Saturday, 31 August 2013

August Review

As always a fab month for reading for me. Yay for the summer holidays

135) This Lulaby by Sarah Dessen
136) Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
137) Cruel Summer by James Dawson (British Books Challenge)
138) Delirium by Dee Shulman (British Books Challenge)
139) Cross my Heart by Carmen Reid (British Books Challenge)
140) Double Crossing by Richard Platt (British Books Challenge)
141) Rolling Dice by Beth Reekles (British Books Challenge)
142) Blood Tracks by Paula Rawsthorne (British Books Challenge)
143) The One plus One by Jojo Moyes (British Books Challenge)
144) Picture me Gone by Meg Rosoff (British Books Challenge)
145) Rose under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (British Books Challenge)
146) Stay where you are and Leave by John Boyne
147) Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
148) Undeniable by Liz Bankes (British Books Challenge)
149) Hurt by Tabitha Suzama (British Books Challenge)
150) The Elites by Natasha Ngan (British Books Challenge)
151) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
152) The Distance between us by Kasie West
153) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
154) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (British Books Challenge)
155) The House we grew up in by Lisa Jewell (British Books Challenge)
156) Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross (British Books Challenge)
157) Vivian versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle
158) Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
159) being a boy by James Dawson (British Books Challenge)
160) The rig by Joe Ducie (British Books Challenge)

Book Events Attended
I have been to some brilliant events this month.

Firstly at the start of the month I got to go to the Launch party for Cruel Summer by James Dawson. It was a fabulous evening for a brilliant book packed with bloggers, authors and bookish folk. I enjoyed it immensely.

Secondly I got to see Neil Gaiman at Ely Cathedral. We made a bit of a night of it as we had heard how busy the signing would be and stayed over in Ely. That meant before the event we got to go to Toppings and raid their signed books and buy a huge stack of them.

The event was huge. We arrived over an hour and half early and joined an already sizeable queue. Once we finally got in we secured good seats and waited for Neil to come on stage. His talk and reading was interesting and funny. I particularly enjoyed him answering a whole host of random questions the audience had asked. After the signing we got back into another huge queue (luckly within the first 200 people) and after a hour and a half we got to meet the man himself and get books signed. A fabulous evening in a brilliant venue. Looking forward to reading The Ocean at the end of the Lane now.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Review: Rose under Fire by Eilzabeth Wein

Rose under fire by Elizabeth Wein
Published by Electric Monkey

Goodreads Synopsis
Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women's concentration camp, Rose's story is one of courage in the face of adversity.

My Thoughts
Wow what a read. I'm not sure I can put into words how utterly fantastic Rose under Fire was but I'm going to give it a go.

For those of you who read my reviews it is not secret that I wasn't a fan of Code Name Verity because I didn't get in with the method of story telling which flitted back and forth between first and third person. I therefore started Rose under Fire with some hesitation. However I am so pleased to report that Rose under Fire was exactly the book I had hoped Code Name Verity would be for me and more.

Rose under Fire is the story of Rose Justice a young American woman who is serving in Britain during the Second World War as a pilot. The story follows her through her service as a pilot and then later on when she is captured and sent to Ravensbruck work camp by the Nazis. I loved Rose as a character, her bravery and resolve whilst she faces extraordinary and harrowing circumstances. The strength of this book is the relationships Rose has with the women around her.

For me personally as a historian for the time period I particularly loved the way in which Rose is portrayed after she leaves Ravensbruck in the way you see her struggle to return to normal life after the atrocities she has seen. I love that the book addresses this because I can't think of another YA book which does this and I think it is so important that the struggle to return to normality for holocaust victims isn't forgotten.

A truly brilliant book which I will be recommending far and wide and using extensively in the classroom.  

You'll like this book if you loved...
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
Cross my Heart by Carmen Reid

Thursday, 29 August 2013

No Books Allowed

This month has been brilliant. I love August anyway as I'm always off work and I get to do lots of exciting things

We decided to not go on a proper holiday this year to save a bit of cash so instead we have been on a few mini breaks away this year. The most exciting of which was this month when we went to Stratford upon Avon.

