Sunday, 31 March 2013

March Review

I must admit this month just gone as been a rubbish one for me reading wise. I've struggled to read much of anything because I've been so tired and busy at work so you might find next month is a bit thin on the ground review wise. I'm planning to cut my loses a little bit in April and spend my easter break trying to get myself ahead and back to a normal fullish schedule for May. (Update: Since writing this I got to my half term holiday and finished another 6 books in two days. Just show how much work slows my reading down!)

Books Read
40) Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
41) The Devil in No Man's Land by Will Hill (British Books Challenge)
42) The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (British Books Challenge)
43) Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones (British Books Challenge)
44) Undead in the Eternal City by Will Hill (British Books Challenge)
45)  The secret history of a secret teenage vampire by Will Hill (British Books Challenge)
46) The boys of Summer by CJ Duggan
47) Where the Wild things are by Maurice Sendak
48) French Kiss by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge)
49) Hank Zipzer by Henry Winkler
50) Kiss and Make up by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge)
51) Sealed with a Kiss by Sarra Manning (British Books Challenge)
52) The New Blood by Will Hill (British Books Challenge)
53) Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt
54) By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt (British Books Challenge)
55) Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
56) If you find me by Emily Murdoch
57) Transparent by Natalie Whipple
58) Dead to you by Lisa McCann
59) Drummer Girl by Bridget Tyler
60) Acid by Emma Pass (British Books Challenge)
61) Close your eyes by Sophie McKenzie (British Books Challenge)
62) shipwrecked by Siobhan Curham (British Books Challenge)

Such a slow month for me which I'm finding frustrating to say the least

Book events

I was lucky enough to attend the RHCP blogger brunch which was fab. I got to see all my lovely blogger friends and meet Jonathan Stroud and Amy McColluch both of whom were awesome. RHCP have so many awesome titles coming later in the year and I can't wait for them all.

I also get to meet Henry Winkler aka The Fonz! Yes I know you can be jealous. He was quite honestly the nicest guy I have ever met and was absolutely fascinating to listen to.

Book of the Month

Had to be Diary of a Crush by Sarra Manning as I have waited so so so long to read them in book format (thanks clover for sending them my way). I've since found out Atom are actually publishing them later on in the year so look out for them.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Bookcase Showcase: Blogger Anya from An Awful lot of reading

Hello and thank you to Kirsty for having me. I’m Anya from An Awful Lot of Reading ( and these are my bookshelves! I quite like showing off my bookshelves and my books, having grown up in a home where books line the walls in nearly every room.

I still live at home – poor student, you know – so my books are confined to my bedroom, limiting the amount I can buy and keep. So, firstly right next to my bed is this little bookshelf I was gifted by my grandmother which houses my currently reading and my immediate to-read list based on what I’ve got to read next, either review or university books. It sits on the cupboard next to my bed.

Next up is the lovely Myaka bookshelf that my parents bought for me a few years ago. It holds my university books, sorted by year and module. It also has my radio/CD player and my TV on top. And, based on how messy I’m feeling, it also has my wallet, phone, ipod, bunch of crap and whatever I chuck there that doesn’t have a home.

Here, want to see what I’m writing my dissertation on? Yes, that is a Doctor Who notebook –I’m writing about historical fiction, get it?

Anyway, this is my main bookcase. Dad made some shelves for me to fit into the built-in wardrobe – it has been a wardrobe, and several different styles of shelves, but now it is my huge bookcase. And yes, that is a life size cut out of David Tennant. You’re jealous now, right? The bookcase has practically all my books from the last 15 or so years, including my Jacqueline Wilson collection at the very back. Plus my reference books, giant encyclopaedia, thesaurus, history books from sixth form and vampire mythology books.

Top shelf. At the front, books to read, next to a picture of me and my boyfriend from my 18th birthday J Behind it is stacked 4 rows, with my *signed* John Barrowman autobiography, Meg Cabot and Stephanie Meyer’s books, old vampire books, some Terry Pratchett and the books that I read last year, stacked on their side on the right (not all of them, by the way, obviously).

Middle shelf. Alongside my Tardis and sonic screwdrivers, are my prized Morganville series and Night Huntress series. Behind those are the Roman Mysteries series – loved those when I was younger – and the Shiver trilogy, the Uglies series and odd books I don’t want to get rid of but have no intention of re-reading.

