Monday, 31 March 2014

Review: Sex and the Single Vamp - Robin Covington

Cici Trent, vampire and media darling, spends her days finding true love for humans and supernaturals (the "Others") at her dating agency. But someone is trying to sabotage her business and she needs help. Unfortunately, the best man for the job is the one who broke her still-beating heart two hundred fifty-four years ago.


Deacon is a patient vampire. He’s only loved one woman in over three hundred years— CiCi— and she chose another. So when she shows up in his office asking for help, he finally has the chance to lay that demon to rest. He’ll help her, but for a price—a night in his bed.


Adrenaline, mischief, and a little late-night B&E light the passion that even a couple of lifetimes couldn’t put out. But Deacon has a secret and when Cici is suddenly mortal, his deception might be the only way restore her immortality. Can love bridge the gap between a heartbeat and forever?

Visit Robin Covington's website for more information

Review:
Cici is a romantic who believes in love that lasts forever and she's made a business out of helping both humans and supernaturals to find it. Unfortunately not everyone shares her ethos, particularly when it comes to relationships between the two groups and they're determined to destroy her reputation by whatever means necessary. Cici knows she is in trouble and the only person she can think of to help her is Deacon, the man who broke her heart over 200 years ago. Deacon has never forgotten Cici, he made a promise to her father that he would always protect her and although he failed once he is determined never to let it happen again. He won't admit that he loves her but he has never got over their separation and when she comes to him asking for his help he decides to take full advantage of the fact that she's back in his life.

I'm a huge fan of Robin Covington's contemporary romances but the paranormal has always been my first love so I was incredibly excited when I found out she had written Sex and the Single Vamp. I had such high expectations for this story but unfortunately, although I liked it I wasn't as wowed as I had hoped to be. I liked the world that Robin has created, one where humans are aware of the supernatural creatures but there is still tension between the different species. Although Deacon has spent centuries working as a soldier and a police man the police department has now been split in two (one to deal with humans and the other to deal with supernatural issues) so he decided to go his own way and set up a private security firm with a friend. This actually works in his favour when it comes to Cici's case because with the police departments busy fighting about who has jurisdiction they aren't getting very far in the actual investigation.

I enjoyed learning more about Cici and Deacon's past, they were obviously both crazy about each other but had been pulled apart by a huge misunderstanding. As much as they have both tried to move on over the last 200 years they have never forgotten each other and they do have great chemistry together. I think where the story fell down for me was that I didn't feel connected to the couple in the present, I was more interested in their history and the way they felt about each other now just felt a bit forced. I'm usually a huge fan of the smut scenes (it's one of the reasons I love my adult romances!) but in this case they just didn't quite hit the spot and I'm struggling to pin point exactly why - it's not that they were badly written but they just didn't get my motor running!

Sex and the Single Vamp may not have been my favourite Robin Covington story but I liked the world and I'm definitely intrigued by some of the side characters (Cici's best friend Mya and Deacon's friends Andy and Antonio in particular) so if this does turn out to be the beginning of a series I'll definitely be checking out the next book.

Source: Received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review

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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Review: Maybe Someday - Colleen Hoover

UK Cover
Colleen Hoover draws you in to this passionate tale of music, love and betrayal . . .

Sydney is living in an idyllic bubble - she's a dedicated student with a steady job on the side. She lives with her best friend, has a great boyfriend, and the music coming from her balcony opposite hers is fast becoming the soundtrack to her life.

But when Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, the bubble bursts. The mysterious and attractive man behind the music, Ridge, gives Sydney hope that she can move on and they begin to write songs together. But moving on is harder than she expects, Sydney can only hope . . .

Maybe Someday . . .

Featuring music from Griffin Peterson.

For more information check the following sites:
Colleen Hoover's website
Griffin Peterson's website
Maybe Someday website

Review:
Sydney's life falls down around her when she discovers her long term boyfriend has been cheating on her with her best friend & room mate. Suddenly she is homeless, friendless and doesn't know where to turn. Help comes from an unexpected corner when her neighbour Ridge offers her the use of his spare bedroom. Her only contact with Ridge previously had been listening to him play his guitar from across the courtyard, she loved his music so much that she'd even started writing lyrics to go along with it but they've only ever spoken by text until now. Ridge is working hard to write a new album for his band but he just can't find inspiration for the lyrics so when he saw Sydney singing along to his music he just had to know what words she had come up with. As soon as he saw her lyrics he knew how perfect they would be so while she is staying with him he asks her to help him finish the rest of the album. Working closely together on the album they find themselves getting closer and closer. It is impossible to deny the attraction between them but there is one major problem - Ridge already has a girlfriend, someone he loves and would never, ever leave.

I have to admit that I was nervous about picking this book up, cheating is a major hot button for me and I would never usually knowingly pick up a book about it (in fact I usually end up DNFing books where I come across it unexpectedly!). However, I am a HUGE fan of Colleen Hoover's so I knew I had to at least try reading Maybe Someday, especially since I'd already listened to some of the songs from the story (recorded by Griffin Peterson) and had loved them enough to buy the whole album the day it was released. I'm glad I gave it a chance because this book was beautiful, it's also heartbreaking, gut wrenching and raw but that doesn't make it any less beautiful or addictive to read. I absolutely loved both Sydney and Ridge and I was desperately rooting for them to end up together but at the same time I didn't want to see Maggie (Ridge's girlfriend) hurt because she was lovely too and didn't deserve to be betrayed.

I think the reason that I was able to get on board with Sydney and Ridge's story is because they were both so determined to do the right thing by Maggie. Sydney knew what it was like to be cheated on and she didn't want to do that to another person and although Ridge had feelings for Sydney he never stopped caring about Maggie too. This definitely isn't your usual cheating story where characters go around betraying each other casually as if it isn't one of the nastiest things you can do to your partner. I can't lie and say I was completely happy about how things went down all the way through but I was glad that Sydney and Ridge didn't easily fall into bed together without a thought to who would be effected by the fallout. In fact, there is very little (apart from one kiss) in the way of physical cheating in this book which probably made it a bit easier for me to read. There is a whole lot of emotional cheating going on, which in some ways is probably worse, but I was completely invested in these characters and I was feeling their emotional connection right alongside them so I found it very hard to be too angry with them.

