Sunday, 31 March 2013

Weekly Book Round Up! 31st March

Weekly Book Round Up!

25th - 31st March

Firstly, Happy Easter everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful day whatever you're doing, whether you celebrate or not. I have braces at the moment so I'm skipping the chocolate this year and have some Easter themed bath goodies from Lush to celebrate instead. Yay! Today is rather exciting because I gave up buying books for Lent, so today has involved a Kindle book buying spree.It helps that there's a sale on right now ;) Here's what I've been buying as well as a catch up on my reading and reviewing from the past week!

Currently reading: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare - squeeee! I finally have it! I've borrowed it from a wonderful friend so now she's finished I can start it. I need to hurry up so I can discuss it with everyone who's already finished. It's been so hard to avoid spoilers too so I'm relieved to have it in my hands. I'm also reading Wakefield by Erin Callahan and Troy H. Gardner on my Kindle which I'll probably put aside until I've finished CP. And because I'm insane I have an audiobook on the go at the moment too - How to be Popular by Meg Cabot. It's so, so good! And my first book by that author.

Books finished: One Week by Nikki Van De Car

Books reviewed: The Railway Children by E. Nesbit and Existence by Abbi Glines

Library books: How to be Popular by Meg Cabot and Avalon High by Meg Cabot - both audiobooks

Bought: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Lousie Rozett, Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, The Edge of Never by J. A. Redmerski, Predestined by Abbi Glines and Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Other posts: Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recommend the Most, Opinion: Prequels, Extras and Novellas, Friday Finds, News Round Up! 

What have you been reading this week? Have you been using the bank holiday weekend to read more? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

News Round Up! 30th March

It's been another amazing week for news so let's get cracking! Firstly, Laini Taylor revealed the UK paperback cover for Days of Blood and Starlight on her blog this week. I have the paperback of Daughter of Smoke and Bone which is gorgeous, and think I love this cover just as much! Check it out on her blog at this link.

Also in cover news, Patrick Ness has announced that there'll be new covers for his Chaos Walking series. These new versions of the books will also contain bonus short stories, which include the previously published The New World and two brand new stories. You can find the new cover art and more about these new editions on Patrick's Facebook page. Do you own these books already? If not, do the new covers make you want to buy them?

I'm a huge fan of the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie and now that's finished I've been waiting to hear news of future projects, and there was good news this week as it's been announced that Condie has landed a deal for two new books. You can read more about the book deal and what these books have in store in this article at Media Bistro. The summary sounds great! The first book is due to be released in 2014. Will you be reading it?

Because you can't have a week without Divergent news, here's some Divergent news! The cast have started heading to Chicago to begin filming. You can read more about that story here on Hypable. And there's been some extra casting news regarding the characters of Will, Edward and Al. Again you can read about that on Hypable.

As I menioned in last week's news post, Lauren Oliver visited the UK recently to mark the release of Requiem. Excitingly has a video on their site which you can watch at this link!

With all the buzz about Clockwork Princess at the moment it will come as good news to some that a screenplay is in the works for the Infernal Devices trilogy. With the first Mortal Instruments film City of Bones due out later this year, it's really exciting to hear news about possible future projects! Read more about this story over on

There was sad news for Harry Potter fans this week after Richard Griffiths, known to Potter fans as Vernon Dursley, passed away after complications from heart surgery. He was well known to many as a star of both stage and screen and also starred with Daniel Radcliffe in the stage play Equus. Read more about Richard's life and work in here on the Guardian website. 

And finally, it was announced on Thursday that Goodreads has been bought by Amazon. As you'll know if you read this blog I use Goodreads an awful lot so I'm interested to see if there'll be any changes. It seems Goodreads want to bring in some kind of Kindle integration to the service which does sound useful, but I'll be waiting anxiously on other changes. What do you think of the Amazon Goodreads take over? Good news or bad news? You can read more about this story in the official blog post over on Goodreads.

Which of these news stories had grabbed your attention this week? As always I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

New book releases:
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Buy: Amazon|Waterstone's|Book Depository

Friday, 29 March 2013

Friday Finds: 29th March

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).

