Friday, 27 July 2012

Friday Finds - 27th July

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted over at Should Be Reading and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

My finds for this week!

The Rainbow Maker's Tale

The Rainbow Maker's Tale by Melanie Cusick-Jones. I finished Hope's Daughter this week and really loved the dystopian concept. This book is tells the story from Balik's point of view. I really loved his character and wanted to know more about him after reading Hope's Daughter so I look forward to checking this out!

Inbetween (Kissed by Death, #1)
Inbetween by Tara Fuller. I've seen a lot of people talking about this lately and I came across the author on Twitter and Goodreads. The premise sounds really intriguing! A love story between a girl who escapes death and the reaper who couldn't let her die.

Gone (Gone, #1)Gone by Michael Grant. "In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.
Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult." (from Goodreads) Ok so I've heard a lot of good things about this book in the past but I'd completely forgotten about til now, so on the to-read list it goes!

Uglies (Uglies, #1)
Uglies by Scott Westerfield. When I came across this book on Goodreads I wanted to read it straight away. The book is based around a society where at at 16 you get turned "pretty". Sounds really good!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Holiday time!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to update you on what will be happening for the next few weeks. It's summer which means holidays are calling!  Apologies if the blog goes a little quiet. Normal blogging service will be resumed when I get back in a few weeks.

I've got a few drafts saved which I will schedule. Blogger being technology and technology being tempremental (none of my scheduled posts in the past have ever posted *grumble*) I have a few back up plans to make sure something will appear whilst I'm away. Fingers crossed! I'll reply to emails and comments when I get back :)

To tickle your tasetebuds, upcoming blog posts include my reviews of Hush, Hush and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, as well as a few opinion posts. My Friday Finds post will go up tomorrow as usual, too.

I'll still be on Twitter whilst I'm away (addicted) so keep up with me on there! @TotalTeenFic

I hope you all have a great summer of reading, enjoy the Olympic games and I'll see you again soon!

Sarah x

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Author: Rick Riordan. Website, Twitter
Published: 4 May 2006 (Puffin)
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon: paperback|Kindle Waterstone's: paperback|e-book Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed e-book from library.

Plot Summary: (from the Book Depository)
Percy is a half-blood - the son of a Greek God. He spends his time fighting with swords, battling monsters with friends and generally trying to stay alive. Now Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks Percy has stolen his lightning bolt - and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea. Can Percy find the lightning bolt before a fully-fledged war of the Gods erupts?

My Review:
I've been meaning to read this book for absolutely ages! I've seen the Percy Jackson books compared to Harry Potter so I really wanted to check them out, as a huge Potter fan myself.

The books are based around Greek mythology, as Percy learns that he is a half-blood, the son of a Greek God. Now, I know absolutely nothing about mythology so I'll admit I was a little aprehensive, but I ended up really enjoying those parts of the story. I managed to pick up the myths and legends pretty quickly without it feeling wordy or boring. What the author has done has made these myths really interesting my intertwining them with Percy's story.

I loved Percy himself, too. The book is told from his point of view and he has this great voice which really brings the story to life. He's kind of troubled and a bit rebellious which made for some great wit throughout. I really liked the friendships he has with the other characters as well. Percy, Grover and Annabeth made a great trio as they fight battles together.

There's plenty of action and adventure, plus lots of cool magic which I loved. I really enjoyed the way the modern day American world mashed with all these Green mythological places. The descriptions were really vivid and I loved imagining all the different places.

My only problems with the book were where there were a few bits of the story that I didn't feel were necessary. I want to know more about some of the characters too but as this is the first book in a series then I expect to find out more in future books. I'm really excited to check those out.

A must for anyone who loves a bit of magic and adventure!

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan, book 2 in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
Books like this: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K Rowling, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Review: Hope's Daughter by Melanie Cusick-Jones

Hope's Daughter by Melanie Cusick-Jones

Author: Melanie Cusick-Jones. Website, Twitter
Published: 1 December 2011 (Bookbaby)
Pages: 389
Buy: Amazon: Kindle Kobo Store: e-book

Source: Received free copy from author to review.

Plot Summary: (from Goodreads)
Life should be simple for Cassie.

For the small population of Earth survivors who live on the Space Station Hope everything they do is planned and scheduled, down to the cyclical food menus, their roles in the station, even how many children they have.

Despite rigid controls directing her life, Cassie feels more out of synch than ever and worries she won’t find a place for herself within the station community. Perhaps that’s because she’s hearing things inside her head that can’t possibly be real. Or maybe it’s the regular elopements of her peers, heading off to a romantic future in the Married Quarter of the space station, whilst she’s never even been attracted to a boy – no matter how hard her best friend Ami pushes them at her. Then there are the odd questions her work placement partner Balik keeps raising. His questions are just as troubling for her as his distracting smiles and eyes that seem to see inside her.

