Monday, 31 December 2012

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

Pages: 308
Publisher:  Scholastic Press (My version as part of The Complete Alcatraz by Orion)
Released: 1st of October 2007

Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the world. The sand will give the Librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination. Alcatraz must stop them...by infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness.


What I  Have To Say

This was a great read. Really funny. The plot and world were really well thought out and the humour twined throughout it was just perfect. The narrator was really likable, despite his best attempts to point out that he wasn't. 

I think the thing I liked most about this book was the way he unashamedly mocked a lot of the most used writing techniques. Especially all the times that he pointed out the foreshadowing, or referred back to it when it came up. 

Seriously, if you want a laugh and like general silliness, this book is for you.

Monday, 24 December 2012

The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

Pages: 336
Publisher: Indigo
Released: 2nd of August 2012

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.


What I Have to Say

I loved the world of this book so much. Well... Loved would be the wrong word. But grim as it was, it was so well constructed. Every detail seems to have been thought out and the three way divide between Religion, Science and Government is really well played.

There were some really interesting characters as well. Araby had a really good voice and was a really great perspective to have. But the two love interests were the most interesting. Elliot and Will. They were also not played up too much. The love triangle was there but I didn't feel it was forced down the reader's throat like so many books these days seem to do.

The plot was really good too. A little slow in places but with enough intrigue to keep me interested. There were so many elements and so much world building, but it wasn't overly explained. The timing was right.

I would recommend this book to anyone, seriously. So well written. I loved reading it.

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 379
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: 23rd of October 2012

Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.


What I Have to Say

 I'm going to try very, very hard not to fangirl too much this post, but I just love Julie Kagawa far too much. I love everything she writes and this was definitely no exception. She has such interesting ideas and yet again she's managed to expand the idea of faery and put her own take on it. 

The forgotten are just as interesting as the Iron fey and Kagawa has managed to show her creativity yet again with more creative ideas for new types of faery, whilst still including some of the more traditional ones to make a rich and complex world. 

I love Ethan and his tough attitudes. He's a really good contrast to Megan who was so much more naive when she first went to faery. Ethan is more of a warrior. Training himself to fight against the faeries who taunt him. 

I also loved Keirran. He's such a cool mix of the three courts. There's also a lot of faery to him but at the same time, he's softer. It's clear that he's spent him whole life not fitting in to any court because he's a member of all three. I think there's a lot more to be explore with his character. And with all the new characters actually. 

While I'm loving the new characters and understand completely why there isn't so much of the old characters in this book, I do miss them a lot. It's nice when they pop up and I hope that with the rest of the series they continue to appear every so often. 

Can't wait for the next book.

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 408
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Released: 18th of September 2012

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


What I Have to Say 

 This book was really good, it had the beautiful writing, suspense and sudden twists that I enjoy reading from Maggie Stiefvater, but for some reason, it didn't really feel like her writing. I don't know if it was the third person narration or how long it took her to set everything up, but it ruined my enjoyment of the bok. 

That said, I really did enjoy it. I loved the relationship between the boys and Blue and her family. I also really loved Noah. I can't say what I liked about him without spoiling, but his character were so interesting. 

So I do recommend this book, but if you're a fan of Maggie Stiefvater, just go into it as if you've never read a book by her before.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 416
Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: 31st of July 2012

"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


What I Have to Say

I heard so many good things about this book so I'm really glad it lived up to its reputation, so many books get a lot of hype and then are really disappointing. 

The story and characters were so well written and work really well to bring up strong emotions.  I found myself feeling not just sympathy for the characters but also hate towards some of the other characters, especially Echo's father and Luke. There were times I wished i could slap Ashley too for the selfishness she showed. Though I could see things from her point of view. 

The story just worked so well. The characters fitted perfectly creating a believable relationship and they changed each other so subtly that the character were still clearly the same people even though they were going through such drastic character development. People rarely change as drastically as they do in books, but in this one, it worked really well. 

This book was so beautiful and moving. It's occurred to me recently that I recommend an awful lot of sad books and this is another one, but it really is worth it.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 362
Publisher: Walker Books
Released: 3rd of March 2008

What if your deadliest enemy were the only one who could save you?
Inside an ancient temple in the mountains, fifteen-year-old Zira trains in the martial arts to become a warrior priestess who can defend the faith of the Ruan people. Bearing a scar on her face from the fire that killed her parents, the orphaned Zira is taught to distrust the occupying Sedornes. Terror strikes when the forces of the tyrannical Sedorne king destroy the only home she knows. To survive, Zira must unravel the secrets of her identity, decide her people’s fate — and accept her growing feelings for a man who should be her enemy.

