Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Supernaturally

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 26th July 2011

Summary (Goodreads):
A lot has changed in the six months since Evie escaped from the International Paranormal Containment Agency with her shape-shifter boyfriend, Lend. She finally has the blissfully normal life she’s always dreamed of, including:
1) A real live high school
2) A perfectly ordinary after-school job
3) Her very own locker (and by the way, rusted metal is every bit as awesome as she imagined)

But Evie’s not-so-normal past keeps creeping up on her...and things get pretty complicated when you factor in:
1) A centuries-old, seriously decaying vampire stalker
2) A crazy faerie ex-boyfriend who is the perpetual bearer of really bad news
3) A major battle brewing between the faerie courts where the prize in question happens to be...Evie herself.

So much for normal.
Loved Paranormalcy. Gonna love this too! I can feel it in my bones.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Book Review - Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 3rd February 2011
Genre: Young Adult

Copy from Netgalley

Summary (Amazon):

There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.

Then, at last, they found the cure.

Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable.

Let me just say this first; Lauren Oliver is a beautiful writer. Her descriptions are fantastic. Everything was so clear in my head that I could actually have been there, living Lena’s life with her. The whole process of living in this future was believable. So believable, in fact, that it was almost like looking forward and seeing what would become of us.

 I hated the story though.

Well, I say ‘hate’, that’s a bit harsh, but I was very repulsed by the story and found it hard-going to keep reading. It did nothing for me. Whilst I was terrified of the idea of living in a future like this, I really couldn’t care for anyone in the story. I was little bit bored if I’m honest.

 Cruel and cold things happened to people in this book and I felt nothing when they happened. With such beautiful writing, it was throwing me for a loop as to why I didn’t find the actual story as beautiful as I’ve heard many others describe it. Lena was boring. Alex was slightly interesting. Hanna I liked; she’s strong-willed and I love those kinds of characters. The small child who didn’t talk (I can’t remember her name), she was interesting…and she didn’t utter a word.

  I’m not sure if I’ll read the rest of the books for this trilogy. I probably will at some point because I hate leaving things unfinished, but I just didn’t care for the story or the characters. I desperately wished I had because I love Lauren’s writing style.

 I still recommend the book to anyone though. There are still plenty of reviews who love Delirium so much, that I think I’m the strange one for not even liking it, never mind loving it.

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Q. Genre Wars! What's your favorite genre and which book in that genre made it your favorite?

I'm torn between Contemporary and Fantasy, but I think I'm leaning towards Fantasy, but in the sense it could actually be real. It has to be written very much like the Potter series, which are the books that made this genre my favourite, because you don't question the strange things, you just accept them as though this is how the world really is. I know having Harry Potter as the book that made it my favourite is obvious, but you can't go wrong with that series in my opinion.

A Love Letter to Authors

 Dear Authors of all shapes, sizes and genres,

I love you. No really I do. Even the ones that I've never read or heard of. Yet. I even love the authors of books I haven't enjoyed (there are probably 20 people to me who did enjoy your books).

I'm just putting this out there because I appreciate you laying your imagination out for everyone to see, and the hard work that goes into sculpting the scenes of your imagination.

That was all I wanted to say. Keep fighting the good fight, or rather, keep writing the good words...not as catchy but you get my drift.

Love me (an aspiring author with lots of WIP but none finished!)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Book Review - Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Release Date: 3rd June 2011 (UK)
Genre: Young Adult

Copy from Netgalley

Summary (Amazon):
  When shy, awkward Helen Hamilton sees Lucas Delos for the first time she thinks two things: the first, that he is the most ridiculously beautiful boy she has seen in her life; the second, that she wants to kill him with her bare hands. 
With an ancient curse making them loathe one another, Lucas and Helen have to keep their distance. But sometimes love is stronger than hate, and not even the gods themselves can prevent what will happen . . . 

