Friday, 31 August 2012

August Review

Lots of reading time this month due to the summer holidays!

Books read in August
Devilish by Maureen Johnson
The rise of nine by Pittacus Lore
What's left of me by Kat Zhang
How to save a life by Sarra Zarr
Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings
The assassin's curse by Cassandra Clarke
Arabseque by Colin Mulhern
Hidden Lies by Victor Watson
Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner
The Raven boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz
The Fox inheritance by Mary E Pearson
Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager
Newes of the Dead by Mary Hooper
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Forever by Judy Blume
The Diviners by Libba Bray

Book of the month

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager
Published by Catnip

Quite honestly I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is just brilliant and you all need to read it

Book events

I went to a few book things this month whilst staying with Sarah. These were

  • UKYA meet up organised by Keris Stainton involving lots of lovely authors and bloggers. I got lots of books signed and generally had a wonderful time
  • Preview screening of Now is good. I only have one thing to say about that film so far .... JEREMY IRVINE!!!! (I will say more later but literally can't due to warner bros confidentitality agreements)
  •  Strange Chemistry Launch at the British Library. What a fantastic party to celebrate the launch of the new imprint from Angry Robot. I had a wonderful time, met their lovely authors, got a unicorn and made a menance of myself on the tube with my bubbles from the good bag (FYI amanda knows how to put the best goody bags together!)

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Review: Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper

 
WRONGED. HANGED. ALIVE? (AND TRUE!)
Anne can't move a muscle, can't open her eyes, can't scream. She lies immobile in the darkness, unsure if she'd dead, terrified she's buried alive, haunted by her final memory—of being hanged. A maidservant falsely accused of infanticide in 1650 England and sent to the scaffold, Anne Green is trapped with her racing thoughts, her burning need to revisit the events—and the man—that led her to the gallows.
 
Meanwhile, a shy 18-year-old medical student attends his first dissection and notices something strange as the doctors prepare their tools . . . Did her eyelids just flutter? Could this corpse be alive?
 
Beautifully written, impossible to put down, and meticulously researched, Newes from the Dead is based on the true story of the real Anne Green, a servant who survived a hanging to awaken on the dissection table. Newes from the Dead concludes with scans of the original 1651 document that recounts this chilling medical phenomenon.

***

This book is the story of Anne Green a young girl who was hung but lived afterwards and became something of a local celeb in the 1650s told by May Hooper if her usual brilliant style.

Quite honestly I read this book because it was written by Mary Hooper. For me she is a brilliant example of a writer who writes excellent historical fiction for teenagers. Her writing is flawless but at the same time it isn't boring so that it engages the reader entirely and gives them a real sense of the time period they are fading about. The story is split between the present day third person as Anne's body is prepared for dissection and what happens once the doctors discover she is alive and first person and Anne herself feeling her story of how she came to being hung.

The story itself fascinated me and gave me an insight into a part of history I hadn't much thought about in the way in which Anne was treated by the master of the household and how she was regarded by the law. You really get a sense of how helpless and alone she feels and how unfairly women, especially poor women, we're treated by men and society in general. The story involving her death was equally as interesting and another fine example of a story so intriguing from the past that you simply couldn't have made up.

A story that teaches you about the way in which women were regarded in the 1650s, the role of religion at that time, the role of the law courts and attitudes of people living at the time which I found compelling and fascinating.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Review: Hidden Lies by Victor Watson



I really enjoyed Hidden Lies as it was every bit as awesome as I hoped it would be.

What I particularly enjoy about this series is the fact that it is both so accessible and enjoyable as a story within itself but also that gives you a real insight into the historical period without over burdening the reader. The whole series is a brilliant example of how I think historical fiction should be done for children and teenagers.

As a reader I really enjoyed getting back to characters I have enjoyed following since book one. I love the dynamic the ever growing cast of regulars have and I love the banter and loyalty between them. For me when I'm reading them I almost feel like the capture the same sort of magic I felt when I first read the famous five books as a child and I love that they are quite innocent. The story itself revolves around a mystery involving the death of new character Cassie's uncle. I loved being kept on my toes as I never found that I guessed he the story was going to go early. A special mention needs to go to young Edward. I loved that boy to pieces in book 2 and I loved seeing how he had grown as a character and how brave he was in this book.

