Saturday, 28 March 2015

{Review} Alfie in the Bath by Debi Gliori

22929614Posted by Donna
Release Date:  March 12th, 2015
Finished Date: March 4th, 2015
Publishers: Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Ages: 3 - 5
Source: For Review
Format: Hardback
Pages: 24
Alfie Rabbit is splashing around in the bath. His world turns from real to imagined as a gatefold spread is opened. Now he's on an amazing deep-sea adventure. Alfie is a deep-sea monster waving his tentacles, a little pink crab snapping his claws, a whale spouting water high in the air ...

A delightful book for toddlers, celebrating their irrepressible imagination, with exquisite illustrations featuring all sorts of ocean creatures.

The Review: This is the second time my daughter and I have had the pleasure of reading about Alfie’s adventures’ and this time it’s with Alfie in the Bath. Alfie is a cute little rabbit whom has a big imagination especially when it comes to bath time because he turns his regular bath time in a big adventure where he can explore the waves. We see him becoming a deep-sea monster with big tentacles, then a pink crab with claws, making lots of mess when the water becomes big waves and we won’t spoil the rest and tell you what else little Alfie gets up to. 

Very much like Alfie in the Garden, Alfie in the Bath has the same style of illustrations which are bright and very detailed. Alfie’s adventures keep you and your little one thoroughly entertained and it’s always exciting to turn a page and find that lovely fold out page with more beautiful details. We had fun trying to pick out the different sea creatures we could see underneath the waves and trying to guess what Alfie would come up with next. 

 In all, we’d love to see more from Alfie. We’ve enjoyed both his tales so far and we can’t wait to see what adventures he comes up with next.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Children's for giving us the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

{Review} Seducing the Dragon: Boxed Set (Stonefire Dragons #5-8) by Jessie Donovan

23292416Posted by Melanie
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Finished Date: March 21st, 2015
Publishers: Self Published.
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

On her first visit to Clan Stonefire, Department of Dragon Affairs inspector Evie Marshall has an ulterior motive—she needs to seduce its clan leader. If she can’t seduce him and become his mate, the dragon hunters will kill her. Of course, Evie doesn’t know the first thing about seducing a man, let alone a dragon-shifter, but with her life on the line, she’s going to have to become a fast learner or die trying. 

Bram Moore-Llewellyn has a track record of scaring off DDA inspectors, but when the latest inspector shows up wearing tight clothes and a sexy smile, his inner dragon takes notice. While battling his attraction to the human, he soon finds himself with an impossible choice: he can either break the law to mate the female and risk a backlash from both the dragon hunters and the British government, or he can turn her away and let her die at the hands of the hunters.


The Review: Jessie Donovan delivers another awesome paranormal romance that will have you drooling over the Stonefire Dragons.
Parts 5-8 are a new arc in the Stonefire Dragon series and this time the Clan Alpha is about to bite off more than he can chew in the form of Department of Dragon affairs inspector Evie Marshall. Now, Evie has an agenda of her own when she heads to Stonefire to do an inspection of the humans there because Evie is about to do as the title suggests ….and seduce herself a dragon and that would be none other than Bram Moore-Llewellyn Stonefire’s Alpha. Bram is expecting the DDA inspector and is quietly amused when Evie turns up in her tight clothes and high heels, he knows something is up with her but is willing to let things play out. Evie fumbles around with her attempts at seduction and comes off as a clumsy person but ends up spilling her secrets when Bram calls her on it. Her secret is that she is being threatened by the Dragon Hunters because of her DDA status and insider knowledge, she can’t talk these threats lying down because a lot of DDA inspectors have been found dead lately and with that she deduces that if she seduces the alpha of Stonefire, he will then protect her against those who wish to destroy her. Their mating would mean a lot of changes for both of them plus, it could have disastrous consequences from both the Hunters and the government. The thing is, it doesn’t matter to the Hunters who is protecting Evie, they want her…. And will stop at nothing to get her.
I really enjoyed this book, I like to read them all in one go because I don’t like to wait for the other instalments so the omnibus editions are perfect for me. It was good to be back on Stonefire lands and really easy to get into. We know Bram already from Mel & Tristan’s story so we know there are reasons behind the fact that he is mateless and we quickly find out that Evie is not compatible to be a Dragon’s mate so her suggestion is one of an arrangement rather than love….. or is it? I thought Evie was a fab character, full of sass and determination. I thought she was perfect for Bram because you could really see her leading the Clan alongside him, she has that authority about her and a way of getting to the bottom of things that would come in really handy, I also liked her risk taking too. Bram entered this with humour thinking she didn’t want anything serious but was willing to come to the arrangement with her because it was good for both of them but as the story progresses we see that there is more to the pairing than meets the eye. I absolutely love the relationship Bram has with his dragon and their internal dominance struggle, it was so funny that his dragon was down to his base instincts and couldn’t see past claiming Evie whilst Bram tried to remain aloof, they sort of have different personalities in one body. As usual in PNR there is plenty of sexytime to get us all hot and bothered and these two were hot together.
The storyline progressed perfectly from part 1-4 and the Dragon Hunters become a more prominent enemy. They start to take huge risks here, infiltrating dragon land and causing havoc in an attempt to get to Evie. Evie works them out though and what she discovers is shocking and makes you wonder who the monsters truly are. Of course all of this brings Brams dragon’s protective nature to the front and tensions are high. We meets some new characters who are from the Scottish Dragon Clan and I’m really hoping for more from them, Finn was fun and playful but all business when needed as the Alpha and I’m loving the connection he has to a certain lady dragon that promises to be a good story in the making. I liked getting a really good look at the enemy and what they were about, in parts 1-4 you could easily mistake them for a band of outlaws who are determined to rid the world of dragons but here we see just how organised they really are, what the true nature of their game is and how invested they are in what they are doing – I was quite shocked at the lengths they would go to. There is also plenty of action too where we see the Dragons fight back! Co ordinated battle plans, ambushes, tons of fighting too so I was very satisfied with where the story went and can’t wait for more! 

