Thursday, 30 September 2010

My favourite books when I was a child

I have always loved reading. I vividly remember being about 7 years old and my teacher at the time having to bring me books in from home as I had read everything our school library had. The other thing I remember is that every thursday night my dad would take me to the library and I would run off upstairs to the children's section and pick out half a dozen books to take home with me which I would devour over the week (usually by torch light under the bed clothes. In short I couldn't get enough and have fond memories of the books I read when I was younger. When I was recently sorting out my children's books I came up with an idea for this post as some of the following I'm sure I'd get as much enjoyment out of now. So in no particular order here are some of my favourite books as a child.

Enid Blyton - The St Clare's and Mallory Towers series



I have a very old paperback copies of these series which were previously owned by my mother when she was young. I loved reading them because they were fab and I loved the fact that they were hers. My mum doesn't have a lot of stuff from when she was young (the product of being one of 10 children) but these actually had her name stamped in them and despite the fact they are falling apart I would never replace them. Fab stories I actually wanted to go the St Clares or Mallory Towers and have a twin and have midnight feasts and play lacrosse (the list could go on and on)

Enid Blyton - The Famous Five series (can you see a theme?)



I blame this series and George for my tomboy phase when I was 9 - 12 years old. I wanted to be just like her! My friend actually had the series on video - we thought we were super cool watching them.

AA Milne - Now were are six



I actually liked the poem books better than house at pooh corner (which is strange because I don't get poems)  I can still quote some of poems from this.

Shirely Hughes - Chips and Jessie



I remember absolutely loving these but I can't remember a lot about these - I need to get copies (there was a green covered one too - anyone remember the name of that?)

Roald Dahl - Boy



James and the Giant Peach and Willy Wonka never did it for me (I did like George's marvellous medicine and Danny the champion of the world though) my absolute favourite Roald Dahl had to be Boy. The bit at the school was hysterical when I was 12 years old.

I'd love comments of your favourite books when you were a child!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Crescendo

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
published by Simon and Schuster on 19th October 2010

I doubt I'm the only one waiting for this!!






The sequel to the New York Times Best selling phenomenon, Hush, Hush! Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home. The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Review - By Midnight by Mia James

By Midnight by Mia James
published by Gollancz July 2010
ARC provided by UK Book Tours (thanks Lynsey)



April Dunne is not impressed. She's had to move from Edinburgh to Highgate, London, with her parents. She's left her friends - and her entire life - behind. She has to start at a new school and, worst of all, now she's stuck in a creepy old dump of a house which doesn't even have proper mobile phone reception. Ravenwood, her new school, is a prestigious academy for gifted (financially or academically) students - and the only place her parents could find her a place, in the middle of term, in the middle of London, on incredibly short notice. So she's stuck with the super-rich, and the super-smart . . . and trying to fit in is when the rest of the students seem to be more glamorous, smarter, or more talented than she is, is more than tough. It's intimidating and isolating, even when she finds a friend in the conspiracy-theorist Caro Jackson - and perhaps finds something more than friendship in the gorgeous, mysterious Gabriel Swift. But there's more going on at Ravenwood than meets the eye. Practical jokes on new students are normal, but when Gabriel saves her from . . . something . . . . in the Highgate Cemetery, and then she discovers that a murder took place, just yards away from where she had been standing, April has to wonder if something more sinister is going on. . . . and whether or not she's going to live through it . . .

***
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I was left at the end of it with loads of questions and am intrigued about where the series will go in the long run as quite a few interesting story threads have been set up.

The whole was interesting as a whole as it was told from a whodunnit angle. I haven't read a vampire book that has taken this angle before and the whole story arc kept me guessing throughout as I was trying to 'solve' the crimes committed as the characters were also trying to do the same. I found myself getting paranoid and not knowing know to trust more and more as the book went on. The setting of Highgate made for a good setting and gave the story a very Gothic feel (especially the scenes in the graveyard) and I enjoyed the scenes at school. I am a little puzzled about why April is actually at Ravenwood being that she is neither rich nor gifted but I am hoping that it becomes clear as the series progresses. That said that is one of many questions I have about the school and the whole set up.

One of the strengths of this book for me was the characters. There were a whole host of intriguing characters both main and secondary who I enjoyed. April was very sweet and normal. I like that she was dizzy and had to deal with all of the hundreds of random things that normal teenagers have to deal with as well as being in the situation she finds herself in. I enjoyed the relationships she had with her friends Fee and Caro and how it differed from the relationship she had with Davina one of the 'faces' and the one with Gabriel (I am dying to see where that one goes). My absolute stand out favourite character of the book had to be Miss Townley the 80 year old librarian and despite the fact she had a very small part in the book I loved everything about her. I especially enjoyed the line "break the spine on one of my books and I'll break yours" Definitely a woman I can relate to.