Bottom shelf. Hiding behind my Me To You bear, called Jasper by the way, is my Harry Potter collection, including all the books as well as the other collectibles like ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’, plus my sticker albums, magazines with pretty pictures and themed notebooks.

Finally, at the very bottom are the rest of my to-read books. Not a lot, to be fair. I’m actually quite good at not getting too many books, which is so hard! Most of these are hand-me-downs from Sophie (So Many Books, So Little Time) that I really want to read but other books seem to crop up before I can.

And that’s my books! Thanks again Kirsty for having me and thank you for sharing in my book love!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Review: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.

My thoughts
I wanted to love this book I really did. I've heard so many good things about the author's adult titles that I couldn't wait to get my hands on this but if I'm being honest I was left quite disappointed.

I have found of late that when an adult author announces they are writing a YA series set in the same world I ought to stay clear. I don't know what it is but I never ever enjoy them. Maybe it is because I don't read the adult series in question so don't quite get all the nuances involved but they never work for me.

My ultimate gripe about this book was that I was bored. Actually bored and a bit annoyed with the "Britishisms" which were not done well. Admittedly if you weren't British maybe you'd find them cute but honestly they were stereotypical and overdone. The story for me dragged on at a really snail pace and I never felt that we got to know the characters as a pay off for that slow pace and I just wanted something to happen that would hold my attention or get me even vaguely interested but it just didn't. Such a shame as the main character had the potential to be this kick ass girl and quite honestly she bored me. I ended up almost skimming the last 50 pages or so because I'd read so much I didn't want to give up on it (although I was tempted) and needed it just to be done so I could move on to something else.

Not the book for me and not a series I'll bother continuing with unfortunately

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Review: Battle Lines (Department 19 #3) by Will Hill

It's always darkest before dawn.
Secret government unit Department 19 is recovering from evil vampire Valeri Rusmanov's deadly attack on their base. The Department’s newest member, teenage operator Jamie Carpenter, is tasked with training up a new squad, as his friends and colleagues desperately search for ways to try to stop what is coming.

The timing couldn’t be worse for a coordinated, global attack on a number of maximum security prisons and hospitals—with the already-dangerous inmates now on the loose and turned into vampires. One of the escapees has a deep connection to one of the darkest moments in the history of Department 19 and embarks on a quest that threatens to expose the existence of vampires to the public. And with each day that passes, the regenerated Dracula gets stronger, bringing Zero Hour closer.

In this third installment of the epic Department 19 series, Will Hill delivers higher—and sharper—stakes than ever before.

My Thoughts
This is going to be a short review purely because I don't know how to get my ideas into words without giving spoilers

To put it as shortly as possible I loved it. The action was as awesome as the first two instalments and was as much, if not more, blood thirsty that the previous two instalments. This meant as a reader I was kept on the very edge of my seat from the first page until the last and I struggled to put it down as I needed to know what happened next.

For me this book was about seeing those characters we loved in the first two books grow up that little bit more to become their own person in the fight against the vampires. Yes I still love Jamie completely but I must say I loved Larissa in this book. She kicked ass big time in this book and I loved how she has changed as a character since the first book

Another excellent read from Will Hill and a series I cannot recommend highly enough

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Review: Killing Rachel by Anne Cassidy

Rose's mother and Joshua's father have disappeared. Police inquiries have gone nowhere and the case, it seems, is closed: Rose and Joshua have been told that the police believe their parents are dead. But Rose and Joshua still hold out hope that they are alive. Joshua is determined to follow up his own inquiries, which includes working out the meaning of the cryptic notebooks - the murder notebooks - they have discovered. Then Rose is distracted by odd, desperate messages she receives from Rachel, a former best friend from her school, followed by the terrible news that Rachel is dead. But perhaps Rachel's death will provide one more piece of the puzzle about what has happened to Rose and Joshua's parents . . .

My thoughts
Another interesting read in the murder notebooks series from Anne Cassidy.

The main plot for this series revolves about the death of Rachel, a girl whom Rose had previously been at boarding school with as well as spending time getting more into the supposed murder of Rose and Josh's parents some 5 years previously.