My Review:
I was very kindly sent a copy of this book to review after expressing interest in the book to the author. I love dytopian/post-apocalyptic YA novels so Hope's Daughter really appealed to me. The book tells the story of Cassie, who has spent all of her live on the space ship SS Hope. When she starts a work placement she finds herself spending more and more time with Balik, and together they begin to discover more about the strange, isolated life they've come to know.

I really liked the beginning of this book and the concept was fascinating. I loved the futuristic lifestyle of the space ship and the slightly creepy nature of Cassie's world. Everything is rigorously controlled, from their meal times to what their homes look like and you got this sense that something wasn't quite right. I was so wrapped up the whole idea of the ship and how it worked. It was brilliant. The mysteries throughout the book had me really intirigued and I couldn't wait to find out what exactly was going on.

The story focusses a lot on the relationship between Cassie and Balik. Cassie finds herself being drawn to him despite never having spoken much to him in the time they've been at school. I thought Balik was a really interesting character and he balanced out Cassie perfectly. He's all logic and science whereas she struggles to question the things around her. I did have some problems with their relationship, the main one being that there was far too much flirting! The spend so long in each others' company just talking as Cassie tries to figure out her feelings for him. It just felt like they went around in circles for a bit.

There were a few other issues I had with the overall pacing. The beginning was fine and I was completely hooked, but towards the middle of the book some chapters felt quite slow when Cassie was trying to figure things out on her own. There were some moments where I had to wait a long time to find out something I'd wanted to know chapters ago. Whilst those bits dragged a bit I had the opposite problem towards the end of the book. There was a lot of information crammed in in a short space of time which could maybe have been revealed more slowly. I found myself a little confused at times.

I was won round by the ending though. When the reveals came it was totally not what I was expecting! I'm definitely going to check out the next book because I need to know what happens.

I'd recommend this book if you like all things dystopian/post-apocalyptic. Whilst felt a little slow in places, it's definitely a story worth sticking out til the end.

Rating: 3*
What to read next: Outlanders by Melanie Cusick-Jones, the unreleased sequel to Hope's Daughter.
Books like this: Matched by Ally Condie, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - 24th July

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)
"Percy," my mom said, "there's too much to explain and not enough time. We have to get you to safety."

- page 36 (e-book), Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Review: Catching the Fever by Kylee Gwartney

Catching the Fever by Kylee Gwartney

Author: Kylee Gwartney. Twitter
Published: 12 July 2012 (CreateSpace)
Pages: 252
Buy: Amazon: paperback|Kindle Barnes and Noble: Nook

Source: Received free copy to review from author.

Plot Summary: (from Amazon)
All Brynn, Claudia, and Norah wanted was a normal sophomore year. You know, homecoming, photography class, watching Audrey Hepburn movies – that sort of thing. Well, it’s good they didn’t know what was coming because they would never have had the guts to show up. It’s pretty crazy what they went through to try to save the place - their school, that is. They can’t say they didn’t have fun ….even if they did have to steal a BMW. P.S. Justin Crew really is as hot as everyone says. They would know.
My Review:
I got sent a copy of this book by the author and really liked the sound of it. Paisley is the new girl at O'Riley and her roommate Claudia isn't impressed by her obsession with the popstar Justin Crew. Only when the future of their school is threatened, it seems like Justin may just be the answer they've been looking for. Along with Claudia's friends Brynn and Norah, the girls plot a way to get Justin to perform at a benefit concert for their school.

Now I know what you're thinking. A popstar called Justin? Who teenage girls are obsessed over? That sounds familiar! Indeed it does. You only have to have a Twitter account to see how stars like Bieber, One Direction and other similar people attract a wave of frenzy wherever they go. That makes this book feel pretty current. Even those of us who are a bit old for the teen popstars of today will have obsessed over something at sometime (for me it was Green Day - pictures in my locker, lyrics on my pencil case etc. etc.) The fictional Justin Crew in this story is pretty much Bieber (he's Canadian and has fans called "Crewlievers"). But that didn't put me off.

What really drew me into this book was the characters. Each of the four girls has some drama going on but, more importantly, the relationship between the group of them was just spot on. They were funny and wound each other up, comforted each other and made each other laugh. Even I was laughing along at some of their conversations! I really loved getting to know all the girls. You get chapters told from each of their point of views which worked for the most part (sometimes I'd get a little confused about who's point of view I was reading at that moment) because it gave each character their chance to shine. I was most drawn to Paisley who was such a fascinating character. If you'd asked me beforehand if I'd have chosen the Justin Crew fangirl as my favourite character then I probably wouldn't have believed you. But this book really shied away from the stereotypical image of those fans and gave a fresh approach to them.

There's some lovely moments where the characters deal with relationships. Brynn is having boyfriend trouble and her relationship with her mum is strained at best. Other issues were addressed really well, too. Claudia is feeling pressure from her parents, Norah has insecurities and Paisley is worried about her total lack of experience with boys. There were just so many levels to the characters.

I got so excited when I noticed Harry Potter references in this book as well! Chameleons named Harry and Ron - amazing. The book is littered with little details like that that really made me smile as well. The only thing I wasn't so keen on was the constant mention of brand names and designers.

