Monday, 30 June 2014

Review: Turning on a Dime

Title: Turning On A Dime
Author: Maggie Dana
Published by: Pageworks Press on May 14th 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy it from Amazon or Book Depository
Check it out on Goodreads

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher via Netgalley for review consideration, this in no way affects my opinion of the book.*

Goodreads Synopsis: Two girls from two different centuries and the horse that brings them together.

Teenage equestrian Samantha DeVries wants to be the first African American to ride in the Olympics. Her father, a successful trainer, pushes Sam to excel, while Sam’s academic mother tries to instill a sense of heritage in her headstrong daughter who’d rather be riding horses than studying history. But Sam’s beliefs and her carefully constructed world shatter like a jelly jar when she travels through a time portal and lands in the canopy bed of an 1860s Southern belle.

Even more surprised by Sam’s unexpected arrival is Caroline Chandler. She’s a tomboy who wears breeches beneath her crinoline and rides horses bareback, much to the dismay of her critical mother.

But neither girl has time to fret over petticoats and prejudice. The Civil War is raging, and soldiers from both sides are stealing horses. At risk is Pandora, Caroline’s beloved mare. Without her, Sam’s future Olympic horse, Nugget, might not exist in the present.

Neither will Sam if the slave catchers grab her.

My Thoughts: A fun read for young horse lovers (and the not so young), with two feisty heroines worth rooting for. Like most teenagers (and almost anyone else really), Sam relies on modern technology to make it through the day. So when she ends up 150 years in the past, things take a little getting used too. For Caroline, a girl born in the wrong time, having a girl from the future appear in her room, is like a wish come true.

Sam is hoping to be the first black girl on the US equestrian Team and her dad is her demading trainer who wants his daughter on that team probably more than she does. When they go to an old southern ranch to look at some horses, Sam finds a dirty old dime in one of the house's many rooms. She rubs it clean, takes a nap and wakes up to find that everything is not the same as when she fell asleep.

Caroline likes to wear boys riding breeches and to ride horses like a man, both things that exaperate her parents. After doing these things repeatedly, she is grounded, this punishment takes place at her parent's friends house. She takes her new, out of time friend with her, as her maid. While both girls are there, they bond over their love of horses, but as they are enjoying their new friendship, the realities of the time and the civil war gets ever closer.

There were a few tense moments where I had to stop reading, each instance to do with old fasioned prejudice and cruelty. These instances are not so bad that they would really scare a child, but they do bring to light the hard lifes of black people of the time.

I very much enjoyed this book and would recommend it to not only horse lovers, but to anyone who enjoys books with unlikely friendships and those about the civil war era.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (29/06/14)

The Sunday Post hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's Monday! hosted @ Book Journey


Weekly Wrap-Up (22/06/14)
Review: Appaloosa Summer
Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Trends
Graphic Novel Mini Reviews: Black Science and Saga
Beautiful People for Writers #1
Review: The Winner's Curse


I really wanted to like this book and I tried to, but I just couldn't. The characters fell a little flat for me and I just couldn't get on with the writing. There was too much telling and not enough showing, also there was too much exposition in the form of infodumping and unnecessay dialogue.

The story itself did start to get a little better but I just couldn't read anymore and it even put me in a bit of a reading slump, I gave up on it on Tuesday put didn't pick another book up till Friday night.

The book I picked up on friday and really enjoyed is...


Stacking the Shevles hosted @ Tynga's Reviews
Showcase Sunday hosted @ Books, Biscuits and Tea




I got the news that I have been approved for the mutual exchange that I applied for a million years ago. So I am definitely moving, yay!

I haven't been up to much this week, the weather has been horrid,
which makes me feel horrid, so I just curl up in bed and watch lots of TV.
Some of that TV included new seasons of True Blood and Teen Wolf, both season premiers leaving a lot to be desired. Plus 2 whole new shows - Dominion and The Last Ship, I enjoyed both and look forward to the rest of their seasons.


Review: Turning on a Dime
Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Classics
Waiting on Alias Hook
A Post That Will be Brought to You by the Letter F
Feature and Follow Friday: Favourite Picture Books
Graphic Novel Mini Reviews: Hawkeye Vol. 1 and Fury's Big Week
Weekly Wrap-Up


I am making no plans, because I hardly, if ever stick to them. I am mostly a mood reader, so I just pick up whatever I feel like reading in the moment.


I will be signing papers for my new house and will hopefully finish up packing, so we will be all ready for the move date, which is July 19th. 
I will hopefully get lots of reading done and reviews written and scheduled for each book, so when it comes to those busy moving days I won't have to worry about my blog.

How about you, my lovelies, did you have a great week with lots of reading and beautiful new books?

