Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Review: No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone

The following is a guest review, written by my wonderful mother.

No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone - by Tom Bower

It’s Sunday afternoon and sitting at Heathrow Terminal 5, need to find something to read on the flight. Circling the shelves of the book shop looking for inspiration, Bernie is on the phone but this time not in the aisle of our local supermarket but on the cover of No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone.  Hmmm this could be an interesting read; love Formula 1, curious about the subject, done deal!  The book and I are on the way to Chicago.

Not what I expected, couldn’t put the book down until the flight landed and I had to put it down. Yes it is about Bernie Ecclestone, however it more interestingly gave me an overview of how this great show that is Formula 1 became what it is today and a bit of a peak into the lives and people that are part of it.  Along the way yes I did find out about Bernie, at least what he and others chose to tell the writer and that was very interesting.

When the book finished with me it did change my opinion of some of the ‘characters’ and I knew more about the sport than I did before I got onto my flight.  The man in the supermarket is no longer a stranger but someone with more depth about him, and yes someone that I do admire for his business acumen but also see the naivety in the man when it comes to his personal life.  Or is that naivety just a man being honourable?  I don’t know, judge for yourself.

Final Comments: 
Soap Operas: Dallas, Dynasty and now No Angel

Release Date: February 2011 (Paperback)
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Author: Tom Bower

Friday, 24 February 2012

Feature and Follow Friday

My first Follow Friday for 2012. For those of you not familiar with it, Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read where you can meet new bloggers and gain more followers! The fun part of it is the random questions!

Q. Activity!!! Take a picture or describe where you love to read the most...

During the summer, there is no place better in London to read then at Kensington Gardens. Sadly, sitting under a tree or on a bench... and sometimes on the grass, means battling the space with a cute but crazy little squirrel.

For now, I'll settle with the safest squirrel free spot in the world, my french inspired awesome room!

While you are here, don't forget to enter my awesome giveaway! As I am close to 100, I may throw in another book or include a runner up... yay! Have a lovely weekend you internet globetrotters!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Book Tagged

I got really excited the other day when Steph at Steph's Stacks tagged me. Takes me back to playground fun when you chase the other kids and tag them and they run around chasing other kids with you. Its an exhilarating game.

The idea is, you answer ten questions from the person that tagged you and pass your own new questions onto ten other book bloggers. On to Steph's questions!

1. What was the last book you've read that you couldn't put down?

I tend to only read books I know I can't put down. The last one I really got into was Angel Fire. It is the second book in the Angel trilogy by L.A Weatherly. Its a story about Angels, Half-Angels and AKs (Angel Killers). It is brilliantly written and very intense. The whole story is basically about a Half-Angel and an AK who battle against the odds to be together. I don't want to spoil it, but it's not a sappy teen Angel romance read, its pretty mature and exciting, full of drama and action.

2. How do you find time to post, network and keep up with your reading?

Thats a tough one. When I first started I had plenty of time to read, post reviews, random news and network with other bloggers. Then life kicked in and slowed things down for a while. I think it just comes down to reading in free time. I don't believe in stressing out to get a review a day because honestly I don't like to rush through a book... unless its so amazing that I can't stop!

3. What memes do you participate in?

I'm not a big meme participant, but I have been thinking of doing more this year. From time to time I do the Weekly Book Blog Hop, Wobble over Wednesday and Follow Friday. I have been meaning to pick up some new fun ones, such as the cover art memes and film adaptations, so if you know a good one, let me know!

4. Do you have any favorite book blogging networks you use to meet other bloggers or stay up to date on the latest trends?

I use Blogaholic Social Network and Book Blogs. It is a great way to meet book bloggers of all sorts, find out about giveaways, give design advice, see new reviews and hear about new memes, websites and blog hops. I also love Goodreads, it has been a great site for me to get book recommendations and chat with authors and bloggers.

5. What book (being released this year) are you anticipating the most?

Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick without a doubt! I have been a massive fan of the series from the start and think Becca is an amazing writer. It is due to come out in the fall this year and is the final book in the series! These are one of those YA books with a complicated teen love story meets fallen angels. Claire at Project TBR will understand me on this one.