The plot isn't the most out there in the world and it may be a tad predictable but I still enjoyed every minute. I was totally into it by the end and getting all excited for the characters!

It's a great little girly, chick-lit kind of read and anyone who has at some point obsessed over some celebrity will love it, but even those sceptics of teenage fangirls should give it a go as well. I was pleasantly surprised!

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Justice by Jade Varden.
Books like this: The Rock Star's Daughter by Caitlyn Duffy.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Weekly Book Round Up! 16th - 22nd July

Weekly Book Round Up!

16th - 22nd July

Here's a round up of what I've been reading this week!

Hope's Daughter
Currently reading: Hope's Daughter by Melanie Cusick-Jones. The author very kindly sent me a free copy of this book to review. It's a dystopian/post apocalyptic story which is one of my favourite genres to read. I'm really enjoying the world it's set in. Look for my review some time this week!

Stargazer (Evernight, #2)Books finished: Paper Towns by John Green, Stargazer by Claudia Gray, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick and Catching the Fever by Kylee Gwartney. Reviews for the last two will be coming soon!

And that's pretty much it in terms of a round up! Next weekend I go away (a certain sporting event in London is calling...) and so I won't be able to do as much blogging as I'd like. I'm hoping to have some drafts saved and scheduled before I go, though, so keep checking back for reviews and updates! Obviously I'll be taking some books away with me. I have a mammoth reading list and plenty of books on my shelves that have been neglected for too long. Still trying to narrow it down to which books to take! There probably won't be a round up/IMM next Sunday so I'll just have to post a mega long update when I get back.

Hope you've all had a great weekend. Happy reading!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Review: Stargazer (Evernight book #2) by Claudia Gray

Spoiler warning! Stargazer is book 2 in the Evernight series. If you haven't read Evernight the avert your eyes now! Or you can check out my review of Evernight right here. You've been warned!

Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Author: Claudia Gray. Website, Twitter
Published: 29 April 2010 (Harper Collins Children's Books)
Pages: 256
Buy: Amazon: paperback|Kindle Waterstone's: paperback|e-book Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed from library.

Plot Summary: (from Goodreads)
The vampire in me was closer to the surface...

Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all—vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them.

But Bianca fell in love with Lucas—a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school.

Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up. She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross—or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies.

Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning....

My Review:
I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Evernight, the first book in this series, but the parts of it I really liked were enough to make me want to check out the rest of the books. Stargazer is the second book in the series and follows Bianca as she comes to terms with her looming transformation into a vampire, tries to carry on her relationship with Lucas and attempts to discover more about Evernight Academy.

I really loved the character of Bianca in Evernight and I felt exactly the same way in Stargazer. I love her little quirks and her vulnerability. Mostly, though, I loved the development of other characters in this book. We get to see a lot more of Balthazar who I adore! And I really enjoyed getting more of his back story. There's also more glimpses into Raquel's past which I loved reading about.

One of the most exciting things about the book was learning more about the world in which is takes place. We know about the vampires but there are even more creepy things going on in the school this year which kept the story feeling fresh. I do really love the spooky nature of the school in this series and how there's always something to be discovered. There's lots of suspense in this book.

The romantic storylines kept me pretty hooked. I love the Lucas-Bianca-Balthazar-almost-love-triangle. It provided plenty of drama without being too cheesy. I definitely have a preference for one of these boys (*cough* Balthazar *cough*). There's some really exciting action sequences as well which kept the pace up. The writing is beautiful, too. There's plenty of attention to detail from Bianca's love of astronomy to the fencing lessons. I loved how Gray referenced Shakespeare. There were literary references in Evernight, too, and I always think it adds a little bit extra to the book! And there's some really beautiful description.
My only flaw is that sometimes a few of the plot points felt a little convenient for me. Just as the characters were getting into trouble an idea or solution would come to them a bit too easily.

Overall though I felt it was a huge improvement on the first book. Definitely a series I'm going to stick with!

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Hourglass by Claudia Gray, the third book in the Evernight series.
Books like this: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Friday Finds - 20th July

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted over on Should Be Reading showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

I've been trying to keep my to-read list in check recently because it's been getting super long! So I've come up with a rule that my to-read list can't be bigger than my read list on Goodreads. This means for every book I finish I can add a new one to my to-read list - more motivation if I needed any!

A few finds I've stumbled across online this week:

Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell. I remember reading about this book a while ago but it had completely slipped my mind, so when I saw it on a blog this week I made sure to add it to my to-read list! It's all about a girl who hosts a call-in show on her school radio station. I love listening to the radio so this definitely appeals to me. I can't wait to read it.

Just Flirt
 Just Flirt by Laura Bowers. I've read about this book on a few blogs recently. It sounds like a really fun contemporary YA novel so I'll definitely be checking it out when I can.

The Supernaturalist
The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer. I've read a few of the Artemis Fowl books in the past and enjoyed them. This book is available on my library's e-book lending service so I want to try and download it soon.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Book trailer: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

One book I'm really excited about at the moment is Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I keep seeing a lot of good things about it! I can't wait to read it. Check out the book trailer and plot summary below!

