Thursday, 28 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 Challenge)
35) Burn Mark by Laura Powell (British Books Challenge)
36) It felt like a kiss by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge)
37) Witch Fire by Laura Powell (British Books Challenge)
38) Hadley by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge)

not the best month for me reading wise at all and actually the sheer lack of reading this month (especially considering I had a half term break) has annoyed me somewhat but there you go.

Book events
I went to London (My first trip out solo since breaking my leg that wasn't work, yes I know it was ambitious) for a brunch with Hot Key Books and Templar. It was a brilliant morning and I came home with a huge goodie bag stuffed with gorgeous books and got to meet a whole host of lovely authors.

I also got to hear Caroline Green speak about her books at an event at school. I wasn't really on the ball that day as had I thought about it I would have taken money in for books etc but never mind.

Book of the month

Has to be Sarra Manning's It Felt Like a Kiss. No cover to show you yet and not out until May so review to come but I loved it. Yes I know I have been a bit of a Sarra Manning fan girl of late. I actually still have 6 more titles from here on my TBR pile (well 7 if you count her 2014 YA novel) so please do expect it to continue for a while to come.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

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 her life. It is written first person as she tells you about her life, includes her own hand written pictures and also includes Darcy's own stories and and when she feels it is important. I loved the way she told the story in her own vibrant way. Quite honestly everything she tells you about, no matter how ordinary, is so entertaining because of the way she sees the world

Based on meeting Laura and hearing her read I am desperately hoping that there's going to be an audio book read by Laura herself released in the not so distant future as it will be brilliant. She brings Darcy to life in her brilliantly unique way and keeps you brilliantly engaged in whatever she has to say.

All I can say is that this book is just wonderful. Perfectly quirky and wonderful from the first page to the last. Highly recommended. I cannot wait for book two to be released

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

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 different ways in which people view and treat gay teenagers which I really liked.

I loved the love circle that was going on with this book with none of the love interests actually matching up in true teenage style and making all the dealings the group had between each other that much more awkward and with often quite hilarious outcomes in a truly realistic way.

Not my favourite Sarra Manning but still a brilliant read which I flew through. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

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 thoughts

I loved loved loved Geek girl!

This book is Harriet's story. I loved Harriet completely. I think if 15 year old me had gone to school with Harriet we would have got in like a house on fire. She is a real geek. She is so clever that it almost hurts and she revels in that at the expense of popular. She is quite happy to be this way but also keen to no longer be the butt of all the jokes made by the most popular girl in school. You just know that Harriet is the sort of girl that will fly the moment she leaves high school and will use her ambition to be as successful as she can be.

Harriet gets an opportunity to change her position in school when she is offered the opportunity to be a model and the face of one of the biggest design house in the world. Despite being terrified at the prospect and worried about upsetting her best friend and step mother she decides to give it a go and finds herself in the middle of Russia at a photoshoot and then starring in a show. It all goes mostly well but she returns to the UK to find a huge mess that has been created since she has been gone as a result of all the lies she told in an attempt to not hurt and disappoint the people.

I the story told in this book. Harriet's personality drives it completely. She has a brilliant take on the world as she sees it and regularly comes up with a variety of random facts. Seeing her in the fashion world is brilliant as she is like a fish out of water. Seeing her go up against one of the biggest fashion designer in the world is absolutely brilliant as Harriet makes a real stance on being your own person rather than a sheep following the crowd.

If you liked Sophia Bennett's The Look you'll enjoy this book. A fab read which is heart warming with a really sweet message to put across about being yourself and the person you want to be. Fantastic! Geeks rule!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

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 adaptation but did get grumpy about bits that were cut

Cannot wait to carry on reading

Saturday, 23 February 2013

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.



My bookshelves are a riotous, glorious mess.



That there is around half the books, comics and graphic novels we own, I’d say. There are four more bookcases in various bits of the flat and forever unpacked boxes in the cupboard under the stairs.
Blush.



Also, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but I have a bit of a problem with decorative objects. They dance around the books, perching precariously in between paperbacks and dripping off the shelves. Here’s a beautiful little elephant my mother gave me, and a fat pinecone. We have a small wood next to our garden, and I have a thing about picking up things I find there – sprigs of holly in the winter, conkers, feathers.
In the background you can see an array of Dan Simmons books – there’s a bit of a fanboy in our household, but I must also admit to being in awe of his writing.


