Thursday, 31 March 2011

Review: Diary of a parent trainer by Jenny Smith

Diary of a Parent Trainer by Jenny Smith
Published by Scholastic
Challenges: none (read in 2010)
Source: Review Copy (UK Proof)


MEET KATIE SUTTON, WORLD AUTHORITY ON HOW TO HANDLE GROWN-UPS.

A must read novel for anyone requiring tips on how to control this bizarre species by (undiscovered) genius Katie Sutton - a fabulous, funny new teenage character who rivals Georgia Nicholson with her wit.

Katie is an expert on operating grown-ups. She knows exactly how to get the best out of them, so she decides to write a guide to help the world's long-suffering teenagers do the same.

But then Katie's mum starts dating the awful Yellow-Tie Man. Suddenly Mum is acting completely out of character and totally out of control! For everyone's sake, Katie needs to use all her expertise to get rid of him - and quick!


***
I received this lovely little title for review only recently. It wasn't a book I would have asked for or picked up in a shop but I am so glad that I have had the chance to read it.

Jenny Smith's book has been compared to Louise Rennison but I actually think this book is better than any of the Georgia Nicholson books I have read (I never bothered to finish them). What I really liked about the book was Katie the main character. She is just a lovely gorgeous teenage girl who is fab without airs and graces and tantrums. I wish more of the teenage girls you read about in fiction were like her because she was just so lovely and normal and totally without any kind of ego or quirk that can irritate the pants of me.

The whole story was really nice in that it had really lovely morals. The family involved were really normal and you could see that they really loved each other. I loved how the whole story played out (there were some crackingly funny moments thrown in). I also loved the idea that almost the entire village was related to one another as I imagine that isn't all that uncommon in some of these little villages in the UK.

All in all a fab book which would be ideal for younger teenage girls. Up to date, modern and 'with it' without being cringy with a fab new role model who is awesome.


Thank you to scholastic for the review copy

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

The cover of this looks freaky. I want this book for that alone!

Hourglass by Myra McEntire


For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Review: The Fool's girl by Celia Rees

The Fool's girl by Celia Rees
Published by Bloomsbury
Challenge: BBC
Source: Review copy (paperback)


Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. Violetta and her comic companion, Feste, have come in search of an ancient holy relic that the evil Malvolio has stolen from their kingdom. But where will their remarkable quest—and their most unusual story—lead? In classic Celia Rees style, it is an engrossing journey, full of political intrigue, danger, and romance.

This wholly original story is spun from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and includes both folly and suspense that would make the Bard proud.


***
If you like Shakespeare you will love The Fool's Girl. The book is the story of how Shakespeare got the ideas to write his play Twelfth Night.

The book itself is very typical of what I have come to expect from Celia Rees. It is beautifully written and weaves a full and rich tale about life in the historical period it is set in. There is a host of engaging characters and the story itself flowed wonderfully. I liked seeing Shakespearean London and loved the references to the Clink Jail (which is still a stone's throw away from the Globe)

For me however the story really didn't work. I really don't like anything to do with Shakespeare (I blame my High School English teacher) and have never read or even know the vague jist of Twelfth night which probably left me at a distinct advantage. I did like following the story of the characters and found what was happening interesting enough to keep me reading but I didn't really care what was happening to them and wasn't drawn to any of them individually for any particular reason.

So all in all while I would certainly recommend Celia Rees for someone looking for good historical fiction I would only recommend this is you enjoy / have an interest in the works of Shakespeare.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Review: Clash by Colin Mulhern

Clash by Colin Mulhern
Published by Catnip books
Challenge: DAC, BBC
Source: Review copy


Clash follows the story of two very teenager different boys, Alex the cage fighter and Kyle the artist both both attend the same school. Each chapter alternates between each boy's story which interweave with each other as their story progresses.

I wasn't too sure what I'd make of this book. The main character takes part in illegal cage fighting and I thought it might not be all that intelligent and just violent for the sake of it but it certainly wasn't. The best thing about it was getting underneath the skin of Alex. He is a cage fighter and he has earned the reputation of being psychotic at school as he will happily beat people up you are a lot bigger than him in a really nasty way. People are scared of him and keep out of his way. I found it really interesting to find out why he is the way he is and loved getting into this background and seeing home his home life had pushed him to become the way he was. I actually ended the book feeling really sorry for him.

The other half of the story follows the story of kyle. Another teenage both. He, like everyone else in school, is wary of Alex. He is an artist who lives with his single mother. His story was sweet and even quite heart breaking at times but wasn't as intriguing as Alex's although that said it was interesting to see the two of them together and how Kyle influences and changed Alex's behaviour.

