Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Time of my Life

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

The Time of my Life by Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 13th October 2011

Summary (Amazon):
Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she's been ignoring it and it needs to meet with her face to face.
It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends friends and avoiding her family.
But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.
Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it
 I love Cecelia's magical themes in her novels. So can't wait for this one!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Book Review - How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith

How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 26th May 2011
Genre: Creative Journaling

Summary (Amazon):

Artists and scientists analyze the world around them in surprisingly similar ways, by observing, collecting, documenting, analyzing, and comparing. In this captivating guided journal, readers are encouraged to explore their world as both artists and scientists.
The mission Smith proposes? "To document and observe the world around you. As if you've never seen it before. Take notes. Collect things you find on your travels. Document findings. Notice patterns. Copy. Trace. Focus on one thing at a time. Record what you are drawn to."
With a series of interactive prompts and a beautifully hand-illustrated two-colour package, readers will enjoy exploring and discovering the world through this gorgeous book.
 How to be an Explorer of the World needs more than one review to show how fantastic this book is! Just like with Finish This Book I'll be doing a few reviews of my progress.

Keri Smith is the master of encouraging you to see things you usually wouldn't see in life. Just flicking through this book I wanted to race out and start doing everything she tells me to do in it.

There are 59 exploration ideas/activities from creating a survey and documenting peoples answers to experimenting with different items as a writing utensil. It takes you out of your box and makes you think like a child again, when creativity had no boundaries.

You're highly encouraged to write/draw/paint in the book and glue things you've collected in to it. I love this idea, but I have such a bad notebook obsession that I couldn't help but open up a new one for my 'explorations'. For me, that means I can keep coming back to some of the ideas and do them again, but some people might prefer to just throw caution to the wind and get stuck in gluing everything you find into the pages of the book. Whatever floats your boat.

I highly recommend this to anyone who is ready to be a child again and start exploring the things in the world we'd forgotten to look closely at. Join me in exploring as I add more and more posts on here!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Silence

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: 4th October 2011 (UK)

Summary (Goodreads):
The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

Patch. Nora. Angels. That's all.

Book Review - Finish This Book by Keri Smith

Finish This Book by Keri Smith
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 6th September 2011
Genre: Creative Journalling

Dear Reader,
One dark and stormy night, I found some strange scattered pages abandoned in a park...
I collected and assembled them, trying to solve the mystery of this unexpected discovery, and I am now passing the task on to you.
Your mission is to become the new author of this work. You will continue the research and provide the content. In order to complete the task, you will have to undergo some secret intelligence training, which I have included in this volume. 
Since no one knows what lies ahead, please proceed with caution, but know...
This book does not exist without you.
Yours truly,Keri Smith
 This book is not one you can review in one go. So this is the start of a few reviews for this one.

 Finish This Book is something for all those people who never really grew up. You have to start from the beginning and not skip ahead. Throughout the book, you'll become a detective of sorts and explore your world like a child would.

Throughout the book you make observations, notes and create secret codes- and yes, you write in the book. I know, right?! As a person who can't even break the spine of a book when reading, this took some getting used to, but it's so much fun once you get going.

Now what I've said isn't much about the book, because it needs more than one post to really get the idea of how it works. So I'll be updating every so often with progress on how I'm getting on. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to be a child for a few hours and unleash their creativity. The beauty of it is that you don't have to be amazingly good at anything creative- just do, don't think.

So I have my coffee, some of my favourite pens and now I'm going to continue with my exploring detection of the world. There's a mystery out there and it needs solving! Go get this book, guys and join me!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Sweetly

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

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 6th October 2011

Summary (Amazon):
As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch-like monster in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too. When their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out as teens, they stumble upon a sleepy Southern town and are invited to stay with Sophia Kelly at her sweet shop. Sophia moulds candied magic: coveted treats that inspire confidence, bravery, and passion. Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel finally start to forget their haunted past - until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel, who gives Gretchen a reason to fear Sophia: girls have been vanishing at Sophia's annual chocolate festival, taken by the insatiable 'witch' of Gretchen's nightmares. Can Gretchen save herself, the girls of Live Oak, and Sophia?  Of one thing, Gretchen is certain: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.
I really enjoyed Sisters Red and I have a weakness for fairytales retold, so I definitely can't wait to get my hands on this one.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Top 100 YA Books

I've seen this on quite a few blogs today and I can never resist going through it myself. No one seems to be sure where this is from, but I can agree with most of these being there :).