I don't want to say much about how things play out so you're just going to have to read the book if you want to find out more but I do want to talk a little more about how the music plays such a huge part in the story. If you've read Colleen Hoover's other books you'll know that she often includes poetry or lyrics from her favourite bands in her stories but I loved the fact that she worked together with Griffin Peterson to create the songs that Sydney and Ridge write together in Maybe Someday. Writing lyrics together is such a huge part of their relationship, it's the way they tell each other the things they're afraid to say out loud, so being able to not just read but also listen to the music added a wonderful new dimension to the story. If you go to the Maybe Someday website you can actually listen to all of the songs for free which I think is wonderful but like I already said I enjoyed the music so much that I bought the album and I'd say it's well worth it.

I just loved everything about Maybe Someday, it has everything Colleen Hoover fans have come to expect and then some - her beautiful writing, wonderful characters, lots of humour and incredible emotion plus gorgeous songs to go along with it. I'm so glad I didn't let the cheating put me off because I'd have been missing out on a wonderful read but there aren't many authors who can pull off what Colleen did and make me feel invested in this kind of story! Maybe Someday works perfectly as a stand alone story but I'm really hoping that Colleen decides to write a book about Ridge's brother Brennan - especially if it means she collaborates with Griffin Peterson again to create another album!

Source: Received from S&S The Hot Bed in exchange for an honest review

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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling

It is Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As Voldemort's sinister forces amass and a spirit of gloom and fear sweeps the land, it becomes more and more clear to Harry that he will soon have to confront his destiny. But is he up to the challenges ahead of him?

In her darkest and most breathtaking adventure yet, J.K. Rowling skilfully begins to unravel the complex web she has woven, as we discover more of the truth about Harry, Dumbledore, Snape and, of course, He Who Must Not Be Named . . .

Harry Potter Series:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Illustrated Edition (Illustrated by Jim Kay)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Illustrated Edition (Illustrated by Jim Kay)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Play Script written with John Tiffany & Jack Thorne)

Pottermore Presents:
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Short Story Collection)
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Short Story Collection)
Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Short Story Collection)

Other Harry Potter Books & Products:
Harry Potter: Winter at Hogwarts: A Magical Colouring Set (Colouring Book, Gift Tags & a build your own 3D Firebolt in a Keepsake Box)
Incredibuilds: Harry Potter: House-Elves (Deluxe Book and Model Set)
Incredibuilds: Harry Potter: Buckbeak (Deluxe Book and Model Set)
Incredibuilds: Harry Potter: Quidditch (Deluxe Book and Model Set)
J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World: Magical Film Projections: Creatures (Activity Book)

Visit J.K. Rowling's website or the Pottermore website for more information

Review:
I still find it impossible to write proper reviews for the books in this series, I'm just way too much of a fan girl to be able to get my thoughts into any kind of sensible order. I remember the first time I read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - I queued up at my local supermarket at Midnight so I could buy my copy in the first few minutes of the release day then proceeded to go home and read right through the night until I'd finished it. That was actually my release day routine for the last 3 or 4 books in the series and I can't think of any other series that I have ever been quite so desperate for each new instalment of.

I don't think the end of this book could have shocked me more the first time I read it. I was absolutely horrified and I cried buckets at the way things turned out - how could J.K. Rowling do that to us? I have to say as much as I hated what happened I do love that she wasn't afraid to tell her story the way she wanted to tell it - I'm sure she had a pretty good idea what the fan reactions would be to that ending but she did it anyway! I think that the fact that she isn't afraid to kill of major characters is a bonus with this kind of series though, after all Harry and his friends are facing a deadly enemy. An enemy who has a lot of power, dark magic and a plenty of evil followers. No group is going to be able to stand up to an enemy like that without suffering from dreadful losses. We've already seen it happen and that feel of danger, knowing that the author isn't afraid to let her characters die, just amps up the suspense of each story. It adds to the level of fear that the readers feel and it makes us even more nervous about what could potentially happen.

Obviously reading this book for the second time I knew what was coming. It took me a lot longer to read this time around, partly I think, because I was trying to put off that inevitable moment. I didn't want to read it again and it hurt just as much the second time around. Once again J.K. Rowling reduced me to a sobbing mess and I'm not ashamed to admit it! This series has always had the power to make me feel. I'm so connected to these characters that I hurt when they hurt but that also means I get to share their victories as if they were my own. I don't think I can express how much I love these stories so I'm not even going to try - I'm just going to urge you to read them too! If you've read them before then I'm sure you'll appreciate them so much more on a re-read and if you're one of those people who never read them (or only watched the movies) then you honestly don't know what you're missing!

Source: Purchased

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Friday, 28 March 2014

Review: Beyond Jealousy - Kit Rocha

She’s been looking for the perfect man. She found two.

When Rachel Riley sacrificed a life in Eden to protect the O’Kanes, she earned her place in the powerful Sector Four gang. But the former crime princess is tired of being everyone’s sweet little sister . It’s time for her to get wild, to embrace her fantasies as only an O’Kane can—with a delicious exiled soldier and the gang’s wickedly sinful tattoo artist.

A saint...

Lorenzo Cruz is a warrior, taught by his commanding officers in Eden that involvement equals distraction. Emotion is a liability, and desire a sin. In Sector Four, he finds decadence, shameless sex—and his own dark urges. No battle strategy prepared him for how Rachel makes his heart race…or the way his rival for her affections sets his blood on fire.

...and a sinner.

Ace Santana has a dirty reputation and a mind to match, especially where his new lovers are concerned. He’s eager to help Cruz embrace his dominant side, and to explore the lines between pleasure and pain with Rachel. But corrupting them quickly becomes an obsession, a need he can’t deny—and a love he never imagined.

Three hearts on the line means a hundred ways their ménage a trois could go wrong. After all, even O’Kanes do forever two-by-two. One of them could be the missing piece that makes them all whole…or a temporary diversion destined for a broken heart.