Thank you to Jessie Donovan for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

{Author Interview + Giveaway} Soulmates by Holly Bourne

16099393
Soulmates
by Holly Bourne 
Release Date: September 1st, 2013
Publishers: Usborne Publishing
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 544
Every so often, two people are born who are the perfect matches for each other. Soulmates. But while the odds of this happening are about as likely as being struck by lightning, when these people do meet and fall in love…thunderstorms, lightning strikes and lashings of rain are only the beginning of their problems.

Enter Poppy, the 17-year-old cynic with a serious addiction to banana milk, and Noah, the heart-throb guitarist; residents of mediocre Middletown, sometime students, and…soulmates. 

After a chance meeting at a local band night, Poppy and Noah find themselves swept up in a whirlwind romance unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. But with a secret international agency preparing to separate them, a trail of destruction rumbling in their wake, (and a looming psychology coursework deadline), they are left with an impossible choice between the end of the world, or a life without love…

Holly Bourne
Author Interview with Holly Bourne.

1) Where did you get the idea behind the story?
It seems SO long ago now, but I got the idea in the midst of the Twilight mania. Where there were entire sections of bookshops dedicated to ‘dark romance’ and ‘forbidden love’. Though I loved those books, I also worried they didn’t set the most realistic expectation of love. So I got the idea for Soulmates – using a romance book to play with the generic conventions of other romance books. I really wanted to hold a mirror up to all the clich├ęs and expectations of romance, while writing a stonking romance at the same time.

2) How long did it take to write? 
Two long years, around my 50 hours a week job as a news reporter. Whenever anyone tells me they ‘don’t have time to write a book’, it makes me want to do a little spiteful dribble on them. Only a little one… 

3) What was the most challenging thing about writing this book? 
The ending. Oh, the ending, the ending, the ending. I cried solidly for about two weeks afterwards. Plus, making all the science behind soulmates was pretty challenging. I spent a good couple of months researching the science and psychology of love to make the storyline as plausible as I could. 4) Do you have a favourite moment in the book? I really wanted Poppy to have a strong set of friends – that she keeps throughout the romance. And it was brilliant fun writing all the scenes of her, Lizzie, Amanda and Ruth pissing about. 

5) What’s your favourite quote from the book? 
*SPOLIER ALERT* It’s right at the end of the book. “That’s the thing about love. However you’ve have it, however you’ve had it – it never goes. Once it’s touched you, it’s touched you forever. You’ll be permanently scarred by its brilliance. You can walk through the rest of your life with that wonderful knowledge… …someone once loved me and it was beautiful. No-one can take that from you.” 6) What’s next for you? I have a YA trilogy about FEMINISM coming out. I’m so, SO excited. It’s about a group of girls who start a grassroots campaign group at their college. The first book is called ‘AM I NORMAL YET?’ and is about Evie and her OCD relapse. It examines the links between gender and mental health. 

