Thursday, 31 May 2012

May review

Phew May has been and gone already!

Work has been insane this month so things have been a bit slow for me reading wise while my poor TBR pile has slowly and steadily increased.

Read in May
Until I die by Amy Plum
What's up with Jody Barton by Hayley Long
The Strange case of Finley Jayne
Adorkable by Sarra Manning
One Moment by Kristina McBride
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Emma hearts LA by Keris Stainton
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
The selection by Kiera Cass

Favourite Book read in May

Adorkable by Sarra Manning


Favourite book published in May

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare


Book events
I had a brilliant weekend staying with Sarah in the middle of the month. Whilst staying with her we headed into London for a brilliant event at Foyles involving Cat Clarke, James Dawson, Tanya Byrne and Kim Derting. We were then whisked off by headline to have afternoon tea with Kim which was brilliant

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Review: Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Published by Atom



Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian's 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World. And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane's boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common - she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can't she stop talking to him?

***

I loved Adorkable. It was sweet and funny with a lovely storyline with a brilliant lead character and left me with loads to think about when I was done. I now want to go out and hunt down everything else written by Sarra Manning and devour it in one huge marathon reading session.

I loved Jeane. She is the sort of girl I always wished I'd had the guts to be at her age. She's dorky and quirky and quite happy in her own skin being whoever she wants to be, wearing whatever she wanted without caring what other people thought. Not only that she shares her ideas across the world via twitter and her blog to show how proud she is about being individual. Her blog is so successful that she gets paid to go to conferences all over the world and is consulted about simply being the individual she is.

I loved the relationship that builds up between Jeane and Michael as the story goes on. I particularly enjoyed seeing Jeane through Michael's eyes and seeing how his opinion of her changed as the story progressed especially by the time you get to the scenes at Christmas. I thought their relationship was really heartfelt and sweet. I must say the way in which teenage sex was portrayed in this book. I've said before how annoyed I get when the impression given in YA books is that all girl under 21 who even consider having sex with even their long term boyfriend is seen as a slut. I'm not for a minute promoting underage slutty sex but I do think have more realistic portrayals of teen relationships in YA can only be a good thing in teaching teens what adult relationships can be like in turn give them some more self respect.

I loved getting under the skin of Jeane more as the story went on and finding out who she really was under her quirky suit of armour that she hid behind the majority of the time. I particularly liked it when she had her stint of being normal and seeing what it would be like to fit in with the crowd.

Highly recommend to all those readers like me who are bored to tears with all the paranormal and dystopian fiction we are being inundated with at the moment.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Until I Die by Amy Plum
Published by Atom



Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting.  


***

I loved the first book in this series and I was desperate for this book to arrive. Problem is just over a year and about 200 books have passed since I read Until I die which meant I probably didn't enjoy this instalment as much as I should. I think it is also telling that it took me over a week to get this one read.

I enjoyed getting to know Kate and Vincent again but found myself playing catch up quite a lot with who everyone else was which confused me to say the least. I did enjoy getting into the history behind Vincent and his family a bit more and seeing that side which I found quite interesting. Also just like with Book 1 I loved the Parisian setting and getting a feel for the city.

This book had a "second in a trilogy" feel to it whereby you get all the build up but, I felt, not a hugely satisfying amount of action nor resolution to feel like a complete book in its own right which is something I am finding increasingly common in books which are number 2 of 3. This meant I struggled at times to keep going and actually lost interest quite a bit.

I must say I did like the ending and I cannot believe the book ended on such a cliff hanger. This is a clever trick leaving me wanting book 3 now. I just hope I either have time to reread the whole lot or am interested enough when it comes round to publication date to care.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Published by Simon and Schuster
Hex Hall #3



Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?


***

I've really enjoyed the Hex Hall series. They've got a brilliant lead, cracking storylines and are pacey enough to keep my turning the page long after I should have put down my book to do something else.

I did enjoy this instalment and thought it was a nice ending to the Hex Hall series. Without giving too much away there were some brilliant twists and revelations as everything fell into place. the final show down was epic and I enjoyed the sense of satisfaction at the end as everything tied up and fell into place.

