Sunday, 12 October 2014

Black Ice - Becca Fitzpatrick

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Date of Release:  7 October 2014
Number of Pages: 400
Edition: E-Book
Publisher: Simon and Schuster (UK)
Also by this author: Hush, Hush series

Book Girl Rating: * * * *

Synopsis:  A thrilling novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, Black Ice follows teenager Britt Pfeiffer, a normally straight-edged and unadventurous girl, as she embarks on a trip exploring the Teton mountain range.  Eager to impress her ex-boyfriend, Britt and her best friend embark on a trip up the mountains.  But when things go awry and the weather begins to change, Britt finds herself stranded.  The girls' only hope lies in a small cabin and two young men, she hopes will help. But can they be trusted?  What other secrets does the mountain hold?  Are these men enemies or allies?  Britt has to learn a new independence and strength, if she and Korbie are to make it off the mountain alive..

This novel sparks a new genre for one of my favourites, Becca Fitzpatrick and a turn away from her usual paranormal thriller/romances.  So it was with much excitement (and slight trepidation) that I started reading Black Ice...
Buckle your metaphorical seat belts for another suspense filled ride into the unknown...

I thought this book was incredible.  It took a little bit of getting used to, but once I was a quarter of the way through, I was hooked.

Now, the characters.  I didn't initially love this book and that was for one reason alone -  I didn't instantly warm to the characters.  Normally, Becca creates incredibly likeable, strong, passionate characters. Take Nora, from Hush, Hush for example - I instantly loved her, she was self-effacing, modest, kind.  But Britt, she sort of gets your back up before you really get to know her.  She has too much of a helpless, little girl kind of vibe about her.  But as the story progresses, she grows and develops.  I really didn't like Korbie, all the 'one upping' her best friend, even at 17 years old - it's childish.  Her brother, Calvin (Britt's ex) comes across as slightly misunderstood, but arrogant and a bit of an arse too.  I felt angry at Britt for being so obtuse, transparent and vulnerable towards a guy who had basically treated her really badly.  

The characters of Mason (Ace) and Shaun were harder to pin down.  I jumped to the conclusion that Shaun was the incredible monster that Becca quite immediately wrote him to be but the story slowly taught me that most characters aren't quite what they seem, or in some cases they're more than they seem.  She also taught me that some of the main characters had an incredible ability to grow beyond themselves.  I instantly liked Mason, but his character definitely had some twists and turns and was hard to judge his real nature at times.
The book quickly dives into the girls getting lost and it's difficult at times to say where it's going, apart from a few slightly predictable turns, it just gets better as it progresses.  You begin to realise that the judgements you might make about one character aren't quite accurate and the last quarter of the book just gets better, spilling secret after secret into the reader's mind...
Overall, it's a great read from Becca. I didn't enjoy it as much as the Hush, Hush series but I think that was more because my beloved Nora and Patch were missing.  It probably outdoes those books in character development (Nora never really needed any help).  It was a great thrill-ride of a story, an enjoyable read from a fantastically talented author. 

Becca Fitzpatrick has an incredible way of building up a story quickly, not too fast, but fast enough that you become swiftly enthralled in the events.  She has an ability to throw curve balls into the mix and take the plot down unknown roads, which keeps the reader guessing and adds a great suspenseful edge to the story.  She didn't disappoint with Black Ice, it was everything a thriller needed to be, edgy,  exciting, scary!

If you enjoyed Becca's previous books or enjoy a good romance-infused thriller, give this a go!

In My Mailbox - No.14

Being back in the world of blogging is a lovely feeling and I now present to you my fourteenth In My Mailbox (IMM).  All of these books were purchased this week (one I've already finished!) and intend to read the rest over the next week.   

It's been a while but this idea was initially from Kristi at  The Story Siren. All synopses are taken from Amazon descriptions!

Here's what I've had in my (virtual!) mailbox this week: 

Enticing cover...
The Killing Woods - Lucy Christopher

Emily's dad is accused of killing a teenage girl. She's sure he's innocent, and is determined to discover the truth of what happened. But her journey leads her to discover that dangerous games are being played in the woods at night ...  

I read Lucy's first book, Stolen, back in 2010 and I was absolutely captivated by her writing.  Her first person account of teenage kidnapping was an incredibly gripping read.  I re-read it on Kindle this week and there was a snippet of The Killing Woods included and it sounded great! Er...sold!  