Bold means I've read it.
Italics means I own it, but have not
 read it yet.
Bold italics means I have read it and own it.
  1. Alex Finn – Beastly
  2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
  3. Ally Carter – Gallagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
  4. Ally Condie – Matched
  5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
  7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
  9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
  10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
  12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
  13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
  16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
  17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3)
  18. Christopher Paolini - Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
  19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
  20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
  21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
  22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
  23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
  25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
  26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
  27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
  28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
  29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
  31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
  33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
  34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
  37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
  38. John Green – Paper Towns
  39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
  40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
  41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
  42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
  43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
  44. Lemony Snicket - Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
  45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
  46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
  47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
  49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
  50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
  52. Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
  53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
  54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
  56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
  57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
  58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
  61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
  63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
  64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
  67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
  68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
  69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
  70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
  71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
  72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 )
  73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
  74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
  79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
  80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
  81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
  82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
  83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
  84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  85. Scott Westerfeld - Leviathan (1, 2)
  86. Scott Westerfeld - Uglies (1, 2, 3, 4)
  87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
  88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
  89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
  90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
  92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
  93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
  94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
  95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
  96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
  97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
  99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
  100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped

Not read as much as I thought. I need to remedy this.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Book Review - Soul Beach by Kate Harrison

Soul Beach by Kate Harrison
Publisher: Indigo (Orion Imprint)
Release Date: 1st September 2011
Genre:  Young adult

Thank you to Waterstones for sending this to me.

Summary (Goodreads):
When Alice Forster receives an email from her dead sister she assumes it must be a sick practical joke. Then an invitation arrives to the virtual world of Soul Beach, an idyllic online paradise of sun, sea and sand where Alice can finally talk to her sister again - and discover a new world of friendships, secrets and maybe even love . . . . But why is Soul Beach only inhabited by the young, the beautiful and the dead? Who really murdered Megan Forster? And could Alice be next? The first book in an intriguing and compelling trilogy centred around the mystery of Megan Forster's death.

 This was a fantastic start to a trilogy. It really set up the story so that you know the characters, know the social network of Soul Beach and are ready for whatever the next books will bring. You meet Alice and her family on the day of Megan's funeral and you really get the feel for what the family has gone through since losing Megan.

 I love the unique storyline of Megan being a reality singing show winner. I've always wondered what it would be like for the family of someone famous or on one of these reality shows. The way everything is portrayed is believable. I could really imagine the family life being this way.

 Overall I think all the characters were fleshed out perfectly. These were characters you could imagine to be real people somewhere in reality. Everyone had their flaws, their own way of coping with Megan's death and their own way of interacting with people. The writing moved at a steady pace and kept me reading to find out more about how Soul Beach works and who the killer was (I have my thoughts on this and usually I'm not wrong).

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good ghost story. This definitely worked for me and I can't wait to read the next two books.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Cover Love - A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell

I think I'll always love Jill Mansell's covers. So here is the obligatory post of her new cover. Adore it!

It's been a while, but Lara Carson's back in Bath and lives are set to change as a result. Because Lara left her family and boyfriend Flynn eighteen years ago without a word to anyone. Why has no one heard from her since? Her childhood best friend Evie is thrilled Lara's back and able to share her happiness. Evie's about to walk down the aisle with her dream man, Joel. Or so she thinks... Then there's Flynn Erskine, even more attractive now and stunned to see Lara again. The spark between them is as strong as ever, but how's Flynn going to react when he discovers the secret she's been keeping from him? Oh yes, there's a lot of catching up to be done...

