Wednesday, 20 July 2016

All is Not Forgotten - Extract!



Book: All Is Not Forgotten
Author: Wendy Walker
Publisher: Mira 


In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.


As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town - or perhaps lives among them - drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

I'm so intrigued by this book, and I think you guys will be too. The plot absolutely fascinates me, I've always had a little bit of an obsession with stories that involve memories, so this is right up my street. Keep reading for a excerpt from All Is Not Forgotten. 

TRIGGER WARNING: This excerpt contains scenes that relate to sexual assault. 

I closed my eyes and just let the monster in. I pictured him in my mind. He was like a blob of darkness and I couldn’t really see his shape because it changed as he moved. But I could see the roughness of his skin, with craters and bumps. I remember feeling him inside my stomach. It was like an explosion of that feeling when you’re really nervous, like right before a track meet, when I’m on the block waiting for the gun, but a million times worse. I just couldn’t take it. I started rubbing my scar. I remember doing it that night. I couldn’t stop. I wanted to scream but I knew that wouldn’t help. I had done that a lot of times since the rape. I would tell my parents I was going for a run and then I would run, but only until I was far from the house in the field behind the tennis courts at the park. And then I would scream and scream. As soon as I was done, like everything else, running, sleeping, getting drunk or high – as soon as I was done it would come back. I wanted to peel myself off of me. This had been going on for almost eight months. It was just too long.
            Jenny had started taking substances to relieve her anxiety. It had initiated with alcohol and progressed to marijuana and pills. The pills she would get from her friend’s bathrooms – anything she could find. She’d been through all of her own Oxycotin, even after the physical pain was gone. Her parents didn’t know, which is surprisingly common. They had noticed the change in her friends and a fairly drastic decline in her grades, but they were “giving her some slack.
            It is unfortunate, no – unforgiveable, that the professionals who advocated this treatment for Jenny, or anyone for that matter, failed to appreciate what is a known fact. That regardless of whether or not events are filed in our memories, the physical reaction that is experienced is programmed into our brains. I can explain it as simply as this. If you were to touch a hot stove and burn your hand, but later made to forget how you got the burn, your body would still have the fear of being burned. Only it would not be activated only by heat, or a red hot burner on a stove. It would come and go at its leisure and you would have no idea how to stop it.
            Jenny had no memory of her rape, but the terror lived in her body. The physical memory, the emotional response that was programmed into her, had nothing to attach to – no set of facts to place it in context. And so it roamed freely within her. The only thing that was left from the rape, both on her body and somewhere in the recesses of her mind, was the scar from the carving.

#NotForgotten 
@HQStories







Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout - Book Review

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Published by: Harlequin UK
Page Count - 480
My Rating - 3.75 Stars
Buy It: Book Depository


For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard. (From Goodreads)




The Problem With Forever is a coming of age story that goes deeper than most, it delves into a dark past for our main characters, deals with traumatic and sensitive topics, all while still giving you the warm fuzzies you want when reading a book. 

“We have a second chance. And who gets second chances?”


To call this book a contemporary romance is actually selling it short, because in reality it's so much more than that. It's a story about breaking down your barriers, pushing your boundaries and finding out who you really are, and most importantly it's about developing your own voice and gaining the courage to speak your mind. Rider and Mallorys story isn't just about love, it's about friendship and survival and I found myself rooting for them right from the very start of the book. 

“Forever was something we all took for granted, but the problem

 with forever was that it really didn't exist.” 

At this point, I think Jennifer L Armentrout can do no wrong, she's an incredible writer and while I do feel that as a 28 year old, I perhaps wasn't really the target demographic for this book, I can fully appreciate how much I would have fallen head over heels for this book when I was a teenager. If only books like this existed back then. 

You can also watch my video review for my channel The Book Life by clicking here.

This book was sent to me for review by Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review. You can read my review policy here. Thank you Harlequin Teen!




Wednesday, 22 June 2016

WIN a signed copy of SIx of Crows by Leigh Bardugo! (UK)



Every since I read the words "Make me your villian" I have been a devoted fan of Leigh Bardugo and her Grishaverse. Her characters are some of my most favourites of all time, and I am dying waiting for Crooked Kingdom, the second book in the Six of Crows duology. 