The book itself flowed well and was an easy read. The storyline kept me happily engaged in what was going on and I for one enjoyed it. All in all a gritty boy friendly book from a debut author who I will be interested to read more from in the future.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

In my Mailbox (42)

As always a huge thanks to Kristi at www.thestorysiren.com for hosting IMM each week

I had an awesome week book once again with some really fab titles (readitswapit.co.uk has been my friend this week)


This book was a total surprise as I had no idea it was coming. I am slightly ashamed to say I have never read any John Green (I know it is bad of me).

I have heard quite a bit about Zoe and am excited about this one - it is huge btw
I am on the blog tour for this when it gets published - already read and enjoyed it!

The ever wonderful Emma sent me this inside a parcel of awesome - I will follow up with pics soon on twitter of what she sent me.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan (UK paperback)
I've heard mostly awesome things about this one - looking forward to finally reading it.

Another one I have heard lots of lovely things about and am looking forward to reading.

Thank you to everyone who sent me books this week. I can't wait to read them all.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Bookcase Showcase: Nayu's reading corner

Today I am joined by Jessica of http://nayusreadingcorner.blogspot.com for another instalment of bookcase showcase.
 
The first picture of my review TBR books, is actually two piles, one behind the other. These are books I'd like to read for my 2011 challenges, as well as the books which I need to give priority. There are a few missing because the next couple of books I'll be reading usually stay on my bed (I do take them off at night), just so I don't forget them. 


The second photo is an overall view of my shelves where I keep my books, for perspective. The bottom shelf is where I keep my review books. I put the oldest on the right, and the newest on the left. The piles which are on the left of the second shelf are the books which have several months before publication. 
My method of keeping review books is admittedly a little hap-hazard. I keep a word document (not a spreadsheet), of which books I've been asked to read. All the rest are unrequested, and will all get read eventually. I did try putting post-its on the books with the publication date, and whether it was requested or unrequested but that idea soon got ditched when I would read them out of order. I don't envisage that my method of storing books for review will change any time soon. It's simple enough that I know what I need to read next. It's easy to add new books to the shelf, because by the time they arrive I've usually devoured enough book to create space for them. 
My method works for me. I do admire those with more sophisticated systems, but it's not for me. I hope someone keeps their books in a similar way to me!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Review: Forsaken by Jana Oliver

Forsaken by Jana Oliver
Published by Macmillan
Challenge: DAC
Series: The Demon Trappers # 1
Source: Own copy bought with a giftcard my lovely friend Lauren gave me at Christmas


Riley has always wanted to be a Demon Trapper like her father, and she's already following in his footsteps as one of the best. But it's tough being the only girl in an all-guy world, especially when three of those guys start making her life more complicated: Simon, the angelic apprentice who has heaven on his side; Beck, the tough trapper who thinks he's God's gift, and Ori, the strikingly sexy stranger who keeps turning up to save her ass. One thing's for sure - if she doesn't keep her wits about her there'll be hell to pay...

***
Forsaken is the the first book in a series about Demon trappers. The ideas in it are original and the book sets up some fantastic ideas for what could potentially be an awesome series.

From the outset the thing I loved about this book was the dialogue. It made me laugh and chuckle away to myself. It kept me engaged and wanting to carry on with a story which, in all honesty, was a bit slow for the first two thirds of the book.

I loved the three main character Riley, Beck and Simon. Riley was a fab lead. She is this feisty kickass teenage girl but with a soft edge. I loved the contrast between her Demon Trapper fighting edge and her more vulnerable side that you saw at other times. I thought Beck was gorgeous in his gruff manly way and thought Simon was simply adorable.

The final section of the book is where everything picked up. The action in it was fast paced meaning the book itself was unputdownable. I would have liked to have seen more of this throughout the entire book itself but I appreciate it is the first in the series and the author wanted to set up a lot of plot threads. There are certainly a lot of fantastic ideas that have been put into place and I am looking forward to seeing what is done with them in future books.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Norfolk Author Event: Charlie Higson 8th April 2011

I just wanted to let you all know about this author event which I should be going in Norfolk on 8th April


Charlie Higson will be in North Norfolk on 8th April. The event starts at 5.30 and will be held at Aylsham Lodge (which is about a 15 - 20 min drive out of Norwich)

For more details check out The North Norfolk Children's Book Group website including where to get your tickets from for the event http://www.nncbg.co.uk/home.html

Charlie Higson is the author of the Young James Bond series and the Enemy series

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Awaken by katie Kacvinsky

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

This book looks awesome. Anyone know if it is getting a UK release???

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky


Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.
Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.
In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Review: Hexbound by Chloe Neill

Hexbound by Chloe Neill
Published by Gollancz
Challenge: None
Series: Dark Elite #2
Source: own copy



Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…


***
The Dark elite series is set in a boarding school in Chicago. The main characters are Adept (teenagers with magical abilities) who are fighting against the Reapers (teenagers who also have magical abilities but gain their power through sacrificing others) at night and trying to appear like normal teenagers during the day. Lily, the main character, has just found herself in this world only recently discovering that she also has such an ability and is trying to work out what that means for her.