As a history teacher. Love how these books give a real insight not life during the second world war on the home front and I could quite happily recommend these books to any child I teach from age 11 -16 without the worry that the book would be inappropriate content wise for the younger ones or not enough for the older ones. I also like how it would appeal to both boys and girls.

A cracking series which I thoroughly enjoy and genuinely get excited about reading when a new book is released. Looking forward to the next instalment already.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Bookcase Showcase: Author Kim Curran

Unsurprisingly, as an author, I'm a total book whore. If I'm having a bad day, I buy a book. If I'm having a good day, I buy a book. In fact, it's rare a day goes by without me grabbing a new book from somewhere. I often pick books just because I love the covers and then never get around to reading them. I know. I need help. 
As you'll see, my bookshelves are an utter mess. Once upon a time they were organised by colour – yes, I had a long weekend to myself and not much else to do – and you may just about be able to make out vestiges of that system: white books huddled next to white books and the odd spattering of red. While arranging books by colour may look nice, it does make finding books almost impossible. So when I move (which will hopefully be soon) I shall be a little more realistic and might organise them by name. 


In my front room, you can see I have a mixture of big hard back books, ornaments, photos and, tucked in next to that Chinese vase, my most treasured possession: a 1st Edition of The Romance of King Arthur, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. It was my leaving present from my old work when I left to go freelance and start writing. And it's one of the things I would take with me if I had a fire. You may also spy another of my prized posessions: my signed copy of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.



The second shelf in the front room is a little more orderly as a lot of the books on there are my husband's (he's a big historical fiction fan.) You may also spy a lot of Moorcock there mixed in with some contemporary literary classics. In many ways this shelf sums up my random reading habits.


As we move into the hallway, things start to get much, much messier. These are mostly the paperbacks that keep finding their way into my house. Some of them literally jump into my bag without me realising. Honest! I tried to have a 1 in 1 out policy with books, but it failed. I just couldn't throw any books away. It's a mix of a lot of YA books, travel books and thrillers. There's also some penguin classics huddled together in the corner for protection from the onslaught of amazing commercial fiction. You'll see a fair few comic books stacked up there as well. But I also have piles and piles of them tucked away in boxes in the attic. The photo of the leopard drinking from a puddle was taken when on honeymoon in South Africa. My husband and I argue over which one of us took it (it was probably him, but don't let him know I said that). It's a beautiful picture, either way. 



And finally, we have my to be read and just been read pile. You can't quite see from this picture, but that stack is two-books deep and about 6ft high. It falls over on a regular basis and terrifies the neighbours downstairs as it makes an almighty racket when it does so. 

 

I wanted to make a special mention of my Kindle. It currently holds about 200 books and without it, I'd have even less room in the house. I'm lucky enough to have some advance copies of other authors' books on there – including some top-top-secret first drafts. And it has a pretty gel skin cover on it. So hurrah for the Kindle.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Book to Film adaptions I love

I'm a huge skeptic when it comes to film to book adaptions and often I hate the film versions with a passion but there are a few out there I love

The series of unfortunate events.


I am stunned that I loved this as I'm not a huge fan of the books and I usually hate Jim Carey but I loved this! It's so funny and captures the book brilliantly.

The Hunger Games



Yes there were bits that could have been done better namely the whole mockingjay pin bit but on the whole I love it and how it captured Katniss. I can't wait for the extended blu ray to come out.

The Hole



I love this film to bits. I love how it twists and turns but I really didn't get the book at all. A rare example for me of a film better than the book.

Stardust



I loved this film! I didn't read the book beforehand which is a rarity for me but went out and bought it afterwards because of how much I loved it.

what have I missed. Can anyone recommend any other good book to film adaptions

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Review: Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Devilish by Maureen Johnson
Published by Harpercollins



Wickedly funny high school satire - what would you give to be popular? Ally and Jane may not be that popular but they're good friends...that is until they each get allocated a freshman, a 'little' to show the ropes to at school. Cracks begin to show as Ally changes into a whole different person, literally overnight. She's dressed better, making new friends, and ditching Jane more and more. But Ally's transformation has its price. And it's up to Jane to save her former BF from a ponytail-wearing, cupcake-nibbling devil in disguise!