I wasn't all that keen with the idea of Furies (I won;t say much about it as I don't want to spoil it for others who haven't read the book yet) especially when the idea of a guardian was also introduced as it it seems to be a clear Whedonesque slayer/watcher rip off, but I haven't seen too much of the whole set up to judge outright yet.

Definitely a series I will be looking out for in the future. I have hundreds of questions whirling round my head which I am dying to have answered.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Review - Annexed - Sharon Dogar

Annexed by Sharon Dogar
Published on Oct 2010 (according to goodreads - I picked mine up in Foyles before that!)

Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?

In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view.  What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her?   Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together.   To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day?   What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution?  Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.

As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?

Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps.  He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants. 


***
As a historian I am uneasy with books that try to trivialise significant and horrific events such as the holocaust in a money making venture. I also take objection to anyone who thinks they can write anything that truly reflects the horrors that victims of the holocaust went through during the years of persecution by the Nazis as I don't think there are even the words to do such a thing. I do however applaud anyone who can write a work of fiction which is based on fact on such an awful topic in such a way which is sensitive and accesible to young adults as it is one of those topics that needs to be taught widely. I think in this case the author has managed to do these things wonderfully. I have seen reviews for this book which say that it is insenstive but I actually think it is well researched and written well.

The story is based on Anne Frank's diary losing at the life of those in hiding from a male perspective as Peter the boy who hid with her. I actually think it would be more accesible in some ways than Anne Franks diary for some (especially boys) and it is a brilliant companion to it despite it being a work of fiction as it is so well researched and put together to fit alongside Anne Frank's Diary. I enjoyed the story throughout and was consistently impressed with how well it was researched and tied in. I loved the fact that Peter, Anne and their respective families are seen as they were, ordinary people living in extraordinary times and the fact that they weren't anything special just shows how special they were and how horrific the crimes of the Nazis were against them. It reallt hits home that such a things could happen anywhere to anyone and without people standing up to prejudice and discrimination such a tragedy could happen again.

Definately one to read but definately one to read in conjuction with the original works it was based on.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

In my Mailbox (16)

In my Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at www.thestorysiren.com - her website is awesome!

Another awesome week - I didn't mean to to get anything in particular this week but the following did show up (not that I'm complaining)

Bought


Raised by Wolves - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Been waiting for this for ages - very excited to get to reading it as I've heard a lot about it. I do love a bit of wolf action!

Firelight - Sophie Jordan
Another one I preordered ages ago (amazon have been rubbish with my preorders lately this one should have been here at the beginning of the month)- very excited to read it

The Giver - Lois Lowry
Found this in a secondhand bookshop (see my recent post on my favourite bookshops for the bookshop in question). I haven't heard anything about it all but did notice that it was very high up on goodreads list of Young Adult books (literally up there with all the Stephenie Meyer and Harry Potter books) so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

From www.readitswapit.co.uk

No and Me - Delphine De Vigan
Disconnected - Sherri Ashworth
Falling - Sharon Dogar

All of these look good so quite looking forward to them! I am a little more willing to try a variety of different books from readitswapit as I can always swap them back on here. Not heard a huge amount about any of them but would be interested to hear if anyone highly recommends any of them.

I'm actively trying not to get a huge amount of books next week. My TBR shelf is literally overflowing and my library had to have a new bookcase put in this week (I keep having to go in there and look at my babies!)

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Review - City of Glass - Cassandra Clare

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Published by Walker Books Ltd

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her new found powers to help save the Glass City -- whatever the cost? Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters -- never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
***

I can't promise this review will be spoiler free so don't read it if you haven't read it or the previous books in the series.

I absolutely loved this book. It tied up brilliantly the mortal instruments triology to a satisfying conclusion (although I am happy there will be more). I don't really know where to begin when writing this review as I don't want to spoil things for others and I can't criticise it at all so I'll just go through the things I loved about this book in no particular order.

I loved how the Jace/Clary story line played out. I serious love Jace and want him to be my secret boyfriend as he is gorgeous and I loved how the story played out for them. I know people are going to come back and say the whole thing is sick and twisted but you literally can't fight the chemistry these two have and I think the whole thing was dealt with well by Clare in this book.

I was so excited to see that Jocelyn is in this book. I loved how she entered the story and loved her interactions with both Clary and Luke.

The Magnus and Alec story line was awesome - I particularly enjoyed Maia's reaction to it (when you read it you'll see what I mean)

My heart broke a little bit for Max (and that is all I'm going to say on that front)

The scene with Valentine and the Inquistor was immense (as was the whole section of the story with the demon army. I was like "wow this cannot be happening" but it was and it was awesome.

I loved seeing the development of Clary as a character and particularly how she used her ability to creat runes to help when everything seems a bit hopeless.

Simon was awesome in this book. I love that boy.

Sebastian - all I can say is wow - that whole story line blew me away.