While I'm not for a minute saying I didn't enjoy this book it certainly had a "middle book in a series" feel to it.

The things I enjoyed:
I love Lily and Scout as characters. I love how they spark off each other and love that they are feisty wonderful heroines without being bitchy or nasty.
I liked delving deeper into the world of the dark elite because I thought book one only scratched the surface.

Things that could have been better
I would have liked to have seen more happen. I just thought it this case the book trundled along a bit too slowly and nothing really was different by the end of the book
I wish that we weren't reminded every single chapter (maybe it just feels like that) that Lily is a vegetarian. I really don't care, it's not that interesting.
I would have liked more on Lily's own background.

I'm definitely still looking forward to seeing how the series pans out but please please give me some more of the kick ass action from book one.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Review: Desires of the Dead by Kim Derting

Desires of the Dead by Kim Derting
Published by Headline
Challenge: None
Source: Review copy (UK paperback)


The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found. Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life. As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

***

It's not often the sequel to a book as as strong as its predecessor but in this case I think it definitely was. For me it had all of the magic of book one with the added bonus that it built on characters we already knew and loved.

Desires of the Dead follows directly on from the body finder and continues to follow the story of Violet, a teenage girl who can sense dead bodies.

The thing I liked best about this book was the development of the relationship between Violet and Jay from best friends to boyfriend / girlfriend. Jay is so unbelievably cute and gorgeous in how he treats Violet and the two of them together is just awesome.

The subplot of the FBI interest in Violet is really interesting and I sense something that it going to be drawn out more in future books. I am really interested to see where it goes (I keep expecting Mulder to pop up - am I showing my age now?)

The story itself was just as suspenseful as Derting's first offering. Like the first part I like how she does the odd chapter from a mysterious unknown person's head who is involved in the story but looking at it from the outside. I loved how it kept you guessing right through until the end and wasn't predictable.

All in all an awesome sequel which I enjoyed.



Thank you Headline for providing a review copy of this book

Sunday, 20 March 2011

In my Mailbox (41)

Thank you as always to the wonderful Kristi at www.thestorysire.com for hosting IMM

Quite frankly I have had an awesome week bookwise - my postman probably hates me!

This is what I got ....


Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Swoon (UK paperback)
I love the cover for this one and so can't wait to read it.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (US hardback)
I won this from the lovely Jess from Jessheartsbooks. I love hardback editions of books and am always jealous of you US people who get so many lovely books in hardback that we don't in the UK.

Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children by Ransom Riggs (US hardback)
This book looks really freaky - the girl on the cover is really a bit strange. It has photos dotted all the way through.

Die for me by Amy Plum (UK proof)
I love love love the cover for this one and sooooo can't wait to read it. I may have screamed (just a little bit) when opening this package

The gathering by Kelley Armstrong (UK paperback)
Kelley is one of those epic authors who I haven't yet read anything by despite having some of her adult stuff in the house. I am looking forward to giving her stuff a go.

The Ghoul next door by Lisi Harrison (UK paperback)
This is the second in a series that I am not all that interested in following as it looks a little young for me. Emma is going to review it for me instead as she said she (and her girlies) would love it.

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon (UK trade paperback)
This is another series that I am behind with but I am going to hunt down book one and have a read because it looks awesome. 

Defiance by Lili St. Crow (UK paperback)
and yet another series which I am behind on but have been meaning to start - I need to hunt down the first three books before I get started on this

Tomorrow when the war began by John Marsden (UK paperback)
I'm really excited about this one - Quercus are republishing it. I'd never seen or heard about it before they contacted me but it looks awesome.

Clash by Colin Mulhern (UK paperback)
This is a boy friendly title which features two teenage boys (who are very different) as the main characters. Read it last night - is good. From a British debut author too!

The dark divine by Bree Despain (UK paperback)
I picked this up on readitswapit.co.uk I love you readitswapit

Thank you to all the lovely people who sent me books this week!!

please check out yesterday's bookcase showcase while you are here showing off the bookcases of Andrew @ The Pewter Wolf

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Bookcase showcase: Andrew @ The Pewter Wolf

Today's bookcase showcase comes from a blogger who I think is really awesome (and one of the few boys out there). I'll let him introduce himself....

Hi there! My name is Andrew from The Pewter Wolf (http://thepewterwolf.blogspot.com) and I have a confession to announce: I am a book addict.

I buy goodness knows how many books and, because of that, my bookshelves and my ToBeRead piles are a bit manic. I call it an organised mess, but I know others would disagree with me.




My bookshelves are probably the most organised. I try and keep authors and series together (Harry Potter practically takes one shelf!). If I can help with it, I try and keep the hardbacks and the paperbacks in the series together, also. But due to the fact I have bought or am reading a lot of books lately, my shelves have become a bit overflowing, but I am trying to keep some order to them.


