Alice Reviews: Girl Out of Water

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4 out of 5 stars!

I would like to thank Maximum Pop Books, Walker Books and the author Nat Luurtsema for sending me a copy of Girl Out Of Water in exchange for an honest review.

For any fans of Louise Rennison, this book is perfect for you! It’s heartwarming humor makes for a great teen read full of mishaps and mischief. Lou is a fifteen year old trying out for Team GB and the national swimming camp but when she fails to qualify and her best friend Hannah makes it, she finds herself friendless and coachless all in one go. She tries to make friends but on making friends with three handsome boys (Pete, Roman, Gabe), trying to coach them in synchro swimming turns into a disaster-filled roller-coaster of a ride.

I really like Nat’s writing style and how the story wrapped up towards the end, I was giggling at the thought of synchro swimming going wrong throughout. This story definitely made me smile and I would recommend to girls age 12+. I had no major issues with the story and felt that Lou was a quirky but caring character.

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Book Review Round-Up

Please friend me on Goodreads if you read and enjoy my reviews: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/45911840-alice-marriedtobooks

I’ve been busy reading and reviewing a ton of books recently so here is one big post with all of the books that I’ve reviewed!

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This was a nice sweet read, I really like Rainbow Rowell’s writing style and since Kindred Spirits is the first story that I’ve read by her, the plot premise was really well executed and was perfect to break me out of my reading slump.

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This has got to be one of my favourite reads so far this year. I was also very close to meeting the author Tracy Chevalier at a local literature festival close to where I live here in England but sadly missed her by a couple of hours.

I’ve always been fascinated by the portrait of the Girl With A Pearl Earring and to hear that a novel of the same portrait name was published, I leapt at the chance to read it. The story is told through the eyes of Griet who becomes a maid to a famous painter, Johannes Vermeer. The writing has everything: scandal, excitement, romance, the importance of staying true to yourself. I thought that the scenes describing how Griet and Johannes was an interesting look into art in the 1600s. This was a nice, easy read and was left satisfied with the ending. Couldn’t fault it. Would recommend to others.

BIG NEWS: I had no idea there was a film of this too! Until my mum came in and asked me what I was reading, I can’t contain my excitement! 🙂

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3 stars out of 5 stars!

Lolita is not a novel for the fainthearted, with it’s controversial plotline involving a middle aged man running away across America with a twelve year old girl. I had been keen to read it because of how widely the novel is mentioned in other people’s autobiographies as well as in the study of English Literature. The writing was difficult to follow at times and I struggled to visualise the settings of where both Lolita and Humbert were during important scenes throughout. But the topics written and portrayed are quite graphic. Not a novel for children. It was a change from reading and reviewing YA fiction.

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4 stars out of 5 stars!

I can’t believe there are no other reviews on Goodreads of this book! I’m shocked because I found the plotline and writing style to be captivating. The blurb itself was a total mystery, somehow, my local College managed to acquire a copy of Follow Me and I was the first to borrow it. But for anyone interested, here is some more info about the book.

Follow Me is not your typical YA/NA book. I say NA because the characters by the end are 19 but start at 17. The main character Tasmin has a pretty house in California, loving parents and a sweet boyfriend but all that is about to change when the killings start. Secretly, she’s not a human. She takes to the oceans and kills Mavericks, their worst enemies. Rescued from a near-death situation, she ends up on an island where she experiences desire to return to the California coast and be reunited with her loved ones.

The chapter lengths were long in places but it was a really refreshing read. The cover is quite pretty too as that was what appealed to me to pick the book up in the first place. There are a few scenes of violence and death so I would advise younger readers to read Follow Me with an older reader. But I was left wanting more. I eagerly await for a new book by the author.

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3.5 out of 5 stars!

Nights of Rain and Stars was a nice read, it follows the story of four different people who all come to be into contact with each other on a Greek island. I picked this book up at my local College library where I am a student at a while ago. The characters themselves (David, Fiona, Elsa and Thomas) all had their own various issues and were trying to find the solution to them. There’s also the mystery of the Irish woman Vonni who came to live on the Island but you find out why and her story in the book.

I read the book quickly and liked how each character found their solutions to their troubled issues. The setting was nice throughout. I liked Maeve’s writing style, this was the first book by her that I’ve read. Good for anyone wanting a reading escape!

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4 stars out of 5!

The two reasons why this novel doesn’t get the full 5 stars is 1, the ending wasn’t all that brilliant and 2, the story did drag on in places and was hard to follow. But I couldn’t fault the amount of thrills, spills and adventure that took place throughout. I have to admit, a lot of my friends had warned me against reading The Da Vinci Code because it wasn’t for them but the story played out like a James Bond movie. I love James Bond, I love James Bond movies. I’m excited to read more of Dan Brown’s books. Some of the scenes in the novel are quite violent but also cunning. My favourite was towards the first 1/3 of the novel when Robert and Sophie gave the French authorities the slip. A total action-packed read!