Beyond Series:
Beyond Shame
Beyond Control
Beyond Denial (A Beyond Happily Ever After free short story)
Beyond Pain
Beyond Temptation (Novella in the Marked Anthology or as a separate ebook)
Beyond Jealousy
Beyond Solitude (Novella in the Alpha's After Dark Anthology or as a separate ebook)
Beyond Addiction
Beyond Possession (Novella)
Beyond Innocence
Closed Doors (A Beyond Happily Ever After free short story)
Blank Canvas (A Beyond Happily Ever After free short story)
Beyond Ruin
Beyond Ecstasy
Beyond Surrender

Gideon's Riders Series:
(Spin off series)
Ashwin

Visit Kit Rocha's website for more information.

Review:
I am such a huge fan girl of Kit Rocha's Beyond series and I have been impatiently waiting for Ace's book since the moment we first met him in Beyond Shame so to say I had high expectations for this book is a complete understatement. Usually my high expectations would make me nervous about picking up a book but in this case I had no doubt that the authors would blow me away and I'm happy to say that they definitely delivered. Beyond Jealousy is my new favourite book in the series, I'm still Ace's biggest fan but I'm now also just as big a fan of Cruz!! Rachel is one lucky, lucky girl - what I wouldn't give to swap places with her!

Rachel has been in love with Ace for a long time but he kept on pushing her away until she was convinced that he didn't care about her at all. She may have been heart broken but Cruz was always there on the sidelines ready to take care of her and we'd already seen her start to fall more than a little in love with him too. The trouble is that she's never forgotten Ace and he still holds a huge piece of her heart and when she finds out that Cruz and Ace are happily sharing women but that neither of them have invited her to join them she is hurt but equally determined to make them realise that she is more than capable of handling them both.

Cruz was an elite soldier from Eden and was raised very conservatively, it goes against everything he was brought up to believe in to be attracted to another man but that doesn't stop him being drawn to Ace. He loves Rachel but he needs Ace too and he is the kind of guy who will fight to the death to get what he wants. Cruz knows that Ace and Rachel are wary of starting a relationship, especially one involving three people, but that isn't going to stop him - especially since he knows how good they could be together. I loved how determined he was to fight for what he wanted and the way he is able to read both Rachel and Ace so well. He is the perfect guy to help them both to work through their issues and he is smart enough to realise that there is nothing wrong with the way he feels for the two of them. I was actually surprised at how dominant Cruz was, I'd kind of expected Ace to be the one who took most of the control but it was a pleasant surprise to see Cruz was able to shake things up a bit.

For all the show that Ace puts on he is actually the most messed up one of them all, he was trained from a young age in the art of pleasure and spent years using his body to earn his living. It left him feeling dirty and with incredibly low self esteem. Ace just doesn't see himself worthy of love and is convinced that he isn't good enough for either Rachel or Cruz. He wants them so much that it terrifies him because if they rejected him it would break his heart so he tries to keep them at a distance. He convinces himself that he is just in the relationship for the short term and that it is his job to get Rachel and Cruz together and then walk away so they can be happy without him. His lack of self worth absolutely broke my heart and I was so pleased that both Rachel and Cruz could see through his defensive layers and understand what was going on with him. Ace makes a few incredibly stupid decisions but that doesn't stop the others from loving him and they both fight for him with all their hearts.

Beyond Jealousy was probably the most emotionally wrenching book in the series, there is a lot of self doubt and difficulty on all sides as the three of them try to figure out how to make their relationship work. That's not to say it's all difficult between them because in a lot of ways they fit together perfectly from the very beginning. They certainly know how to make things work in the bedroom and HOT DAMN this was the sexiest book yet (which is saying something if you've read any of the others!). I don't think there are going to be many people who wouldn't want to be in Rachel's place after reading this book, she has not just one but two incredibly sexy guys who want to give her the world and I'm more than a little jealous of her!

There is also plenty going on in the rest of the O'Kane world, Dallas is hot on the heels of the people who are creating bootlegged O'Kane liquor and the whole gang are in danger as they work together to put a stop to them. The O'Kane women get a chance to shine when they fight their own battle and OMG the ending has made me absolutely desperate to get my hands on Trix's story - I really, really need it NOW! If you haven't started this series yet then I really don't know what you're waiting for - it is an absolutely fantastic one that pushes boundaries in all the best ways and I can't recommend ALL of the books highly enough. I would recommend reading them in order so start at Beyond Shame and work your way forward - I promise you won't regret it.

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Review: Echo Boy - Matt Haig

Audrey's father taught her that to stay human in the modern world, she had to build a moat around herself; a moat of books and music, philosophy and dreams. A moat that makes Audrey different from the echoes: sophisticated, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters.

Daniel is an echo - but he's not like the others. He feels a connection with Audrey; a feeling Daniel knows he was never designed to have, and cannot explain. And when Audrey is placed in terrible danger, he's determined to save her.

ECHO BOY is a powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.

Visit Matt Haig's website for more information

Review:
Echo Boy is a futuristic novel set in a world where global warming has caused drastic changes to the landscape as we know it now. Technology has come far enough that people can travel anywhere in the world in under an hour and that nearly every home has it's own echo (an android) to carry out chores. The echoes are designed to look human and come covered in real flesh, the only way to tell them apart is that they are slightly too perfect to be real.

Audrey's father is strongly against the use of echoes, he believes that technology is making us lose our humanity and he worries that the echoes could pose a danger to us. He has raised Audrey to have the same beliefs but it is only after the worst possible tragedy occurs that she really starts to understand why he had so many reservations. Now Audrey is terrified, she has lost everything she ever cared about and has been forced to leave home and seek safety with her uncle but everywhere she looks there are echoes going about their daily chores. It would be bad enough if they would just say out of her sight but one echo in particular seems determined to seek her out.

Daniel is an echo but he's different from the others, he has thoughts and feelings that the other echoes don't understand and can't relate to. He knows that Audrey is in danger and he wants to help her but she won't even talk to him let alone trust him to help her. Can Audrey get past her prejudice to see that Daniel is different and can they figure out what caused the terrifying events that turned Audrey's life upside down?

