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Showing posts from January, 2014

January Review

wow January has gone past fast. These are the books I read this month Books Read 1) Past Perfect by Leila Sales 2) Banished by Liz De Jager (British Books Challenge) 3) The Bed I Made by Lucie Whitehouse (British Books Challenge) 4) The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman 5) A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon (British Books Challenge) 6) A Family Secret by Eric Heuvel 7) The Search by Eric Heuvel 8) Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon (British Books Challenge) 9) The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith 10) The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell 11) The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon (British Books Challenge) 12) We were Liars by E Lockhart 13) The Here and Now by Ann Brashares 14) Wake by Anna Hope (British Books Challenge) 15) Never Ending by Martyn Bedford (British Books Challenge) 16) Heartbreak by Jonathan Riveria 17) The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult 18) Yossel by Joe Kubert 19) Bird by Crystal Chan Book Events attended  I had a

Dead Ends Blog Tour: Researching Down's Syndrome by Erin Lange

Thanks for letting me visit today to talk about researching Down’s syndrome for my book, DEAD ENDS. In addition to being an author, I am also a journalist, and one of the jokes we journalists like to crack behind the scenes is, “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” Of course, when it comes to the end result, we always stick to the facts, but first, we let ourselves imagine – let ourselves get creative. I take the same approach to researching my books. I never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Not in the first draft anyway. When I was writing Dead Ends, one thing I knew from the very beginning was that writing a character with Down’s syndrome was no different from writing any other character. I already knew that people with Down’s syndrome are as diverse as people without it. That gave me the freedom to think of Billy D. as confident, outspoken, clever, trusting and manipulative. His character was built on those qualities, and his condit

Review: The Black Crown Conspiracy by Chris Edge

When Penny receives a story for the magazine about a strange and supernaturally-tinged crime, she’s instantly gripped. However, when the story is published, she’s shocked to discover that it describes a recent crime. More stories follow from the anonymous author containing further sinister crimes and hinting at more to come. With the police perplexed, and all of London living in fear, Penny faces a race against time to track the elusive author down. Can she find him and put a stop to his terrible crimes before his story reaches its chilling conclusion? My thoughts I am a huge fan of the Penelope Tredwell series. I love her as character and I love the stories with her involved as they are always action packed and exciting. This book was no exception. The black crow conspiracy was Penny's most exciting adventure yet. I must admit for the outset the pace of the adventure is exciting. I loved the Victorian setting and getting back into Penny's wold. I loved the

Running Girl by Simon Mason

Meet Garvie Smith. Highest IQ ever recorded at Marsh Academy. Lowest ever grades. What's the point, anyway? Life sucks. Nothing ever happens. Until Chloe Dow's body is pulled from a pond. DI Singh is already on the case. Ambitious, uptight, methodical - he's determined to solve the mystery and get promoted. He doesn't need any 'assistance' from notorious slacker, Smith. Or does he? My thoughts   I have really mixed feelings on this book. As a Crime novel it was brilliant. So cleverly written with lots of twists and turns which kept you guessing right until the end. I liked how everything was turned on its head several times and being made to rethink things over and over again as the story went on. The story with the girl who died was almost a bit twin peaks esque (without the weirdness) as you got to find out a darker side of a girl who on the surface looked perfect. However I really really struggled to connect with the main character. I found

Review: Salvage by Keren David

Aidan Jones was my brother. But I couldn't really remember his face. I couldn't remember talking to him or playing with him. He was just a gap, an absence, a missing person. Before she was adopted by a loving family and raised in a leafy Home Counties town, Cass Montgomery was Cass Jones. Her memories of her birth family disappeared with her name. But when her adopted family starts to break down, a way out comes in the form of a message from her lost brother, Aidan. Having Aidan back in her life is both everything she needs and nothing she expected. Who is this boy who calls himself her brother? And why is he so haunted? I glance at the paper. There's a big picture on the front page. A girl with dark red hair. A girl with eyes that might have been green or they might have been grey. I sit down and stare at Cass, and it is her, it is. My stolen sister. Aidan's a survivor. He's survived an abusive step-father and an uncaring mother. He's survived

Review: Boys Don't Knit by Tom Easton

Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more 'feminine' side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course. To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets 'stuck in'. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God. To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates...and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him...Laugh-out-loud, often ridiculous, sometimes quite touching, and revelatory about the knitting world, Boys Don't Knit is a must for boys and girls.. My thoug

Review: Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell

Meg Bergman is fifteen and fed up. She lives in a tiny town in rural 1990s South Africa - a hot-bed of traditionalism, racial tension and (in Meg's eyes) ordinariness. Meg has no friends either, due largely to what the community sees as her mother's interfering attempts to educate farm workers about AIDS. But one day Xanthe arrives - cool, urban, feisty Xanthe, who for some unknown reason seems to want to hang out with Meg. Xanthe arrives into Meg's life like a hurricane, offering her a look at a teenage life she never knew existed. But cracks quickly begin to show in their friendship when Meg's childhood friend Simon returns from his gap year travels.  My thoughts A really enjoyable read which appealed to me quite nicely. I really loved the historical setting and the backdrop to the story more than anything else. The book is set in South Africa in the 90s and I enjoyed learning about life during the period for ordinary people particularly looking a

