Monday, 28 February 2011

BLOG TOUR: Across the Universe by Beth Revis + UK giveaway

Today I am pleased to host a stop on the UK blog book tour for Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I have loads of goodies to share with you

Firstly - I have the official book trailer for you to view to give you a taste of what the book is about


Secondly -  I have my review of the book

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Published by Razorbill
Challenge: DAC
Source: Review copy (thank you Razorbill)


Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

***
 

I have been waiting for this book for ages and unlike a lot of the "hyped up" books I have read recently I was not left disappointed!

I enjoyed several things about this book. I firstly loved how original it was, I'm not aware of (and certainly haven't read) anything quite like it. I loved the Sci Fi spin but also how it wasn't really geeky Sci Fi and quite accessible to someone who wouldn't usually read that genre.

The first chapters of this book was excellent. The scenes describing the process Amy and her family went through to be frozen for their voyage were quite harrowing and much more real than any film I have ever seen the process being portrayed in.

The first half of the book is quite slow but engaging throughout. I enjoyed meeting the main characters and finding out about the ship and its mission to a new earth. I loved how it flicked between Amy and Elders differing narratives and loved finding out more about the ship and life on board it from their very different perspectives. I spent a lot of it feeling totally heart broken for Amy and the situation she finds herself in. During the scenes when she sits and sobs I wanted to sit and sob with her.

For me the book turned a corner with the scene when Amy was attacked during the Season in the field. I thought it was really well written and it marked a turning point in the story. From there on the pace of the story sped up and so many twists, turns and revelations were thrown at me that I didn't want to put the book down. There are some fascinating story lines which are unpicked - ideas about the season, the great plague and those about how leaders should ethically rule. Without saying too much about the final outcome I will say it was awesome and left me surprised and desperate for more.

All in all an awesome debut novel set in a fantastically original world with brilliant characters. I can't wait for the rest of the series to be released!
Finally - Razorbill have generously said I can giveaway a copy of this fantastic book on my blog by filling out the form below - please read the following before you enter!

You must have a UK mailing address
You don't have to follow my blog but I would love it if you did
One entry per household, please fill in all details or your entry won't count. Your details will be stored securely and only used to contact if you win (Razorbill will send the prize out themselves)

contest closed!!! winner picked and contacted


Sunday, 27 February 2011

In my Mailbox (38)

A huge thak you as always to Kristi the awesome story siren. Go visit her at www.thestorysiren.com to find out more about In my Mailbox

This week has been a pretty awesome week bookwise. I received some truly amazing books in the post which lead to lots of happy dances!

This week I received

I received a wonderful package from my lovely blogging friend Clover - she is wonderful and always sends me fantastic books visit her at http://www.flutteringbutterflies.com

In that lovely parcel was

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson 
This is one book I am really looking forward to reading. I have been meaning to buy a copy for ages but never got round to picking up

By Midnight by Mia James (UK hardback)
I read this ages ago and enjoyed it. Another one I always meant to get a copy of but never go round to it!

I also received some lovely review books - a huge thank you to both Egmont and PanMacmillan for sending them to me.

Plague by Michael Grant (UK paperback)
This series is amazing and I was so excited to find out I was getting a copy in the post. I have already managed to read it since getting it wednesday and it is safe to say it is just as awesome as the first 3 books. Definitely a series I would recommend.

Forgotten by Cat Patrick (UK Proof copy)
This book is out in the summer as looks awesome. Another one I am really excited to read.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (UK proof copy)
Another amazing looking title that I can't wait to read!! All of the covers I've seen are pretty awesome too!

Oh and before I forget - pop back tomorrow - I have an awesome giveaway that will be going up with tomorrow's review.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

blogging ettiquette

In response to a few things I have seen coming up on various blogs and twitter I have decided to post this today. It is not a personal attack on any one blogger in particular but I hope it makes people think

The Overflowing Library's blogging ettiquette tips

Tip #1
Do not use memes to spam other people's blogs. It is rude. If you want to leave a link to your post at least make a comment about the post you are commenting on. If you do that you are more likely to get a visit and comment in return

Tip #2
Keep personal comments and attacks off your blog. If you have a problem with another blogger contact them privately and talk it out or rise above it.

Tip #3
In order to help upkeep the excellent reputation of the blogging community when you review, review like a professional. We may not be paid, or do this full time but we need to have standards if we want to be taken seriously and continue to be valued by publishers.

Tip #4
Do not to be critical of how others chose to blog. Some of us have new content every day, some don't. It doesn't mean that their blogs are any less valuable it's just how things are. In fact sometimes it is the case that less is more. Making them feel bad does not help. Each to their own and all that..

Tips #5
Don't take review copies for granted because they are precious. Not everyone gets them. If you are one of those people who don't get them please remember those bloggers who do get them are often more than happy to share if you are nice (which is where a vast amount of mine come from). That said those of us who do get them have put the time and effort in establishing contacts. We did not get them sent to us instantly the moment we set up blogs.

I'll finish by saying a huge thank you to my fellow bloggers, authors and publishing houses that make blogging such a wonderful part of my life please don't let the few people who do not think before they type make you feel bad or put you off blogging.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Review: Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Genesis by Bernard Beckett
Published by Quercus
Challenge: None
Source: Own copy (UK Hardback)


“What does it mean to be human?” The answer lies within the mystery of Genesis. Set in a postapocalyptic future, the novel takes the form of an examination undergone by young Anaximander as she prepares to enter an enigmatic institution known simply as The Academy. For her subject she has chosen the life of the philosopher-soldier Adam Forde, her long-dead hero. It is through Anax’s presentation and her answers to persistent questioning by her examiners that we learn the history of her island Republic, along with the rules and beliefs of their society. At the completion of the examination, when everything has been laid bare, Anax must confront the Republic’s last great secret, her own surprising link to Adam Forde, and the horrifying truth about her world.
Like the great writers Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick, Bernard Beckett explores the relationship between humans and technology in a brilliantly rendered novel that will keep readers guessing until the final page.

