Thursday, 29 November 2012

Book Trailer: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer

I love book trailers and in the past week the book trailer for Scarlet, the sequel to the fab Cinder, by Marissa Meyer was released. Take a peek below! Is this a book you'll be checking out when it's released?


Scarlet is published on 7th February 2013 in the UK. Pre-order the book or add it on Goodreads via the following links.



Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Audio Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

 
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Author: Suzanne Collins. Website
Narrator: Carolyn McCormick. IMDB
Published: 1 October 2008 (Scholastic Audio)
Format: Audio download
Running time: 11 hours, 14 minutes
Audible: Audio download
Waterstone's: CD
Book Depository: CD

Source: Borrowed from e-library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Audio review:
I'd been wanting to re-read this book for a while and what better way to rekindle your love of a book by listening to it!

The book is narrated by Carolyn McCormick and I really enjoyed her narration. She had a great way with accents, particularly Effie Trinket's Capitol accent, which really added a lot to the characterisation. Her voices throughout were great and I knew instantly who was talking. There were some moments where there were odd pauses or stresses in the wrong places but only occasionally.

The best thing about experiencing The Hunger Games on audio book was the vivid descriptions. Collins' writing is wonderfully descriptive anyway but when read aloud, everything comes to life that bit more! My favourite bits were the descriptions of the Capitol - the food in particular! It was almost like eating it yourself. Hearing District Twelve described gave it that sense of bleakness even more than reading it, too.

One thing it took a little while to get used to was the fact that because the book is written in first person present tense, Katniss' inner monologue sounds a little strange spoken aloud. Present tense isn't something you'd usually speak aloud in real life so it's a bit jarring sometimes to hear someone read like that, but it didn't really put me off at all.

Overall I loved listening to this audio book. The narration was great and it gave the story even more life and depth. If you're looking for an audio book to check out then I'd highly recommend this one, and if you still haven't read The Hunger Games then I reckon the audio is a fab place to start.

Audio rating: 4/5

Plot review:
I'll keep my review of the plot fairly brief because I've already reviewed the hard copy of this book here. The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic America, split into districts where each year, a boy and girl from each district are sent to the Hunger Games, a fight to the death aired live on TV to the nation.

The idea is so horrifying that when trying to explain the plot it sounds like you couldn't possibly enjoy it, but what Collins has done is approached the subjects of war and reality TV in a harsh and brutal way and exposed it to a new audience. The plot is gripping and full of suspense, as you root for the characters who are facing almost certain death.

Katniss makes for a fascinating main character. She's far from your typical girl which I love. Feisty and determined, she knows how to get what she wants and has this amazing determination. The range of characters throughout the book are brilliant and even the horrible ones do well to provoke such strong feelings.

There's twists and turns and so many cliffhangers that it's impossible to put down this book. Just as you reach the end of one chapter something happens that means you can't stop! It's a fast paced, action filled drama based around a brilliant concept. An absolute must read.

Rating: 5/5

What to listen to next: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Books like this: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: 27th November

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!
 
 
Everything around me changed, and it was like I was somewhere else. I was in the garden, but not in the garden.
 
-page 73, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
 
 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Weekly Book Round Up! 26th November



 
Weekly Book Round Up!
 
19th - 26th November
 

 
 
I'm doing this round up a day late because I've had a super busy week, so I needed to spend yesterday catching up on reading, reviews and NaNoWriMo! But here's what I've been reading and reviewing over the past week:

Currently reading: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I've been hearing a lot about the film adaption for this so I wanted to crack on and read it already!

Books finished: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (audio) and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein. Reviews of both to come soon!

Books reviewed: Spooked by Tracy Sharp and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater.



Received for review: Florence by Ciye Cho.

NaNoWriMo word count: 43,550. Eek the end is near!

What have you been reading over the past week? Let me know!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Review: Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

 
Spoiler warning! This is the third and final book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Do not read this review if you haven't read the first two books! It will contain spoilers. You can read my review of book one - Shiver - right here and book two - Linger - here. You have been warned!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater


Author: Maggie Stiefvater. Website|Twitter
Published: 13 July 2011 (Scholastic)
Format: paperback
Pages: 448
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback|e-book
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Bought

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Sam has always loved Grace. As a wolf, he watched her from afar. As a boy, he held her in his arms.

Now facing the possibility of a life without her, he will do anything to keep her safe. Even if it means facing his demons. Even if it risks everything he has.