Fun Questions’s: 
1) What would we find in your refrigerator right now? 
A lifetime supply of Quorn sausages Chocolate. A lot of chocolate. Probably a half-empty jar of tomato sauce at the back with mould on it. That’s the sort of gross human being I am. 

2) List 3 books you have recently read and would recommend? 
ARGH! THERE ARE SO MANY. Recently? OK The Sin Eater’s Daughter made me realise I do actually like fantasy books! Who knew? Elizabeth Is Missing was beautiful, haunting, frustrating, but hilarious in equal measures. And I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneaky preview of The Secret Fire, co-written by CJ Daugherty and Carina Rosenfeld, and it’s ruddy awesome. You should be excited by it. I am. 

3) If you were deserted on an island, what three favourite things would you want with you? 
Books. Obvs. Mascara. Just in case a pirate that looked like Johnny Depp rocked up. I guess I should say something like ‘a paper and pen so I could use the experience to pen the next great British novel’…but you know what? I really like Quorn sausages. So I’m choosing them.

About the Author: Holly Bourne writes for young adults for a living. She is a journalist for www.TheSite.org, an advice and information website for 16-25 year-olds. Before this, she spent two years working as a local news reporter on the Surrey Mirror and was nominated as Print Journalist of the Year 2010. She also has a first class degree in Journalism Studies and has won awards for her writing.Her debut novel, Soulmates, is published by Usborne on September 1, 2013. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#107)

 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Donna's WoW


22469323
Firewalker (The Worldwalker Trilogy #2)
by Josephine Angelini 
Release Date: September 1st, 2015

Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.

"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."

Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.


Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini! 


Donna's thoughts: Adore the cover for this book. I'm excited for more! 

Melanie's WoW
22715908
Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)
by Jennifer Estep 
Release Date: April 28th 2015

There Be Monsters Here. . .

It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power. 

I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick. 


But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . . 

Melanie's thoughts: This sounds really good, I liked the author's Mythos Academy series and.... I have it for review, so keep and eye out for that!

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

{Review} The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

23276983Posted by Melanie
Release Date: March 12th, 2015
Finished Date: March 9th, 2015
Publishers: Bloomsbury
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 368
Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...

While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner's trilogy.


The Review: I think I was in the minority who wasn’t blown away by book one but because of the ending, which I greatly enjoyed – I decided to give book two a chance and I’m so glad I did because I simply could not put it down.
As the synopsis tells us – Kestrel is now living in the Capital and engaged to the crown prince, a price she must pay for the treaty that saved Herran and its people. The city is abuzz with the wedding preparations and Kestrel must adjust to life at court with endless parties and gatherings but longing for her life back in Herran. Things were left up in the air between Kestrel and Arin and she really wants to explain to him why she made her decisions and there’s no better opportunity than her engagement party, which must be attended by all high powered people – which Arin now is as leader of Herran. Kestrel learns that there are spies everywhere and maybe her relationship with Arin should be hidden forever but it isn’t that easy when she is shown things that will hurt the Herrani and her loyalties are tested. Kestrel becomes what she must in order to gain valuable information for the Herrani people but she also has to keep up appearances with the Emperor who is more watchful than she realises.
As Arin struggles with his feelings for Kestrel and his suspicions about her, he realises that Herran is no match for Valoria, their might is vast and no one is safe from them….. so, what if the casualties of the Emperor’s quest for power banded together to keep what little freedom they have gained? One thing is for sure, both Kestrel and Arin are walking a fine line between life and death because we all know the price for treason.
So, I actually really, really liked this book and that was a surprise because I wasn’t keen on the first book. I thought Kestrel became a more likable character here, we saw what she did for Arin in the conclusion of book one and that definitely started to show her in a different light because she sacrificed herself for their safety. Even though she will have a privileged life, it will not be the life she would have chosen for herself but she will do her duty and be an Empress one day. We see her struggle with what she has done on more than one occasion and I liked how she tried to work out the best option for both sides, to avoid casualties. She had her foot in both worlds and was very torn between them and you could really feel the turmoil in her but her stoic outside kept people at a distance.
I can’t deny that I was waiting with baited breath for Arin to arrive on the scene, I was waiting for their meeting and what was going to happen and I wasn’t disappointed. The meeting was filled with electricity and you can feel the tension between the two, Arin really put his heart on his sleeve throughout this and I was disappointed by Kestrel’s need to push him away because of who he was. He pays a pretty harsh price for holding Kestrel’s attention and I was really shocked that happened but it definitely endeared him even more to the reader. I loved the stolen moments throughout the book, I was desperate for something to happen between them and my pulse raced each time they were around each other.
The progression of the storyline was great, most of the book was set in the capital and we see how Valorian royalty go about their lives and I really liked that the story was told from both Kestrel and Arin’s point of views. There is a lot of spying going on and it seemed to get to Kestrel a bit, she had to be so careful and it subdued her in a way. There are a lot of political agendas going on, plans and plots and some misdirection – it’s really a precarious time for both Kestrel and Arin as they both try to stay one step ahead. Kestrel uncovers some unnerving secrets that will have far reaching consequences and whilst she will do what she thinks is right… it’s dangerous for her. There is a lot of emotional turmoil between Kestrel and Arin where they each see the other in a different light. Kestrel cannot have a life with him and has to handle him in a way that only a person who truly knows someone will, knowing what is at risk and his reaction if she was to confess all to him and when he leaves, he takes a piece of her with him. Arin is looking for allies and the story begins to alternate between Kestrel in the capital and Arin on his journeys, both are in constant danger which keeps you on the edge of your seat and things start to look bleak for them. The pacing was great, a lot smoother than book one and it did hold my interest all of the way through and the ending of this book will leave you astonished but desperate for more. I can’t wait for the next book. 