These were all free downloads this week (surprise, surprise!). I'm particularly happy with Spellbound which was offered as a free PDF by HarlequinTeen this week. Camp Kiss is a prequel novella so it'll be interesting to see if it makes me want to read the follow up. Flight and All the Paths of Shadow were free Kindle downloads. I love the covers of both! All the Paths of Shadow looks really interesting because it's Steampunk I think which I want to read more of.

All the Paths of Shadow by Frank Tuttle
Camp Kiss by J. K. Rock
Flight by Lindsay Leggett
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Have you read any of the above titles? And what books have you added to your to-read list this week? Let me know in the comments or link me to your Friday Finds post and I'll check it out!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Review: Existence by Abbi Glines

Existence by Abbi Glines

Author: Abbi Glines Website|Twitter
Published: 13 December 2011 (Wild Child Publishing)
Format: Kindle e-book
Pages: 194
Amazon: Paperback|Kindle
Kobo: E-book
Book Depository: Paperback

Source: Free Kindle download

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
What happens when you're stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.

Pagan Moore doesn't cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn't let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn't realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.

My Review:
I hadn't read anything by Abbi Glines but she's an author I'd heard a lot about, so when I saw this book was free on the Kindle store I was so excited to grab it and get reading! Existence tells the story of Pagan Moore who has grown up with ability to see wandering souls. One day a soul turns up at her high school and for the first time she finds he can speak to her.

I really loved the idea of this book and how it got into the action straight away. Pagan's just starting her senior year and has recently broken up with her boyfriend so there's that high school drama which I adore! I loved seeing how Pagan copes with the ability to see souls. She's sort of gotten used to it so she's able to ignore them most of the time. I really felt for her because seeing souls wandering about everywhere and not being able to tell anyone is definitely not ideal. When she starts seeing this new soul who comes out and talks to her I was completely intrigued and the story had me hooked.

Whilst dealing with the appearence of this mystery soul Dank (who happens to be male and hot), Pagan is also developing a close relationship with Leif, a member of the school football team. I really liked Leif. He just seemed like the sweetest guy! And I loved seeing his and Pagan's relationship develop as she starts to tutor him for school. Then there's Pagan's best friend Miranda who was lively and funny a great addition to story. There were a lot of times when Pagan was quite serious so having that light-hearted friend nearby really helped. I thought the dynamic between Pagan and her single mum was pretty cool too. There were some really sweet moments between them and they almost seemed like friends which I liked.

The book had a load of mystery which made it an exciting read because I was always waiting to see what happened next. The main mystery of course was just who the mystery soul was and just what he's up to. I found Dank to be a really intriguing character and I thought I wasn't going to like him at first, but he did really win me over and I think that mystery surrounding him really helped with that. There was a great build up of tension and suspense as well.

Where the book started to lose me was the relationship between Dank and Pagan. obviously she's intrigued by him and wants to know just why he's so interested in her, but once it started going further than that I started to lose hope a little. Pagan just turned really mopey, and even though she did genuinely have a lot going on in her life (some of her issues I thought were handled really well) I just couldn't stand the fact she was moping over a guy when she had a seemingly nice boyfriend. I mean obviously it's not your typical boy/girl situation but still, it struck me as not very healthy.

I was feeling a little disillusioned by the whole love triangle, lusting after the bad guy thing towards then end but then I hit the last couple of pages and seriously it blew me away! There were some huge twists I didn't see coming and I think my jaw literally dropped as I read the last sentence. Talk about a cliffhanger! I'll definitely be downloading the next book in the trilogy because I need to find out what happens. The pacing was spot on which is always important to me in a short book. It didn't feel rushed at all. I'm really glad I checked out this book and this author. I'll definitely be reading more of her books! And this is a fantastic read if paranormal is your thing. I'd really recommend it.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Predestined by Abbi Glines, book 2 in the Existence trilogy or Leif by Abbi Glines, a novella accompanying the trilogy
Books like this: Intangible by J. Meyers

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Opinion: Prequels, Extras and Novellas

It suddenly occurred to me that something I have quite strong opinions on had yet to make it into one of my opinion posts. I'm a bit slow like that! In this post I'll be discussing those e-book extras that authors release to accompany YA series. Do I read them? Are they worth it?