I can't say too much about this book or I'll give to much away but needless to say this story was an exciting read and lots more revelations were unveiled as Rose and Josh try to find out more about what happened to their parents even though the police tell them the case is all but abandoned. I really like Rose as a character and I love seeing how she grows as a character over each book and I love the relationship she has with her stepbrother. Lots of exciting things set up for book three!

Looking forward to the next instalment.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Giveaway: Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Today as part of the Wildwood Blog Tour I have 3 sets of the first two books in the wildwood trilogy to giveaway

Prue McKeel's life is ordinary. That is, until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one's ever gone in--or at least returned to tell of it.

So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval--a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Ever since Prue McKeel returned home from the Impassable Wilderness after rescuing her brother from the malevolent Dowager Governess, life has been pretty dull. School holds no interest for her, and her new science teacher keeps getting on her case about her dismal test scores and daydreaming in class. Her mind is constantly returning to the verdant groves and sky-tall trees of Wildwood, where her friend Curtis still remains as a bandit-in-training.

But all is not well in that world. A hard winter has come and discord reigns in the wake of the so-called Bicycle Coup. Dark assassins with mysterious motives conspire to settle the scores of an unknown client. A titan of industry employs inmates from his orphanage to work in his machine shop, all the while obsessing over the exploitation of the Impassable Wilderness. Under a growing threat, Prue is drawn back into Wildwood, where she and Curtis will face their greatest challenge yet: to save themselves and the lives of their friends, and to bring unity to a divided country. But in order to do that, they must go under Wildwood.

In Under Wildwood, Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis reveal new dimensions of the epic fantasy-adventure series begun with the critically acclaimed, bestselling Wildwood.

To enter please fill in the following table

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Bookcase Showcase needs you plus Overflowing Library update

Dear all,

After two years of doing Bookcase Showcase I found this morning that I had no one to showcase. It's partly my own fault as I've been so busy I haven't been out author and blogger hunting for someone earlier in the week to do a guest post as work has been all kinds of crazy of late.

So please see this as my official plea for contributors. If you fancy doing a Bookcase Showcase guest post either as an author as a one off or as part of a blog tour or as a blogger / publicist / editor etc please do contact me by either leaving an email address I can reach you on in the comments or by tweeting me at @overflowingklc

so today I thought I would do a brief update of my shelves as last time they were featured was in the first bookcase showcase post on 5th March 2011 (see here)

As the name of my blog suggests we have a lot of books currently residing in my little bungalow. We have bookcases in every room and those cases are regularly added to despite the fact I have tried to be really brutal over the last year about which books I keep and which I pass on

These are what I consider to be my main bookshelves. This picture actually misses off the bottom shelf (but you get the idea). This is largely due to the massive chair we put in the library before we put the bookshelves around it and then realised was too big but then because of the shelves there was no longer enough space to get it out ... never mind). These shelves host the majority of my YA and adult titles and the generally rule of late is if I have read a book and rated in 4 stars or more it stays. If not has to go as space is getting really limited (although I am hoping to squish another bookcase in to the right of the shelves but then that it literally all the space I will ever have). 

To the right of my main shelves and under the window we have my children's books and a bunch of unread signed books. It's a funny little mix and jammed full so I might have to rethink keeping the signed ones on there soon and find another home for them .... goodness knows where.

This is my favourite little shelf. It is located next to my bed and holds my TBR pile. Yes I know it is relatively small compared to some bloggers (I have 4 months solid off work where I mostly sat in one chair if you remember!). It is broken up into ones I bought myself, review books which are now published, review books not published. It tends to see quite a high turn around in a normal month and always features some brilliant titles I can't wait to read next!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Review: Witch Fire by Laura Powell

Lucas and Glory are hard at work in WICA (Witchkind Intelligence and Covert Affairs). As part of their training, they learn more about the witch-terrorist organization Endor. It is believed that Endor has infiltrated a boarding school for young witches in Switzerland, so WICA sends their two youngest agents—Lucas and Glory—to the school undercover. There, they learn more about an experimental brain implant that blocks the power of the fae. It’s a dangerous procedure . . . more so than they could ever have imagined.

My Thoughts
I got really excited when I finally got a copy of this book as I loved the first one in the series and actually found time to reread book one in preparedness.

