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Showing posts from January, 2013

January Review

Already a month into the year? Where has the time gone? I must admit I've had quite a selfish reading month and really indulged in reading my own books, some adult books and rereading some favourites. What else are snow days for? Books read in January 1)  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (British Books Challenge) 2) The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp 3) One Day by David Nicholl (British Books Challenge) 4) You don't have to say you love me by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge) 5) Pretty Bad Things by CJ Skuse (British Books Challenge) 6) Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge) 7) The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan 8) Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell (British Books Challenge) 9) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (British Books Challenge) 10) Let's get Lost by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge) 11) Just one Day by Gayle Forman 12) Nine uses for an ex-boyfriend by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge

Review: Undone by Cat Clarke

Jem Halliday is in love with her gay best friend. Not exactly ideal, but she's learning to live with it. Then the unspeakable happens. Kai is outed online ... and he kills himself. Jem knows nothing she can say or do will bring him back. But she wants to know who was responsible. And she wants to take them down. A searing story of love, revenge and betrayal from a bestselling author. My Thoughts Undone is the third offering from author Cat Clarke and it is just brilliant. I don't think I have the words to do justice to how good this book was but I'll give it a go. Undone is the story of Jem. Jem is in a bad place. She has been in love with her best friend Kai for as long as she can remember even though he was gay. She was able to live with it but when he's outed in a video on the Internet and he can't deal with it and kills himself and suddenly Jem's whole world falls apart. Jem is practically at the point of being completely catatonic when she

Review: Shadows of the Silver screen by Christopher Edge

A mysterious filmmaker approaches The Penny Dreadful with a proposal to turn Montgomery Flinch’s sinister stories into motion pictures. With Monty installed as the star of his production, filming begins but is plagued by a series of strange and frightening events. As Monty pleads with Penny to help him, she is drawn into the mystery, but soon finds herself trapped in a nightmare penned by her own hand. Can Penny uncover the filmmaker’s dark secret before it’s too late? My thoughts A cracking story which lived up to the anticipation. I love Penelope and the penny dreadful. For me the best thing about this series is the feel they give you for Victorian London. Whilst there is a paranormal twist it doesn't overtake the story. For me the real joy of this book was following Penelope on her adventures around Victorian London and playing detective with her. Without giving too much away I found the story brilliantly engaging and it kept me completely hooked. If you

Review: The Disappeared by CJ Harper

In a future where children are segregated into institutions that range from comfortable “Learning Communities” to prison-like “Local Academies”, seventeen-year-old Jackson is an academic high flyer, living in a top Learning Community and destined for a position in the Leadership. But when he is sent with his best friend Wilson to deliver a package to a factory block, the two boys are attacked, leaving Jackson badly beaten and Wilson dead. Confused and upset, Jackson returns to his Learning Community only to be dismissed by his teachers who claim not to know him. Sent to an Academy, an institute set up to train factory workers, Jackson finds himself immersed in a world that couldn’t be further removed than the comfortable life he’s used to; a harsh, violent, semi-articulate society where the students have created their own hierarchy based on fighting ability. Using his wits to survive, Jackson starts to realise that his whole life has been based on half-truths. And in

Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets

Harry Potter is a wizard. He is in his second year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Little does he know that this year will be just as eventful as the last… My thoughts I must admit I was dreading reading this one as in my head it was my least favourite from the series but actually I really loved it. In my head it was just book one rehashed but actually I found it was so much more. You meet Dobby for the first time and Mr Weasley and you get to see the Weasley home for the first time. Yes you could say it was quite similar in format but I really enjoyed following the story of Harry Ron and Hermione as they got a little bit older, a little bit wiser but still up to all their old tricks while still being in that pre hormone phase. I did however forget how darn annoying Lockhart is. Grrrr that man! A read comfort read and a delight to be sure!