We did all the touristy stuff throughout the days there including seeing all the Shakespeare houses in and around Stratford. I must admit I am not at all a Shakespeare fan but the historian in me loved going round the Tudor houses (and cringed a bit at the displays that said "this may have been Shakespeare's ring" etc)

Whilst in Stratford we managed to see All's well that Ends well by the Royal Shakespeare Company which was excellent (and made me grumpy that we couldn't get tickets to see Richard II when David Tennant is in it). I do think Shakespeare needs to be seen to be appreciated. I hated reading Shakespeare at school but had I seen it live as a teenager things might have been different.

Also whilst in Stratford we took a day trip to Warwick Castle. I love castles and the history geek inside me gets very excited. Warwick castle itself is super impressive and they have a working Trebuchet which was immense. However the place is an extremely expensive day out and much like a castle themed play park aimed at squeezing as much money out of families as possible and I must admit by the time is started to get busy I started to hate the place just a little bit and was cross at the crass commercialism of it all. 

I also was very very lucky and had a chance to go on a hot air balloon ride this month which was immense. We were lucky as we got to go up first time we booked (most people get cancelled at least twice) and I loved it. Definitely one I'd recommend.

Other than our little adventures out this month has mostly been about trying to get me walking properly again. It has now been a year since I broke my leg and I'm mostly doing well with it. However I used to do lots and lots of walking especially when on Holiday and I have missed it. Therefore this month I've been off doing lots of walks on the beach to try to build up the muscle which still isn't quite built enough. No one realises just how long it takes for these things to heal and I'm still regularly told "you're still limping? Why?" Those people are lucky I haven't flipped and thumped them yet!

I'm currently watching Tru Calling in the evenings. I must admit at first I wasn't keen but it is growing on me as a series and I suspect I'll get properly into it just as it finishes as it was cancelled quite early on.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Review: The Sound by Sarah Alderson

The Sound by Sarah Alderson
Published by Simon and Schuster

Goodreads Synopsis
When aspiring music journalist Ren Kingston takes a job nannying for a wealthy family on the exclusive island of Nantucket, playground for Boston's elite, she's hoping for a low-key summer reading books and blogging about bands. Boys are firmly off the agenda.

What she doesn't count on is falling in with a bunch of party-loving private school kids who are hiding some dark secrets, falling (possibly) in love with the local bad boy, and falling out with a dangerous serial killer...

My Thoughts

I have mixed feelings about this book.

I loved that it was a UKYA contemp as I often struggle to find contemps by British authors and I always find myself craving them. I loved the story by the end and I enjoyed the action and the mystery thriller aspect of the book. I enjoyed the setting and loved loved loved the bad boy of the piece Jesse. I loved every scene with him in.

However for me I found this book a bit lacking. I felt that it took far too long for the story to get going and for the first part of the book I wasn't as gripped as I could have been. It wasn't until Jesse arrived on the scene that I got hooked and unable to put the book down. I also found Ren grated a bit at times with her own hang ups and insecurities. Admittedly it was probably those flaws that made her a very realistic character.

Definitely a book I'd recommend purely for Jesse swooning but one I really had to stick with to start. 

You'll like this book if you loved ...
Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson
Sarah Dessen's Colby series (but wanted them to be dark instead of fluffy!)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Review: Delirium by Dee Shulman

Delirium by Dee Shulman
Published by Penguin
Parallon Trilogy #2

Goodread Synopsis

Delirium is the gripping second instalment in the thrilling Parallon Trilogy that began with Fever - by award-winning author and illustrator Dee Shulman.

Two worlds. Two millennia. One love . . .

A fearless Roman gladiator.

A reckless twenty-first-century girl.

A mysterious virus unites them . . .

