Sunday, 31 October 2010

In my Mailbox (21)

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

Another awesome week here at the overflowing library!


Bought

This weekend I got to go to Cambridge which is one of my most favourite places in the world. One of the many reasons why I like going there is we detour to Ely on the way and go to Topping and Co, possibly one of the best bookshops I have ever been in mainly because they have loads of signed books up for grabs. Whilst there I picked up

Reckless by Cornelia Funke and Birth of a Killer by Darren Shan. I've not really heard a lot about either of them except that I've heard both of the authors are good and being the signed book addict I am I couldn't resist.

I also found Shift by Rachel Vincent and The year the gypsies came by Linzi Glass really cheap so picked them up too. I haven't got as far as this book in the shifters series - I have enjoyed it so far, and the last time I read a Linzi Glass book I loved it.

Won

A very lucky week for me for books won. I got a signed copy of Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes from Lyndsey at Heaven, Hell and Purgatory book reviews which I was incredibly excited about and read pretty much the moment it came through the door. I also won two ARCs from Jess at jessheartsbooks both of which look awesome Boys don't cry by Malorie Blackman (review to come - loved it) and Department 19 by Will Hill  (Vampire hunting new series - there isn't a lot on goodreads about it yet as it isn't out until March next year)

For review

One lovely little book for review this week Solid by Shelley Workinger which she sent me herself - thank you very much it looks fab and I'll be getting to it very shortly (my mum actually picked it up the moment it came through the door and read it in a matter of hours and enjoyed it)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Review: Trash by Andy Mulligan

Trash By Andy Mulligan
Published by David Flickling Books (Random House)






Raphael is a dumpsite boy. He spends his days wading through mountains of steaming trash, sifting it, sorting it, breathing it, sleeping next to it. Then one unlucky-lucky day, Raphael's world turns upside down. A small leather bag falls into his hands. It's a bag of clues. It's a bag of hope. It's a bag that will change everything. 

***
This book was totally different from anything else I have read so far this year. It hit on a variety of topics which made me think and was generally a nice read.

The story was told from the point of view of three boys (along with occasional commentary from other secondary characters) who live and work in trash, namely the city landfill site. They make their living from wading through the rubbish thrown out by the people in the city they live in. The first thing that really struck home for me whilst reading this was how this was in fact normal life for a huge number of people which really hit home with me and possible the main reason why this should be a more widely read book. The fact that there was a free school on site which the children didn't use just highlighted how poor these people were.

The main thrust of the story is a mystery based around a bag found by the boys one day which as it unravels throws up a great deal of moral questions about poverty, police and statement corruption and the ever growing divide between the world's most rich and the world's most poor. The story goes along quite nicely and ends with a Robin Hoodesque morale to the story. In truth I didn't find it the most engaging story nor did I think the ending fit with the story as a whole.

Certainly a book with a moral conscious which if nothing else makes it one you ought to read but do bear in mind it is probably aimed at younger readers as the story is quite straight forward and predictable.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Books I've previously loved: Harry Potter

I have loads of books I love that I haven't done full reviews on here because I read them well before I starting blogging. I wanted to share a few of them with you every once in a while so I will be doing a post like this every once in a while until I get through them all.

I'm going to start with one of my absolute favourites, The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

I am the first to admit I initially missed the Harry Potter craze. I only joined in once book four had been published. Harry Potter was the series that finally pulled me back into reading again. When I was a teenager I didn't know what I should be reading. I was too old for Enid Blyton but too young for adult books and the ones we had to read in school certainly weren't inspiring. I stopped going to the library or to bookshops and I had quite a few years when I just didn't read. I certainly didn't plan to start to again but at the age of 16 I happened upon Harry and my reading habits haven't been the same again.

I ended up reading the first Harry Potter book for work. I used to work part time in a toy shop whilst I was at school and one of the perks of the job was that my bosses would take me with them to the London toy fair in January. It was awesome, held in at Excel, it was basically a load of grown men playing with toys for two days. I used to go to help them buy what we would be selling for the next year. We stumbled upon the Hasbro stand and they had loads and loads of Harry Potter merchandise (pre film era - some of it in hindsight was laughable - I mean since when would Harry Potter need a torch??) and in a bid to get a head of the game I purchased the read the first four books in a matter of days. I was freaking hooked.

What I loved about Harry was that it had all the qualities I loved about my old child story books but it had that bit more that I could get my teeth into. I loved that characters and I loved the story lines and absolutely wanted to be apart of that world. What I really really enjoyed however was the speculation of what would happen in future books and trying to guess where things were going (I was wrong on all accounts btw).


Book one for me will always be a classic and it is so different from what the series becomes. I loved this first book so much I actually hunted it down in German to read for my German A Level (for the record I didn't ever read it but I did have to talk about it for 4 minutes in German which did not go so well - I sucked at A Level German). I've never had the heart to throw it away as I love how different the book looks.

Book two is my least favourite I think it because it is very similar to Book one in format and I didn't like it as much as book one. I felt as I was reading it like everything had pretty much been done before. It is actually the main reason why I am put off rereading the set (despite the fact that it is still a good book) and I really ought to make myself get through it again to get the full Harry Experience.