***


On the positive side I thought devilish was a really funny read. You can really hear Maureen's voice throughout it and the whole thing really showcases her wit and sense of humour perfectly. When I read it I could also hear her narrating the book to me.

I also quite liked the main character in the book because she was funny and warm hearted and spent a lot of time trying to do what was right in an impossible situation.

However all things considered I don't think this was really the book for me. I struggled with relating to the majority of the characters and I thought that there wasn't all that much going on plot wise to keep me fully engaged. I found it a by more simplistic and wanted a bit more substance to it to get my teeth into.

Not quite the read I had hoped it would be and for me not the strongest offering I have read from Maureen Johnson. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Review: Della says OMG by Keris Stainton

Della says OMG by Keris Stainton
Published by Orchard Books


Della’s over the moon when she kisses her long-standing crush at a party – but then she discovers her diary has disappeared...

When scans of embarrassing pages are sent to her mobile and appear on Facebook, Della’s distraught – how can she enjoy her first proper romance when someone, somewhere, knows all her deepest, darkest secrets?


***

I loved Della says OMG completely and devoured it in one sitting.

The thing for me that made this book so special was the way in which it portrayed Della and her friends. I loved how perfectly their teenage interactions were captured and how all those feelings of being a teen and going out there and finding that first love were so brilliantly shown.

Della is a brilliant character. She is has all those awkward teenage qualities of feeling like she doesn't fit in because of all those insecurities you carry round at the age of 17 but without realising that actually she is awesome. She speaks her mind and is just generally gorgeous inside and out which just comes out the page so well as you are following her story.

I loved the main premise of the story. Della finds that her diary has gone missing after a party and the person who stole it torments her with it by sending her pages containing her more personal and private thoughts which she is highly embarrassed about especially because she has just started a relationship with the oh-so gorgeous Dan.

All in all a fantastic summer read which I would highly recommend. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

review: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
Published by Catnip



Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly cafĂ©. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week.

And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?


***

How do I put into words how much I loved Raw Blue? I'm not sure I can do it justice but what follows are all my random thinkings this brilliant book.

Raw Blue centres around the life of Carly a university drop out who lives to surf. She's not close with her family who don't approve of her choices and works the night shifts in a kitchen to earn enough money for rent and bills so she can spend the rest of her time surfing. I loved Carly to bits. Firstly being a bit of an older YA I found that she wasn't quite as naive as some YA protagonists are and it also meant she had that bit of life experience behind her which made her all that more interesting as a character. I actually loved the realism that this book had if nothing else by the fact that this girl went out and did a rubbish job she hated everyday to pay the bills as again you read so many YA books where they seem to have an unlimited fund of cash without ever having to earn it to do whatever they want whenever they want (unless of course they are the poor scholarship student working night and day for a worthwhile cause). As you get to know her Carly you firstly really get how much surfing is part of this girl's soul and also that underneath it all there is something not quite right within Carly that makes her want to shy away from others and be alone. Finding out more about why she had become the girl she was fascinating reading and made me not want to put this book down.


For me this book is really all about getting underneath Carly's skin and finding out why she is the girl she is and the most telling way of seeing this was through her relationship with Ryan. Where do I start with Ryan.... Ryan is in his twenties and I personally loved that she got drawn in by an older man because quite honestly when I was Carly's age I wasn't in the slightest bit interested in men my own age because they still acted like they were kids. Ryan comes along and is kept at a distance by Carly initially despite being sweet and charming. I loved seeing how he slowly wore down her defences to become part of her life (and oh my are those bits hot) but even then he still had to deal with all her intimacy issues and the way she tried to keep him at arms length. Quite honestly I can't think of another YA book where this is done in quite the same way as it's usually all about the insecure boy keeping the girl at arms length.