Anything, as long as their love can survive...


My Review:
I adored the first two books in the trilogy. I've had Forever on my shelves for a while now and finally got round to reading the conclusion to this trilogy. The book picks up where Linger left off with Grace struggling to adapt to her new situation. She's having to spend more time apart from Sam, whilst Isabel is fighting a losing battle with her father who wants the wolves out of Boundary Wood for good.

I was drawn right into this book from the beginning. Reading this trilogy has been a bit like settling down with a comfy pair of slippers and a nice warm blanket, and it felt so good to get back into this world. The pace was pretty gentle but not once did it lose my attention. My heart really went out to Grace. She's become another girl who just disappeared, and it's taken its toll on her, her family and friends as they don't know the truth and the constant threat of the lives of all the wolves meant there was plenty of tension and suspense.

One of my favourite parts of this book was Grace and Sam's relationship, which steps up a notch. I've been waiting for the intensity and connection between these two to be explored a bit more and this book definitely goes deeper into it. I loved it! The tension between Isabel and Cole was a great contrast as well. Both relationships made this book feel a lot more grown up. The trilogy and the characters themselves have definitely developed.

Even the smaller characters got their chance to shine in this book which I really liked. Both Officer Koenig and Rachel's roles throughout Forever were those that stood out for me. It felt like everyone got one last chance to shine.

I was waiting and waiting for the book to reach its climax and it was brilliantly done. When I finished I just didn't want to part with the characters! It managed to wrap things up nicely but left you wanting that bit more as well which was a perfect ending. I'll be re-reading this trilogy in future to get my fix again! Forever is definitely up there with the first two books for me. A must read trilogy!

Rating: 5*
What to read next: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Books like this: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Friday, 23 November 2012

Friday Finds: 23rd November

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).

A short list this week! Florence is a book I recieved for review this week and The Boy Recession popped on the Goodreads giveaways. Dark Inside I came across during last week's Friday Finds!

 
 


Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
Florence by Ciye Cho
The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney

Thursday, 22 November 2012

NaNoWriMo: Day 22

The end is almost in sight! 3 weeks into NaNoWriMo, how is everyone getting on?

I've made no secret of the fact that this year has been a bit of a struggle for me, but I'm just about managing to keep up with the pace. At the start of today, before doing any writing, I'm at 34,241 works. Just 15,759 to go!

There may be just over a week left but this week has turned out to be a pretty busy one. I've had a lot of other commitments and writing has had to take a backseat. I've been struggling with fatigue which makes writing pretty tricky, too. My story is starting to shape up a bit more though which I'm very happy about. I didn't plan as much this year which means some of the twists and turns in my story have come as a surprise to me as I'm writing! Ideas are coming to me midway through which is good, because I needed more of them ;)

My story has also ended up lot darker than I expected. I think getting really into my characters' heads and seeing their flaws and putting them in challenging situations has lead to me to really get fired up and write more than I have been doing.

Let's hope I can stay on track for the final week!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Opinion: Why I Haven't Read Twilight (yet)

I'm probably somewhat a rarity amongst readers of YA fiction in that I'm yet to read the Twilight series. In fact, I haven't even seen the films!

The question is why have I been putting it off? I've slowly introduced myself to vampire fiction and I've enjoyed what I've read so far (Evernight, Vampire Academy) so why have I shied away from Twilight? In this post I'll attempt to explain why I'm yet to jump on the Twilight bandwagon.

The first reason, and a pretty big one I guess, is that I already know what happens. Twilight has woven itself into popular culture in a similar way to Harry Potter and so people drop Twilight references left, right and centre. Unfortunately when the rest of the world has read the entire series, they don't really care about those of us who haven't. I know there's probably a lot more to the books than what I know already but that lack of curiosity about the plot has put me off a tad.

Secondly, I'll admit I've been judgemental. You hear bad things about a series and it does put you off. I never slag off Twilight, though. I don't believe in judging a book before you've read it, so I do my best to keep away from bashing Twilight, regardless of what I've heard about it. In the Harry Potter fandom there's a lot of anti-Twilight energy which I try and stay away from. I know there are plenty of people who have read and enjoyed both series! And I have respect for any book series that gets people reading - something I know a lot of people owe to Twlight. But I like to check reviews and average ratings of books before I read them on sites like Goodreads, and if it doesn't have a positive reaction then I take that into account when deciding what to read next. There are plenty of books I've looked up on Goodreads when considering adding them to my TBR, before reading the reviews and deciding it's probably not for me.