The main things I love about the series itself (without being too spoilery for those strange people who have yet to read it are as follows:

  1. The main characters are so diverse and well written. I love Harry and his friends and hate the bad guys. My favourite character has got to be Hermione. I loved how you had a strong and clever female lead who wouldn't put up with being rescued by the boys and how she would often save the day in the end.
  2. The stories often leave you guessing. I love the fact that I got these books as they came out originally and got to speculate along with everyone else was was happening or going to happen. I love the twists and turns and the fact that JK Rowling doesn't always go for the happy ending every time.
  3. I love the world of Hogwarts. I actually want to go and live in that castle and use magic. While I am well aware that the muggle world is all there is a part of me still wants the magic to be true
  4. Quidditch - a sport I could actually be tempted to watch. I loved the scenes with the Quidditch matches. I want to learn to fly and broom and play lots of it - preferably as a beater - give me a good stick I'd really enjoy whacking things at people.
Certainly a series that I can see myself reading time and time again over the years. I think next time I get a good chunk of time off work (like next summer holidays it may be something I get through again. I don't think it'll be one that will ever age or lose its impact. The values they hold are brilliant (even if certain groups have tried to ban it lots of times). I am looking forward to seeing the films as they are released (even though some of them have annoyed me somewhat as so much is missed) but would argue that you will never get the true Harry Potter experience unless you've read the books. If you've not checked it out you are certainly missing out.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

why I don't read the classics....

My reading age is 16 and it has been that way for a while. I love it and don't see any reason why I should change it. I love what I read and I like to think that I read a wide range or styles and genres. It did occur to me the other day that this isn't true. I don't read classics or anything remotely weighty. People find this a bit strange especially as my degree is in history. I often have people either buy or recommend me weighty historical tomes or classics because they know I teach History and I like reading. What I can't get through to them is the fact that I don't actually read those types of things anymore and I've been trying to pin down my reasons why. So far I have the following:

  1. Classic Novels were the types of books I had to read in school. While I have always loved reading I hated reading shakespeare or hobbit or great expectations in school. I don't know if that was because I was being told I had to read them or because you only got to read a little bit of them (what was the point in that?) or because the class I was in was awful so I just associate that type of book with bad memories.
  2. A weighty book be it academic or classic takes ages to read. I resent taking so much time to read a book I do not particularly enjoy
  3. I spend 4 years doing a degree reading a variety of academic texts. I enjoyed my degree and my subject and I try to pass that enjoyment on everyday to the kids but nowadays when I come home after a long day my brain just wants to turn off and enjoy something escapist.
So all in all that is why you will not find anything remotely grown up being reviewed on here. My inner child in fully in charge!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Paranormalcy by Kirsten White

Paranormalcy by Kirsten White
Published by HarperCollins Children books on 6th January 2011


Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. 


***
You don't know how jealous I have been of everyone who already has this. Grrr UK release dates!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Review: Pastworld by Ian Beck

Pastworld by Ian Beck
Published by Bloomsbury


Pastworld is the greatest theme park ever devised. London - the real London - transformed into a living, breathing recreation of the Victorian era.

To Eve, a lifelong resident of Pastworld, horse-drawn carriages and gas lamps are modern technology. Eve doesn't even know she's living in a simulation - until she is forced to flee the only home she's ever known, and to confront the truth about her city and herself.

To Caleb, a tourist visiting Pastworld, the theme park is the perfect antidote to the stifling conformity and regulation of 2048. The gritty wildness of the past is thrilling - until he finds himself at the scene of a murder, holding the knife, and suddenly becomes a fugitive from an antiquated justice system.

And in the midst of it all, in the thick London fog, a dark and deadly figure prowls, claiming victim after victim. He's the Fantom, a creature both of the past and of the future, in whose dark purpose Caleb and Eve will find their destinies combined.


***
I received this book from Bloomsbury for review having never heard anything about it before and was instantly intrigued by the concept. Pastworld follows the entwining stories of a variety of characters based in a theme park which is set up to be London in the Victorian era. That was enough to sell it for me (my history geek brain was very very excited about it). I loved the idea that people would actually pay good money to go back into the past and experience life as was. I drawn even further in when I found out one of the main characters had live there all her life and didn't know the world outside (it actually reminded me a little of the concept for the film the village)

The way the story was told was quite unusual in that there were a variety of view points used to tell the over arching story line rather than one narrator throughout. It did mean you got the know the characters less but did mean that you got a broader experience and introduction to the world of the Pastworld theme park. I liked the variety of characters including Eve and Caleb and particularly enjoyed Bible J. I did find Eve a little confusing at first especially her motives behind her decisions but it becomes clear why she has done as she had as the story goes on. I also loved the main villain of the piece as loved how a Jack the Ripper twist was added to the story (you can't have Victorian London without him).

The story twisted and turned wonderfully keeping me thoroughly engaged and interested throughout. I didn't see the final twist/outcome until it hit me and actually it made me want to reread the whole thing again to see if I had missed any clues as it put a real ethical spin on the entire story.