(The next sentence is a little bit spoliery)
That said I am a little gutted about Cal and how things turned out for him in this book but I think that is probably due to the fact that I hate hate hate Archer. There's just something about him I do not like at all.
(end of spoliers)

Overall I really have series this series. It's kept me guessing, made me laugh and thoroughly entertained me for three books and each book in the series is as strong as the last which I am increasingly finding not to be the case in trilogies.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Bookcase Showcase: Author Linda Newbery

There were lots of possibilities here, but I’ve decided to do the same as Marcus Sedgwick’s post last week, and photograph a section of shelf just as it is, rather than artfully juxtaposing. Also, I decided to go for a shelf that has nothing to do with fiction, children’s books or writing.



On this shelf I keep books on cookery, gardening and a few odds and ends; the bookcase is handily next to the kitchen and the garden, with a comfortable sofa close by. Gardening makes me happy. Writing makes me happy, too, but not all the time, whereas gardening never fails. The two combine well: often a plot problem sorts itself out while I’m potting up seedlings or doing some pruning, or - best of all - digging. You can see here a couple of books on vegetable-growing, which is new territory for me, as is chicken-keeping. We have three partridge Pekin bantams, and I love to see them pecking around the lawn or dust-bathing in the sunshine, making a range of clucks and other remarks which I’m learning to interpret. The Art of Letter Carving in Stone is here because last summer I tried my hand at stone-carving, with a local mason, sculptor and friend, Bernard Johnson. I spent several days working on an owl in relief – in a way, it was retrospective hands-on research for my Victorian novel Set in Stone. Beginning to experience the fascination and the slow reward of carving Jurassic limestone, and watching Bernard’s highly skilled, meticulous work, I wanted to try my hand at letter-cutting. That’s something for the future, though, as I’ve got several writing projects under way, and stone-carving takes as long as it takes – days, weeks, months. That one’s a library book, which brings me to – libraries. I put in an online request, and in less than a week the book was waiting for me, in exchange for £1 reservation fee. Aren’t libraries great? Let’s use them, keep them, praise them, guard them. My local branch, which serves several villages, is currently threatened with at least partial closure. Please, no. Look closely at those gardening books and you’ll see Gardener Cook by Christopher Lloyd and The Gardener’s Book of Colour by Andrew Lawson, two of my favourites. I enjoy browsing in books like these at any time, whether it’s in winter, to dream of planting plans for next year, or now, to find recipes for freshly-harvested vegetables. The first came from a second-hand stall at the price of £1.50, and the second from a charity shop, £1. Fantastic bargains! Spend long enough in charity shops and you’ll find books you didn’t know you were looking for, but which seem to be looking for you.


This brings me neatly to my latest book, The Treasure House, which is set around a charity shop and the things that find their way there, and grew out of my experiences as volunteer in a local hospice shop. Thanks for inviting me!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Review: Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe

Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe
Published by Atom


What would you do to find your best friend’s killer?

Eve, a runaway, finds a new job at a coffee shop on the outskirts of Tuscon. When she’s approached by two wealthy teens who claim she bears an uncanny resemblance to their missing cousin Aurora, her life takes a turn for the dark and mysterious. Drawn into a scheme to win Aurora’s inheritance, Eve finds herself impersonating the girl, who disappeared three years ago on the night her best friend Elizabeth died. But when Liza’s ghost begins to haunt Eve, doing harm to the people close to her under the guise of “protecting” her, Eve finds herself in a nightmare maze of lies and deception that leads her to question even her own identity. She realizes her only chance is to uncover the truth about what happened the night Liza died, and to find Liza’s killer— before she’s next. 


***

It might just be me being a bit thick but I got to the end of this book and wasn't all that sure what I'd actually read or if I even knew what had happened in this book.

The first part of the book made sense. I totally got it. Poor girl looks like missing rich girl is 'hired' by rich girl's rich cousins to impersonate her so they can get her money. The story was quite good. Poor girl moves in gets all the riches she's dreamt of and learns how to be proper. Also learns rich girl's family is mostly made up of bitches. Again I'm up for a bit of that particularly because the put downs are so brilliant.

