The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins

 Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdee steps forward to take her younger sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Why have I been putting off reading these books for so long?  Everyone has been telling me how good they were but I kept putting it off.  Well in the beginning it was because the books were so expensive on iBooks.  I’ve had my kindle reader on my new phone for a while, but had managed to build up quite a backlog of books to read.  I’m very pleased I did though; The Hunger Games trilogy is amazing.  Suzanne Collins is such an excellent author, she tells quite a disturbing tale which touches communism and reminds me of The Running Man.  Although this is quite a unique story so cannot be compared in any way to the film. 

Collins is very clever she has so many characters – which is good seeing many get killed off.  But I’m amazed at how she keeps track of them all without confusing the reader.  No point throughout the books did I stop to think “Who the hell is he?”.  I felt myself drawn into the story, it’s so realistic, very fast paced.  It took me a while to get used to the chapter formatting, normally the end of the chapter would signal the end for that section and move onto something else.  Sometimes ending at a mini cliff hanger which gets resolved later on in the book.  But these books are so linear that it flows from chapter to chapter which creates the fast pace.  This is a good thing mainly as the story is so intense I don’t think I would have been able to handle the content as well as cliff hangers which get resolved later on – I would be just too confused!

It’s great to finally have a trilogy where the leading lady isn’t a dithering coward – Katniss has a conscious, might not make the right decisions, but she’s also a strong character.  I can’t wait to watch the film – I’ve been putting it off as I like to read the book before watching films. 

I’m rating this as a must read – but be warned you’ll be sucked in and it’ll leave you questioning things you’ve never questioned before!

 
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Polly – Freya North

NEW on ebook for the first time with NEW author afterword.He’s out of sight, she’s out of her mind.

Polly Fenton is about to embark on a year-long teachers’ exchange to America. Swapping cottage pie for corn dogs is one thing, but trading lives with her American counterpart, Jen, is quite another.

The minute Polly’s feet touch down Stateside, she’s swept off them altogether. When she meets Chip Jonson, the school athletic trainer, all thoughts of home suddenly disappear.

Spanning three terms and two countries, this is a sparky and sassy story of New England and Old England, fidelity and flirtation, receiving one’s comeuppance – and making amends

Polly is one of my favorite Freya North novels.  It isn’t traditional chick lit and tells quite a different story to the usual boy meets girl.  I wouldn’t mind to be a teacher, just so I could do a job swap with someone in another country – especially America!  Polly is already in a relationship from the start of the book, which is unusual as normally the leading lady is single and the book is about how she finds her man.  Freya touches on real problems a long term and long distance relationship may encounter.  I love the language Freya uses, the imagery is so realistic; even though I’ve never been to New England I can imagine the setting.  Again Freya converses with her reader through the book, by providing a narrating voice which is fantastic.  It helps to set the scene and also give more understanding of what is going on.  I’m rating this as a good read

 

Liebster Blog Awards – Have I Nominated You?

Thank you so much to Susan Buchanan (author of The Dating Game and Sign of the Times) for nominating my blog for this award.  

I didn’t really know much about the Liebster Award so after a bit of googling I felt really chuffed that Sooz had nominated me as it does primarily two things:

1.) Promotes new blogs

2.) Gives me a chance to write about myself!

LOL – How this works: People who get nominated have to state 11 “new” things about themselves, then answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated them and then nominate 11 more bloggers who’ll do the same.

I’m a bit :-0 about this all, really my blog isn’t something I do to gain praise or money (although the latter would be nice!) I’m a bookworm at heart, I love to read, I feel lost if I haven’t got a book on the go and it is my love for books which prompts me to write.  (Also my appalling memory prompts me to blog as it’s useful to document what I’ve read so I dont end up buying the same book again and again)  Also I have little moments of inspiration whilst I go about my day to day life which I jot down in a hope to string together into my own novel one day.  But time and commitments are conspiring against me at the moment!

So lets kick this thing off…

 

11 Random Things About Myself:

1.) I’m left handed

2.) I’m very musical and have always wanted to be a pop star!