Awesome book which definitely hasn't been getting the exposure it deserves.


A huge thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a review copy!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published by Penguin







Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.


***


After finding this book a little hard to get into I did enjoy it, definately one to stick with (it might also help if you've read book one reasonably recently).

The main thing I like about this series is that it is told for a male point of view which I think it reasonably unusual for a YA book. Ethan is an awesome character who you can't help but warm to. The book picks up directly where the last book left off. You see Ethan trying to keep Lena together after all what happened on her birthday and you feel for him because she really isn't helping herself at all. The first chunk of the book it was like you weren't seeing Lena at all but a completely different character and I for one spent most of it willing her to pull herself together and feeling for Ethan even more. As I said to start with the first part of the book is very slow and I found myself questioning an awful lot of what was actually going on because it all seemed a bit weird to me. It wasn't until about half way through when a revelation was made about Lena that everything else I had just read clicked into place and I started to understand why it had been written the way it had.

Without giving away too much once I hit this point I really started to enjoy that book for a variety of reasons. Firstly there are a whole host of secondary characters both old and new who pop up constantly and are brilliant for a variety of reasons. Particular favourites of mine were Ridley and a new character Liv. I also love the character of Lucille Ball (the cat) and was pleased that there was something more to her than what she initially seemed as I was continually fascinated with her. I enjoyed the scenes in the tunnels which I thought were well written and added and creepy dimension to the book. I also loved the story line involving Macon and his relationship with Jane (I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read it but it is awesome to say the least). The final resolution (well the resolution for the time being) was good, although once again we are left on a cliffhanger not really sure which way things are going to eventually fall.

Definately a slow burner which you need to stick with. When things finally do click in place they really make sense of what has just happened. Certainly one to seek out if you enjoyed the first book.

A huge thanks to Penguin for sending this out to me for review

Sunday, 24 October 2010

In my mailbox (20)

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi at www.thestorysiren.com all book links go to www.goodreads.com
A fab week despite the fact I didn't think I was getting anything


From www.readitswapit.co.uk

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
I've been thinking about getting this for a while as I thought it would be a good one for school. Looking forward to it.

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
I noticed the other day that there is a gorgeous looking hardback set of this series on Amazon. Thought I'd see what they are like before I fork out for it.

For review


Entice by Carrie Jones
I'm hoping this book resolves the story threads set up in the last book because I could have thrown the last one across the room when it finished on a huge cliff hanger.

Bought


Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
I found this hardback edition in a local charity shop for £1.50. I have actually read this but swapped it a while back. This edition was so nice I thought I'd get it.

Vampirates (Demons of the Ocean) by Justin Somper
I found this for 40p in a book sale - I've only heard of the books vaguely but thought I'd picture it up to give it a go.


Death's Shadow by Darren Shan
I've not heard much about this series but I've heard the author is good. For the grand sum of 30p I thought it was worth picking up.

Being by Kevin Brooks
Another library sale bargain I couldn't resist. I read another Kevin Brooks book a while back and enjoyed it so thought I'd see what this is like.


Seers of Light by Jennifer DeLucy
Saving the best to last. I have wanted this book for ages now but couldn't get it in the UK. I have an American friend who works with my husband she asked her sister who is still in the states to get me a copy. After waiting since June it finally turned up. I am very very excited about it!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Published by Simon Pulse






Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.  Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone. Well, sort of. Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost. It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.  As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

***
I enjoyed reading this book for variety of reasons.

I thought the world set up in the novel and concepts within it were totally unique. The idea of a world where all people under a certain age can see and inact with ghosts was quite creepy and quite a brave choice for a YA audience. It was nice to read something so refreshing different in the genre

The character of Aura was interesting. I loved how completely normal she was in dealing with how her life was and all the things that were happening to her. I also enjoyed her interactions with both Logan and Zachary.

This book isn't afraid of hitting the emotions with a variety of different scenes, both happy sad and downright steamy in places. I don't often read something YA which is so realistic and raw.

The only thing I found frustarting was the end. I am left with loads of questions and am hoping that they are resolved in future books. Definately a cliff hanger that is going to royally bug me.


Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me this book to review.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Fab Friday Find

One for all you book lovers today.

I am a bit of a signed book addict. I love having signed books but living where I do means I very rarely get to author signings. I therefore love it when I find a website selling them. The other week I found this site


http://www.firsts-in-print.co.uk/
Yet to buy anything from them but they have an awesome selection of signed books so I don't think it'll be long before I get ordering!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

check out my Ws

I thought I post this just because I am a little bit proud of myself.

as of yesterday my new blog address is www.overflowinglibrary.com

I happen to think it is rather cool (I am a self confessed technophobe and have been paranoid that my computer was going to burst into flames the moment I tried to change it)

Yay no flames in sight!!!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: The Body Finder

The Body Finder by Kim Derting
Published by HarperCollins December 2010

I have been waiting for this for what seems like an age. It looks awesome and I can't wait for the UK release (please feel free to correct me if I have the date wrong but I think that is when Amazon says mine will be dispatched)




Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
published by Bloomsbury





BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.  PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape. Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present. Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

***
I loved the idea behind revolution and we eager to read it. I must admit I found it hard to get into initially as it was quite slow to start but I did enjoy it by the end.