***

This book is very strange and turned out to be really bleak by the end. It is very clever as well and I'm not sure I have got my head round it yet.

The book had a strange format in that it is a record of a 4 hour interview of a girl who hopes to get into the academy that runs her closed society set in the near future after an apocalyptic disaster has wiped out most of humanity during which she is required to talk about her specialised subject: Adam Forde an historical figure she looks up to like a hero.

The thing I liked best about this book was that it talked a lot about the nature of History, what it is, how it can be interpreted, changed and influenced. As I said it is quite clever in how it is written and it questions a lot about the nature of society and philosophy and really gives you a lot of think about. My advice is do not pick it up and expect an easy entertaining read - this book certainly isn't that.

The ending of this was quite surprising, I certainly didn't see it coming and sat quite stunned at the end at the bleakness of it all (certainly not the happy Christmas reading I had envisaged for Christmas day!!)


Thursday, 24 February 2011

Review: The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Published by Sourcebooks
Challenge: None
Source: Review copy






Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that's impossible to forget. 


***

I've got to say that I was so excited to read this book as the premise sounds fantastic. While it was easily readable I've got to say it really wasn't for me.

The main storyline is a really interesting idea - the premise is that water has become so scare it is a rare an valuable commodity - and it would appeal to people who were interested in environmental issues.

The story itself rocketed along and I found that I finished it quickly and was quite engaged with it as the plot unfolded.

I found the characters to be a little shallow, by which I mean I didn't really warm to any of the characters at all and I would have liked them to have been developed a bit more so that I could have warmed to them. I also found that because of this I didn't really get why they were doing the things they were (especially Vera and Will for someone they didn't even really know). While they were older teenagers I found that I saw them in my head as much younger in how they were portrayed.

I also found the storyline itself to be both a bit too epic while being a bit too rushed in places. Suddenly characters were in situations and I found myself having to flick backwards to reread passages to find out how they had got there.

All in all not a bad book but not an amazing one either. I think it would be a fab introduction for younger readers to dystopian fiction.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Waiting in Wednesday: Plague by Michael Grant

I love this series. I can't wait to get the new instalment!

Plague by Michael Grant
Published by Egmont 4th April 2011





 This is a blood-pumping, white-knuckle sci-fi thriller of epic proportions. The FAYZ goes from bad to worse...The darkness has been foiled once again and the resurrected Drake has been contained. But the streets of Perdido Beach are far from safe, with a growing army of mutants fighting against the humans for power in the town. In a small room of a house near the edge of town, Little Pete lies ill on a bed. In his fevered dreams, he continues his battle with the hidden evil that seeks to use his power to bring about anarchy and destruction

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Review: The cabinet of curiosities by Paul Dowsell

The Cabinet of Curiosities by Paul Dowsell
Published by Bloomsbury
Challenge: BBC
Source: review copy (Thank you bloomsbury)





I wasn't sure if this book would be my kind of thing but it totally was and not for the reasons I would have expected.

This book follows the story of Lukas an orphaned boy who has moved to Prague to apprentice with his Uncle, the Emperor's physician. To start with I have to admit I was not gripped by the story. It starts following him as he makes his way to visit his uncle and I started to lose interest.

Once he met his Uncle however I was hooked. I teach the history of Medicine and I have never read a YA book which looks at medical practices from the past. I loved seeing how Lukas's Uncle used the medicine of the day to treat the Emperor. It really brought home the fact that despite the great discoveries and break throughs in medicine that were going on during the Renaissance, not a lot actually changed day to day in the practice of medicine. People were still treated using high superstitious and flawed methods dating back to Ancient times. This is the main reason why I will be recommending this book in the future to people as I found this side of it fascinating.

Once I got this far into the book I started to find it a lot more engaging and the pace of it picked up. By the end of it, it began unputdownable and I had to know how tings were going to turn out and it started to throw up all kinds of twists and turns.

All in all definitely one to stick with. A nice little book with a nice sense of historical period and an engaging storyline.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Review: In the Bag by Jim Carrington

In the bag by Jim Carrington
Published by Bloomsbury
Challenge: BBC
Source: Review copy (thank you Bloomsbury)






In the bag is a contemporary novel about two boys who find a bag with £20,000 in late one night and follows their story thereafter as they decide what they are going to do with the bag the following day.

The thing I liked most about this book was that the book's narrative alternated being two teenage boys who were both written superbly. I could just imagine them as one of the teenagers I teach as the author had captured teenage boys really well in their mannerisms, how they interact with each other and how they would react if they had £20,000 suddenly dropped into their laps.

The story itself went along nicely as was quite engaging to read. I loved seeing how the boys started with the moral high ground but then were tempted to spend a bot then a bit more. I loved seeing how it affected them their relationship. Some of the scenes started out quite funny as they reacted in such a teenage way throwing it all about, taking pictures of themselves with it whilst drunk but they got more serious as the story evolved especially when the "owner" of the cash tracked them down.

The only thing I found a little unsatisfying about this book was the final outcome. It just stops. I would have liked another chapter or two to finish it off in a more rounded way.

All in all a nice quick read which I enjoyed quite nicely. A brilliant insight into the minds of teenage boys.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

In my Mailbox (37)

A huge thanks to Kristi the wonderful story siren for hosting IMM as always. She is fab and you should check her site! www.thestorysiren.com

I didn't think I'd have anything to post for IMM this week and then I got two parcels this morning which were both incredibly exciting with review books and a read it swap it book turned up!! Check these gorgeous things out!



The Forrest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (UK paperback)
I have been meaning to get a copy of this for ages and ages and when it popped up on readitswapit.co.uk I seized the chance! Looking forward to it.

Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe (UK paperback)
This book looks absolutely amazing - I have wanted it for ages (or it at least seems that way). I can't wait to start it!