Bookcase Showcase: Author CJ Harper

I am truly delighted to be doing this post and when I say delighted I mean the skippy smiley kind and not the kind that I have to pretend to be when I open a present from my Auntie Joyce. I love the idea of showcasing my books, but little things seem to keep me from inviting people in to have a look. There’s my writing schedule, the untidiness of the house, the fact that no one wants to visit since that misunderstanding at Halloween – how was I supposed to know that when it comes to fake corpses you can go too realistic? Despite the fact that there is matter reproducing in my kitchen sink, you’ll notice that my bookshelves are pretty tidy. This is because I think arranging books into height order is much more important than scrubbing stuff. I reckon there are enough YA and MG books in my house to build a temple to Philip Pullman (but I’ve totally never woken the children up in the middle of the night to help me prove that theory) however, because I don’t want anyone’s eyes t

Review: Uses for boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know. Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer.  My thoughts This book isn't as good as I hop

Review: You don't have to say you love me by Sarra Manning

Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don’t get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William’s been in LA for three years, and Neve’s been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he’ll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her. So she’s not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she’d better get some, well, experience. What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia’s colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he’s such a man-slut, and so not Neve’s type, she certainly won’t fall for him. Because William is the man for her… right? Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve’s lost her heart – but to wh

Review: From what I remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

KYLIE: MEXICO WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger. MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics. Okay, it was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded in Tijuana. With less than twenty-four hours before graduation. Awesome. WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border -- but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started. LILY: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giv

Review: Beyond Courage

In a stirring chronicle, Doreen Rappaport brings to light the courage of countless Jews who organized to sabotage the Nazis and help other Jews during the Holocaust. Under the noses of the military, Georges Loinger smuggles thousands of children out of occupied France into Switzerland. In Belgium, three resisters ambush a train, allowing scores of Jews to flee from the cattle cars. In Poland, four brothers lead more than 1,200 ghetto refugees into the forest to build a guerilla force and self-sufficient village. And twelve-year-old Motele Shlayan entertains German officers with his violin moments before setting off a bomb. Through twenty-one meticulously researched accounts — some chronicled in book form for the first time — Doreen Rappaport illuminates the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews across eleven Nazi-occupied countries during World War II. In answer to the genocidal madness that was Hitler’s Holocaust, the only response they could abide was resistance, an

Blog Tour: Anthem For Jackson Dawes. Writing tips from author Celia Bryce

When people ask me where do your ideas come from? I can’t really answer except to say that my characters come first, never the place or the situation they find themselves in. I see them before anything else then the ideas seem to grow from them. So for this series of blogs about writing guess where I’m going to start! CHARACTER In any of my stories the characters have to appear real and not like planks of wood or lumps of clay. They’ve got to walk and talk, live and breathe, laugh and cry, even though they’re just made up characters. Megan and Jackson are made up characters. They’re not based on anyone at all. Megan came first. Though when I started the story eleven years before it was published, Megan was a boy and I think I called him Josh. I write a lot of stories told through the eyes of boys. These are printed in the sort of magazine you mums or grandmas might read, or might listen to on the radio. They can be anything between 1000 and 8000 words but ma

Review: Just one day by Gayle Forman

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines. My Thoughts Where do I start with this review? I must admit it seems like I'm in a minority being someone who didn't love it. For me this book could have been so much more. I loved the first section, the romance, the excitement and the ending left me desperate to read more. So much about what I read I loved. Quite honestly I don't think you could h

Bookcase Showcase: Author Paula Weston

I've always wanted a wall of books, so my husband built one for me:     In more detail, here are a couple of key shelves packed with books and authors who inspire me. First up, my fantasy/paranormal collection:       Next, a section of my young adult and adult collection, with two of my all-time favourite books featured out front (by Australian authors, no less):   My to-be-read pile is massive, but here are a handful at the top of the list:     Thanks for a chance to share!  

Blog Tour: Black Spring by Alison Croggan

Changing the genre – adding fantasy to a classic When I first, rather shyly, starting writing fantasy in 1999, I was surprised by the unexpected enthusiasm of my first reader, my husband Daniel Keene. He is a serious playwright, and unlike me had never been in the least interested in genre literature. I’ve read genre novels as well as “serious” literature all my life, but Daniel was a purist; he had never read a fantasy novel until he read mine. I’m proud to say that as a result, these days he is much more well-rounded. In any case, he turned out to be the best first reader. He demanded new chapters impatiently. He’d listen for hours while I rambled on about what I was writing. He came up with all sorts of impossible plot suggestions, cheerfully nodding when I told him they were no use at all, and permitted me to pick his brains on the minutae of dramatic structure, at which he is an expert. And when I expressed astonishment at his unexpected interest, he said, well, i