What I Have to Say 

I love Zoë Marriott's style of writing so much. She's one of those writers who just writes such beautiful prose. The sort that you have to stop and reread because it was just so beautifully written. 

This novel was a really interesting look into identity, it really captures the confusion that must be felt when you suddenly find out that you're a completely different person. 

The presence of the Goddess was another really interesting thing that was played on. The amount that Zahira's life is just being controlled by fate was really cool. It was really interesting to see a novel where the main character isn't in control and it's less her actions as her reactions to what is happening. It really felt like divine intervention, like all Zahira could do was go along with it and trust to fate. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Adorkable by Sarra Manning

 Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages:  387
Publisher: Atom
Released: 24th of May 2012

Jeane Smith's a blogger, a dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand, and has half a million followers on Twitter.

 Michael Lee's a star of school, stage, and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie. 

They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can't they stop making out?


 What I Have to Say

This book was such a good portrayal of a twitter addict! As a twitter addict myself, I could relate to it completely. Although, tweeting every five minutes and not a single mention of Twitter Jail seems a bit odd. :P 

Even though Jeane and Michael are so different you can emphasise with both and also see their faults. Even if you related to Jeane, you can see how self absorbed she is. And even though Michael seems sensitive and nice, you can see Jeane's point about the way he basks in his popularity. 

It's so interesting how it's written so that the reader isn't on either character's side when they fight.  Both have points, but at the same time both make mistakes based on judgements and prejudices. And it's not just the first impression type of mistake. It's all based on judgements they've formed over time which are hard to shake off.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Slated by Teri Terry

 Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 448
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: 3rd of May 2012

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?


What I Have to Say 

I loved this book so much! It was amazing! 

I really liked the way the author portrayed the other characters' attitudes towards Kyla and the other Slateds.  They act like she's a lot younger than she actually is and treat her like a child. This, added to how naive and childlike she acts, really shows what being slated does to a person. 

Even though it's mostly about the issues of being slated, it also looks at more relatable issues concerning new families with parallels with foster and adoptive families. The slateds get shoved into a family and expected to accept it,

There is also the fact that even though the slated process is advertised as a clean slate, the Slateds are judged on the fact that they are supposedly former criminals. It's interesting how it shows that there's so much more depth to the slated process than has been explored so far. 

The depth and mystery in this book is what I love about it. Even after finishing the book, there's so much left unexplained. Throughout the whole book there's a big deal about how Kyla is different from the other Slateds. It's obvious that she's been trained by someone. I want to know who it is because it seems she's been deliberately raised for this purpose. 

From cataloguing the area to the obvious experience that Kyla's had in stealth and deception, it's clear that we've barely scratched the surface of Kyla. 

I just want to read the next book now and find out more, because I want to know everything! 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Blogoversary Competition!


What's Up For Grabs

  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
  • The Lost Boy by Karen Mahoney - teaser.
  • Various bookmarks picked up at events and four origami bookmarks I made myself
  • Angel Fire badges
  • Assorted Postcards picked up at events
  • Karen Mahoney cover stickers
  •  Frostfire fridge magnet

How to Enter

Just fill out the form below! Winner will be announced here on December 1st.
- International entries welcome.  


a Rafflecopter giveaway





Monday, 5 November 2012

Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 360
Publisher: Egmont
Released: 4th of June 2010

Lula Bird is gorgeous, funny and dreading her birthday because you can't turn 16 if you've never been kissed . . . so why does every boy in Hambledon run a mile the second she bats her eyelids? The fact is, they fear for their lives. Rumour has it Lula's been jinxed! And it's not as if that's her only problem: Lula thinks she has a stalker, her dad keeps sneaking out at night with a lady's handbag, and a mysterious theft is threatening to bring the town to its knees. . . . With only 5 days to go till her birthday, can Lula get the guy, solve the crime and jilt the jinx for good?

What I Have To Say

 
This book was so realistic. It captured the mind of a teenage girl perfectly and showed really accurately how small things such as never having kissed can become massive and world-altering when you're 15/16.

It also shows the way that the brain freezes when you like someone. How when you're trying to talk to someone and come across as witty and attractive, your brain refuses to co-operate and all that comes out is a mess of verbal vomit.

It was just such a funny book. The character of Lula was so well written and had such a great personality.

This is another one I recommend for a comfort or holiday read.
 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Bad Faith by Gillian Philip

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 256
Publisher: Strident
Released: 20th of August 2008

Life's easy for Cassandra. The privileged daughter of a cleric, she's been protected from the extremist gangs who enforce the One Church's will. Her boyfriend Ming is a bad influence, of course, with infidel parents who are constantly in trouble with the religious authorities. But Cass has no intention of letting their different backgrounds drive them apart. Then they stumble across a corpse. Who killed him? How did his body end up in their secret childhood haunt? And is this man's death connected to other, older murders? As the political atmosphere grows feverish, Cass realises she and Ming face extreme danger.