Pushing the LimitsPlot Summary: (from Goodreads) 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.

Pushing the Limits is released on 3rd August. You can pre-order it now at the following links. Will be you be buying it?

Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback
Book Depository: paperback

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The new look Total Teen Fiction!

Today I am super excited to reveal Total Teen Fiction's new look! If you're reading this then you can see my shiny new background. I've been wanting to change it for a while, but I wanted to create a custom-made background rather than one of the standard Blogger ones I had been using. This way it makes it feel a lot more personal and hopefully it gives the blog its own identity!

It is pretty personal because I doodled the background image with my own fair hands. I'm no artist (it still makes me laugh that my year 9 art teacher wanted me to take GCSE art - I think she was just too polite to tell me I was awful) so it's nothing groundbreaking. But I like doodles.

I really wanted the background to be YA themed, so I chose the heart to represent love and the want to represent magic because those are two of my favourite things in YA novels! And the bookshelf and the laptop are pretty self-explanatory. This is a book blog so I have to include books and the internet in there somewhere.

I'm not going to make a habit of changing the background, mainly because I'm a total perfectionist and once I start tinkering with these things I find it very hard to stop. Also, because when it comes to websites, I'm one of those people who doesn't like change (I still haven't gone over to Facebook Timeline!) and so I won't force it on you lovely readers. Plus the actual important bit of the blog is the content; the posts and reviews. Being pretty is just a nice bonus ;)

I hope you like it!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - 17th July

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Stargazer (Evernight, #2)

As the metal clicked, I flinched, but fortunately the loud music in the cab must have covered it. Quickly I hopped inside among the bundles of laundry and pulled the doors shut behind me as the truck took off again.
- page 50, Stargazer by Claudia Gray (Evernight book #2)

Monday, 16 July 2012

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John Green

Author: John Green. Website, Twitter
Published: 3 May 2010 (Bloomsbury)
Pages: 320
Buy: Amazon (paperback|Kindle), Waterstone's (paperback|e-book), Book Depository (paperback)

Source: Borrowed from library.

Plot Summary: (from Waterstone's)
Who is the real Margo? Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. She has disappeared. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance . . . and they are for him. Trailing Margo's disconnected path across the USA, the closer Q gets, the less sure he is of who he is looking for. A boy, a girl, revenge and a long drive across America.

My Review:
This is the third book of John Green's that I've read. I put in a request for this book at the library so I was really excited when it became available. The story is about Quentin "Q" Jacobsen who has a fascination with his next door neighbour Margo. When she disappears he takes it upon himself to unravel the clues to where she might be.

I've said this before but I'll say it again: I love John Green's characters. They're most definitely the best part of his books for me and Paper Towns was no different. The main ensemble of characters in this book were Q and his friends, who are just some of the most realistic teenage boys I've ever read about. They're not glamorous and perfect and popular. They're a bit nerdy and play in the school band, spend hours gaming and are slightly awkward when it comes to girls. But they're brilliant and quite often hilarious. I mean characters that makes jokes about incorrect grammar?! Yes please!

I love Green's writing style, too. He has this amazing way with words and manages to make references to other literary works fun. There are so many lines I stumbled across that slightly took my breath away just because they were such a perfect way of describing something or someone.

I wasn't totally sure about the plot. I had the same problem with An Abundance of Katherines where I wasn't entirely sure why the characters were doing what they were doing and it all seemed a bit over the top and pointless. Maybe pointless isn't the right word, but I struggled to see just why the characters went to the lengths they did. I had a few problems with Margo, too. I just didn't really like the things she did which made it hard for me to sympathise with Q's fascination with her.

There were a few pacing issues for me. I spent the first two thirds of the book wondering when something was going to start happening and maybe getting a little bored. But it did pick up nearer the end and the characters started to come into their own. The road trip part of this book was definitely the highlight.

I was torn over what rating to give this book. I think it needed to grab my attention more for a higher rating so I'll give it 3*, but a very high 3*. More a 3 1/2 really. Brilliant characters and beautiful writing make it a book I would recommend.

Rating: 3*
What to read next: The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
Books like this: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Holes by Louis Sachar.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

In My Mailbox - 15th July

In My Mailbox is hosted over at The Story Siren and showcases the books you received throughout the week. Be sure to pop over there to see some great books!

In My Mailbox

This week is a library special IMM! Ok, so I get most of my IMM posts feature library books but this one is a bumper library special because I got my hands on some pretty awesome books.

First up - Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.

Eek! I've been waiting so long to read this book. I requested it from the library and I've been waiting for them to order it in. Finally got the email this week. I've finished it already and I absolutely loved it! I just adore Lauren Oliver's writing.

At the same time, I also requested Paper Towns by John Green. Ta da!

I've read bought The Fault in Our Stars at the start of the year when it came out, and since then I've been slowly working my way round John Green's back catalogue.

