Book Review #65: George by Alex Gino

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 1 comments
Please note that before you read this review that I am reviewing this publication for Scholastic UK.  I received an advanced readers copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. In no way is my opinion influenced by the fact that I received this free of charge. Now on with the review.

Title: George
Author: Alex Gino
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Format: Hardback

Publication Date: August 25th 2015
Pages: 240
SourceReview Copy from Publisher
Rating☆☆☆

PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones


BE WHO YOU ARE.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.


Oh my, where do I even begin with this book? It's not often that a book is brought to your attention and you know that the book is going to be such an important read. George for me, was this book. Not only had it being getting copious amounts of attention in the blogging community, but it's subject matter was impeccable and utilised to it's full advantage. Considering this book is aimed at a middle grade audience, I think this makes this book even more impressive than originally thought. For me, George was outstanding. Literally outstanding. It has all of the qualities that could seriously make this book a contender for a large award. It's just that stunning. So what did I think of it?

Book Review #64: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Tuesday, 29 September 2015 1 comments
Title: The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1)
AuthorHolly Black and Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Corgi
Format: Paperback

Publication Date: September 9th 2014
Pages: 304
SourcePurchased
Rating☆☆☆
PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones


Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

When two authors whom I really admire come together and write a novel in a similar environment to Harry Potter, how could I not take the chance?! However, I will admit that I had heard quite mixed things about this book, but going into it I put all negative judgements aside and reviewed it for what it was. So what did I think of it?

DEAL ALERT AND GIVEAWAY! Extraction and Rebellion by Stephanie Diaz!

Monday, 21 September 2015 0 comments
Hey guys! I'm here today to tell you about an amazing deal that I totally think you guys should cash in on! I wouldn't normally do this on my blog, but as the author in question is celebrating the release of the final book in her trilogy, and I loved the first book so I thought I'd let you know!

So the author in question is the wonderful Stephanie Diaz, author of the Extraction series! Can we just take a moment to observe how gorgeous these covers are? They're definitely one of my most breathtakingly stunning Sci-Fi covers I've seen in a while! 







For those of you who don't know, the Extraction series is about a girl who lives on a planet where the moon is toxic, and to escape the harmful environment she wins an escape into the core of the planet where a civilisation has colonised. However, she soon finds out that escaping the brutal life of the planet's surface isn't all she has to face, as she finds herself battling to save the entire planet from destruction!

Now as Evolution, the third and final book in the series went on Sale on September 8th, the series is now officially complete! You can pick up Extraction in most places where books are sold! To celebrate the release, the publisher of Stephanie's books has agreed to discount the first two books in the series! 

Now if you live in the US you can get digital copies of this series for only $2.99 on all formats! However, if you life in the UK like I do, Amazon are currently discounting the first two books in the series to £2.32 and iBooks have them for just £2.49! That's such a stunning deal for these two books and I'd say they're definitely worth it. So if you have been thinking about starting this series but have been hesitant because of the price, then the time to purchase them is now because this deal is only for a limited time! 





~*~




But that's not all! Stephanie has been generous enough to launch a special giveaway to coincide with the e-book sale! Help spread the word about the sale on social media and you will be entered to win:

ONE GRAND PRIZE: 

- (1) Signed hardcover copy of Evolution, annotated with behind-the-scenes facts and series secrets 

- (1) Limited edition LEGO Clementine model 

- (1) Limited edition LEGO Logan model 

- Signed swag



This contest is open internationally. How do you enter to win? There are several ways (Yes, you can earn more than one entry, but no more than 1 entry per option):


On Instagram:
Post the Extraction series e-book sale picture, link to the Instagram account @StephanieEDiaz, and
tag it #BookBargain and #YAReads.







On Twitter:

Tweet the following message: DEAL ALERT! Grab e-books of @StephanieEDiaz's EXTRACTION and REBELLION for only $2.99 each for a limited time! http://tinyurl.com/qbhv893






On Facebook:

Post the Extraction series e-book sale picture on this page,
link to either www.steph-diaz.blogspot.com or one of the books, and tag it #BookBargain.







On Tumblr:
Reblog Stephanie's tumblr post 





The book sale will last for one month, but Stephanie will be selecting one winner for the giveaway on Monday, October 5th to receive the grand prize!

And there you have it! If you're interested in purchasing the first two books in the series then I do highly recommend it. Readers across the world have the following things to say about Extraction:
"With urgent writing, fluid dialogue, and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender's Game and leave them breathless for more."

"Wow. WOW. This book is totally addicting."

"Tense and frightening; a world of harsh realities and hard choices; an indomitable girl who fights the power. I'd pick Clementine for my kick ball team every time if she were in my gym class."