What I Have to Say 

The world of this book was so well created. The changes that were made were very well made so that you can still recognise our society hidden within.

And it makes it relatable in a way that makes the nature of the society – a hierarchy which works through a technique of spying on each other and creating fear - more poignant and also quite frighting.

The concept of secrecy was really well done. The fact that they present a public face to the world to hide what they really feel being the most obvious, but also the secrets that they keep in their own family.

These secrets that the main character's family keeps from her really help add to the depiction of trauma that runs throughout the book. There's really a sense that more is wrong than just from the accident, long before anything is actually revealed.

This book was really interesting and well worth reading.

Monday, 15 October 2012

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

 Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 324
Publisher:Orchard Books
Released:  25th of April 2006

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

  

What I Have To Say

 
This book was so good! I cannot wait to read the rest of the series because I just feel in love with it from the first sentence. I mean, it's spies! A high school of spies! What is there not to love?!

I was an interesting choice to have a main character who has already been at the school for some time, rather than a new student. Most authors would go for the latter – but it really worked! The entire way it was written meant that it felt fresh and the entire plot needed an already experienced character who knew something about what she was doing.

And the whole nature of Cammie's character makes it really interesting. As a girl raised from an early age by a spy. It adds well to the story, which is really just a normal teenage girl story about meeting a boy and falling in love, but it's made so much more interesting because they are trained spies and are coming to it from that perspective.

It's a really fun play on how semi- stalkerish teenagers can get with their first crushes because as spies they can do it more professionally. In the end, it's just a normal teenage- girl story contrasting he normality with the extra- ordinary setting.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 400
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: 11th of October 2012

When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate. 

Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die. 

Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from?

What I Have to Say

 This book was amazing! I loved the plot, the society,. the characters, just everything. I really liked how the author introduced the society. Too many authors try to tell the reader everything about the society at once and there's a load of pointless explanation, but this was just introducing the characters and allowing the reader to see the world they live in through that. 

I also love the class system that's shown here. The author really manages to get across how different the worlds are that Bea, Quinn and Alina live in based on their class and parentage. Quinn lives in a world of privilege and expectations, whereas Bea and Alina must face a world where even the air they breathe is monitored and charged for. But it's not done in too drastic a way. Bea and Quinn are still friends and mostly their differences aren't a big deal to them. 

Seriously, if you like Dystopia then read this book. There may be a lot of Dystopia around at the moment, but this is a really amazing example of it.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Witch Crag by Kate Cann

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 382
Publisher: Scholastic
Released: 4th of October 2012

In a tribe where basic survival is the only priority, Kita must make a choice: to accept arranged marriages and being treated with less value than sheep, or escape and journey to the place that even the strongest men fear with their lives — Witch Crag.

But a common threat is facing the witches and sheepmen alike. The tribes must somehow overcome their prejudices and join together if they are to win a war that threatens to destroy everything they hold as good.


What I Have to Say

The societies in this book were so well written! The contrast in them and the way they were formed was so believable and made the book so enjoyable to read and believable. 

The sheep society is obviously one of the ones that really stands out The way they resemble the creatures they tend to, the stubborn way of living they have along with the malleable heard-like nature of them, resembles sheep, which I think is a pretty cool parallel to make. 

The societies formed are really based on survival. Different people survive in different ways and each different society is formed to reflect that. Whether it's the sheep-like practicality, the city's scavengers or the witches' more communal style of living, it's all believable. 

This book is really worth reading. Just exploring the different societies is interesting. I can't wait to hear more from this author! 



 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Ask Amy Green: Boy Trouble by Sarah Webb

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

Pages: 234
Publisher: Walker Books
Released: 2nd of February 2009

 Thirteen-year-old Amy Green has a lot to juggle: handling her divorced parents, minding her messy baby siblings, and navigating the snobby popular cliques at school. So when her cool but crazy seventeen-year old aunt, Clover lands a job giving advice for the teen mag The Goss, Amy jumps at the chance to help out as her sidekick. Of course Clover, being Clover, doesn’t just want to answer readers’ letters, she wants to solve their problems . . . personally. From stamping out malicious rumors to giving a cad his comeuppance to creating the perfect web page, the two come up with some clever hands-on  schemes that bring happiness to many unhappy girls. But when Amy falls for the cute but aloof boy in her art class — and her own friends start snubbing her big-time — can she find a way out of her own dilemma?