 I made the mistake of reading a few reviews of this book before I read it for myself. ‘Too similar to Twilight’ was a phrase I spotted a lot. As I read Starcrossed that was all I could see. With that in mind, I think Angelini may have been aware of some of the similarities too when Helen half-heartedly refused to be that girl that gave in to whatever the boy asked her to do. It was almost like that scene was in there just to distance her writing from the Twilight series (I refuse to call it a saga).

 Anyway, in saying that, I still enjoyed the story. I read it in one sitting because I needed to know yesterday what happened to everyone. I liked- to a point- all the characters, maybe not so much Helen, she was too weak for me as a leading character, but everyone else I could warm to- even if they were all slightly too perfect. I didn’t get the subplot of Helen’s dad and Kate; I thought that was all a bit pointless. And whilst the writing was good enough to make me picture everything clearly, some of Helen’s thoughts were all over the place and I had to re-read some parts so I could get the gist of what she was thinking. And sometimes skip her thoughts because she was repeating herself again.

 Like with Twilight I wanted less on Helen/Bella and more on the Cullen/Delos family. I wanted more on their history other than them descending from Greek Gods. The parents of the Delos family sounded like they had some interesting stories to tell, and I was desperate to hear them. Instead there are snippets of stories between Helen and Lucas’ love story.

There were moments between Helen and Lucas that were drawn out and not enough of getting the story moving. I also got wound up with Helen when she couldn’t get to grips with Lucas not kissing her, or doing anything more than holding her hand. She’d already been told what would happen, then when it’s finally spelled out for her, she’s shocked. What was that about?

 The last quarter of the book was where the story really picked up and moved along at the speed the rest of the book should have done. I feel 400+ pages was a bit excessive for a story that could probably have been told in less than 300 pages.

 I’ll stick with what I said before, that I did enjoy the story, regardless of the things that got on my nerves, and I will more than likely read any more books that come out for this series. I just hope that Helen toughens up. I also believed the Greek mythology that was being spun within the book. I love Greek mythology and learning about it, but I can’t say I know enough that it would distract me from the story because some of it was inaccurate, which I had seen mentioned in reviews.

 I recommend this to anyone who loved Twilight, loves a love story between teens, and loves Greek mythology. Don’t let the size of the book put you off, it’s still enjoyable enough if you don’t take it too seriously.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Book Review - Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Publisher: HarperCollins (US)/ Corgi Childrens Books (UK)
Release Date: 4th August 2011 (UK)
Genre: Young Adult

Copy from Netgalley

Summary (Amazon):

A virus has swept the world, making everyone over the age of eighteen infertile. Teenagers are now the most prized members of society, and would-be parents desperately bid for ‘conception contracts’ with the prettiest, healthiest and cleverest girls - cash, college tuition and liposuction in exchange for a baby.

Sixteen-year-old Melody is gorgeous, athletic and has perfect grades, and has scored an amazing contract with a rich couple. And she’s been matched with one of the most desirable ‘bumping’ partners in the world - the incredibly hot, genetically flawless Jondoe.

But Melody's luck is about to run out. She discovers she has a sister - an identical twin, Harmony, who has grown up in a religious community opposed to the idea of ‘pregging’. Harmony believes her calling is to save Melody from her sinful plans. Melody doesn’t have time for this – she can’t wait to meet Jondoe and seal the deal. But when he arrives and mistakes Harmony for Melody, everyone’s carefully-laid plans are swept out of control – and Melody and Harmony are about to realise they have so much more than just DNA in common. 

 I’ve never been a huge fan of Dystopian novels, but recently I’ve been giving them a fair chance and enjoying most of them. However, I think I’ve gone one Dystopian novel too far and not given myself a bit of break from them before I started reading Bumped because although this is a good book, I didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t wrap my head around babies being products that you buy, as well as the teenage bodies that carry the babies.

 The story in general I liked and it was readable, but I couldn’t relate to the characters. None of them. I think it had something to do with the future McCafferty had set up. I could get to grips with Harmony and her way of life because it all seemed to be very similar to the Amish way of living. But Melody and her life I couldn’t understand. I may as well have been reading the slang from another region in my country because I didn’t ‘get’ the futuristic slang. I also couldn’t see in my head all the futuristic gadgets. It was all too much.