This bottom shelf advertises my childhood, growing up on Asterix and Tintin; man, I must have read these amazing stories hundreds of times each. I took them everywhere with me. Some of them have surreptitious jam stains attesting to my insistence at reading them while having breakfast before school.
Mixed in with these are darker, violent and beautiful stories – Sandman, Sin City, and the Dark Tower comic book series illustrated by extraordinary artist Jae Lee.



Here’s a shelf that proudly attests to two of my favourite children’s authors of all time – Robin Jarvis and Brian Jacques. I fell in love. Love. If you don’t know them, here are your first ports of call – Brian Jacques’ Redwall and Robin Jarvis’ Whitby Trilogy.
Nestled next to them: a wooden candle holder from Camden Locks and a trumpeting Angel candle holder from an Athens flea market. I know it’s not Christmas anymore but she never gets put away; she’s too pretty.


Finally we have one of our non-fiction bookcases, most of which are the province of the boy of the household – military history, historical biography. Quite a lot of language stuff at the top – we both speak more than two. The horses descending in size were a gift from my father as a child – there are eight in total, and the smallest one is smaller than my little finger.
You can also see my theatrical background muscling its way into shot here – a couple of masks left over from past performances.
Now, if only someone would invite me to a masked ball, and I could wear that divine feathered creation once more ...

Friday, 22 February 2013

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 day to help feed me, do odd jobs and keep him company. Will was in an accident two years previously which left him unable to use his legs or arms. Their relationship is an interesting one and starts off badly but over time it evolves and changes into something really sweet and utterly fascinating.

Louisa is a brilliant character and as much as anything I loved her story because throughout this book she really starts to find herself and think about the person she wants to be rather than the person she has been all her life. I loved that through her interactions with Will she is forced to reevaluate her current life and what she has done with it and throughout the book you really see her come out of herself and grown with confidence.

Another thing I thought was good about this book was the way it made me think about people with disabilities like Will. Even the most basic of task which we take for granted was too difficult for him to manage. I also thought a lot about the way he was treated by outsiders who didn't understand his condition and, with all good intentions, often did things that Will didn't want or were patronising. For this end I would have actually liked a chapter from his point of view to get into his head a bit more as the story did flick to other characters but not him.

You realise very early on that this was never going to be a happy book and the ending was never going to be a happy one but even so I don't think I had prepared myself enough for how the book finally ended in the really bittersweet way it did.

A really interesting read which I was completely engrossed in. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

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 thought it was quite clever in the issues it raised. Not too sure about the title though as I don't think it fits the story at all but that aside I'd say it is definitely worth checking out.

For me this book is the story of the break up of Hope and Jack, a couple who have been together for since they were teenagers. Before I read this I thought I had a clear cut opinion about cheating in my head. Don't get me wrong I still think its wrong but I'd never really thought about why some women try to forgive and move on in a relationship that is so obviously flawed but yet at the same time everything in this book makes sense and rings true. What you see in this book is a couple who love each other but are no longer in love clinging to each other because they just don't know how to do anything else. Hope just can't imagine life without Jack and tries to force things to make them better when underneath it all she knows that things aren't right and when she really thinks about it it isn't making her happy either. You can feel how desperate she is just to hold it all together for a variety of reasons even if they aren't the right ones.

Alongside all the serious stuff I liked that this book kept its humour. I particularly loved the scenes when hope was at work with her class of six year olds and those with her brother. I also loved that the book had a good measure of sexy times throughout which was very steamy.

A fabulous commentary on the nature of long term relationships and how they are so completely different from shorter ones which is thoughtful and truthful through out and really shows that life isn't always black and white.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

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 and Fia are sisters with abilities. Their parents both died in a car crash and they ended up in a secure boarding school tailored for people like them with a curriculum designed to hone their abilities. This is all very well but Fia is being used as an assassin and Annie is been used as a seer to guide Fia's work. In theory a kick-ass story right?

The story started strong with a brilliant opening but from there on out I didn't find myself engaged or all that interested in the story. I found Fia to be a bit of a whiner and I didn't really like all that much the way in which the story was told in flashbacks. Normally I love a good flash back but these just confused me. I also found the two girls to be very similar and therefore sometimes I forgot who was speaking as the chapters switch back and forth between them. The end itself made me cross and grumpy

So not really the book for me unfortunately.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

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 an albino teenager who went to a boarding school near New York. His story is told via a series of CDs he leaves in his own room for Duncan a student in the year below him who takes over his room and it plots the things that happened to him over the previous year.