What I Have to Say


This didn't really seem like my sort of book, but I really enjoyed it! The character voices were really fun and interesting. Especially Clover. Clover was really funny and insane and I just fell in love with her character so quickly.

Amy was also a really good character. It was so easy to feel sympathy for her. I've never had experience with the problems she's going through, but I was still right there with her, feeling her pain.

I also liked how the author highlighted the fact that little things can become really, really important sometimes. In one scene, Amy's dad gets a puppy and it really affects Amy. And it was just so easy to see that Amy is getting upset about that because of the underlying issue of there becoming too much space between her and her dad.

In all, the book was a really funny and entertaining look into exploring identity in early high school and whether or not it's important to have a sense of social identity at that age.





Monday, 17 September 2012

Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 332
Publisher: Point
Released: 1st of February 2011

Ever since Mrs. Amberson, the former-aspiring-actress-turned-agent, entered Scarlett Martin's life, nothing has been the same.

She's still in charge of the Empire Suite in her family's hotel, but she's now also Mrs. Amberson's assistant, running around town for her star client, Chelsea - a Broadway star Scarlett's age with a knack for making her feel insignificant.

Scarlett's also trying to juggle sophomore year classes, her lab partner who is being just a little TOO nice, and getting over the boy who broke her heart.

What I Have to Say

It's been quite a while since I read Suite Scarlett. so it was really good how easy Scarlett Fever was to pick up and get back into. With some books, you really have to work to remember who the characters are and how the last book ended, but this wasn't the case with Scarlett Fever. I think part of it was because the characters were so easy to relate to as well as being very memorable. 

Suit Scarlett was also the very first book that I read by Maureen Johnson, so it felt really special to be reading the sequel. 

I loved the humour. I loved the characters. But I think the best thing about this book, compared to Suit Scarlett, was how much of Scarlett's normal everyday life we saw. The events in Suit Scarlett all happened over a rather weird summer, so it was good to see her go back to her normal life. And to see all the madness that was invading her life during the summer still very much affecting her life.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Cherry Crush by Cathy Cassidy

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Pages: 304
Publisher: Puffin
Released: 2nd of June 2011

Cherry Costello's life is about to change forever. She and Dad are moving to Somerset where a new mum and a bunch of brand-new sisters await. And on Cherry's first day there she meets Shay Fletcher - the kind of boy who should carry a government health warning. But Shay already has a girlfriend, Cherry's new stepsister, Honey. Cherry knows her friendship with Shay is dangerous - it could destroy everything. But that doesn't mean she's going to stay away from him...



What I Have to Say 

 I loved this book! It was a really good look at the issues faced by recently formed step-families. It was written in a really good way too. The plot and characters were easy to relate to, whilst not trying to hard to achieve this aim.

I loved Cherry, which isn't surprising since she's half- Japanese ;) But it was more than that. She was a really cool, interesting and fun to read character/ The other characters were great too. I'll be interested to see the points of view of the other sisters, but I think it'll be weird not to hear Cherry's viewpoint again.

The thing between Cherry and Honey was good too. I thought at first that she might be made too much of a bitchy female antagonist, especially considering the fact that the read will have to like her later in the series when she is the point of view character. It was good to see how human she was, especially towards the end of the book.

This was really a great book, but I think it needs a warning, don't ever read this book when you don't have chocolate to hand!!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

In My Mailbox: 2

 It seems that this is happening once a month. xD

The In My Mailbox meme was started by Kristi at The Story Siren and is used by many bloggers to show... well what they've been sent. ^^

All summaries are from Goodreads.

Received from publishers:

  Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry

 No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smokinghot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


I am looking  forward to reading this so much! I've heard so many great things about it. Thank you so much Mira Ink! 


Brought: 


Insignia - S. J. Kincaid

 More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom's drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone's been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he's offered the incredible--a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom's instincts for combat will be put to the test and if he passes, he'll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War III. Finally, he'll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom's always wanted--friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters--but what will it cost him?




Stolen - Lucy Christopher

Gemma, a British city-living teenager, is kidnapped while on holiday with her parents. Her kidnapper, Ty, takes her to the wild land of outback Australia. To Gemma’s city-eyes, the landscape is harsh and unforgiving and there are no other signs of human life for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. Here, there is no escape. Gemma must learn to deal with her predicament, or die trying to fight it.

Ty, a young man, has other ideas for her. His childhood experience of living in outback Australia has forever changed the way he sees things. But he too has been living in the city; Gemma’s city. Unlike Gemma, however, he has had enough. In outback Australia he sees an opportunity for a new kind of life; a life more connected to the earth. He has been watching and learning about Gemma for many years; when he kidnaps her, his plan finally begins to take shape.

