Thursday, 30 July 2015

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston: Review

Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pre-order this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository 
Releases: 22nd October 2015
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.
And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the peace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.
Far away, in their village, her sister is in mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air. 
Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster. 

Disney Aladdin animated GIF
This book, with it's wonderfully beautiful purple cover, is an exquisitely written retelling of Arabian Nights. The retelling part meant very little to me, considering the fact I didn't know the main story of Arabian Nights. My knowledge of that went as far as what I learnt from watching Aladdin as a child. I looked up the story after finishing the book, which now seems like it would have been better to do before I read the book - also helped understand the title, as Arabian Nights is also known as One Thousand and One Nights. You definitely don't need to know the story of Shahryar and Scheherazade to enjoy this story, as they are different in so many ways. But it did help me understand the story and appreciate this story more.

The back of my proof copy came with these words written on the back:
The most dangerous love story ever told.
Before the book arrived, I hadn't been expecting a love story after reading the synopsis for the book. Seeing those words written on the back had me thinking that I had been wrong, and that this was going to be more love story than anything else. It was not. That really threw me off and kept doing so the longer the book went on without there even being one little whiff of a love story. It's not a bad thing, in fact it makes a nice change to read a YA book that doesn't contain a romance storyline taking over the plot. It did mean that I was completely confused as to why they decided to print that on the back of the book. 

Monday, 27 July 2015

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough: Review, Author Interview & Giveaway

Title: The Game of Love and Death
Author: Martha Brockenbrough
Publisher: Scholastic
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) /  Amazon (US) / Book Depository
Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now... Henry and Flora.
For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.
Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?
Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured-a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.
The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone's guess. 

The first I heard of this book was at the Scholastic Blogger Brunch, I was instantly intrigued and eager to read it. I was fascinated by the idea of Love and Death battling for centuries, in a game where death always wins. I wanted to meet these two characters, see what motivated them to play their game, especially Love who was playing a game he had always lost. Love and Death choose their players, and this is where Henry and Flora enter. The game is simple, for Love to win, the two must choose each other over the cost of everything else. If they don't, Death wins, and that will not bode well for either of them.
Someday, everyone you love will die. Everything you love will crumble to ruin. This is the price of life. This is the price of love. It is the only ending for every true story.

When I was offered the chance to review this book I jumped at it. It seemed like it was going to be such a wonderfully unique read and unlike anything I had really read before. And yet it also seemed to have elements to the story that reminded me of other books I had read and absolutely loved. I started the book with a little trepidation, I was excited but had really high hopes and really didn't want to end up disappointed. I am so pleased that I can say that this has been one of my top reads of the year so far, maybe even THE top read of the year so far. And I will start my review by apologising, I have no doubt that this will be a gushy, fangirling type review - I will spew words of love and beg you all to read it. So, if you were hoping for a well written, wonderfully articulated review, look away now!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

My Weekly Recap: YALC Edition



The last week has been very hectic because I spent three days attending YALC, which was crazy and wonderful, and totally wiped out my bank balance!!! YALC is the UKs first Young Adult Literary Convention and it is amazing and I will be sure to attend every year they do it. It's filled with amazing panels, great workshops and more authors than I can name, who all signed their books whilst there.

I attended all three days. Friday is where I had to bring the most books with me, then ended up buying the most books whilst there. Getting it all home was hard as hell and I really struggled. I attended some great panels that day and had my books signed by some of my favourite authors. You can read my recap of that day here/

Saturday didn't go as well because I was so exhausted after the day before. I lasted about 2 hours and then decided to go home. I did pick up all the Harry Potter POP! Vinyls though, so it was worth it. I then went home and got some much needed sleep, as I had to be up again at 5am the following day. Sunday was much more successful, as I had finally got a decent nights sleep. I went to two workshops, which I will do individual posts on. I went to a few of the panels, and then I managed to get all the books signed that I had planned to. A SUCCESSFUL DAY!!!

Then I had only two days to recover from my YALC filled weekend until it was time to return to work. It was not fun! I work in a college library now and it is far too quiet right now as it's the summer holidays, and I will be working by my own. I might end up going a little bit crazy, which is worrying. I hope to get some reading done starting from next week, right now I am piled under with trying to write up posts, be a social human being for once (doesn't go well for me!) and see family.







Thursday, 23 July 2015

YALC Recap: Friday


The second Young Adult Literary Convention (YALC) took place on the 17th, 18th and 19th July, as part of the London Film and Comic Con. I attended last year and had such an amazing time, I knew I would have to go again this year. I bought my YALC tickets as soon as the announcement was made, and then spent months and months impatiently waiting for July to roll around. 