Last year I was fortunate enough to meet Leigh, and attend her book signing, reading, and Q&A at London Piccadilly Waterstones. She was wonderful, so warm (and hilarious!), and it was a brilliant experience. Whilst I was there, I purchased a second copy of Six of Crows to give away to you guys. 

I wanted to give it away when I discussed my most favourite signed books in a video, and that video is now live, which means I can now host the giveaway! 








THE PRIZE
- A brand new copy of Six of Crows, paperback edition signed by Leigh Bardugo herself. 
- A handmade Six of Crows inspired necklace from Etsy store, Pretty Drastic

This giveaway is UK only. The only mandatory entry is to leave a blog post comment, the rest are all bonus entries, to give yourself a better chance of winning! The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. This giveaway will close on July 22nd, and the prize will be mailed out within two weeks of the winner responding to contact from The Book Life. If in two weeks, no contact has been made, a second winner will be drawn at random.







                                                                      a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

COVER REVEAL - Torn by Jennifer L Armentrout



I have been a fan of Jennifer L Armentrout for a few years now, her books are addictive, binge read worthy and I have a special space in my bookshelf shaped heart for her fictional bad boys in need of redemption. (Here's looking at you, Roth).

As of yet, Wicked is still on my TBR. It's a book that I have been desperate to read for some time now, and I am constantly lusting over the cover, it's so beautiful. So, it goes without saying that I'm super excited to be able to show you all the cover for Torn, the second book in the paranormal romance trilogy. Are you ready? It's seriously stunning, and was created by  Sarah Hansen from Okay Creations with photography by Kelsey Kukal-Keeton from K Keeton designs.


 Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same.

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her.
Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him?
But as the Fae Prince begins to close in on Ivy, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.
Jennifer L. Armentrout

#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
Great news! Torn is currently available for download on Kindle at Amazon for 99p for those of us in the UK, and $.99 for those in the US. 
What do you think of the cover? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

                          Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iBooks ** Kobo






Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Me Before You Review

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Penguin Books
Page Count - 369
My Rating - Five Stars

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

If you follow me on social media, you'll already know that this book holds a very special place in my heart, it's one of those heartbreaking books that manages to still give you the warm fuzzies and make you laugh as often as it made you cry, which is no easy task.


I picked up this book because of the upcoming movie release, and I am so, so glad I did. JoJo Moyes has a very enjoyable writing style, and I felt like I knew the characters so well within just a handful of chapters. Louisa as a character is very relatable, she is neither happy nor sad with her life, she's simply going through the motions, stuck in a rut. While she's eccentric with her clothing choices, she's trapped in her ordinary life and it isn't until she meets Will Traynor that her life begins to change. 


Having lived a big, exciting and adventure driven life before his accident, Will finds himself increasingly frustrated with Louisa, but somehow they reach a common ground. They have amazing chemistry, with both characters being very well developed and authentic. One of the things I adored most about this book was Will as a character, I was so worried he would be almost a cliche of himself, generic "disabled man", and he wasn't at all.

(Yep. I sobbed. A lot.)

The representation of disability in this book is done in a raw and honest way. As a twenty something with an invisible disability, I was surprised to find parts of this book relatable. Can I relate to a quadraplegic? Of course not. But could I relate the isolation, the way people think they can fix him, and the way it feels to be unable to do the things you used to do. That, I understood. And maybe that's why the book moved me so much.

This book is heartbreaking but so, so funny and charming all at once. It's the most beautiful kind of heartbreak, a book that makes you stand back and check your own privilege, and inspires you to make the most of your life. 

Have you read the book? What were your thoughts?
Sarah-Jane
x


Enjoyed this review? Check out my Me Before You videos on Youtube!
Me Before You Trailer Reaction:
Spoiler Free Review:
Spoiler Discussion:



Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Bookish People You Should Follow on Booktube








It's been forever since I blogged, and I'm sorry. The problem with leaving for so long is that you need a really good blog post to kickstart that blogging feeling again, and while I wasn't planning to blog today, this topic is perfect. 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by the Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is "Ten Bookish People You Should Follow on Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook" etc. I love love, love this topic as there's nothing I like more than shouting out some of my favourites.  So here are some of my most favourite Booktubers, in no particular order.