Seth and Eva have survived the virus that brought them together, but when Eva's health deteriorates,they must find the source before it's too late. As more and more people succumb to the lethal fever, Seth must begin the perilous journey across time to try and stop its spread. But even he can't predict the devastating chain of events the virus has unleashed.

A raging fever. A consuming passion. A love worth dying for

My Thoughts

For me this book was an interesting enough read but possibly a bit too much of a 'second book in a series' book for me to really get as much as I would have liked for it.

To start off what I enjoyed about it.

I loved the book had a 'so far in the series' page. I read so many series that I struggle to keep up with all the ones I'm part way through and I loved that this book did this as it meant I go go back into the series without too much problem about who was who and why they were doing what they meant and I definitely think it helped my enjoyment of the book a lot.

I liked that it was fast paced all the way through making it a very quick read for me.

However as I said I did struggle with some parts of this book. As it was the second book in the series I felt very much despite the fast pace that nothing much happened. In fairness to say nothing much happened is probably unfair. What I meant to say is that nothing really got resolved and I hate being left hanging on too much between books in a series simply because in the year or so I'm waiting for the next book I'll forget all the whys and wherefores and then won't be excited for the next book any more.

Certainly a series with promise and I do thoroughly enjoy the writing style but final judgement is out until I can get my hands on the last instalment.

You'll like this book if you loved
Fever by Dee Shulman
Tempest by Julie Cross

Monday, 26 August 2013

Review: Rolling Dice by Beth Reekles

Rolling Dice by Beth Reekles
Published by RCHP

Goodreads Synopsis
The second cool, sexy YA romance novel from seventeen-year-old Wattpad sensation and author of The Kissing Booth, Beth Reekles.

They say that the higher you climb, the harder you fall - and Madison Clarke will do anything to keep her new life from crumbling to pieces. Moving from a small town in Maine to Florida, Madison grasps the opportunity to reinvent herself, to forget about those days of being a lonely, loser outcast, and jumps at the chance when the popular kids decide to take her under their wing. A hot boyfriend, parties, friends... If only there wasn't the slight problem by the name of Dwight, a cute, funny and totally nerdy guy in Madison's physics class who she can't help but enjoy spending time with. Running from her past and stumbling through the present, who knows what lies ahead in this new life in Florida?

My Thoughts ...
Beth Reekles is an author to watch out for. Her first book showed much promise and although I wasn't a huge fan I was keen to see how she developed as an author in her next books. I am pleased to say I enjoyed Rolling Dice far more as I thought it was a much better read and addressed a lot of the issues I had with the Kissing Booth.

I found the voice to be far better in this book than the Kissing booth. It felt truly American rather than a weird American / British mix which was my complaint before. I was completely drawn in by Madison as a character and loved her story. I enjoyed seeing her transition from a rather shy bullied teen to one of the popular crowd. I loved that she could see that actually maybe that crowd wasn't the best place to be and seeing how she started to question who she should be friends with.

Special mention has to go to Dwight and his friends who I loved loved loved. I loved his friendship with Madison and I could get enough of the scenes where the two of them are together.

What I also enjoyed about this book was that the storyline felt like it was going somewhere which was another complaint I had with the first book. I like books where I can see something going on and this book had that for me which was fab.

A read which I enjoyed and had me happily entertained throughout. I am so looking forward to reading Beth's next book and seeing her progress as an author. She very much is a name to watch.

You'll love this book if you loved ....
The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles
The Distance between us by Kasie West 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Review: Undeniable by Liz Bankes

Frank, funny and fabulous the new romantic novel from Liz Bankes.

Gabi is so excited she's spending the summer working as a runner on her favourite TV show. It's a dream come true! Plus it's perfect for for distracting her from The Break-Up especially with all those gorgeous actors around. And then there's Spencer Black: student, extra, expert flirt. Everything with him is fun, intoxicating and uncertain. Things between them are hotting up when he lands a minor role on the show. So is it make or break for them? Is Spencer undeniably the one for Gabi?