Despite trying to remain neutral on the subject of the Twilight series, some of the things I've read about do make me think it's maybe not for me. I don't like relationships in books that promote unhealthy behaviour, either from the guy or the girl. The amount that gets raised around the series worries me slightly. I've also seen down snippets of the writing which maybe thinks I'd have some niggles with it. (I blame Tumblr for that one). The problem with book series that gain so much hype is that it can either make you want to go out and grab it right away (like The Hunger Games) or it can put you off it based on the wealth of info provided by the media (50 shades...). I think with Twilight I've ended up going with the latter option.

As for why I haven't seen the films - I like to read the book first whenever possible. There's still a part of me that doesn't want to watch the films first, just because it feels like the wrong order to do things. If I do ever read Twilight then I'm sure I'd watch the films to compare the two. (The other reason is that I don't find either RPatz or Taylor Lautner attractive which seems to be a big draw!)

Nowadays it's become a sort of challenge to myself - how long can I avoid Twilight? It seems like it's a book that everyone has read or everyone has seen at least one of the films. So when people ask me if I've read it and I say no, I imagine they're thinking "how can you possibly have managed to avoid it?". I haven't ruled out reading Twilight indefinitely. My friend has offered to lend me the books, and I'm sure there will come a time where plain curiosity will get the better of me! It seems like a bit of a gap in my reading/blogging repertoire and I'm sure that will be something that starts to bother me eventually.The reason I decided to write this blog post was because I always feel like I need to explain the reasons I haven't read the series. I hope it doesn't make me come across as a bad person. At the end of the day, so far I have yet to be convinced that I'll really enjoy it, but then there are plenty of books I've read and not enjoyed so maybe it's time to put that excuse to bed.

I've had so many people suggest the Twilight series to me, from friends to hairdressers (the topic of books always comes up at the hairdressers...). So now I turn to you dear blog friends! Should I read Twilight?!


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books and Authors I'm Thankful For

This week I've decided to take part in my first ever Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I've been meaning to take part in this for a while but this week's topic really caught my eye! Here's my top ten of books and authors I'm grateful for.

1. Roald Dahl - Some of the first books I remember reading were Roald Dahl books! I remember my primary school teacher in year one or two trying to take my copy of The Twits off me because she thought it was her copy from the classroom, and being surprised and pleased that it was my own copy from home.

2. Jacqueline Wilson - What girl didn't grow up on these books?! I must have read so many of these going through primary school. I remember adoring The Story of Tracy Beaker, The Lottie Project, Vicky Angel, Dustbin Baby, the Girls in Love trilogy and so many more!

3. Jaclyn Moriarty - I still think she's one of the best YA authors out there and I absolutely fell in love with her books the first time I read them, and have gone on to re-read them. Her books will always be those I go back to again and again and I credit them as starting my love affair with YA.

4. Jodi Picoult - Ever since my mum lent me My Sister's Keeper, I've been reading Jodi Picoult books. As my reading evolved throughout my teens, this was the one author that always had me going back for more. I still read her books and was lucky enough to meet her last year at a book signing.

5. J. K. Rowling - The 4th in a line of Js! I grew up loving Harry Potter but it wasn't until my late teens that these books took on a whole new role in my life. They became my ultimate source of comfort as I would hide away and escape into these books, and the Harry Potter fandom has become a big part of my life. I met her when I was 9 and still treasure my signed copy of Goblet of Fire with all my heart. I credit JKR for inspiring me to turn to writing as well.

6. Mark Billingham - A bit of a stranger one to include given this is a YA book blog, but outside of YA I love reading crime fiction, and that was a genre that I was introduced to through Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne series.

7. The Hunger Games trilogy - When I read these books it opened my eyes to a whole new world of books. I didn't know much about dystopian fiction beforehand but now it's become one of my favourite genres to read, and I wouldn't have found out about some of the books I've read since if I hadn't have picked up this trilogy.

8. Cassandra Clare - When I first read City of Bones, my friend saw my Goodreads update and let me know that she had the rest of the series if I wanted to borrow them. Ever since then, my best friend and I have been able to share a love of The Mortal Instruments series and that's something I'm so grateful for!

9. Audio books - I know this isn't a specific book but without audio books I would have been pretty lost. I spent several years being unable to read because of health problems and audio books became my way of escaping into books. The Harry Potter audio books in particular were a huge comfort to me! And I still adore listening to audio books.