 On the other hand, all that I’ve had an issue with is what makes this a well-written book with many layers. A whole new world has been set up and the whole concept being alien to me would be like trying to get someone from the 18th or 19th century reading a contemporary novel of our time. They wouldn’t be able to even fathom some of our technology or see it in their imagination. So if you go into the novel imagining that this is the future in a century or two, then you can’t go far wrong in trying to understand Melody and Harmony’s ways of life.

 The last hundred pages were the best bit of the story for me. This is where the twins really showed who they are, what they want in life and how they really think. Before that, they’re flat. Some of the small twists were predictable, but still makes me want to know what will happen to everyone and how everything will work out for them.

 Overall, the book was enjoyable enough if you can get into the swing of the futuristic world. Now that the twins story and characteristics have been set up, I look forward to the next novel more. I’d recommend this to anyone who loves Dystopian novels and are addicted to 16 & Pregnant.

Waiting on Wednesday: Baby Be Mine

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Baby Be Mine by Paige Toon

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Release Date: 21st July 2011

Summary (Amazon):
'He's not mine, is he?' That's the question I fear the most. You see, I have a secret. My son is not fathered by my boyfriend, but by one of the most famous rock stars that ever lived. And he doesn't even know it. One-time celebrity personal assistant to wild boy of rock Johnny Jefferson, Meg Stiles is now settled and living in the south of France with her doting boyfriend Christian and their son Barney. But they're living a lie - a lie that will turn their lives upside down and inside out - because as Barney reaches his first birthday, Meg can no longer deny that her son is growing to look more and more like his rock star father every day, and less and less like Christian, and sooner or later, the world is going to realise ... 
This is a follow on from Johnny Be Good and I absolutely loved it. So I definitely can't wait to find out what happened when it ended. 

Monday, 13 June 2011

Book Review - Mercy by Rebecca Lim

Mercy by Rebecca Lim

Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Release Date: 28th October 2010
Genre: Young Adult

Copy from Netgalley

Summary (Amazon):

There's something very wrong with me. I can't remember who I am or how old I am, or even how I got here. All I know is that when I wake up, I could be any one. It is always this way.

There's nothing I can keep with me that will stay. It's made me adaptable.

I must always re-establish ties.
I must tread carefully or give myself away.
I must survive.

Mercy doesn't realise it yet, but as she journeys into the darkest places of the human soul, she discovers that she is one of the celestial host exiled with fallen angel, Lucifer. Now she must atone for taking his side. To find her own way back to heaven, Mercy must help a series of humans in crisis and keep the unwary from getting caught up in the games that angels play. Ultimately she must choose between her immortal companion, Lucifer, and a human boy who risks everything for her love.

 I didn’t know what to make of this one. I started it, but found the voice of Mercy a bit…cold and dull. I couldn’t connect to what was going on. So I left it and read something else. I came back to it a couple of weeks later and made myself finish it in one sitting, and I’m not sure if I’m glad I did or not.

 I’ve seen the phrase ‘Quantum Leap with angels’ bandied round for this book by a few people, and I suppose that is the best way to think of it. Mercy is an angel that goes from body to body, with no memories of her past, no retained memories from the previous girls except the immediate previous one, and tries to maintain the life of the person she’s now living in. The book starts with her waking up in Carmen’s body as she is on her way to a small town to take part in a yearly choir show they hold, and Carmen is one of the best singers within the choir.

  In this small town, Mercy stays at the home of a missing girl, and everyone, bar the girl’s twin brother, believe she’s dead. But something tells Mercy that she isn’t and she helps Ryan, the brother, to find her. 

 Once I got into the story, it was a good read, but fairly predictable. I could see everything coming from a mile off. And I still couldn’t relate to Mercy’s voice or her story, but I think I’ll put that down to the fact the Mercy has been around practically since the dawn of time and isn’t human. The writing was beautiful though; I could really picture the school, the town and the people. There was also enough intrigue throughout that kept me reading to see if I’d get an answer. Some I did, some I’ll probably get in the next couple of books.