As I said not a proper review as I normally do them - I don't want to give a blow by blow account of the action as I think it would spoil too much for other but all I can say it is it absolutely awesome!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Fab friday find

did you know that Oxfam do secondhand books online?

check it out at http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/second-hand-books

They already have charity book shops (which are usually quite awesome) but this adds to the fun!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

My favourite bookshops

I have been wanting to do this post for a while. I absolutely love going to bookshops but don't do it as much as I'd like as the only one in town is rubbish. I actually have a better YA/children's selection at home than what they have in the shop. I therefore end up buying a lot of books online (especially American ones) and going to actual shops is very very exciting. I am very lucky in that my husband loves his books too so happily follows me around on bookshop days. So in no particular order these are the bookshops I love to visit.

The Norfolk Children's book centre - Near Aylsham, Norfolk



A fantastic children's bookshop. I am making an effort to buy a few books there each month.  I like to support them as they are so awesome. When you arrive you are offered a cup of tea and its so cosy and wonderful that I could spend all day there in book heaven. They do book signing events quite regularly and have a book group I need to join asap!

Topping and Co - Ely



I first heard about this bookshop from the bloke I bought my house from. Almost a year later we were coming back from Cambridge and decided to do a mini detour to Ely and I remembered that he had mentioned it so we hunted it down. It is awesome because they have a gorgeous dedicated room of children and young adult books and they have loads of signed books. I went a little crazy in here and an dying for it to be half term so I can get down there again. I believe they have a shop in Bath too.

Peter's books Sheringham

This place is a little treasure trove - I haven't got pictures for it as I can't find anything online for it. It is a secondhand bookshop which is just like a Tardis. There are rooms and rooms of books piled everywhere. I first discovered it about 4 or 5 years ago and often drop in when I'm nearby. The stock doesn't turn over all that quickly (I wiped him out of old enid blyton's a while back and he hasn't recovered) but I very rarely leave empty handed. I got a very old edition copy of Alice in wonderland (1898 I think) and an old copy of Winnie the Pooh from here along with a few first editions of some modern books like Private Peaceful. He has had a good sort out recently which means you can actually get to the shelves now which is good.

Waterstones Cambridge


I will admit its rare if I buy anything from Waterstones. The ones in Norwich don't do it for me at all (especially the one at UEA - too many bad memories of having to shell out small fortunes for books I didn't particularly want). However there is something about the one in Cambridge I love (maybe its just because I am in Cambridge and the surroundings make me feel intelligent). The young Adult section in this one is particularly good and they have a fab section of American Imports which I love to look through.

Foyles - London


I have only just recently found this place it is immense. I got completely lost and confused and wanted to change career whilst being in the shop. I could have spent all day in there with all the beautiful books. Love it.

Forbidden Planet - London



Not technically a bookshop but they do have a good book selection, with a dedicated Young Adult section which is essentially all I am interested in a bookshop anyway. They usually have quite a few signed copies of books up for grabs. It has the bonus of having a lot of weird boy things in the shop which keeps my husband entertained for hours.

I'd love any suggestions of any other good bookshops particularly in East Anglia and London (or wider afield - we may go on a day trip here and there!) so please leave me comments with suggestions

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Freefall Mindi Scott

Freefall by Mindi Scott
Published on 5th October by Simon Pulse


How do you come back from the point of no return?
Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up. Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely. Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving .


I am excited about this book - a debut novel (I am loving all these debut novels lately) and part of the contempts challenge! I want it now!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Author Interview - Denise Jaden

After yesterday's review I am pleased to post today an interview with Denise Jaden author of Losing Faith.



She is an extremely busy lady at the moment with her debut novel being released only two weeks ago but she kindly took some time out to answer a few questions for me.

Question 1: What inspired you to write Losing Faith?

At first, I just knew I wanted to write a sister story. From there, I figured out that one of the sisters had a secret, and the secret would only be discovered after she died. I lost a close friend of mine when I was sixteen, and I’ve always felt there was a lot to explore with a teen experiencing such a big and devastating event. 

Question 2: I love Brie as a character and the way she deals with the situation she finds herself in. Is she entirely fictional or based on a real person?

Brie is entirely fictional, though I would say that she gets her introspective side from me. Also, an interesting little tidbit – my husband’s birth sister, who he just met a few years ago, is named Brie. I loved the name the moment I heard it and decided it would work well for my new main character.
3.     
Question 3: Which of your favourite authors have you been inspired by when writing Losing Faith?

I’m always inspired by Laurie Halse Anderson, not just for this book, but for all of my writing. Her writing is so concise, and yet captures so much of each character and situation. 

      Question 4: Which 5 characters from books would you invite to an imaginary dinner party and why?

Interesting question! Most interviews ask me what one character I’d like to hang out with. Five is much easier! And I don’t care what you think of me, I’m going to list all guys (LOL). Wes from Sarah Dessen’s THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER, Dean from Sara Manning’s GUITAR GIRL, Wesley from Kody Keplinger’s THE DUFF, Patch from Becca Fitzpatrick’s HUSH HUSH, and yeah, I can’t help myself, Edward Cullen (even if he might kill the other four!) 

