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Showing posts from February, 2013

February Review

I'm not really sure where the last month has gone ... I've been super busy with work, with leg rebuilding and with having a horrible cold. On a bookish front I did get to an event or two and I have had a huge clear out of my TBR pile which made me feel so much better as it is now more managable (although I then undid that work by ordering myself a nice load of UKYA titles as I was running sort of them for the British Books Challenge)

Books read in February

26) Battlelines by Will Hill (British Books Challenge)
27) Burn for Burn by Jenny Hann and Siobhan Vivan
28) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (British Books Challenge)
29) The Savages by Matt Whyman (British Books Challenge)
30) Laura by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge)
31) Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter (British Books Challenge)
32) Invisible by Jeff Erno
33) Finding Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham (British Books Challenge)
34) The Disgrace of Kitty Grey by Mary Hooper (British Books Challen…

Review: Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill

Introducing Darcy Burdock, a new, cool, all-conquering girl character with a fresh and distinctive take on the world.

Ten-year-old Darcy is one of life's noticers. Curious, smart-as-a-whip, funny and fiercely loyal, she sees the extraordinary in the everyday and the wonder in the world around her.

Written and illustrated by Laura Dockrill: author, poet & performer – think Lady Gaga meets Mother Goose.

My thoughts

I have been dying to read this book ever since I met Laura back in June and heard her read the first few pages.

Darcy Burdock is going to be a hit. She is a brilliant character who I think that girls are going to relate to. She's quirky and uniquely different with a real heart of gold. I love her to bits because she's very comfortable in her own skin and to be herself and I think that alone is going to make her a real role model for girls who are surrounded by vapid celebrities who aren't worth the attention they get.

Darcy's book is the story of…

Review: Pretty Things by Sarra Manning

Brie is in love with LancĂ´me Juicy Tubes, Louis Vuitton accessories, and her gay best friend Charlie, who is in love with 1960s pop art, 1980s teen movies, and serial heartbreaker Walker, who has ever only been in love with his VW Bug, until he meets Daisy . . . who is too busy hating everyone to know what love is. Set in London, this girl-loves-boy-loves-boy-lovesgirl romp is set against a theatrical production of The Taming of the Shrew, and features enough on- and off-stage drama to satisfy teens looking for a beach read—or a read all year round.

My Thoughts
For me this book was about being a teenager, finding out who you are and who you want to be and the complexities of teenage relationships.

I enjoyed pretty things purely because I thought it was a bit different. It is told via split narrative from all four of the main characters.

It contains characters that are gay and not for the sake of it which is something that can annoy me and does a lot of challenge the differ…

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

My …

Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can't wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are spells to be learnt, potions to be brewed and Divination lessons (sigh) to be attended. Harry is expecting these: however, other quite unexpected events are already on the march

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this although it is probably the book I know best out of the series and have reread the most.

I loved the excitement of the quidditch World Cup and the triwizward tourmanent within this book and for me this is the book where everything starts to turn just that little bit darker especially at the end of the book.

Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing and while there was a lot of back story and subplot included that probably slowed the story down a fair bit I did enjoy having that detail as a bit of a mad fan although I'm not sure how others would have liked it.


I enjoyed the film a…

Bookcase Showcase: Author Laure Eve

Today's Bookcase Showcase is from Laure Eve an author whose first book, called Fearsome Dreamer, will be published in September by Hot Key Books.


Review: Me before You by Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

My Thoughts

I don't generally read adult books so this one was recommended to me when I fancied a change and I must say I was hooked pretty much from the first page.

Me before you is the story of Will and Lou. The pair meet after Lou is employed to work with Will as a carer during the …

Review: Nine uses for an Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra Manning

Hope Delafield hasn't always had an easy life.

She has red hair and a temper to match, as her mother is constantly reminding her. She can't wear heels, is terrified of heights and being a primary school teacher isn't exactly the job she dreamed of doing, especially when her class are stuck on the two times table.

At least Hope has Jack, and Jack is the God of boyfriends. He's sweet, kind, funny, has a killer smile, a cool job on a fashion magazine and he's pretty (but in a manly way). Hope knew that Jack was The One ever since their first kiss after the Youth Club Disco and thirteen years later, they're still totally in love. Totally. They're even officially pre-engaged. And then Hope catches Jack kissing her best friend Susie...