6. What is your favourite book to movie adaptation? Least fave?

Difficult question, I love so many... including Harry Potter, how can you not love the films! But I have to go with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as I am obsessed with it. I have the book and every single film adaptation of the book and am proud of it!

Least favourite off the top of my head, while I love the Harry Potter series, I really did not like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. The problem with dividing a book into two films is something always gets lost or one part is simply boring! Just as part 1 was getting exciting, it ended! Through the whole film, I saw people falling asleep and walking out. My least favourite of the series.

7. How did you come up with your blog's design? Any websites, designers or tips for newbies?

My design is always changing as I am trying to get to a style that is perfect. It is based on one of my favourite poems from 1890, The Man from Snowy River by A.B Paterson, an Australian poet.
From this, my entire theme is based on snow, winter and rivers. My favourite things! For now I have been using the generic styles from blogger and adapting the colours and fonts to my taste. I have created my own header, buttons and artwork though, all of which I do in illustrator. In the beginning, I had a bit of help from the amazing Steph who gave me tips for creating buttons online.
For newbies, I recommend using Photobucket to store the images you use for your blog. There are several sites and designers you can use, but I am not familiar with which works best. If you do need help making buttons though, I am more than happy to help anyone out. If you are starting out, the one thing you have to keep in mind is to stick with something that represents your personality. Don't try copy someone elses blog just because it looks good.

8. Speaking of newbies... what is the one tip you would give to a new book blogger?

Network! Find a mentor, a blogger with a bit of experience to teach you the ropes. If you find the right person, they can lead you to the right sites to design your blog, tell you what not to do and keep you engaged with the blogging world.

9. What social networking site do you find is bringing you the most interaction with your readership?

Twitter seems to bring the best interaction with readers and even authors. You can share your posts, tweet with followers, find new blogs and giveaways, engage with publishers to find out what new books are coming out and chat with your favourite authors. I was tweeted several times by my favourite authors and It was very exciting!

10. How prepared do you think you are for the Zombie Apocalypse? Or the apocalypse of your choice :)

I'd say half way there. I have my exit strategies for my house prepared, baseball bats at the ready and a pretty decent fake zombie walk. As I played sports my whole life, I have a pretty good swing and kick, could battle my way around, but the only difficult part is living in such a huge populated city means far too many people to get past. Wish me luck!

My Questions:

1. How did you choose the name for your blog?
2. If you could be a character in any book, who would you be and why?
3. Ever since you started blogging, have you met any authors of your favourite books?
4. What is your favourite cover art for a book you have seen?
5. Do you have a strict blogging schedule or are you more relaxed? (eg. post 1 review a day, do a weekly meme etc)
6. Is there a book you would love to have a sequel?
7. What is your favourite book to tv series adaptation?
8. Everyone likes to shop for books differently, do you buy online or spend hours in a bookstore or library?
9. Do you prefer reading paperbacks or ebooks?
10. If you had to write a novel featuring yourself, what kind of character would you play? (eg. leading lady, sidekick, evil villian etc)

Who I am tagging

1. Project to be Read
2. Gripped into Books
3. Ali's Bookshelf
4. Mindful Musings
5. Book R3vi3ws
6. Book Savvy Babe
7. The Reader Room
8. The Book Mogul
9. Writing Belle
10. Stuck in YA Books

How it Works

1. You must post the rules
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create ten new questions to ask the people who you have tagged.
3. Tag ten people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you've tagged them!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Six Monthiversary Giveaway!

A little treat to celebrate six months of blogging and an awesome collection of followers.
Since starting this blog I have had the pleasure of chatting with several of my favourite authors and with some friendly bloggers, who have given me invaluable advice and recommended some amazing reads.
I have even won prizes in two giveaways!

It honestly has been an amazing six months and it is only right to give back to you all. Along with the help of my family, readers and a few bloggers, I have narrowed the books to a little list of new releases, upcoming titles and some of my favourites for the Austen fans. The winner will receive a book of their choice from the selection and a special surprise! I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but it will be awesome!!!