Then we came to the second half. This is where my mind was blown and I wasn't sure really what happened. It went a bit like this in my mind. poor girl starts to dig into family problems especially around rich girl's missing best friend and rumours of murder. Cousins go nuts, grandmother goes nuts, friends of rich girl goes nuts, poor girl goes nuts. I'm not actually sure which parts of the book were dreams and which parts were her making stuff up and which was real. I just don't get it!!!!

anyone want to enlighten me??

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Review: Dying to Know you by Aidan Chambers

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers
Published by Bodley Head




In Dying to Know You, award-winning author Aidan Chambers has created an indelible portrait of a young man discovering his own voice in the world, and has constructed a love story that is as much about the mind as it is the heart.
In this contemporary love story, a teenage boy named Karl enlists a famous writer to help him impress his girlfriend, Fiorella. She has asked him to write her a letter in which he reveals his true self. But Karl isn’t convinced he’s good enough with words, so he tracks down Fiorella’s favorite author and begs him to take up the task. The writer reluctantly assents, on the condition that Karl agree to a series of interviews, so that the letter will be based on an authentic portrait of Karl. The letter, though effective, has unexpected consequences for Karl, Fiorella, and the writer.


***

 This book is like nothing else I have ever read.

The relationship between Karl and the old man author is interesting. It's not one I've seen similair of in any YA novel and it made for something a bit unique and different. Likewise being narrated by this older gentleman gives it a different twist as you see the story from his perspective. I don't think I know of any other YA novel that does this.

It is a really fast read. I sat down just to read a chapter or two then suddenly found I was over halfway through without even realising it. That said this isn;t due to pace. Often if I read a book quickly it is because it is pacey. this book isn't at all. I just found the voice unusual and engaging enough to be interested to want to know where the story goes.

I personally think this is going to be a book that adult readers rave about and point as as an excellent YA read and will be, as a result, nominated for awards. I don't think necessarily the Young Adults it is intended for will take to it in the same way purely because the narrator is the age of their Grandparents. I'll be interested to see what they think.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Review: We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
Published by Razorbill



One girl.

Two brothers.

The biggest decision of her life . . .


Just when she thought she had all the answers . . .

Isabel has only ever loved two boys, Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher.

One broke her heart; the other made her happier than she ever thought she'd be. But each brother is keeping a secret, and this summer Isabel must choose between the Fisher boys, once and for all. Which brother will it be?


***

I have been desperate to read We'll always have summer from the minute I finished the second book in the series. I needed to know what was going to happen next and find out who, in the end, Belly would choose out of Jeremiah or Conrad.

I loved this book as it put me straight into that summery feeling as soon as I started reading it. My mind was instantly back at the place it was when I first started the series. yes at times it was a bit predictable but definitely one of those comfort reads I crave every now and then.

I really enjoyed getting to know Belly again and seeing where her life had gone. I actually loved seeing how she had changed as a person and seeing this in her new friendships. I loved seeing her with the fisher boys and seeing the pull that Conrad still had for her even though she was with Jeremiah. I actually thought some of the scenes were raw and moving and really enjoyed the love triangle aspect of this book as I finally started to get why exactly Belly had always carried a torch for Conrad even though I hadn't thought that he deserved it previously.

Don't get me wrong there are a few things I haven't been keen on with this series. I hate the name Belly and think it is stupid beyond belief. I also really disliked how Belly was very instant on getting married, even before finishing college. I just thought the way she hung onto it as an idea when coming up against so much criticism was bonkers and actually a little creepy for my liking.