10. My local library - Again, not a book or author but I'd be lost without it, again, because of my health problems. I was housebound for a long time and for so long it was my goal just to be able to get out and about, and with my library being 5 minutes away it was one of the first places I could go to again. Since then, it's been an absolute lifesaver for me because I can collect books from there without having to spend my energy going all the way into town. They have such a great range as well. I can't work and so having such a great resource on my doorstep when I can't always afford to buy books is invaluable!

I'm also super grateful to my mum and friends who share my passion for books and lend me books and give recommendations.

I've enjoyed writing this post so much! <3

Monday, 19 November 2012

Review: Spooked by Tracy Sharp

 
Spooked by Tracy Sharp


Author: Tracy Sharp. Website|Facebook
Published: 14 September 2012 (Riff Raff Press)
Format: e-book
Pages: 164
Amazon: paperback|Kindle

Source: Received free copy from the author for review

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Sixteen year old Lorelei has a special talent. She can steal your deepest, darkest secrets. However, using her power leaves her open to some very nasty creatures from the underworld.

But then a girl from her school disappears. Then another. And another. Lorelei might be able to discover who is abducting the girls from her town if she uses her gift . . .

Can Lorelei stop more girls from being taken? Or will using her gift attract the hell-things that are after her?


My Review:
I've had a bit of a backlog recently so this is a book I've been meaning to read for a while, since the author very kindly sent me a copy to review. Spooked tells the story of Lorelei, who since a young age has had an ability to steal people's secrets. It's a power that terrified her parents, so much that they sent her to live with her Aunt Delia for her own protection. When girls start disappearing from her local town, Lorelei wonders if she can use her powers to get to the bottom of things.

Within a few pages of this book I was absolutely hooked! I loved Lorelei's ability and the concept of the story. I instantly felt for her and her situation as she's abandoned by her parents, so she made a fantastic main character. I liked the relationship with her aunt who she has grown up with. She's had to keep her powers a secret so she's become quite isolated. It was interesting seeing her reactions with other characters in the story and overall I just really liked her.

What really won me over though was the mood of the story. This book definitely had the creepy factor! Not only is some spooky stuff going down with people disappearing, but the tension is ramped up with great cliffhangers at the end of each chapter that had me constantly turning the pages. It's quite a short book but the pace kept up and I devoured it pretty quickly.

The first half of this book focuses on Lorelei and two new acquaintances, Kerry and Mick. I thought their friendship developed a little quickly, but otherwise they made a great group of characters. The action takes place around the school and the town where girls are disappearing. There was a great network of characters who obviously have a lot to hide which made for some great mystery. The second half of the book sees a change in pace, as Lorelei comes face to face with people who know the potential of her powers. I won't go into it too much for fear of spoiling, but I really enjoyed the exploration of the world in the second half of the book. The two halves did feel a little disjointed but I enjoyed both parts equally.

I feel like I should point out that the book deals with some pretty adult themes, including mentions of rape and abuse. It gave the book a very gritty edge which added to that overall feeling of creepiness and suspense, but I like to point these things out in advance in case they prove to be triggers for some people. I also wouldn't suggest this was a book for slightly younger readers.

Overall this book really impressed me. I loved the spooky, creepy, scary tone of the book and it had a great mix of characters. I'd definitely recommend it!

Rating: 4*
What to read next: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Books like this: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Weekly Book Round Up! 18th November

 
Weekly Book Round Up!
 
12th - 18th November
 
Another week, another round up! See what I've been reading and reviewing this week.
 
 
 
Currently reading: The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein - I've never read it and am determined to read it before the film comes out! I'm still listening to Artemis Fowl on audio book as well.
 
Books finished: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater and Spooked by Tracy Sharp. Reviews of both to come soon!
 
 
Library books: Beautiful Creatures by Kimi Garcia and Margaret Stohl - a book I've been wanting to read for ages. Broke my library ban because I could resist no longer!
 
NaNoWriMo Word Count: 28423 - over halfway there now, phew!
 
 
 
What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments!
 

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Review: I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter



I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter


Author: Ally Carter. Website|Twitter
Published: 6 May 2010 (Orchard)
Format: paperback
Pages: 309
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback|e-book
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women--a seemingly typical all-girls' school--is actually a school for spies. Capable of killing a man, sophomore Cammie Morgan soon discovers that her most dangerous mission turns out to be falling in love.