3.) I’m rubbish with my money

4.) I’m addicted to shopping

5.) I’m a girl racer

6.) I wish I was Made In Chelsea

7.) I’d love to be a lady of leisure

8.) I have quite an imagination that sometimes runs away with me

9.) My fiance and I share the same birthday – 21st December

10.) My ultimate aim would be for one of my books (I’m hoping I get round to writing them) get made into a film

11.) I’ve been to the cinema on my own

 

Questions from Susan Buchanan:

 

If you could turn back time, what, if anything would you change?

I dont have any major regrets really.  I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and if it is your destiny and you want it hard enough you’ll make it happen.  I do wish I was at the same stage of mental maturity I am now when I was at 18, looking back at the decisions I made at that time I could have applied myself more however I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the decisions and opportunities I took.  It’s been hard work but I’ve become to accept that life is hard work.

 
What 3 things did/do you definitely want to do before you turned 30/turn 30?

I’ve got three years until I turn 30.  Before then I’d like to graduate in English Language and Literature, I’ve just started with the OU and enjoying it so much.  I want to marry my fiance, we’re planning a wedding abroad and finances permitting I’m hoping it’s next year we get to run away to get married!  And finally I’d like to travel, particularly Ireland and Scotland as I’ve never been, oh and go back to Japan as I miss it so.

 
Favourite takeway food

Japanese – I love it all; tempura, sushi all of it!

 
If you could date a famous actor/actress for one night only (don’t read anything into this!) who would it be?

Colin Firth – yes he may be 25 years older than me but I just adore him in Love Actually and Bridget Jones.  I do like a quality English actor 🙂

 
Wildlife programmes or home makeover shows?

Wildlife especially if it has something to do with Horses!

 
Favourite city in the whole world

Oh this one is hard, I love London especially after the Olympics, the atmosphere there is just so amazing still makes me proud of my  capital.  Abroad I’d say it would be a toss between Tokyo and Barcelona.  Tokyo because there is a Meiji Shrine in the middle of the city where there are 100,000 trees.  It’s such a peaceful, calm within the storm of a bustling city.  And Barcelona as that is where my fiance proposed last December 🙂

 
City, countryside or by the sea?

I live in Sussex on the South East Coast so I’m luckily to have both Countryside and Sea – I’m a country girl at heart and wouldn’t fair too well if I had to live in the City

 
Do you have any particular talents (keep it at a PG level pls!)

Nothing extra ordinary; I would like to think that I can tell a good story

 
Which sport do you wish (if any) that you were really good at (or are you already really good at?)

I love horse riding and was really proud at how well my sport did at the Olympics.  I hope it’s raised the profile and squished the common perception that we’re all posh and rich.  I’m very poor (due to the horse) and not at all posh!  I wish I had the backing to be able to ride professionally full time and “play ponies” all day long.

 
If today was the last day of Mankind (cheery thought…) what would you like to be doing?

I would have a party with all my friends and family

 

11 Questions for my nominees:

1.) I have to say I write more than I read blog wise, so I’ve chosen to nominate 11 people who follow me at http://www.rosierevie.wordpress.com  Tell me about your blog, why you write and what inspires you.

2.) If you woke up as someone else tomorrow (famous, fictional or other) who would it be and why?

3.) Describe yourself in three words

4.) What would you rather eating out alone or going to the cinema alone?

5.) Dog or Cat?

6.) Who is your favourite author?

7.) What is your most cherished memory/experience?

8.) If I gave you a million pounds/dollars (whatever your currency is) what would you spend it on?

9.) If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things would you want to have with you?

10.) Describe what a normal day off would be for you

11.) You have an hour to visit one place in London – where would you visit and why?

 

My 11 nominees are:

alotonyourplate
http://alotonyourplate.wordpress.com

fivereflections
http://fivereflections.wordpress.com

mlcap123
http://shellcapo.wordpress.com

iwishididnthavetowork
http://iwishididnthavetowork.wordpress.com

chocbutton
http://chocbutton.wordpress.com

Author Thelma Cunningham
http:www.authorthelmacunningham.com

Daniel Postlethwaite
http://danposwriting.wordpress.com

Brittany
http://www.satinandsnowflakes.com

Wanderer from NY
http://wanderinglover.wordpress.com

Sandra’s Stories
http://sandrasstories.wordpress.com

TheCoevas Official
http://romanzocoeva.wordpress.com

Unmasking Maya – Libby Mercer

Defamed, Disgraced and Displaced…
 
Fresh from a career-killing scandal, New York fashion girl, Maya Kirkwood, arrives in San Francisco to reinvent herself as a fine artist. She’s offered the opportunity to create an installation at the Silicon Valley headquarters of a hot new tech company. Fabulous, right?
 
