-time authors not to sign a multi-book deal unless they are prepared!
Alison lived in Kansas for two years. She loved the people, their friendliness, the history and the BBQs! Now, she lives in Biarritz, France with her rescue mutt, Bayley.

Alison’s previous release, THE DOUBLE, was published to rave reviews:

“Proof of her genius in writing fiction…Excellent.” –San Francisco Book Review.




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Friday, 13 January 2017

REVIEW - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet


Title: A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)

Author: Amanda Bouchet

Publisher: Piatkus Books

Release Date: 12th January 2017

Source: ARC
"Cat" Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a travelling circus. She is actually an exceptionally powerful Magoi - known as the Kingmaker - who can divine lies. But Cat has no interest in using her powers - or in being used for them - and stays under the radar, far from the clutches of her power-hungry homicidal family.

An ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, Griffin, is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her - then does everything he can to coax her to help his people willingly.

Cat has worked hard to avoid the dangerous destiny she fears is in her blood but the balance of power in their world is shifting. The old magics are no longer all-powerful and there's a new, ferocious force at work. To survive, Cat will have to explore the true depth of the powers she's spent so long running from - and perhaps even learn to work with her enemies . . . .

Sexy, dark, magical, mythical.....just a few words to describe this novel from Amanda Bouchet!  

An enjoyable few days where spent exploring the land that has been created here, the land that Cat our female protagonist lives in.  Straight away you can tell she is not one for taking any crap from anyone and straight away she gets crap thrown at her!

We meet her as a member of a magical circus where she is travelling as a soothsayer, she is hiding her true colours but the arrival of a warlord at the circus takes her out of hiding and on a journey to back to where she grew up and where she is now running from.

But Griffin, the warlord has a plan for her, he knows that she is a Kingmaker, an extremely powerful Magoi who can tell when someone is lying to them and as his family have recently conquered a northern realm he wants Cat and her talents to help them stay at the helm of their new acquired realm.

But first they have to get there!

As a flight risk Cat is tethered to Griffin by a magical rope, this leads to a lot of awkward moments and a ton of chemistry, there is nothing subtle about Griffin, he is tall, dark and handsome and knows what he wants and even though he wants to use Cat for her powers you can tell straight away that he wants her for something else too.

Now I don't want to spoil this for you as it is a great read but we follow Cat, Griffin and his men (also easy on the eye) as they take the treacherous journey north, Cat is still hiding a lot from Griffin but as they get further north more and more about Cat is revealed, she is lot more powerful than we could have imagined, scarily so and she is going to have to try her best to make it north alive and out of the hands of the people seeking her for revenge.

Now I enjoyed this book, it jumped straight in to the action, the only thing that bugged me a little was Cat's whinging, I know she had been taken by Griffin but she moans like hell, it did get a bit repetitive but I suppose it was part of her character but I forgave her for this as she is totally kick ass.

Anyway for fans of fantasy with a touch of smoking hot added in, this will be up your street!

Thanks to Piatkus for providing me with a copy.











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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

If I Could.......Make my own Loot Crate!!


So unless you have been living under a rock you will be well aware of the fact that you can get a monthly subscription box for pretty much anything these days ranging from beauty products to pet food.  But did you know there is an awesome one for us geeks and gamers??


Loot Crate is that box! You can spend as little or a much as you like and each month you'll get an awesome box full of goodies! You can expect goodies such as Funko Pops, pins, clothing and other cool things.  

Each box has a theme with past ones including loot from Harry Potter, Aliens, Terminator, Marvel and Star Trek to name a few!  


Here is a little video that shows you how it works!



So, the guys at Loot Crate asked me to use my vivid vast imagination to come up with my dream crate and get this I can put anything in it!! 

You can get in on the act too, create your own Loot Crate and share across the blogosphere!  

The only limit is your imagination!!

So what did I come up with?  

My head was bursting with things I could do, what theme was best to incorporate all the things I want to stick in my crate!?

Well my theme is......



From rainbow unicorns, doughnuts with big smiles to ladies with lilac hair and marshmallows earrings, Kawaii is adorable, cutesy and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.  

My Loot Crate is gonna be jam packed of adorable goodies.

Starting with something to kick back and relax on whilst I enjoy my crate, a giant Totoro to get comfy on!


To fully immerse myself within my Kawaii theme I'm gonna need some cute bits and bobs such as t-shirts in bright pinks with smiling food, more fluffy Tororo cushions (you can never have too many Totoro's), cute flashy trainers and some cool Japanese snacks.
I Love Kawaii
Click on the pic and it will take you to Polyvore!

As for the rest of my crate (I'm beginning to wonder if I could physically lift my imaginary crate), well first of all my crate is going to need some air holes drilled in to it as something living and breathing is going in to it.

Something, furry, adorable and totally kawaii.

Pusheen!!


Who would not want a big box full of cute things along with a fuzzy wuzzy kitty cat? (Obvs I don't condone putting real cats in crates!!)  Pusheen is all I want in a cat, totally Kawaii cute, smart, likes ice cream and dressing up and occasionally turns in to a rainbow unicorn.  

So is my crate a possibility, well in my head it totally is!  To be serious for a minute,  the world is a dark place at times so I think a bright dose of colourful cuteness will do is the world of good!

I'd love to hear ( and so would the good peeps at Loot Crate) what you would put in your crate!  

Feel free to create your own post and share with +Loot Crate and get this, there is a chance that the best crate design could be made in to an actual box!!

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Friday, 6 January 2017

My Blogging Goals for 2017


After having a month of at Christmas it got me thinking that I really should set some goals for the year rather than just my usual winging it and making it up as I go along.  I mean I do like living by the seat of my pants but I am in the zone so to speak about blogging just now and want to up my game.