Sam from Thoughts on Tomes
Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore Sam. She's one third of Random Readalongs along with myself and Kristin (she's next!), and she has a brilliant Booktube account full of book reviews and awesome discussion. And she's super consistent with uploading.


Kristin from What's Kappening
She was my first Booktube friend back in 2014, and we speak on a daily basis. She's another third of Random Readalongs, and she reads a wide range of books from so many genres. And she is one of the kindest people I know. 


Sian from Readersrambles
This girl is hilarious. We read a lot of books from the same genres, so if you like my channel I'm pretty sure you'll love Sian. While she isn't able to upload as often as she would like, her videos always make me laugh, and she's got awesome bookshelves. Oh, and she got me into The Walking Dead. 


Casey from Casey Ann Books
Casey has a brilliant eye for photos. She is so creative with both her Booktube and Instagram, where she posts the most beautiful photos. She always introduces me into awesome new books, and she's just awesome. 



Bekah from Bekah Awesomebooknut
It's been a long standing joke between Bekah and I that we often have different opinions on books that we have both read, but she encouraged me to read Me Before You recently, and oh my, it was beautiful. She's one of those Booktubers who always make me smile, she's so warm and friendly, and her reviews are awesome. No pun intended. 



Kassidy Voinche
Kassidys bookshelves are absolute goals, I am always in awe. We read a lot of the same books, and she always has time to discuss them even if she read them a long time ago. She's another one who is always friendly, and I just adore her. I can't wait to discuss more of the Black Dagger Brotherhood with her. 



Dawn Kurtagich from Writaholic DK
If you're a lover of horror, check out Dawn's channel. She talks about books that are not seen as frequently in the Booktube circle, which is fantastic, and she's actually an author too. Her novel The Dead House sold out at YALC last year, and she is one of the funniest, nicest people I've ever met. When I met her, it felt like I'd known her my whole life. 



Lainey from GingerreadsLainey
I've always loved her channel, but I got to know Lainey better last year when she delved into the world of Urban Fantasy and binge read both the Fever series and the Shifter series in record time. If you love those books as much as I do, check out her thoughts on them. Dooo it. 



Alita Joy 
This is a recommendation that comes form a place of being purely a viewer, and not knowing Alita personally. She was one of the first channels I discovered, and recently I rediscovered her content and have been binge watching. Her videos always leave me feeling really calm, she is someone who I always feel has a beautiful soul and in addition to being a booktuber, she also sings on her channel. 




David from Litjournal
And I'm going to end this list with David, one of my friends who came to visit me last year. We drank root beer and we build hogwarts out of Gingerbread. I don't care if it's April, I'm showing you guys.

So there you go, there's my list! I'd love to hear some of your favourite Booktubers in the comments!
















Thursday, 30 July 2015

WIN SIGNED COPIES OF THE WINNERS CURSE AND THE WINNERS CRIME BY MARIE RUTKOSKI - INTERNATIONAL - OPEN



If you are a fan of The Winners trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, I think you will love this competition. Up for grabs I have signed copies of The Winners Curse and The Winners Crime, which she signed when I met her at the Young Adult Literature Convention in July. One winner will receive both books, and yes - this competition IS open internationally. All you have to do to enter is follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. The first and only rule is that you must subscribe to my YouTube channel The Book Life.  But there's lots of ways to snag additional entries as well, so good luck and I hope you win! 

The Prize:

If you haven't read The Winners Curse yet, check out my video review on YouTube, or my written review here. You can follow Marie on Twitter @MarieRutkoski 



Good luck in the giveaway, and in the meantime please check out my video interview with Marie Rutkoski at YALC, The Young Adult Literature Convention. We discuss favourite books, why Kestrel and Arin are a perfect match, and what to expect from The Winners Kiss.

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