For me the story ended brilliantly. I don't want to spoil for others but actually thinking back over it I don't think it could have ended any other way. A perfect end to a series I have adored.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Review: Raising demons by Rachel Hawkins

Raising Demns by Rachel Hawkins
Published by Simon and Schuster


Sophie Mercer's first term at Hex Hall turned out to be quite eventful. First the ghost of her evil grandmother haunted her every move, then her best friend was accused of murder and of course there was the discovery that Archer Cross, aka the boy of her dreams, was actually an undercover demon hunter - which would probably be something she could have worked on, if she hadn't also discovered that she was actually the demon Archer was hunting…
So, despite their issues, Sophie is actually relieved to be spending the summer in London with her father. But when your father is Head of The Council of Prodigium and your summer is being spent at the headquarters of everything magical, then a quiet holiday isn't really that likely. And, as Sophie struggles to come to terms with her new found demon powers, she finds herself thrust once again into a world of dark magic and conspiracies. The only thing that could possibly make things more complicated would be for Archer Cross to show up again, which of course he wouldn't, would he?


***

I have been meaning to get round to reading this book for ages after really enjoying book one and I must say I enjoyed this one too.

I love Sophie as a character. I liked see more of her in this book and seeing a different side to her as she starts to develop a relationship with the father she never knew as she grew up. I loved seeing how similar they were even though Sophie didn't want to be like him and would love to see the two of them really kick some ass in future books.

I loved that the book changed location to England and loved seeing the headquarters through Sophie eyes. I also had a dawning realisation when I was reading this ... are there now medieval castles in the USA? (my historian heads thinking logically says no there can't be) that makes me sad for you :(

The one thing I don't get about this series is Archer. I don't see how everyone else thinks he is hot. I am team Cal all the way. I love Cal and I would love it if he and Sophie got it together as I think he is a gorgeously brilliant character and I would love to see more of him in the books.

The storyline was as pacey and witty as ever meaning I really enjoyed reading the book and finished it really quickly. I felt that both the story progressed but also set the stage for the final one in a way which didn't leave me feeling cheated which I have found can happen a lot in second-in-the-series-titles.

I am looking forward to the next instalment muchly.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Review: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Published by Walker



The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?


***

I have struggled all week to write this review. It's not because I didn't love this book because I really did but more because I don't know how to do it justice without spoiling it. So I am therefore just going to tell you what I liked about it. 

I loved that this book was one of those "second in the series" (or 5th in this case) books where nothing really happens and you spend a lot of time trying to work out who is who and remember what's gone on and just end up utterly confused. I slipped right back in to where things left off without feeling like I didn't have a clue about what was going on which made me more eager and keen to find out moreand therefore meant I found myself reading fast without getting bored.

I felt that Clary comes into her own in this book. Blimey she kicks ass something rotten in this book and you are really starting to see the sort of Shadowhunter she is going to become.

I love all the couples in this book: Alec and Magnus, Jordan and Maia (blimey Jordan and Maia I did get all flustered at their scenes). I also love love love love Simon and Isabelle and I can't wait to see where things go with them next.

Jace is gorgeous in this book. I did have to swoon frequently and often whilst reading this book.

The end of this book is when it all goes down. I loved the ending and cannot wait to see what happens next. A real sense of foreboding has been established and I think we are all in for a real treat with the final instalment!

***



I am meeting Cassie Clare next weekend and am interviewing her with questions about Maia and Jordan. If you have any you want to ask please et me know asap.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Bookcase Showcase: Author Marcus Sedgwick + giveaway

"A few years ago I moved into a tiny cottage, and though I was pleased to see that the former owners had crammed as many bookshelves as possible into it, I still had to get rid of a lot of my books. What's left is (apart from one bookcase of treasured items) a rather random selection. This is one such example - I resisted the temptation to 'tweak' what was in here before I photographed it for you, but the result is probably a good indication of what you might find anywhere in my house.



Looking at this photo, I was first amused to see that there are at least three books I hate on there. I'm not telling which ones, but that either goes to show that I'm a tolerant kind of fellow, or too lazy to throw them out. Moving swiftly past things which should never have been responsible for the felling of trees, I stop at the first of an all-time favourite lurking here - Treasure Island. It's one of those books that lots of people have never read, and what a truly great story they're missing - dark and sweltering with evil!