My Review:
I've heard of this series and it's always sort of been at the back of my mind as one I should check out. When I went into the library one day and the first book was right in front of me (they usually only had later books in the series) so I took my chance and picked it up! Cammie goes to Gallagher Academy, a school for gifted girls, who are using their intelligence to train to be spies.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, any kind of boarding school novel totally gets my attention and this was no different. Most importantly, I loved the fact it was a school for spies. I haven't read that much YA focusing on spies so it was something new and fresh to sink my teeth into! I adored all the little quirks that made spy school, from the cool lessons like covert operations, to the school itself with secret passageways and lunchtimes that must be held in different languages. Throw in some cool spy gadgets and I was hooked!

The main plot shows Cammie and her friends embark on their new class for that school year; covert operations. This meant they were thrown into the practical world of spying which meant some cool action and adventure to be have. When Cammie meets a boy on one of their assignments, he suddenly becomes the victim of their schemes. It made for a great plot because these girls are all so intelligent, but when it comes to dealing with real world experience, their sheltered lives in Gallagher Academy start to show what they've been missing out on. Cammie is totally useless when it comes to guys which made for funny reading.

As well as that, there's a new student joined their midst, something which doesn't happen often at Gallagher Academy. Cammie, Liz and Bex must get used to the presence of Macey, the new girl. I really liked the friendship between the trio of girls and Macey made for a really interesting, feisty character who mixes things up a bit! Cammie herself was a really great main character. The story is told from her point of view as she explains what has happened over the school year, and her voice was a really witty and entertaining thread throughout the story.

I didn't always like the romance elements of the story, and I found some bits a bit cringeworthy in places, but overall there was enough to really keep me engaged with this story. Spying, action, emotional family drama - it had a bit of everything! I can't wait to read the rest of this series.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter, book 2 in the Gallagher Girls series.
Books like this: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, Evernight by Claudia Gray

Friday, 16 November 2012

Friday Finds: 16th November

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 went to the library this week so these are the books I scouted out whilst I was there! I managed not to take them all out because my list of books I need to read that I own is so long I'm having to cut back on library books (I still came home with one other book because I couldn't come home with nothing) but these are a few of the titles I remembered.

 


The December Boys by Michael Noonan
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Virals by Kathy Reichs
Ingo by Helen Dunmore


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Film Trailer: City of Bones!


The City of Bones film is one of my most anticipated book to film adaptations and finally we have a teaser trailer! Have you seen it yet? Watch it below and let me know what you think!





I'm so excited to finally see this world brought to life and this trailer has so much! Clary, Jace, Simon, scenes from inside Pandemonium, Hodge, gahhh! SO excited :)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

YA Book Playlist

Recently I've heard a few songs on the radio and thought "ooh that reminds me of that book!" so I decided to put together a little collection of songs and the books I think they go with. Enjoy!



Book: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Song: Beneath Your Beautiful by Labrinth and Emile Sande

This was one of those songs I heard and automatically thought of the book. I just love it! It has such beautiful lyrics and I reckon it's perfect for Echo and Noah.




Book: Before I Die by Jenny Downham
Songs: Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Avril Lavigne
I Know You Care by Ellie Goulding

I picked two for this book. The first one is a cover version I've always loved by Avril Lavigne. I think it sets the mood just right.



This song by Ellie Goulding was used in the film adaption of Before I Die (Now Is Good). I still haven't seen the film but I love this song!



Book: Wonder by R.J. Palcio
Song: Wonder by Naughty Boy ft Emilie Sande

Okay this one is totally obvious because they share a title, but I think it fits in with the book too! It's such a positive, uplifting song.


Book: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Song: Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys
 
Another obvious one based on the title! But a great, feisty song for the girl on fire herself, Katniss.



 
Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
Song: Stay by Hurts
This song always makes me feel of the Ron leaving scene in Deathly Hallows and Hermione's reaction. It sums up their relationship in general pretty well too. Great lyrics.


 Book: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Song: I Can't Speak French by Girls Aloud
Because all the songs above were quite emotional ones I wanted to throw in something fun!


 


I might do this again some time because I loved getting all these songs together, and I'm sure there's loads I missed out! Is there a song that makes you think of your favourite book/characters? Let me know in the comments! :)


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: 13th November


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!