Next up it's Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

I've been wanting to read this for ages! I nearly took it out a few weeks ago but I was on a library ban at the time (too many books to read!) and so my friend took it out instead. She said it was good so when I saw it in front of my this week I couldn't resist taking it out.

And finally Stargazer by Claudia Gray.

This is the sequel to Evernight which I read last month. I had a sort of love/hate affair with the first book but I liked it enough to want to carry on with the series, so I'm looking forward to reading this.

I mentioned in my last IMM that I've been using my library's e-book lending service. There's so much good stuff on there! I've downloaded Percy Jackson and the Lighning Thief from there this week because it's a book I've been wanting to read for absolutely ages and I'm probably one of the few people on the planet who still hasn't read it. Time to change that!

Also, one last book I want to mention (even though it isn't YA) is Separate Lives by Kathryn Flett.

This was my first ever Waterstone's review copy that I won as part of their cardholder review scheme. If you haven't signed up to the scheme then it's totally worth it! It's free to get a Waterstone's card (find out how here) and I've seen a few YA titles on their read and review page before. (For their read and review scheme you receive a free copy of a book in exchange for a review on the Waterstone's website.) This came as a total surprise when the postie delivered it this week! I loved the book so if you're a chick-lit fan I'd highly recommend it.

Weekly Book Round Up!

Currently reading: Paper Towns by John Green.

Books finished: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. (plus non-YA - Separate Lives by Kathryn Flett)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Review: Pandemonium (Delirium book #2) by Lauren Oliver

Spoiler Warning! Pandemonium is the second book in the Delirium trilogy. If you haven't read Delirium then please look away now! (or read my review of Delirium right here) You have been warned!

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Author: Lauren Oliver. Website, Twitter
Published: 1 March 2012 (Hodder & Stoughton)
Pages: 336
Buy: Amazon (hardback|Kindle), Waterstone's (hardback|e-book), Book Depository (hardback)

Source: Borrowed from library.

Plot Summary: (from Amazon)
Love, the deadliest of all deadly things.
It kills you when you have it.
And when you don't.

I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

My Review:
I absolutely loved the first book in this trilogy and I've been waiting and waiting to read this book! My library finally got it in this week and so I dove straight in.

Pandemonium stars off with Lena not entirely where you'd expect from the end of Delirium. The way this book is structured is with chapters titled "then" and "now" and so we're effectively getting two stories running alongside each other. One plotline is Lena's escape into the Wilds, and the second is the present day where she is working undercover. I won't give too much away but I think this way of doing it was absolutely brilliant. It means you have to wait in anticipation to find out just what happened to Lena after the climax of Delirium, whilst being curious about just what she's up to now. You get double the cliffhangers as each part of the story concludes a chapter and you'd have to wait two chapters to wait and find out happened, whilst all the time being gripped to the current chapter. It's the perfect balance of suspense and revelations. I loved it!

One of my favourite parts of the first book was Lena as a character. She underwent such a vast change from a girl who was willing to go along with what she'd been told to someone who rebelled against the system. Her character develops even more in Pandemonium which I was really glad to see. She's constantly having to adapt to the world around her as she tries to survive and carry on with her fight. You get to see such a different side of her as she finds herself in some really sticky situations.

There's plenty of new characters to get to know as well; both good people and bad people! I really liked some of the new additions and their back stories were so well told. The interactions with Lena and the new characters made for some really tense and emotional moments.

I'm such a fan of Lauren Oliver's writing style. I think she conjures up such beautiful images and gets across the harshness of the world the book takes place in just perfectly. In every book of hers I just get so wrapped up in the words. This book was no different. I savoured every line!

There's plenty of action and it more than lives up to the previous book. Pandemonium real heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping moments and I'm eagerly awaiting the next book!

Rating: 5*
What to read next: Requiem by Lauren Oliver, book 3 in the Delirium trilogy (released March 2013).
Books like this: Crossed by Ally Condie, Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday Finds - 13th June

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted over at Should be Reading and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

I appear to have added quite a few books to my to-read list this week, so here's a random selection! These were all found online either through blogs or Goodreads.

Pushing the LimitsPushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I've seen reviews of this everywhere, all saying good things! It's YA contemporary romance I think. Looking forward to checking it out.

Send Me a Sign
Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt. Came across this on The Story Siren. It's about a girl with cancer and looks like a worthwhile read!

Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions, #1)
Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett. This sounds right up my street!

Article 5 (Article 5, #1)
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons. Another post-apocalyptic YA novel which is one of my favourite kinds of YA novel! Must check this one out soon.

Variant (Variant, #1)
Variant by Robison Wells. Read a lot about this recently, too! Sci-fi/dystopian type stuff, again.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

News Round Up!

A few news stories have popped up on my radar recently, surrounding some of my favourite teen fiction fandoms. Here's a quick catch up!

Robert Sheehan cast as Simon in City of Bones
Cassandra Clare is spoiling us with goodies this week! I'm super excited to see Simon finally cast. I haven't watched Misfits before but I have seen Cherrybomb and loved Robert Sheehan in that. He seems a pretty good fit to me!