      Question 5: To sum up explain why everyone should read Losing Faith in 100 words or lessHere’s where I show you exactly how bad at promo I am! I don’t necessarily think everyone should read this book. It will appeal to readers of Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson. It doesn’t jump in with high-paced action, but it does have some very full and developed characters who you will fall in love with and a story that will not lose your attention. The premise is unique, something you won’t find anywhere else. I hope you’ll give it a try!

      I happen to have a a lovely little haul of signed bookmarks from Denise. Some are going school for my pupils but the others I am looking to give away to some of my UK followers. If you are a UK follower and interested leave me a comment with an email address (I'll draw names out of a hat if necessary)  and I'll see what I can send out.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Review - Losing Faith - Denise Jaden

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Published on 7th September by Simon Pulse


When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don't know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith's final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger. 


***
A fantastic debut novel! I devoured this book in a matter of hours and was gripped right from the outset.

I enjoyed many things about this book. Firstly I like Brie as a character as she was quite believable and I enjoyed seeing how she dealt with all the things thrown at her despite the fact that it was horrific and everyone else in her life seems to be abandoning her when she needs them most. I liked her determination to find out more about her sister despite being constantly told to drop it and I like the final resolution she received as a result of her perserverance.

I enjoyed the secondary characters included in this book either because I hated them (Dustin and Amy) or because I liked them and the relationship they had with Brie (Alis and Tessa) and I through their background stories added to the book as a whole.

I found the whole story an unusual one as you start at the end almost and slowly work your way back through the mystery to work out what happened. It does take a while for things to finally unravel slowly but I didn't think it was too slow and I was happily engrossed throughout.

I found the whole religious cult story line a little distrubing (as I am sure it is intended) but I certainly think it is an issue that ought to be suitable addressed in Young adult fiction as it seems to me to be one of those things that when led by people of a less than savoury nature that quickly corrupts and ruins the lives (and families) of the young people drawn into them.

Overall a fab debut novel. This is certainly an author I will be watching out for.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

In my Mailbox (15)

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi at www.thestorysiren.com

A fab week this week bookwise!



From www.amazon.co.uk

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden

I preordered this a while ago and it finally showed up. Read in one sitting (almost - I had to change trains). A fab little book if ever there was one. Review should be up Monday, followed by an interview with Denise on Tuesday (with a related small give away for my UK followers)

From Foyles bookshop

Annexed by Sharon Dogar

I did a Fab friday mini post about this place - I hadn't even heard of it until last week but I decided to do some bookshops whilst in London last weekend and this one came up when I did a google search. I had my husband trail around after me looking for it and when we finally found it I swear I was in bookshop heaven. The place is huge. Anyways back to the book. Already read, awesome story with the added bonus of getting a signed edition. (If you want your own signed edition they also had them on their website www.foyles.co.uk)

from http://ukbooktours.blogspot.com/
By Midnight by Mia James

I forgot I had signed up for this but I am very excited to read it. It is by a British debut author and looks fab. Thank you Lynsey for organising the tour!

From The Norfolk Children's Book centre

I have been wanting to make use of this place for ages. They are a little independent bookshop in Norfolk and I can't believe I haven't been there before properly (I have used them for work and been to some of their signing events). The entire shop is crammed floor to ceiling with books. When you first arrive they offer you a cup of tea or coffee and it is literally paradise for booklovers with their comfy chairs and sofas all over the place. The staff are very knowledgable and friendly too. It is on my way home from work so I can see me turning up there for a browse on the way home being a more than a regular thing.

Incarceon by Catherine Fisher

I think its dystopian - looks good!

Candor by Pam Barchorz

I don't really know what this is about but I saw it on Clovers blog fluttering butterflies and then saw it in the shop so picked it up - she generally has the same taste in books as me so I am assuming it will be good.

Numbers 2 by Rachel Ward

Wasn't too sure on the first one of these - liked the concept just not to execution, hoping this book is better done.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner


Again a book I don't know a huge amount about but it looks good!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Review - City of Ashes Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare published by Walker books and Simon and Schuster

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go -- especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil -- and also her father.To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings -- and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

***

I loved this book despite the fact that it has left me hanging with many unanswered questions. I literally cannot wait to get started on the next one! This won't be a huge review either but don't think because of the shortness I didn't like it, I really did but I don't want to say too much without spoiling parts for others.

I enjoyed that the book took what had happened in the first one and started to delve deeper, helping you to get to know that characters involved in more detail. I love Jace and Clary as characters and cannot wait to see how their story turns out overall. I Loved the scenes where they were trying out their newly discovered powers for the first time and I love how Clary is beginning to find herself as a shadowhunter.

The story trundled along nicely with a variety of twists and turns that shocked and delighted me in equal measure, most of which I didn't see coming. I am now very excited about how things might pan out after all the things that have been set up within this story.