 "On the other side of the truck, a cop was talking to a red-haired man who was wearing a white T-shirt and braces because he had a belly and no ass. More interestingly, I could see a handgun sitting on the driver's seat through the open door of the truck."

-page 179, Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)





 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent


My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Author: Rachel Vincent.Website|Twitter
Published: 29 July 2009 (Mira Ink)
Format: paperback
Pages: 368
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback|e-book
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Own/recieved as present

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
She doesn’t see dead people, but...

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next...


My Review:
This book has been on my wishlist for ages! I've read the first book in Rachel Vincent's Shifters series, but I only bought that to get a feel for her writing whilst waiting to read this book. My Soul to Take tells the story of Kaylee who can sense when people are about to die. The premonitions are becoming more frequent and with the help of the people around her, Kaylee must learn just what is happening.

The reason I was so eager to read this book was because I'd read a free sample of the opening few chapters and was hooked on what I read. The rest of the book was no different! The overall concept of the book was just brilliant. The opening scenes see Kaylee in a nightclub as senses that one girl is about to die. The tension is ramped up from that point onwards and I was on tenterhooks to see what happened. That aniticipation is something that kept my attention throughout the book.

Early on, we're introduced to Nash, a guy Kaylee is immediately suspicious of because of his repuation with girls. There was something really interesting about him, though, and I was very drawn to him as a character. It was clear there was a lot more to him than meets the eye! I liked how natural Kaylee and Nash's relationship was throughout the book. Kaylee herself is a very interesting main character. Her mother died when she was little and her father is absent, so she lives with her aunt and uncle and a her very spoilt cousin. I thought the family dynamics and how Kaylee coped with everything really added to the story.

What was great about the plot of this book was that there was a mystery element to it. Something is happening but Kaylee doesn't know what. Not only must she try and discover why it is she can sense when somebody is about to die, but she suspects there's more to the deaths around her than meets the eye as well. The twists and turns and revelations throughout the story always had me guessing, and there were some pretty big surprises which I loved!

The book has that paranormal feel but also draws on other sources such as mythology. I don't want to go into too much detail for fear of spoiling, but the world Vincent has created for this book is really captivating.

My Soul to Take is a fantastic idea, brilliantly executed. The writing was good and the pace kept me hooked throughout, and there was a really great mix of characters. This book is the first in the Soul Screamers series and sets up a world that definitely seems to have more potential, so I can't wait to read more! A highly recommended read.

Rating: 5*
What to read next: My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent, book 2 in the Soul Screamers series.
Books like this: Evermore by Alyson Noel

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Weekly Book Round Up! 11th November

 
Weekly Book Round Up!
 
5th - 11th November
 

Another week's bookish chitter chatter to catch up on! Here's what I've been reading and reviewing this week.

Currently reading: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater and Artemis Fowl (listening on audio book) by Eoin Colfer




Books finished: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent (review coming soon!)





Books reviewed: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson and Hidden Gem by India Lee



Library books: Artemis Fowl audio book by Eoin Colfer, borrowed from my library's amazing e-library!







NaNoWriMo word count so far: 17,081

What have you been reading this week? Let me know!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson


The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson


Author: Mary E Pearson. Website|Twitter
Published: 272
Format: e-book
Pages: 05 April 2010 (Walker)
Amazon: paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: paperback|e-book
Book Depository: paperback

Source: Borrowed e-book from library

Plot Summary (from Book Depository):
A seventeen-year-old girl wakes from a year-long coma and is told her name is Jenna Fox. She doesn't remember the accident; she doesn't remember her life; she doesn't remember herself. Her parents show her home movies of her past, but is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?


My Review:
I only discovered this book whilst browsing my library's e-book collection one day, and was very excited to see it was listed on Goodreads as a dystopian type novel. Jenna Fox has been in a coma for over a year and when she wakes up, she can't remember who she is. She's having to relearn everything, including her childhood memories and it becomes clear there's much more about what happened to her than her parents are letting on.

The first thing that got my attention about this book was the writing. There was almost something poetic about. Every chapter or so you'd get a short burst of how Jenna was feeling at that time, before it fell back into the main narrative again. I really liked it and it felt like quite a unique style. I love it when a book can draw me in like that within a few pages!

Jenna herself was a really interesting character. You felt for her because she obviously had no idea what was going on in her life, but at the same time, she was almost cold as a person because she had this absence of herself. She spends her time watching old videos of herself and trying to remember. She can't eat or drink but she doesn't know why. It made her hard to connect with in places but made you root for her in others. There's obviously a lot being hidden from her and that suspicious nature she has really added to the tension and intrigue throughout the story.