But Ty is not a stereotypical kidnapper and, over time, Gemma comes to see Ty in a new light, a light in which he is something more sensitive. The mysteries of Ty, and the mystery of her new life, start to take hold. She begins to feel something for her kidnapper when he wakes screaming in the night. Over the time spent with her captor, Gemma’s appreciation of him develops …but is this real love, or Stockholm Syndrome?

 

 The Swan Kingdom - Zoë Marriott


When Alexandra’s mother is slain by an unnatural beast, shadows fall on the once-lush kingdom. Too soon the widowed king is entranced by a cunning stranger — and in one chilling moment Alexandra’s beloved brothers disappear, and she is banished to a barren land. Rich in visual detail, sparked by a formidable evil, and sweetened with familial and romantic love, here is the tale of a girl who discovers powerful healing gifts — and the courage to use them to save her ailing kingdom.



Shift - Em Bailey

 She obediently takes her meds and stays under the radar at school. After “the incident,” Olive just wants to avoid any more trouble, so she knows the smartest thing is to stay clear of the new girl who is rumored to have quite the creepy past.
But there’s no avoiding Miranda Vaile. As mousy Miranda edges her way into the popular group, right up to the side of queen bee Katie – and pushes the others right out – only Olive seems to notice that something strange is going on. Something almost . . . parasitic. Either Olive is losing her grip on reality, or Miranda Vaile is stealing Katie’s life.

But who would ever believe crazy Olive, the girl who has a habit of letting her imagination run away with her? And what if Olive is the next target?



One of Our Thursdays is Missing - Jasper Fforde

It is a time of unrest in the BookWorld.

Only the diplomatic skills of ace literary detective Thursday Next can avert a devastating genre war. But a week before the peace talks, Thursday vanishes. Has she simply returned home to the RealWorld or is this something more sinister?

All is not yet lost. Living at the quiet end of speculative fiction is the written Thursday Next, eager to prove herself worthy of her illustrious namesake.

The fictional Thursday is soon hot on the trail of her factual alter-ego, and quickly stumbles upon a plot so fiendish that it threatens the very BookWorld itself.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Small, Blue Thing by S.C. Ransom

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

Pages: 314
Publisher: Noisy Crow
Released: 13th of January 2011

Celebrating the end of exams with best friend Grace, 17 year-old Alex rescues a swan caught on a wire in the Thames mud and finds an extraordinary bracelet. Through its disturbing and compelling powers, she finds Callum, a soul locked in a half-life of sadness and mystery following a terrible accident, and his persuasive and sinister sister, Catherine. As Alex and Callum grow closer despite the enormous obstacles to their love, the dangers mount until Alex must risk everything to save Grace and Callum must risk everything to save Alex.

What I Have to Say

This was a really good book. It was less of a ghost story and more of a paranormal romance. The character takes her ability to see Callum in her stride and doesn't get freaked out by it. The focus is a lot more on the relationship between them rather than the creepy ghost aspect of it all. 

It was also really cool to see the depiction of such an obsessive relationship, with the main character falling so quickly for the boy and neglecting her friends. I like the fact that this wasn't played down like so many of the romance books out there. 

The author did a really good job with the secrets that Callum has, she doesn't highlight them, instead just slips them in so that it's not too obvious to the reader. 

All in all, it was a really good book. I'll be really interested to see how it develops though, as it seemed more like a stand alone novel than the first part of a series.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 352
Publisher: Harper Teen
Released: 3rd of July 2012

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.


What I Have to Say

 This book was incredible! I'd heard loads of good things about it, but that didn't prepare me for just how amazing it was! 

It was the perfect answer to Twilight and all the other vampire romances that came with it. I don't think many people have read Twilight and not wanted to shake Bella and ask her what the hell she was thinking!

Well Team Human does exactly that! The main character watches her friend falling for a vampire and wants to do whatever it takes to talk her out of it. And for anyone who's had to cope with a best friend going on and on about this guy she's completely head over heels in love with, it's very relatable. 

The other thing that I really loved about this book, was the humour. The main character's slightly mad sense of humour and the way she thinks in general really fitted for me. Plus the authors obviously had a great time writing her and had real fun doing it. 

I also really liked Kit. He was such a cute character, especially when Mel first meets him and talks about him lighting up when she laughs. This, added to how interesting his character is! I mean, a human child, raised by vampires! How cool is that! 

All vampire fans should read this book as a must. And even if you don't like vampires then you should read it. There's not much blood and gore and it really is a great book! 