The story starts with you meeting Andi and all the problems she is dealing with in her life, crazy mother, absentee father and a shed load of guilt about the death of her younger brother, whose death she blames herself for. I was intrigued by her as a character but it did take me a while to warm to her. She has this whole prickly wall built up around her which no one, apart from her eccentric music teacher Nathan (who for the record I loved) can penetrate.

The story finally kicks into play for after the very long introduction when Andi is forced by her father to accompany him to Paris and forced to work on her high school thesis as a last ditch attempt to not be kicked out of school.

I loved how the story developed once Andi got to France after discovering a secret diary of a girl of a similiar age to herself who was alive during the French Revolution who happened to be involved with the royal family. I enjoyed the historical insight from some who was there and loved seeing Alex's story unfold. I liked that as you found out more in the diary Andi herself started to become less of a mystery with more of her story unfolding too (I won't go into too much detail about it so not to spoil for others). I think I really just loved how Andi was discovering this whole new historical story that no one else had ever heard of (I will freely admit the historian in me was jealous!)

I loved how the story finally finished itself and its final resolution which was very satisifying. The only bit I really didn't like was the final section involving Andi's 'dream it really irritated me and I really wondered if the book was going to nosedive from there. Fortunately it did recover itself but I don't think it was neccessary and it spoiled the book for me. All in all a book I would recommend to others which was well written and enjoyable despite the few things that niggled me. Definately worth a read if you like historical fiction especially as this is an era I haven't seen done in other YA fiction.



A huge thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me this book for review.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Review: The dead of Winter by Chris Priestley

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley
Published by Bloomsbury


Michael Vyner recalls a terrible story, one that happened to him. One that would be unbelievable if it weren't true! Michael's parents are dead and he imagines that he will stay with the kindly lawyer, executor of his parents' will ...Until he is invited to spend Christmas with his guardian in a large and desolate country house. His arrival on the first night suggests something is not quite right when he sees a woman out in the frozen mists, standing alone in the marshes. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself as he is kept from his guardian and finds himself spending the Christmas holiday wandering the silent corridors of the house seeking distraction. But lonely doesn't mean alone, as Michael soon realises that the house and its grounds harbour many secrets, dead and alive, and Michael is set the task of unravelling some of the darkest secrets of all. This is a nail-biting story of hauntings and terror by the master of the genre,

***
This book was lovely quick read and brilliantly unique. Set in the Victorian era this book followed the story of a recently orphaned young boy called Michael who suddenly found that he had been made the ward of an aristocratic man who lived in a creepy house in East Anglia where he has been summoned to spend Christmas with.

The best thing about this book was that it was incredibly unique in its premise and I don't think I've read anything quite like it. I enjoyed the setting of the Victorian era and loved how the author had written in a style which was in keeping with the time in which it was set. In fact I think the time setting made it even more creepy.

You begin the story not knowing quite what was going on while feeling for the main character Michael having just lost his mother and then been forced to go and stay in a place he doesn't know with people he doesn't know. As things start to happen you don't quite know what to believe and don't know whether things actually are happening or whether they are in Michael's mind.

As the story carries on you begin to find more out about the house where he is staying and the family he is staying with. All the characters you meet are wonderfully written and the plot twists and turns brilliantly as you get closer to the end. There were certainly scenes which were very chilling and creepy as the mystery untangled. I must say I didn't quite see where the book was going and I definitely didn't see the final outcome.

A fab book which will creep you out and keep you guessing to the very end. Get it in time for Halloween!

A huge thankyou to Bloomsbury for sending this book to me!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

In my mailbox (19)

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

Awesome week for books this week. I wasn't actually expecting to get an awful lot but I did and it was all a bit too exciting!!



For review (thanks to penguin for both of these - you made my week!)

Matched by Ally Condie 
This is the only book I thought might turn up this week. I found out I was getting a copy last week about 10pm after my day out with a coach load of 15 year olds in the middle of London (Norfolk kids seriously do not have a clue about London, I spend the day on edge). I was so excited.. All I can say is it is definately worth all the hype surrounding it as it is awesome! I read it in a matter of hours yesterday after receiving it friday evening after work.

Beautiful Darkness by Garcia and Stohl
I did not know this was coming my way and I was so totally freaked out when I opened it. I had been at work late and got in about 9.30 and jumped around a lot when I opened in (in front of a room full of disinterested boys may I add). I am so much looking forward to this.

Bought


Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Ordered this ages ago directly after reading hush hush. Looking forward to it muchly

The Hollow by Jessica Verday
I received the second book in the series last week from Simon and Schuster so tracked this down to give the series a whirl.

Swapped
Hourglass Claudia Gray
I've only read the first one in the series, looking forward to getting around to it at some point. Even better was the fact that I swapped it for a boring book my dad was chucking out. I love readitswapit.