 As much as I did enjoy the story in the end, it’s not a story where I’ll be rushing to read the rest of the series. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves the Angel Bandwagon running through Booktown.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Haunting Violet

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 4th July 2011

Summary (Amazon):

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts, especially since her mother has worked as a fraudulent medium for a decade. Violet has taken part in enough of her mother's tricks to feel more than a little jaded about anything supernatural. The ghosts, however, believe in Violet and she's been seeing them everywhere. One ghost in particular needs Violet to use her emerging gift to solve her murder ...and prevent the ghost's twin sister from suffering the same fate. 

It's a ghost story by Alyxandra Harvey, creator of the yummy Drake brothers. That's all that needs to be said about this.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Book Review - The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell

The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Century (Random House imprint)
Release Date: 12th May 2011
Genre: Chicklit/Fiction

Summary (Amazon):
In a hospice in Bury St Edmunds, a man called Daniel is slowly fading away. His friend Maggie sits with him every day; she holds his hand and she listens to the story of his life, to his regrets and to his secrets. And then he tells her about the children he has never met and never will. He talks of them wistfully. His legacy, he calls them.

Lydia, Dean and Robyn don't know each other. Yet. And they are all facing difficult changes. Lydia is still wearing the scars from her traumatic childhood and although she is wealthy and successful, her life is lonely and disjointed. Dean is a young man, burdened with unexpected responsibility, whose life is going nowhere. And Robyn wants to be a doctor, just like her father – a man she's never met. But is her whole life built on an illusion?

Three people leading three very different lives. All lost. All looking for something. But when they slowly find their way into each other’s lives, everything starts to change …

 Lisa Jewell is back on form!

 I’ve loved Lisa’s books from the start. Had them pre-ordered every time it was available to do so. But I was disappointed with After the Party and I wasn’t sure how I was going to find reading The Making of Us because I’m of the firm belief that sperm donors should be able to keep their anonymity. Then I started seeing amazing reviews for it, so my expectations were high, which isn’t always a good thing for me. However, I wasn’t disappointed with this one! It was written in the very same style that made Lisa my favourite author ever. Addictive, intriguing and everything set at a steady pace with no lull.

 So, where to start without giving too much away? You have three main characters, Lydia, Robyn and Dean, all the result of the same sperm donor years ago. All have had very different upbringings and are in very different places in their lives. Lydia is wealthy and successful, but is missing something in her life that she can’t quite understand. Robyn, having always known about her being a sperm donor baby due to health issues in the family, is intelligent and training to be a doctor, but is losing her drive and reasoning for it all. Then there’s Dean who has had a poor upbringing and has gotten his girlfriend pregnant.

 I don’t know exactly how it works for sperm donors and the children getting in touch with each other, but Lisa made this story believable and warm. Nothing felt forced or cheesy. I was there with all three characters as they discovered who they really were and what they needed to do with their lives. They could almost be someone you know they were so fleshed out with their quirks, habits and thoughts.

 I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a feel-good story. This has definitely moved into the slot of being my favourite Lisa Jewell book. I really haven’t done enough justice for this book here. So trust me, go read this book. You need to experience it all for yourself to understand my love of Lisa’s fantastic storytelling skills.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Lost Voices

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Release Date: 4th July 2011

Summary (Goodreads):

What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help?
Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.
A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.
Luce’s own talent at singing captures the attention of the tribe’s queen, the fierce and elegant Catarina, and Luce soon finds herself pressured to join in committing mass murder. Luce’s struggle to retain her inner humanity puts her at odds with her friends; even worse, Catarina seems to regard Luce as a potential rival. But the appearance of a devious new mermaid brings a real threat to Catarina’s leadership and endangers the very existence of the tribe. Can Luce find the courage to challenge the newcomer, even at the risk of becoming rejected and alone once again?
Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive.

As a little girl I had two favourite Disney movies: Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. They're still my favourite, but with Beauty and the Beast up there too. So anything relating to Cinders or Mermaids, I'll read.  This one sounds especially fantastic too!