Red riding Hood by Sarah Blakeley-Cartwright (UK paperback)
Another one that looks fab - I may have to persuade hadders to take me to see it when its released so I need to get it read before then!


I know what you did last summer by Lois Duncan (UK paperback)
I watched the film of this years ago - this is a rerelease as I think it was written years ago. I am told (by the press release) that it is much better than the film!

Desires of the Dead by Kim Derting (UK paperback)
I don't think this needs any introduction. I literally cannot wait to get started with it!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

What I'm doing with my half term ....

Those of you who follow me on twitter will know how much I have been looking forward to this half term as I have been so much in the past 7 weeks with late night events at school and GCSE marking.

February half term is always a strange one because Hadley can never have time off for it so I have a whole week to myself

This is what I plan to do with my half term

  • get my haircut - I already am booked in to go and see my lovely celebrity hairdresser. I have never had a hairdresser who I can totally trust and I can him which is fab. I just sit down and let him do his thing. I never used to look forward to going to the hairdresser but I relly do now!
  • Lunch with moses - half term is also the time when I see my friend who also works in soon and we have lunch mid week and laugh at our other friends who are working
  • Reading - I want to smash my review pile back so I am not feeling guilty all the time
  • Cleaning - alas - half term means cleaning week too. I am hoping to finally clear out my dressing room so I can actually use it again.
  • School work - yes even though it half term I will still be working. I have 7 weeks worth of lessons to plan out and year 8 books and homework projects to marks.
  • Take the cat to the vets - Kairi is booked in for a blood pressure check up! I sense it will be expensive!
  • Knitting - I have requests from 5 of my pupils to make them animal hats which I have been meaning to do since the Christmas hols. If I get them done I'll post a few pics!
  • Blogging - half term also means I can catch up on blogging - get scheduled ahead and visit everyone else and leave comments yay!!
What are your plans for the week off??

    Friday, 18 February 2011

    Review: Mortlock by Jon Mayhew

    Mortlock by Jon Mayhew
    Published by Bloomsbury
    Challenge: BBC
    Source Review Copy (thanks Bloombury for sending this to me for review)


    The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave.

    ***
    This is one creepy book and while it was good it really wasn't for me as it was a bit too creepy and gory.

    The novel is set in Victorian London and follows the story of orphaned twins Josie and Alfie as they try to uncover the mystery of a secret connected to their past, that has been passed on to them in in a note by Josie's dying guardian.

    The story starts off at break neck pace and keeps it up throughout with engaging twists and turns. Despite being totally freaked out at some of the passages (there are some truly horrible descriptions of evil birds attacking people) I had to keep reading to find out what happened. The most disturbing bits for me had to be when anyone was stuck in a house with the aunts and the section at the circus. It is quite a feat to freak me out but this book did it.

    My historical head loved the setting of Victorian London with the descriptions of East End living and the truly horrible conditions people endured.

    Definitely not one for younger readers as there is a lot of gore throughout The story is very macabre throughout and despite me not being keen on some of the content it is actually written very well. . The final ending was good (albeit still freakishly creepy) as it brought everything together well (I do like a nice ending which answers everything) and summed up and finished the story nicely.

    Thursday, 17 February 2011

    Review: Belle's song by KM Grant

    Belle's Song by KM Grant
    Published by Quercus
    Challenge: BBC
    Source: review copy (thank you Quercus)






    When Belle meets Luke, son of an alchemist and Scribe to the famous poet Chaucer, she is determined to travel with him to Canterbury on a pilgrimage. She hopes for a miracle: that her father will walk again. She also hopes to atone for her own part in his accident. It is a time of unrest across the country and the young King Richard II is just hanging on to his throne. A malign character on the pilgrimage suspects Chaucer of treason and slowly winds Belle into a political intrigue. At the same time, the impulsive Belle is drawn towards both Luke and to Walter, the wealthy son of a Knight. But Walter himself is in love with Luke...As the uprising against the King starts to draw pace and the web of intrigue around Belle and Chaucer tightens, Belle and her friends must risk everything to save their country and themselves...

    ***
    Belle's story follows the main character belle as she goes on pilgrimage for her father

    The story is very in depth with lots of detailed description. You get a good sense of period from in about what life was life during medieval times and how people viewed the world.

    The story had two parts. The first bit with the pilgrimage was very straight forward and what you'd expect. The second part looked in more depth at the political rumblings of the time mostly notably events involving the King of England, the King of France and potential plots to overthrow the King. I found these really interesting as ideas as it is a time when the King seen as divine and the punishment for suggest otherwise were severe.

    I loved the relationship between Belle, Walter and Luke. I loved seeing how it developed over the course of the book and I loved the ending and how Belle did what she did to protect her friends. I loved the scenes in the court room and was gasping along as things unfolded and I liked the finally ending.

    I found the story to be quite slow at times and there is a lot of detail to take in. In which case I wouldn't recommend it for younger YA readers but for older teenagers who have a keen interest in historical fiction. All in all a beautifully and intelligently written novel which will appeal to those with a strong interest in medieval historical fiction.

    Wednesday, 16 February 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday: Future Imperfect by K Ryer Bresse

    This book looks awesome - I believe it is a debut - correct me if I'm wrong!

    Future Imperfect by K Ryer Breese
    Published by St Martin's Griffin Apil 2011


    Ade Patience can see the future and it's destroying his life. When the seventeen-year-old Mantlo High School student knocks himself unconscious, he can see days and decades into his own future. Ade's the best of Denver's "divination" underground and eager to join the heralded Mantlo Diviners, a group of similarly enabled teens. Yet, unlike the Diviners, Ade Patience doesn't see the future out of curiosity or good will; Ade gives himself concussions because he's addicted to the high, the Buzz, he gets when he breaks the laws of physics. And while there have been visions he's wanted to change, Ade knows the Rule: You can't change the future, no matter how hard you try.
    His memory is failing, his grades are in a death spiral, and both Ade's best friend and his shrink are begging him to stop before he kills himself. Ade knows he needs to straighten-out. Luckily, the stunning Vauxhall Rodolfo has just transferred to Mantlo and, as Ade has seen her in a vision two years previously, they're going to fall in love. It's just the motivation Ade needs to kick his habit. Only things are a bit more complicated. Vauxhall has an addiction of her own, and, after a a vision in which he sees Vauxhall's close friend, Jimmy, drown while he looks on seemingly too wasted to move, Ade realizes that he must break the one rule he's been told he can't.
    The pair must overcome their addictions and embrace their love for each other in order to do the impossible: change the future.