It's hard to find a series that hasn't had some kind of e-book extra released along side it, either as a prequel to the first book or a story sandwiched somewhere in the middle. Sometimes they give you a look at another character's point of view, or else focus on a separate generation of characters. Maybe they fill a gap in the story or provide a lead up to the first book. Basically there are plenty of places to go with an e-book extra and there seems to be a lot of demand for then from readers.

Let's start by looking at a few recent examples. Lauren Oliver has released a number of accompanying stories to her Delirium trilogy. Those short stories are now being compiled into a paperback volume by the American publisher. Veronica Roth released Free Four, Veronica Rossi released Roar and Liv. Cassandra Clare has teamed up with fellow authors Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees-Brennan to publish The Bane Chronicles, a series of e-book shorts surrounding Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series.

Of the extras listed above (those that have been released, anyway!) I am yet to read any. The main reason behind this is because all of the above shorts require payment. Now it may not be the most bank breaking amount of money (I think they're all available for under £2) but the fact is, I cannot justify spending that money for what is sometimes just 20 pages of content. At the end of the day, these e-books aren't essential to the plot and so I'm not going to miss out on any plot points by not having read them. They're really just a bonus for those people hungry for even more, and whilst I can see how great it is to get some extra background on a certain character or a world you love, when like me your fund for book buying so ridiculously small, I know I'd much rather put that money towards a 300 page book that matters over something that will keep me busy for maybe twenty minutes.

Saying that, I have read a few prequels. I really enjoyed The New World by Patrick Ness, which is a prequel to his Chaos Walking trilgoy. I recently downloaded the Fierce Reads Anthology to my Kindle which included a prequel to Cinder by Marissa Meyer and I liked that too. Of course you can see where this is going - those extras were free. I sometimes feel like I'm not a proper fan of a series if I haven't read all of the little extras because I'm not in on those extra bits of back story, so when I get the chance to be involved without having to worry about money then I'm there!

Of course I'm not saying that authors should always be giving away free stuff to readers, because how would they make a living if they did? But when you're on such a tight budget and you have the choice of buying a full lenth novel or a forty page e-book extra, I know what I'm going to choose. For me I don't think I'll ever be able to justify spending money on these little extras but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate what they're there for. Because authors don't have to go back and give us extra stories about those characters, and the fact they do shows just how much they respect their readers and want to please us by giving us as much as possible which is so lovely of them.

Does that have you be done via this medium, though? I think there's a growing market for e-books and of course it makes sense to take advantage of that. But I look at authors like J. K. Rowling who provide enough background knowledge through interviews, and Pottermore which is free and wonder if making an e-book is really necessary. But would be people be as satisfied with a blog post about a character rather than a story from their POV? I don't know. I don't think I'd mind which. It's also worth mentioning - whilst I'm on the topic of J. K. Rowling - that her "extras" in the forms of Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Tales of Beedle the Bard were sold to raise money for charity. Now that is something I can get on board with!

Now I'd love to know what you think! Do you buy these e-book extras? And if you have in the past then do you think they're worth the money? Or are you like me and put off by the cost compared to how much content you actually receive? I'd love to know your thoughts so please do share them with me in the comments!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recommend The Most

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is the top ten books you recommend the most. I love sharing bookish recommendations with people so I <3 this topic! Here are my ultimate recommendations.

1. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
This is one of my first ever YA experiences and I have such fond memories of reading this book and the rest of the series in my teens. It's one I don't think enough people have read which is why I recommend it so much!

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This was the first John Green book I read and so far it's been my favourite, so it's the one I always want to recommend to people.

3. Matched by Ally Condie
I love post-apocalyptic/dystopian type novels and this trilogy is pretty high up on that list for me. If people are looking for that type of book I send them this way.