My Thoughts
I must admit I have got to the point where I'm wary about books that fall under the NA category and mostly only read this because I'd enjoyed the author's first book and because there are so few British authors writing books that could be considered NA and I do love championing British authors on my blog.

I am delighted to say I loved this book. It was funny and full of heart. I loved the main character Gabi to pieces and was completely hooked in by the storyline.

Undeniable is the story of Gabi. Gabi has recently split up with her boyfriend and decides to move to London for the summer to get away from it all and as a bonus work as a runner on the latest TV show The Halls. For Gabi this is a perfect opportunity to get her head sorted and fan girl over for favourite TV stars. I loved Gabi from the outset. She's the sort of girl you want to be best friends with. She is loyal and really sweet when it all comes down to it. She is brilliantly funny in pretty much everything she says as the girl as no filter and just says whatever crazy thing she has going on in her brain. This leads to some real laugh out loud comedy moments which had me giggling all he way through the book.

Another thing I loved bout this book was the hot love interest Spencer who comes onto the scene pretty soon into the book. He's gorgeous and sweet with Gabi and there are some sexy times scenes which were extremely steamy. I really enjoyed seeing the scenes between them and how their relationship grew and changed as he stepped more into the national stoplight after getting a new role on the show Gabi works as a runner for.

Special mention needs to go to Max. Please can we have more Max in future books? I can't tell you too much about him for fear of spoiling the book but I will say I absolutely loved him.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was that Gabi's past and the reasons why she decides to get away from it all and move to London are slowly uncovered via a series of flashback scenes which I really enjoyed to get that insight into why she was doing the things she was.

Finally the things I really loved about this book was the way in which Gabi's friendship with her girly friends was portrayed. I loved their interactions as they felt so authentically teenage and I loved how the author caught that so perfectly in the book.

All in all a fab romantic read which I thoroughly enjoyed which an engaging storyline and a main character you can't help but want to root for. 

Friday, 23 August 2013

Blog Tour: Interview with Liz Bankes author of Undeniable

1) To start tell us a bit about your new book undeniable. 

Undeniable is the story of Gabi, a character who appeared in my first book, Irresistible. She’s funny, loud and a bit mad, but the story finds her completely out of her comfort zone. She’s left her friends for the summer to be an intern on a teen drama and is newly single. On her first day she meets Spencer, an extra on the show and a bit of a charmer. Meeting someone new was the last thing on her mind. But even if she is ready, can Spencer be trusted?

2) I love Gabi as a character. Where do you draw inspiration from when writing as her?

I am so glad that you like her! I really wanted readers to like Gabi, more than any other character, because I like her so much. And I think when you’ve spent so long writing as the character, you get a bit protective!

Gabi wasn’t initially going feature in Irresistible all that much, but she gradually began to take over and kept popping up in scenes! I loved thinking of things for her to say, because she’s someone who never thinks before she speaks, so I try to imagine taking off the that conversational filter that I usually have firmly switched on. Changing to writing as her was quite similar, but gave the opportunity to show when something different, and possibly surprising, was going on underneath the chatty surface.

3) I love that undeniable featured characters from your first book. Will you be writing more books involving Gabi and her friends? 

Yes, they will be back! The third book is going to have two narrators – Cleo (Jamie’s slightly scary girlfriend from book one) and Rosie, who is one of Gabi’s gang in book two. Rosie’s quite a quiet and reserved character in this book, so hopefully it will be a chance to get to know her better!

4) Would you classify your books as YA or NA? Is there a difference? 

Can I have both?? The way I see it (but I may not know what I’m on about and be talking rubbish) is that YA is anything written for and dealing with the concerns of young adults. NA at the moment seems to be an area of YA that particularly focuses on contemporary romance – stories set at the age where those experiences are indeed new. Characters are the point of entering the adult world – nothing is decided and everything is possible. These are things I find fascinating as a writer and so they are explored in my books.  