"If you enjoy dystopian fiction or sci-fi thrillers, you'll eat this up with a spoon!"
If you do pick up either Extraction or Rebellion, feel free to let me and Stephanie know by tweeting us! We'd love to hear about your entrance into Stephanie's world!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephanie first knew she wanted to be an author when she was in second grade, sitting in a book club drinking tea and reading books like The Egypt Game. She dreamed someday people might drink tea while devouring books she had written. She wrote her first book soon after, a 30-page fantasy story--complete with a hand-drawn map--stapled together and presented to her younger sister for a birthday present.

Now twenty-two years old, she lives in San Diego with her family. She graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in film production and a publishing deal for a young adult sci-fi trilogy. She is the author of Extraction and the forthcoming Rebellion and Evolution.

When she isn't lost in other worlds, she can be found singing, marveling at the night sky, or fangirling over TV shows.

Cover Reveal: Secrets in Phoenix by Gabriella Lepore!

Sunday, 20 September 2015 0 comments
Hey guys! Today some bloggers and I have the amazing opportunity to reveal the cover for Secrets in Phoenix by the wonderful Gabriella Lepore. Now this cover reveal is extra special, because it is the first book to be published by Oftomes Publishing, a micropublishing house founded by booktuber, BenjaminofTomes! I have been watching Ben's channel for years now and I am extremely proud of what he has managed to accomplish and I wish him all of the best for the future, I can tell he's going to go a long way!

So before we get into revealing the cover you may be asking, what is this book about? Well here are the details for this book as well as the official synopsis!


Title: Secrets in Phoenix
Author: Gabriella Lepore
Publisher: Oftomes Publishing
Publication Date: October 13th 2015
Pages: 240
Pre-order: Amazon UK/ Amazon US

When Sophie Ballester and her twin brothers Sam and Todd are uprooted from their home and sent to a remote boarding school run by their Great aunt Ness, they stumble upon a hidden room that holds a secret...

A secret that will change everything.

The people of Phoenix Holt are not what they seem.

In fact, nothing is.

Doesn't it sound intriguing? I know I'm definitely going to be picking up a copy when it's released! I love books that centre around a mysterious element, and I can't wait to see what secrets are going to be unveiled in this book, especially as it seems to effect the surrounding town. This will be the first book by Gabriella that I will have read but I can definitely tell that I'm going to enjoy it, it sounds right down my alley. Also, Ben has read Gabriella's other series and he can't stop raving about her writing! I'm feeling hopeful.

So now onto what you've been waiting for, the cover reveal for Secrets in Phoenix! Drumroll please....



TA-DA! Here it is, the cover for Secrets in Phoenix by Gabriella Lepore. Isn't it gorgeous? I love how creepy and mysterious the boarding school looks, it definitely draws your attention in and makes you question it's appearance and what it is about it that makes it look so mysterious! Also, I love how bold the image of the phoenix looks against the title in contrast to the boarding school above. It think it works really well and frankly I adore the font that has been used for the title. It gives off a very elegant and antique feel to the cover.

All in all I think the cover really gives of the mysterious and intriguing vibes that you gather from the synopsis and I think KimGDesigns, the creator of this magnificent cover has done a fantastic job at capturing exactly what the book seems to be about. Ben should be extremely proud that the first cover for his first published title is a phenomenal one and I'm sure Gabriella agrees!

But wait, that is not all! Oftomes Publishing are also hosting a pre-order giveaway for Secrets in Phoenix! Check out all of the details below:



That is definitely not an opportunity to turn down! So, if you're interested in the book and you want to support both Gabriella and Ben then go and pre-order a digital copy of the book and then send Ben your receipt! If you're convinced and you would like to pre-order a copy then you can use the link here if you live in the UK, or if you live in the US, you can use this link here!

But alas, that is still not everything! This is such an exciting post because I get to bring you even more content! The wonderful Casey Ann Books has created this phenomenal book trailer for Secrets in Phoenix! I've had a watch of it and I think it's brilliant. Once again, it definitely captures the essence of what lies in store when you read this book. Check it out!



And there we have it! That's everything for today's Cover Reveal post! Lots of information to take in, I know. As aforementioned, this is the first publication for Ben's micropublishing house, Oftomes Publishing. If you want to check out some more information about Oftomes Publishing, you can do so using the links displayed below.





Book Review # 63: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Saturday, 12 September 2015 0 comments
Please note that before you read this review that I am reviewing this publication for Puffin.  I received an advanced readers copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. In no way is my opinion influenced by the fact that I received this free of charge. Now on with the review.