Echo Boy is a fab read and one I thoroughly enjoyed, the future that Matt Haig has envisioned seems scarily believable and isn't one I'd want to find myself living in. This is a story about finding out who you really are, it's about finding your path in life and learning to trust your instincts. It's about love, loss, grief, hope and everything in between - what does it really mean to be human? Audrey will come to realise that sometimes the machines aren't the monsters and it's people that she needs to be wary of but she'll have to learn how to tell who deserves her trust. This is a fast paced story that will have you on the edge of your seat and leave you desperate for more. Thankfully there isn't a cliffhanger ending but I was still left wanting to know what would happen next so I was very grateful to discover there will be a sequel. YA sci-fi fans will love this one & it's definitely a book I'm going to be recommending.

Source: Received from Random House in exchange for an honest review

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Review: The Temptation of Lila and Ethan - Jessica Sorensen

Ella's best friend Lila has always been a good girl who likes pretty clothes and preppy boys. But ever since the first day she met Micha's best friend Ethan, she hasn't been able to stop thinking about him.

Girls have always flocked to Ethan -- but never princesses like Lila. And until Lila came into his life he never wanted them to. From the outside the two couldn't seem more different, but somehow they have a connection deeper and more intense than anyone could have imagined.

Can two people from such dramatically different worlds really have a love that lasts?

The Secret Series:
The Prelude of Ella and Micha (Novella)
The Secret of Ella and Micha
The Forever of Ella and Micha
The Temptation of Lila and Ethan
The Ever After of Ella and Micha
Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always (Novella)
Ella and Micha: Infinitely and Always (Novella)

Visit Jessica Sorensen's website for more information

Review:
I love Jessica Sorensen's writing and am a huge fan of her Ella and Micha books so I was looking forward to finding out more about their friends Lila and Ethan. I have to admit I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to connect with Lila though, she has always come across as a bit of a spoiled, rich, party girl who doesn't have a care in the world but at the same time she has been a very supportive friend to Ella and she was obviously keeping secrets so I was hoping there would be a lot more to her character. I should have known that I can trust this author to give me wonderful, complex and three dimensional characters though and there is so much more to Lila than meets the eye! She may have been raised as a pampered princess and given everything that money can buy when it comes to possessions but her childhood was completely lacking of the warmth of a loving family. I tell you one thing right now I wouldn't swap all the money in the world for the love my parents have given me so I don't envy Lila one tiny little bit.

Lila's parents take the award for the most self-centred, nasty and despicable characters I've come across in a long time. My god I wanted to reach into the book and rip into them over the way they treated their daughters! All either of them cared about was money and appearances, as long as their social circle thought they looked like a perfect, happy family who had everything they didn't care what it cost Lila and her sister. Lila was more of a prize poodle - an accessory who had to be dressed to perfection - than a beloved daughter and it broke my heart that she had never been given the unconditional love we should all receive from our parents. As you learn more about Lila's upbringing you discover that she went through a horrific experience, one that would have any decent parent ready to commit murder on their daughter's behalf but that Lila's parents just blamed her for and used their money and influence to try and brush it under the carpet.

That event completely broke Lila and since then she has used alcohol and drugs to bury her pain and to help her forget. She is walking down a dangerous path but doesn't know any other way of coping. Ethan can see how close Lila is to the edge, he's been through it himself and he only just survived so he will do whatever it takes to help her. Ethan has a few secrets of his own and his childhood wasn't exactly the happiest one, he is wary of opening his heart to anyone but while he can't promise to love Lila he can promise to always be there as her friend. I loved that Ethan is protective of her but that he doesn't let her get away with anything. Lila has never had to do all the things that most people have to do to survive, her family had servants to do the housework and she's never even had to cook for herself let alone had to work for her money or live on a budget. Ethan is happy to show her the ropes but he isn't going to do everything for her and I think deep down Lila appreciates the fact that he treats her like a normal girl. Learning to survive gives Lila a sense of achievement that she's never really had before and it was great to see her start rebuilding her confidence.

I don't want to go into too much detail about their pasts but they are both messed up in different ways because of what they've been through. They both have insecurities and issues that will make a relationship difficult but at the same time they fit together surprisingly well. I'd picked up on the chemistry they have between them in the earlier books but it is off the charts here. No matter how attracted they are to each other they take things incredibly slowly and build a strong foundation of friendship before taking the next step. I grew to love both of these characters and I also really enjoyed the little glimpses we get into Ella and Micha's lives now. This is definitely one of my favourite NA series and I'm looking forward to reading more about both of these couples in the future.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Review: Trust - Sherri Hayes

Brianna is lost for the fourth time in her life. Each time was unexpected, and each changed the course of her future. The first life-altering event occurred when her mother died, and she moved to Minnesota to live with her father.

The second was when she was kidnapped at the age of seventeen and forced to be a slave. She would never forget those ten months. Brianna thought her life was over.

Everything changed again the day Stephan steamrolled into her life and brought her home to live with him. She had no idea what to expect—what life with her new Master would hold. That first month with Stephan was, in some ways, more confusing than the prior ten. As a slave, she’d known her place. With Stephan everything was new and different. He’d given her freedom and so much more.

Five months after Stephan rescued her, Brianna once again finds her life flipped upside down.

In this fourth, and final, instalment of Finding Anna, Brianna must unearth strength she never knew she possessed. Stephan can no longer protect her from the outside world. She must learn to trust herself, embrace who she is, and discover who she wants to be. Only by facing her demons can Brianna find true happiness and peace.

Finding Anna Series:
Slave
Need
Truth
Trust

Visit Sherri Hayes' website for more information.

Review:
I've been a huge fan of this series ever since I first read Slave a couple of years ago so I'm sure you can imagine how much I've been looking forward to reading this final instalment in the series. I was almost scared to start reading this book though, I had such high expectations and I was worried that it might not live up to them. I have to admit that this wasn't my favourite book in the series but at the same time I thought it was a fitting end to the series and I'm happy with the way things have turned out for Brianna and Stephan.

At the end of Truth Brianna was forced to move out of Stephan's house to protect him from any legal issues that might arise from the way he rescued her from Ian. Even though he did it to save her he did technically break the law by "buying" her as a slave, we all know that he did it to set her free but it doesn't look quite so innocent to the police officers who are investigating Brianna's case. As much as I understood why Brianna had to leave I have to admit I was disappointed that they spend the majority of the first half of the book separated. We are also introduced to a new character who reappears into Stephan's life while they are apart and to me it felt like she was just added to cause more drama - I knew from the moment we met her that she would just end up causing trouble for him and Brianna. Thankfully the drama wasn't as bad as I was expecting but I still felt that it was needless and I would have preferred for that part of the storyline to be skipped so we could focus more on Brianna's recovery.