Black Ice - Becca Fitzpatrick

Britt Pfeiffer has never been that adventurous, but that's about to change. Wanting to impress her ex-boyfriend, Britt convinces best friend, Korbie, to take a trekking trip with her. But when a freak storm leaves the girls stranded they seek shelter in a cabin, where they find two knights in shining armour. Or so they think.
Britt quickly realises that the girls need to get off the mountain, fast. In exchange for her life, she is forced to guide the boys down, and as they set out on a harrowing journey through the cold and snow, Britt realises the only way to escape with her life is to pretend she is on their side. But is gorgeous, sexy Mason an enemy or an ally? Tension mounts, and it's only a matter of time before things turn deadly . . .               

I am such a huge fan of Becca's Hush, Hush series.  I loved all four books and recently finished Finale.  I was absolutely thrilled to see that I could pre-order this next book a few months ago and immediately did so.  It was silently delivered to my Kindle on the 7th October and I haven't been able to put it down since.  I literally finished reading it about two hours ago and the review is already in progress.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Followers, I need your help!

Hello lovely blog people!
I desperately need your help.  I really want to get back into blogging (YA fiction) and be more committed to it this time.  Please can anyone donate any tips or advice to help me get back into it?  Memes, recommended reads, news - any advice is appreciated!

Many thanks!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

A Hopeless Romantic--the perils of enjoying popular fiction.

I was at a friend's house on a trip home a few weekends ago and I picked up a book.  It was a book I had previously criticised and vowed never to read.  Which was ridiculous of me, because I'd read Twilight in the past and been the butt of quite a few of my friends' criticism for doing so and even more so for being open and honest about what I liked.

People didn't accept that I liked it, they didn't listen to my reasons or justifications for doing so.  Which was pretty unfair.  The fact I had to stand up for the fact I liked it, or the fact that eventually I started to hide it, be ashamed of it, was quite hurtful.  Pretty 'accepting' and liberal people actually found pleasure in teasing me about it, they started defining me by it.  The hypocrisy further intensified by the fact that most of them had never even read it.

What I didn't understand were that these were people I truly respected, they were kind and lovely people.  Yet so high and mighty when it came to something they saw as 'beneath them'.   But there's a conclusion I came to in all this.  It doesn't matter what other people think.  They don't have any right to criticise and mock you, especially when they're your friends.

So the fact I should criticise this particular book without reading it, annoyed me.  I so, I picked it up and haven't been able to put it down since.  I decided that this book wasn't as bad as people make out.  Yes, it has its flaws, it's simple, the writing isn't fantastic - but it's fiction, it's escapism. 

It all comes down to this, I am a hopeless romantic.  I love the way the protagonists in the book care about each other.  Yes, it's a bit weird, yes, they're a bit messed up.  But what human being on this planet isn't?  The character transformation is interesting and yes, intriguing.  It isn't real, but I don't expect it to be.

Real life is shitty, it's hard, it's real and it's unfair.  People hurt you, break you, drag you down, berate you.  The fiction in these books provides pure, uncomplicated escapism.  The characters actually fall in love with each other, hopelessly and wonderfully.  But it's a fantasy and what's wrong with a bit of fantasy every now and then.

It brought me down to the decision that irrespective of what everyone else thinks in this world, you have to just enjoy what you enjoy.  You have to try new things and make your own mind up, exclusive of what the world is shouting at you.  Irrespective of public opinion.  People are drawn to criticism.  Finally, ultimately, I read to escape the reality.  I don't care how a book is written, I enjoy different books for different reasons.  There's no shame in that.  I loved the Lord of the Rings, I loved Little Women, I love Peter Pan.  I love Twilight, Moby Dick.  I enjoyed the Godfather. 

I read them all for different reasons.  But sometimes, when you've done a 12 hour shift, you're emotionally drained or someone's broken your heart or hurt you, all you want to do is curl up in bed and read about emotionally flawed but attractive men who are transformed into love struck, hopeless romantics.  Somehow, in some way, it restores my faith in humanity.  It's not real and it has flaws, but it transports you away to another place, for a little while - and that is sanctuary enough.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Back into my books!