This instalment is just as good as the first and whilst very different in its feel it had all the elements I loved about the first book and added to it. The story picks up shortly after book one ends with Lucas and Glory training to prepare for a mission for WICA the organisation they have recently been recruited to. I really love the two of them as characters and I loved following them in this instalment as they go undercover at a boarding school for teens who are witches.

I won't tell you too much about what happens in this book for fearing of spoiling it but to say I really enjoyed it. It was pacey and exciting throughout and added to the world set up in the first book without having that second in a series feel to it. I loved getting to know the characters that little bit more and the revelations were brilliant and left me really excited for the last book without that being felt hanging.

A fab story and brilliant read which I enjoyed thoroughly

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Review: The Disgrace of Kitty Grey by Mary Hooper

Kitty is living a happy, carefree life as a dairymaid in the countryside. The grand family she is employed by looks after her well, and she loves her trade, caring for the gentle cows and working in the cool, calm dairy. And then, of course, there is Will, the river man who she thinks is very fond of her, and indeed she is of him. Surely he will ask her to marry him soon? Then one day disaster strikes: Will disappears. Kitty is first worried and then furious. She fears that Will has only been leading her on all this time, and has now gone to London to make his fortune, forgetting about her completely. So when Kitty is asked to go to London to pick up a copy of Pride and Prejudice, the latest novel by the very fashionable Jane Austen, Kitty leaps at the chance to track down Will. But Kitty has no idea how vast London is, and how careful she must be. It is barely a moment before eagle-eyed pickpockets have spotted the country-born-and-bred Kitty and relieved her of her money and belongings. Dauntingly fast, she has lost her only means of returning home and must face the terrifying prospect of stealing in order to survive - and of being named a thief ...

My Thoughts
A really enjoyable YA historical fiction read which I really liked.

For me this book was a real eye opener for me about a something from the past that I knew very little about despite being a history teacher. The story is set in the regency period and and follows the story of Kitty Grey as things go horribly wrong for her. To start with her sweetheart goes missing leaving her with his baby sister. She trails the child to London to find him whilst on the errand for her employers and whilst there a whole series of events leaves her and the child destitute.

This story gives real insight into the unfairness of the justice system at the time. Kitty finds herself in an impossible situation and facing horrendous charges which are escalated due to the fact that everyone assumes she is an unmarried mother. It completely fascinated me to see what happened and felt me wanting to know more.

A book which I would really recommend highly. It does exactly what I think historical fiction should do in that it gives a real insight into a historical time period without overburdening the reader with boring detail and therefore keeping the reader really engaged and fascinated with the story.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Review: Finding Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham

His lips touched mine and for one split second the whole world stopped.
Then every cell in my body fizzed into life . . .

When I decided to write a book about my life I thought I'd have to make loads of stuff up. I mean, who wants to read about someone like me?

But as soon as I started writing, the weirdest thing happened. I found out I wasn't who I thought I was. And I stopped being scared. Then everything went crazy!

Best of all, I discovered that when you finally decide to be brave it's like waving a wand over your life - the most magical things can happen . . 

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book

For me this book was about two things

Firstly it was about family and knowing where you come from. At the start of this book Claire finds out that she isn't who she thought she was. Instead of being called Claire Weeks she was actually born Cherokee Brown and her absent father isn't in the USA like she thought but living in London not all that far away from her. Throughout this book you get to see how vital it is to Claire to know who she is and she she came from to be able to become the self confident young person she so desperately wants to be. I loved seeing the relationship between her and her father develops as the book goes on.

Secondly I really liked the insight this book had into bullying and the effect it can have on the self esteem of the person being bullied. For me the really heartbreaking thing was seeing the way in which Claire didn't feel she had anywhere to turn or anyone to go to to get help. She feels completely isolated and helpless which made her feel completely lost. This change however after she meets her father and suddenly Claire channels Cherokee and starts to fight back. I loved seeing her get that bit of control back and start to stick up for herself.

A fab read with real heart which I really enjoyed. Well worth a look. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Review: The first last Kiss by Ali Harris

How do you hold on to a love that is slowly slipping away from you?
Can you let go of the past when you know what is in the future?
And how do you cope when you know that every kiss is a countdown to goodbye?