    Tuesday, 15 February 2011

    Review: The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards

    The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards
    Published by Razorbill
    Challenge: BBC
    Source: Review copy (thanks razorbill)


    1584 – Surrey, England When Lady Jane Rievaulx begins service to the Queen at Richmond Palace, she is thrilled at the court’s newest arrival . . . Master James Lacey. Despite her previous courtship with his older brother, James is the man she truly loves. And for his part, he cannot deny his fascination with her. However, James is setting sail on a treacherous journey to the Americas, seeking absolution for what he sees as past sins. But when Lady Jane is forced into a terrible situation by her own family, there is only one man to save her. Will Master James return to his lady ­- before it’s too late?

    ***
    The Queen's lady is the second instalment in a series set in Tudor England. I for one thought this instalment was as strong as the first instalment.

    The story is set 18 months after the end of The Other Countess and focuses on the Story of Lady Jane who we met in the first book as a secondary character. Her life has changed dramatically since the first book. She has recently become a widower and has lost regular contact with the Lacey family. She has taken up a position in the Queen's staff and has come back to court to serve as one of her ladies.

    This book was fab for me as it many of the same characteristics of the first one which I loved: fab characters, brilliant witty dialogue and an awesome insight into the world of Tudor England. I enjoyed how it focused on some of the other characters we met in the first book and gave us a bit more insight into their characters.

    I don't want to say much about the plot because it'll give away what happened in book 1 and may spoil it for people but I will say that it is just as suspenseful and kept me hanging on for the final resolution with all the twists and turns thrown in along the way.

    If you loved the first you will love this too. Definitely a series I would thoroughly recommend for people who like fast paced and intelligent historical fiction with a host of feisty and exciting characters.

    Monday, 14 February 2011

    Review: The other countess by Eve Edwards

    The Other Countess by Eve Edwards
    Published by Razorbill
    Challenge: BBC
    Source: Review copy (thank you razorbill)


    It's 1582 and eighteen-year-old Will Lacey's family is in trouble. After years of wasteful spending, his late father has run Lacey Hall to near ruin. Tasked with marrying his family back into fortune, the new Earl of Dorset is all set for a season at court to woo not just the Queen but potential brides with his jousting skills. But when Ellie – a strong-willed girl with nothing to her name but a worthless Spanish title – catches Will's eye, he faces a bigger battle than he could ever have anticipated.

    ***
    I started this series with no expectations about how good it would be having never heard of it or the author before and was pleasantly surprised as it turned out to be a wonderfully enjoyable, intelligently witty, character driven fun historical tale.

    The thing I love most about this book was the main character Ellie. I loved how she was strong willed and clever in an era than required women to be neither. I loved how even though she had this rebellious streak she was still very much bound by her father's wishes and I liked seeing how she dealt with that. I loved following her story as the book progress and felt for her during the bad bits and cheered for her during the good bits. I loved the Lacey boys especially Will and enjoyed meeting Lady Jane and seeing how relationships built up and changed between the main characters as the story developed.

    I also loved how intelligently witty this book was and how it was actually quite modern in its ideas about society. The banter between the main characters was fab and I enjoyed how insightful it was. It didn't stick to traditional view history has on how these people would have lived but actually looks at them and their lives much more realistically and therefore made the main characters more easy to relate to. The story gave a good realistic insight into life during the Tudor period which I really appreciated.

    I won't say too much about the story so that I don't give too much away but I will say I enjoyed the twists and turns that it went through. I liked the high drama of court (and all the famous names that popped up) and contrast of that drama with the ordinary lives in the villages.

    Definitely one of the best Historical fiction titles I have picked up in a long while as it managed to hold my interest well (despite being a history teacher my tolerance for Historical fiction can be a little limited at times) with fab character who I can't wait to meet again in book 2.

    Sunday, 13 February 2011

    In my Mailbox (36)

     A huge thanks to Kristi for hosting In my Mailbox - to check out details about participating check out www.thestorysiren.com

    I received some fab books this week!

    The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller (UK paperback)
    I have wanted this book for ages but never got round to getting it. My lovely friend Clover sent it to me which I am eternally grateful for.

    Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Haplin (UK paperback)
    I'd not heard of this or the authors before it fell through my letterbox - it actually looks quite funny so I'm looking forward to reading it.




    Immortal beloved by Cate Tiernan (UK Proof)
    The lovely Emma sent me this - I can't wait to read it! I love the UK cover far more than the US one.




    The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher (US hardcover)
    I have no idea who sent me this but I love them. There was no covering note or press release but the envelop says it was sent from America. The cover is gorgeous and I literally can't wait to read it!!

    Saturday, 12 February 2011

    Do you spoil it for everyone else??

    Do you post spoilery reviews??

    I'm interested in what people think about this question. Personally I try not to write reviews that are spoilery. It's not that I think people who do are awful horrible reviewers who should be poked with sharp sticks I just never have done myself.

    When Mockingjay came out there was a lot of fuss made because a lot of people were posting their reviews of it very quickly and spoiling the ending for fan who had been waiting patiently and eagerly for it for months which I can totally understand and had I read one before I read the book I would have been mightly annoyed!