Also here, I see a few books I've used in research for some of my own - next to Treasure Island is a wafer thin copy of The Oresteia  - which I cribbed from for The Foreshadowing, and on the shelf below is Testament of Youth, which was for the same novel. Along the row is The Family That Couldn't Sleep (Kiss of Death), and underneath that, several books to do with Russia and Arthur Ransome, used when writing Blood Red, Snow White.


I can also see lots of books here that I hoped might provide ideas for novels. But which didn't. Damn them to Hell. I see a few titles that are vestiges of my 'career' in publishing, and a few books by other favourite authors; Mervyn Peake, Peter Dickinson, Chris Priest (though not always my favourite of their books - they must be in the case of treasures. I hope). I see some books relating to my continual battle to learn to speak better Swedish, and I see some books by friends, along with one of the first books I ever read; the Ladybird edition of Richard the Lionheart, which my brother and I 'improved' by the addition of speech bubbles on the illustrated pages. (King Richard saying 'You twit" to Saladin, that kind of thing). Clearly I had an early grasp of realistic dialogue.


I see a book by someone who I admired until I witnessed his appalling table manners. I see a book by a royal Russian Anarchist next to a Romanian religious historian. I see a book by a man who doesn't believe in God, and I see a book by a god who doesn't believe in men. I see two books by a man who can talk to dead people. I see two of the most overrated books of all time, in my opinion. And I see a couple of books of posh hotels to stay in, revealing another habit of mine - that when reading and writing get too much, I'm happiest to run away somewhere quiet, as long as it's somewhere with a decent martini."


Thank you Marcus for your bookcase showcase post!
The wonderful Nina has offered me 2 copies of Marcus's Midwinterblood for a giveaway. If you would like to enter and are based in the UK please leave a comment below with a way for me to contact you (either email address or twitter name). I will pick winners next weekend.


Friday, 18 May 2012

Review: The Pledge by Kim Derting

The Pledge by Kim Derting
Published by Alison and Busby



Words are the most dangerous weapon of all.

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before... and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime


***

I have been waiting for The Pledge for ages as I have read and really enjoyed Kim's Body Finder series. I was not disappointed and actually think I like this series even more. I enjoyed every page and cannot wait for the next instalment.

Before I started reading this I thought I was fed up with dystopian books after reading a long line of books that were very similar to one another. What I liked about this one was how unique it was in its ideas. I loved the use of language as a way of dividing the population into different classes and found the way in which the world was run in the book absolutely fascinating.

The historian in me loved all the scenes in the royal court and seeing how the Queen ruled her country with complete tyranny. I enjoyed the twist where she was desperate for a female heir rather than a male one. I also loved all the political stuff especially looking at how the society was dealing with living under such a tyrannical ruler.

I loved the main characters Charlie and Max. I loved seeing their relationship developed over the story. I particularly loved Charlie as she was feisty and really loyal and I liked seeing her develop as a character.

I won't tell you too much about the storyline as what happens but needless to say I really enjoyed how it went and found the whole book fascinating and a really engaging read.

All in all a book I really loved. I cannot wait to see where the story goes next!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

City of Lost Souls Blog Tour: Ask Cassie Clare

Late last week I got offered an amazing opportunity as part of the Blog Tour for City of Lost Souls Blog Tour. I am going to be interviewing Cassie Clare while she is doing her UK tour when she visits Bluewater on 27th May.



My interview will focus around questions about Maia and Jordan. I would love some help for this so if you have any questions at all you want to ask Cassie about Maia and Jordan please leave them in the comments section below or tweet them to me @overflowingklc and I'll try to put as many as I can to her.


Check out the details of the rest of the blog tour here (including where to ask questions about other characters)
http://www.undercoverreads.com/city-of-lost-souls-tour

Review: Dreams by Daniela Sacerdoti

Dreams by Daniela Sacerdoti
Publishing by Black and White Publishing



“You’d never think it could happen to you. You’d never think that one day you’ll stand in a graveyard, rain tapping on a sea of black umbrellas, watching your parents being lowered into the earth, never to come back. It’s happening to me. They said it was an accident. Only I know the truth. My parents were hunters, like their parents and grandparents before them, hundreds of years back, scores of ancestors behind me, fulfilling the same call. I must follow in their footsteps. I am the only one left to keep the promise. I can never give up the fight, this fight that has been handed down to me, thrust upon my unwilling shoulders. I’d rather be buried with my parents, my brave, fierce father and mother, who lived and died by the Midnight motto: Don’t Let Them Roam.”