Well this is my attitude just now, can I make it last all year long??!!

Anyway without further ado here is what I want to achieve!

BLOG RELATED
  • Request less NetGalley books and concentrate on getting the ones already downloaded read!
  • Increase NetGalley percentage from 35% to 50% (I'd go for higher but need to be realistic).
  • Earn the over 500 books reviewed NetGalley badge, have the 200 badge just now.
  • Actually comment on reviews on GoodReads
  • Up my game on Instagram, I'd like to have 1000 followers by end of the year, I have about 450 just now.
  • Increase my Pinterest reach from just over 4000 followers to 7500 by the end of the year.
  • Blog frequently about another subject - beauty, fashion, something....!
  • On Amazon.co.uk get in to the top 500 reviewers.
  • Buy another damn bookcase to house all those review copies!
  • Up my ante on Twitter from 1300 to 2000.
  • Finally read Throne of Glass
  • Not exactly blog related but I really want to do NaNoWriMo
  • Manage to get round blogs I enjoy more often.
  • Reply to comments quickly!
  • Master Google Analytics and figure out exactly what my terrible page views are.
  • Increase said page views.
  • Sort out my tags on the blog and delete ones that are no longer relevant.
  • Schedule so I have at least 10 posts waiting to go.
  • Finish my Florida trip report.
  • Review books faster.
  • Get better with graphics.
  • Lastly most controversially, only buy one kindle and one physical book at month, that is one of each kind!!



PERSONAL LIFE

  • Become a planner extraordinaire with my Happy Planner
  • Eat less crap
  • Get my inner Hygge on (cosy house)
  • Get me inner Marie Kondo on (declutter house)
  • Embrace my Kayla Itsines fitness plan
  • Start running again with Zombies Run
  • Learn something new everyday
  • Watch the last three series of Breaking Bad
  • Learn how to use the off road buttons in my car for when the bad weather comes so I can 4x4 like a total pro
  • Be happy
  • Make sure my family are happy and healthy 
  • Make sure my blogging self doesn't encourage my personal self to buy books


PERSONAL/BLOG LIFE

  • Remind myself that I am my own person and not to be disheartened by uber bloggers/vloggers/instagrammers with a zillion followers and perfectly clean houses as I am working mum of two kids who only blogs as a hobby and is doing perfectly fine thank you very much.
  • To not buy books............



So these are all pretty easy right, well apart from that one about buying books.  All going well I will revisit this in 2018 (which FYI is also the year I turn 40 so I may be a little fragile).  

Have you made 2017 goals?     Will you stick to them?

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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

THE GAME PLAN - Review of Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector


I don't just read, shocking I know, I do like a bit of a casual gaming too.  Most of it these days is done on my phone or Kindle Fire so I thought I review books, why not an occasional game? - The Game Plan was born.....

THE GAME PLAN - Review of Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector

Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector
Played on: Kindle Fire HDX
Publisher: Hit Point
Cost: FREE


My name is Heather, I'm 38 and recently I have become addicted to luring random cats in to my virtual back yard with the promise of sashimi and giant cuddly donuts.

No I am not a monster, I have discovered Neko Atsume or Kitty Collector.

A simple game where the premise seems to be to collect cats, some cats are rarer than others, they come to your yard, loiter and then leave you presents - not the kitty crap kind -  they leave payment in the form of silver and gold fish which can be used to pay for more treats for them.


THE GAME PLAN - Review of Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector

This game is simple, it isn't fancy and things don't happen instantly but it is adorable and strangely addictive.  I came across after reading an interview with one of Nintendo's head guys who said he played and well if it is good enough for him, well I want a look.

If like me you are easily suckered in by cute games with cute creatures then download this!



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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

REVIEW - Lost on Mars by Paul Magrs


Title: Lost on Mars

Author: Paul Magrs

Publisher: Firefly Press

Release Date: 14th May 2015

Source: Own Copy
With the scale and scope of the great science fiction epics, Lost on Mars tells the story of Lora and her family, settlers on the red planet struggling to survive in incredible circumstances. 

The family clings to life on a smallholding, surviving storms and sinister rumours of people disappearing – until one night Lora sees the Dancers. 

When her father and grandmother disappear, Lora and her family are driven out to seek a new life across the plains. But none of them are ready for what they find – the beautiful, dangerous City Inside.
Mars seems to be everywhere at the minute, with the prospect of exploration in our near distant future it is easy to imagine how life on the red planet will be.

Lost on Mars follows Lora and her family, Mars has been settled for several generations now and Lora's family live out on the Martian plains in a small holding living a simple life.  They are pioneers but with the pioneer life comes danger.

Three generations of Lora's family live day to day dealing with what Mars throws at them which includes crazy storms but things take a bad turn when people in their area start disappearing, vanishing without a trace.  

Rumours race round about the cause of the disappearances and the whispers say they are not alone on Mars, this is confirmed late one night when Lora sees in the street dancing creatures looking through windows and doors, looking for people.  

Mars still has its original inhabitants and quite frankly the description of them scared me a little. Now this book is probably aimed at teens but the description of them creeping about houses and the "hehehehehe" noise they made, well it made my skin creep and crawl!

Anyway with the prospect of everyone being taken by the Martians, Lora and her family leave their town to seek a new life.  The journey is by far safe and remains of other settlements show what is to become of their town.

Now I am not going to give too much away now but people are lost along the way and the Martians definitely don't go away but there could be hope for them in the City Inside, will they make it there?

This is a good read but I did feel it was split in two with the first half of the book being a little different from the second half, sorry vague don't want to spoil.  This is the first book in the series and it was certainly good enough to warrant finding out what happens in the second book.

Great for fans of Mars and Sci-fi, imagine Little House on the Prairie crossed with The Martian and Lost in Space!





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