    I never really questioned this until recently. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Last Sacrifice early and had to sign all kinds of embargo forms to get it. When I wrote my review I tried to keep it spoiler free so mot to spoil it for others. I was looking at my stats on blogger and about the time I posted the review I got loads of hits through google for the phrase "Last Sacrifice reviews with spoilers" meaning there must be people out there that want to read spoilery reviews.

    So my question to you is

    Would you prefer reviews that are spoiler free or spoiler full??

    Friday, 11 February 2011

    Review: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

    The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
    Published by Corgi Books
    Challenge: DAC and BBC
    Source: Gifted by the lovely Caroline


    Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.
    ***

    I started reading this book despite the fact I really don't like books about fairies and am pleased to say that I did enjoy it.

    I don't like fairy books on the whole. I've tried reading Melissa Marr's fairy books and a variety of others but usually they don't work for me. They tend to be a bit too airy fairy (excuse the pun) and either sickly nice and freakishly evil and I generally just don't get them. What I liked about this book is that the fey involved are only a tiny part of the bigger world which is established.

    The thing that did it for me in this book were the characters. I loved all of them and I really wanted to both know what was going on with them and find out more about them and their background. I thought Donna was really sweet as a main character and really felt for her in how her life had panned out. I also loved both of the boys in her life: Nav (the best friend) and (the love interest). I can't wait to see how things pan out between the three of them and sense some sparks flying in future boys. Please don't ask me which one I like best because I don't think I'd be able to choose.

    The other thing I really liked about this book was its pace. All the way through things were happened that kept me really engaged in the story. I am really fed up with books that are the first in a series that spend the entire book just slowly introducing to the world and characters and therefore contain very little action. I enjoyed following the story and this meant I finished the whole thing within a few hours because I had to keep reading.

    For me the thing that will make or break this series will be how the story continues to play out in future books. There are loads of ideas and lore being thrown around and I just hope that they are put to go use and make this series as awesome as it has potential to be.

    all in all finally a fairy book that doesn't drive me crazy. faced paced with engaging characters and a storyline that has left me wanting more!

    Thursday, 10 February 2011

    Review: Tyranny by Leslie Fairfield

    Tyranny by Leslie Fairfield
    Published by Walker Books
    Challenge: None
    Source: Review copy (UK paperback)



    In Tyranny, brisk, spare text and illustrations that deal head-on with anorexia propel the reader along on Anna’s journey as she falls prey to the eating disorder, personified as her tormentor, Tyranny. The novel starts with a single question: “How did I get here?” The answer lies in the pages that follow, and it’s far from simple. Pressured by media, friends, the workplace, personal relationships, and fashion trends, Anna descends into a seemingly unending cycle of misery. And whenever she tries to climb out of the abyss, her own personal demon, Tyranny, is there to push her back in. The contest seems uneven, and it might be except for one thing: Anna’s strength of character has given rise to her deadly enemy. Ironically, it is that same strength of character that has the ultimate power to save her from the ravages of Tyranny.  Brilliantly and realistically presented, Tyranny is a must-read for anyone looking for a better understanding of eating disorders and for everyone looking for a compelling page-turner that is truly a story of triumph and hope.

    ***
    I don't usually read graphic novels because I don't always get them. I get confused about where I should be looking and reading. I was offered this for review and accepted it mainly because I thought considering the content matter it would be a fantastic one for the school library once I had finished with it.

    Tyranny follows the story of a girl and her battle with Anorexia. I thought it was really touching and poignant dealing with a difficult subject in a very accessible way. What was the most scary thing about it is that the first steps the girl started down before she developed the full disorder were doing (or not doing) things that I know many young women do or feel about themselves. It was quite moving in places as you could see that this young women had got herself in a real state and lost everything just trying to conform with society's ideal about body image and appearance.

    All in all a very quick read which highlights the dangers of anorexia in an accessible way. I hope this book does really well and makes its way into the hands of young and teenage women and makes them think and helps them to make the right decisions about a balanced healthy lifestyle.

    Wednesday, 9 February 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday: Possession by Elana Johnson

    I think this title looks really awesome - I can't wait to get my hands on it!

    Possession by Elana Johnson

    Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

    But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

    This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

    Tuesday, 8 February 2011

    Review: Quarry by Ally Kennen

    Quarry by Ally Kennen
    Published by Scholastic
    Challenge: BBC
    Source: Review Copy (UK proof)





    The explosive new novel from Ally Kennen, master of teen thillers.

    Who is texting Scrappy freaky dares? The anonymous sender is untraceable. At first they're weird but fun. They they become dangerous. Then deadly. But by then it's too late for Scrappy to stop ... 


    ***
    I haven't ever read anything by Ally Kennen before and I was pleasantly surprised by how good her book was.

    Quarry is a story about a 15 year old boy who lives in a scrap yard called Scrappy. Scrappy is generally a bit fed up with his day to day existence. His mother has got fed up with his dad and packed up and left. His Grandfather is going senile and he has been left to look after him and generally life is a bit dull. One day Scrappy starts to receive strange dares via text. To start with he goes along with them for fun (and the monetary reward that comes with their completion) but as things progress the dares become more frightening and nasty and Scrappy is left wishing he never got involved in the first place.

    I loved Scrappy as a character. He is surprisingly upbeat despite all the things in his life he has to deal with. You can;t help but feel bad for him and the situation he is in. I loved the relationship he had with his grandfather and seeing their interactions (especially the scenes on the old plane wreck).

    The whole story was really creepy. There were some scenes where I was generally freaked out with several bits where I wasn't sure if I'd be able to continue reading (but couldn't put the book down all the same because I needed to know what was happening). The dares get pretty gruesome and it seems like the person daring Scrappy is everywhere and no where at the same time.

    I enjoyed the final resolution of the book and didn't see where it was going at all. A gripping read throughout.

    The only thing I thought was a little off with this book was the age at which it was aimed at. The ideas and language used flipped between being quite young at some points and aimed at younger teens while at others it was really quite uncomfortable and maybe a bit too frightening for younger teens.