This is the story of a love affair, of Ryan and Molly and how they fell in love and were torn apart. The first time Molly kissed Ryan, she knew they'd be together forever. Six years and thousands of kisses later she's married to the man she loves. But today, when Ryan kisses her, Molly realises how many of them she wasted because the future holds something which neither of them could have ever predicted…

My thoughts
An interesting book which was a really heartfelt read.

The story is told by Molly as she packs up her house to move away telling the story of the love affair between her and Ryan the boy she loved since she was a teenager but is no longer with her. It is told in flashbacks which flit back and forth and slowly build up the whole story over the course of the book for the reader. I must say it was quite confusing to start with trying to slot all the bits of the story together and construct your own timeline of events but as the story went on it made more and more sense and suddenly you find this beautiful, albeit not perfect, love story unfold before your eyes.

I must say I loved loved loved Ryan's family in this book particularly his mother more than anything else in this book. In my head they are exactly the same as Gavin's from the TV show Gavin and Stacey and when I picture them that is exactly who I see in my head. Very much the stereotypical Essex family with all the spray tans and bling but with hearts of gold underneath it all.

The last part of the book is really sad so make sure you have your box of tissues at the ready because, unless you have a heart of stone, you'll probably end up a sobbing mess by the end of it. I won't go into too much details about the whys and wherefores of what make it so sad but do make sure you a prepared for it.

The ending was sweet, sad and lovely all rolled up into one and left me with the message of seizing the day and making every minute count. A fab read and a high recommended book.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Bookcase Showcase: Author Ruth Warburton

Our house has a lot of books - books in cupboards, books on the floor, books in the kitchen (cookbooks, mostly) and even a few books on shelves. The photo above is one of six actual proper bookcases in our house, and probably the neatest, but still, "Bookcase Showcase" seems a rather hopeful title. As you can tell from the photo, my bookcases are sadly nowhere near showcases; this one is more a sort of mix of stationary cupboard, games compendium and whatnot. I was tempted to tidy up before photographing but I heroically resisted, so this is the unvarnished version.

The books are crammed in a bit too tightly to allow much clutter on the shelves themselves, so it has all congregated on the top of the bookcase. On the left is a stack of boardgames, plus a bingo set I got given for Christmas, a sword and a top hat (what self-respecting household doesn't have a sword and a top hat on their bookcase?) and a box of firelighters. On the right is a wooden boat my dad made for my oldest son the Christmas before last. Also a small blue suitcase full of bullets (not real ones, obviously. Nerf gun bullets).

Underneath are the books. I'm not sure what a psychologist would be able to tell from my books, apart from the fact that I work in publishing and have extremely catholic tastes. On the top shelf Nancy Mitford  and Rumer Godden rub shoulders with JM Coetzee, Thomas Hardy and Don Quixote (full discloser: I have not actually read the latter - though I keep meaning to.) Below Sarah Waters is nestled up against Peter Ackroyd and on the left is my reference section - a mix of dictionaries, language books (Brewer's Phrase and Fable, the Concise Oxford, The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature) and classic texts (the Complete Shakespeare, Malory's Morte D'Arthur). Lots of these I borrowed from for the Winter Trilogy but I also have another reference section upstairs with the books I'm currently using for writing, more handily located for my laptop, and they swap back and forth. At the moment the upstairs shelf is mainly books on Victorian domestic history, plus a fabulous book called "Carriages at Eight" about the history of the horse-drawn carriage in Victorian and Edwardian England.

The system is... chaotic, to put it kindly. The grouping is partly thematic but mainly done according to size, which might seem like a purely cosmetic thing, but is actually because I double stack all my books (as you may already have spotted) and this only really works if you have similar sized books grouped together otherwise they don't fit - so the largest hardbacks have to be paired up with the little B format paperbacks, and the larger A-format paperbacks go next to smaller format hardbacks.

Here you can see a little glimpse of the secret half of my collection - the unseen books lurking behind. The top of this photo shows part of my crime/thriller collection nestling behind what was the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations - I have a great weakness for 1930s and 40s classic crime, here you can see Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Ian Fleming and - for some reason - my dad's ancient 1970s paperback of How to be Topp. I did say the system was a little chaotic. Below is a shelf of little hardbacks so they have the bigger A format paperbacks behind - Laura Ingalls Wilder's Farmer Boy, The Tempest... various others. There is no grouping in this particular bit, although I do have a cupboard of the books I owned as a child upstairs - Laura Ingalls Wilder probably belongs there, but it's not, because I bought this particular copy quite recently.