Bookcase Showcase: Author Romily Bernard

I love book bloggers—not just because y’all will fangirl (or boy) with me over some author’s new release, but because you have the best insights and questions. Bookcase Showcase? My favorite blog topic yet. And it couldn’t be more topical too because I just. Got. Bookcases . Oh, yes, it’s been almost seven years since Boy Genius and I moved into The House That’s Trying To Kill Us and I’ve been asking for bookshelves since…oh, probably the day before we moved in. In BG’s defense, we’ve had a bit going on. There was the electrical work that had to be done, the floors that had to be replaced, the rain that poured in through the side door…sigh. My point? He had a good excuse, but you’re not properly moved in until your books are arranged on their shelves. Which brings me to book arrangement. Am I the only person who arranges books by Feels? For example, I put Dennis LeHane and Lisa Gardner together because they both scare the pants off me. Similarly, John Green and Jay Asher

Books I can't wait to read

Here are the latest books to hit my wishlist. I cannot wait to read them Isla and the Happily Eve After by Stephanie Perkins From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new. I feel like I have waited my entire life for this book. I CANNOT WAIT FOR IT!! Heart Break Girl by Malorie Blackman     Dante's life was changed for ever the day his ex-girlfriend, Mel, showed up on his doorstep with a baby. His baby. Being a single parent is the hardest thing he's ever had to do - but Da

Blog Tour: Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn Guest Post

On Truth and Darkness in Young Adult Literature Stephanie Kuehn This month, my debut young adult novel, Charm and Strange , is being released in paperback in the UK. As the back copy of the book reads, it is “A deftly woven, elegant, unnerving psychological thriller about a boy at war with himself….a masterful exploration of one of the greatest taboos.”   In short, it’s about a boy who believes himself to be a monster. It’s also about understanding why .   I began writing Charm and Strange in the spring of 2011. As the story moved along on its two-year path to publication, there were many kind people who read the manuscript and corresponded with me about it: friends, fellow authors, literary agents, editors, etc. Yet when I reflect back on that time, there’s one thing stands out to me about all of these interactions. With the exception of a single person, no one ever directly addressed the events of the book—what it’s really about. This is an observation, not a ju

Tape by Steven Camden

Record a voice and it lasts forever… In 1993, Ryan records a diary on an old tape. He talks about his mother’s death, about his dreams, about his love for a new girl at school who doesn’t even know he exists. In 2013, Ameliah moves in with her grandmother after her parents die. There, she finds a tape in the spare room. A tape with a boy’s voice on it – a voice she can’t quite hear, but which seems to be speaking to her. Ryan and Ameliah are connected by more than just a tape. This is their story My thoughts   I have been keenly waiting to get my hands on this book for a good while now and was delighted when I was offered a copy for review. I am glad to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of me this book was all about the 90s nostalgia. I loved Ryan's story in particular and seeing all those things I grew up with written about! the lack of mobile phones and the Internet, the fashion and the music that was big at the time. It made me pine for those times when you weren&

History Books I rate: 1920s

Some of you might know I teach History at High School. I love finding good YA historical fiction which I can use in the classroom if only to recommend to my students as wider reading. I do however find that I can be very critical of historical fiction and I do find myself having to give up on books others have raved about because I can't get over historical inaccuracies or stories where events are treated lightly. This month I have a selection of books set in and around the 1920s (ish). Perfect for Downton Abbey Fans. Secrets and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed I loved this book completely when I read it. It's very much got that Downton feel to it with the upstairs / downstairs divide and seeing how the different classes of people lived. The Diviners by Libba Bray This huge book is set in the 1920s and has a supernatural theme to it. I read this when I was in hospital overnight for 2 days so can't really remember much except for the fact I thoroughly enj

Review: Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton

London. 1880. In the slums of Spitalfields apprentice blacksmith Luke is facing initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum, the fearsome brotherhood dedicated to hunting and killing witches. Luke’s final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself. Luke knows that tonight will change his life forever. But when he picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, Luke has no idea that his task will be harder than he could ever imagine My thoughts   A quick review today for a book I quite literally flew through as I was hooked from the very start. Witch finder is Ruth Warburton's newest offering set in Victorian London. I was hooked from the start. Witches in the east end of Victorian London! What more could you possibly want I ask you. The story revolves about Rosa a young witch who is being forced to marry an unpleasant man for money and Luke the stable hand employed to work at Rosa'

Review: When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

Dylan Mint has Tourette's. His life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in - the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that seems to escape whenever he gets stressed ... But a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mother, Dylan discovers that he's going to die next March. So he decides to grant himself three parting wishes, or 'Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It'. Number one on the list is to have 'real' intercourse with his stunning and aloof classmate Michelle Malloy. Secondly, Dylan pledges to 'fight heaven and earth, tooth and nail, dungeons and dragons' so that his best friend Amir can find a new 'best bud'. And finally he has to get his dad back from the war so that mum can stop crying so much. It's not a long list, but it's ambitious, and he doesn't have much time. But as Dylan sets out to make his wishes come true, he discovers that

2014 reading goals

Hello 2014 Today is the day when I set out my reading goals for this year. I'm not one for resolutions but I do like to be organised when it comes to my reading. My goals for 2014 reading are Read more adult books. I did a lot of this in 2013 and loved it. Discover new authors who write fiction for adults. When it comes to YA I tend try debut authors quite happily but when it comes to adult books I am terrible at sticking with authors I know and love. Read more books by British Authors for the British Books Challenge Read books which I don't have to review. Another thing I started in 2013 and loved because that pressure wasn't there. Give up on series which I rate 3 stars or less. This is mostly because I'll never be inclined to reread the earlier books and therefore will never have a clue what is going on when I come to sequels. Don't force a review if I have nothing to say about a book (even if I enjoyed it on the whole). This is what goodreads star rat