AND FROM A WHILE BACK THAT I FORGOT TO REVIEW:

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I won a copy of Demon Road via a Maximum Pop Books twitter giveaway. I realised this morning that I had forgotten to mark down on Goodreads that I had read the book several months ago. This was the local YA Book Club that I go to every month pick for June.

There’s only one word to describe this novel: Epic.

If you are looking for a story with brutal supernatural scenes, haunting atmospheres and thrilling chases, this is the story to go to. At times, Amber wasn’t the cleverest of thinkers, making some brash decisions in a bid to escape. Some of the story was a bit violent in places but nothing could take away the fact that the world building and thrills that came throughout with all of the various happenings was outstanding. A brilliant first book in a series and the second Desolation is fixed on my TBR list. For my first book I’ve read by the author Derek Landy, it was a rollercoaster ride. Not for the fainthearted! But for anyone into exciting, dangerous YA novels and/or like Supernatural or anything to do with encounters between different groups of characters, pick this one up!

Thanks so much for reading!

Alice x

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Following Evan by Elida May

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Following Evan by Elida May

Following Evan

Summary:

Three years on from the sudden death of her husband Matt and a subsequent miscarriage, interior designer Laura is still lost in grief, hiding out in the smart London townhouse that was going to be her family home. On the encouragement of her best friend Carla, she signs up to a dating website and receives a message from a mysterious stranger, imploring her to visit him in New York because he has seen her face in his dreams.  Meanwhile, Laura visits an art gallery and is captivated by a painting of a beautiful woman in a flowing dress. It seems to be speaking directly to her, beckoning her to take a leap of faith.  These seemingly disparate events lead Laura on an epic journey to the bustling streets of the Big Apple and the desert landscape of Wyoming, where the clues to her future happiness are waiting to be discovered…

My Review of Following Evan:

Following Evan takes us on a journey as we witness and get to know Laura trying to solve the mystery of the stranger on the dating website. Having lost both Matt and her unborn child, Laura does struggle mentally and physically at times to cope whilst working as an interior designer. Taking place in London, New York and the US state of Wyoming, Following Evan is a story of mystery, love and passion. For anyone wanting a story with an escape, this is the one.

I loved how the author Elida May was able to connect Laura as a character emotionally. I could feel her struggles as if I was there experiencing them with her. The settings particularly while Laura was in New York made me want to go and visit the city more. A story full of emotions as well as what really happened to Evan and the mysterious stranger made Following Evan a real page turner. Final star rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

More information about the book and where to purchase it:

Release Date: 16th June 2016

Genre: Romance

Publisher: Self-Published

Format: Ebook

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30508231-following-evan

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Following-Evan-Danielle-Wrate-ebook/dp/B01GTUI2D6

Elida

About The Author: Elida May was born in Albania in 1972. Growing up in a Communist country, where access to books was severely restricted, helped to nurture her love of the written word, and she avidly read whatever genre she could get hold of, including a lot of European literature. Today Elida lives in London with her son Elidon. Following Evan is her first novel, and she is currently working on her second, Diary of Michael Vica.

You can find Elida across Social Media via these links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElidaJamesAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elidamay5

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elidamay

This is just one stop in a number of other stops on the Following Evan Blog Tour. Down below is the image to all of the blog tour stops. Stop by and show the blogs participating in the tour some love!

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Thanks to Faye and the author Elida for giving me the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, my very first one as a blogger!

Alice x

Married To Books Reviews and Blog

 

 

Alice Takes On: The Friday Five!

Hey everyone and welcome to another blog post. For this blog post, I will be sharing with you all a very crazy idea that I’ve had to try and cut down on my TBR list. Why not read 5 books in a day? And because tomorrow AKA Friday is going to be quite a lazy, chilled back type of day, why not try and attempt this challenge with tasks that I’ve created myself and see what happens? All happenings for this challenge will be recorded on my Goodreads account Marriedtobooks44. So, onto the little prompts that I’ve set for myself! By the way, I will be including blurbs of the stories that I’ve mentioned here along with the covers so if you are interested in a particular one, you can add it to your TBR list!

Prompt #1- Read a book that you received as bookmail this week.
Book Selected: Indigo’s Dragon by Sofi Croft.
This is an ARC sent to me by the author after I saw a tweet by her posted asking for book bloggers, in particular YA book bloggers since I read and review a ton of YA books to give her novel, the first in a planned series a try. My ARC copy is only around 100 pages long because this is due to the formatting used for the ARC copy. The actual story once it’s out in print is double that page length.