All the books I took with me
over the 3 days to get signed.
The preparation for YALC actually started way before the event even took place. It started with me ordering the books I wanted to get signed, but didn't already own, in advance before I attended YALC. This was to save me money and also to curb my spending over the weekend while I was there (HAHAHAHAHA!!! Yeah, that did not work!) And then I had to look at the schedules for all the days and decide on what signing, workshops and talks I wanted to attend - it's impossible to do everything, so you have to plan in advance. Then the night before, which just so happened to be my birthday, was when I packed up my suitcase filled with books, got my packed lunch ready and got everything charged and ready to go for the morning.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway: Review


Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: HarperTeen
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository

Emmy's best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?
Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life. She wants to stay out late, surf her favourite beach - go anywhere without her parents' relentless worrying. But Emmy's parents can't seem to let her grow up - not since the day Oliver disappeared. 
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart. He'd thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy's soul, despite space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like two different puzzle pieces - impossible to fit together?
Emmy & Oliver is a book that is really hard for me to review. I think I might have suffered from skyscraper syndrome when it comes to this one. I had seen far too many glowing reviews, every one praising this book and it's adorable romance, and this made my expectations skyrocket. It's not that I ended up crushingly disappointed by the story, I just didn't end up loving it anywhere near as much as I thought that I would.


This story centres around Emmy and Oliver - hence the title - and their growing relationship, after Oliver returns ten years after being kidnapped by his father. Now the story is adorable and cute, and everything that most people would be looking for. But it didn't completely work for me, and I was disappointed that I couldn't just love this as much as everyone else seems to.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Demon Road by Derek Landy: Review

Title: Demon Road
Author: Derek Landy
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Pre-order this book: Amazon (US) / Amazon (UK) / Book Depository 
Published: 27th August 2015
Amber Lamont is a normal sixteen-year-old high school student. Smart but insecure, she spends most of her time online, where she can avoid her beautiful, aloof parents and their weird friends.But when a shocking encounter reveals a horrifying family secret, Amber is forced to go on the run. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers and red-skinned, horned demons - Amber hurtles from one threat to the next, revealing a tapestry of terror woven into the very fabric of her life. As her parents close in behind her, Amber's only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be...
supernatural animated GIF
My excitement at receiving this book!
Derek Landy is an author that I have heard so many good things about - 90% of those were probably from Amanda - and he's an author whose books I have wanted to try for quite some time. Demon Road instantly appealed to me, not only because it sounded awesome but also because it reminded me quite a bit of Supernatural, which just happens to be one of my favourite TV shows. When I received a signed ARC of this book, I squealed with excitement because this was a book I wanted to jump straight into and devour. And I did, all 500+ pages of it in less than a day. Having now finished the book, I can say that Amanda was right about Derek Landy and that Demon Road is a fantastic supernatural YA read, that had elements that reminded me of Supernatural and made me love it even more.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

My Weekly Recap: 18/07/2015


This week has been a week of reading, relaxing and a lot of preparing for YALC (Young Adult Literary Convention) at the LFCC (London Film and Comic Con) which, by the time this post is live, I will currently be finishing my second day there. I booked a week and a half of work to make sure I could be ready but also enjoy my birthday and other events without having to worry about work. I'm not back until next Wednesday and I am enjoying all of my time off.

I am going to say it right now.... My haul this week is utterly ridiculous. I am well aware of that, but in my defence a lot of them are books I am taking to YALC to get signed by the authors there. And, okay, some are ones I bought just because I could. I have a problem and I can't seem to stop.

I also have a wonderful new look to the blog - just thought I'd mention it, in case you hadn't noticed how amazing the blog looks! - thanks to Evie, at Evie's Bookish Designs, and couldn't be happier with it. She was an absolute dream to work with and took my nonsensical ramblings of what I wanted and turned them into something way more amazing than I ever could have thought of. She also installed everything, thank god, and is so reasonably priced too. I'm still in awe of the design if I am honest. If you are looking for someone to help you with your blog design or just do some graphics for you then I definitely recommend her. ALSO.... She's hosting a GIVEAWAY to celebrate.

To celebrate my new design and reaching over 3,000 Bloglovin' followers, I am hosting a giveaway where one lucky winner will get £40 worth of books of their choice. I also created a book tag to go along with it that you can all take part in, which will gain you ten extra entries for the Rafflecopter. I had so much fun doing it... You can find out all about it here.



Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Welcome to the NEW Reviews from a Bookworm: Celebrations, A Tag & Giveaway!!!


Welcome!

I can't begin to express my excitement to finally unveil the new look for Reviews from a Bookworm! I hope you guys love it as much as I do, I honestly couldn't be happier with with it. The new design is all thanks to Evie, over at Evie's Bookish Designs - the woman is clearly a genius. I've wanted a new look for  Reviews from a Bookworm for so long, I just don't really have the skill or knowledge to do it myself. I definitely did the best I could with what I knew, that just happened to be very little. So I knew if I was going to get a design I was truly happy with, I would need to find someone else.