Brianna had started to gain some confidence in Truth so it was sad to see her take a step backwards in this book. It was completely understandable though and since she had come to rely on Stephan for everything it was a good way of forcing her to learn to stand on her own two feet a little more. As painful as the experience was for her I think it did her some good in the long run. I was also extremely pleased that Cal and Jade pushed her into getting professional help. There is no way that anyone who had been through the things Brianna had would make a full recovery without help and one of the few things that had irritated me about Stephan throughout the series was his refusal to make her see a counsellor so I was cheering when Cal and Jade took that step.

The book really picked up for me at the point where Brianna and Stephan were able to spend time together again. I'd missed the interaction between the two of them for the first half of the book so it was good to see them back as a couple and moving their relationship forward. I have to admit I'd expected her role as a submissive to play a larger part in the final book but it was actually good to see that Stephan had no intention of pushing her into anything she was uncomfortable with. Another thing I really appreciated was getting to see Ian punished for his role in Brianna's slavery. It took a lot of guts for Brianna to stand up and say exactly what he'd done to her and I was proud of how far she has come since the beginning of the series.

Trust tied up all the lose ends from the previous books and gives us the chance to see Brianna move towards the future that she deserves. This has been a fantastic series that completely captured my attention from the first book and I'm actually sad that it's over, I know I'll be reading again in the future though!

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Monday, 24 March 2014

Review: After Eden - Helen Douglas

Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

After Eden Series:
After Eden
Chasing Stars (June 2014)

Visit Helen Douglas's website for more information

Review:
When the gorgeous new boy Ryan starts at her school Eden is just as attracted to him as the rest of the girls are but she is the only one who notices that there is something just not quite right about his reactions to certain things. How can a normal teenage boy not recognise pizza and surely everyone has heard of Hitler haven't they? The more time Eden spends with Ryan the more questions she has about him and she becomes determined to get to the bottom of his secret. She's in for quite a shock when she finds a book belonging to Ryan that is a biography of her best friend Connor - one that was written 50 years in the future. But if Ryan is a time traveller what interest could he possibly have in Connor and why is Eden the one he's been paying most attention to?

After Eden is a fab novel from British author Helen Douglas and it was a very quick and enjoyable read. I absolutely love stories about time travel and found it really interesting discovering why Ryan and his family had been sent back in time. I don't want to say too much about it because it's better if you can uncover the plot for yourselves but it was a bit different to the other time travel stories I've read so it's nice to read something a little more unique.

I think what I really enjoyed about the story was the interactions between Eden and Ryan, I love the fact that although they're attracted to each other from the beginning there isn't any case of insta love here. They become friends first and their romance is a slow build which makes a nice change compared to a lot of other YA books. They were actually really sweet together and I enjoyed spending time with them. The other thing I liked was Eden's friendship with Connor, they have been best friends for a long time now and apart from a misunderstanding towards the end of the book where I found myself a little annoyed with Connor, they really had each other's backs for most of the story.

I have to admit it took me a little while to get around to reading After Eden but in a way I'm glad I left it so late because now I don't have too long to wait for the sequel, Chasing Stars, which comes out this summer. I'm looking forward to discovering what happens next because there were some very interesting developments at the end of this one.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths - K.A. Tucker

Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths.
Seize them. Feel them. Love them.

Four years ago, Kacey Cleary's life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend, and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, Kacey and her fifteen-year-old sister, Livie, escape Grand Rapids, Michigan, to start over in Miami. They're struggling to make ends meet at first, but Kacey's not worried. She can handle anything - anything but her mysterious neighbour in apartment 1D.

Trent Emerson has smouldering blue eyes and deep dimples, and perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable, and Trent is desperate to find a way into Kacey's guarded heart - even if it means revealing an explosive secret that could shatter both their worlds.

Ten Tiny Breaths Series:
In Her Wake (Prequel) (September 2014)
Ten Tiny Breaths
One Tiny Lie
Four Seconds to Lose
Five Ways to Fall (July 2014)

Visit K.A. Tucker's website for more information

Review:
Kacey's life was turned upside down when she was in a horrific car accident that killed her parents, her best friend and her boyfriend. She was the only survivor but it took her a long time to recover from the debilitating injuries she received and she has never been able to get over the emotional trauma. The only person she has left is her younger sister, Livie, who thankfully wasn't in the car at the time of the accident. Kacey and Livie were taken in by their aunt and uncle but their home life isn't exactly stable. Their uncle has already spent all of their inheritance but when he tries to climb into 15 year old Livie's bed it is the last straw so they pack their bags and run. Now they're trying to start over and build a new life where nobody knows them, Kacey will do whatever it takes to keep Livie safe but she won't allow anyone new into their lives - the risk of loving someone and losing them is too much to take.

Ten Tiny Breaths is such an emotional story and it hooked me in from the moment I picked it up. Kacey isn't the easiest person to like in the beginning, she is incredibly defensive and spends the whole time waiting for people to hurt her. She can be very sarcastic and quite sharp with people she doesn't know but when you find out about her past it is easy to understand why she has closed herself off from everyone. She is terrified of letting anyone new into her life in case something terrible happens and she ends up losing them - even the thought of making friends with Storm, the single mother in the apartment next door, scares her half to death. Livie is the only person she cares about and she works hard to keep it that way as a self defence mechanism. I loved seeing how much her character progressed throughout the story, she slowly starts to open up to the people around her and build a support network for herself and Livie. I really enjoyed the friendship between her and Storm and the fact that the two of them had each other's backs, Storm has a huge impact on Kacey and I always enjoy strong female friendships in my stories.

It was easy to fall for Trent, he is Kacey's other neighbour and he is friendly and helpful to the sisters from the very beginning. He is very supportive of Kacey and he takes his time to get through the emotional barriers she has surrounded herself with. It is obvious from very early on that he has a big secret but I have to confess that I didn't figure out what it was until just before it was revealed to Kacey. It was quite a shocker and definitely not something I was expecting! Trent had very good reasons for keeping things from Kacey and in his own way he was just as messed up as she was. One thing I really liked about this book is that starting a relationship didn't magically solve all their problems - they both have deep psychological issues that couldn't be fixed easily so it was great to see them get professional help in the form of counselling and medication. The fact that they sought out proper help made it much more believable that they could work through their problems and start to build a future.