There are obvious disadvantages to shelving this way, namely I spend an inordinate amount of time searching for particular books. I was recently trying to find John le CarrĂ©'s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold  for a friend and I just couldn't. In the end she left without it - and weeks later I came across it while looking for Flambards Divided by KM Peyton. But the double-stacking system avoids the alternative, which is throwing books away. We recently moved house and I did sacrifice ten boxes of books that I just couldn't bear to cart across from one flat to another - but these are the ones that made the cut, so I can't get rid of them. Even so, there are a lot that I probably don't need. Jade of Destiny for example by Jeffery Farnol (tucked in next to On Chesil Beach, second from the bottom) I have never read and probably never will - but it's got the most fabulous 1950s cover, and who could resist that title?

Friday, 15 March 2013

Review: Another Life by Keren David

Kicked out of yet another boarding school, Archie couldn't be happier to find himself back in London with old friends and an exciting social life. But he's worried about his cousin Ty, who is facing a sentence in a Young Offender Institution and doesn't seem to be coping. And he's finding that his old friends have moved on and it's a struggle to keep up with their new lives.

When he begins to learn surprising things about Ty, Archie goes on a mission to discover the truth about his cousin's past. But who is the real Ty? The thrilling follow-up to When I Was Joe and Almost True takes readers on a terrifying adventure through London's gangland.

My Thoughts

Another life is the final book in the When I was Joe series.

For me this book was my least favourite of the series. Yes it has all the elements of the previous books but for me I didn't like the fact that the Point of Iew the story was told from for the majority of the book was Archie's. I must admit while he is a nice addition to the series I much prefer him as a secondary character as he can be quite irritating.

It was nice in this book to see the final resolution of Ty's story after the roller coaster of a ride that boy had been on up to this book.

As before the story is fast paced, action packed and gritty which made for compulsive reading and rounded off the series as a whole well. Maybe not one I'll ever bother rereading but certainly a book I enjoyed and am glad I read.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Waiting for Gonzo Blog Tour: Who is the real Oz??

Who is the real Marcus “Oz” Osbourne in Waiting for Gonzo?

We have gathered here today, three people who know Oz pretty well, or so it would seem. We have asked each of them the same four questions, in an attempt to better understand the boy behind the moustache and the D-tags …

Meg, Oz’s sister, has known him all her life; Ryan and Isobel (AKA Psycho) Skinner have only known him since he arrived at Crawdale High School. Let’s see who has the juice on this slippery character …

QUESTION 1: If Oz were an animal, what would he be?

MEG: A mosquito, no question. He’s noisy, annoying and can bring you out in a rash! Oz can spoil anybody’s sunny day.

RYAN: A chimpanzee – because he thinks everything is funny and can’t stop causing trouble. Then he runs away and tries to look all innocent.

ISOBEL: A dumb puppy. He needs a firm hand and some proper training. You can always tell where he’s been by the trail of destruction he leaves behind!

QUESTION 2: If Oz were a drink, which one would he be?

MEG: He’d be a weak, cold, sugary cup of over-priced coffee from Coffee-GO! The sort that leaves a nasty taste in your mouth and keeps you awake all night.

RYAN: I think he’d be some kind of fizzy pop. Something bright blue with a stupid name that’s really expensive and comes in a fancy can. People only drink it ‘cos they think it makes them look cool. After one can you feel sick and spend all night burping!

ISOBEL: Well, I’d have to say a Buck’s Fizz! It looks all sweet and innocent but if you have too much you end up with a big headache!

QUESTION 3: If Oz were a car, what sort of wheels would he be?

MEG: A plastic toy one, left lying round, so you’re always tripping over it. It would have an irritating horn or engine sound built in. Being plastic, it would probably have been made by slave labour children in a factory on the other side of the planet. When it finally broke, it wouldn’t biodegrade – just lie around polluting the earth for thousands of years to come.