It's no secret that I once had an incredible passion for reading.  Particularly the paranormal romances of YA fiction, I was usually hooked.  Then one day, I lost my spark.  I didn't want to read for extensive lengths of time, I couldn't hold my concentration for hours through the night.  This period extended for an incalculable length of time until the other day, I returned to my mum's house (in between a move) and picked up my favourite YA book (arguably of all time)...Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Back in 2010, I discovered YA fiction.  I bought hundreds of books in the space of a few years and was faithful to several series of books. It took me four days to finish The Hunger Games and Catching Fire and it took me several more years to finish Mockingjay.  Several series of books in this time became abandoned and alone, like some forgotten fairground, waiting for its visitors to return.

I visited Becca on her Crescendo Tour in December 2010 (second book in the series) and had my books signed and an amazing chat with Becca.  She was lovely and I did I write up on my blog.  I read the second book, Crescendo and shortly afterwards - lost my reading spark.  I think the gap in between books (a painful wait) was too much and I lost my spark in the meantime.  I couldn't believe I'd lost it because I adored those books.

Very recently, I picked Mockingjay up finished it.  Thankfully I'd seen the films so I was up to speed (relatively) with the plot, as it was a few years since I'd read the books.  Then I re-read Hush, Hush.  It had been so long I'd forgotten the ins and outs...I tried to read the third book in the series and was completely lost.  So I started at the beginning.  One book in the space of a few days..

Started reading Crescendo again so please expect my full write up of reviews on the series in the next few weeks. I'm back into blogging - please don't forget about me! 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

Please note, this review may contain spoilers for the previous books. If you would not like parts of these books to be spoiled, please do not read this review. 

Author: Suzanne Collins
Date of release: August 2010 (UK)
Number of pages: 390
Publisher: Scholastic
Also by this author: Catching Fire (book 2), The Hunger Games (book 1).

Book Girl Rating: * * * * *

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what' worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either.

I started reading the Hunger Games back in 2010, when the books first came out. My fellow blogging friend Sophie, recommended them to me and from the first book, I was hooked. I read its sequel, Catching Fire within days and when the time came to buy Mockingjay, the third and final instalment, I hit a wall. I was completely in love with this story, its brave, courageous and incredible lineup of characters, but I simply couldn't bare for it to end. So a few chapters, maybe not even that, into Mockingjay, I put the book down and sequestered the Hunger Games and my passion for the story away on the bookshelf.  When I heard the book was to be made into films, of course I had to see it, and two films later, I picked Mockingjay back up, took a deep breath and stepped into Panem and the world of Katniss Everdeen for the final run.  Here's my review of what is arguably young adult literature's finest display of prose, imagination and intellect, I have ever read. This is it, the final plunge. My review of: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

Mockingjay, as you would expect, picks up where Catching Fire left off. Katniss has been rescued from the arena by a group of people. But where's Peeta? Where's Johanna? I found myself asking questions at the beginning of this book, and wondering just what the hell happened when Katniss was beamed back up into the sky. 

Mockingjay is a fantastically gripping and exciting book. It's faster paced than the previous novels but it still packs a punch. Mixed reviews have had readers elated, disappointed, surprised but never bored. Suzanne Collins knows how to hold her readers on edge and then flip them round another exciting bend. The very obvious questions were in my mind...will Katniss defeat the Capitol and kill snow? Will she choose Gale or Peeta, or perhaps neither? I was so incredibly surprised by the twists and turns and knocks of this novel. Collins consistently holds the audience. We wait at times with bated breath, eagerly flipping through the pages to find out what happens next. This book doesn't disappoint. I loved Katniss' strength throughout the series but particularly in this book - the Capitol has thrown so much at her and she's fought for her survival. I wish I'd read this sooner, I wish I hadn't held on so it never ended. It needed to end and boy you're in for a treat with this one. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

New Blog!

Hello followers :)

Just to let you all know that this blog is returning to its original purpose - books!

The other content I've written and shared will (in some forms and with edits) be available to read on my new Blog The Dreaded Fairy (Natty Fae Speaks)

I've been quite out of the loop for a few years now, but recently got back into reading. I'll be reviewing books very soon and back out there - please catch me up on what's new!

Many thanks for your continued following and see you all soon.  My new blog will have different stuff, general life stuff, music, reviews and activism!

Much love!