4.  Delirium by Lauren Oliver
I love Lauren Oliver's writing style and the concept behind this trilogy is so unique and awesome that it's a must read.

5. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
I have to recommend people read this because it's so hard to say anything about the plot without spoiling it, so basically go and read it so we can talk about it!

6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I love this series and it's one of those I'd recommend to people seeking to fill that Harry Potter shaped hole, because there's five books so far and one more to come! Plus there are so many people to ship which is always a good sign.

7. Divergent by Veronica Roth 
This is my standard "if you liked The Hunger Games" recommendation, and with the film adaptation coming up I'm starting to recommend it to more people so they can get ahead of the game!

8. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
 I loved this book so much when I read it. I'm always excited to come across exciting and different love stories and this ticks all the boxes.

9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
 I just adore the writing in this book and trilogy so much that I think everyone should experience it!

10.The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Another book that was one of my first ventures out into the wider world of YA (although when I was slightly older!) and probably one of the books that inspired me to write this blog, so a book I want to share with people.

What are your all time favourites you just have to recommend to people? Let me know in the comments or leave a link to your top ten and I'll check it out!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

 The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

Author: E. Nesbit Website
Published: First published 1906
Format: Kindle e-book
Pages: 196
Project Gutenburg: E-book
Amazon: Paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: Paperback|e-book
Book Depository: Paperback
Challenge: 2013 Children's Classics Challenge

Source: Free Kindle download

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Three children, forced to alter their comfortable lifestyle when their father is taken away by strangers, move with their mother to a simple cottage near a railway station where their days are filled with excitement and adventure 

My Review:
I loved the story of The Railway Children when I was growing up because I adored the film adaptation. But when I started looking at books to read for my Children's Classics Challenge I couldn't recall whether or not I'd actually read the book as a child. Because I couldn't remember, I added it to the list immediately! The Railway Children follows Roberta (or Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis as they make the move from the city to the countryside. There's lots of changes to get used to but the three children become fascinated by the local railway which runs by their house. Cue lots of adventures! 

It's so hard to know where to start with this review because I adored this book and have so, so much to say about it! Firstly, I think it was really interesting to see just how the characters coped with the huge upheaval they go through in the story. The children are moved from the city to the countryside and have to survive on less money. Rather than seeing it as a problem, the children see it as an adventure and come to adore their new surroundings. I really liked that about them. And the surroundings themselves made such a great setting for the story. I felt like I was right there in the countryside with them.

I have to point out that I can completely relate to the central family. Not because I've been in their situation but because of the makeup of the siblings. There are two girls and a boy which is exactly the same as me and my siblings. The eldest - Bobbie - instantly became my favourite because I identified with her immediately (I'm also the eldest!). She's the one who throughout the story takes on the responsibilities and worries and cares for other people. She nurses her mother at one point which I thought was a real character defining moment. Then later on when she becomes aware of a secret, you can see just how much of a burden that responsibility becomes. I could really relate to that feeling of having to be the responsible one and the worry you feel for other people. Her relationship with her mother was really sweet and touching, and I adored her protectiveness of her siblings.

What was great about all the characters was their unique personalities. Peter was foolhardy and headstrong, and Phyllis was the one with the runaway imagination. And I found the relationship between the three children to be completely lifelike and accurate. They would talk over each other and there was that competitiveness there. There was the tension from Peter who thought girls were stupid and the girls themselves really stood up to him and became quite strong female characters.

As well as their relationship with each other, there was also the relationships the children had with the adults around them that made them so endearing and charming to me. They quickly befriend the station porter - Perks - once they develop a fascination with the railway by their house. I really loved that friendship and how they each learnt a lot from each other. Then there's the old man who the children wave to on the train as it passes each morning. That added a little element of mystery which I loved! I think the book encapusaltes what's great about children - that they say what they think with that brutal honesty and no filter and E. Nesbit has that spot on.