I won't go into too much detail about what happens but I found myself hooked completely on the story. I just needed to know what happened next with Tim and found myself needing to read more and more and I got annoyed with Duncan every time he stopped listening to the CDs for a while. The Story telling is really captivating and the plot was really engaging however by the end I was hoping for more.

All in all an interesting read which I enjoyed.
 

Monday, 18 February 2013

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 she got pulled down a peg or two at different times through the book.

I loved Smith. I loved him completely not only because he was gorgeous but because from the moment he walked on the scene Isabel started to become a much nicer character and one I could actually stand to be around. Definitely a swoon worthy boy if ever there was one.

I loved loved loved the cameo from mollie from guitar girl in this book. The book geek in me got dead excited about it.

So there I am not liking this book and feeling incredibly guilty about not doing so and suddenly it hit me. The final section of the book is where all the rubbish and guards Isabel has built up around her falters and we finally get to see the girl she really is but more importantly why she became that girl to start with and woah it hit me like a ton of bricks. It made the whole story so much better, was raw and moving and took me completely by surprise and actually made me love the book as a whole even though I had started out not being a fan. Talk about sneaking up on you and punching you in the gut.

All in all definitely a book I would recommend highly. 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

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 feature in this one at all as in my head he pops up yearly. So many thing set up for future books!

I cannot wait to reread the next book!

Note on the film adaptation

Not impressed at all with the film adaptation of this book. So much missing that it felt wrong and I was actually quite cross by the end of it!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Bookcase Showcase: Author CJ Flood



I really love my bookshelf because my friend Mark put it up for me, in exchange for a delicious dinner and some beer (I think I won there). It's made from reconditioned wood, and I did some of the most important work myself, aka the sanding, and also drilling one of the most important holes.

I can’t stop buying books. It’s a problem that I never want to fix, but I recognise that I buy more than I can read. I vaguely group my books together: classics, poetry, short stories, YA. There are also lots of research books, about travellers for Infinite Sky, and about soldiers for my follow up book. There are lots of books about writing: Betsy Lerner’s The Forest for the Trees, Dorothea Brande’s Becoming A Writer, Robert McKee’s Story, Stephen King's On Writing.





Some of my favourite things, besides all the books, are on my bookshelf too: my table tennis bat, a photo of my mum, dad and brother on a camel together in Morocco before I was born and imbued their lives with intense and beautiful meaning, and a weird cup that my friend Tashwa made for me a few years ago, featuring a three-headed, many moustachioed creature of her invention.



And just in case you’re thinking there aren’t that many books there, don’t worry. There are many, many more at my Dad’s house. Okay, not that many, but some. There are also piles of the things on the floor. And by my bed.




In fact, this bookshelf, marvellous as it is, is actually too small for my growing collection of books. I might need to see if my friend is ready for another delicious dinner...

Friday, 15 February 2013

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 Toph, who helps heal Bea's hurting heart. And though Bea has a shock in store when they finally get to Paris, the 'City of Lovers ' really works it magic on Bea and Toph, who spend a week wandering the sun-dappled streets of Paris, talking, holding hands and falling in love.

When it comes time to go home to confront her Mum about her mysterious father, the new version of Bea is determined that she 'll never go back to her old, boring way of life - she's no longer Nobody's Girl; she belongs to herself and to Toph...But with an ocean between them, will he wait for her?


My Thoughts

Where do I start with the gushing about how much I loved this book because quite honestly I don't think I can say enough good things about it.

I loved nobody's girl and I think a bit reason why I did was because I really 'got' Bea. Quite honestly the way she describes her life, her social situations etc this book could have been lifted from pages of my diary at the same ages (had I kept one that is). She was brilliantly written and I thought this was especially the case when you saw the way in which Bea interacted with both her friends but also with the popular girls whom she wanted to accept her. She just captured the way in which at 17 you think everything going on around you is so vitally important but yet at the same time it really isn't and it said a lot about the fragility of the popularity hierarchy in your average high school where the nasty bitch queen bee rules and others just try to survive without incurring her wrath and yet as soon as you are out of the situation it no longer matters.

Without going into too much detail about the storyline things really kicked off more me once Bea had the chance to be her own person more and you could really see her grow as a character. I loved seeing her becoming the person she wanted to be rather than the person she was expected to be or told to be and I loved seeing her gain that confidence she had never had before.