However, my To Be Read pile is less organised. The pile is by my bed and in a bedside table's drawer and there is no real order to them. I usually try and put them in order of what book I would like to read next and try to stick to that order, but I am flexible so if a book comes out or I buy a book (which I shouldn't be at the moment! FAR TOO MANY BOOKS IN MY TO BE READ PILE!) which I think is a "Must Read", it jumps the pile and goes into my hands to read.

So, you can say these bookshelves and To Be Read piles is a little like me. A bit of an "organised mess".

Thank you Andrew!!!

If you would like to be featured in a future Bookcase Showcase please check out the details on my Bookcase Showcase page. I would love to feature you!

Oh and also please check out my fab new button made by the lovely Emma from asamumbooktopia.com I would love it if you had one on your blog

Friday, 18 March 2011

Review: City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Published by Random House Children's Books
Challenge: None
Source: Swapped on Readitswapit.co.uk


The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.

***
I liked this book but I would class this as younger Young Adult possibly even middle grade as the ideas, language used and characters are quite young. It is a really quick read and quite predictable but if you like your dystopian fiction you'll enjoy this.

The story centres around a city called Ember. Things aren't good for the city - supplies are running low, the officials are corrupt and no one knows what to do. The sad thing is the solutions to their problems have been lost over time in a small metal box.

Their are two main characters - Lina and Doon. As the story progresses the pair find a mysterious set of instructions and start to expose Ember for what it really is. I won't go into detail apart to say that although this story didn't blow me away I enjoyed the ride of reading it and discovering the secrets the two main characters discovered. The ending was good and I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next book!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Review: The year the gypsies came by Linzi Glass

The year the Gypsies came by Linzi Glass
Published by Penguin
Challenge: None
Source: Own (UK Hardback)


As twelve-year-old Emily Iris explains it, her mother and father have always been eager to take in travelers and vagabonds, relying on the presence of outsiders to ease the tension between them. Emily has her gentle older sister, Sarah, and Buza, the old Zulu nightwatchman, for company and comfort. But her parents continuing discontent leads them to welcome some peculiar strangers. One spring, a family of wanderers a wildlife photographer, his wife, and two boys comes to stay, and their strange, compelling, and dangerous presence will leave the Iris family infinitely changed.

***
It's been a while since I read any of Linzi's work and I don;t know why I have left it so long because her books are fab.

This book is set in the background of a modern historical context of Apartheid in Africa. What I like about it is that it isn't about Apartheid as such but a story about a family living in the times and how it impacts upon on them. I love stories like this as I think they are more realistic in showing the impact of such events on ordinary people living in extraordinary times.

I loved the main character of Emily and the innocent way in which she sees her world. I loved the relationships she had both with her sister and the family's Nightwatchman Buza.

The main story is involving the Gypsy family who stay with the Iris's is quite dark and very sad by the end and it definitely hits you emotionally. I've seen a lot of really negative reviews on goodreads having a go at the subject matter saying it was too nasty of young adults to read. I would argue this is the ideal way to teach young people about such horrible things.

All in all a hard hitting and fab little book which was a pleasure to read.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

This title looks really awesome. I love the cover.

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
Published by Simon Pulse







From Jessi Kirby, a debut novel about confronting the past in order to move ahead.

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both.

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.
While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Review: I know what you did last Summer by Lois Duncan

I know what you did last summer by Lois Duncan
Published by ATOM
Challenge: None
Source: Review copy (Thank you ATOM)


It was only an accident -- but it would change their lives forever. Last summer, four terrified friends made a desperate pact to conceal a shocking secret. But some secrets don't stay buried, and someone has learned the truth. Someone bent on revenge. This summer, the horror is only beginning....

***
I picked up this book worried about what I might be letting myself in for. I saw the film adaption a while back and didn't think it was all that great. I am pleased to say it was nothing like the book at all and I really enjoyed it.

The book is similar to the film in that a group of 4 friends are involved in covering up a fatal accident they had been part of a year or so previously. The group have since started to receive mysterious letters and taunting amongst other things as the story progresses which they think are linked to the fact that they covered up the accident.

The story itself is much more psychological thriller than slasher gory thriller and more me it made the story much more clever than the film could ever claim to be. There were parts of the story where you weren't quite sure what was going on.

The final twist was really good and one I didn't spot coming until it almost happened. I liked how this book kept you guessing throughout!

All in all an fab book which deserves better recognition than it currently has as it is a far superior version to the film that everyone seems to have read of!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Review: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Credcendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Published by Simon Pulse
Challenge: None
Source: Own Copy (Signed UK Hardback)


Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but atleast she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever and even worse, he's started spending time with Nora's arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Path hadnt been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feeling that he's hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperatly searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.


***
I'm sorry to say I didn't like this as much as hush hush. The story picks up where hush hush finished off and continues to follow Nora's story.

I like the charcacter of Nora. She is cute and feisty (albeit a bit dim when it comes to Patch) and I love Vee her best friend. I love their relationship and following the story for their point of view.