City of Bones teaser poster released
More City of Bones stuff *squees* Ok, so it's over a year to go but I'm already majorly excited ;) The cast are in Toronto reading for the start of filming. You can check out pictures of that on TMI Source right here. And check out the poster below!

(Don't forget to check out the newly released book cover for Clockwork Princess right here, too!)

First four Chamber of Secrets chapters now available on Pottermore
For those of us who were lucky enough to get into the Pottermore beta it seems like an absolute age since we had new material to look at. Ok, so it may be slightly our own fault (I'm not the only one who rushed through it in pretty much one sitting, am I?) which is why I'm happy that we just have 4 chapters to explore as of yesterday. Slytherin Pottermore members got a sneaky peak a day earlier after being crowned winners of the first ever Pottermore House Cup (I'm still a bit bitter - Hufflepuff came last and were pretty much never in with a shout, although I suppose that makes it more realistic...). There's plenty of new items to collect, more beautiful artwork and of course, most importantly, new snippets from J.K. Rowling herself. Have you checked out the new information? Do you still use Pottermore or has the novelty worn off? I'm interested to hear your thoughts so do leave a comment!

Mockingjay film split confirmed
First up in Hunger Games news is the confirmation that the final instalment of the trilogy will be split in to two films. This had been rumoured for quite a long time but now the two films have official release dates. Mockingjay Part 1 will hit cinemas on 21st November 2014, followed by Mockingjay Part 2 on 20th November 2015. It's a pretty long way off and Catching Fire is still in the casting stage (see next story) but hey, something to look forward to, right? Obviously with the announcement of a film split comes the inevitable Harry Potter connection. HP did it, then Twilight did it. The Hobbit is doing it. Splitting a book to make two films seems to be the "in" thing, that's for sure. Whether it'll prove to be the right decision, well, time will tell. I'm not convinced. But when I finally get round to re-reading Mockingjay I'll be able to judge it better. To see how the fansites want it to be split, check out this article on

Phillip Seymour Hoffman cast as Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire
Most of the world is still waiting for Finnick casting news but we'll take what we can get ;) Read more about Phillip Seymour Hoffman's casting here on Lionsgate has also revealed a section of their Facebook page dedicated to casting news, which you can find at this link.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Author: Patrick Ness. Website, Twitter
Published: 14 October 2008 (Walker Books)
Pages: 496
Buy: Amazon (paperback|Kindle), Waterstone's (paperback|e-book), Book Depository (paperback)

Source: Borrowed e-book from library.

Plot Summary: (from The Book Depository)
Imagine you're the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit in with their plans... Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run.

My Review:
The Knife of Never Letting Go (book 1 in the Chaos Walking series) originally popped up in my Goodreads recommendations. I started to read a few reviews that really raved about it so I bumped it up my to-read list! This book is all about Todd Hewitt, who lives in Prentisstown in New World, a post-apocalyptic society where there are only men and where everyone can hear each other's thoughts (their "Noise"). Todd is the only boy left, approaching his 13th birthday when suddenly he is forced out of Prentisstown.

The first thing you notice when you start reading this book is the way it's written. The book is narrated by Todd, who is unable to read or spell, so a lot of the words are spelt phonetically, as well as reflecting his accent. I really loved that way of writing, though. It makes Todd feel totally real and you can hear his voice as you read. It takes a little getting used to, as any book written in a slightly unconventional way does, but it became one of my favourite things about the book and something that makes it really stand out.

The story centres around Todd's escape from Prentisstown and becomes all about his fight for survival and the journey he takes. Sometimes with books that are so focussed on characters escaping or travelling somewhere there can be a lull in the action whilst they figure out what to do etc. That wasn't the case in The Knife of Never Letting Go. There was constant action and a real sense of doom and danger. The suspense was kept up all the way through and there was so much stuff that happened along the way that I wasn't expecting!

There are some pretty out there ideas surrounding the post-apocalyptic world this story takes place in. When I first read it I was kind of taken aback, because it's nothing like the dystopian stories I've read before! It was so well done though. The ideas could have sounded ridiculous but the way they're put together in this story made it work. The plot is so intricate and as Todd discovers more and more information about the world he's living in I just found myself totally gripped, waiting to learn more.

I liked that there's a strong focus on war. In a similar way to Suzanne Collins in The Hunger Games, Patrick Ness has weaved his own views on war into the story, making you really think about the issues Todd has to face.

It's hard to get across how genius this book is without giving away some key plot points, but it's totally unique and a book I would definitely have down as a must read. There's action, friendship and danger all threaded throughout this novel and it's truly a brilliant piece of literature.

Rating: 5*
What to read next: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, book 2 in the Chaos Walking series.
Books like this: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Clockwork Princess Cover Reveal!