As I said I am now desperate to find out how this story pans out as there are so many questions hanging in the air for me right now. Definately a fitting sequel to the first back (possibly an even stronger book as you are so invested in the characters by this point)

Friday, 17 September 2010

fab friday find

If you live in London you probably already know about this one

This week I discovered Foyles bookshop in London - It is awesome!!

They have an awesome young adult section (with quite a few American titles) and they also have a good handful of signed titles (I'll show you what I got on Sunday)

check out www.foyles.co.uk

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Review - Restoring Harmony - Joelle Anthony

Restory Harmony by Joelle Anthony
Published on 13th May 2010 by Putnam Juvenile




The year is 2041, and sixteen-year-old Molly McClure has lived a relatively quiet life on an isolated farming island in Canada, but when her family fears the worst may have happened to her grandparents in the US, Molly must brave the dangerous, chaotic world left after global economic collapse—one of massive oil shortages, rampant crime, and abandoned cities.

Molly is relieved to find her grandparents alive in their Portland suburb, but they’re financially ruined and practically starving. What should’ve been a quick trip turns into a full-fledged rescue mission. And when Molly witnesses something the local crime bosses wishes she hadn’t, Molly’s only way home may be to beat them at their own game. Luckily, there’s a handsome stranger who’s willing to help.

Restoring Harmony is a riveting, fast-paced dystopian tale complete with adventure and romance that readers will devour.


***
This is a sweet little book which is well worth a look. The ideas are fresh and original and wholly believable.

The story follows the journey of Molly as she is sent by her family to find her grandparents to bring them back to Canada in a near future world in which there is no oil, little electricity and a variety of other problems caused by the greed of humans. The government has collapsed and the world is essentially run by mobs (I don't think that is the right word, I also want to say mafia but I don't think that is it either)

It is a quick and easy read which I felt was probably aimed at a slightly younger Young adult audience. The story goes along at a nice little pace and is reasonably engaging throughout. Molly is a sweet character who is quite likeable. The situations she faces are quite believable as all the things she encounters are things that could realistically happen in the forseeable future if nothing is done about global warming and finding renewable enery resources.

Not the best book I've read this year it certainly didn't wow me as I was going through but definately pleasant enough and original.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Blood Ransom

Blood Ransom by Sophie McKenzie
Published on 1st October 2010 by Simon and Schuster Children's Books
I can't wait for this book. It is a sequel to Blood Ties. There isn't a synopsis on Goodreads yet but I believe it follows the story of Rachel and Theo and is set a little while after Blood Ties. Blood Ties has been my favourite Sophie McKenzie book to date and I loved the character of Rachel so I am very excited to see where this goes.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Review - I am number four - Pittacus Lore

I am Number Four
Published on 26th August 2010 by Razorbill



 Description from goodreads.com


In the beginning we were nine.
We left when we were very young, almost too young to remember. Almost. And now . . .
Three are gone.
We are here to keep our race alive, which was almost entirely obliterated. We're just trying to survive.
Six are left.
But we are hunted, and the hunters won't stop until they've killed us all.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
I am Number Four. 

I know that I am next.
Reminiscent of Smallville and Heroes, here finally is a thriller with awesome pace, mindblowing special effects and a breathtaking high concept. It demands to be read in one sitting


***

awesome book - I can definately see why it has already been optioned for a film. I have read a few reviews complaining it is too simplistic or famous fivey but I don't really know what the fuss is about - it is YA fiction not hard core sci fi. I really wish people would take a story for what it is rather than always trying to compare it to something else.

I loved the premise of this book from the outset (I am secretly a little bit of a sci fi girl - but only a little bit). The whole idea that aliens are among us isn't original but I liked the twist that they were here to escape other aliens in the hope that they would return to their own planet once again. Much time was spent giving you a real feel of number four's home world through his dreams/visions

The main driving force for me was the relationship between Henri and John/number four. I loved the way they were with other as if they were father and son and it felt very geniune as the story developed. I also loved Sam (he was like to John as Willow is to Buffy)

I liked the idea that John had to go and do all these normal human things like go and fit in at high school and put up with all the rubbish the new kid had to deal with like anyone else. This was good as it contrasted perfectly with the fact that he also had to get to grips with his legacies (new kick ass aliens powers). The scene where he finally starts to get to grips with them and uses them to help Henri rocked!

The story was action packed all the way through and often very gripping (I literally couldn't put it down at times) but what I liked about this was that rather than save up everything until the last moment different events were spread out through the book rather than there being a slow build up to a final event.

That's not to say the final event wasn't awesome in its own right. The final section and the battle that ensued was truly epic. It rounded the book up well and set up nicely for the next book.

The only criticism I had is that why was John more suspicious of Bernie? If I was I don't know why he wouldn't have been. I also wasn't fussed with the relationship he had with Sarah but it didn't offend me one way or the other.