RYAN: Ha! He’d be a boy racer car. One of those low slung things with a daft paint job. Noisy but no real power. It would definitely have one of those bass bins in the boot, pumping out that stupid music he likes that no-one’s ever heard of!

ISOBEL: Something with dodgy brakes and a broken exhaust. So noisy that everybody has to cover their ears when it goes past, and it can’t stop once it gets going!

QUESTION 4: If Oz were a Muppet, which crazy character would he be?

MEG: Kermit’s little nephew, Robin. You know, the one that sings ‘Halfway down the Stairs’ because that’s where you’ll find Oz when there’s a conversation going on that he shouldn’t be listening to.

RYAN: That’s easy! He’s a right diva so it would have to be Miss Piggy, definitely! Everything has to be about her – always wants her own way! That’s Oz!

ISOBEL: One of those little guys from the Muppaphone  – the ones that get hit on the head all the time so they make a sound. Give me some beaters – I want a go!

So there you have it. But can any of these three really be trusted? I’m sure Oz would have something to say about some of the answers here. If you’d like to make up your own mind, you could always read the book …

Waiting for Gonzo is out now in paperback, published by Oxford University Press.

A soundtrack of ten original songs featured in, and inspired by, the book will be released on 18 March 2013, available from as well as iTunes, Spotify etc.

For more info visit

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Battling against a society in which love has been declared a disease, Lena now finds herself at the centre of a fierce revolution. But the Wilds are no longer the haven they once were as the government seeks to stamp out the rebels. And Lena's emotions are in turmoil following the dramatic return of someone she thought was lost forever...

Told from the alternating viewpoints of Lena and her best friend Hana, Requiem brings the Delirium trilogy to an exhilarating end and showcases Lauren Oliver at the height of her writing powers - emotionally powerful and utterly enthralling

My Thoughts

I must admit the review for this one is going to be short. I wanted to hold off posting it online until closer to the publication date and therefore didn't write it as soon as I finished it which means I can't actually remember it as clearly as I would like (note to self write review asap after finishing in future).

For me this book didn't live up to either the hype around it or my expectations and by the end of the book I was left wanting so much more. It's a real shame from my point of view as I loved the second book but hardly unsurprising as I really wasn't keen on the first one.

For me the shining light of this book was Hana. I loved her character and her story in this book and found it completely fascinating. However I did feel that the rest of the story lacked susbstance and I just wanted more to happen and more to get my teeth into and it just wasn't happening. 

I must also admit I hated the ending. The way in which things were left made me quite cross and to the point where I wanted to fling said book across the road and never lay eyes on it again.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Review: Before I met you by Lisa Jewell

Having grown up on the quiet island of Guernsey, Betty Dean can't wait to start her new life in London. On a mission to find Clara Pickle - the mysterious beneficiary in her grandmother's will - she arrives in grungy, 1990s Soho, ready for whatever life has to throw at her. Or so she thinks...

In 1920s bohemian London, Arlette - Betty's grandmother - is starting her new life in a time of post-war change. Beautiful and charismatic, Arlette is soon drawn into the hedonistic world of the Bright Young People. But less than two years later, tragedy strikes and she flees back to Guernsey for the rest of her life.

As Betty searches for Clara, she is taken on a journey through Arlette's extraordinary time in London, uncovering a tale of love, loss and heartbreak. Will the secrets of Arlette's past help Betty on her path to happiness?

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a really interesting read.

I loved the way Before I met you was told. It is the story of Arlette and her step granddaughter Betty. After Arlette dies Betty heads to London to find out more about her past and the mysterious people mentioned in Arlette's will that no one in the family have ever heard of. The story then unfolds in a split narrative following Betty on her discovery but often going back and following the story of Arelette in the 1920s. I loved getting this chance to look back at the past and finding out more as Betty herself did.

I actually really loved the main character in this book. I loved following her story as she arrived in London on her own adventure living in the middle of Soho and meeting all the variety of secondary characters she met along the way including nice guy John, rock star Dom and her other new friends. I also loved looking back at Arlette's story and seeing for myself the glamour and glitz for her adventure again living for the first time in the middle of London and meeting all the people she became friends with.

A well written and rich story which draws you in completely. I literally couldn't get it read fast enough and didn't want to put it down. A fab read and an author I will be seeking out to read more from