Tonight Twitter went craaaazy after Cassandra Clare announced the Clockwork Princess cover would be revealed. Only she didn't just give us the cover. Oh no. We had to work for it! By tweeting the hashtag #ClockworkPrincess the cover was slowly revealed, bit by bit. And boy was it exciting! A big well done to everyone who helped by joining in the tweeting (and sorry for the timeline spammage).

Check out the Clockwork Princess cover by clicking right here!

Edited to add the fully revealed cover. Isn't it pretty?!

Are you excited for the release of Clockwork Princess? The third book in The Infernal Devices will be released on 19th March 2013. I'm counting down the days!


Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead. Website, Twitter
Published: 26 May 2009 (Puffin reprint ed.)
Pages: 336
Buy: Amazon (paperback|Kindle) Waterstone's (paperback), Book Depository (paperback)

Source: Borrowed e-book from library.

Plot Summary: (from Goodreads)
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

My Review:
I'm still majorly behind on Vampire series but this is one that's been top of my list to check out for a while, so I downloaded it from my library's e-book selection and got cracking! Vampire Academy follows Rose and Lissa, who after being caught on the run are forced to return to St. Vladimir's Academy.

It took a while for me to get into this book because of all the new terminology that comes with the vampire world Mead has created (Stirgoi = bad vampires, Morgoi = good vampires, dhampir = guardians, once I got all of that I was fine!) But once I was into the flow of the story I really started to enjoy it!

I didn't know what to make of Rose at first. The story is told from her point of view and she's a pretty outspoken, opinionated character, but eventually that became what I grew to love about her! She's a rebel with a wicked sense of humour who isn't afraid to tell people what she thinks. Her rebellious streak gets her in all kinds of trouble so there was always some drama or other which kept it interesting. I just loved how badass she was (and badass isn't a word I use that often!).

My favourite part of the book was the friendship between Rose and Lissa. Lissa is a royal vampire and Rose is her protector, which means they have different places in vampire society which made for a really interesting dynamic between the two of them. It also means you get some really awesome moments when Rose jumps in to protect Lissa. I loved the way they bounced off each other and how fiesty Rose gets when she's standing up for Lissa. It made for some really great confrontation scenes with other characters.

From the opening chapters all the way through I was totally gripped. Mead has this great way of revealing key information slowly, leaving you hanging on to find out what secrets the characters are hiding. I loved that there was always something I wanted to know about. As well as being something I loved about the book, it did cause a few problems for me whilst I was reading. Occasionally when information was revealed it was done in flashbacks, and I got confused a few times when it jumped between past and present and I couldn't keep up with when exactly it was talking about. It worked for the most part, though.

There are some quite strong themes running throughout the book and a fair amount of swearing. It didn't put me off, and there was one sensitive issue (I won't go into it because it'd be a plot spoiler) that I thought was handled really well.

The last couple of chapters had me on the edge of my seat. There was plenty of action and the reveals were brilliant, plenty of stuff I didn't see coming! I devoured the last 50 pages. I can't wait to check out the rest of the books in the series.

Rating: 4*
What to read next:
Frostbite by Richelle Mead, book 2 in the Vampire Academy series.
Books like this: Evernight by Claudia Gray, Intangible by J. Meyers.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Review: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Author: Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer. Website, Twitter
Publsihed: 5 July 2012 (Hodder & Stoughton)
Pages: 384

Plot Summary: (from Goodreads)
What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

My Review:
I'm a huge Jodi Picoult fan and I've been looking forward to this book since she first announced she was writing a YA book with her daughter. Jodi Picoult + YA is literally a dream come true for me! I was worried about how I'd review this; whether I'd be comparing it to her other books etc. but this book completely stands out on its own, and it's going to be pretty easy to talk about!

Firstly, this book is beautiful. Not just the cover, but the stunning illustrations that appear throughout the book, and the way the chapters are given different fonts and even different colour text. It's obvious that so much love and care has been put into making this a book that you'll want to treasure. I had to be so careful reading it because I didn't want to damage it at all! (Ok, so I'm like that with all my books but this one even more so). There's several full page illustrations which are just wonderful, and smaller, cute little silhouettes dotted throughout some of the chapters. I just want to stroke this book all day long!

Now on to the actual story. The book tells the story of Oliver and Delilah. Oliver is a character in a fairy tale. When the story is being read he must act out his part in it, fighting to rescue Seraphima and live happily ever after. But when the book is closed the characters are alive, waiting until the next time someone reads the book and they have to spring into action. Delilah is a misfit teenager; unpopular, always last in swimming races and happiest with her head in a book, particularly this one fairy tale. Then she realises that the characters are alive and strikes up a friendship with Oliver.

The whole story is so brilliantly done. It's such a fab little idea! I think what impressed me most is that it's exactly the kind of story a dedicated reader should love. Not only is Delilah a girl who loves reading, but the whole story bases itself on the idea that characters are alive when we're not reading them. I think the best books and the best characters are those where you play out scenes with the characters in your head, long after you've finished the book. Between the Lines really plays on that idea and turns it into something even bigger. What if the characters are only acting? What if you could change the ending of a story? What would happen if you could speak to your favourite character? What happens when you close a book? Plus, if you've ever read a book and been able to totally relate to a character and wish they were real (who hasn't?!) then you will love this story.