Present
Torment by Lauren Kate
My lovely husband went to Birmingham this week on a work function. Whilst he was in Tescos he saw that they had Torment in stock and bought it for me. He also got a copy of Fallen for free when he bought it which will no doubt end up as a present for one of my friends or on readitswapit.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Review - The Prophecy of the sisters - Michelle Zink

The Prophecy of the sisters by Michelle Zink
Published by Atom






Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe and her twin sister Alice have just become orphans, and, as Lia discovers, they have also become enemies. The twins are part of an ancient prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. To escape from a dark fate and to remain in the arms of her beloved boyfriend James, Lia must end the prophecy before her sister does. Only then will she understand the mysterious circumstances of her parents' deaths, the true meaning of the strange mark branded on her wrist, and the lengths to which her sister will go to defeat her.

***
I don't usually like books that are very slow to start like this one it but I found this book incredibly engaging and enjoyed it quite a bit. The main thing I loved about this book was the historical setting the story was based in. I loved reading about how things were done and about a world which is both so similar and so different to ours in its values and customs. I felt this book was setting up what could be an excellent series. A lot of seeds were sown of future plot lines which did mean that not a lot was resolved. I am hoping that they are played out and resolved well in future books. I liked the main character of Lia although she is quite reserved and a little hard to warm to. I enjoyed her relationship with the other girls in the book and enjoyed following their investigations into the prophecy and the world surrounding it. I found Alice to be an incredibly creepy character and often found myself dreading what she was going to do - I hope she gets what's coming to her. A highly original concept that appears to be well thought out. I hope the next books in the series deliver - if they do and do it well this will be an epic series.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Fab Friday Find

I thought I would use today's post to refer you all to my friend's new blog so he can get some more followers. Yes this is a very shameless plug.

http://johnboysplace.blogspot.com/

John is one of my best friends and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is a frequent visitor to our house and often is found sat in my library gazing at my books in a similiar way to I do.

This blog was set up recently because I suggested it might be a good way for him to put his poetry out there. He has been writting poems as long as I have know them and it is amazing to watch as he literally just writes them out. I don't get poetry at all  but I think its good. He even got to into the top ten of an international competition held on amazon about the time Beedle the Bard came out for writing a poem about Harry Potter. He has also written me some lovely songs for school about a variety of things I sing to kids (badly may I add)

So please check it out and leave a comment or two for him

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Fictional dinner party

I have asked the authors I have interviews on my blog the following question and thought I ought to have my own answer for it too.

Which five characters from books would you invite to a fantasy dinner party and why? 

I have thought long and hard about it and have come up with the following dinner guests

Sally Lockhart from The Ruby in the Smoke (and following books)



I love this series of books and I loved Sally Lockhart as a character. She is living in a time when she's not taken seriously because she is female but she gets on with it anyway and doesn't put up with any rubbish. i reckon she'd be brilliant conversation.

Tally Youngblood from Uglies (and following books)



Admittedly but the end of the series probably not the best candidate for a dinner party but I loved the character of Tally in the early part of the series. She was down to earth and brave and stood up for what she believed in. I loved her fun loving edge as well. Again by the end another person I wouldn't mess with.

Katniss Everdeen from the Hungergames series







I love Katniss and am still gutted about how she was developed as a character in the final book. This girl has so much spirit and loyalty and is generally awesome. I would love to see a conversation between her and Tally Youngblood as they are so similiar in someways and so different in others.



Hermione from Harry Potter








I don;t think you'd get more intelligent conversation from anyone else. I love the character of Heromine throughout the books as I can relate to her so much. She wants to do well and do the right thing but will sacrifice those things to help her friends. I imagine she could conjour up a few tricks for entertainment too.



Jace Wayland from the Mortal Instruments series







I didn't realise I'd be so girl focused when I started this so I thought I better add a gorgeous bloke. Who else has got the charm to handle these feisty ladies? I think Jace is was made for that role.



Runner up I would have loved to include.

Kyra from The Chosen One - The other girlies would be a real eye opener for her>
Sam from Shiver/Linger - another gorgeous boy for the girlies
Willow from Buffy - For much the same reasons as Hermione
Lyra Silvertongue from His Dark Materials - I love almost as much as Sally Lockhart (although Sally just has the edge)


Who would you pick for your own dinner party?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Waiting On Wednesday - The Mockingbirds

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Published by Little Brown Books on 2nd November






Some schools have honor codes. Others have handbooks. Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds. Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers. In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

I can't wait for this book - it sounds awesome. I love a good boarding school story and a good debut novel. Hopefully this sound tick all those boxes for me.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Review - The Giver - Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry





In the "ideal" world into which Jonas was born, everybody has sensibly agreed that well-matched married couples will raise exactly two offspring, one boy and one girl. These children's adolescent sexual impulses will be stifled with specially prescribed drugs; at age 12 they will receive an appropriate career assignment, sensibly chosen by the community's Elders. This is a world in which the old live in group homes and are "released"--to great celebration--at the proper time; the few infants who do not develop according to schedule are also "released," but with no fanfare. Lowry's development of this civilization is so deft that her readers, like the community's citizens, will be easily seduced by the chimera of this ordered, pain-free society. Until the time that Jonah begins training for his job assignment--the rigorous and prestigious position of Receiver of Memory--he, too, is a complacent model citizen. But as his near-mystical training progresses, and he is weighed down and enriched with society's collective memories of a world as stimulating as it was flawed, Jonas grows increasingly aware of the hypocrisy that rules his world. With an eerie futuristic setting, Lowry is once again in top form--raising many questions while answering few, and unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers.