As I have a large amount of US followers, I have decided to make this an International Giveaway as it would be unfair to leave them out.

Finally, if my GFC followers reaches 100, there will be an extra surprise.... you will have to wait until then to find out.

Behold.... the giveaway!
To enter the giveaway, please choose 1 book from the selection below. You can either mention it in a comment or simply tell me if I announce you the winner.
Follow the instructions as you wish, the more you do, the better chance you have of winning.

Best of luck!

1. A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warbuton
2. Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
3. Vampire Diaries; The Hunters: Moonsong by L.J Smith
4. Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate
5. Tempest by Julie Cross
6. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
7. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
8. Recipe for Love by Katie Fforde

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Fantastic ARC Giveaway!

For anyone looking for a fantastic new giveaway, head over to Live to Read, where you can try your luck to win a swag pack with some great books, signed bookmarks, postcards and tonnes more. There are a variety of stories, some great YA reads, others more heavy and one that even a guy could appreciate. I havent read any of them myself so I can't give my views on them, so I thought I would leave you with the goodreads descriptions. I myself am keen to read Fracture and Perception as someone had suggested them to me, however the others are equally great picks!

Huge thanks to Krystal at Live to Read for a great international giveaway! If any of the following titles sound interesting to you, do head over to her blog and enter to win your favourite. Good luck!

The selection of books includes:

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington.

Goodreads description:
Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…

Fracture by Megan Miranda

Goodreads description:
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

In Darkness by Nick Lake

Goodreads description:
In darkness I count my blessings like Manman taught me. One: I am alive. Two: there is no two. In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake a boy is trapped beneath the rubble of a ruined hospital: thirsty, terrified and alone. 'Shorty' is a child of the slums, a teenage boy who has seen enough violence to last a lifetime, and who has been inexorably drawn into the world of the gangsters who rule Site Soleil: men who dole out money with one hand and death with the other. But Shorty has a secret: a flame of revenge that blazes inside him and a burning wish to find the twin sister he lost five years ago. And he is marked. Marked in a way that links him with Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Haitian rebel who two-hundred years ago led the slave revolt and faced down Napoleon to force the French out of Haiti. As he grows weaker, Shorty relives the journey that took him to the hospital, a bullet wound in his arm. In his visions and memories he hopes to find the strength to survive, and perhaps then Toussaint can find a way to be free ...

Irises by Francisco X. Stork

Goodreads description:
Two sisters discover what's truly worth living for in the new novel by the author of MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD.TWO SISTERS: Kate is bound for Stanford and an M.D. -- if her family will let her go. Mary wants only to stay home and paint. When their loving but repressive father dies, they must figure out how to support themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state, and how to get along in all their uneasy sisterhood.THREE YOUNG MEN: Then three men sway their lives: Kate's boyfriend Simon offers to marry her, providing much-needed stability. Mary is drawn to Marcos, though she fears his violent past. And Andy tempts Kate with more than romance, recognizing her ambition because it matches his own. ONE AGONIZING CHOICE: Kate and Mary each find new possibilities and darknesses in their sudden freedom. But it's Mama's life that might divide them for good -- the question of *if* she lives, and what's worth living for.

Perception by Kim Harrington

Goodreads description:
When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

Enter Giveaway here.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Happy Birthday Charles Dickens!

Happy Birthday Charles Dickens!!

Wonderful writer of A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist (my favourite), The Old Curiosity Shop, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.
If you havent read any of these titles before, I recommend you pick up one, with several of them available for only a pound or two, it doesnt break the bank to have a famous classic on your bookshelf!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

London snow!

Hi all! Just an update to explain my absence from reviewing and posting on others blog posts. I have been spending a long time in hospital with a family member and haven't had the time to read. They will be coming home next week, which is the most fabulous news ever! While I will be spending the next few months helping them around the house, I will definately get back to reading to relax!

I leave you with some current pictures i took this evening of London snow!