A brilliant first book in what should be an epic series. I can't wait for the next one.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Review - The Candidates - Inara Scott

The Candidates by Inara Scott
Published by Hyperion Books on 24th August 2010


Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt.  So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden. But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies.  So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome. And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what.  But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy

***
I really enjoyed this book. It was a brilliant introduction to what looks like another series I will be addicted to.

The story centers around Dancia a seemingly average girl who has been recruited to attend an exclusive private school for geniuses. The story follows her first term in the school adjusting to life in a school which she feels she doesn't fit into (as she isn't talented enough) makes friends and finds out about the real reasons why she has been recruited to the school - because of her telepathic powers.

The thing I loved most about the book was that from the very first chapter you are hooked. The school appears to be very normal but you know in your head (and in Dancia's) that something isn't quite right.

I loved Dancia as a character. She is lovable in all of her teenage ways, being a bit self conscious and awkward and is a fab little character in her own right. I loved the fact that she finally gets to make friends (after avoiding doing so previously in her life) with Hennie and Esther, who are both written and funny lovely girls who I would have wanted to be my friend if I were still 14. I quite liked Jack and his bad boy ways and hope that we see more of him, but I was not keen on Cam - just too smarmy for my liking. On a final characters note - I want a Grandma like Dancia's! She was a lovely old lady.

The final part of the book is where you finally start to find out what is going on and what the academy is actually about. I won't say in any detail about that except to say that it poses a huge amount of questions which I am dying to have answered in the next books.

An awesome start to a series I am eager to read through!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

In my mailbox (14)

In my mailbox is hosted by kristi at www.thestorysiren.com

Not a lot in my mailbox this week. I am now back at work full time so reading rate has slowed considerably : ( so I am trying not to buy lots of new books as I don't have space on my TBR book shelf. That said I am in London this weekend and am planning to walk the length of Charring Cross on a book hunt and have a wander around Forbidden Planet and their Young Adult section so I will probably have loads next week. That reminds me if you are in London go and check out Forbidden Plant. It is on the Holborn end of Shaftesbury Avenue and has a fantastic book section - you wouldn't know it if you didn't know it was there - including a fab young adult section. I often manage to pick up a good selection of signed bits and bobs when I'm there.

Any way back to my books

Lies by Michael Grant
Published by HarperCollins


I won't put the description up as I don't want to spoil the book for those of you who haven't read book one and two - this series is awesome! Well worth a read. Incidentally I have the first one available for swap on www.readitswapit.co.uk - its the only copy on there (last time I looked) under the user name hadley. I'd highly recommend it.

City of Ashes and City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
published by Walker books (and Simon Pulse)


Again I won't post descriptions so not to spoil for those who haven't read the first one but I am absolutely loving Cassandra Clare at the moment. I'm hoping to finish City of Ashes by the end of the weekend and go on city of glass!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Review - The Legacy - Gemma Malley


The Legacy - Gemma Malley
Published 6th September 2010 by Bloomsbury

When a Pincent Pharma lorry is ambushed by the Underground, its contents come as a huge surprise - not drugs, but corpses in a horrible state. It appears Longevity isn't working and the drugs promising eternal youth are failing to live up to their promises. A virus is sweeping the country, killing in its wake, and Longevity is powerless to fight it. When Richard Pincent of Pincent Pharma suggest that the Underground has released the virus, something has to be done to put the story straight and once and for all alert everyone to the truth.

***

This series blew me away when I first read it. The entire concept was awesome. The world seems ideal - no one dies as drugs have been developed meaning that no one gets old, or ill and can live forever. As a price for eternal life people are no longer allowed to have children unless they opt out of the drugs. The first two books look in more depth at this world and what happens to those children who are born illegally. The are awesome - if you haven't had a chance to read them do so.

This book starts off with the revelation that the drugs that have been produced to grant eternal life are no longer working and deals with the fallout as more and more people die. The whole incident is blamed on the underground contaminating drugs when in fact the drugs themselves have stopped working as they have been copied time and time again from an original sample.

I don't want to go into much detail as it will spoil the first two books in the series as well as this one but I wanted to put a brief review on to say that this book ties up the entire series excellently.  I loved the political background of the story and love the underground and how they fight back in a society where they are villianised. I didn't see the twists coming at all and was very very satisfied with the ending. The best thing about this series is that it is quite realistic and you could almost imagine it happening, especially the ideas that the world is overcrowded and all the natural resources such as food and petrol have run out.

A fab series which doesn't receive the recognition it should - if you haven't read it do so (especially if you like your dystopian fiction). A real gem!

I am probably going to reread the entire series and then edit this review once I've read them all back to back as it has been a while since I've read book 1 and 2.

Friday, 10 September 2010

fab friday find

I found this the other day

http://anynewbooks.com/

looks like a handy little site - you sign up and state what type of books you are interested in and they send you a weekly email detailing books that have been released over the week before.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Review - Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

PLEASE BE WARNED THIS WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS OF BOTH BOOK 1 AND 2 OF THE HUNGER GAMES SERIES AND OF THIS BOOK. DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW.