Ever since her thirteenth birthday, seventeen-year-old Sarah Midnight’s dreams have been plagued by demons—but unlike most people’s nightmares, Sarah’s come true. Her dreams guide her parents’ hunt as Sarah remains in bed, terrified but safe, sheltered from the true horrors of the Midnight legacy. But all this is about to change. After the murder of her parents, she is cruelly thrust into a secret world of unimaginable danger as she is forced to take up their mission. Alone and unprepared for the fight that lies before her, Sarah must learn how to use the powers she’s inherited and decide whom to trust before it’s too late..


***

Sarah is an ordinary girl with dark secret which has placed the weight of the world on her shoulders. In her dreams she sees the most terrifying things and she's trying to make sense of a world in which people whom she doesn't know are trying to kill her because the fate of the world rests in her hands.

What I particularly liked about this book was that it was paranormal romance set in the UK. I loved how British it was and am now even more excited about visiting Edinburgh in the summer and seeing all the places mentioned in the book.

I loved Sean/Harry and the relationship he builds up with Sarah. It is clear to see that he adores her and I cannot wait to see where their relationship goes in future books. The way it is written had a bit of Jace/Clary feel to it. Two people that aren't supposed to be attracted to each other but there is something there underneath it all that tells you that they could be.

For me I found there was a lot of 'getting to know you' time in this book. For me this slowed the pace down which slowed my reading speed down. I know you need this especially in a series but I would have liked the action and storyline to have been more pacey throughout the entire book. That said I did enjoy that when things kicked off they really kicked off. This book is quite visual and allows you to get under the skin of what Sarah is seeing and experiencing quite well.

Sarah really comes into her own by the end of the book. I loved seeing the comparison between the Sarah we meet at the start of the book and the one you see towards the end of the story.

All in all a series which I am keen to continue as I am really interested to see where it goes next.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Review: The summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
Published by Source Books


After she's snubbed by her snooty cousins in the Hamptons, 16-year-old Mia Gordon meets next-door-neighbor Simon. And from the very first time he encourages Mia to go skinny dipping, she's caught in a current impossible to resist.

***

I picked up this book because I wanted a nice summer read and that's exactly what I got.

I really enjoyed this book. The majority of it is a lovely YA read about Mia's summer at the beach. She's staying with her family and feels left out because her snooty cousins make her feel uncool and unwelcome because she isn't interested in showing off loads of flesh, or making out with boys she doesn't know or getting hammered every evening. Mia's still determined to make the best of her time as her favourite beach and as a result spends a lot of time exploring the beach alone. That is until she meets Simon.

Simon is the door next door. Ordinary but gorgeous at the same time and as Mia gets to know him she finds herself falling for him. I loved seeing their relationship develop as the book goes on and seeing how cute their are as a pair in spite of all the family drama raging on around them

So as I said a nice summer read.... Now that's what I thought.

This book leads you down this route where you feel safe in the knowledge of what type of book it is and what it is going to turn out like. it's only in the last 50 pages that the twist shatters that completely and it turns from being light and fluffy to really quite poignant and moving. I didn't see it coming and it really threw me when I got to that point. I don't think I've ever been so thrown off guard by a book before.

An awesome book which I really enjoyed with an emotional punch at the end which threw me completely off guard. Highly recommend!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Queen of Teen: Vote for James Dawson!! Plus giveaway

James Dawson is on the shortlist for the Queen of Teen award for his book Hollow Pike.



If you follow my blog or my random tweeting you'll know that I loved Hollow Pike by James Dawson something fierce. (If you are interested see my review here) It is witty and poignant with brilliant morals and a diverse selection of teenage characters who I loved. I simply can't say enough good things about this book and am regularly giving copies to people to share the Hollow Pike love.

