By Midnight – Review

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Welcome to Ravenwood…The school with BITE

 

This week I got an advance copy of By Midnight by Mia James. This is the first in the “Ravenwood” series. By Midnight is looking to be the next in the Vampire craze that has swept teens and adults the world over, with the success of the Twilight Saga and the Vampire Academy Series it’s not hard to see that Mia James is on to a winning formula. Vampires, angsty teens and paranormal romance are the style du jour and its easy to understand why so many writers have jumped on this very successful bandwagon. Its entertaining, allows for a lot of angst and romance and of course has just the right amount of fear inducing horror to keep teens reading.

By Midnight is definitely aimed at a YA audience and readers of Twilight will definitely love this series. This is a bit younger than Twilight in its reading age but still infinitely enjoyable if you like a good vamp story. I am a bit of a devotee of this genre having grown up reading Anne Rice and Poppy Z Brite, so it’s no surprise that this new wave of vamp books appeals to me. These stories are far more palatable and appropriate for younger readers than vamp books of the past and its great that so many young readers are rediscovering a love of books.

By Midnight is the story of April Dunne she has recently had to move to Highgate in London from Edinburgh. She has left behind her friends and her social life. She has to face the horrifying reality of starting at a new school. But that’s not the worst of it. She is stuck living in an ancient creepy dump of a house that doesn’t even have mobile phone reception.

Her new school Ravenwood is a prestigious school full of talented and bright students. Now April is stuck with a bunch of rich beautiful and talented students. The only saving grace is finding a fast friendship with Caro and a budding romance with brooding and dark Gabriel.

But of course Ravenwood isn’t as it seems and there is a dark secret lurking beneath the surface. First there is the strange murder of rock superstar Alix Graves and then she is saved from a mysterious and dangerous situation in Highgate cemetery  by Gabriel. Then she discovers that a murder took place in the very same place that Gabriel saved her from. Determined to get to the bottom of things April sets herself on a path into very dangerous and dark territories which will test her resolve her strength and even her life.

No one said being a teenager was easy but at Ravenwood it could be deadly …

This is a great start to a series and Mia James has set a good pace for what will no doubt be a very successful series for her. This wasnt my favourite vampire book ive ever read but it certainly kept me turning the pages well in to the night and beyond. A great easy read that is super entertaining and enjoyable !

 

BlondiieC

xox

 

 

 

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Love And Other Drugs – Movie Review

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Love and Other Drugs is one of the more surprising Rom/Coms I’ve seen in a while. For once the characters have depth and the storyline is actually romantic. We have also been spared the terrible one liners that seem to have taken over the genre of late, and for a very pleasant change …..The plot is believable..Yes Im serious it is actually believable.

 

Love And Other Drugs stars Jake Gyllenhaal as very charming and oh so devilishly handsome pharmaceutical rep Jamie. He is on the fast track with his career and uses his charm to get as far ahead as he can. But all of that changes when he meets the beautiful Maggie played by Anne Hathaway. Maggie is a free-spirited artist and almost the complete opposite to Jamie. Cue sweetness and gag worthy romance …but no not this time.This really is a great romantic film with very little of the token romance and a lot of beautiful acting.

This is of course a love story and yes it does have a lot of romantic moments but there are also a lot of heartfelt moments too. The story is that Maggie is a 26-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with stage 1 Parkinson’s disease, a tragic condition in an elderly patient, but made all the more tragic because of her age. Jamie falls in love with her knowing how sick she is and has to adjust to how life is going to be for them both if they continue their relationship.

The plot is simple, no surprises or great twists but it is the sheer simplicity of it that makes it so utterly beguiling. Anne Hathaway is at her absolute best in this role and it is easy to see why she has so many fans. She is stunningly beautiful, elegant and talented. And Jake Gyllenhaal proves his acting abilities know no limits in yet another surprising role.

The relationship sizzles on the screen and it is clear to see they enjoyed working together as their chemistry is astounding. The story line is sad and definitely one that will make even the hardest hearts melt. I cried and I laughed and my heart broke for the characters. I finished the film and I felt sad that it was over. I really enjoyed this movie so much more than I thought I would.

I like a good romantic film and im partial to a good laugh but this really is so much more than that. It is touching and sweet and just beautiful. If you havent seen Love And Other Drugs do yourself a favour and go and watch it immediately you wont be disappointed.