Mockingjay by Suzanna Collins
Published on 25th August 2010
Description from goodreads.com
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...This thrilling final instalment of this ground-breaking trilogy promises to be one of the most talked-about books of the year. 

***
I'm a little sad to say that I wasn't all that impressed with the book and I think a lot of people are/have been caught up with the whole Mockingjay hysteria and are raving about a book that isn't that brilliant. Firstly can I add that I loved the first two books and secondly I'm not one for slating a book because it didn't end how I wanted it to (like a lot of people did with breaking dawn). I didn't mind how it ended, I just didn't think it lived up to the hype and was actually a little dull in places. It even annoys me a little as I wanted to love this book entirely.

Firstly what has happened to Katniss. She was the kick-ass heroine who took no rubbish from anyone and Collins has turned her into a shadow of her former self completely devoid of the characteristics that made her so awesome. I still love her (who couldn't after what she's been through) but she is a shell of her former self a complete wreck physically and mentally. It summed it up for me when she missed most of the action having passed out, waking up after it had all occurred. The Katniss of old (and I almost wrote Tally there as I have always considered them to be in the same league) wouldn't have stood for that rubbish.

I was always Team Peeta and stand firmly so but I loved the will she won't love triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta. Like Katniss both Peeta and Gale are almost unrecognisable. Gale has turned into this unfeeling soldier and Peeta has lost the plot. Katniss, in my opinion, makes the decision she does as she doesn't really have another option and thought it did an injustice to them all.

I was devastated with some of the choices made by Collins when it came to killing off characters and to me the main death of the piece really wiped out the entire point of the whole trilogy (maybe that is going too far but that is how I felt at the time). I know it was a war and people die but it really went a little too far for me liking

Don't get me wrong there were good bits in this book. I didn't see a lot of the twists coming and unlike several other reviews I have read I didn't mind the epilogue (it's the famous five fan in me - I liked the HP one too). I liked the fact that we got away from the games and that the book was more about the political climate built up in the hunger games world.

All in all not an awful book and I certainly don't regret reading it but there is so much I wish had been handled differently if nothing else to have done full justice to the awesomeness that is Katniss Everdeen.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Firelight Sophie Jordan

WoW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
published on 7th September 2010 by Harper Teen


Description from goodreads
With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.

I have heard awesome things about this book and am looking forward to reading it (my copy should be on its way to me soonish). Another case of ordering a book because I loved the cover!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Review - Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Published by Walker on 6th September 2010


Magic is dangerous but love is more dangerous still

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends and quickly realises that love may be the most dangerous magic of all. 


***

I was offered this book last week for review by the publishers and the mere thought of receiving it filled me with excitment. Now have since received (mega mega excited) and read the book I can honestly say it met and exceeded all of my expectations. Put simply this book rocks.

I have only just recently got into Cassandra Clare having only just read the first book in the Mortal Instruments triology. I did think it was possible but I think probably love this series even more.

First off the historian in me loved the setting of this book. I loved the fact that it was so victorian, complete with the dingy streets and rubbish weather.Ii also loved the fact that it was researched well and that you could imagine it actually having happened. I kept expecting Jack the Ripper to pop up and get a royal butt kicking from Will. I loved the fact that poor Tessa was so horrified (as a proper victorian lady would) that Charlotte wore trousers and that Sophie, a mere servant, spoke back to Will.

Tessa as a character grows on you. I'm sure she will be compared to Clary and it'll be argued that she isn't as fiesty. My argument would be that she comes from a completely different world in which women are expected to be the perfect ladies and the thought that she would even back chat someone would be scandalous. I liked seeing how she comes out of the shell as the book progresses and can see much promise for the character as she grows into the person she is finally going to be.

As with Mortal Instruments there are a host of other characters who draw you in. Will and Jem are very much a double act who you can't help but love. Charlotte and Henry are also wonderfully endearing as Leaders of the institute. I loved the parts when Charlotte goes wading in with the boys in the middle of the fights Sally Lockhart stylee.

I found the whole notion of clockwork soldirs extremely creepy (in my head all I kept imagining were the Clockwork manequins out of doctor who) the whole notion freaked me out somewhat and made from brilliant reading when they were involved in any fights.

The final battle of the story was gripping. Without giving anything away I didn't see any of the twists or surprises coming and thought the outcome set up the charcaters brilliant for the next book in the series.

All in all an excellent book which I encourage you to read even if you haven't read mortal instruments. Although the book is a prequel apart from brief references nothing crosses over yet - I am hoping they might in the future. I literally cannot wait for the next one!!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Review - City of Bones - Cassandra Clare

City of Bones
Published on 22nd July 2007 by Walker Books Ltd


When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.


***

I really enjoyed this book in the end. The story starts off straight away in the middle of the action drawing you instantly in.