***
The best thing about this book was the seemingly idilic world that was set up. Everything was so well thought out and considered and the whole thing was downright creepy. The thing that was the most amazing thing about the setting is that it takes you a good while to figure out exactly how clever it is and when I finally did the whole concept just blew my mind. I loved the fact that this book is completely original in its concept and I can see that it has obviously inspired many other authors writing in the same genre. From the start of the book you are thrust into a world which is seemingly perfect. People's needs are catered to fairly and everyone has their part to play in the world following a series of seemingly reasonable rules and routines. People are matched to their perfect job, partner and family. Everyone contributes and everyone is provided for all life long All the rules and routine seem perfectly reasonably as you start reading the book. Its only when you start to go through the book that you start to find out that things aren't quite what they seem and they start to appear a little sinister. The ideas about people being released (which aren't really addressed until the end fully) are very creepy and the whole notion. The whole world notions are not unraveled until Jonas is matched up to his job assignment and he becomes the receiver. Once this happens you meet the giver and the whole concept of them their purpose in this society is mindblowing. I won't go into loads of detail as I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it but the more you see of them and their separate world the more it dawns on you how much people are giving up to live in this utopian society. The final ending was very quick but again amazing. The only slightly negavtive things I found about this book was that it was little simplistic at times and in terms of literacy level more suited to younger teens whereas the ideas and theme within it are more suited to an older audience. I also was left wanting more, lots more, and was disappointed to see the sequel is more a companion than a sequel. I actually can't believe that I never heard about it before and would definately recommend anyone into into dystopian fiction hunts this out.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Review - Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Published by Simon and Schuster





In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts. 

 ***

I really enjoyed this book. I haven't read a great deal of steampunk (except Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel) but I definitely think it is a genre I need to get into more as I really love it.

The historian in me really got into the alternative world set up around the outbreak of World War One especially as it is an era I already love. I like how the book was set around an historical event even though it was taken into a different direction. It's quite something for me to say that as sometimes if the author has done this sort of thing badly it really winds me up. I loved the world Westerfeld had set up with the Darwinists and the Clankers and loved finding out about the different machines and the world set around them.

There were some interesting characters introduced as the book went along and although I didn't entirely warm to them I am definitely interested enough in both Alek, Deryn and Dr Barlow to want to know more about them and what happens to them. The thing I really liked was how much the two teenagers contrasted each other and complimented each really well and I enjoyed seeing their different perspectives on the world.

I liked that the book was illustrated but quite honestly I don't think the paperback edition did them any favours as they were black and white and a little  hard to make out all of the details on the more detailed pictures (this probably wasn't aided by the fact that I read in bed by fairylight)

All in all an awesome book whichI enjoyed a lot. I will be eagerly awaiting Behemoth.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

In my Mailbox (18)

In my Mailbox is hosted by the awesome Kristi at www.thestorysiren.com

I had an awesome week this week bookwise. I did many happy dances at the front door whilst in the process of opening packages.


For review

I can't tell you how appreciated this little package was from Bloomsbury this week. I got home on friday after a hellish week at work (think 5am start and a bus load of 14 year olds on a 15 hour round trip and you're starting to get the picture). Thank you very much Emma.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
I am super excited about this one as I enjoyed her first book A Gathering Light and I do love historical fiction. I love the UK cover much more than the American one.

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley
This book looks mega creepy. I do love reading stuff by UK authors. I believe it is also set in East Anglia - yay!


Pastworld by Ian Beck
This looks like an awesome book - the village meets victorian england meets big brother. I have never heard of it before but am super excited to read it soon.

Blood Feud by Alyxander Harvey
I must admit I wsn't the biggest fan of book one but I am told that this is a series which keeps getting stronger so I am quite interested to give it a go.

Won

I got a lovely email a while back from Jenny at wondrous reads saying I had won her prize pack from her Simon and Schuster week. I was so incredibly excited about it although I wasn't entirely sure what it contained as I love love love everything I have read so far published by Simon and Schuster. I got the following books along with a super cool tote bag, some buttons, some lovely postcards and bookmarks and some posters. Thank you Jenny and Simon and Schuster. You made my week.

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
This books is awesome and definately one of the best I have read this year. As I have already read it the lucky kids at school will be getting it for their library as I definately think it is one they should read.

The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski
This looks really good. Angels and gorgeous boys, awesome!

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Another wicked looking book based on a girl who can see ghosts - maybe not one to read late at night!

The Haunted by Jessica Verday
I've been meaning to get the first book in this series for a while - this is the second book so I deliberately haven't paid it too much attention. I may have to pop over to Amazon and make a purchase.

Swapped

An awesome week for swapping. I am actually moaning a little bit that I hadn't had any takers on www.readitswapit.co.uk for a while and then all of a sudden they all came through at once.