    All in all a fantastically creepy book which I really enjoyed.

    Monday, 7 February 2011

    Review: Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

    Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
    Published by Bloomsbury
    Challenge: DAC
    Source: Review copy (UK paperback)


    The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died.Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans. As breathless as Twilight and as spooky as Shiver, this is a book to be devoured in one sitting—by an acclaimed YA author making her paranormal debut under the pseudonym Ivy Devlin.

    ***
    This book was definitely one with a "first in a series" feel to it.

    Low red moon follows the story of Avery a young girl who has recently lost her parents in a horrific event which she still can;t quite remember happening despite being found at the scene covered in blood. As the story involves she meets a mysterious (and good looking) boy who seems to know more than he is letting on about Avery's parents death and the story of what happened and why unfolds.

    I did Like Avery. I thought she was really sweet and a lovely character who you really felt for. I loved watching the relationship between her and her grandmother (who up until now was a stranger to her) develop and grown as they started to build up an understanding of each other. What I didn't get however was the attraction between Avery and Ben - yes he is apparently hot and mysterious but they barely say two words before they start crawling all over each other. I would have liked to have seen a bit more build up of their relationship.

    The thing that tipped it in the end for me with this book was the final part in which the mystery around Avery's parents death is revealed. I didn't see it coming and thought the way it played out was awesome.

    All in all a quick read which wasn't bad with an awesome led character.

    Sunday, 6 February 2011

    In my Mailbox (35)

    Just a quick IMM this week - thank you for Kristi www.thestorysiren.com for hosting!

    I'm comment back on my lovely commenters asap - I am currently in Scotland and internetless!!



    The Memory Cage by Ruth Eastham (UK paperback)
    I was pleased to find the lovely Scholastic sent me a finished copy of this book because I loved it but even more excited to see I am quoted on the press release!!! Fab book - go hunt it out if you like Michael Morpurgo



    Awakened by PC and Kristin Cast (Audio book)
    I finished this as a book last week on my way to the RHCB bloggers brunch. I have never ever had an audio book in my life - maybe it's time to start now I have a car with a CD player. It's out in February for you audio books fans)



    Belle's song by KM Grant (UK paperback)
    This looks fab - historical fiction. I've not heard a lot about it but I'm looking forward to it lots!

    Saturday, 5 February 2011

    Random House Children's Books Blogger Brunch.

    Aka the tale of the Norfolk girl does London (and more impressively the tube) solo!



    Two Saturdays ago I was lucky enough to attend a blogger brunch held by Random House Children's Books held in their Ealing office in London and I had the most fantastic day!

    I got up at 5am to get on an early train to London. Norfolk has to have the worse transport network ever and it is a real bind if you want to try and leave it early or late in the day. Having never been to London on my own before I was petrified but it all went swimmingly well (which never happens - I have lost count of the number of times I have been left almost stranded at Liverpool Street Station.

    I digress.... I arrived at Ealing Broadway Station and was met by a lovely bunch of bloggers. Caroline (potrait of a woman) had kindly agreed to meet us all to show us where we were going and so we didn't get lost.

    We arrived at the offices and on our chairs were the most amazing good bags. It contained the books pictured below and a mug! As you can imagine there were lots of squealing and general noise of book induced excitment to be heard.


     

     Once we had all arrived the RHCB publicity team (who are all very glam may I add) did a run through of all the titles they have planned in the next few months. I have put links to goodreads where I can (thank you to the fab asamum for emailing me the list of titles together for me - I got too excited to take it all in - he was organised)


    This is a collection of short stories that look lovely!
    United under the banner of flash fiction, this is a collection of stories, or little 'cells', complete in themselves but connected by the overarching themes of betrayal and revenge. All featuring teenagers and often with an unexpected twist, these frighteningly realistic stories will take you to the very edge and beyond. From the master storyteller, Aidan Chambers, comes a collection of Stories of Defiance - moments in life, realizations, insights and sudden revelations - prepare to be amazed, enchanted and to gasp with shock.


    The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (April 2011)


    This book looks a bit younger than what I normally read but I am told that it will definitely appeal and looks like it will be huge!


    The first thrilling book in the most exciting children's fantasy series since Harry Potter and His Dark Materials.They were taken from their beds one frozen night, when the world was covered in snow. The silhouette of a tall, thin man has haunted Kate ever since. Ten years on, Kate, Michael and Emma have grown up in a string of miserable orphanages, and all memories of their parents have faded to a blur. Arriving at Cambridge Falls, the children quickly realise there is something different about this place – and Kate feels sure she has seen the dark, crooked house before. As they explore, they discover an old, empty leather book. The moment they touch it, an ancient magical prophecy is set irrevocably in motion, and the children are thrown into a dangerous alternate reality of dark enchantments and terrifying monsters. Only they can prevent the terrible event that will ruin Cambridge Falls – and stop the world from falling into complete devastation.


    Long Lankin by Lindsay Barraclough  (April 2011)

    I have just recently finished this and it is amazing - really creepy

    A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawaken an evil that has lain waiting for years.A haunting voice in an empty room ... A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ... A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church . . . Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

    Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton (May 2011)



    There were many ohh and ahhs when this title was announced - Emma in particular was very excited!

    For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything. Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths. Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

    Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley (June 2011)

    This is a fairy title which I'm usually reluctant about. I've been told that in this case it is really good.

    For Zaria Tourmaline, the three years without her mother and brother have been lonely ones, living with a cold and distant guardian while she completes her education. Just as she is ready to join the world of adult fairies and genies, she finds a spellbook written entirely in her mother’s hand. But this treasured object is not safe from a new enemy, a fairy with more power than Zaria ever dreamed existed. Only among the humans–who must never know fairies and genies exist–can Zaria hide the spellbook; but hidden magic, it turns out, can expose a fairy in ways she never thought possible.


     I literally cannot wait to get my hands on this!!
    It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other. Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.