I really didn't like Patch in this book. I hated how he acted towards Nora and I really wanted to go and give him slap him and tell him to pull himself together and grow up.

Like Hush hush the story goes along quite slowly to start with. A lot of ideas where built up (especially the story line involving the new character Marcie. The final part of the book was where it all kicked off and the revelations that came out were awesome. I am looking forward to seeing where the story goes next.

All in all not bad once you got through the first part which was a bit slow. The scene has been set for a brilliant finale.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

In my Mailbox (40)

Thank you as always Kristi for hosting IMM. Check out her website www.thestorysiren.com

I had a fab book week this week and got some really exciting things in the post.



Chime by Franny Billingsley (UK hardback)
I had no idea this was coming but it looks awesome - I have a bout 4 more books to read before I get to it but I can't wait.


Blood on my hands by Todd Strasser (UK paperback)
This is coming from Walker and looks amazing.

Long Lankin by Lindsay Barraclough (UK hardback)
The gorgeous lovely Rosi (who is even more lovely as she is a fellow UEA graduate) sent me a finished copy of this. It is gorgeous and you should all go and buy one now. The book is a debut novel and it is stunning, I was lucky enough to get a manuscript copy ages ago and loved it.

The Autumn Place Ondine by Ebony McKenna (UK paperback)
Another one that came by surprise - I think it is the second in a series and looks a little younger than what I usually read. Will have to hunt the first down and give it a shot

Divergent by Veronica Roth (UK proof)
There are no words to describe how unbelievably excited I am to get this!! Thank you so so so much HarperCollins


The Fool's girl by Celia Rees (UK paperback)
I have read Celia Rees before and I don't know why I haven't hunted more of her stuff down. This looks fab!

Please check out yesterday's bookcaseshow post while you're here by Kate from thatbookblog

Saturday, 12 March 2011

bookcase showcase: Kate @ Thatbookblog

Today's post of by Kate from That Book Blog

Over to you Kate ....


Maybe I should start by telling you how I order my bookcase... there is no specific A-Z system, but it isn’t completely free range either. I insist on books by the same author being together (which may one day cause a problem with the next bookcase) and for series’ to be in the right order. As for standalone books by the same author (see the Maureen Johnson books on the bottom shelf) I order from left to right, the books that I have read to those that I haven’t gotten around to yet. On this case are my three favourite series: Noughts and Crosses, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games (Mockingjay is away at my friends’ house right now). As far as interesting stories as to how I got these books, only a few stand out... In the middle of the top shelf is a book, The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose, which I bought with a book voucher a teacher gave me after she accidentally tore a corner of one of my Twilight books. So, that was nice for me. I bought the last three Harry Potter books at midnight on their release dates, which I loved every year. If you haven’t been to buy a book at midnight, particularly one with such a large following, I strongly advise that you do. 

So, you may notice that the top shelf is largely populated by Jodi Picoult books, and considering she seems to get one out every year or so, within a few years I will need more than just one shelf to accommodate them all. On the bottom shelf of this case I keep a lot of reject-esc books. There are the biography’s (which I have read but aren’t really my type of book), the adult historical’s (which I am yet to read) and the school books (which have scared me too deeply to reread) – then there are the text books, my leavers book and programmes from plays and such things. There are three books on here which I have won: A proof of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece from WondrousReads, Without Blood and Clockwork Heart which I won from Bangzo. On here is my copy of Peter Pan which I have adored since I was tiny and Before I Die which I cried over for longer than any other book that I have ever read.

Here are my Sparks’ and Dessen books, ones which I love but have to separate with a few different books before I can read another of. On the top shelf I have Pay it Forward which is one of the few books where I actually prefer the movie (that’s not to say that the book is bad, just that the movie is more powerful). On the bottom shelf I keep my classics: Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Shakespeare and some old fairy tale books, all of which I picked up at car boot sales. For some reason I also have two copies of the New Testament, which is odd considering I’m not religious.


Finally, we have the kids books that I’ve kept a hold of. Like most girls of my age, I read a fair few Jacqueline Wilson books and while I have lost a lot of them, these are the few that I have managed to keep over the years. Above that you will see my Lemony Snicket books, a series I got into after the movie came out a few years ago. They are books that I think every child/young YA reader should read at some point; they taught me a lot and gave me some good ways of remembering certain words and phrases (like ‘a murder of crows’ and the difference between nervousness and anxiety). Well, those are the books on my shelves. Let me know what you thought, if you have any that you either enjoyed or hated, that you want or that you are yet to open. I’d love to see what books you guys have on your shelves, too :)

Thank you Kate for showing us your shelves

If you would like to be featured in a future bookcase showcase I would love to have you. Check the bookcase showcase page for details

Friday, 11 March 2011

Review: Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
Published by ATOM
Challenge: None
Source: Review Copy (Thank you ATOM)


See Jane run. See Jane die.

Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit and run.

Everyone thinks it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane's boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface--not just from the party, but from deeper in her past...including the night her best friend Bonnie died.

With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she is forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller.


***
Rosebush is an awesome read with a fab suspenseful storyline and a cracking resolution to finish it all off.

Rosebush is a novel told from the point of view of Jane, a girl who was almost killed in a hit and run accident, as she starts to piece together what happened to her on the night of her accident. I really liked how it alternated between present day and flashbacks to different events in Jane's life and keeps you guessing about what really happened and who was behind everything as the story goes on.

Jane appears to have it all: Perfect friends, a fantastic boyfriend and a lifestyle others envied. The flashback side of this story starts with this notion and shows you Jane's friends and her life as one of the most popular girls in school. But, and this is one of the things I liked most about it, as the story progresses you learn that things aren't as perfect as they seem. I don't think I can tell you anything as it would start to give things away but I loved getting into the life of these girls who seemed to have it all and find out a lot more about them.

One things this book also does well is that it is really creepy and keeps you guessing. I didn't see the ending coming and didn't even begin to think the person who tried to kill Jane was a suspect. That therefore meant I spent a lot of the book wondering who would have the motives to go after Jane and then I kept suspecting everyone. When the would be killer was finally revealed I was stunned to say the least but liked how everything slot into place in the end.

All in all an awesome psychological thriller that I would thoroughly recommend!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Review: Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakeley-Cartwright

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakeley Cartwright
Published by ATOM
Challenge: None
Source: Review Copy (Thank you ATOM)


The body of a young girl is discovered in a field of wheat. Her flesh mutilated by telltale claw marks. The Wolf has broken the peace. When Valerie learns that her sister has been killed by the legendary creature, she finds herself at the center of a dark mystery, one that has plagued her village for generations. It is revealed that the werewolf lives among them, and everyone in the village immediately becomes a suspect. Could her secret love Peter be behind the attacks on her town? Is it her betrothed, Henry? Or someone even closer to her? As the men in the village hunt for the beast, Valerie turns to her grandmother for help. She gives Valerie a handmade red riding cloak, and guides her through the web of lies and deception that has held her town together for so long. Will Valerie discover the werewolf's identity before the town is ripped apart? This is a dangerous new vision of a classic fairy tale, the happy ending could be hard to find.

***
This book is a retelling of the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The author has taken the story and made it their own and pulled it out to be a compelling and exciting read.

The story itself is quite dark. It revolves around a village which is being hounded by a wolf who demands regular sacrifices from the community. These normally take the form of farm animals and satisfies the werewolf problem until the next blood moon. However one time something goes wrong and the wold starts what becomes the beginning of a killing spree with Valerie, the main character's sister, dies. The village is up in arms and are thirsty for revenge.

The thing I liked most about the book is the setting. I loved how you got a real sense of what life was life for the families living in the village. You can see how the ever looming threat of the wolf has changed how their live their lives day to days.

I liked the main character Valerie. You really feel for her because she lives her life feeling second best behind her sister and when she is killed she feels guilty that it wasn't her instead. She has been betrothed to a man who she has no interest in marrying, which is made worse when man she wants to be with returns to the village.

As the story progresses the village start to get more and more worried about the wolf threat, especially when more deaths occur. In the end a priest who is an expert in hunting down werewolves arrives in the village to help rid them of them of the problem with the startling revelation that the wolf could be anyone of them.

The story itself twists and turns right up until the very ending. I'm not too sure about the final ending which deliberately leaves things hanging which I found mega frustrating

All in all a fab book which is a brilliant retelling of a classic fairy tale. I now can't wait to see the film.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

I can't wait for this to come out in the UK - I've had my eye on it since it was released it the USA last year.

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
Published by Simon Pulse on 2nd May 2011


 After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested. Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned. Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Review: Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Brendan Haplin and Emily Franklin

Jenna and Jonah's fauxmance by Brendan Haplin and Emily Franklin
Published by Bloomsbury
Challenge: None
Source: Review Copy (Thank you Bloomsbury)


Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers—known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.

***
This book is a fun quick read following the story of two teenage stars who play the leads in a fictional TV show in which the characters are a couple. The network is keen to promote them as a couple so they have been forced to pretend they have a similar romantic relationship in real life.

I did enjoy this book even though it probably something I would have never picked up myself. I liked both of the main character and I loved seeing how they interacted with each other and how it contrasted when they were and weren't on show. Of the two I liked the male lead the best and loved getting into his head on the chapters from his point of view. I particularly enjoyed hearing they they viewed each other and found especially interesting the things they thought but didn't say to one another.

My favourite part of the book has to be the section when they are alone together in the house in the middle of nowhere as I thought this was the part of the book where their relationship developed the most and you started to get a feel of what they were like as people.