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Review: The Winner's Curse

Title: The Winner's Curse
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Author: Marie Rutkowski
Published by: Bloomsbury Children's on April 10th 2014
Genre: Historical Romance Fantasy
Format: Kindle
Source: Bought
Buy it from Amazon or Book Depository
Check it out on Goodreads

Goodreads SynopsisKestrel lives the lavish lifestyle of a Valorian General’s only daughter, and such riches come at a cost for Valoria’s captives – and for her. As the Herrani face death or slavery, Kestrel’s destiny is shaped by her father. He gives her two choices: join his army or get married. Desperate to realise her own future and knowing that it will invite scandal, she pays a small fortune for a handsome Herrani blacksmith at a slave auction. Arin not only plays Kestrel’s power games, he understands what she needs and soon she is torn between loyalty to her people and her feelings for him. But Arin is not all he seems and Kestrel will learn that the price she paid for him is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

The first novel in a stunning new trilogy, The Winner’s Curse is a story of romance, rumours and rebellion, where dirty secrets and careless alliances can be deadly – and everything is at stake.

My Thoughts: This book was not what I was expecting at all. I thought it was going to be some Romeo and Juliet forbidden lovefest but it wasn't. OK there was some forbidden love but that's not even what the book is about.

All the characters in this story are fantastic and real, I either loved them or hated them, there are no characters I felt meh! about. Kestrel is such a strong willed and intelligent young women who wants nothing more than to choose her own fate and to not live the life her father or society would choose for her. I loved that she is no wilting flower but is willing to stand up and fight for what she believes in, even if it means getting in trouble or killed. Arin, the slave that Kestrel buys on a whim, is another strong-willed character. It took a little while for me to warm up to him, but once I did, I loved him, even when I didn't totally agree with his actions.

The romance between these two is so beautiful and complex and not at all instalove. Neither of them forget that they master/slave and on opposite sides of a war and so don't let their feelings get in the way of doing what is right for their countries. At times I would get frustrated with the two of them and yell at my kindle, "just get together, already", but still, the way their relationship plays out is quite satisfying.

The setting of the novel is like historical fiction meets light fantasy and I loved all the historicalness of it - balls and sweeping gowns, gas lights, horsedrawn carriages and duals to the death. The world building was a bit sparse, as I we only get a limited view of the world threw the characters but I am sure we will see more in the following books.

I am absolutely going to be getting the next book as soon as it comes out, especially after that ending. If you love your historical fiction with a touch of fantasy and romance with strongwilled characters, then I definitely recommend this book.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #4

The Feature & Follow is hosted @  Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read

Show us a picture of your favourite coffee mug.

I don't actually have a favourite coffee mug but the one I have been using lately is one I got free from uni during freshers week.

And I have this cute Union Jack mug for my tea.

Yep, I like my coffee milky and my tea black.

I also appreciate GFC, Google +, Twitter and Goodreads follows etc.

Thanks for following :-)

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Beautiful People #1

Beautiful People is a blog meme for writers hosted by Sky @ Further Up and Further In and Cait @ Notebook Sisters. It involves a monthly set of interview questions to help you (and your blog readers) get to know your characters from your works-in-progress

OK, I should start by saying that, yes, I am an aspiring writer, very aspiring. I will probably not have anything published for while, perhaps never, but that's OK because I enjoy the process. I wrote my first creative writing piece at the end of 2012 for English class during my Access to HE course in college. When I was tasked with writing the opening for a novel, my first reaction was UGH! I can't write and I don't want to write. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the task and my piece was actually quite good and my feedback included comments such as "this is very professional" and "this would make an excellent beginning to a novel". 
Since then I have been dabbling in this new found interest of mine and some of that dabbling has included a YA contemporary, coming-of-age, horsey type novel. In this novel a young girl named Olivia deals with her mum's complete change in personality and shitty attitude and treatment of her, leading to a difficult homelife, by throwing herself into her newfound passion - horses.

So, without further ado, lets meet Olivia ...

1) What is their full name and is there a story behind why they got it? 

Olivia Jane Barnes. Olivia because her parents were in an olive grove in Southern Spain when her mum told her dad that they were pregnant. Jane after her maternal grandmother who died when Olivia was an infant. Barnes, well, thats her dads family name.

2) How old are they, and when were they born? 

15 years old. May 8th. If it ever gets published (haha), I will pick a year of birth then.

3) Describe their physical appearance. (Bonus questions: 1. What is their race/nationality/ethnicity? 2. Do you have a picture of them? If so, include it!) 

Shoulder length light brown wavy hair, brown eyes. She is plain ol' white British. Young Emma Watson comes to mind when I think of Olivia, but she is a tad taller and not quite so petite. She starts off the novel at a generous UK size 14 but as she spends more time working around horses (and maybe a bit due to the stress of home), she loses some weight and gets a bit fitter. Of course, there will be not be an ugly duckling into white swan type of transformation, nope, not in my book ;-)

4) Describe your character's personality first in one word, and then elaborate with a few sentences. 