Title: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase # 1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Puffin
Format: Paperback

Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Pages: 528
SourceReview Copy from Publisher
Rating☆☆☆☆
PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones


Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother's mysterious death, he's lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he's tracked down by an uncle he's never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I am so excited to be reviewing this book today because it was probably one of my most anticipated books of 2015. When the lovely Roz from Puffin sent me an advanced copy in the mail I was absolutely ecstatic, just in time for my holiday too! With such high anticipation and knowledge of Rick Riordan's work, I expected this to be extraordinary, but did it live up to all of my expectations? I have to say that I wasn't disappointed with the next installment in Rick's mythology saga. So breaking away from my initial thoughts, what did I think of this highly anticipated release?

Warning! Spoiler Alert: A Discussion

Tuesday, 8 September 2015 2 comments

Hey guys! So I'm here today with a post that I've been contemplating writing for a little while now. I mentioned a few posts back that I was going to start doing some open discussion blog posts to mix things up a bit and to bring something fresh and exciting to my blog. For my first discussion since this post I thought I'd talk about the topic of spoilers in reviews and why I include spoiler warnings for all of my reviews.

Let me tell you guys a brief story. Sorry that it's not overly exciting and filled with boy wizards going to a magic school, I'm no J.K. Rowling after all. Anyway, a while back for my first ever review on this blog, I uploaded my thoughts on a book that has been out for years. A book that is known for it's very prominent and dramatic cliffhanger ending.

Now I'm not going to name the book in question, but if you're that eager to find out, go back to my first review and you'll see what it is. Now this particular review was only about two paragraphs long and terrible, but due to the very important ending I decided to discuss it. Now those of you who are familiar with my reviews know that I attach the above image just under the synopsis of the book and this review was no different! It was very prominently placed and I put it there for a reason, so that I could warn of the spoilers I was going to be discussing.

Back to the story - At the time when this review went up I received some anonymous hate  in regards to the fact that I spoiled the whole book for them by discussing a certain scene. Funnily enough, the scene aforementioned was not actually the massive spoiler that lies at the very end of the book, and that the book is known for having. 

It got me thinking, are there some plot points that to me wouldn't be a spoiler for fans of the series that perhaps others considered a major spoiler, even if you've read the books? Interesting.

From this random anonymous user, I changed my outlook onto how I would portray my reviews, and this is the same outlook that I use to this day. I place a spoiler warning on every single one of my reviews because I just cannot be too careful. As a reviewer, I feel it is my duty to inform my readers of my feelings on particular books. Obviously to do so successfully, I need to discuss certain elements such as plot, characters, pacing, writing style, enjoyment factor ect. However, to some people, even knowing that a character develops in a novel is considered a spoiler. 

It got me thinking, especially as not so long ago one of my blogger friends told me they were anxious to read my review because they saw the spoiler warning. Now this review in question was totally free from major plot points or any references to anything that could spoil them in my opinion. It was just vague justifications of my thoughts. On the other hand, I was glad they brought it up because it shows that the spoiler warning I place actually does work, and part of me is glad for that.

The other part of me is worried that I'm not able to reach out to my target audience as far as I would like. To manage this, I have decided that after the spoiler sign, if there are any elements that I considered to be majorly spoilery, then I will indicate this. I have done this very recently with my Queen of Shadows review and as well as my ILLUMINAE review which is scheduled to be uploaded soon. It's all ready and waiting. 

Because of my fear that I cannot reach my whole intended audience, I wanted to reassure my readers that my warning sign is purely for my own personal protection? I guess that's how I would call it? I would like to the best of my ability to remain blameless for any spoilers that you as a reader come across while reading my review. If you see the sign and purposely ignore it and then further ignore yet my other warning, then I feel it is your responsibility, and therefore your fault if you proceed further and see something you disagree with. Leave me out of it.

So there we have it. I don't want to go into too much more detail with my thoughts because I want to leave it open for you guys to jump in on and leave your thoughts on below. What do you think of spoiler warnings on reviews? Are you less likely to read them? How would you go about changing that? I look forward to your suggestions!

Book Review #62: Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Monday, 7 September 2015 0 comments
Please note that before you read this review that I am reviewing this publication for Simon and Schuster.  I received an advanced readers copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. In no way is my opinion influenced by the fact that I received this free of charge. Now on with the review.

Title: Zeroes
Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: September 24th 2015
Pages: 546
SourceReview Copy from Publisher
Rating☆☆☆
PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones

Don't call them heroes. But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart.

Ethan aka Scam has a voice inside him that'll say whatever people want to hear, whether it's true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn't - like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren't exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, aka Bellwether, the group's 'glorious leader.' After Scam's SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. At the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

Filled with high-stakes action and drama, Zeroes unites three powerhouse authors for the opening installment of a thrilling new series.