    Killing Honour – Bali Rai (June 2011)

    I've not read any of Bali's work but I've been told it is awesome. This sounds really gritting and awesome!

    ‘Honour,’ I repeated, wondering how such a small word could have caused so much trouble.When Sat's sister, Jas, is married off into the Atwal family she changes, she's quiet and distant. But Sat's too busy with his own life; his girlfriend, his friends, football . . . Then Jas disappears.According to her new husband, she's run off with another man. Her family disown her; don't seem to care if she's ever found. But Sat doesn't believe it. Something has happened to his sister and he's determined to figure out what. But his investigations take him into dark and dangerous territory . . . A powerful, hard-hitting teen thriller on the controversial topic of honour killing, by multi-award-winning author Bali Rai.

    For The Record by Ellie Irving (June 2011)

    This book sounds so cute!

    Luke is a gifted but awkward ten-year-old who is obsessed with The Guinness Book of Records, and is nervous about starting senior school a year early as ‘the swot with the dead Dad'. When Luke’s tiny, unique Jersey village is in danger of being bulldozed to the ground to make way for a waste incinerator plant, the only way to stop it is by putting the village on the map: by breaking 50 world records in a week. With the help of geeky adjudicator Simon and a colourful cast of oddball village characters, this is Luke’s chance to shine, to solve his mum’s relationship problems, and to face his biggest fears – with bizarre, extraordinary consequences.


    The Devil Walks by Anne Fine (June 2011)


    This sounds incredibly creepy and I can't wait to get a copy to read

    - 'The devil walks . . . But the devil can make no headway if he has no help. We must invite him in . . .' Raised in secrecy by a mother everyone thinks has gone mad, Daniel’s only link to his past is the intricately built model of the family home – High Gates. The dolls’ house is perfect in every detail. As Daniel is reunited with the last remaining member of his family - his ‘uncle’ Severin, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a sinister wooden doll he has found hidden in the house, he begins to suspect that this vicious, haunted puppet of a figure has a chilling influence, bringing cruelty and spite in its wake. Now Daniel's very life is at risk as his uncle is determined to get his hands on the figure . . . The menace builds throughout in this deliciously creepy Gothic tale.

    In the Sea there are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (June 2011)

    This sounds awesome and really sad. The publicity team tell me it is also quite uplifting!

    One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah’s mother tells him three things: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons, don’t steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn’t there. They have fled their village in Ghazni to seek safety outside Afghanistan but his mother has decided to return home to her younger children. Ten-year-old Enaiatollah is left alone in Pakistan to fend for himself. In a book that takes a true story and shapes it into a beautiful piece of fiction, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah’s remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally managed to claim political asylum aged fifteen. His ordeal took him through Iran, Turkey and Greece, working on building sites in order to pay people-traffickers, and enduring the physical misery of dangerous border crossings squeezed into the false bottoms of lorries or trekking across inhospitable mountains. A series of almost implausible strokes of fortune enabled him to get to Turin, find help from an Italian family and meet Fabio Geda, with whom he became friends.
    The result of their friendship is this unique book in which Enaiatollah’s engaging, moving voice is brilliantly captured by Geda’s subtle and simple storytelling. In Geda’s hands, Enaiatollah’s journey becomes a universal story of stoicism in the face of fear, and the search for a place where life is liveable.


    Dearly Departed by Lia Habel (June 2011)

    From the ruins of a cataclysmic ice-age a new society has emerged, based on Victorian customs. Nora Dearly, a feisty teenage girl and apparent orphant, leaves her exclusive boarding school for the holidays to return home - only to be dragged into the night by the living dead. Luckily for her, this particular crack unit of zombies are good guys - sent to protect her from the real nasties roaming the countryside and zeroing in on major cities to swell their ranks. Nora must find a way to defeat the evil undead with help from Bram, a noble, sweet and surprisingly hot zombie boy for whom she starts to fall...  pacy, bloodthirsty, hugely entertaining teen zombie novel with an unconventional but tender love story at its heart.

    After the presentation the team took us to their offices and let us loose on their shelves. I managed to pick up some fantastic titles as pictured below







    Once we'd finished raiding we went back down to their conference room where the team formally introduced Karen Mahoney and we had a mini celebration for the release of her book (with champagne and cake) and she signed copies for us!!

    (Thank you to Sarah for letting me use this picture - I was rubbish and cameraless)

    After the event a few of us ended up in a nearby pub after deciding we really didn't need to go book shopping where we chatted books until I had to leave and head back to Liverpool Street Station for my epic journey home.


    All in all a fantastic day. I loved going to the RHCB offices and hearing about all the books and I loved meeting all the other fantastic bloggers and having a group to chat books with - I want to go again soon and spend time with all these lovely girlies (and Darren - a brave / lucky depending on how you looked at it man if ever there was one!)


    Friday, 4 February 2011

    Review: XVI by Julia Karr

    XVI by Julia Karr
    Published by Speak
    Challenge: DAC
    Source: Purchased from Amazon


    Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

    ***
    I loved the premise of this book and bought it purely because of what it appeared to be about but I was actually left a little disappointed as I didn't feel the synopsis really matched up with what the book was actually about. That's not to say it was a bad book just not what I had been expecting and anticipating to read about.

    XVI follows the story of Nina a 15 year girl set in the near distance future. The old system of government has broken down and people are now living in a more controlled society. Technology is used constantly to monitor people and their movements and to indoctrinate them with government propaganda. I loved how you saw how the government manipulated its own history through the media. It was interesting to see that in karr's world people were still very much judged and had their life choices dictated by how much money they had and by what sort of family they came from

    I liked Nina as a character. She has a lot of responsibility piled on her shoulders but she manages to keep it all together and do what's best for both herself and the ones around her whilst being a very normal grounded teenager.