Some families keep monstrous secrets…

Fans of How to Train your Dragon, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson.

Indigo lives in the Lake District, and spends his time exploring the mountains he loves. An unexpected parcel arrives containing a first aid kit inside his grandfather’s satchel. Indigo’s curiosity is raised as he looks through his grandfather’s notebook to discover drawings of mythical creatures.

Strange things begin to happen and Indigo finds himself treating an injured magpie-cat, curing a cockatrice of its death-darting gaze, and defending a dragon. Indigo realises he must uncover the secrets his family have kept hidden, and travels alone to the Polish mountains to search for his grandfather and the truth.

Danger looms as events spiral out of control, and Indigo needs to make choices that change him, his world, and his future forever…

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Prompt #2- Read a book by an author you haven’t read in a while.
Book Selected: Looking Glass Girl by Cathy Cassidy.
This is a modern day reimagining of Alice in Wonderland and by chance at my local library, I spotted the hardback there while my boyfriend was sitting back on some beanbags complaining about the heat. I’ve met the author herself once many years ago and I haven’t read her books in a long while.

Alice nearly didn’t go to the sleepover. Why would Savvy, queen of the school, invite someone like her?

Now Alice is lying unconscious in a hospital bed.

Lost in a wonderland of dreams and half-formed memories, she’s surrounded by voices – the doctor, her worried friends and Luke, whose kisses the night of the fall took her by surprise . . .

When the accident happened her world vanished – can Alice ever find her way back?

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Prompt #3- Read a book that you’ve seen on Goodreads Listopia a lot.
Book Selected: The Giver by Lois Lowry.
I’ve seen this book on what, 60 Listopia book lists? It’s freaking crazy considering a lot of people have read and enjoyed the story but hadn’t even heard of it until I joined Goodreads as a reviewer last year. It’s relatively short in length as well.

This haunting story centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he’s given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

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Prompt #4- Read a book that’s the first in a trilogy that’s been on your TBR list.
Book Selected: Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
This is the first book in a high fantasy trilogy that I’ve been DYING to read since November last year and I thought, why not read it as part of my crazy ass challenge? I first heard about it from Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia) talk about how much she loved the trilogy and because I trust and admire her reading choices, I had to get my hands on this one.

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

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Prompt #5- Read a work of Non-Fiction and/or Poetry.
Book Selected: Brother by Matthew and Michael Dickman.
I won this poetry duology as part of a Twitter giveaway with the publishers Faber and Faber. I was picked as the winner after 83 people entered so effectively, I beat 82 other people to win a copy of this. What appeals to me about this prompt and book selected in particular as this is the first time that I will be reading and analysing poetry since I sat my GCSE English Literature paper two years ago and I love my poetry so much.

A dual-authored volume of poems from the multi-award winning Dickman twins – leading voices in America’s outstanding generation of younger poets.

Although the brothers extol differing inspirations (Matthew writes with the ebullience of Frank O’Hara, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, Michael with the control of William Carlos Williams and Emily Dickinson), they are unified by the unflinching, remarkable verse they wrote when their older sibling tragically took his own life. It is these moving, grieving but life-affirming poems that solely comprise this dual-authored volume. Published in an inventive tĂŞte-bĂŞche edition, the poems appear head-to-toe, communing in the middle, making Brother a searing but ultimately up-lifting journey of grief, love and family.

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And that is it for this blog post, I hope that you enjoy reading it. Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to my blog for regular updates!

Alice x

Five Ways To Get Some Free Books!

Hey everyone! I am so sorry for not updating this blog regularly. My recent timings have been all over the place since I’ve had two exams plus been dealing with some bereavement and personal issues away from the internet but I had the idea for this blog post since everyone (including my eighty-nine year old Grandma) always asks me how I get so many books without paying a single penny so… Here are some ways that I’ve used to get hold of some free books!

1, Enter in Twitter giveaways

Bloggers, authors, publishers, they all run giveaways on Twitter. Simple ways to enter them is to follow their Twitter account and retweet the tweet about the giveaway that they are hosting. Some giveaways don’t have age limits but some do so it is important that before you enter, you must double check what the terms and conditions are. Notable accounts that I’ve entered and won giveaways from include: Faber & Faber publishers, Dani from dani_reviews and Maximum Pop Books. I’ve won copies of signed books, early copies of books from read and review by a certain date and a signed poster from the author Pierce Brown. There is a lot of competition for giveaways however, you never know what might just happen…

2, Become a member of your local Library

Libraries are great places to get free books. It’s free to borrow them plus with a wide selection across hundreds of genres and authors, it’s easy to discover the type of books that you may be interested in reading in. My Dad works for the Library service so i’m one of the first to know if any new books come into the Library. Recently, my local Library service has merged with a couple of other counties so that means more books are available to borrow and read!