Pitched as a book about superhero teens that didn't make the official cut like Superman and Wonderwoman, this book was definitely something I was extremely interested! It had such an interesting concept and overall premise, that I literally couldn't wait to dive into. So what did I think of it? Did it live up to all of it's anticipation?

Event Wrap Up: Rock The Boat Blogger Brunch!

Hi guys! I'm here today with something a little bit different, because the other day (Saturday 5th September) I was invited to London to the One World Publishing house for the Rock the Boat Blogger Brunch! 




Being my first blogger event, you can imagine I was ridiculously excited. Not only did I have to opportunity to talk to the publicists about ILLUMINAE (the main book we were there for) but we also got to discuss about the publishing house themselves and what books they had lined up for the future! On this day I also got to meet some of my amazing blogger friends that I've never met in real life before, so this was an awesome get together! 


So when we arrived we all stood outside the door of the publishing house debating who should ring the doorbell. I mean, we're totally not childish, I promise! 

After entering the publishing house we were introduced to the lovely Cailin and Sarah and shown to this table that was stockpiled with food! Cheese, ham, bread, cakes. You name it, everything that you could imagine! While we were dined with luxury brunch, Cailin and Sarah introduced us to Rock the Boat as a publishing house and informed us of their aims and objectives for the company.  They entail in publishing 12 books per year so that they can focus specifically on finding quality, plot driven titles that will entice their readers instead of acquiring and pushing out hundreds of titles that might not settle with their target audience. I really appreciate their drive in this matter - I think it's extremely effective and I fully support it!

Next we discussed the book we were mainly there to talk about, ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff! Cailin had a video prepared by Amie and Jay that gave us insights into their writing process. Who wrote each character, which scenes were their favourite to write ect. This video was extremely fun to watch because you can really see the authors enthusiasm of working together and also their enthusiasm for the series!

Caitlin also showed us the ILLUMINAE website (which you can view here) and all of the features that it has on it. Not only are their options to pre-order the book, but there are exclusive video clip,  diagrams about the spacecrafts involved in the book, information about the characters and obviously information about the authors! It's a really pretty website and really easy to navigate. It even has a timer that counts down to the book launch! A really amazing feature!


Following on from the ILLUMINAE discussion, we were informed of two new titles coming to Rock the Boat in the near future. You can look forward to the release of an ebook of The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen which has a stunning cover! You can expect a cover reveal for that book which publishes in April 2015 sometime soon from one of my fellow bloggers! 

However, that wasn't the only book cover that we were exposed to! We were also shown the  absolutely phenomenal cover for The Island by Olivia Levez! I wish I could show you the cover now because it is literally so stunning and probably one of my favourites published from Rock the Boat, although Nest comes a close competitor! Look forward to a cover reveal from somebody soon! 

Now we were extremely lucky because we had Olivia in the offices that day and she came to speak to us bloggers about her debut novel! Both Sarah and Cailin sound extremely enthusiastic about this book and promise how amazing it is! The book, published in March 2016 is about a girl marooned on  a desert island after an air crash and her struggle for survival. Interwoven with her island story is the story of her life leading up to her journey, the poor choices she made in London and the reason for those choices! Doesn't it sound interesting! I cannot wait to get to read this thoroughly intriguing novel! Below is a more official synopsis found online:
Fifteen-year-old Fran Stanton is a rock. She is an island. And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries.

When she sets fire to the school science lab, she is given a choice: either spend two years in confinement or take part in a social experiment – a month on a remote desert island with other rebellious teens and learn to work as a team.

Fran’s not exactly a team-player and it seems like she’s got what she’s wished for when her plane crashes and she’s cast away on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Alone with only her memories, self-destructive Fran must try to survive.

Until she discovers that the island’s not as deserted as she first thought.

It seems that words from a washed-up dictionary, a dog and a boy named Ru have a funny way of melting even the stoniest of hearts. 
So overall we all had a phemonenal time at the brunch, and learned a lot about the upcoming titles and more importantly, about the publishing house itself. As my first official blogger's brunch I have to admit that I was thoroughly impressed. Rock the Boat seem really enthusiastic about all of the titles they're publishing, being focused on getting people to enjoy reading and to become absorbed in the plots of the book they publish.


As aforementioned, it was the first time meeting all of my online blogger friends, so here is a lovely picture of everyone together! Don't we all look so happy! 

I just want to say thank you to Sarah and Cailin for having us at the publishing house, it was wonderful. Also, thank you for the amazing tote bag filled with swag! I can't say no to bookmarks, postcards, ILLUMINAE extras and the early manuscript of Katherine Howe's new novel!

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