Monday, 30 November 2015

REVIEW: Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Pages: 480
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Release Date: December 7th 2010
Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas, in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. And when a crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

My Thoughts:
I bought this book a few years ago, but only managed to read the first few chapters before putting it to one side. It then got swallowed up by the rest of my ever-growing TBR pile, and I just didn’t pick it up again. But whilst recently reorganising my bookshelf, I came across it and decided to give it another try. Unfortunately, I remembered why I put it down in the first place.

Reeves has a captivating writing style, and the story was quite unique to other YA novels I’ve read. It certainly had interesting elements, and it focused heavily on the mental health issues of the protagonist, Hanna, which I enjoyed getting to read about. But it was the characters that didn’t work for me. I couldn’t connect with Hanna, and I found myself not really caring if things worked out for her. I lacked sympathy towards her and when I’m reading a story, I want to be rooting for the protagonist. 

The romance in the story also didn’t cut it for me. Her relationship with Wyatt felt a little flat, and I just couldn’t feel the connection between them. Wyatt seemed to be an interesting character one minute, and then dull the next. Throughout the book, I wasn’t as drawn into their relationship, or Wyatt, as I wanted to be.

I also found myself getting rather confused with the plot at times, and it was difficult to keep up with. Chaotic is one word to describe it. I kept getting distracted from the story because I just couldn’t follow it. It’s a style that I’m sure many other readers will love, because there’s plenty of twists to keep you guessing. There is a great deal of descriptive violence and gore present in this book, so I suppose it also ticks a few horror elements, which I found interesting, but perhaps it was a little too odd for me. 

It’s disappointing that this book didn’t agree with me. I felt like I wanted to enjoy it, but couldn’t bring myself to. Maybe it still wasn’t the right time for me to read it. There are a few books that I’ve read and disliked, but then came back to years later and actually enjoyed. So maybe I’ll come back to this in the future and see if I appreciate it more, but right now it’s not for me. 

Royal Rating:


Saturday, 21 November 2015

REVIEW: Ren - The Man Behind The Monster by Sarah Noffke

Pages: 200
Format: Kindle
Publisher: One-Twenty-Six Press
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: November 21st 2015
Buy The Book: Amazon - Amazon UK

Born with the power to control minds, hypnotize others, and read thoughts, Ren Lewis, is certain of one thing: God made a mistake. No one should be born with so much power. A monster awoke in him the same year he received his gifts. At ten years old. A prepubescent boy with the ability to control others might merely abuse his powers, but Ren allowed it to corrupt him. And since he can have and do anything he wants, Ren should be happy. However, his journey teaches him that harboring so much power doesn't bring happiness, it steals it. Once this realization sets in, Ren makes up his mind to do the one thing that can bring his tortured soul some peace. He must kill the monster.  

My Thoughts:
He’s the snarky, arrogant, and all-round grumpy character that keeps appearing in Sarah Noffke's stories of Dream Travelers, but this time around, Ren Lewis has a story all of his very own.

We first met Ren in The Lucidites series, when he was working for Trey at the Institute, and despite his not-so-pleasant personality, I couldn’t help but adore him. His sometimes harsh honesty and the way he clearly didn’t care for the thoughts of others made him stand out from the very beginning. And when he appeared again in The Reverians series, and we discovered he had a sister and nieces, I realised there was so much more to his story, so much that we didn’t know.

So needless to say, I was thrilled when Sarah revealed she was telling Ren’s story. There’s nothing I adore more than wonderfully complex characters who are mysterious at first, but then allow you to understand them through a compelling backstory, and Ren Lewis is one of those characters.

We learn about his childhood in his desperately small hometown of Peavey. Feeling stuck and bored within its borders, Ren feels the need to spread his wings, to live his own life under his own rules. So he ends up moving to London, and falls into a not-so-legal lifestyle, becoming rich and breezing through life by using his abilities on others. 

He is content jumping from fling to fling with women, always knowing exactly what to do to please them with his power to read the thoughts of others by mere touch. But then he meets Dahlia, a wold-famous singer whose thoughts he cannot read. His powers have no effect on her whatsoever. With her, he finally gets to experience a relationship that isn’t just a one night stand, but nothing ever runs smoothly. 