Once she puts her mind to something, she will do whatever she needs to accomplish it. She is not afraid of hard work or putting the time in to reach her goals.
Of course, her do whatever it takes attitude can lead her to making some very bad decisions that can have a negative effect on her relationships and her chances of reaching her goals.

5) What theme song fit their personality and story arc?

The first song that came to mind was "Be My Escape" by Relient K

6) Which one of the seven deadly sins describes your character? 

This is a tough one, maybe lust - she is a teenager afterall.

7) If they were an element (fire, water, earth, air), which one would they be? 

Earth - she is grounded and easygoing.

8) What is their favourite word? 

Horse, of course.

9) Who’s one person they really miss? (It could be someone who’s passed away, or someone they’re not close to anymore, or someone who’s moved away.) 

She really misses the person her mum used to be and the relationship they had.

10) What sights, sounds, and smells remind them of that person?

Playgrounds remind her of the times when her mum would push her on the swings, then later when they would see who could swing the highest the fastest, and the roundabout, where they would laugh hysterically the faster it went and especially when they got of fand neither of them could walk straight.

Classic rock reminds her of when her and her mum would dance crazily around the living room and when her dad would walk in on them and call them his loony girls.

Fresh baked bread, cookies and such remind her of all the times her and her mum would bake together and the majority of the times the food would just come out all wrong, but they would eat it anyway.

Phew! That was heard work, but so very useful in helping me get to know Olivia better. I look forward to next months questions. 
Thanks for hosting this Sky and Cait :-)
And thanks to Arende and Emily for some of the questions.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Graphic Novel Mini Reviews: Black Science: How To Fall Forever & Saga Vol.1

Title: Black Science Volume One: How to Fall Forever
Author: Rick Remender (writer). Matteo Scalera and Dean White (artists)
Published by: Image Comics on May 28th 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy it from  Book Depository
Check it out on Goodreads

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher via Netgalley  for review consideration, this in no way affects my opinion of the book.*

Goodreads Synopsis: Anarchist scientist Grant McKay has done the impossible! Using the Pillar, he has punched a hole through the barriers between dimensions, allowing travel to all possible universes. But now Grant and his team are trapped in the folds of infinity, the Pillar sending them careening through a million universes of unimaginable adventure, sanity-flaying danger and no way home...
Presenting the first mind-warping chapter of the critically acclaimed sci-fi epic by superstar creative team of writer RICK REMENDER (Uncanny Avengers, Captain America) and artist MATTEO SCALERA (Secret Avengers).

My Thoughts: This was a very interesting read, it is kind of like Sliders ( for the uncontrolled dimension hopping) meets Star Wars (for the weird creatures). The story goes straight into the action and at first this left me a little confused but it is not long before I had a firm grasp of what was happening.

What really makes this book is the character dynamics, there are so many different personalities thrown together, people that normally would not choose to spend time together. This creates tension and helps to keep the story moving. Also, the need to know what is going to happen next and what world and what strange creatures they will encounter keeps you turning the pages.

The art took a little while to get accustomed to but once I did I realised that it very much goes with the story and is really quite stunning.

Overall, this is a very fun, dimension hopping scifi story and I will definitely be looking out for the next volume.

Title: Saga Volume One
Author: Brian K. Vaughn (writer) & Fiona Staples (artist)
Publisher: Image

Goodreads Synopsis: When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. 

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. 

My Thoughts: OMFG THIS IS SO, SO GOOD, like argh I don't have words for how good it is. 

I loved all the characters, even the 'bad' guys, they are all so real and awesome, regardless that they have horns, are dead with half their body missing or have TVs for heads. 

The story is narrated by a baby, well, when the baby is all grown-up that is. She tells how her awesomely badass parents had to fight to stay alive, stay together and to keep their newborn. They are both soldiers from opposing sides who deserted so they could be together and they both have bounties on their heads. 

This is most definitely adult, there is bad language from the get go, violence, blood, gore and sex. The art is gorgeous and definitely adds to the enjoyment of the story. Basically I love everything about this book and I cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Some Cover Trends I don't like

Weekly event hosted @ The Broke and the Bookish

Cover Trends I Dislike

Real people on the cover

Why publishers, just why?

Headless or near headless people

I do actually quite like these covers, but where are the rest of their faces?

In your face!

I also don't like covers with big lips or ears and other such body parts all up in your face.

Mid series cover changes

Sometimes these changes are for the bettter...

and sometimes not.

 Gendered Covers

Generally, putting a girl on the cover (especially one with long, flowing locks) screams "this book is for girls", and regardless of the fact that the story within can be enjoyed by all genders, boys will stay away.