The book was narrated in such a brilliant way. The narrator felt friendly and really brought you as a reader into the world of the story. That voice throughout the whole book made me laugh and enjoy the experience of reading the book all the more. I just felt tremendously stupid for not realising who the narrator was sooner because on reflection it is blindingly obvious!

The story may be short but so much happens within those 200 pages. I loved that it was a collection of little adventures that the children always seemed to stumble across. There was always something going on! I knew some of the more iconic scenes from the film but even though I knew what was happening I would still be on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen and whether everyone was going to get out of it.

The book includes little poems throughout which the children are given by their mother, and I think that really added to the story. I adored the writing and how witty and charming it was. I couldn't put the story down and already I miss the characters! I'm sure there's more praise I could heap on this book but the review is getting long already. To sum up, I am so glad I decided to read this book! It's one that will live with me and I'll go back and re-read time and time again I'm sure. If you missed it growing up then I'd highly recommend giving it a go, or even if you did read it then I'd say it's worth a revisit! I'll definitely be checking out more of E. Nebit's classics for my challenge.

Rating: 5*
What to read next: The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit, 5 Children and It by E. Nesbit
Books like this: The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Weekly Book Round Up! 24th March

Weekly Book Round Up!

18th - 24th March

So I have one week left of my book buying ban (I gave up buying books for Lent) and I was totally hoping to use this time to catch up on those books I have lying around on my shelves that have been left neglected. Instead I've spent the whole tiem binging on Kindle books and library books. Oops! Oh well ;) so here's my round up of what I've been reading/reviewing/downloading/blogging this week. Enjoy!

Currently reading: I got One Week by Nikki Van De Car this week and wanted to read it straight away. Contemporary with a road trip thrown in? Yes please!

Books finished: I've finished another book for my Children's Classics Challenge in the form of The Railway Children by E. Nesbit, Existence by Abbi Glines and Spy School by Stuart Gibbs.

Books reviewed: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Recieved for review: Wakefield by Erin Callanhan and Troy H. Gardner

Kindle downloads: Oh gosh I downloaded SO MUCH this week - eek. Here are the some of the highlights (because I'd be here all day if I listed them all!): Shadow of the Sun by Laura Kreitzer, Saving Wishes by G. J. Walker-Smith, Sacred Bloodlines by Wendy Owens, Heaven High by Anna Andrews, The Afterlife Series by Willow Rose, The Undesirable by S. Celi and Vampire Miami by Phil Tucker.

Library books: Spy School by Stuart Gibbs (picked this up on a whim and loved it! Review to come..) and I've put holds on The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - two sequels I am super excited to read.

Other posts: Book trailer: Icons by Margaret Stohl, Teaser Tuesdays, Another Post about Google Reader and Bloglovin!, Friday Finds, News Round Up!

What have you been reading this week? Any great books I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

News Round Up! 23rd March

Welcome to my News Round Up! I've decided to make this a weekly feature with a new news post every Saturday, which recaps that week's news. Here's what's grabbed my attention this week!

There's one story dominating the YA world this week and that is the release of Clockwork Princess, the final book in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy. I'm yet to get my hands on a copy but I'll be borrowing from a friend as soon as she's done! Is this a book you'll be reading? Are you sad to end the trilogy?

Another end to a trilogy came in the form of Requiem  Lauren Oliver which was published in the UK on Thursday. To celebrate the release, Lauren visited Waterstone's Piccadilly this week. You can find pictures of that event over on the UK Delirium Facebook page. And there's more great news for UK YA fans as Marissa Meyer will be visiting Waterstone's Bromley on the 26th March to talk about her latest novel Scarlet, the second book in The Lunar Chronicles. And Maggie Stiefvater (author of The Raven Boys) added a second UK date and will be visiting Waterstone's Finchley Road in London on the 24th, on top of her Manchester event today.

Because it's impossible to go a week without somebody being cast in something - more casting news! And it's a big one. This has been strong rumour for a while but we've finally had the confirmation we've all been waiting for that Shailene Woodley will be playing Hazel Grace in the film adaptation of John Green incredible The Fault in Our Stars! Read more about the story here on EW. What do you make of this casting choice? First Divergent, now The Fault in Our Stars - us YA fans will be seeing a lot of Shailene in the future!