I look forward to the next book!!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Hollow Pike by James Dawson

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 416
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Released: 2nd of February 2012

Something wicked this way comes...

She thought she’d be safe in the country, but you can’t escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she’s being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn’t believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn’t believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you’re alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps... Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps.


What I Have to Say

This book needs to be a series! I think it would work so well as a series! Especially because the characters are so vivid and cool. They just have such a great group dynamic. I think it would be so cool to just have them going around and solving crime together! It would be amazing. 

I also loved the main plot! It was so intriguing and tense! I really, really can't wait to see what else James Dawson writes, because he's got a really good voice.

I did feel that the  plot was a bit focused a lot on the bullying plot.  I  feel less time should have been spent on that and more time should have been spent on the rest of the book, as once it was over, it felt a bit unconnected from the rest of the book. Especially since the main plot of the book was so cool and exciting.

Still, the bullying section of the novel was very well written and really highlighted the fact that 1. Bullying is a huge problem which isn't dealt with properly, if at all, by teachers and 2. You can't get away from it where ever you go. 

This book is great for people who are being bullied as it really shows that it's not just one person, it's something that most people go through. It also gives some really useful pointers on how to deal with it, especially as the advice they give out in high school is usually poorly explained or not very well thought out.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 288
Publisher: Harper Collins
Released: 7th of June 2012

What would you give to be popular?

 Ally and Jane may not be that popular but they're good friends...that is until they each get allocated a freshman, a 'little' to show the ropes to at school. Cracks begin to show as Ally changes into a whole different person, literally overnight. She's dressed better, making new friends, and ditching Jane more and more. But Ally's transformation has its price. And it's up to Jane to save her former BF from a ponytail-wearing, cupcake-nibbling devil in disguise!

 What I Have to Say

I think the best thing about this book was how real it felt. Even though it's a book about demons, for the most of it, it's not obviously a fantasy book. I think it's very easy to relate to, especially for teenagers. It could very easily just be a story about a girl whose friend is changing and drifting away from her. 

The other thing that was really done well was the depiction of shock. The way that Johnson describes the numbness of shock is so detailed and at the same time so realistic, especially considering that the entire nature of shock is that the body shuts down to avoid processing things. Using a first person narrator to describe a detailed and accurate experience of shock  is pretty interesting. 

This book really is a great book to comfort read, but make sure you have food handy as it will make you crave cup cakes!! 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Dear Dylan... by Siobhan Curham

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 288
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Released: 2nd of April 2012

My thanks go to the author for providing me with this copy.

A first crush. An unexpected friendship. A dream come true. 

Dear Dylan! Thanks so much for your email and I'm sorry about my last one when I said I love you. I hope you don't think I'm a weirdo mentalist?!!! It's just that I was watching Oprah yesterday and she said we should all say we love each other a whole lot more. Not to everyone of course. There's no way I'd tell my scummy step-dad that I love him because that would be lying. But the thing is, sometimes when I watch you on TV, I feel as if you're talking just to me and it makes me feel less alone. I know you probably get loads and loads of fan mail but I wanted to ask you - could we be e-mates? Yours hopefully, Georgie xxx

What I Have to Say

 So good! The style was really cool, with all the emails. It felt like actually reading through a couple of people's private emails and finding out the story that way. 


The author also didn't dance around the whole strangers-on-the-Internet issue. She puts the anonymity of the Internet at the front of the story and doesn't just ignore it, which is a really good way of doing it, because it's accepting that the issue is there without making a big thing out of it. 


The characters were also really engaging and, as I said, it was told through emails, which made it feel much more real. 


Curham was also very subtle about the plot points. She sets things up slowly so that the reader can sense that something is wrong. Things like the way that Tone-deaf treats Georgie, also Angelica getting sick. 


This is an especially good book to read if you have any interest in acting, as acting is so essential to the plot and there's a lot of really good advice in there.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

In My Mailbox: 1

Please give me a moment as I squee uncontrollably over my first IMM!!

I got so many books at the Foyles' Summer Scream yesterday, that I thought I'd do a post to acknowledge them all (and show off. I'll admit it :P).

The In My Mailbox meme was started by Kristi at The Story Siren and is used by many bloggers to show... well what they've been sent. ^^

All summaries are from Goodreads.

Books I won from the Summer Scream giveaway:

Witch Crag - Kate Cann

 In a tribe where basic survival is the only priority, Kita must make a choice: to accept arranged marriages and being treated with less value than sheep, or escape and journey to the place that even the strongest men fear with their lives — Witch Crag.