After tragedy strikes, Ren ends up making some less than sensible decisions and we see where those choices take him. We see the bad situations he ends up in, and how each of them play a part in shaping his life.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the real Ren, not just the show he puts on in front of others. He believes that he is a monster, that he doesn’t deserve to live a happy life, and I adored seeing his thoughts change throughout the course of the story. 

As mean as he is sometimes, he is utterly hilarious with it. His cruel honestly is highly entertaining, and I often found myself fighting back laughter whilst reading on public transport. His bleak outlook on life and the world is what allows Ren to separate himself from everyone else, to force his emotions to stay hidden. 

This is a story of change, of acceptance, of a man who believes he deserves nothing, finally learning how to allow himself to find happiness. Ren makes terrible decisions and has to live with the consequences, but everything that happens helps him on his journey to becoming a better man, even though he doesn’t intend for it to happen. 

I’m so grateful to Sarah for giving me the opportunity to read this book. Ren Lewis is a captivating character who will stay with me for a long time!

Royal Rating:

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

REVIEW: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Portfolio Penguin
Genre: Non-Fiction, Business
Release Date: August 6th 2015 (This Edition)
Buy The Book: Amazon - Amazon UK

The founder of Nasty Gal offers a sassy and irreverent manifesto for ambitious young women

At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and rabid fans for its leading-edge fashion and provocative online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS.

This aspirational book doesn’t patronize young women the way many business experts do. Amoruso shows readers how to channel their passion and hard work, while keeping their insecurities from getting in the way. She offers straight talk about making your voice heard and doing meaningful work.

She’s proof that you can be a huge success without giving up your spirit of adventure or distinctive style. As she writes, "I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”

My Thoughts:
If you’re lacking motivation in your life right now, this is the book you want to be picking up next. Full of inspiration from the very start, #GIRLBOSS will leave you wanting to go out there and prove to the world you can achieve anything you set your mind on.

Although #GIRLBOSS isn’t a biography, we get to know Sophia throughout the book and hear how she became the badass lady that she is today. Her hilarious writing and her encouraging enthusiasm for the business she runs make this book delightful and inspiring to read. 

Sophia Amoruso is the founder of Nasty Gal, a hugely successful online clothing store that originally started out on eBay. From humble beginnings, Sophia worked tirelessly on her business, adding a personal touch to everything she did, from photographing the clothes models to arranging the most eye-catching thumbnails, to even making sure the labels were placed neatly on the packaging when she sent the item to its new owner.

Through her endless passion for the work she did and the effort she put into focusing on her customers, making sure she paid close attention to every bit of feedback she received, Sophia transformed Nasty Gal into the success story that it is today.

This book is all about empowerment, encouraging women to go out and kick ass at everything they do. It’s also got fantastic attitude injected into the writing that makes every chapter sharp and witty. What really works about this book is how wonderfully honest Sophia is about herself and about business. Her life and her journey to where she is now makes for some interesting and entertaining reading. She is able to admit where she has gone wrong in the past, and how some of her mistakes have helped her to get where she is now. 

#GIRLBOSS isn’t a book that is going to lecture you on what you’re doing wrong. It’s there to tell it as it is, and to prove to you that you can deal with it. Sophia isn’t going to tell you what you should do, but she offers advice as to what can help you based on her experiences and the knowledge she has gained in business. 

This book is all about creativity, being driven, and stepping up to be the boss that you are. With its quirky design and witty writing, #GIRLBOSS is a fun read that will hopefully leave you feeling inspired to go out there and make your dreams a reality.  

Royal Rating:


Monday, 9 November 2015

Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag

Hello there, bookworms. I was tagged to do the 'Secret Life of a Book Blogger' tag by the wonderful Georgia at Stories In Books! So, I guess it's time I answered the questions. Let's go!

1. How long have you been a blogger?
I started my blog in January 2011, so almost five wonderful years. It was the first time I'd ever set up a blog, and here it is all these years later.