The winners of the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2013 were announced this week. In the
5-12 catergory the winner was Wonder by R. J. Palacio - a book I adored and am very happy to see recognised! In the teen catergorie the winner was Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher. I'm yet to read that one but I really loved her previous book My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece so I'll definitely be checking out this one. You can find out more about those books and the other nominations over on the Waterstone's website at this link.

If (like me) you missed Beautiful Creatures whilst it was in cinemas then there's good news! The DVD is now available for pre-order on Amazon UK with a release date of 17th June.

Now for a blog related news story. There's been lots of talk about Google Reader after Google announced it was shutting down the service in July. You can read my post on that here and find out more about what it means over on TechCrunch here.

Which news stories have got you excited this week? Let me know in the comments!

New book releases:
Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Buy: Amazon|Waterstone's|Book Depository

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Buy: Amazon|Waterstone's|Book Depository

Friday, 22 March 2013

Friday Finds: 22nd March

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).

So I've been really bad at cutting back on adding more books to my to-read list because I've been going on a major Kindle freebie binge this week. Oops! But on the upside it gives me some great books to talk about in this post ;)

The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit 
Saving Wishes by G. J. Walker-Smith
One Week by Nikki Van De Car

I finished reading The Railway Children this week so went looking for some more E. Nesbit. I've had my eye on Saving Wishes before but have missed it when it's been free on the Kindle store. I managed to grab it this time! I love the cover <3 One Week is another freebie which sounds really interesting - involves a road trip according to Goodreads which I want to read more of!

Sacred Bloodlines by Wendy Owens
Vampire Miami by Phil Tucker
Heaven High by Anna Andrews

These three books were all free downloads from Smashwords.

The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Wakefield by Erin Callahan and Troy H. Gardner

I found out about The Bone Dragon via Twitter and read about If You Find Me on a blog this week. And Wakefield is a book I was sent for review.

Phew! Like I said, lots of finds this week. What have you been adding to your to-read list this week? Let me know in the comments or link me up to your Friday Finds post!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Splintered by A. G. Howard

Author: A. G. Howard Website|Twitter
Published: 1 January 2013 (Amulet)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Amazon: Paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: Paperback|Hardback
Book Depository: Hardback
Challenge: 2013 Debut Author Challenge

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on.

My Review:
Since reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass earlier this year, I've been on the lookout for retellings. This one was even more exciting because it's a 2013 debut! Splintered tells the story of Alyssa Gardner, descendant of Alice Liddell, the girl who inspired Lewis Carroll's book. Ever since the time of Liddell, the woman in Alyssa's family have been cursed to insanity.

I really liked the twist on the well known tale and how it links into Alyssa's life. She's an American teenager and it seems so far removed from the original story, but Howard has managed to come up with this great link that ties the two together. The book starts out set in the human world, with Alyssa living with her dad, visiting her mum in the asylum she's being held in and frequenting her local skate park. Then the book takes a more fantastical twist as Alyssa finds her way to the famous rabbit hole and into Wonderland itself. I really liked that you get the best of both worlds, the modern teenage story and the fantasy element, too.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the main characters. There's Alyssa herself who has so much to deal with. Her mum has been labled insane and she fears she's heading the same way as she hears voices from bugs and plants that talk to her. There's also the fact that her whole school knows about her relation to Alice Liddell so she has to put up with jokes about Alice in Wonderland. She's not the most popular of kids and I loved that about her, and I loved that she stands out with her love of skateboarding and her wacky hair extensions. She's just a really fascinating main character.

Then there's Jeb, the boy next door (literally) who's a good friend to Alyssa and, of course, a potential love interest. I have so much love for Jeb, I can't even explain. He is adorable! He's kind and considerate and really looks out for Alyssa. Jeb ends up swept along on Alyssa's adventures which gives the two of them some really great moments together. They have a lot to overcome and I loved how their friendship progressed throughout the story. Add in the second male lead, Morpheus - a resident of Wonderland and someone Alyssa already has a connection with - and it makes for some really great dynamics between the characters. 