All in all for me this book is the perfect YA contemporary read. It doesn't have a pacey all action story line but is doesn't need to. The story draws you in for the first page and doesn't let you go until the last as you are drawn completely into Carly's world to the point where you live the waves and the cooking grease with her and end up root for the girl 110%. I loved it and can't recommend it highly enough

Monday, 20 August 2012

Review: The Terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne

The Terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne


Barnaby Brocket is an ordinary 8-year-old boy in most ways, but he was born different in one important way: he floats. Unlike everyone else, Barnaby does not obey the law of gravity. His parents, who have a horror of being noticed, want desperately for Barnaby to be normal, but he can't help who he is. And when the unthinkable happens, Barnaby finds himself on a journey that takes him all over the world. From Brazil to New York, Canada to Ireland, and even to space, the floating boy meets all sorts of different people--and discovers who he really is along the way.
This whimsical novel will delight middle graders, and make readers of all ages question the meaning of normal.


***

I absolutely loved this book. It is far younger than what I would ever normally pick up and read but it is awesome in so many ways.

Firstly the message this book gives out is brilliant. It really plays with the idea about what it means to be different and how those differences should be celebrated. I loved how Barnaby just went with it and embraced his differences despite being brought up in a home with parents who loathed his differences. There a times in the book when you really feel for poor Barnaby and what he goes through and it is also fan to see how he just takes it all in his stride.

I loved that this book had a very Roald Dahl feel to it. Reading it took me back to the days when I was reading books like Matilda in how the story was written and I am sure if for nothing else this book will be loved by both young and old for that reason alone.

An really sad and uplifting book both at the same time which I certainly having done justice to in this review. Just buy it and fall in love with Barnaby and his abnormal ways. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Review: The Hunting by Sam Hawksmoor

The Hunting by Sam Hawksmoor


Genie and Rian thought they'd beaten The Fortress and stopped the dreadful experiments. But now someone even more ruthless has taken over, and wants to investigate why the experiments didn't kill Genie Magee. She is Fortress property, he claims - along with the other survivors.

Now there's $10,000 reward on their heads, armed roadblocks on the highway, and the dreaded threat of 'Mosquito' that can shut down their brainwaves by using their genetic information against them. There's only one possible escape from the bounty hunters with shotguns, and that's down the wild unforgiving river to a bleak future forever on the run.


Or they must turn and face The Fortress, find out its secrets, and use them against it. Seize their lives back, and fight for their very right to exist!


***

The hunting kicked off exactly where the previous book in the series left off and kicked straight back into the action with one of my favourite YA couple at the moment

The hunting was a book of two parts for me both of which that were very different from one another.

The first part of the book focuses on continuing the story started up in book one, following the story of Genie, Rian and Renee as they try to escape the clutches of the fortress and the evil scientists who are trying to experiment on them. Like book one it is fast paced and exciting from the word go. The action keeps the reader on the edge of your seat as you follow the group. I loved the relationship they had between them and seeing the lengths they had to go to to get free and then later on the things they need to do to take the fortress on. Up until this point I really enjoyed the book and seeing how the story finally ended after waiting since the beginning of the year. I wished the book finished at this point.

The last bit of the book was where I wasn't so sure. The last section follows the group once they've escaped the fortress and follows them as they settle into their new life. This part of the book was really slow and the brilliant relationships that I loved about the series was blown apart and it was completely heart breaking to see.

All in all an interesting series which lots of good ideas I only wish it had finished 100 pages or so sooner. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Bookcase Showcase: Author KM Lockwood


Author K.M.Lockwood http://kmlockwood.com/

I’ll start this happy little tour in my study upstairs – where the work happens. These shelves hold books I refer to a lot. There are a fair few How-Tos and books from my MA in Creative Writing at West Dean College. I always have to have my old Etymological Dictionary and a Thesaurus to hand.
I should think you can spot that my work-in-progress has something to do with the Jane Austen era, Chichester and Sussex.





At the other end of the shelf, there are ghost stories and Polish folktales related to The Wedding Ghost, (http://the-wedding-ghost.blogspot.co.uk/) and below them plenty of Selkie books for my MA novel. The shelf itself was made by my wonderful Other Half way back in the 1980s when we were first married. You’ll see its sister later.



The bizarre mixture of ornaments and trinkets on top houses hundreds of memories. I have a shrine with photos of my family and related souvenirs at the top of the stairs – my glow-in-the-dark Our Lady of Lourdes looks after them.
This bookshelf stands at the left of my desk and holds books on demons, fairytales, poetry, eccentrics, place names and folklore. These are essential source books for my imagination to feast on. Geek alert: yes, the two greeny-grey things on the top shelf are the Argonath from The Lord of the Rings.