When I’m writing I imagine me and my friends when we were teenagers. I loved books about relationships and particularly liked it when the characters were my age and it felt like the book was written ‘for me’. You could read about sex and relationships in adult books, but there was something special about a book that spoke to young people directly – like Forever by Judy Blume, which did the rounds at my school and made the name ‘Ralph’ funny for life. I’d like to attempt something like that with my books – although obviously Judy has set the bar rather high!

5) Which other authors do you take inspiration from? 
When I was a teenager I read a lot of romantic comedies for adults (I still do, of course!), by authors like Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes and, The Godmother – Helen Fielding. I have writers like those – plus Cecelia Aherne and Nick Hornby – in mind for trying to get a balance of funny and feelings. Other children’s/teen writers I love and want to learn from are Louise Rennison, Marcus Sedgwick, Luisa Plaja, Andy Robb and Caroline Green – I could go on and on and on!I am also a bit obsessed with Jane Austen.

6) What has been your favourite read of 2013? 
By day I am an assistant editor at Catnip books, with a happy side effect being that most of my reading is taken up with children’s/YA. I read Song Hunter by Sally Prue at the beginning of the year, which is an absolutely beautiful book. I thought the second Geekhood by Andy Robb was fantastic. I LOVED the new Louise Rennison, just as I LOVE everything she writes. See how I snuck three in there? Mwa ha ha.

7) If you could throw a dinner party for five fictional characters who would you pick and why? 

Bridget Jones, because if I did something embarrassing, like spill wine/food/dribble down myself, she would probably go and get locked in the toilet or something equally shameworthy and we could bond.

Georgia Nicolson, because she’s funny and could get the party going with a Viking horn dance.

Jane Austen’s Emma. My favourite Jane Austen heroine is actually Lizzie Bennet, but I think Emma would be fun at a party because she’d start matchmaking everyone with eligible men/gropey vicars she knows and that would be good for some party gossip. Also she’s rich, so would bring posh wine.

Katniss from the Hunger Games, because she’s practical and if there was a food disaster (likely if I’m cooking) she could go out and catch a squirrel.

Anna Karenina. She could probably do with a fun night and friendly conversation, rather than being stared at and called a harlot the whole time. And I could offer her my spare room so she doesn’t have to go and get the train.

As I’ve picked five women, it’s got a bit of a hen party vibe, so could I have a butler in the buff? Mr Darcy will do nicely.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Review: Blood Tracks by Paula Rawsthorne

Gina is a runner. With her feet pounding the ground and her dad watching, she feels as though she can fly. But when her dad dies in dramatic circumstances, Gina refuses to accept the explanations she is given. Struggling to find the truth, Gina finds herself plunged into a world far removed from the one she has known; a world of lies, crime and betrayal. A world that will make her question everyone and everything around her. And a world she can't run from.

My Thoughts
Blood tracks is a gripping thriller from Paula Rawsthorne which is full of twists and turns and unputdownable.

Blood tracks follows the story of Gina whose Dad has apparently committed suicide. However Gina isn't buying it and can't let it lie until she finds the truth. I literally couldn't read it fast enough as I found myself need to know what happened next.

I liked how well paced the book was and how it kept me utterly hooked throughout as I needed to know what happened next. The story itself is quite chilling and the eventual villain of the piece is really quite nasty to the point where you hate him on Gina's behalf. I loved following her story and seeing the story piece itself together and all slot into place by the end. I loved Declan the boy who Gina works with to solve the mystery about her father's death. I loved what he brought to the story and enjoyed every scene with him in.

The only thing I really didn't like was Gina herself. I found her to be a little bit bratty and it therefore meant I got fed up with her and therefore could see why everyone around her dismissed her protestations about her father's death because she was so irritating.

So all in all a book was gripping and had me on the edge of my seat despite not being a fan of the main character. Well worth a read.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Review: Cross my Heart by Carmen Reid

Brussels, 1940. Fifteen-year-old Nicole watches as the Nazis invade Belgium. Determined not to stand by as her country is brought to its knees, Nicole vows to fight back and joins the Belgian Resistance. Under her new alias - Coco - Nicole embarks on a dangerous new life as a spy, where the only question is not if you'll be caught, but when...