Does true love forgive and forget? Or does it get mad... and get even?

My Thoughts


I really enjoyed this book and found myself utterly engrossed in it from the first page until the last. I liked how it kept me guessing and …

Review: Sister Assassin by Kiersten White

She never chose her deadly gift but now she’s forced to use it. How far would you go to protect the only family you have left?

Annie is beset by fleeting strange visions and a guilty conscience. Blind and orphaned, she struggles to care for her feisty younger sister Fia, but things look up when both sisters are offered a place at Kessler School for Exceptional Girls.

Born with flawless intuition, Fia immediately knows that something’s wrong, but bites her tongue… until it’s too late. For Fia is the perfect weapon to carry out criminal plans and there are those at Kessler who will do anything to ensure her co-operation.

With Annie trapped in Kessler’s sinister clutches, instincts keep Fia from killing an innocent guy and everything unravels. Is manipulative James the key to the sisters’ freedom or an even darker prison? And how can Fia atone for the blood on her hands?

My thoughts

I wanted to love this book. I really did but it really didn't do it for me in the end.

Annie an…

Review: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

My Thoughts

This book is an interesting one. I must say I was fascinated with it and needed to know what happened next to the point where I couldn't put it down however I wasn't blown away but it either in the end.

The story is very much that of Tim…

Review: Let's get Lost by Sarra Manning

A compelling YA novel from the best-selling author of Guitar Girl!
Isabel is the girl who rules the school with an iron fist and a gang of minions who do her bidding. Her friends are scared of her, her teachers can't get through to her, and that's just the way she likes it. With her razor-sharp edges and tall walls, nothing gets to Isabel and no one, but no one, is ever going to discover her dark, sad secrets. Then she meets Smith. And Isabel learns that sometimes when all the expectations and pressures are too much, you just need someone to help you get lost.

My thoughts

I have mixed feelings about this book for a variety of reasons.

I must admit I started off not really liking this book because of the main character. Put bluntly she is a utter bitch. I couldn't stand her, to way she treated those around her and I just found myself wanting to slap some sense into her from page one. She was just vile in every way she possibly could be and actually liked it when…

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can't wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn't if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There's an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school...

My thoughts


Brilliant and charming all the way through. For me this is where the Harry potter books really kick off and get interesting and have that bit more depth to them.

I loved the use of the time turner in this book and the way in which the plot resolved itself as a result. I love the new characters added to the story, the excitement of the quidditch matches and the ever looming presence of the dementors in this book which add tha slightly dark edge. I'd actually forgotten that voldemort didn't featur…

Bookcase Showcase: Author CJ Flood

Review: Nobody's Girl by Sarra Manning

Bea thinks she's the most boring seventeen-year-old in the world. She's not pretty or popular or funny, unlike her mother who had Bea when she was 17. The only glamorous thing about Bea is the French father who left before she was born and lives in Paris. She yearns for la vie Parisienne every moment of her dull existence.

So when Ruby Davies, the leader of her school's most elite clique picks Bea as her new best friend and asks her to go on holiday with them, she's wary but delighted. If nothing else it's two weeks away from her over-protective mother . But when the gang arrive in Spain, Bea is crushed to realise that Ruby and her posse have simply been using her.

Bea wreaks vengeance on her so-called friends, and plans to decamp to Paris to find her father. But when she falls asleep on the train and wakes up in Bilbao, she meets a group of American students who are backpacking around Europe and bonds with them straight away, especially the gorgeous…

Review: Pretty Bad Things by CJ Skuse

"Wonder Twins" on the run--and running amok--in Vegas. Road Trip!

Paisley and Beau are boldface names again. Last time, paparazzi called them the "Wonder Twins," two kids found alone but alive in the woods of exotic New Jersey. Three days after their mom's death -- and before their dad's criminal misdeeds.

Flash-forward to now: Their so-called lives? Suck out loud: Hating on their cougarized, Botoxic grandma, they're totally clueless about the location of ex-con Daddy. Till they discover a stash of old letters. That's when they decide to jack the Pontiac and hit the road. Holding up donut shops in Sin City might seem extreme, but if they can just get their pretty bad faces back on TV -- or TMZ -- they might wrap up their whole gaga saga with an Oprah-worthy reunion already!