I ended up really liking Kacey once she started to deal with her past and I enjoyed seeing how much she grew as a character, I think what I liked most was seeing her build relationships not just with Trent but also with Storm and other people she worked with. I loved Livie, she was only 15 but in a lot of ways she acted like the older, more responsible sister. Kacey did what she needed to provide for Livie physically but she wasn't really there for her emotionally which made things hard for her. It was great to see how the interactions between them changed as Kacey started to heal and I was glad that Livie was able to show her sister how much she needed her support.

Ten Tiny Breaths is an intense story, one full of pain and suffering but that also shows that it is possible to survive the worst that life can throw at you and come out the other side still fighting. It is a story about forgiveness, of yourself and the people who hurt you, and of finding a way to look to the future rather than living in the past. I can't wait to carry on with the series, especially since I discovered that One Tiny Lie is Livie's story!

Source: Received from Simon & Schuster's The Hot Bed in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Review: Fight for the Future - Jeff Norton

In an unforgiving future, two warring factions - the MILLENNIALS and the GUARDIANS - are locked in a brutal battle over control of an online virtual world called the Metasphere. Jonah Delacroix has always known which side he's on - the same side as his dead father. But when he assumes his father's avatar, he learns that things aren't as black and white as he once believed. He's catapulted into a full-throttle race through both worlds - but can he find the truth?

Whose side are you on?

Metawars Series:
Fight for the Future
The Dead are Rising
Battle of the Immortal
The Freedom Frontier

Visit Jeff Norton's website or the Metawars website for more information

Review:
Fight for the Future is a fast paced and action packed adventure story set in a future where the real world is so bleak that people have chosen to take refuge in the virtual one. When people live in squalor it is no wonder that they spend the majority of their time plugged into the Metasphere, a vibrant virtual world where anything is possible. The Metasphere has become such an important part of people's daily lives that it shouldn't be surprising that different factions are fighting for control over it. There are two major players in this war, the Millennials and the Guardians, one on the side of the creator of the Metasphere and the other a group of terrorists, but are either of them really what they seem? When Jonah is unexpectedly caught in the battle he must decide who to trust and it isn't as easy as he thought it would be.

Jonah is a fabulous and very realistic character who I think people of all ages will be able to relate to on some level. He reminded me a lot of my brother at that age and I really enjoyed getting to see the world Jeff Norton has created through his eyes. Jonah finds himself in an impossible position when he is forced to rely on the people who he always thought murdered his father in a terrorist attack. He is reluctant to believe their story but he needs their protection so he has to go along with their plans, at least temporarily. I love the fact that Jonah doesn't just take things at face value, he is constantly questioning what is happening and reconsidering his goals and alliances. He quickly comes to realise that nothing he grew up believing was the complete truth but he doesn't let that blind him to his current reality and he trusts his instincts as well as the information he is given.

The author has done a fantastic job of creating a world that is scarily believable, a shortage of natural resources combined with wars and the collapse of various international governments have created a worldwide crisis of epic proportions. People are struggling just to survive, overcrowding and food shortages have made real life pretty unbearable so it is easy to see why people are so seduced into a perfect virtual world where they can do anything they want. Although I find the idea of actually plugging myself in to the Metasphere incredibly creepy it isn't so hard to believe that something like this will be possible in the future and I was fascinated by the virtual world where people can be anything they dream of. Your avatar is something that is created by your subconscious the first time you log in and I loved the idea of seeing unicorns and dragons walking alongside elephants or even normal people. Who wouldn't be seduced by the idea of a world where anything is possible?

I don't want to say too much about the plot other than it captured my attention from the first page and had me completely gripped to the end. I was actually annoyed that I had to put the book down to get some sleep but I just couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to finish it in one sitting. There are plenty of twists and turns and nothing is quite what it seems so as a reader you're constantly being surprised by the actions of the characters. Along with Jonah we're introduced to an interesting selection of side characters all of whom I'm looking forward to getting to know better as the series continues. I'm excited that I've picked up this series at a point where all four books are already available so I'll leave this review here so I can go and get started on The Dead are Rising!

Source: Received from Jeff Norton in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Friday, 21 March 2014

Review: River Marked - Patricia Briggs

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known she was different, and not just because she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a coyote shapechanger, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. And she's never known any others of her kind - until now.

As Mercy takes in this new situation, an evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River. Something deadly is coming, facts are thin on the ground and Mercy feels ill at ease. However, her father's people may know more. To have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the alpha werewolf Adam, will need all the resources the shifters can offer. Or death will be the least of their worries.

Mercy Thompson Series:
Homecoming (Graphic Novel)
Moon Called
Blood Bound
Iron Kissed
Bone Crossed
Silver Borne
River Marked
Frost Burned
Hopcross Jilly (Graphic Novel)
Night Broken
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson
Fire Touched
Silence Fallen

Alpha and Omega Series:
(This is a spin off to the Mercy Thompson series)
Alpha and Omega (novella found in the On the Prowl anthology)
Cry Wolf
Hunting Ground
Fair Game
Dead Heat

For more information visit Patricia Briggs' website

Review:
I've recently reread all the previous books in both the Mercy Thompson and the Alpha & Omega series and I've loved them all as much, if not more, than the first time I read them. I can't tell you how much I love the world that Patricia Briggs has created and it's been like taking the time to catch up with old friends. As much as I've enjoyed rereading the earlier books I was excited to get to River Marked though, I never got this far when I read the series for the first time so I was looking forward to that exciting first read where everything is new to you and I have to say the author didn't let me down and this is another fab instalment in the series.