My Thoughts
I was utterly engrossed by this book from the first to the last page.

Cross my Heart is the story of 15 year old Nicole who, after the Nazis invade Belguim, joins the resistance to fight against them. I thought this book was a brilliant read and I couldn't read it fast enough. Nicole's story is awe inspiring and terrifying when you see the lengths she is willing to go to oppose the Nazis who are occupying her country. The way she was treated in the camp was really uneasy reading and made you awe struck when you saw her resolve to not give in to her oppressors.

I must admit as a historian I do find sometimes I am overly critical about the quality of YA historical fiction. I find some books take too many liberties and I often have to give up part way through books because I get so annoyed. What I loved about this book was that it felt true as a story and it was well researched so that it could have fit in with historical events. Certainly good quality enough for me to want to recommend to students I teach.

A fantastic and engrossing read which I will be highly recommending.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Review: Double Crossing by Richard Platt

It's 1908, and David O'Connor, newly orphaned and alone in the world, has had to leave his home in Ireland to go and live with his uncle and aunt in America. His journey to New York and his new life there are tougher than David could ever have imagined, especially when he is harbouring a dark secret which he must take with him to his grave. His incredible story is recorded in his journal, complete with mementoes of his journey.

My thoughts

A really quick and engaging read which I really enjoyed.

Double crossing is the story of David O'Connor who is orphaned and sent abroad to live with his Uncle in New York. It is a really interesting read as it shows the historical period off really well. I loved seeing the difference between the upper and lower classes and their differing experiences of life. I really loved the character of David as you follow his story from Ireland to America. A fabulous example of how historical fiction for teens should be done. Rich and full of historical detail without being dry and dull. The story is complimented with a series of pictures which add nicely to the story. I won't go into any detail but I loved the ultimate twist in the story and loved being surprised with how the story turns out.

A fab little read which is well worth a look.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Blog Tour: Have a little Faith by Candy Harper

What Writing Have a Little Faith Taught Me about Friends

Good friends know when to lie and when to tell the truth
Only your best mates can be relied on to know exactly when to make you feel better with a little fib, and when to break the painful truth to you. Great lies my friends have told me include: ‘It was delicious, I’m just not that hungry’; ‘It will grow back quickly’; and, ‘He’s probably just intimidated by your intelligence, and that’s why he refuses to talk to you, look at you, or wear that shirt woven from your own hair that you sent him’. Necessary truths my friends have (gently) told me include: ‘I’m not sure that acid yellow is your colour’; ‘You did sound just a tiny bit like a constipated donkey’; and, ‘I think you need a nap. But first you should put down that cocktail and take that saucepan off your head. And climb down from there. And let that poor cat go.’

When friends upset you it’s usually just a misunderstanding
When you’re writing about friends falling out, you can see everyone’s point of view, which has helped me realise that friends almost always have good intentions, even when they do something that upsets you. This has made me feel more forgiving about that evil thing my friend Gemma did. Obviously, she meant well and I need to keep that in mind when I think about her immense stupidity. In future, instead of remembering my ruined birthday party, I’ll think about the love in her heart as she ruined my birthday party. In fact, I’m quite prepared to just let it go. In the last week, I’ve barely even mentioned it on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and that ‘Update on the Gemma Situation’ blackboard that I’ve put in my front window. I’ve even let her cut down her weekly apology to just the one PowerPoint presentation.