Not so much.
 
She can’t stand Derek Whitley – wunderkind software genius and CEO of the company. Hot as he may be on the outside, inside the man is a cold, unemotional, robotic type. Way too left-brained for her right-brained self.
 
As Maya and Derek get to know each other, however, their facades begin to crack. She catches her first glimpse of the man behind the superhuman tech prodigy, and he starts to see her as the woman she used to be. But is this a good thing? Once that last secret is revealed, will it bring them closer together or will it tear them apart?
Thank you to the author Libby Mercer, for sending me a copy to review before the release date.  I loved this book, it has everything.  The secrets keep you guessing, and the build up as Maya and Derek get to know each other is fantastic.  I was sad to finish it, but in a good way.  You really get to know Maya the main character and some of the situations she’s in is quite funny.  She can be quite feisty, speaking her mind which I love.  I read it really quickly and was left wanting more.  Unmasking Maya is a fascinating page turner where you’ll find yourself warming to the characters.  It’s really well written with great attention to detail – I couldn’t put it down.  Make sure you get yourself a copy when this is released on the 15th December – for me it’s a must read.

When I Fall In Love – Miranda Dickinson

Elsie Maynard never expected to be starting again… 

…but eighteen months on from the biggest challenge of her life, she is doing just that –because she made a promise to the person who believed in her the most. 

Determined to step into her uncertain future, Elsie meets handsome Oliver Hogarth, who seems intent on winning her heart; she inadvertently founds a choir, and overcomes obstacles – most of which involve arrogant Torin Stewart. 

Then a heartfelt request brings her to Paris – and the final item on ‘The List’ that she never dared complete. 

Can Elsie follow her heart and put her past to rest?

 

When I Fall In Love is the latest moving read from Miranda Dickinson.  It will make you cry, laugh and feel part of the story.  The reason why Elsie is starting again is withheld from the reader at the beginning of the book.  This unusual choice allows the reader to warm to Elsie without feeling sorry for her.  And warm to her I did.  I could relate to her location, Brighton is very close to where I live and have spent many a weekend there either shopping, browsing the Laines and best of all enjoying the nightlife.  Careful consideration has been taken to set the scene.  Miranda uses excellent descriptions that even if you weren’t familiar with Gardner Street you get a flavour through what is written for just what it’s like.  The story itself was refreshing.  You have your usual chick lit format but how Elsie gets there is so different to many books I’ve read, which seem to follow the same girl meets boy, boy does something which upsets girl, boy redeems himself and then they both live happily ever after.  The first thing that jumps out is that Elsie had her chance of living happily ever after torn away from her, and because of this it has the possibility of ensuring she’ll never get a happy ever after.

How can it be a Miranda Dickinson book without something to do with music or being creative being a big part of the story?  Elsie starts up a community choir which is a fabulous idea and really makes me want to get out there and join a Glee like club so I can live out my Rachel-esq fantasy.  I felt part of the book in a way, I think mainly due to my connection with Brighton – I drive the A27 nearly on a daily basis.  And the idea of the list is fantastic – it’s inspired me to do a bucket list.  I loved this book and rate it a Must Read.

The Dating Game – Susan Buchanan

 

Workaholic recruitment consultant, Gill McFadden, is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her. Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert. 
She realises she has to act, as work keeps piling up and at this rate she will have retired before she has time for a relationship.
Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. She quickly discovers men are like buses. They all come along at once. Unsure what her type is, Gill decides to keep her options open. Soon she has problems juggling her social life as well as her work diary. Will she ever strike the right balance?
Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.

 

Thank you to the author, Susan for sending me a copy of The Dating Game to review.  I really enjoyed Susan’s first book Sign of the Times and couldn’t wait until her second book was released.  I wasn’t disappointed; The Dating Game is just as good as if not better!  The descriptions are spot on and the characters are so well written that I related to them.  I loved the Barcelona bit, as the city holds happy memories for me, so reliving my last visit through the girls was great.  Susan is obviously a foodie – I wish I was there having tapas with the girls.  Or eating one of the yummy sounding dishes Gill eats on her dates.  I devoured this book quite quickly.  It’s a real page turner with a twist to the plot which I’m rating as a must read.

Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture – Sylvain Reynard

 With all the obsessive yearning of Twilight

the intensity of Fifty Shades

 and this time, written by a man

Gabriel’s Inferno

 and the sinfully seductive sequel

Gabriel’s Rapture

 BY SYLVAIN REYNARD

 Ebook – 11th September 2012 – £2.99

 Paperback Original 11th October 2012 £7.99

Two tortured souls and a wildly romantic tale of forbidden passion

The Gabriel’s Inferno series is the next erotic romance sensation that is storming the world and the New York Times Bestseller list with sales totalling over 80,000 copies on first US publication. It is no surprise that both eBooks have already gone straight into the UK top 10 iBookstorecharts. This book plunders the most erotic and sensual depths of Sylvain’s imagination. Be prepared to be utterly seduced.

He was a tortured teen and it was the night he thought he had been saved by an angel. For Julia, it was a beautiful night of firsts and one she could never forget. Her first beer, the first time she held a boy’s hand, her first kiss … the first time she had felt loved. Purity meets sin in a perfect moment that meant everything to her. But she wakes up alone. Terrified and rejected, she knows she will never see him again.

Gabriel Emerson is a man tortured by his dark past. A highly respected university professor, Gabriel uses his devilish good looks and notorious powers of seduction to lead a secret life of pleasure where nothing is out of bounds.

 Sweet and innocent, Julia Mitchell enrols as Gabriel’s graduate student. His immediate attraction to her and their powerful and strange connection threatens to derail his career. Wildly passionate and sinful, Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture explore the intense power of forbidden love.

One man’s salvation, one woman’s sexual awakening

Who is Sylvain Reynard?

 Sylvain Reynard is a Canadian writer with an interest in renaissance art and culture and an inordinate attachment to the city of Florence. Sylvain is interested in the way literature can help us explore the human condition, particularly suffering, sex, love, faith and redemption. His favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey – either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself. Sylvain is also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a character. In Reynard’s writing, all of these elements are combined, along with the themes of forgiveness and the transformative power of goodness.

 Find out more about Sylvain at http://www.sylvainreynard.com

Many thanks to Katie Sheldrake at Penguin for sending me these books for review.  Now I’ll put my hands up and say that I don’t read many books written by men.  I do find that some books written by men aren’t in a style I enjoy nor can they write about women realistically.  But no, not Sylvain Reynard – he can write more of this please.  I was a bit apprehensive about whether this book would be good enough.  The press release above states that Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture have all the obsessive yearning of Twilight and the intensity of Fifty Shades.    I really enjoyed Twilight however I did get a bit annoyed that a leading lady being portrayed as a clumsy, weak woman – whilst Edward could be the overpowering controlling man.  I found the Fifty Shades trilogy an interesting read; let’s face it the book was a real eye opener and as a standalone story was good.  But once you realise its fan fiction for Twilight you start noticing the similarities in the plot lines, characters and writing.

 For me Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture were different.  There are only slight similarities between this series and Twilight.  A forbidden romance, the difficulties they face and sacrifices made.  Julia is similar to Bella, she can be clumsy.  She’s incredibly shy in contrast to Bella, the reason why becomes apparent in the first book.  Gabriel is more Christian Grey than Edward, just without the extreme sexual appetite.  He’s very old fashioned in dress sense and manners.  The way he wants to protect and care for Julia is very controlling.  Together they help each other.  The danger they face is similar to Twilight where should their relationship between student and professor be found out it would ruin both of them.

 I really enjoyed the books; don’t be expecting wild sex from the beginning.  I did get a bit annoyed at the reference to what each moment reminds the character of. “This reminds me of…” but I think that was because I didn’t have the knowledge of what they were referring to.  I was a bit lost with the Dante references, but the book taught me about Dante and also has a very good message to give to the reader about relationship and morals.  This for me is my book of the month – a must read, I really really hope that there is going to be a third.  To read a Q&A with the Author, Sylvain Reynard click here: http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/static/penguin_extracts/gabriels_inferno.html

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