So here we have the Big Sister Bookshelf who lurks in our bedroom (the bobbly thing is a bedpost). There’s a mixture of His’n’Hers here – and the tiny books on top. They just squeeze under the sloping roof: our house used to be a holiday cottage.




Downstairs now –and into the Library. This really is overflowing as my youngest son lives there temporarily. The books are mostly in alphabetical order by author. This throws up some pretty strange pairings: Mr Darcy, Vampyre next to The Wind in the Willows, anyone?
The champagne on the top is waiting for publication day(s).




There are three bookcases along the wall, and one shelf holds a special Venetian collection. I have rather a passion for La Serenissima. It’s like the Grand Canal:  Michelle Lovric, Marcus Sedgwick, Susan Hill and Cornelia Funke all jostle together.




Finally, the Sitting Room: talented, gorgeous Other Half made this one too. It marks the divide between the fireplace and the pool table end. Here you can find an ocean-scale collection of books about the sea. What started as a few maritime bits and pieces to amuse guests did the grit-in-the-oyster shell thing and became this fabulous resource. I won’t claim to have read absolutely all of it, but it’s had many a good browse.





I’ve loved doing this – thank you for asking me, Kirsty. Any questions? Just ask @lockwoodwriter on Twitter.







Friday, 17 August 2012

Dr Horrible's Sing along Blog





I only just watched this recently after managing to get a copy on blu ray and I'm now kicking myself about why I didn't watch it sooner.

Dr Horrible is a mini series that was made by Joss Whedon and other members of his family on a budget during the writers strike and released on the internet and quite honestly it is one of the best things I have seen on TV in ages

It is fab for a variety of reasons

Firstly as it's written by the Whedons it is funny and brilliant all the way through. The story in mostly told through songs musical style and they are, without exception, awesome. It features both Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillon who play the supervillan and superhero of the piece and spark off each other in their brilliantly cheesy way.

All in all it is pure genius from team Whedon and worth every penny

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Review: Such as Rush by Jennifer Echols

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols






A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.    

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.



***

A brilliant lead, hot twin boys and aeroplanes! What's not to love?

I have been excited about this book for a long while as I've enjoyed most of what I've read of her work so far. This one lived up to my expectations for several reasons.

Firstly I loved the lead Leah. She's had an awful time of it growing up living with an absentee mother who spends more time off with her string of no hoped boyfriends drinking rather than working to pay to bills and keep a roof over Leah's head. This has meant that from a young age Leah has had to work to pay the bills and keep on top of all the things involved in running a household. It gives her an interesting outlook on life as she is determined to better herself and not repeat her mother's mistakes.

Now one thing I loved is seeing Leah's passion for flying. She loves it so much she manages to get a job at the local airport and persuades the owner of a local banner flying business to teach her to fly. When he dies she suddenly finds herself stuck with no option to fly until the business owner's twin sons Alec and Grayson come back to continue running their father's business. I loved the scenes where Leah is flying because you just get how much she loves it and how flying is her entire world and how it gives her something to focus on.

I also liked seeing the way in which Leah was treated by girls in her class because she is so poor. The way in which they treat her is awful and the reputation she has which isn't based on any sort of truth is insane. She's seen by her peers as being the local slut even though she's done nothing to deserve such a reputation and she's not made welcome at parties. For me it really highlighted how badly girls can treat each other.

I loved the twins in this book. Alec and Grayson are both gorgeous and both very different. I loved the love triangle built up between the three of them in its weird and mixed up way. I won't tell you too much about what happens but I will tell you that the sexual tension is immense!

All in all a book I really enjoyed

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Mistakes in the Background by Laura Dockrill


Feast your eyes on a treasury of words and illustrations from one of the most exciting young talents around, recently voted by The Times as one of the top ten literary talents of 2008. Enter the weird and wonderful world of Laura Dockrill ! I draw like a left-handed baby, I can hardly spell my own name and watching me use a glue-stick is a bit like watching a large bear trying to ram his own head into a pocket-sized cat-flap !no, really. But once the book is finished, when I can see the pages coming together, getting thicker and thicker, detailed and covered with stories and my imagination recorded on pages !everything at last makes sense (to me at least). I did this because I have got things to say. I've got pictures I want you to see and characters I want you to meet - the crying ice-skating boy, the Rolf Harris obsessive, the rude girl in McDonalds with the chocolate milkshake and the try-hard Mighty Boosh watching mum. I don't keep a diary. I think they're crap. But this is much more than a diary. This is my map.