I was lucky enough to meet James Dawson at the weekend at an event run by Foyles showcasing a range of YA authors and get him to sign not only my copy but also a second copy of Hollow Pike to giveaway to you guys.

To enter all I'm asking is that you go to fill the form in below to enter. I would also love it if you went to Queen of Teen website and voted for James to win* and / or spread the word and get others to vote too. How awesome would it be to have a male winner?? I personally want to see James in a Tiara on the glitzy Queen of Teen  throne Winner is Georgie from http://diaryoftheaverageteenbooklova.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Bookcase Showcase: Author Ruth Eastham


Bookcase Showcase – Ruth Eastham


Thanks so much for inviting me, Kirsty!


I have a problem. It’s a big… small… kind of problem.
A space problem.


No, not that kind of space problem.

A problem of Severe Shelf Shortage.

While a small house saves a fortune on heating bills in winter (and in theory should stop hoarding habits) it’s not so great if you keep buying books and have nowhere to put them.

I know, I know - I should get a Kindle. But while I’m not a technophobe, there’s something so much nicer about a book with flickable paper pages that you can take in the bath.

I know, I know – I should use the library. But then you have to give the books back, and if they’ve been in the bath…

I know, I know – I could put up more shelves. But less house means less wall, and I’m about as handy with a spirit level as Mr Bean is with a dentist’s drill.

I do have one proper cupboard, where books can be kept behind glass under lock and key:




And some of the rest (of no less merit) I’ve gathered and placed along the window ledge:


 
(it’s luckily quite a LONG window ledge)…



There’s Patrick Ness (his Chaos Walking books, not actually him, obviously, if unfortunately) and Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy and the MG Harris Joshua Files quintet.

I’ve super books by writer friends, like Sarah Mussi’s ‘Door of No Return’ and Miriam Halamy’s ‘Hidden’ and Susie Day’s ‘Big Woo!’.

There’s tatty copy of The Memory Cage, with highlighted bits for book readings and school visits, and The Messenger Bird looking smugly new – yet old – next to it.

I’ve books that are on the UKLA shortlist with Memory Cage: ‘Sky Hawk’ by Gill Lewis, and Simon Mason’s ‘Moon Pie’. And I’ve an old, cherished copy of ‘A Christmas Carol’ with its cover dropping off that my Dad used to read to my brothers and me every December.


 
There’s excellent books for pure enjoyment and incredible books for pure inspiration, and (something beginning with t) books for pure thinking about how other authors do it. Such as McCaughrean’s ‘Stop the Train’ for dialogue, and Reeve’s ‘Mortal Engines’ for viewpoint; Siobhan Dowd for description, and Frank Cottrell Boyce for just plain everything that’s good about stories.

Not forgetting: Robert McKee’s ‘Story’ (to help me keep pondering what makes a story tick); a Roget’s Thesaurus (because it’s so much better than Shift+F7); and my signed copy of ‘The Illustrated Mum’ by Dame Jacqueline herself from a BBC writing workshop I won a place on back in 2001.

 
But my my daughters’ signed copy of ‘The Gruffalo’ fell down the side of the bunk bed and is impossible to retrieve without dismantling the bed. So no photo of that one, sorry. I will mention Michael Rosen’s ‘The Sad Book’ though, just in case I was thinking picture books were only for little kids.

So, like I said, I have a Severe Space Shortage. But that doesn’t seem to stop me. Soon there’ll be no more room for anything else in the house, not kids’ toys, not linen, not cooking utensils. Just books. Think how many more I could fit into the freezer drawers, for example. Or the fridge. Or that bunk bed…

Hang on, I feel a story coming on…




And for those of you collecting letters for Ruth’s mystery message competition: www.rutheastham.com/my-book-launch-blog-tour/

MYSTERY LETTER NUMBER 2 = T



Ruth’s website: www.rutheastham.com

Link to Ruth’s Facebook page:

Follow Ruth on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/RuthEastham1