The Island by Sarah Singleton (Simon and Schuster)
I put this on my wishlist a while back as I remember seeing an interview with someone high up at Simon and Schuster and they said this was one to watch out for (I think it was on wondrous reads but I could be wrong). I am quite looking forwrd to it - the premise reminds me for a book I read years ago called Losing Gemma.


The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones (Candlewick Press)
Another one I saw elsewhere thought it looked good and it happened to pop up on readitswapit. Looks creepy.

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (Simon and Schuster)
Yet another author I have heard is good but I haven't got round to reading yet. Looking forward to it.

The Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink (Atom)
I've only just got into this series - the lovely Emma at asamum's book utopia sent this to me as a swap. Thank you muchly.

Bought

Trash by Andy Mulligan (David Flickling Books)
Heard loads of good things about this. I happened to see Foyles had a signed edition on their website so I ordered it while they still had them. Sounds really good.

Blood Ransom by Sophie McKenzie (Simon and Schuster)
Love Sophie McKenzie, love this series. Looking forward to it muchly.

Freefall by Mindi Scott (Simon Pulse)
I have had my eye of this for a while and totally forgot that I preordered it. Looks really good.

A truly fab week, thank you to everyone who sent me things.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Review - The Thirteenth Chime - Emma Michaels

The Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels
Published 2010 by Bokheim publishing






No one knew of its existence until it was removed from the attic upstairs. In a beautiful house that overlooks the sea, an antique clock has the power to change the course of their lives. The power the clock resonates will not only force Destiny and ex-boyfriend David on a journey into the depths of one man's mind long dead, but into the mind of a man filled with hatred and bent on revenge. With the only clues to the nature of the clock having disappeared into the sea, Destiny and David must retrace the steps the man had taken into the darkness, before they fall prey to the trap he had set in motion over half a century ago. Hatred never dies

***
I enjoyed this book and it certainly had its merits. I enjoyed the overall premise of the story and the whole mystery surrounding the Grandfather clock. The books was fast paced at the end as the whole mystery unravelled itself and I thought the way it resolved itself was good in the end. I will certainly be interested to see were the story goes if a sequel is published and there is a lot of ideas I would like to see developed further.

I did however think the book lacked something. As I was reading it I got a similar sort of feeling I got when I watch early episodes of my favourite TV shows - you enjoy them but they aren't quite polished enough quite yet to be really good viewing. I simply didn't get the whole deal between David and Destiny and I actually thought her motives throughout the story were quite selfish. The writing style was quite simplistic at times and needed fleshing out. The first part of the story was very slow and not a lot happened at all. I also found that there weren't any characters I could particularly warm too.

Overall all in all definitely one to look out for despite the flaws in it. I hope that as the author progresses through the series her writing will get stronger and stronger. The idea behind the story certainly have potential to make an awesome series.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Fab Friday find

Today's find is something I happened to find while wandering around London in the summer which I was very very excited about and recently reminded of by Clover at Fluttering Butterflies in a recent post where she talked about American Candy she missed.

The place I found was a shop called Cybercandy which also have a website www.cybercandy.co.uk

They sell a variety of sweets, cereals and drink from around the world but the thing I got really excited about was

I absolutely loved these bad boys (for those of you who haven't had one they are pretzels dipped in chocolate). when I was a teenager. My week was made if mum happened to go to ASDA where they stocked large packets of them. I was devastated when they stopped making them in the UK. So imagine the scene - in the middle of London - wander in unassuming shop and they they are - a whole stand no less and I havem't had one of these bad boys in about 10 years. I don't know how I contained the pure excitment. I have yet to buy off the website (there lays the path to the darkside) as I know I wouldn't be able to stop and would end up putting on loads of wait but whenever I go to London I have to now hunt this little place out!!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Crying at books???



I'm posting this out of pure curiousity as crying at books is something I generally don't do. I've certainly felt a little sad when reading different books and my old lodger would sob at books (my old 6ft, 20 something, male lodger no less). I could even tell what type of book would send him off and actively used to seek out and give him books that would make me cry - yes I freely admist this probably makes me mean. I used to work alongside the English department at work and they would often go to bits over different books but I assume it was the overly in touch with their emotion qualities that they had that made them do this.

To cut a long story short I want to know is it just me that doesn't cry at books. Am I emotionally dead inside? On the other hand what types of books is it that sends you off. To give you an idea I have given the following books to my old lodger and successfully made him cry with each one

Before I die - Jenny Downham
Life on a refrigdator door - Alice Kuipers

He also said that Harry Potter regularly got to him and another friend sobbed at the end of the Amber Spyglass.

So what do you think??

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Waiting on Wenesday - Beautiful Darkness

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published by Penguin in November (not sure on this as goodreads only has the UK release date but I sure Amazon isn't sending it to me until then)







Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen. Sometimes life-ending. Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems
Really enjoyed the first one of these - can't wait to see where the story goes!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Review - Numbers 2 (The chaos) - Rachel Ward

Numbers 2 the chaos by Rachel Ward
Published by Chicken House 2010



Adam sees 'numbers' - when he looks in peoples' eyes he can see their death-dates, just like his mum Jem used to. Adam has trouble dealing with his awful gift, and when he realises that everyone around him has the same series of numbers, he becomes deeply afraid of what might happen in 2025.
Desperate to find out what could be about to go wrong, Adam spends hours researching possibilities - war, nuclear accidents, killer viruses. He knows something big is coming, but what? And is there anything he can possibly do about it?

