Tuesday 31 December 2013

Happy 2014!

Though I've had much less time to blog this year, it hasn't been a bad 2013. I've started an interesting job, met some fabulous new people in a variety of ways (including Karl Pilkington at a book signing more on that in January), read some amazing books, and encountered some wonderful authors (and adjectives to go along with them!).

I hope 2014 continues for me in the same manner, though I do hope I'll produce more posts! Only time will tell. But, for now, a massive thank you to all my followers and visitors for reading this little blog.

Happy New Year! I hope it's a great one for all of you.

See you on the other side...

Sunday 29 December 2013

Review: The Girl Behind the Curtain by Stella Knightley [Hidden Women trilogy, book 3]

Warning: There are spoilers beyond this point for anyone who hasn't read the Hidden Women trilogy (check out my reviews for the first two books).

Sarah Thomson and Marco Donato's complicated love affair continues - their passion is a deep one but both have been badly hurt before and are wary of exposing their vulnerabilities to the other.

Meanwhile, Sarah begins to research a new subject . . .

In Nineteen-Thirties Germany, Katherine Hazleton escapes her stuffy finishing school and runs away to Berlin in pursuit of an unsuitable man. Alone and penniless when her boyfriend deserts her, she is forced to become a hostess at a cabaret bar. There she reinvents herself as Kitty Katkin. Writing her own songs to accompany her risque dance routines, Kitty is soon a sensation. She is in love with Berlin and her handsome musician lover, Otto. But Germany is about to change.

Will Kitty and Sarah find the love they truly deserve? (via Hodder.co.uk)

So, this is it. The last book in Stella Knightley's Hidden Women trilogy and, I must say, it went far beyond my expectations.

The Girl Behind the Curtain continues the same structure, with Sarah's story running alongside that of a historical research subject this time the fun, brave, and lovable Kitty. There are less sex scenes here than in the previous novels, but I found this to be very fitting of the plot's development and underlying message. Anything more would have seemed gratuitous.

And though I'm sad that such a fabulous story has ended, I absolutely loved its conclusion. I stayed up for hours one night to finish the book because I was dying to find out the truth behind each mystery; including what becomes of Kitty and Otto's relationship and, of course, whether Sarah and Marco are finally able to make it work.

Altogether, The Girl Behind the Curtain is a sweet, emotional, and atmospheric conclusion to an inspiring trilogy, and reveals a powerful message about the true value of love. I cannot recommend it enough!

Rating: 5 / 5

Monday 9 December 2013

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth [Divergent Trilogy, book 3]

Warning: Don't read this review if you haven't read the first two books in the Divergent series beforehand!

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent. (via Goodreads)

I loved the first two books in the Divergent series, and I'd been counting down until the release of Allegiant – the final book in Veronica Roth’s bestselling dystopian trilogy. Unfortunately, however, I was disappointed.

It’s hard to explain why without giving too much away, but I found that Allegiant had a completely different tone to its predecessors. It was in fact so different, and so unsatisfying, that I truly struggled with the first 80% of the novel. I found the events boring, frustrating, and far too removed from the dystopian society which I'd come to know and love.

By the time Allegiant reached its climax, I’d developed a sort of indifference to everything that was going on, and I even found it difficult to remember why I had loved the characters so much in the previous instalments. It felt as if my reactions had been watered down, and all I could think was, ‘huh’, although I really wanted to care more. I even met that controversial bit which has many Divergent fans throwing tear drenched tissues into bins and cursing at Veronica Roth with a surprising degree of apathy.

So, overall, I found Allegiant to be an anticlimactic end to an otherwise superb series. At some point, I might go back and read all three books simultaneously, just to see if it makes a difference. For now, though, this will have to do.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Thursday 5 December 2013

Interview with Allison Rushby – author of the Living Blond trilogy + a giveaway

It's wonderful to welcome Allison Rushby back to the blog, who's here to talk about her new young
adult series, the Living Blond trilogy, which is available to buy now at Amazon. You can find its blurb at the bottom of the interview, along with a giveaway to win 1 of 20 'We Love Marilyn Monroe/Marilynette' wristbands.


The Living Blond trilogy centres around Nessa, a teen who is obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. What inspired you to write the series based around one of film’s most iconic leading ladies?
Nessa had a bit of a funny start in life as a character. I was house-sitting for a friend, who told me to peep inside her housemate's room one day (she was also away at the time). When I did this, I couldn't believe my eyes. All over the room were huge glamour portraits of the housemate dressed up as Marilyn Monroe. Apparently she had quite the Marilyn obsession, as the portraits demonstrated. I wondered about this for years afterwards – I couldn't stop thinking about how a young person could be so obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, a star long dead. This is how Nessa evolved – I took that character trait to an even younger, stranger place. Imagine a thirteen-year-old with a Marilyn obsession – how strange would that be? What would people make of it? What would her parents do about it if it got out of control? And that was how Nessa came to be. It was interesting to stay with her over three books and watch her grow and her obsession slowly fade, with her eventually handing the torch over to a new Marilyn fan by the end of the third book.

Tell us about trilogy’s leading lady, Nessa. What do you hope readers will enjoy about her personality?
I really hope readers will love her overactive imagination and crazy ability to see what might not be there (okay, is definitely not there, but is way more entertaining).

Like your previous release, Shooting Stars, The Living Blond trilogy has been written for the young adult audience. What do you find most appealing about writing for this demographic? Do you see yourself writing for an older audience in future?
I actually started out writing for adults (my first chick-lit novel came out in 2000) and moved towards writing for young adults after that as I found I simply enjoyed it so much. It's just such a great time of life – very heady and self-involved (in a good way!) when anything and everything is possible. I really love the immediacy of YA and the fact that characters tend to act on their true emotions.

Now to get personal: what’s your favourite Marilyn Monroe movie?
It has to be Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for its amazing lines. Like Lorelei Lee's line, 'Don't you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You might not marry a girl just because she's pretty, but, my goodness, Doesn't it help?'

Lastly, what other projects do you currently have in the works and where can we keep up to date?
In 2014, I'll be releasing two other YA books – Blondtourage and Being Hartley. Readers can always keep up-to-date at http://www.allisonrushby.com, on Twitter, or on Goodreads.


Nessa Joanne Mulholland, aka Marilyn Monroe's No. 1 teenage fan, is used to moving house. This time, however, she's relocating in movie-star style—crossing the Atlantic on board the Majestic, headed for Paris from New York City. And it really would be in movie-star style if it wasn't for the fact that she's bringing her cringe-fest professor dad along for the ride (Dad's specialization: human mating rituals—need Nessa say more?). Oh yeah, and sharing a cabin that's five decks below sea level and next to the engine room. Still, at least Holly Isles is on board. Yes, really, that Holly Isles—star of stage and screen. Suddenly, things are looking up. Looking a little Marilyn, in fact, because events are strangely mirroring Nessa's favorite movie of all time, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. 


International giveaway
Complete the Rafflecopter form to win one of these very cute 'We Love Marilyn Monroe/Marilynette' wristbands!