The story also raises a lot of questions about fame and the false facade people are forced to put up in the name of keeping up appearances.

The ending was really sweet - I really liked how it played out.

All in all a fab little book which was fun to read, with likable characters and a pacey storyline.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Review: Flip by Martyn Bedford

Flip by Martyn Bedford
Published by Walker books
Challenge: BBC, DAC
Source: Review Copy (thank you walker!)


One December night, 14-year-old Alex goes to  bed. He wakes up to  find himself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country, and it's the middle of June. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table are total strangers.And when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back at him.  A boy named Flip. Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life,  he may be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else.  Questions of identity, the will to survive, and what you're willing to sacrifice to be alive make this extraordinary book impossible to put down.

***
I really enjoyed this book because it was so different from anything else YA I have read recently

Flip follows the story of Alex a young boy who has woken up inside of Philip "Flip" body. The idea was really creepy and a bit strange to get your head around to start with! I loved seeing how Alex reacted to waking up in someone elses body and how he went about dealing with the situation he was in. It was fascinating seeing him fit into someone elses life and having to deal with how different everything was for him as Flip on a day to day basis.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the book because I don't know how to tell you about it in detail without giving away to much but I will say that the story twists and turns nicely as the book progresses. I liked both Alex and the other characters he is introduced to as the story goes along. For me one of the most fascinating characters was Rob - another person who has woken up in a different body, and seeing how how the relationship between him and Flip progresses as the story goes along. I liked the conversations they had and how they viewed their situations in differing ways (I did actually worry that he would turn out to be creepy and evil - I'd like to see what other people think of him as a character.

The final outcome of the book was good and rounds off the story in a nice neat finish. I liked how it brought up questions about the preciousness of life and the importance of living your life to the full and appreciating what you have while you have it. All in all a fab debut!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

In my Mailbox (39)

Thank you as always to Kristi for hosting In my mailbox www.thestorysiren.com


Not a huge busy week for me for books but the ones I receive were awesome ones!

I got ....

David by Mary Hoffman (UK Proof)

This one looks really awesome - I have never read anything by Mary Hoffman but I've told she's good.



Michelangelo’s statue of David is famous around the world. Millions flock to Italy every year to admire the physical perfection of the young man captured within the marble. But the identity of the model has never been known . . . until now. In this epic tale, acclaimed author Mary Hoffman imagines the story of Gabriele, a na├»ve but incredibly handsome young man who is hired as Michelangelo’s model, only to find himself drawn into a world of spies, political treachery, and murder. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Florence in its most turbulent times, this is a rich, colorful and thrilling tale that gives life to one of the world’s greatest masterpieces.



Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton (UK Proof)

I have been waiting soooo long for this! The first copy that was put in the post got lost. I was so excited to finally get it yesterday morning. I first heard about it at the RHCB bloggers brunch. I am told Nick is generally a bit too gorgeous!



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.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman (UK paperback)

I don't think I need to say anything about this! Very very excited to read it!




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 Juilliard'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.

While you're here please check out my new saturday feature Bookcase Showcase which started yesterday. If you want to be featured please drop me an email and let me know!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

bookcase showcase: The Overflowing Library

Today is the start of what I hope will be a regular feature here at The Overflowing Library called Bookcase Showcase. On Saturday's for the foreseeable future I will be inviting other bloggers to show off their book collection (be it showcased on their bookshelves or otherwise)

I for one am really excited about this because I love looking at other people's book collections and how they arrange them.

So today for the first Bookcase Showcase I am leading by example and showing you my own shelves.

My book collection is housed in our Library which is very much Overflowing. I love our Library because even though it is quite small it is a room with a huge comfy chair and it is full of books. I used to have only one bookcase but I nagged and made Hadley move some of his stuff around so I had more space.

I currently have two YA book cases which look like this ....



The books on these shelves are kept in alphabetical order and are mostly ones I have read (there are the odd few where I haven't read the first in a series so that is on my TBR shelves and the later books are on here).

As well as these shelves I also have a TBR bookcase which is next to my bed. It currently looks like this ...


There is no particular order to these shelves really. Currently they are grouped together by publishing house but I change them around a lot so I don't know how long they'll stay that way.

The final shelf I have is this one ....


This is my favourite one because it has all my review copies on. Currently it doesn't have an awful lot on it at the moment because I made a real effort over half term to get through all my outstanding review titles but the books I do have on there I am really really excited to read!


So that's it - the first bookcase showcase - If you would like your collection to be featured on a future bookcase showcase at The Overflowing Library please email me at kirstylouiseconnor (at) hotmail.com as I would love to feature your shelves. I need a picture (or link to a youtube video) of your collection with a little bit of explanation to go with it.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Review: Rockaholic by CJ Skuse

Rockoholic by CJ Skuse
Published by Chicken House
Challenge: BBC
Source: Review Copy (Thank you Chicken House)






Jody loves Jackson Gatlin. At his only UK rock concert, she’s right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and carried back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It’s the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you’ve a rock-god in your garage who doesn’t want to leave? Jody’s stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place!

