Champion – Marie Lu | Review

Spoiler free (some spoilers about Legend and Prodigy)

Title: Champion
Author: Marie Lu
Pages: 369
Genre: Science fiction / Dystopian

Description from Goodreads:June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position. 

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything. ‘ 

I’ve been stalking my library website for a few weeks now waiting for Champion to come in and when I spotted it a couple of weeks ago I checked it out feeling giddy that I was quite sure I was the first person to read it. 

When I arrive at the last book in a series, I’m always met with a slight feeling of dread as I wonder how the author will wrap everything up and occasionally ponder not reading it because ignorance is bliss right? Champion was no different after the news we receive at the end of Prodigy. 

Champion picks up a few months after the end of Prodigy, with June and Day giving their support to Anden, though they haven’t spoken in months and find themselves thrown together when the Republic comes under threat from the Colonies. 

As with Legend and Prodigy the story is told from the points of view of Day and June. When I reviewed Legend I commented that their POVs were very similar but in Champion they’re easy to tell apart and their characters have grown so much. 

What I really like about Lu’s writing style is that she makes you feel what the characters feel. When things were awkward between June and Day, you felt awkward, when June felt sorry for Anden, you felt sorry for Anden. 

Champion was the perfect mix of action and politics and as with the other two books, the pacing was perfect. At no point did I feel it was too slow or too fast, it was just right in the words of Goldilocks. 

I really enjoyed the chapters where June and Anden traveled to Antarctica. It sounded like a wonderful place and I found myself wishing I could go and visit, it sounded truly beautiful and I quite liked the sound of the points system. 
We got to found out more about Anden throughout Champion and I must say Lu definitely changed my opinions on him. In Legend and Prodigy I thought he was a bit of a stuck up Daddy’s boy but in Champion I really warmed to him and saw him in a different light. 

The romance in Champion was interesting and exciting but at no point did it take over the story and make it all about that, which I found to be a refreshing change. 

I really enjoyed the ending to Champion, I think it really wrapped everything up and in my opinion it’s probably the best series ender I’ve ever read. I also liked that we were kind of left to draw our own conclusions about what happens to Day and June next, at least that’s how it seemed to me. 

This trilogy has come such a long way and so have the characters; their development throughout the trilogy has been fantastic. 
For me, the Legend series is one of the best ones I’ve read and I’m about to say something a bit brave here; I think it’s better than The Hunger Games. 
Now, I don’t know if I’m saying that because the Legend series is fresh in my head but right now I think it’s better than The Hunger Games, which is saying something because it was my all time favourite series. 
I hear Marie Lu has a fantasy book in the pipeline and I can’t wait to read it. 
Have you read Champion? 


LUSH Fresh Face Mask Cupcake | Review

I’d never tried a LUSH fresh facemask before but after popping into their Manchester store last weekend I decided to treat myself.

They appear to have quite a good range of face masks but as soon as I saw Cupcake was for oily skin I didn’t bother looking at the rest of them in much detail. 
Cupcake smells lovely, I wouldn’t say it smells incredibly chocolatey though, I could smell the mint more than the chocolate.  
The mask is mud based and as a result is nice and thick and applies pretty easily. There’s a lot more in the pot than I expected and there’s no way I could use it all up in one go. I think I used about a third of the tub and I applied it fairly heavily. 
I left Cupcake on for 10 minutes to get the full effect and then began washing it off. 
My face immediately looked clearer and felt soft and smooth. I’ve used a few face masks that have made my skin feel soft or look clearer but I wouldn’t say any of them have done it as well as Cupcake did. 
At £5.95 they aren’t cheap but I think I can get three applications out of this and the quality of this face mask is better than any other one I’ve used so far. It’s not something I would use every single week but it’s a nice treat. 
Is it tested on animals: No LUSH do not test on animals. 

Is it vegan: Yes

Would I repurchase: Absolutely no doubt about it. 
Have you ever used a LUSH fresh face mask? Which one is your favourite? 

Forbidden (The Soulkeepers #1) – Lori Adams | Book review*

Title: Forbidden (The Soulkeepers #1)
Author: Lori Adams
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept
Genre: New adult, romance
Pages: 432
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK

Here’s the description from GoodreadsLori Adams gives New Adult a haunting paranormal twist with the first novel of The Soulkeepers, a series that blends ancient legends and new myths with an enchanting mix of thrills, humor, and high drama.

When Sophia St. James learns that she’ll be moving from Los Angeles to a podunk town somewhere in Connecticut for her senior year of high school, she isn’t expecting an otherworldly encounter. But there is more to Haven Hurst than meets the eye: it’s home to a family of Guardian Angels, and she is the only one who can see them in spirit form. Sophia soon realizes she wants to see much more of Michael, an irresistible yet volatile Guardian who seems drawn to her too.

As Michael battles his forbidden desire for the beautiful young newcomer, one of Hell’s most notorious Demon Knights arrives. Handsome and charismatic, Dante has come to claim the reincarnated soul of his lost lover trapped in Sophia. Cursed with the demon of Persuasion living inside him, Dante will use his seductive charms to lure Sophia into a dangerous game that ends with the kiss of death—unless Michael, who has captured Sophia’s heart, can now capture her soul.