 

BlondiieC

xox

 

 

 

 

Live To Tell – Review

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I am a huge fan of crime fiction. You could even go so far as to say that it is my favourite genre. Lisa Gardner is far and away one of my most favourite crime writers. She is edgy and gritty and oh so scary,her books will leave you chilled to the bone and looking over your shoulder long after you finish them. Live To Tell was no exception. Live To Tell is an intricate story of three women and how their lives intertwine through a terrifying series of events.

 

 

He knows everything about you—including the first place you’ll hide.

On a warm summer night in one of Boston’s working-class neighborhoods, an unthinkable crime has been committed: Four members of a family have been brutally murdered. The father—and possible suspect—now lies clinging to life in the ICU. Murder-suicide? Or something worse? Veteran police detective D. D. Warren is certain of only one thing: There’s more to this case than meets the eye.

Danielle Burton is a survivor, a dedicated nurse whose passion is to help children at a locked-down pediatric psych ward. But she remains haunted by a family tragedy that shattered her life nearly twenty-five years ago. The dark anniversary is approaching, and when D. D. Warren and her partner show up at the facility, Danielle immediately realizes: It has started again.

A devoted mother, Victoria Oliver has a hard time remembering what normalcy is like. But she will do anything to ensure that her troubled son has some semblance of a childhood. She will love him no matter what. Nurture him. Keep him safe. Protect him. Even when the threat comes from within her own house.

Live to Tell starts with a shocking and brutal crime and I am happy to say for all you gore lovers that it doesn’t let up in its pace or its horror fest. Lisa Gardner is known for her violent crime writing and Live To Tell certainly doesn’t disappoint. This really isn’t a book for people who aren’t fans of crime though. If you don’t like dark and disturbing this really isn’t the book for you. Now all warnings aside it is FANTASTIC. I absolutely loved this book!

Not one to shy away from the more edgy topics and plot lines Lisa tackles all of it here. Family abuse, mentally ill children and brutal murder. This is a really scary look at the darker side of humans and what we are capable of. Filed with lots of twisty turny plot lines and of course the requisite scary bits this is definitely a book that will keep you guessing till the last page !

 

BlondiieC

xox

Love, Loss and Red Nose Day …

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This weekend just gone I read an article by Rebecca Sparrow about losing a baby and it prompted so many thoughts. How would I feel? What would I do ? How would I cope ? Who would  turn to for help ? Would life always be just a little bit grey ? Would I turn away from people who loved me or let people in ? The questions were endless but the one that stuck with me was, Where do you look when your whole world is turned upside down ?

Rebecca told her story today and it inspired me to find the answer to those questions for myself for my friends and for other women who have suffered that deep and lasting loss. No one can ever fully understand the grief that others feel, we can try but that loss is so personal, so deep and unrelenting that until you find yourself facing down that gun barrel you never know how you will feel.

We all know someone who has suffered,we have all suffered ourselves. We probably all know someone who has suffered the incredible tragedy of losing a new life. But have we really stopped and asked ourselves the questions that need to be asked ?

I think so many of us want to reach out but we don’t know how. Sometimes it’s not what we say but just being there that counts. And sometimes it’s knowing when to step back and give the much-needed space for healing. I sat here this morning watching my daughter play. She is two years old and watching her play and chat away to herself fills me with a joy that is unparalleled.

So then how is the grief of missing those moments ? The tender small snapshots of life. Not the big events but the times where you find yourself smiling at the little jokes they tell or the impromptu kisses. The firsts, the first real cuddle, the first time they smile, the first time they say I love you.

For mothers who lose babies they will never have those moments and for mothers like Rebecca, they have the heartbreak of knowing what they are missing and having to help themselves through their grief and their children.  To explain to older children why they don’t have a little brother or sister on the way or worse why their new baby brother or sister didn’t wake up today. How do you begin to explain that ? How do you find the words ? Where do you even begin ?

Many people, myself included may not realise that the SIDS foundation helps parents who have suffered this unimaginable loss. It is not just for parents who have been affected by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome but for parents who have lost children through stillbirth and miscarriage . These dedicated people have the answers that so often people can’t find. They are the professionals dedicated to helping out those who have suffered the greatest loss. The are the brave people who pioneer research to stop this unthinkable tragedy from happening.