From the pen of C.J. Skuse, author of last year’s super cool debut Pretty Bad Things, comes a tale of rock star obsession gone nuts. Hilariously and sharply explores the fantasy and reality of celebrity obsession through a teenager’s eyes. C. J. Skuse has been billed as the new Nick Hornby for teens.


***
Before picking up this book I had not heard of the author before so started it with no real expectations about what it would be like.

The story follows Jody a teenage girl who goes to see in concert her favourite band, and more importantly, her idol Jackson Gaitlin. A variety of things go wrong and by the end of the evening Jody ends up kidnapping Jackson and taking him home to hide out from the press in her Granddad's garage.

I liked several things about this book. Firstly it was really funny. The one thing I was told about CJ Skuse was that she writes really funny stuff and it's definitely true. The scenes where Jody tries to sort out Jackson when he is in a bad state were really funny (I won't tell you what happened for fear of spoiling it).

I also thought the characters were done really well. I thought the author captured that mad teenage hysteria well and all the crazy things teenagers do (and then probably don't admit to later on!) in order to be a little more like their idols. I thought Mac was a gorgeously brilliant character and I loved his loyalty to Jody and to his younger sister. Jody herself is a real mixed bag and you definitely see her grow as the story progresses.

I also liked the moral this book had to tell about fame and the falseness of it all. Once Jackson came around and started interacting with the other characters you saw how profoundly it had affected everything about him.

All in all a fab little read with a nice and pacey story line and laugh out loud moments combined with a nice moral to the overall story.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Review: The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers

The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers
Published by Bodley Head
Challenge: None
Source: Review Copy (thank you RHCB)


In this brand-new collection of short stories, Aidan Chambers explores moments of truth, when a character or an event suddenly reveals an often-surprising meaning: A girl loses her humanity when she takes a summer job as a theme-park character; a boy tries to save a girl from a fiery death, only to discover the same event happened one hundred years before. And the titular story, in which an innocent game takes a fatal turn, will haunt the reader for a long time.
These provocative stories beautifully lend themselves to discussion, and once again Chambers treats us to his fiercely intelligent, finely crafted prose and his incisive understanding of the wonderings of young people on the verge of adulthood.
***

I thought this was a fab little quick read.

The Kissing Game is a collection of short stories all based on the different experiences of teenagers.

I liked how diverse the stories were. There were a few longer ones, some done as scripts, others as letters / monologues. I really liked the variety as you were never sure what you were getting next.

Out of all the stories there were a few that really stood out for me.

One story was a letter written by a boy who lives outside the system in a house he built in the woods to the council who are trying to get his house pulled down. I loved the idea behind it and the morals the story put out there which were put together well in a very short piece.

I loved the letter from one boy to his teacher about why he was not participating in PE. I thought it was brilliantly funny.

A couple of the stories were quite dark. The title story the Kissing Game is quite dark in its content but almost quite sweet. There is also a story about a young girl who is an illegal immigrant and being used for all kinds of awful things by the man who helped her get into the country.

All in all a fab collection of stories which were intelligently written showing a real insight into teenagers today.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Small Town Sinner by Melissa Walker

This book sounds amazing. Does anyone know if it is being published in the UK?? To be fair I just love the cover!

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
published in summer 2011


The story of Lacey Anne Byers, a small town girl who is excited to star in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, until a childhood friend reappears and makes her question her faith.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Published by Simon and Schuster
Challenges: None
Source: swapped on readitswapit.co.uk (UK paperback)


A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.
In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart


***
I really enjoyed this book. The story interchanges between the voice of Brittany and Alex (a chapter each at a time) and follows their story following a day when they are forced to be chemistry partners during the first class of their senior year. Initially they hate each other but as they story progresses they start to change their mind about one another. He is Mexican from the wrong side of town and she is white American living the perfect American dream for the right side of town. Everything is against them being together.

I loved the ideas in this book about forbidden love. When you first meet the characters they appear so different and it seems that there is no way in hell they could be together yet as the story progresses and you find out more about them you start to root more and more for them to be together. I actually loved the fact that despite appearing to be complete opposites they were really quite similar in their outlooks on life. I loved that neither of them were actually like the persona they had to project to the world. I enjoyed how the story progressed and loved it when they finally got it together (very hot action going on several times there!).

I really loved that the characters had a lot about them. They weren't what they seems from the outside and I enjoyed finding out about their back story. I particularly enjoyed seeing how Brittany was with her sister Shelley and finding out how tied she felt about her loyalties to her. I also enjoyed finding out more about Alex and his reasons for living the life style he did.

All in all an awesome book. It was slightly predictable and a little cheesy in how it turned out but I loved it (possibly more for these things) I loved the characters and really enjoyed following them in their story.