*** 

this isn't a review mainly because I have no idea how to review poetry as I don't fully understand it despite living with a poet for two years (I blame by substandard English teacher at High School).

All I can say is that this was a fantastic read and showed me for the first time in my life that poetry doesn't need to be boring as this little collection is quirky and clever and brilliantly funny and insighful. I loved how it was presented in a huge variety of different fonts with a hand drawn pictures.

Definitely worth a look and has got me super excited about Laura's forthcoming book.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Review: The Forsaken by Lisa Stasse

The Forsaken by Lisa Stasse
Published by Orchard books



Alenna Shawcross is a sixteen-year-old orphan growing up in a police state formed from the ashes of Canada, the US and Mexico after a global economic meltdown.

But when she unexpectedly fails ‘the test’ - a government initiative which supposedly identifies teens destined to be criminals - she wakes up alone on a remote island reserved for the criminally insane.

Terrified and confused, she soon encounters a group of other teen survivors battling to stay alive, including Liam, a boy who will become her love... and her lifeline.

Soon Alenna makes the terrifying discovery that there’s more to the island (and her past) than she could ever have guessed... But who can she trust? And can she ever escape?


***

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand the are lots of things I thought was good about it but on the other hand I did feel there were things that needed work.

Whether its fair to do so or not this no s going to be compared to the hunger games a lot purely due to the similarities it presents: kids stuck on their own, fighting for their lives in a government sponsored environment. For me I found that having read the hunger games first made me see this book in a different light. I could ell but make comparisons about a book I didn't feel was as strong. Maybe had I read this first I might have felt differently.

There certainly are some things that I liked about this book. I thought the main character was sweet and I liked following her story. I liked all the political set up behind the story and I enjoyed seeing the story unfold and all the whys and wherefores of why the world was as it was. The story itself was fast paced and kept me gripped and wasn't scared of shying away from the grim and the brutal.

What I struggled with whilst reading this book was the whole host of characters many of whom really didn't stand out for me at all. I would have liked to have seen less mentioned and the ones there more fleshed out. I also really didn't like the romance side of this book. I though the whole things was very juvenile and just tacked on almost as a tick box requirement. I did feel that the story didn't need it in there and wouldn't have suffered had it been missing.

All in all I have mixed feelings about this book. I have shelved it with the intention of continuing on with the series rather than giving it away but I'm still not sure whether I will or not.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Review: Dark eyes by William Richter

Dark eyes by William Richter
Published by Razorbill


Get ready for the vigilante girl detective of the next generation.

Wally was adopted from a Russian orphanage as a child and grew up in a wealthy New York City family. At fifteen, her obsessive need to rebel led her to life on the streets.

Now the sixteen-year-old is beautiful and hardened, and shes just stumbled across the possibility of discovering who she really is. She’ll stop at nothing to find her birth mother before Klesko—her darkeyed father—finds her. Because Klesko will stop at nothing to reclaim the fortune Wally’s mother stole from him long ago. Even if that means murdering his own blood. But Wallys had her own killer training, and she's hungry for justice.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens, this debut thriller introduces our next big series heroine!


***

I really enjoyed dark eyes for a variety of reasons.

Firstly I loved Wally as a lead character. She is completely kick ass and a really awesome example of a headstrong protagonist. I loved how fiercely loyal she was, how independent she was and how she was able to handle herself in any situation. Quite honestly I cannot wait to see more of her in future books to see how she develops as a character as she starts to build on all the things she has experienced.

I loved the action and pace of this book. There are so many twists and turns that you never see coming along with so much action that you never get a second to be bored. The author builds up the action brilliantly and keeps you hooked on the roller coaster ride from the first to the last page. I loved being surprised by by the twists which I never saw coming and loved being stunned by the revelations as and when they came.