But a common threat is facing the witches and sheepmen alike. The tribes must somehow overcome their prejudices and join together if they are to win a war that threatens to destroy everything they hold as good.



 Breathe - Sarah Crossan


When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate. 

Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die. 

Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from? A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

I've actually ended up with two copies of this ^^ So I'm giving one to a friend. 

 Love, Inc. - Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout


Zahra, Kali, and Syd would never have met if their parents' marriages hadn't fallen apart. But when the three girls collide in group counseling, they discover they have something else in common: they've each been triple-timed by the same nefarious charmer, Eric, aka Rico, aka Rick. Talk about eye-opening therapy.


Cheerful, diplomatic Zahra is devastated. Rico had been her rock and sole confidant. How could she have missed the signs? Folksy, flirtatious Kali feels almost as bad. She and Rick had only been on a few dates, but they'd felt so promising. Hardened vintage-vixen Syd is beyond tears. She and Eric had real history... Or so she'd thought. Now all three girls have one mission: to show that cheater the folly of his ways.

Project Payback is such a success, the girls soon have clients lining up for their consulting services. Is your boyfriend acting shady? Dying to know if your crush is into you? Need match-making expertise? Look no further than Love, Inc.

Plus one that a wonderful and very, very kind blogger called Ewa gave me! 


Dearly Departed - Lia Habel

 A sharp, slick, blisteringly paced debut novel, with an unconventional but tender love story at its heart.

I parted the curtains. A skeletal face peered back at me, blackened eyes rolling in sockets seemingly unsupported by flesh. It smiled...

It should be game over for Nora Dearly when she is ambushed and dragged off into the night by the living dead. But this crack unit of teen zombies are the good guys, sent to protect Nora from the real monsters roaming the country and zeroing in on cities to swell their ranks.

Can Nora find a way to kill off the evil undead once and for all? Can she trust her protectors to resist their hunger for human flesh? And can she stop herself falling for the noble, sweet, surprisingly attractive, definitely-no-longer-breathing Bram...?



This looks so amazing! I can't wait to read it! 


Brought (and had signed ^^): 

Daughter of the Flames - Zoë Marriott


What if your deadliest enemy were the only one who could save you?

Inside an ancient temple in the mountains, fifteen-year-old Zira trains in the martial arts to become a warrior priestess who can defend the faith of the Ruan people. Bearing a scar on her face from the fire that killed her parents, the orphaned Zira is taught to distrust the occupying Sedornes. Terror strikes when the forces of the tyrannical Sedorne king destroy the only home she knows. To survive, Zira must unravel the secrets of her identity, decide her people’s fate — and accept her growing feelings for a man who should be her enemy.





I'm really, really looking forward to this! It was the one book I knew I was definitely going to buy.


A Witch in Winter - Ruth Warburton

 Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.








This series looks so cool! Just the sort of thing that I like!


Burn Mark - Laura Powell

 Glory is from a family of witches and lives beyond the law. She is desperate to develop her powers and become a witch herself. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition—the witches’ mortal enemy—and his privileged life is very different to the forbidden world that he lives alongside.

And then on the same day, it hits them both. Glory and Lucas develop the Fae—the mark of the witch. In one fell stroke, their lives are inextricably bound together, whether they like it or not . . .









Seriously, how incredible does this book look!? I want to read it now!

Angel - L.A. Weatherly

 Angels are all around us: beautiful, awe-inspiring, irresistible.

Ordinary mortals yearn to catch a glimpse of one of these stunning beings and thousands flock to The Church of Angels to feel their healing touch.
But what if their potent magnetism isn't what it seems?
Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars.
Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. But she has no idea where she gets this power from.

Until she meets Alex…
Alex is one of the few who know the truth about angels. He knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her.
The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible.
In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.


I've heard such good things about this series and the Author was lovely ^^

 Haunters - Thomas Taylor


Eddie, Adam and David have the same gift. Separated by generations, they are linked by their ability to time-travel. Using their dreams, they can appear like ghosts, wherever and whenever they want. The first is the genius who discovers dreamwalking. The second is a Haunter, a dream-terrorist, determined to change history foris own ends. The last is the novice dreamwalker who must battle to save his family, and himself, from oblivion.

 This looks a bit creepy for me :') Still, it looks really good.

 The Wood Queen - Karen Mahoney


"The wood monster is dead. I know this is true because I killed it. And yet my dreams are still full of fear and pain . . ."