The story is told from both Delilah and Oliver's perspectives, with the chapters alternating between the two, and between chapters of the fairy tale from Delilah's book. Not only is the main story between Oliver and Delilah brilliant but the fairy tale itself is an absolute delight to read! I loved reading those parts and escaping into that world just as Delilah does, with the magical tale of a prince and princess, plus added dragon, mermaids and fairies really hooking me in.

I couldn't put this book down. I just loved spending time with the characters and waiting to find out what would happen. It's not like anything Picoult has ever written, but it makes me want her to write more YA in the future. I'm so glad she helped her daughter's idea come to life! (Samantha originally pitched the idea to her mum and they decided to write it togther). It's a book I know I'll want to re-read over and over.

Anyone who loves and appreciates books should absolutely adore this one. If you love fairy tales then it's a must as well!

Rating: 5*
What to read next: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks.
Books like this: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, Enchanted by Alethia Contis.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

In My Mailbox/Weekly Round Up - 8th July

In My Mailbox is hosted over at The Story Siren. Be sure to pop over there and check out a great selection of books and blogs!

In My Mailbox

This week the latest book by one of my favourite authors was released! Between the Lines is a YA novel written by Jodi Picoult in collaboration with her daughter. It arrived on Friday morning and I couldn't have been happier with it! I don't want to talk too much about it now because I sense an epic review coming next week ;) Here's my copy <3

Love the cover!

And the illustrations are so beautiful <3

Mug shot! Me and my book.

I tried holding off and saving my money but I just couldn't resist. Jodi Picoult books are the books I always have to have as soon as they come out! I was lucky enough to meet her at a signing last year for Sing You Home. I think she's brilliant.

I've also been trying out my library's online e-book borrowing service this week. I was amazed at their range of YA titles! I've just downloaded 2 for now which I'm hoping to read soon. The books I've downloaded are The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, which I've read amazing things about, and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I've been wanting to read this series for a while but the library didn't have it in physical form so thank goodness for e-books!

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)


I also received an e-book to review this week - Catching the Fever by Kylee Gwartney which sounds like a really cute read.

Weekly Book Round Up!

2nd - 9th July
Currently Reading: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Books finished: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer (review coming soon!) Silenced by Simon Packham, Evermore by Alyson Noel, The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter by David Colbert, Justice by Jade Varden, Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

Library books: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Review: Justice by Jade Varden

Justice by Jade Varden

Author: Jade Varden. Website, Twitter
Published:  24 December 2011
Pages: 190
Buy: Amazon, Smashwords

Source: Received free e-book copy from the author to review.

Plot Summary: (from Goodreads)
A House of Cards...

When you build an entire life on a foundation of lies, it only takes one truth for the whole thing to come crashing down. I never invited the truth in. I never went searching for it. I never had any reason to suspect that the two people I loved most were dishonest with me every second of every day.

I made one bad decision, and in a single day my entire world changed. If I'm ever going to discover the truth about myself and my parents, I have to trace all the lies back to their source. I have to try to find the truth that they're hiding.

The more I discover about myself, and my past, the more I realize that lies really are better than the truth. But now that I know the lies are all around me, I can't stop until I've discovered them all. I'll pull each lie away, one by one, and examine it to see what's underneath…until this house of cards crumbles into dust at my feet.

I just hope I can survive the crash

My Review:
I was sent a copy of this book and I've been meaning to read it for a while. This is the first book in the Deck of Lies series and I wasn't really sure what to expect (the cover doesn't give much away!) but as soon as I started it I was pretty much hooked. The story is all about Rain Ramey who, after winning a scholarship to the prodigious Sloane Academy, suddenly starts to discover things about her past and her family that she never could have dreamt were true.

The plot itself was gripping. There's plenty of mystery as Rain has to discover just what's happened to lead her to the situation she's found herself in. With a little help from a guy named River she has to do a little detective work. I love mystery books so it was great finding such an interesting mystery in a YA novel. There were plenty of twists and turns as well, so much I wasn't expecting!

I really loved the main character. You sympathise with her straight away and feel for her as her life is flipped upside down. It's told from Rain's perspective and I just loved her voice throughout the story.

Rain gets a few romantic interests in the story which I liked. It kept me as guessing as to who she would end up with! The male characters are really interesting people, too. There was maybe a little too much juggling of male interest at one point but for the most part I liked those subplots.

The only thing that bugged me a little was when Rain's narrative flashed back and forth from past to present. At some points she was narrating as if everything had already happened, but for most of the book she was in the present so it took me out of the story a little each time.

I really enjoyed reading this book, though, and it only got better towards the end. I can't wait to read the next instalment in the series. There's so much more I want to know! Justice is a really great YA mystery and a book I'd definitely recommend.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: The Tower by Jade Varden, the second book in the Deck of Lies series.
Books like this: The Rock Star's Daughter by Caitlyn Duffy.
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