I have loved watching Mercy and Adam's relationship grow throughout the series, I just love the way Adam totally gets Mercy and has never once tried to change anything about her. She might drive him crazy with the way she always manages to get into trouble because his instincts are to protect her and keep her safe but he understands her need to take care of the people she loves and he supports her in that which is something I really respect him for. He's also been so incredibly patient and supportive of her as she recovers from the ordeal she went through in Iron Kissed, it's not something she'll ever completely forget but she has come a long way down the road to recovery and that is in part because of Adam. Anyway, I don't want to say too much about what happens between them in this book but I will tell you that the first few chapters were so good that I had tears of happiness in my eyes as I read them. In fact, they were so good that I had to reread them before I could continue with the rest of the book! It's absolutely fantastic to look back at how far they've come as a couple but I also loved seeing Mercy realise how many other people love and care for her. She's always felt like she was alone and didn't quite fit in anywhere so it's wonderful to see her look at her friends in a new light.

A lot of this book is spent with Mercy and Adam away from their home and I have to admit that I did miss spending time with the side characters I've grown to love. It wasn't quite the same without Samuel, Warren and Kyle or even Zee and Stephan but we do get to meet some interesting new characters and we get to find out more about Mercy's Walker heritage which I really enjoyed. There is one new character in particular that I really hope we're going to end up seeing a lot more of as the series continues - he has the potential to become a new favourite! As much as I missed the other characters I did really appreciate getting to spend more time with Mercy and Adam, seeing them grow more comfortable as a couple and start to really figure out how to communicate properly, in fact just seeing how much they mean to each other was brilliant.

Only Mercy could go on holiday to the middle of nowhere and find herself facing an enemy that not even Adam can help her with so of course it's not long before she's up to her eyes in trouble. She may have found some new allies but she's got to face this one alone to a certain extent and it's not going to be an easy task. There are some brilliant fight scenes towards the end of the book and what turns out to be quite an epic battle which had me on the edge of my seat. River Marked had a slightly different feel to it compared to the previous books but it made a nice change and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Series Spotlight: Beyond Jealousy - Kit Rocha (+ Giveaway)


I'm a massive, MASSIVE fan of Kit Rocha's Beyond series, I literally can't get enough of these books and drop everything the second I get my hands on a new instalment so of course I had to sign up for the blog tour to celebrate the release of the new book Beyond Jealousy. I was lucky enough to get sent and advance copy of the book from the authors (watch out for my review coming soon) so I am very happy to confirm that it doesn't disappoint. Ace has been one of my favourite characters in the series ever since book one so his story had a lot to live up to but Bree and Donna (the writing team behind the Kit Rocha name) absolutely smashed it and I think this might just be my new favourite book in the series!

So let me give you a little more information about the book:


She’s been looking for the perfect man. She found two.

When Rachel Riley sacrificed a life in Eden to protect the O’Kanes, she earned her place in the powerful Sector Four gang. But the former crime princess is tired of being everyone’s sweet little sister . It’s time for her to get wild, to embrace her fantasies as only an O’Kane can—with a delicious exiled soldier and the gang’s wickedly sinful tattoo artist.

A saint...

Lorenzo Cruz is a warrior, taught by his commanding officers in Eden that involvement equals distraction. Emotion is a liability, and desire a sin. In Sector Four, he finds decadence, shameless sex—and his own dark urges. No battle strategy prepared him for how Rachel makes his heart race…or the way his rival for her affections sets his blood on fire.

...and a sinner.

Ace Santana has a dirty reputation and a mind to match, especially where his new lovers are concerned. He’s eager to help Cruz embrace his dominant side, and to explore the lines between pleasure and pain with Rachel. But corrupting them quickly becomes an obsession, a need he can’t deny—and a love he never imagined.

Three hearts on the line means a hundred ways their ménage a trois could go wrong. After all, even O’Kanes do forever two-by-two. One of them could be the missing piece that makes them all whole…or a temporary diversion destined for a broken heart.

Beyond Jealousy Character Quotes:





Kit Rocha is actually two people—Bree & Donna, best friends who are living the dream. They get paid to work in their pajamas, talk on the phone, and write down all the stories they used to make up in their heads.

Beyond Shame was their first dystopian erotic romance. They also write paranormal romance as Moira Rogers. You can find them on the web at the following places


Kit Rocha:
http://www.facebook.com/TheBrokenCircle
http://twitter.com/kitrocha
http://www.kitrocha.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6470635.Kit_Rocha?bf=2000&from_search=true

Moira Rogers:
http://www.moirarogers.com/
Bree:
http://twitter.com/mostlybree
Donna:
http://twitter.com/donnajherren

(Links below will take you to my reviews)

Beyond Series Available Titles:
Beyond Shame
Beyond Control
Beyond Denial (Free Short Story)
Beyond Pain
Beyond Temptation (Novella in the Marked Anthology)
Beyond Jealousy

(Click images below for excerpts)

 


 

(Titles coming soon)

Beyond Series Coming Soon:
Beyond Solitude (Novella) (2014)
Beyond Addiction (2014)
Beyond Innocence (release date to be confirmed) (2015)
Beyond Ruin (release date to be confirmed) (2015)



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Review: Daughters of Time - Anthology (+ Extract from Sue Purkiss)

Be surprised, as you look afresh at the stories of some of history's most remarkable women, as imagined by the finest female authors of historical fiction for children.

Be enthralled, as you encounter both famous figures and lesser-known heroines from across the ages from warrior queens to anti-nuclear activists.

But most of all . . . be inspires.

With stories by members of The History Girls blog: 
Penny Dolan, Adele Geras, Mary Hoffman, Dianne Hofmeyr, Marie-Louise Jensen, Catherine Johnson, Katherine Langrish, Joan Lennon, Sue Purkiss, Celia Rees, Katherine Roberts, Anne Rooney and Leslie Wilson.

Visit the The History Girls blog for more informtion

Review:
Daughters of Time is an anthology containing thirteen stories about extraordinary women throughout history, some you will have come across before but also more than a few who you've probably never even heard of before. After each story there is also a short note from the author explaining what inspired them followed by some true facts about the historical figure they wrote about.