This ramble on wouldn't be complete without a Toph mention. That boy *sigh* ....... Anyways I loved him lots especially when you saw the influence his presence had on Bea and the way in which that moulded Bea becoming the character she was by the end of the book.

I also loved the brief Jeane (from adorkable) cameo in a super geeky way!

A fab read which I completely enjoyed. A perfect YA read. 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

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 this book for ages and I knew before even reading it I would like it because I loved CJ Skuse's humour and writing in Rockaholic and the premise of this one looked just as good.

Pretty bad things is the story of the wonder twins paisley and beau. They are a fab pair of characters to follow, Paisley to kick ass girl who isn't scared of no one and with an attitude big enough to defend the both of them. Beau is the quieter more laid back twin who is happy to stand back and let his sister take the led most of the time. The twins have been thrown it all over previous years after the death of their mother and imprisonment of their father and have spent the last years of their childhood and teenage years under the guardianship of a grandmother who uses their fame after an incident to get money for herself. Beau being the quieter twin has spent that time living with said grandmother where Paisley has been shipped off to whichever boarding school can cope with her before the eventually kick her out at which which she has been shipped off to another.

The story starts with the twins living apart. Beau at home and Paisley at school when Beau stumbles upon a revelation. He finds a stack of letters addressed to the twins that have been withheld from them for years from their father who has recently been released from prison. The twins made the news in their younger years after getting lost in the woods for several days trying to find their father and had thought he didn't want anything to do with them. This news is enough incentive for Paisley to kick off and head back home to pick up Beau and start on an insane road trip to track their father down.

I won't go to too much detail on the plot but I will say that is it hilarious. The whole adventure is almost bonnie and Clyde esque as the two find themselves in increasingly more ludicrous situations as they try to find their father (involving a gun, a whole lot of candy, a giant M&M and their own flash mob fan base). I won't even know where to start with telling you about it all but be rest assured it is so funny and thoroughly entertaining.

A fab read I really enjoyed.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

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 and the people around him in a normal way because of his Asperger's syndrome. He doesn't like to be touched, he doesn't like blue but he likes his notebook, investigating things and have ordered piles.

Very much curious incident of the dog in the night time but from American authors. A quick and enjoyable read which gives a bit of insight into Aspergers as you see Colin deal with the situation at his school where a gun is taken into the cafeteria and the school bully is falsely accused of the having brought in it.

For me the really fascination is seeing the ways in which Colin goes about his day to day life and all the things he deals with day to day which many of us don't give a second thought to. The real saddening thing though was the way in which he was treated mostly by his peers but also by professionals who didn't quite understand what Colin was going through. Reading this as an adult really made me think quite deeply about the implications of living with something like Aspergers and the effect it would have not just on the individual who had it but also everyone around them.

A thoughtful book which I enjoyed.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

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 irritating at times which just annoyed me rather than made me root for them. I also didn't like the ending at all and although I can't say why because it'll spoil the book but it really made me quite cross and I wished I'd stopped reading the book a chapter beforehand and left the story as it was before then.
 

Monday, 11 February 2013

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 whizzed through it in one sitting because I literally couldn't put it down.

For me this book was really about the relationships you form with people and the challenges those relationships can face. The story follows Iris a teenage girl who makes friends with the gypsy boy who are camped up on her father's land. Her father is very prejudice against the gypsy family from the outset and forbids Iris from becoming friends with them and, like you'd expect, she completely ignores this and seeks him out anyway.

I won't tell you too much what happens as the story goes on as it would spoil it but I will say that the end of the book is absolutely devastating and really makes you think about friendships, family and loyalty. I really enjoyed following Iris and especially how she was torn between doing what she was told by her father and doing what she wanted to do.

The writing style in this book is brilliant and therefore a real pleasure to read. It's beautiful without being overly complicated or pretentious and therefore perfect for drawing in teenage readers. Definitely a book I will be recommending for a long time to come.
 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

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 better
This book has a huge heading on the proof copy stating "If Stephen King wrote YA...." and actually I don't think it lived up to that statement. Yes it is a ghost story and yes it is creepy but I didn't really find it all that chilling or scary and actually found myself a bit bored by the ghosty scenes. The story tries to be fast paced and actions but actually I found it a little bit lacking and without any real story to get my teeth into and maybe that was due to the fact it wasn't an overly long story.

All in all a creepy read but certainly not a scary read. You wouldn't need to keep the lights on for it. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

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!