    The main part of the story follows Nina as she starts to discover more about The Resistance the part her family had played in this in previous years and the discoveries Nina makes as she starts to find out about what really has been going on in the society behind closed doors away from the public eye.

    The book has a lot of creepy parts and some really sad parts but I'm not sure it was the book for me - I love dystopian books but it's only been a day since I finished this and I couldn't really tell you the finer details of it as they didn't hold my interest all that much. For me the best parts were the ideas about the role of government in manipulating and controlling their own citizens through the media and propaganda.

    Thursday, 3 February 2011

    review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

    Delirium by Lauren Oliver
    Published by Hodder
    Challenge: None
    Source: Given to me by Jesse (books4teens.co.uk)







    Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that one love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

    But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


    ***
    Lauren Oliver's second offering as a YA author is a story set in a future dystopian world in which Love is considered a disease and removed from you when you become 18.

    Lauren's book is written really well. The prose is seamless and flows nicely throughout. I liked the main characters and I thought the world and the ideas put forward were interesting. Lena was very sweet in her ideals and her world outlook. I liked seeing her interactions with her friends and was fascinated with the idea of a world without love. The part that really stood out for me was the description of how parents behaved towards their offspring and how different they were towards their children without experiencing love for them. I also enjoyed how each chapter had a little "quote" from various pieces of literature that existed in Lena's world. I thought it was lovely touch that added to the richness of the novel.

    However I have to be totally honest and say for me Delirium was not as good as I had hoped it would be. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed it but I had built it up so much in my head because of all the hype around the blogosphere about it and for me it fell a little short. Where I was disappointed in this book was in its pace. I spent most of the first 300 pages hoping and waiting for something to happen. I certainly wasn't gripped and could have easily put the book down and not continued and not felt like I had missed out.

    That being said had I done that I certainly would have missed out because the best part about this book was the last 150 pages or so which is when a lot of what you have heard throughout the story is turned on its head and you get a new perspective on the story. This part was fast paced, gripping and all in all a bit awesome. The final chapter was heart breaking and has left me desperately wanting the next instalment in the series.

    All in all is delirium a book I would recommend? Yes but only to my fellow YA book fanatics. I certainly wouldn't offer it to my friends who are less patient with reading as I can think of several other titles that are more gripping from the outset. Just like Lauren's first book it is one of those titles I had to 'stick with' to get through the build up but I am certainly glad I did.

    Wednesday, 2 February 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday: Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

    This book looks awesome - been hearing a fair bit about it!!

    Rival by Sara Bennett Wheeler
    Published by Harper Teen 15th February




    What if your worst enemy turned out to be the best friend you ever had?

    Meet Brooke: Popular, powerful and hating every minute of it, she’s the “It” girl at Douglas High in Lake Champion, Minnesota. Her real ambition? Using her operatic mezzo as a ticket back to NYC, where her family lived before her dad ran off with an up and coming male movie star.

    Now meet Kathryn: An overachieving soprano with an underachieving savings account, she’s been a leper ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. For Kath, music is the key to a much-needed college scholarship.

    The stage is set for a high-stakes duet between the two seniors as they prepare for the prestigious Blackmore competition. Brooke and Kathryn work toward the Blackmore with eyes not just on first prize but on one another, each still stinging from a past that started with friendship and ended in betrayal. With competition day nearing, Brooke dreams of escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional singer, but her scheming BFF Chloe has other plans. And when Kathryn gets an unlikely invitation to Homecoming, she suspects Brooke of trying to sabotage her with one last public humiliation.

    As pressures mount, Brooke starts to sense that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had. But Kathryn has a decision to make. Can she forgive? Or are some rivalries for life?

    Tuesday, 1 February 2011

    Review: Awakened by PC and Kristin Cast

    Awakened by PC and Kristin Cast
    Published by ATOM
    Challenge: None
    Source: Review copy (UK hardback)






    At the start of Awakened, the pulse-pounding eighth installment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey has returned, mostly whole, from the Otherworld to her rightful place as High Priestess at the House of Night. Her friends are just glad to have her back, but after losing her human consort, Heath, will Zoey—or her relationship with her super- hot Warrior, Stark—ever be the same? Stevie Rae is drawn even closer to Rephaim, the Raven Mocker with whom she shares a mysterious and powerful Imprint, but he is a dangerous secret that isolates her from her school, her red fledglings, and even her best friends. When the dark threat of Neferet—who is coming closer and closer to achieving her twisted goal of immortality—and Kalona returns, what will it take to keep the House of Night from being lost forever, and what will one desperate girl do to keep her heart from being irreparably broken?

    ***
    I have to say I was reluctant to continue on with this series and was so close to giving it up but actually I thought instalment was a much stronger offering than the previous two books. Yes there were still the cringingly bad pop culture and stereotypical reference which annoy me but all in all it wasn't bad.

    Zoey is back and things are building up for a kiss ass show down between her and Neferet. I liked seeing Zoey and Stark together and their relationship really came together for me in this book. Despite not being a huge fan of him initially I think they work quite well together and I hope things go well for them.

    I've said before the references to the gay couple in this series annoy me somewhat. I don't really care if a character is gay or not but it seems like the Casts have written in Damien and Jack just so they can have a gay couple as a novelty (and a very camp one at that - FYI not all gay men are camp). The early references in this book to them did make me think they were going to do this again (especially when linked to Glee and Jack signing deifying Gravity - I just cringed at that point) but actually once they got over that bit the Jack/Damien storyline was the bit that touched me most in this book as you finally got to see their relationship for what it was - two people in love rather than a novelty written in to alert the world that the Casts are OK with all thing camp and gay.

    I don't want to tell you too much about happens in the story as I don't want to give anything away but I will say that the overall story line seems to have moved on a lot and the main characters have made some life altering decisions. There were several story lines set up at the end of the book that if played out well have the potential to be awesome surrounding, Zoey and her choice about the House of Night, Heath's soul, Stevie Rae and Zoey's family. I hope they are done well.