Quite honestly this book was a new breed of YA for me in that I can't think of anything else in the YA market quite like it as it is so gritty and rough and ready in places like an adult book of a similar genre but still has all those things I love about YA in how the main protagonist is presented and portrayed within the book.

A cracking read which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Bookcase Showcase: Adele from Unbound


The person who has the most books wins right? Rats, so I don't win. I've given away a lot over the years and attempted to keep their numbers under control. Somehow, even with the introduction of ebooks my physical shelves continue to creep all over the place.
Starting in the kitchen.




These are cookbooks. All of them. For someone who has basically three recipes she lives on you might think this is excessive, but a kitchen needs more cook books than it can hold, otherwise you can't look at all the things you never cook.
Staying Downstairs.



The signed books. Most of these are people I have met at least once, some I know reasonably well now, many of them are associated to such and such an event.




Non fiction, except for the stuff just dropped on it, these are mainly reference and coffee table books.



In the office, lots of stuff all just jumbled up. Of course I know longer have any idea what I do or don't have.



Gaiman and Barker. Nuff said I think.
Upstairs then, in the corridor



This lot is pretty much urban fantasy series and remains from last time I attempted to organise my books. I gave up some time ago and often have to just scour the house now.



In the guest room an eclectic mix to ensure there is something for anyone  who stays there, anyone who knows me is likely to find something they can read.



The Vanity Shelf. Eventually I plan to see hard copies of all the Fox Spirit books there, for now it's books i'm acknowledged in, which still pleases me so much!
Finally, the rest of the shelves all jumbled up, double stacked, fitted in as best I can. Oh and some stacks.



Friday, 10 August 2012

Review: Debutants by Cora Harrison

Debutants by Cora Harrison
Published by Macmillan


It’s 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresses, the excitement seems a lifetime away.

Luckily the girls each have a plan for escaping their humdrum country life: Rose wants to be a novelist, Poppy a jazz musician and Daisy a famous film director. Violet, however, has only one ambition: to become the perfect Debutante, so that she can go to London and catch the eye of Prince George, the most eligible bachelor in the country.

But a house as big and old as Beech Grove Manor hides many secrets, and Daisy is about to uncover one so huge it could ruin all their plans—ruin everything—forever.


***

Debutantes is a really interesting read which I enjoyed.

The story revolves around 4 sisters who come from a formerly wealthy family who have fallen on hard times but trying to keep up appearances within a society bound by strict class divisions. I loved getting to know the girls and their different personalities and views on the world.

The one thing I really enjoyed about this book was the insight it gave you into the historical setting. You get a real feeling for the glitz and glamour of the 1920s from the scenes in London at the society parties but you also got to see more of the austerity of the post war era when you see the way the family has had to make cut backs when they've fallen on hardtimes.


The storyline itself kept me engaged throughout depsite the fact that I saw the main storyline twist a mile off (and I don't usually see those) but even so I enjoyed the ride.

All in all a nice read which I enjoyed!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Published by Mira



"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


***

Pushing the Limits is a brilliant read with awesome characters and a pacey and exciting storyline.

I loved several things about this book.

Firstly I loved the two main characters and the chemistry between them. The tension is electric through the story and I found myself yearning for my own bad boy like Noah to offer me his leather coat and sweep me off my feet. Watching their relationship grown and blossom as the story progressed was the thing that made it for me and made this book magical. There was tenderness and tension along with some brilliant sexy-times scenes. I loved Noah's protectiveness and loyalty to Echo as he starts to fall in love with Echo.

Another thing I enjoyed about it was the way in which Echo's backstory was slowly explored as the book went on. I found myself needing to read page after page so I could find out more about her and the reason why she had become the character she was. I loved how the author balanced all the heavy stuff from Echo's past with a lighter storyline ensuring that you didn't get bogged down in all the misery.

If you loved Perfect Chemistry this book will rock your socks off!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Blog Tour: Michelle Paver Gods and Warriors

Today I have the 5th audio extract from Michelle Paver's newest book! very exciting indeed

Here is more about the book itself from Michelle

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Review: My Life next door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life next door by Huntley Fitzpatrick


A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.


***
I loved My Life next door for several reasons.

Firstly I loved loved loved Samantha the main protagonist of the book. I loved how she was so well rounded and never bratty or spoilt despite the fact that her mother was a complete nightmare and she was forced to deal with her OCD headcase ways on a daily basis. Quite honestly the girl has the patience of a saint.