We see Jenna start a new school, as her parents have moved since her accident. There she meets other people who have seemingly had trouble in their life as well. She starts to bond with them and becomes close to one of the guys in particular. There seemed to be two boys she was interested in and I admit I got the two of them a little mixed up at first. The fact Jenna and her family has moved and that she's attending this small village charter school really add to that sense of isolation that this book has running through it. It adds something creepy to the book!

The futuristic world the book is set in revolves around the invention of Bio Gel, something which Jenna's parents were involved with. It's a substance used in medicine and has revolutionised the way people are treated when it comes to things like organ transplants, but it has also brought a lot of problems into the world. I really liked the way the book dealt with these ethical dilemmas. There was also reference to an earthquake and a subsequent epidemic which wiped out a lot of the population, so I guess that sort of makes it a post-apocalyptic novel too. It definitely stood out from other dystopian/post=apocalyptic novels I've read because it didn't seem to follow the same formula which more recent novels have stuck to. I liked that about it though.

This book really won me over with the writing, and what kept my attention was that there was obviously something important to be revealed further down the line. As these revelations came to light I wasn't disappointed. I loved the climax of the story, but I'll admit I was confused to find out there was a sequel. I think the book worked well enough on its own and enough loose ends were tied up. I'll still be checking out the sequel because I enjoyed this book, but I'm curious to see just where it goes.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: The Fox Inheritance by Mary E Pearson, book 2 in the Jenna Fox Chronicles.
Books like this: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Friday, 9 November 2012

Friday Finds: 9th November

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 this week come from either Goodreads, or finishing books by the same author. They all look pretty good to me!





Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent
Heist Society by Ally Carter
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

 



Thursday, 8 November 2012

NaNoWriMo: Week One!

The first week of NaNoWriMo has passed and there's much to catch up on! I hit the big 10k on Tuesday which was not easy, but at the end of that chapter I reached a turning point and things seem to have picked up from there.

The biggest hurdle has been my concept. I've tried to explain my novel to people and come up short, so what have I done? I've only gone and changed it midway through! Rather than stressing me out, it's actually made things an awful lot simpler. Mt story was probably a bit complicated for its own good. So my YA novel has a new title - New Year! How long that one will stick we shall have to see. My main issue with it has been changing the cover I'd uploaded to the NaNo site. The new one is pretty damn awful but when you only have MS Paint to work with, it's never going to be a work of art...

My novel really started to pick up once I introduced the love interest. Now I have a whole potential relationship to play with - oh the possibilities! Lasy year I loved putting all the teen love drama in and this year is no different.

How is everyone else getting on? Keep up the good work fellow NaNo-ers!

Struggling? Why not check out my review of Writing Advice for Teens: Creating Stories by Mike Kalmbach?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Review: Hidden Gem by India Lee



Hidden Gem by India Lee

Author: India Lee. Website|Twitter
Published: 20 June 2011 (self-published)
Format: e-book
Pages: 225
Buy: Kindle|Kobo|Smashwords (free downloads)

Source: Free Kindle download

Plot Summary (from Smashwords):
Lavishly disguised pop singer, Queen Bee, is known abroad for her high-fashion wardrobe and killer vocals. In the states, she's just Gemma Hunter – shy suburban teenager in her new role of high school junior. But how long can she keep her secret now that international heartthrob, Tyler Chase, has publicly declared his love for her?

My Review:
The cleverly titled Hidden Gem tells the story of Gemma Hunter, who lives a double life. When she's not being Gemma, she's Queen Bee, a pop star just starting to take the world by storm. Can she cope the pressure of both lives whilst trying to juggles friends and boys?

I got this book as a free download and was grabbed by the plot summary. It was one of those books I started reading to get a feel for and then couldn't stop! I really liked the idea of Gemma's double life. It's kind of like a grown up Hannah Montana. I say grown up because this book has a fair bit of swearing and conversation aimed at older teens, but not in an offputting way at all.

What I really liked was the way each chapter starts with a blog post or magazine article about Queen Bee. Throughout the book, we see the story from Gemma's perspective, with very little insight into her alter ego from her own perspective. These blog posts give a window into Queen Bee's life and the media circus surrounding her. We see interviews with Queen Bee which contrast nicely with Gemma's seemingly normal life. It kept a lot of mystery surrounding her pop star life as well. I always like it when books are mixed up with different styles of telling the story and the blog posts and things really boosted my love for this book.