2. At what point do you think you'll stop blogging?

Honestly, I hope I never do. My blog has done so much for me these past five years. I put a lot time and effort into it because I love it. Sometimes I let things get the better of me, and it can cause a little stress. But whenever that happens, I just remind myself that no one forces me into blogging. This is something I chose because I have a passion for it, and if it starts to become a chore, I can step back for a while.

3. What is the best thing about blogging?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many great things about blogging. I love readers saying they've picked up a book because they liked what I had to say about it. There's nothing better than sharing books with others. That's what this blog is all about! But it's also been a great way for me to connect with other bloggers and make friends. The community is one of the reasons why I adore blogging so much. I've never known a more welcoming group of people.

4. What is the worst thing?
The pressure that can sometimes be placed on bloggers. This is only something that has happened to me a couple of times, but I regularly hear other bloggers discuss it. It's not a nice thing when authors and publishers get rude over review request rejections (it doesn't happen often, but it does happen). As book bloggers, we don't get paid for what we do. So many bloggers have exceptionally busy lives outside of their blog, and can only put time into it when they have time to give. As much as we want to be able to give every book a chance, sometimes there is just not enough time in the day to read everything that appears in our inbox. Blogging is supposed to be fun, it shouldn't ever become a source of stress in your life!

5. How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?

Mostly, I just add book covers from Goodreads to my reviews, which takes no time at all. But I adore photography, so taking pictures of books is something I love to do, so if I have a post that needs a specific type of book-related image, I'll photograph it myself. That can take quite a bit of time, because I'm a nightmare when it comes to getting the right shot!

6. Who is your book crush?
Oh boy, I have a whole list. But my first book crush was Jesse de Silva from The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot. I still swoon over him to this day.

7. What author would you like to have on your blog?
Gosh, again I have a whole list. There are so many authors that inspire me! I'd would really love to have Ruta Sepetys on my blog though, because it was her book, Between Shades of Gray, that inspired me to start this blog in the first place. It was such a fantastic story that I just had to talk about it.

8. What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

I won't lie, I write up most of my blog posts of a night, whilst in my PJs. Guess what I'm wearing whilst I write this post?

9. How long does it take you to prepare?
If it's a review, then it depends on how far in advance I get the book. Even if a book isn't out for another six months, I like to read a proof quickly after it arrives. I do this because I once got an advance copy of a book which wasn't due out until the next year, so I thought since I had plenty of time to read it, I'd put it aside for the time being to concentrate on other books. Guess who forgot all about it until three days before the release date? *points at self, hangs head in shame* So it all comes down to when the book arrives. As for actually writing the review, that can take a while, especially if I loved the book, because sometimes it's more difficult to find the words for something you adore!

10. How do you feel about the book blogger community?
Oh my gosh, I can't begin to describe my love for the book blogging community. As someone who has suffered with anxiety for a long time, I've always found it challenging to socialize, but the book blogging community is so welcoming that I felt at ease from the moment I began taking my first wary steps into the blogging world. I love the readers and fellow book bloggers that take the time to chat on Twitter and comment on blog posts. There is a tremendous amount of support in this community. I also love the authors and publishers that get in touch! I'm so grateful to the authors that want to share their work with me!

11. What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?
I would start with not trying to get a successful blog. Just do what you love doing. If you begin following a strict set of rules you think you need to follow in order to get your blog noticed, then you won't enjoy doing it. And besides, I think readers like to see something unique. Don't try to be like the other blogs you see out there that are successful, be however you want to be. If you don't want your reviews to be formal and follow the traditional reviewing style, then don't write them that way. It's up to you! You created this blog, you make the rules.

Thank you so much to Georgia for tagging me! I'd like to tag ANYONE that wants to answer these questions! Be sure to let me know if you do, I'd love to read your answers!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015!

Hello, everyone! It's that time of year again. No, not time to start getting excited for the holiday season. It's time to write! NaNoWriMo 2015 has begun, and I'm once again taking part. So if my blog is a little quiet this month, you know why. I'll hopefully be uploading a few NaNo related videos on my channel throughout November, but other than that, my time this month is mostly dedicated to writing!

If you're taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, let me know! I wish you the very best of luck throughout the month. Also, if you want to be writing buddies, feel free to head over to my profile.

Happy Writing!

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