After reading that description how could I pass up this book? It was also advertised as New Adult and I wanted to find out what all the NA fuss is about. 

The first couple of chapters pulled me in and I was eager to find out more about our main characters. Towards the end of the first half of the book things got a bit slow but the second half was pretty explosive. 

The second half reeled me back in and I finished it in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down. It was rammed with action and before I knew it I’d finished the book and I’m left feeling eager for the next book. 

Forbidden is told from three points of view but it was easy to tell whose POV you were reading as chapters about Michael and Dante were marked by their name and were told in third person while chapters about Sophia were in first person.  

Sophia, Michael and Dante were all well developed characters and Adams did a great job of Sophia’s development throughout the book and making me feel very uneasy and creeped out when I read sciences involving Dante. That guy really gave me the creeps. 

One of Sophia’s friends, Bailey, came across as incredibly annoying because she seems to talk in some kind of pop cultural reference language. I wouldn’t have minded the odd couple of strange sayings but pretty much everything she said had some kind of cultural reference and it wore thin quickly. 

I couldn’t help but draw a lot of parallels between the Patronus family and the Cullens from Twilight: they don’t turn up at school some days and no one seems bothered, they don’t date anyone and then there was Michael convincing Sophia to stay away from him. 

To be fair to Adams though I imagine that those are common in books where supernatural characters become involved with humans so it wasn’t a big issue for me. 

The only niggles I had with this book were: towards the middle it started to get a bit slow, Bailey talking and the dreaded ‘I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding’ phrase popped up. That line is one of my pet peeves and seems to keep cropping up in YA books. Stop it! It makes me squirm! 

All in all I really enjoyed Forbidden. It contained a good mix of suspense, mystery, humour and romance.  

I didn’t find it to be predictable, I felt for Sophia and found her character to be likeable and her development throughout the book was excellent. 

Though it is part of a series (the second book, Awaken is ‘coming soon’) Forbidden stands up pretty well on its own and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. 
In short: A gripping story about angels and demons. 
*I received an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. 


Books that makes you giddy

That’s right ladles and jellyspoons, I’m ramping up my book waffle and today I want to talk about books that make you giddy. 

Last year I started and finished the Divergent series and nearly a year after I read Divergent it still makes me giddy when I think about it and I’ve been doing a fair bit of fangirling with Sabrina from I Have To Read That. (She wrote a great Divergent fangirling post by the way)

I think Divergent may well be my favourite book, better than the Hunger Games and dare I say it, better than Harry Potter?

I love it because I was gripped and woke up early on a Saturday to finish it (can you believe it?), I really felt for the characters and I want to read it over and over again.

The film opens on March 21st, which is only enabling my fangirling and I’m so excited to see how it’s turned out. (And hopefully I can forget Theo James as ‘the guy who snorted poop in the Inbetweeners film and see him as Four.)

Enough of me fangirling, I want you to take to the comments section and fangirl or fanboy about your favourite book.

Which book (or books) makes you giddy?


Video: January roundup + February to be read list

After many technical issues, my January book roundup and February to be read list is now live! 

Read&Ramble book club:

Books mentioned: 
Let Me Off at the Top!: My Classy Life and Other Musings –…

And We Stay – Jenny Hubbard –…

The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick –…

Prodigy – Marie Lu –…

Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver –… 

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan –… 

Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle –…

The Forever Watch – David Ramirez –… 

Queen of Nowhere – Jane Fenn –…

Forbidden – Lori Adams –… 

Uglies – Scott Westerfeld –… 

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell –

What did you read last month + what do you plan to read this month? 


Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver | Review

Spoiler free! 

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver (Amazon UK) (Goodreads)
Pages: 470
Genre: Young adult / contemporary

Description from Goodreads:
What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.’

If you watched my Library Haul #1 video you’ll know that I said I picked up this book because of the authors name after reading Delirium last year. (I believe I wrongly said Pandemonium in the video – I’m yet to read that) 

This book was written so beautifully and it made me feel a range of emotions: anger, frustration, sympathy and love. There were also quite a few lines in it that raised a chuckle. 

The characters were very well developed, especially the main one. Not only that but they were realistic; most people probably know someone like Sam. 

I won’t tell you that Sam was a likeable character throughout most of the book: to say she was a bitch would be an understatement, think Mean Girls and you’ll know what I mean. 

In fact I drew a lot of comparisons between Sam and Cady in Mean Girls in the way that she just went along with what her friends did, despite it not being the right thing to do. Lets be honest, most of us can relate to doing something like that at one point or another. 

As the book progresses Sam’s character develops and changes but none of it ever seems unrealistic. 

I thought that reliving the same day seven times could get boring but it didn’t. I was hooked from the first page and found myself staying up late to finish off the second half. 

One day isn’t really enough to change the way a person has behaved for years of their life but I thought the book did a really good job of showing you that despite how we all act on the outside we’re all the same on the inside. 

Before I Fall really makes you think: about your own mortality, how you treat people and appreciating the little things in life. It didn’t quite have me in tears but I did want to tell everyone I love them. 

In short: A beautifully written cross between Groundhog Day and Mean Girls.

Initially I gave this a 4 out of 5, but after pondering it I don’t think I can give it any less than a 5 out of 5.