There are several boy interests in this book. We're introduced to Lucas, the cute boy next door who's dating one of Gemma's new friends making him off limits. There's Damien, who's shown interest in Gemma, and then in her double life, Queen Bee is catching the eye of teen pop star Tyler Chase. I really liked Gemma's relationship with Lucas and he was definitely my favourite of the male leads. I thought the jealousy between Lucas' girlfriend Madison and Gemma made for some great drama too. Lots of bitchiness between the girls!

Overall I loved the concept, Gemma as a character and all the drama that came with this book. It felt really modern and fresh. For a bit of a fun read I'd recommend it (and for free you can't go wrong!). The ending of the book definitely made me want to check out the rest of the series.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Diamond in the Rough by India Lee, book 2 in the Hidden Gem series
Books like this: Catching the Fever by Kylee Gwartney, The Rock Star's Daughter by Caitlin Duffy

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: 6th November

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!


"I stood so fast my bar tool skidded against the tiles. I had to tell somebody."

- page 39, My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent


Monday, 5 November 2012

October's Book of the Month!

Every month I look back at the previous month's reviews and pick one standout book to shower with even more praise! So now October has come to an end, I have decided my book of the month for October is...

 
How to Keep a Boy as a Pet by Diane Messidoro!
 

This book was so much more than I was expecting it to be, which is always a good thing! It was a really witty, clever read with the perfect balance of girly, chick-lit style boy drama and real life teen issues. I especially loved the way it was written through main character Circe's blog! I can't wait to read more from this author and I'd highly recommend this book. Find out more on Goodreads here and read my full review right here.

Runners up:
In Your Dreams by Amy Martin
Uglies by Scott Westerfield




Sunday, 4 November 2012

Weekly Book Round Up! 4th November


 
Weekly Book Round Up!
 
30th October - 4th November
 

Currently reading: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent. I've been waiting to read this for so long!

Books finished: How to Keep a Boy as a Pet by Diane Messidoro, I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Books reviewed: How to Keep a Boy as a Pet by Diane Messidoro, The New World by Patrick Ness


Bought: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter - picked up for 60p in a charity shop the day after I finished the first book, amazing!


Quietish week but I have written over 7000 words for NaNoWriMo! Which is hopeless because I was way ahead of that this time last year, but I didn't have a blog to run back then ;)

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Review: The New World by Patrick Ness


The New World by Patrick Ness


Author: Patrick Ness. Website|Twitter
Published: 24 August 2009 (Walker)
Format: E-book
Pages: 25
Amazon: Kindle
Booktrust: PDF

Source: Free Kindle download

Plot Summary (from Amazon):
In this dramatic prequel to the award-winning Chaos Walking Trilogy, author Patrick Ness gives us the story of Viola's journey to the New World. Whether you're new to Chaos Walking or an established fan, this prequel serves as a fascinating introduction to the series that the Sunday Telegraph called "furiously paced, terrifying, exhilarating and heart-breaking."

My Review:
I really enjoyed The Knife of Never Letting Go so when I came across this prequel short story on the Kindle store I had to download it. I'm not usually one for prequels/extras but when they're free I can't really complain! And this one turned out to be really interesting. This short story is told from Viola's point of view, as she and her parents head on their mission to a new planet and a new life.

I think this short story is probably more suited to people who have read The Knife of Never Letting Go, only because that book is written in a very particular style which isn't reflected in this short story. That's because in KoNLG we see the story from Todd's perspective, who has a very unique voice and way of speaking which is reflected in the writing style. This being from Viola's POV it reads like a normal story. If you want to get a sense of the world the trilogy takes place in, though, I'd still recommend it.

From reading KoNLG I knew a bit of Viola's story, but it was great hearing more of her background and getting to see it from her perspective. The story flits between her journey to the new planet, and the months before when she's dreading the prospect. It keeps it pacy and I really liked the way it moved back and forth.

For such a short story there's plenty of action and emotion. It had me completely immersed and reminded me just how powerful Patrick Ness' writing can be. It certianly makes me want to go out and continue the trilogy - something I've been meaning to do for a while!

Rating: 4*
What to read next: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Books like this: Hope's Daughter by Melanie Cusick-Jones

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