If you don’t know what to say or what to do then check out the SIDS website, ask how you can make a difference. Give generously to this cause that helps aid in the sufferance of so many people. Or give some time. But remember that the best thing you can do is simply to say ….I care about you and im here when your ready !

For any information or fi you want to read Rebecca’s beautiful article I have posted links in the comments below. I hope everyone takes the time to read Rebecca’s story it really is powerful and so very brave !

 

BlondiieC

xox

 

 

 

There is plenty you can do and one simple one is uploading a picture to the red nose day website, for every  picture uploaded up to 15,000 Renault will donate $1 up to $15,000 dollars thats a huge donation for simply taking the time to upload a picture. I have included my pic, I have also made it my profile pic on Twitter and Facebook to help raise awareness of this very worth cause.

Carte Blanche – Review

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Carte Blanche is the latest book from Jeffrey Deaver and I have to admit my initial excitement dimmed a little when I heard it was a James bond novel. I don’t have anything against the 007 franchise but it’s not my style of crime writing. But happy to give it a go I suspended my thoughts and hoped for the best and I was more than pleasantly surprised. This is a book for fans of 007 to really sink their teeth into. Not the typical style for Jeffrey Deaver, but one he has done very well at.

“The face of war is changing and. The other side doesn’t play by the rules much anymore. There’s thinking in some circles, that we need to play by a different set of rules too….”

Fresh from Afghanistan, James Bond has been recruited to a new agency. Conceived in the post 9/11 world, it operates independent of Five, Six and the MoD, its very existence is deniable. Its aim: to protect the Realm, by any means necessary.

The Night Action alert calls Bond from dinner with a beautiful woman. GCHQ has decrypted an electronic whisper about an attack scheduled for later in the week: casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected.

And 007 has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to fulfil his mission.

This is Bond at his charming, well dressed best. If you’re a fan of the 007 franchise this is the book for you. If not it’s definitely worth giving it a look. For me, this is the sort of good spy novel that while not believable, is so infinitely enjoyable that a few far fetched plot lines only add to the enjoyment.

Filled with mystery, suspense, fast cars and beautiful women and of course violence this is the sort of reading that u enjoy when you’re having a break from your more serious choices. Jeffrey Deaver probably won’t win any literary prizes with this novel but I can guarantee he will win himself a lot of new fans.

Buckle yourself in because Carte Blanche has all the thrills, spills, crashes and crazy antics you have come to love from Bond and even more. Complete with cool gadgets, outrageous scenarios, really amazing cars and the latest in cool “boy toys” this is 007 at his finest. Men will want to be him and women will want to know him. And take it from me picturing Daniel Craig as 007 doesn’t hurt the reading experience at all.

Fallen – Review

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Fallen is the latest release from the queen of crime and gore Karin Slaughter. Once again living up to her namesake Karin Slaughter has delivered another knock out crime novel. Lovers of Karin Slaughter will be delighted to see the return of heroine Faith Mitchell, the butt kicking young cop that so many readers have fallen in love with. Faith is a brilliantly written multifaceted character that many readers have really formed a bond with.

Fallen sees her return with a new baby and facing down criminals in her own inimitable style. Fallen sets off at a cracking pace as do all of Slaughter’s novels, with Faith coming home to find a trail of blood leading into her home. Her infant daughter locked in the shed and her Mother’s gun missing. Evelyn, Faith’s mother is nowhere to be seen and Faith’s home is littered with dead bodies.

Fallen of course also sees the return of Sara Linton and Will Trent, characters made famous by Slaughter’s earlier novels. Will is on hand to help Faith with the investigation and they will need the help of trauma doctor Sara to help them along. Faith struggles in the search to find her mother and faces barriers thrown up at every turn. The Police close ranks and protect a truth that Faith isn’t sure she wants to explore, but she will have to in order to find her mother and face down the people she thought she could trust.

Add to the mix that Faith is now not only investigating her mothers disappearance but she is also being treated as a suspect and you have the perfect mix for an outstanding whodunit.

Karin Slaughter really sets the pace from the first page and with Fallen she keeps it going right until the end. This is an absolutely cracking novel full of suspense and lots of blood and gore. Karin Slaughter is not for the fain hearted but lovers of crime with really enjoy this newest offering from one of my favourite crime writers of the moment. If you haven’t read Karin Slaughter yet, now is the time to discover how great she is!