I know that's not ten but I can't think of any more and I know I could have done trends I like as well, but I pretty much like all covers as long as long there are no real people on them. Especially if they have nice art, illustration and some sexy typography.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Review: Appaloosa Summer

Title: Appaloosa Summer
Series: Island Trilogy #1
Author: Tudor Robins
Published by: Tudor Robins on June 15th 2014
Genre: Contemporary
Format: Kindle
Source: Netgalley
Buy it from Amazon 
Check it out on Goodreads

*I received a copy of this book free from the author via Netgalley for review consideration, this in no way affects my opinion of the book.*

Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Meg Traherne has never known loss. Until the beautiful, talented horse she trained herself, drops dead underneath her in the show ring.

Jared Strickland has been living with loss ever since his father died in a tragic farming accident.

Meg escapes from her grief by changing everything about her life; moving away from home to spend her summer living on an island in the St. Lawrence River, scrubbing toilets and waiting on guests at a B&B.

Once there, she meets Jared; doing his best to keep anything else in his life from changing.

When Jared offers Meg a scruffy appaloosa mare out of a friend’s back field, it’s the beginning of a journey that will change both of them by the end of the summer.

My Thoughts: It's been a while since I have read a horsey book, so when I saw this, I had to read it and now I want to pull on my old boots, zip up my chaps and go find a horse to ride.

This book had me crying from the start and as a horse lover myself, I felt Meg's loss and understood that losing such an intergral part of you changes how you look at your life. I liked that she didn't throw a pity party for herself but moved on while still feeling the loss of her companion. I really liked Meg and I felt that she was a realistic and relatable character who I would love to go out on a ride with.

Another character I really liked is Jared, a hot cowboy - not the bronco riding type but the tractor driving type. I liked that he allowed Meg her grief for her horse even while he is grieving for his dad, when he tells Meg that "grief isn't a competitive sport", was the moment I knew he was a keeper. I liked how he was written to be really affected by the loss of his father, one way this was shown was through his anxiety.

The romance between Meg and Jared was sweet and developed nice and slowly. The romance wasn't the main focus of the story or their relationship, the focus was on how they, as friends, help each other to come to terms with their loss and to move on.

You can tell that it is written by an actual equestrian, it's hard to find horse stories that stick to reality. There were only a couple scenes that made me shake my head a little bit, but they weren't deal breakers or completely unrealistic, just a bit rare.

Aside from the death of her horse at the start and the strained relationship with her mother, everything went smoothly for Meg. I kept expecting something to happen to create conflict, maybe even an atagonist to appear, that would shake the story up a bit, but that didn't happen. Again, this was no deal breaker because I throughly enjoyed the story and sometimes it is nice to read one where everything works out and you like all the characters.

The story put me right on this beautiful island with these wonderful people and I didn't want to leave and as I was getting to the end I was thinking 'no I don't want to leave' and 'I hope it has a sequel'. When I finished I noticed that yes, it is the first in a trilogy, Yay! I will most certainly be picking up the next one.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (22/6/14)

The Sunday Post hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's Monday! hosted @ Book Journey


It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR
Discussion: It's Not Only Reviews that Sell Books
Waiting on Wednesday: Black Widow: Finely Woven Thread
Review: Captain America
FFF: Fave Books This Year
Review: Z for Zachariah

As you can see, I have decided to add my It's Monday! posts to my weekly-wrap-up posts. It's one less post for me to make and they fit nicely in the one together, so why not.

I also posted my first discussion post this week, not sure if it is more of an observation/rant than it is a discussion but oh well, it's something different on my blog.





Stacking the Shevles hosted @ Tynga's Reviews
Showcase Sunday hosted @ Books, Biscuits and Tea




A couple of great TV season finales this week - The 100 finale had me ugly sobbing my way through it almost from the start and the Game of Thrones finale, well, lets just say GIVE ME THE NEXT SEASON RIGHT THIS MINUTE!

I started re-watching Heroes - its first season was so, so good and even though the last 2 were a little disappointing, I am still really stoked about Heroes Reborn coming next year, especially as Jack Coleman has signed on to reprise his role as Noah Bennett aka HRG. I hope that Zachary Quinto signs on too because Sylar is one of my most favourite villains ever.

Aside from reading and TV watching, I have nothing of interest to talk about, sorry!

In my case, it's boring.


Review: Appaloosa Summer
Top Ten Tuesday
Graphic Novel Mini Reviews: Saga & Black Science
Beautiful People for Writers #1
Feature and Follow Friday
Review: The Winner's Curse
Weekly Wrap-Up




How was your week? Hopefully more eventful than mine was.
What wonderful books did you read and receive this week?
What are you hoping to read next week?