The only parts where I struggled with this book were in the middle when the story is in full blown Wonderland mode and there's a lot to get your head around. I had similar problems with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and with other retellings I've read because there's just so much crazy stuff going on that you really have to concentrate on what's happening to understand it all. I think this would be a book I'd like to re-read in the future so I can get a second chance at taking everything in. I liked how it really felt like a fantasy novel with sprites and magic and everything, though. If you like fantasy I think you'll love the world created in this book.

The writing in Splintered is another thing I have to mention because it was absolutely beautiful. Right away I was dragged right into that world and all the vivid descriptions had me completely immersed in the story. I'd definitely be interested in reading more from this author in the future. And the book itself is so beautiful! I'll be so sad to return it to the library because the little details and all the art throughout make it a book I'd love to own one day, just so I can stare at it and stroke it every so often.

The climax of this book really had me hooked, and there were so many little things that all started to come together that had been so cleverly woven into the story. By the end I was jumping up and down a little and eagerly anticipating the next book. I'd really recommend this to fans of Lewis Carroll's books and fans of all things magical.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Unhinged by A. G. Howard, the unreleased second book in the Splintered series
Books like this: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Another Post About Google Reader and Bloglovin!

If you read a lot of blogs (like I do) you'll have noticed a wealth of people posting about the closure of Google Reader. I'm not entirely sure what the consequences will be to my GFC followers when it shuts down on 1st July, but if you use Google Reader to keep up with your blogs then you'll definitely need to find an alternative.

As a reader of blogs myself, I decided to sign up for Bloglovin' on the recommendation of Lucy over at Queen of Contemporary. After a few days of playing about with it I've decided it's the site for me! So I wanted to do a little blog about it to explain how it works.

It's free to sign up (you'll need an account by either logging in with an email or your Facebook account) and once you're on there, you can start following blogs either by searching manually or by importing your blogs from Google Reader. (It took me a few goes to import my blogs but then I realised you just need to be logged into the right Google account when you try and import them - duh!).

Once you've followed a few blogs they'll start showing up in your feed on the home page. Unread posts are marked and they'll switch to read once you've clicked through to read the post, or you can manually mark them as read. This makes it super easy to keep up the latest posts. I would definitely recommend downloading the app which is really handy for reading on the go. I use my iPod touch a lot for checking things like Twitter and I'll now be adding Bloglovin' into that routine. You can also "like" posts which makes it really easy to go back and find posts you want to remember or look up again.

What's great is that it works for both Blogger and Wordpress blogs so now I can follow them all in one place - hurrah!

If you want to get ahead of the game before Google reader closes then you can now follow Total Teen Fiction on Bloglovin'. There's a button in the sidebar over there ---> or you can find the blog at the following link:

Total Teen Fiction on Bloglovin'

If you're looking for other ways to keep up with my posts in future then I also use NetworkedBlogs which is another alternative. Again it's easy to follow blogs and have them all in one place. You sign up using your Facebook account. You can find Total Teen Fiction on NetworkedBlogs here:

Total Teen Fiction on NetworkedBlogs

But don't panic! I still link all my posts to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr as well as adding all my reviews to Goodreads, so it won't be too hard to track me down!

I hope that's made things fairly clear. I was totally confused by all the Google Reader talk because I'm not that up on my tech, but basically looking for a new way to read blogs is sounding like a sensible idea right now. Do you have any other recommendations for ways to keep up with your favourite blogs? Let me know in the comments because I'd love to check them out! If this post has confuzzled you then let me know that too and I'll do my best to make it clearer.

Thank you so much for following and supporting Total Teen Fiction. You're all awesome!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Teaser Tuesdays: 19th March

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! 

"However, at night when the soul sat in my room and played for me, music seemed to fill the lonely places. I had a need for the soul I didn't understand."

- 25% (Kindle edition), Existence by Abbi Glines

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