That's where Evie comes in! Amanda over at Nellie and Co. was the person who suggested her and thought she'd be a good person to work with and Amanda was right. She asked so many questions and managed to coax out of me what I wanted, because when I started the design I still had absolutely no idea what I truly wanted. But, I shouldn't have worried, Evie had a better idea than I had myself and seemed to know exactly what I wanted, even when I didn't.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Last 10 Books That Came Into My Possession


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke & The Bookish.

This weeks topic is:

Last 10 Books That Came Into My Possession 


This is hard as I have gained about 40+ books in the last two weeks alone. I went a bit too crazy on Amazon, but then I also got a lot of review copies through. The main reason for the mass buy is for books to take with me to get signed at YALC, it will work out cheaper for me this way rather than buying them on the day.

Bought


I'm going to pretend it's not cheating to count these 9 books as 1! It's a series after all and I bought them as 1 item on Amazon... so IT COUNTS!

The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

I am cheating again, but I bought this in a boxset so I am letting them count as one. I bought these as I plan to get them signed by Cassandra Clare when I am at YALC.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales: Review

Title: Tonight the Streets Are Ours 
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux 
Buy this book: Amazon (US) / Amazon (UK) / Book Depository
Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tried of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her-including her needy best friend and absent mum.Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girl he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him. During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music-the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does- Arden discovered that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was either. 
I read and reviewed Leila Sales other book, This Song Will Save Your Life, way back in December of 2013, during my first few months of blogging. That book turned out to be one of my favourite books of the year and is still a book I consider a favourite of mine. When I heard the great news that Leila was finally releases another YA book, I might have been ridiculously excited/ridiculously nervous (We all know the feeling!). I saw the cover, which is stunning and makes me want to own the book just so I can photograph it, and the summary and I got way more excited than nervous. The book sounded so good and I was adding it to my to-read shelf on Goodreads and getting frustrated that I had to wait for it. I finished the book and I can't quite say that I loved it, but I did enjoy it and I didn't feel disappointed or that it didn't live up to my expectations.

The book starts with the words:
Like all stories, the one you are about to read is a love story. If it wasn't, what would be the point?
And the fact that it also ends with similar words, it seems only right that I had assumed that this book was going to be a love story. And I guess, in the end, it was.... just not at all in the way you were probably expecting. What struck me the most about this story was the fact that I came away from it really enjoying the book as a whole, whilst seemingly hating all of the characters. It just goes to show the kind of writer that Sales is, she can write those flawed characters that make you want to shake them, but they're real. I appreciate real characters, even if I do want to reach into my book and whack them all upside the head.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Films for Thoughts on Thursday: Pitch Perfect 2


This is a weekly meme that I am hosting here at Reviews from a Bookworm. To take part all you have to do is share a movie review once a week, link back to Reviews from a Bookworm and add your link to the linky tool.


This weeks movie review will be for:

Pitch Perfect 2

Movie Gif animated GIFI still remember the first time I saw Pitch Perfect, me and my mum were having a day out together and decided to go see a movie. It was the only movie that sounded even slightly appealing and the trailer had me eager to see it. But I honestly didn't know what to expect from it, I had no idea if it was going to be a huge disappointment, just okay or a new favourite. But my mother and I both absolutely loved it and had such a fun time watching it. We laughed so hard it hurt, we sang along with the awesome tunes and we left wanting to go back in and watch it all over again. So maybe it seems weird that the announcement of a sequel had me way more nervous than it did excited. I just worried that it would be another sequel that didn't live up to my expectations, another sequel that just ended up disappointing.

Movie Pool animated GIFI can't even begin to describe how shocked I was to find that I ended up absolutely loving this one. I loved it so much that I felt it was almost as good as, if not better in some ways, to Pitch Perfect. My mother preferred Pitch Perfect 2, I think because it had her laughing a lot more than the first did, which is saying something as we laughed so much at the first film. Her vote has been cast, but I am still undecided about which movie I prefer, I will have to decide after a rewatch of both back to back once the DVD is released.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

How To Survive YALC: Advice and Tips

How To Survive YALC 2015!

Last year I was lucky enough to be able to attend all two days of the YALC event at the LFCC. For anyone who doesn't know, and has clearly been living under a rock, YALC was the UKs first ever YA literary convention. AND IT WAS AWESOME! I loved every single second of it, despite the sweating and the queueing and how much of my money disappeared from my account quicker than I could blink. It was an amazing two days, but I do wish I had gotten some more information before going, just simple tips that could have really helped me out. So I am here to share them with you guys!

1. Be Prepared For Endless Queueing 

No one likes queueing, it's just a known fact. So you need to know that you will spend a lot of your day queuing. You will queue for EVERYTHING! You will queue for a long time to get in, then you'll queue to get tickers to events, then queue to get your books signed. Not to mention that you will queue for the toilet and for food too, where you will be charged an extortionate amount. So make sure you either have someone with you to keep you entertained, or bring something with you to keep you entertained whilst you queue. And maybe learn to sit randomly on the floor like a weirdo, because otherwise your legs will ache like crazy by the end of the day.