I loved Jase. He is the perfect example of the most gorgeous teenage book you'd ever hope to meet. I love the relationship he builds up with Sam and I know I will spend a good while longer swooning over the boy.

I also loved the rest of the Garrett family. It was brilliant to see the way they functioned as a huge family unit but also to see how they valued the important things in life over material things. I really liked the insight you got as you read the book about the attitudes the family faced from people who thought they were better than them.

The main storyline is brilliant. Don't get me wrong it isn't speedy and it isn't groundbreaking but it is gorgeous and lovely and in all intents and purposes and a perfect summer read which I crave this time of year.

A lovely book that I can't do justice in words. Just read it!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Review: The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Published by Indigo



Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.


***

Masque of the Red Death is a uniquely interesting read with a real gothic and steampunkesque feel to it.

I enjoyed several things about this book

Firstly I loved the feel of the book. The author builds up a real sense of a gothic world which is living in fear of another plague and in which the poor and rich live in very separate worlds based on who can afford to buy a mask to protect them from disease. The intense fear surrounding the people oozes out of the page as you read.

I enjoyed seeing the world through Araby's eyes and following her story. The political side of the story was really intriguing as you saw how the balance of power was so finely on a knifes edge and how the people was subject to the whim of those who controlled access to the masks.

The story itself is fast paced at times and kept me wanting to read to know what was going to happen next.

I enjoyed the love interest triangle between Elliot and Will and enjoyed seeing where it went and where it was left by the end of the book as secrets galore start to be unveiled. I cannot wait to see what happens next with it.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Bookcase Showcase: Blogger Grete from Book Thing

My love for books started when I was a young girl and my appetite for reading outstripped my ability to buy them so I re-read a lot and became a regular haunter at my local or school library.  I would often get the comment of 'didn't you just borrow this the other week?' Yes, yes I did and would probably be doing it again in another few.  My family are only just now starting to understand that book tokens really are the best present I could have and not at all boring for me.  Not only was I in love with books but I was a precocious reader as well and started reading authors like Jilly Cooper when I was about 13.  I also read Lord of the Rings, David Eddings and Anne McCaffrey for the first time then, so hopefully that balances out ;)

My collection has always been on the large side, unruly and a bit of an unstoppable force.  When I started reviewing, it was mainly books from my collection; since then availability of books from charity shops, bookshops and some very kind publishers, my book mountain grows each month.  It might be a bit of an addiction (but please, no cure!)  My 'to read' pile became a shelf, then two and it has gotten to the point where I do have to cull books now and again or my husband might go loopy!  He is very tolerant of my addiction but when it starts building on every available surface, it's time for a sort out ;)

So, what are my shelves like at this moment?


This is the spare room, affectionately known as the Library.  Both walls have double bookcases along them and are full. When we have guests, the sofa turns into a comfortable double bed and sometimes I lie on it and just look around and wonder how people don't have nightmares from being surrounded by books ;)  They always find something to read though so it can't be all bad! The shelves look reasonable right now as I've just done a cull but they are still double stacked.  I used to have them in alphabetical order but I have too many to do that now.  I have a dream of one day having proper floor to ceiling bookshelves where I can just single stack them in alpha order.  Having said that, when I'm hunting through to find a particular book, I come across others I think 'ooh I must read that (again)' so there is the joy of rediscovery involved right now.


This is my shelf in the lounge where books I want to read more immediately are kept.  I used to take up a few of them but my husband's passion is films so he needed somewhere to keep his DVD's and as his collection grew, I gave up space (mostly happily) ;)




This is my immediate go-to shelf right by my desk.  Review copies and ones I've bought that I really want to read go here.  It gets out of control very quickly and the filing cabinet and my desk usually have a few stacks on them.  It's a bit like playing book Jenga sometimes, trying to get to one that is at the bottom of the pile ;)  There is also a dining table behind me but I don't actually recall ever eating off it, but it is a good place to temporarily store books ;)





And there you have it!  This feels a bit like a confessional so... My name is Grete Evans from BookThing! and I am a book addict!

Thanks for having me Kirsty!

Website : http://www.bookthing.co.uk
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