My thoughts

Words to describe pretty bad things: original, quirky, hilarious and generally quite fabulous. Yes that just about covers it.

I've been meaning to read t…

Review: Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz

SOLVING CRIME, ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION AT A TIME

Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions.

But when a gun is found in the school cafeteria, interrupting a female classmate's birthday celebration, Colin is the only for the investigation. It's up to him to prove that Wayne Connelly, the school bully and Colin's frequent tormenter, didn't bring the gun to school. After all, Wayne didn't have frosting on his hands, and there was white chocolate frosting found on the grip of the smoking gun...

Colin Fischer is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, and his story--as told by the screenwriters of X-Men: First Class and Thor--is perfect for readers who have graduated from Encyclopedia Brown and who are ready to consider the greatest mystery of all: what other people are thinking and feeling.

My thoughts

Colin is clever. Insanely clever but yet he can't quite cope with ordinary life a…

Review: One Day by David Nicholls

Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows?

Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.

My thoughts

I've been meaning to read this book for ages because people told me how good it was but never quite got round to it.

I liked the concept behind one day. The story follows the friendship of Dexter and Emma over 20 years and comes back to them on 15th July and catches up on their lives and relationship. I liked this approach and seeing how things changed for them over time and getting to know them over the course of the entire book. I did find parts of it really funny and quite thoughtful which kept me wanting to read through until the end of the book.

However for me I found this book didn't quite live up to the hype. I found it to be a bit dull at times and I found the main characters could be quite irrita…

Review: Infinite Sky by CJ Flood

Iris Dancy’s free-spirited mum has left for Tunisia, her dad’s rarely sober and her brother’s determined to fight anyone with a pair of fists.

When a family of travellers move into the overgrown paddock overnight, her dad looks set to finally lose it. Gypsies are parasites he says, but Iris is intrigued. As her dad plans to evict the travelling family, Iris makes friends with their teenage son. Trick Deran is a bare knuckle boxer who says he’s done with fighting, but is he telling the truth?

When tools go missing from the shed, the travellers are the first suspects. Iris’s brother, Sam, warns her to stay away from Trick; he’s dangerous, but Iris can no longer blindly follow her brother’s advice. He’s got secrets of his own, and she’s not sure he can be trusted himself.

Infinite Sky is a family story about betrayal and loyalty, and love.

My thoughts

Infinite sky is a beautiful book which will make you smile and break your heart at the same time. I enjoyed it thoroughly and w…

Review: Beyond by Graham McNamee

What if your own shadow turned against you?

Jane is not your typical teen. She and her best friend Lexi call themselves the Creep Sisters.

Only Lexi knows why Jane is different from anyone else: Her own shadow seems to pull her into near-fatal accidents. Jane is determined to find out why these terrifying things happen, and to overcome her shadow enemy.

But her sleuthing with Lexi connects her own horrors to the secret history of a serial killer ...

My thoughts
Beyond is a YA ghost story. I have mixed feeling about it on the whole as it really wasn't what I expected it to be.

What I liked
I really liked the main character Jane and I loved her relationship with her best friend Lexi. I liked the dynamic between the two of them and loved the scenes where they were together. I also loved getting to know Jane's family and pretty much thought she was a really solid character especially when you consider all the rubbish she's been through over the years.

What could have been b…

Bookcase Showcase: Author Yelena Black

My bookshelves are a bit of a smorgasbord. There is everything from children’s literature and YA to adult mysteries and literary fiction to non-fiction to plays and some of my favorite books that I still have from college.


Here you see I have some Brett Easton Ellis hanging out with Kristin Cashore’s Graceling. And Justin Cronin’s The Passage. I love it when my YA and adult books get to know each other!


I took a Shakespeare class in college and a Virginia Woolf seminar, both of which have made huge impressions on my bookshelves. This is also where I keep the select few audiobooks I have, which you can see up in the corner.


I do have an entire bookshelf dedication to YA, and this is a snippet of it: John Green and David Levithan, Lauren Kate, Melina Marchetta, Josh Berk, Ted Michael, Theo Lawrence, and Stephenie Meyer! And more!

www.facebook.com/DanceofShadows www.twitter.com/TheYelenaBlack www.yelenablackbooks.com Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZhiZZgkO8o Extract: http:…