I instantly liked the character of Clary. She is headstrong and independent and not at all whiny or annoying. It was nice to see a strong female lead. In addition to Clary being a brilliant lead character Clare includes a variety of secondary characters who are just as strong. Jace is an awesome character who I literally loved as he was absolutely gorgeous (even though he knew it). The relationship between him and Clary was awesome as they constantly sparked off each other as they are both so headstrong and often the dialogue between them made me laugh out loud. I also loved Simon, Isabelle and Alec and am very excited to see more of them in the next books.

There was an awful lot jammed into this book but unlike some books I have read it never felt like too much as it was all introduced well and spread out as the story progressed so that you weren't overwhelmed. There is so much which I am dying to find out more about.

The main thing I loved about this book was that it was unpredictable and I never saw any of the twists coming. There were several times when I was just stunned that something had happened as it was both so huge and so unexpected. Without saying anything spoilery I can't to see how some of the new plot twists play out.

All in all an awesome book which has set up a new series I am sure I am going to be obsessed with.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

In my Mailbox (13)

IMMB is hosted by the awesome Kristi at www.thestorysiren.com

I recevied some awesome books this week

For review

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (thanks Walker books for this aweome book!)


Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
           When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
           Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
           Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: Jem, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa.
           As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all. 


I was incredibly excited to be offered this book and extremely excited when it arrived. It is awesome (review will be up on Tuesday) 


Bought

The Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels (click link for decription)


I have wanted this for a while and was gutted that I couldn't get it in the UK but I have now finally managed to get it yay!


from www.readitswapit.co.uk


One day by David Nichol


I don't really know a huge amount about this but it was recommended to be by my librarian friend (I would go the library more if I could go to her library but I can't as it is in a prison)


The city of ember by Jeanne DuPrau




Skinned by Robin Wasserman


I wanted some books that were dystopian as I have really enjoyed the dystopian fiction I have read in the last month - so I had a look at a list of goodreads and then saw what of that list I could find on readitswapit. Looking forward to them both

I also received a lovely little swag pack from Denise Jaden which included some signed bookmarks for Losing Faith. I will be sharing them via the blog soonish!

Update!!
I missed one! I received restoring harmony from UK book tours! It looks fab! Thanks lyndsey



Saturday, 4 September 2010

Review - My name is memory - Ann Brashares

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, inspired, magical book-a love story that lasts more than a lifetime.

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has "the memory", the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he's previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel's unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

A magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking story of true love, My Name is Memory proves the power and endurance of a union that was meant to be.


***
This is possibly the best book I have read so far this year. It literally blew me away in its awesomeness.

The main driving force of this story and the thing I loved the most about it is Daniel's ongoing love for Lucy a soul he keeps finding time and time again in the many different lives he has lived. The love he had for came across throughout the book beautifully. It really made you think about the whole concept of soul mates as they seemed destined for each despite the various circumstances they were in, in the different lives they were born into.

I really enjoyed the idea reincarnation used as the book's premise. I loved the idea that Daniel could remember all of his lives and enjoyed the chapters where he went back to explain his different lives and what he and Lucy/Sophia had been through. I liked the idea that he picked up something (be a language or a skill) with every life and carried them through to the next one. I loved the idea that he kept associating with the same souls time and time again (not just Lucy).

I must admit that I saw the twist coming but it didn't make it any less thrilling to read. There was no way anyone was prising the book out of my hands at this point as I was desperate to know what happened.

The only thing I didn't like is the way the book ended as it seemed to cut short. I am hoping that this means there will be an equally superb sequel as I really want to sees what happens next (in his life or beyond) with Daniel and Lucy.

To sum up a fantastic book, beautifully written, totally engaging with an intelligent and gorgeous storyline.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Fab Friday Find

Joe Browns

A fab website that I love - Awesome clothes. Check it out.

I have my eye on the following
I can't wait for the weather to get cooler - I love all my knitted things.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Backstage Blogging


please check out www.thestorysiren.com today. Kristi is running a feature called backstage blogging which is a feature where two panels of bloggers (newbies and more experienced bloggers) answer questions about blogging. I am featured in her post today (the bloke in the Knight's helmet is my husband - I forgot that I sent her that picture and laughed a lot when I saw that today!). I am eternally grateful for her the feature and if you haven't heard of her blog (which I doubt) you ought to check it out)

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Waiting On Wednesday - Lies - Michael Grant

I love this series. It is really fast paced and engaging and quite chilling in many places. I recently bought a fab signed hardback edition of the first book. Can't wait for this!

It happens in one night: a girl who died now walks among the living, Zil and the Human Crew set fire to Perdido Beach, and amid the flames and smoke, Sam sees the figure of the boy he fears the most - Drake. But Sam and Caine defeated him along with the Darkness - or so they thought. As Perdido Beach burns, battles rage: Astrid against the Town Council; the Human Crew versus the mutants; and Sam against Drake. And the prophetess Orsay and her companion, Nerezza, are preaching that death will set them all free. As life in the FAYZ becomes more desperate, no one knows who they can trust.