To keep her best friend, Navin, from being killed at the hands of vicious wood elves, Donna Underwood stole the elixir of life. Now she's facing an alchemist tribunal while her mother lies dying, succumbing to the elven curse that shattered her mind. In desperation, Donna seeks an audience with Aliette, the fierce and manipulative Wood Queen, who offers a deal: if Donna can use her strange and burgeoning powers to help the wood elves, Aliette will free her mother from the curse. Along with Navin and Xan, the half-fey guy she's falling for, Donna struggles to unlock the secrets of her iron tattoos in time to save her mother's life. But some secrets are better left untold.


I really liked The Iron Witch so I've been meaning to get a hold of a copy of this. And now I have one!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

Pages: 368
Publisher: Chicken House
Released: 1st of March 2011

Jody loves Jackson Gatlin. At his only UK rock concert, she’s right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and carried back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It’s the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you’ve a rock-god in your garage who doesn’t want to leave? Jody’s stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place! 
  

What I Have to Say

A really good, lighthearted, non-serious read. If you're looking for something quite lighthearted to read then this is the perfect book for you! 


While, for me, Jodie started out as incredibly dislikeable, she grew on me. The way she speaks is really realistic too. And all the pop culture references were great, because real people will just talk about things like that. I especially liked the way she described one of the places as looking like Knocturn Alley, because Harry Potter is a very big part of most of our generations' childhood, so it's really realistic to have someone reference it so casually. 


I loved Cree so much! She was absolutely adorable! I really think she added a lot to the book, because it showed a side of Jodie that wasn't just a rock-star obsessed, immature girl. 


In the end, this is a story about a girl growing up. It's a really interesting read and very funny.

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

Pages: 440
Publisher: Atom
Released: 19th of January 2012

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.

When the night began, Nora had two best friends and a boyfriend she adored. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands. Chris was dead. Adriane couldn’t speak. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora’s determined to follow the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. But Chris’s murder is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.


What I Have to Say 

This book was great! The mystery of it was so intriguing and the tension of it mounted in just the right places. 


I really liked the main character too. She was very intelligent and had such an interesting back story. I will definitely read more about her if there's a sequel. 

The latin was really interesting too. As someone who is learning a second language, it was really cool to see a translation storyline that was so intregral to the plot. Also, the translation didn't drag down the story. When so much of the plot depends on sitting down and pouring over documents, it would be so easy for it to slow down the plot, but even in the scenes where the act of translation was described, Wasserman managed to keep the pace of the plot going.

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Synopsis (From the Waterstones Website)

Pages: 304
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Released: 10th of May 2011

Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. The only remaining humans, or hepers as they are known, are housed in domes on the savannah and studied at the nearby Heper Institute. Every decade there is a government sponsored hunt. When Gene is selected to be one of the combatants he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow competitors whose suspicions about his true nature are growing

What I Have to Say 

I heard so many good things about The Hunt so I was prepared for something amazing. It didn't disappoint! It was very original and well thought out, which is really hard to do with a vampire book. Completely disgusting, but a whole unique take on vampires, which is really hard to do because so much vampires stuff has been done already!

Reversing the myth was a really cool idea too. Having the humans as the ones that are hiding in society, rather than the vampires was a really great idea.  It also meant that he could explore a world of vampires which had already been fully formed.

So, basically, this book isn't for people who get grossed out easily. Whether it's by gore or by bodily functions, if that stuff puts you off, this isn't for you. But if you can handle that sort of thing then go for it! It's an excellent read.

Monday, 9 July 2012

13 Little Blue Envelopes + The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

I'm talking about 13 Little Blue Envelopes a lot in this review so I thought I should post a summary for that too. The Last Little Blue Envelopes summary will contain spoilers for 13 Little Blue Envelopes, but the review doesn't have any.

Summary (from Goodreads) 

Pages: 336
Publisher: Harper Collins
Released: 23rd of August 2005

When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them.





Pages: 288
Publisher: Harper Collins
Released: 26th of April 2011





 (Highlight to read)

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.





What I Have to Say

For anyone who doesn't follow Maureen Johnson on twitter, she is insane. If you have twitter, follow her. Seriously, it's so much fun.

Now that I've established that fact, I can move on to my point. The madness that Maureen Johnson shows on twitter (and at signings) really shows through in her writing, without taking away from her characters voice. Especially in these two books.

I really loved 13 Little Blue Envelopes when I read it and what I think I loved most about both books was the perspective. Having lived here all my life, there are many things about England that I just accept as the natural way of things, so when reading a book where the narrator is not English, there are a lot of "Wait, do they not have that in America?" moments.

I guess I just find it interesting to see an American's viewpoint on my country. Especially with Maureen Johnson's brand of slightly insane characters.

Both 13 Little Blue Envelopes and The Last Little Blue Envelopes go firmly on my recommended list, especially for people interested in travelling around Europe.