Friends give the best presents
When it comes to presents I’m quite happy with something small, you know, hair slides, chocolate drops . . . diamonds. But the best gifts I’ve ever had have been things that my friends knew would be really special to me. As a small child I desperately wanted a toy car that you inserted a penny into to make it speed across the floor. Unfortunately, my mum preferred to buy me things that reinforced gender stereotypes and prepared me the aspirationless domestic drudgery that she and generations of women in my family had suffered before me, so I got a pink dustpan and brush instead. I had no idea that I’d ever mentioned this tragic tale to my friend, but one Christmas she handed me two small packages. The first one contained a penny. ‘Wow, thanks,’ I said, ‘I’ll try not to spend it all at once.’ Because it’s always nice to say something sarcastic to a person who is about to do something incredibly sweet for you . . . Yes, the other gift was the shiny penny-powered car of my childhood dreams. And this was in the days before eBay. It had taken her a lot of time and effort to get hold of that car. And a crowbar. And possibly some Mafia connections and a dodgy Russian accent. 

Friends make everything funny
When I started writing Have a Little Faith I thought I’d get professional and gather some material. This meant that whenever one of my friends said something funny I’d shout, ‘Stop! Say that again! Slowly! Spell any difficult words!’ and I’d scramble about looking for a pen to write down their hilariousness. But when I got round to reviewing the meticulous notes that I’d written in mascara on the back of a Starburst wrapper, I found that away from my friends, the jokes weren’t so funny. The best comedy comes from knowing people really well and having a history with them, and while if you work really hard you can sort of recreate this in a story, it made me really appreciate the way my friends and I can have a laugh without me having to write a character profile on anyone.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Review: Control by Kim Curran

Scott Tyler is not like other teenagers. With a single thought he can alter reality around him. And he can stop anyone else from doing the same.

That's why he's so important to ARES, the secret government agency that regulates other kids like him: Shifters.

They've sent him on a mission. To track down the enigmatic Frank Anderson. An ex-Shifter who runs a project for unusual kids - as if the ability to change your every decision wasn't unusual enough. But Anderson and the kids have a dark secret. One that Scott is determined to discover.

As his obsession with discovering the truth takes him further away from anyone he cares about, his grip on reality starts to weaken. Scott realises if he can't control his choices, they'll control him

My Thoughts
A cracking sequel to a really different series which I enjoyed.

What I really liked about this book was that I didn't need to reread book one to get it. I've been struggling of late with sequels purely because due to the volume I read it is hard to keep in my head what has happened in book one after a week let alone after a year. What I liked is that the first sections gave you a nice reminder of what had happened previously without being over the top and dull.

The story itself is fast paced and exciting exactly how I would have expected it to be and kept me hooked from the first to page to the last. I loved meeting Scott and Aubrey again and following their story and I cannot wait to read book three after that amazing ending which I can't tell you about.

A brilliant read and series which is well worth a look. 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Bookcase Showcase: Author Robyn Schneider

Ever since I got my kindle, my bookshelves have looked much tidier. Here they are, in all their pared-down glory. They’re mostly organized alphabetically, except I found myself in the awkward position of having to shelve A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh between Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight and Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, so I swirled some things around to fix bad book roommate situations like that one.
Some notable objects on the shelves include:

1.     My phrenology bust (second shelf from the top, left side). I studied medicine in graduate school and actually did study the history of phrenology, which is a little bit like treating someone’s head as though it’s a tarot card, except it was used in the 19th century primarily for reasons of racial stereotyping. Mr. Phrenology is sitting next to my collection of Sherlock Holmes stories.
2.     My brownie camera (third shelf from the top, left side). I love photography and have quite a collection of cameras. This one doesn’t work, but it has made fantastic friends with the paperback Diana Wynne Jones novels on that shelf, which I kept from when I was a kid.
3.     The framed document (fourth shelf from the top, left side). This was given to all members of the Philomathean Society, the oldest continually existing collegiate literary society in the United States, upon initiation.
4.     The microscope and film slate pairing (third shelf from the top, right side). A reminder of where I’ve been and where I hope to go. The boxed set of Narnia books on that shelf are also kept from childhood.
5.     The butterfly in a jar (fourth shelf from the top, right side). Don’t worry, she isn’t real! It’s a toy, but also a metaphor.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse at my bookshelves.