4.5 flowers!

Thank you to Bloomsbury for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

{Review} Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook

22836562Posted by Donna
Release Date: April 21st, 2015
Finished Date: January 10th, 2015
Publishers: HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 288
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative and emotional novel about a girl who must decide between keeping quiet and speaking up after witnessing a classmate's sexual assault.

Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn't supposed to. But she hasn't told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla's coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.

The Review: Kayla witnessed something at a party that she wasn’t supposed to and it’s something that she’s trying to forget. She hasn’t told anybody because of the events that happened and how they’ve changed her world. She loved her home town and it was a place that loved her in return but now, after spending time at her Aunt’s house it’s a place that hates her and she has no-one but her family for support. As time goes on, Kayla’s guilt starts to eat away at her but can she reveal what happened that night when she knows there will be no turning back and she will forever be an out casted from the place she once loved?

Every Last Promise is a story that is very promising but unfortunately fell a little short for me. From the moment I started the story I struggled to connect to the main character Kayla. She was okay – I guess but she was really a hard character to like. She’s witnessed a terrible thing and rather than tell everyone what she saw, she keeps quite all for the sake of her reputation – even though no-one wants to know her because of something she did that night – which I’m not going to spoil for you. What Kayla did was a good twist to the story and it was all for the right reason – or so I believed. So for her to remain quiet over the thing she witnessed just because she thought no-one would believe her, in my eyes, was pretty unforgivable because it involved one of her close friends and mainly because she had the proof all along to back up the events that happened. As a character, Kayla focussed too much on trying to get her friends back. I just found her very shallow.

Kayla wasn’t the only character I didn’t really like or connect to – Jen and Kayla’s other friends as well as some of the boys in the story – who you weren’t meant to like – were just mostly horrid people. The only bright spark from the story was the love interest that was sweet but we don’t see as much from him and Kayla to really form a real connection to or even to root for their relationship.  

The plot of the story does deal with some heavy real life issues and I applaud Kristin Halbrook for exploring the issues within her book, but unfortunately for me, I just didn’t enjoy the story as much as I hoped. 

Thank you to HarperTeen for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

{Giveaway} Happy 4th Birthday Book Passion for Life!


We can't believe it! We turned 4 today! Yay!
Our little blog was measly just an idea which we decided to pursue and 4 years later, here we are. Where has 4 years gone? We know. It's flew by reading so many awesome books. One things for sure, we couldn't have done it without our lovely followers and of course all the publishers and authors that take a chance on our blog to and make this a success for us. 

So we're here to celebrate with a fantastic giveaway that we hope you all enjoy. 
And here's to another successful year!

Love, 
Donna & Melanie.
xoxoxox