I thought it would be nice to include a list of the stories here for you so you can see which famous characters you'll get to read about:

1. Tasca's Secret by Katherine Roberts (about Queen Boudicia)
2. The Lady of the Mercians by Sue Purkiss (about Athelflaed)
3. The Queen's Treasure by Adele Geras (about Eleanor of Aquitaine)
4. All Shall Be Well by Katherine Langrish (about Julian of Norwich)
5. Learn to Die by Mary Hoffman (about Lady Jane Grey)
6. The Phoenix Bride bu Dianne Hofmeyr (about Elizabeth Stuart)
7. A Night at the Theatre by Marie-Louise Jensen (about Aphra Behn)
8. An Unimportant Woman by Penny Dolan (about Mary Wollstonecraft)
9. Best After Storms by Joan Lennon (about Mary Anning)
10. The Lad that Stands Before You by Catherine Johnson (about Mary Seacole)
11. Return to Victoria by Celia Rees (about Emily Davidson)
12. The Colours of the Day by Anne Rooney (about Amy Johnson)
13. Please Can I Have a Life by Leslie Wilson (about The Greenham Common Women)

The anthology has stories ranging from approx c.30 AD right through until the 1980's so it really does span the ages. It's not often you come across such a variety in one book so I really enjoyed dipping in and out of the different eras that it covers. You'll find stories about warrior princesses and queens next to stories about famous female writers and campaigners for women's rights. Not to forget a pilot, a nurse and an archaeologist!

What I enjoyed most was getting to learn something about women who I'd never even heard of before, I'm definitely going to have to do some research now to find out more about them! Daughters of Time is a fab anthology for anyone who is interested in history, especially if you want to learn more about some of the women who have had a huge impact on society throughout the ages.

Source: Received from Templar in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback:



Extract:

Thanks to Templar I also have this extract from Sue Purkiss talking about why chose to write a story about Aethelflaed for her contribution to the anthology.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Blog Tour: The Everest Files - Matt Dickinson

To celebrate the release of his latest novel The Everest Files I'm thrilled to welcome Matt Dickinson to the blog today to talk about some of the questions he is most commonly asked about his adventures on Everest. Before I hand over to Matt here is a little more information about the book. I've been lucky enough to already read it (my review will be posted soon) and if you're looking for an adventure packed story then this is definitely one you're going to want to add to your to read pile!

A THRILLING JOURNEY TO THE DARK SIDE OF EVEREST.

In the deepest Himalaya a story is spreading like wildfire. The story of an Everest expedition unlike any other. An expedition that ended with mysterious disappearances ... and death.

This is the mystery that eighteen-year-old Ryan Hart sets out to solve.

Ryan is on a gap year adventure, working for a medical charity in Nepal. When a local girl begs him to investigate why her sixteen-year-old friend Kami never came back from Everest, Ryan cannot resist the challenge.

A solo journey takes Ryan deep into the mountains where his detective work finally pays off. What emerges is a shocking tale of lies, betrayal and obsession.

All played out on the lethal slopes of the highest mountain in the world.

Little by little Ryan is falling under Everest’s deadly spell.

Everest Files Series:
The Everest Files
Killer Storm (release date to be confirmed)
North Face (release date to be confirmed)

Visit Matt Dickinson's website or the Everest Files website for more information

Now please give a very warm welcome to Matt Dickinson . . .

Matt Dickinson, the author of ‘The Everest Files’ reveals the five questions he is most commonly asked at school events;

I do a lot of school events. About a hundred a year at the moment. It’s a great way to spread the word about my books for teenage readers and it helps to keep librarians and English teachers up to speed on my new titles. I visit every type of school, from posh public schools to inner city academys in some quite challenging places, but the one thing I’ve noticed is that wherever I go the questions are the SAME!

So here are some of the commonest ones and my replies;

Q 1: How do you go to the toilet?!

Ok, this is the question I get asked more than ANY other and it normally gets a good old ripple of laughter in the classroom when its asked. And the answer really is---as quickly as you can! And as rarely as you can manage. The truth is going to the loo in temperatures of fifty degrees below freezing is not a funny business. Pee can freeze before it hits the ground! Some climbers have a pee bottle in their tent but, unfortunately, this is obviously less practical for female climbers.

Q 2: Do you get homesick?

And how! Three months away from family and loved ones is a long time to bear. Many climbers simply can’t stand the pressure of being away from home and they give up as a result. Internet communications haven’t really helped things; it used to be possible to ‘forget’ about home when the only news was a letter once a month. But email and skype at base camp means a daily update with your loved ones. Some climbers thrive on that but others find it plays on their minds.. with negative results for the climb.

Q 3: Did you see the yeti?

Ah yes! This old (hairy) chestnut. Schoolchildren are fascinated by tales of the abominable snowman but,sad to report, I have to reply that have never caught sight of one of these elusive beasts. But I know a man who has…in fact I’ve met lots of Sherpa climbers who claim to have seen it. Some reckon they’ve lost cattle or crops to these fabled monsters. But somehow no photo exists..a few clumps of ginger hair..but no photo. And for me, no photo, no proof!

Q 4: Can you breathe without extra oxygen on the summit?

Well, you can. But with only 30% of the oxygen available that we normally breathe you would be advised to keep such experiments to a brief couple of gasps. I did try it; cautiously pulling my mask down and giving it a go for about a minute I think. But it wasn’t a good experience. I felt my head going dizzy so I quickly put the mask back on and played it safe. Your lungs are really suffering, that’s for sure.

Q 5: Can you have a bath or a shower on Everest?

Sadly NOT! So that means nearly three months without a proper clean up! Obviously wet wipes can be handy in this type of situation but nothing can really stand in for that great feeling you get from a real shower. The best you can get on Everest is a kind of mini shower using a couple of litres of luke warm water you beg off the cook! In three litres or so you can at least wash your hair and have a bit of a scrub down.
Do climbers smell? Funnily enough you don’t notice it at base camp but when you get back to Kathmandu you notice the trekkers giving you strange sideways glances! And that first real shower is a total treat!

Matt Dickinson

Matt Dickinson is a climber and writer with a passion for pushing the limits. He has filmed on the summit of Mt Everest and directed films for National Geographic TV and Discovery Channel in many wild corners of the world. His teen series ‘Mortal Chaos’ was warmly received by critics and readers alike and his new teen series ‘The Everest Files’ is published by Vertebrate on the 10th March.

********************

Thanks for a fab post Matt, kids always come up with the best questions don't they! Having read The Everest Files I have a new appreciation of the how tough it is to make it to the top of Everest, it's definitely not something I could see myself even attempting so it's great to live it vicariously through books :o)

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour:

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