***


My first initial thought when I finished reading this book was that this was what book one should have been! I read the first book in a series a while back because I loved the concept but I was really disappointed with it as I felt it really didn't deliver. This book was much stronger and I for one really enjoyed it.

I enjoyed the main characters Adam and Sarah much more than the main characters in the last book and found myself warming to them and caring about what happened to them much more. They just seemed to have a lot more depth to them as people. I loved how Adam's gift was used in this book and was blown away by the ending as things go off epically (is that even a word) when they finally do go off (I couldn't have had that book prised from my fingers during the last 100 pages). The thing I liked was that the whole thing was slightly dystopian as the author has built up a world in the near distant future which is slightly sinister yet very very plausible (think electronic chips and blackout). It made me wonder what the world will be like in 15 years if things carry on as they are.

A fast paced exciting book that kept me thoroughly engaged throughout. If you were put off by the first book don't let it stop you this book is well worth the time and effort.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Review - Candor - Pam Bachorz

Candor by Pam Bachorz
published by Egmont Book Ltd


Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town  where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the  best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape Candor, Florida before they're transformed into cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, nd Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles.
***

I enjoyed this book and loved the premise laid out in Candor. The ideas in the book are fresh and original and the book in itself is quite chilling in places.

The story centers around the idea that families who are having problems, be it with their unruly children or they want to give up smoking, move to Candor a seemingly perfect town in America. However perfection comes at a price and the price is that all the residents candor is brainwashed by subliminal messages all day everyday.

I enjoyed the book and finding out about the world of candor. I thought the concept of one town being set up to be perfect was fascinating and a little creepy. I liked the fact that Oscar had managed to find a way round the brainwashing and was trying to break the system by helping teenagers resist the brainwashing and escaping back into the normal world. The entire story was fast paced and engaging with no filler material at all. The ending was a little soul destroying and actually a little bleak (definately not only for if you are feeling miserable)

A nice little book that I would definately recommend.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

In my Mailbox (17)

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

After the last few weeks of having a mental amount of books I managed only toget a few books this week. This is probably a good thing because it was getting to the point where I though I may not be able to get into bed. I've now had the opportunity to sort out my TBR shelves a little (ready and waiting for half term when I imagine I will go book buying mad) and I have claimed two extra bookcases in the library so my gorgeous collection has space to breathe (mad I know!). I now have two YA bookcases (with a shelf of giant random books) and a bookcase of adult books (some of which are my husbands which I have graciously allowed onto my shelves as they are either books I have read or will read at some point). My OCD tendencies loved all the alphabeticalising.

Books I got

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Volume 2 - Various Authors
published by Simon Pulse

I won this in a competition back in August held at once upon a bookcase.  (Thanks Jo) I will be reading them and the first one pretty much back to back once half term hits (I don't think this one is out until November). Very excited about it as I loved Buffy.


The London Eye Mystery - Siobhan Dowd
published by David Flickling Books



I bought this as a signed first edition from http://www.reaveleybooks.co.uk  as I have loved all of the Siobhan Dowd I have read so far and I thought it was highly unlikely that I'll ever get another chance at a signed Siobhan Dowd. Possibly more middle grade than YA but looking forward to it all the same.

Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Published by Arthur Levine Books






I love a debut novel and had been thinking about getting this for a while. The thing that convinced me is the fact that they are changing the name for the UK release to something that doesn't look as good so I thought I'd get it before I was put off!

Looking forward to next week - should have some goodies to show you as I have some swaps agreed and a few books I have been waiting ages for have been dispatched by amazon!!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Review - Lies by Michael Grant

Lies by Michael Grant
Published by HarperCollins 2010


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.

***
This series is awesome. I don't want to write a proper review for this book so not to spoil it for others so I am going to list the things I liked about it and the series.

The series is original in its approach despite reminding me of several other things such as Lost, heroes and lord of the flies.

The books are hard core and definately not for the faint of heart. There is some pretty nasty stuff in them which happens which make for some difficult reading. I don't know what is more difficult, the fact the things actually happen in the story or the fact that you can imagine them actually happening in a world where the entire population is under 15.

Some hard hitting questions about morality and humanity are raised and discussed throughout.

The main characters in this book are awesome. I love Sam (although I didn't feel like he was there as much in this book) and Edilio and I hate the villians of the piece - really really hate them.

I love the fact that I have no idea what is actually going on. Everytime I think I have it sussed my ideas are blown out of the water. The ending of this book in particular blew my mind.

In short - read the series it is awesome!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Fab Friday Find

check out this fab site

www.hardtofindcoolstuff.com

and

www.cutejapanesefashion.com

They are sister companies that do Oriental fashions - a lot of it is quite tiny but I have found a far bit that fits me - got a fab coat off there early this year and currently wondering if I would get away with this