3, Word of Mouth

This includes Twitter, Goodreads and other people’s blogs. I’ve been lucky enough to review some incredible books for the blogging community and spread the word about them before general release. These include Nevernight which I am currently reading and Never Stop Falling which I posted a review on my blog about a couple of months ago. There are various ways that you can search up on books available for review. There are Goodreads groups as well as various hashtags #review #book that you can type into a Twitter search and see if anything comes up that is recent. 99% of the time, it is recent.

4, Sign up for bloggers mailing lists hold by publishers

A couple of months ago, I was really lucky to be added to Pan Macmillan’s bloggers mailing list. This meant that if any new book/publicity opportunities came about then I would be one of the first to know. If publishers see that you have an active social media presence and review books honestly then they will offer you a chance to be on their mailing list and that’s a great thing if you want to connect with publishers in the book community as well as blogging community.

5, ARCs for Trade

Personally, I haven’t done this but I know a ton of other bloggers and Goodreads users who have. It’s not against the rules and trading can give a blogger an opportunity to read/review a book that they may have missed out on earlier. It’s an exchange so you send out an ARC (or ARCs) and can get some in return. Postage may cost but if you are on the receiving ends of getting some ARCs from an ARC trade, it’s totally free!

That’s it for this blog post, if there are any other methods that you use, feel free to mention them in the comments section of this post. Thanks for reading!

Alice x

Alice Reviews: The Sun In Her Eyes

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4 stars!

Another ChickLit novel that I picked up on a impulse buy without quite knowing what the story was all about. This is my first novel that I’ve read by Paige Toon but not the first novel that I’ve purchased that is written by her.

The Sun In Her Eyes divides time between Adelaide, South Australia and London, UK. For Amber, she is happily married to Ned but after being made redundant from her job and receiving a telephone call from Liz, a woman she has grown up with as Amber’s dad’s partner calls to deliver the news that he has suffered from a stroke, Amber flies there to be with him. Back in Australia, she helps Liz to nurse her sick father as well as meet up with old childhood friends and visiting her mother’s grave. Amber’s mum was killed in a accident with Amber was just three.

One person that Amber rekindles her contact with is old school student Ethan who she used to have a crush on. A man with two daughters and going through divorce procedures, Amber battles her old romantic thoughts for him as well as her love for husband Ned who is away on business.

A lot of things do take place within the novel. But one thing that does linger throughout is how one decision can change the lives of the people surrounding you. Amber has to face some tough decisions in order to move forward with her life either back in London or staying in Australia.

In the meantime, someone from Amber’s past, tries to make contact with her because she has something to tell Amber.

It was an emotional and thought-provoking read. I did enjoy reading it and would read more novels by Paige Toon. I had no problems with the storyline but I wouldn’t recommend the story for younger readers.

Alice Reviews: My Map Of You

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5 stars to another gorgeous Greek ChickLit read!

I would like to thank the publishers Penguin Random House and the author Isabelle Broom for sending me a copy of My Map Of You in exchange for an honest review. I would also like to apologise for the late review, I’m sorry!

The story takes place both in London and on the Greek island of Zakynthos. From reading and exploring the settings of Zakynthos within the story, it looks and feels like the dream place not just to stay on a short break but to live there altogether. The descriptions made me feel like I was a tourist there spending time in the bars and chatting with the locals.

The main character Holly receives a letter stating that her aunt has passed away and in her legacy has left her house on the Greek island to Holly. Bewildered and confused, Holly leaves her boyfriend Robert and her domineering work boss behind to clean up her aunt’s Greek home in preparation for selling it on. But what looked like an easy task turns quickly into discovering more about her aunt’s past. Throughout My Map Of You, we uncover secrets that Holly learns that have been buried away from her for many years.

Without her boyfriend Robert, Holly meets the next-door neighbour to her aunt’s house Aidan who shows her around Zakynthos and teaches her some Greek. But Holly isn’t sure what she wants and on exploring through the novel, her decision whether to stay on the island or to sell and move on whatever happens will change her world forever.

There are plenty of laughs, joy and emotion to discover within My Map Of You. My recommendation for any readers interested in reading this novel would be to travel somewhere warm and read it. Perhaps on a beach or maybe in Greece itself?

I look forward to reading Isabelle’s next novel A Year and a Day being released this coming November 2016.