Monday, 5 September 2011

Coffee Break - The Urge of Writing

Lately I've had such an overwhelming urge to write. However, I can't seem to actually do the deed.

I have plenty of ideas and sometimes I have subplots and other ideas that stem from those original ideas. Then I sit down and look at that blank word document and just can't seem to put down what's swirling through my head. The words won't come yet I can see the pictures of what I want to write.

I've never had this problem before. Usually when I can't/don't write it's because the idea of what to write next isn't there. Mostly I can see the end, just not how to get to that point because my imagination has stalled on what to put in the journey.

This time I know the journey, just not the words to put it down. My urge to write is becoming unbearable now. I sit with a blank document open all the time and have a notepad and pen with me ready for when I can find the right words. I need to get these stories out of my head before they drive me insane.

Writers, have you ever had this problem? What did you do to work yourself out of it?

Book Review - Vampire Academy Series (Books 2-6) by Richelle Mead

My intention was to review these individually, but I found recently I wasn't the only one who hadn't read this series yet. I saw at least 5 other bloggers reading these books at the same time as me. So I decided to review the last 5 all together so that I didn't give much away and ruin anything for those who haven't read the series yet. I'm also not putting a summary here because I made the mistake of reading the summary of Last Sacrifice whilst I was still reading Blood Promise and new a major plot coming up because of it

Originally I had never felt the need to read this series, vampires were being done to death, but then Last Sacrifice was coming out just before last Christmas and the book blogging world appeared to be going crazy to find out what happens to Rose and her friends. So I added it to my library books list and finally got round to them over the summer.

I wasn't blown away by the first book Vampire Academy but there was something in the chemistry between Rose and Dimitri that held my interest for me to keep going. The further I got into the Vampire Academy world, the quicker I devoured the books. I was completely hooked. I'm glad I didn't get into them before all the books were out as I think I would've gone crazy waiting for each one.

The only interesting character for me was Dimitri. There were a lot of layers to this character and with the things that happened to him, I wanted more on him than anyone else. I found myself slowing down on my pace of reading when there was no Dimitri involved in the storyline. He was just so interesting to read and I would love to see more of him with his family and before he met Rose. Or even something during the time he wasn't with Rose.

As feisty and strong as I found Rose, I also grew irritated by her sometimes. I would cringe in embarrassment at some of her outbursts. Especially the childish ones involving Dimitri. I could never relate to her when she was like that. She was selfish and self-centred too, which she didn't seem to realise a great deal. However, I did love the fact she refused to be a victim, even if it did get repeated- a lot. I think that's what makes Rose such a good protagonist. She has these flaws, but her heart can be in the right place.

I wasn't that interested in the rest of the subplots of the series involving some of the other characters. I found Rose's bond with Lissa a little bit too convenient for the sake of these subplots. I did adore the friendship between Rose and Lissa, but I wasn't a great fan of Lissa. She seemed to be lacking something for me.

The series wasn't without it's flaws, but the writing was addictive and fast-paced. Every book had an issue that was resolved by the end of it, yet left with enough of a cliffhanger to keep the stories going. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves vampires and are looking for something new in the genre.

Friday, 2 September 2011

On My Radar - September Release: Adult Edition

Don't Let me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde
29th September 2011

Fallen Angels by Tara Hyland
1st September 2011

It's a Man's World by Polly Courtney
15th September 2011

A Gathering Storm by Rachel Hore
15th September 2011

Madame Bovary's Daughter by Linda Urbach
15th September 2011

Lily-Josephine by Kate Saunders
1st September 2011

Star Struck by Jane Lovering
1st September 2011

Persuade Me by Juliet Archer
15th September 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
15th September 2011

The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff
15th September 2011

(Un)like a Virgin by Lucy-Anne Holmes
15th September 2011

The Ugly Sister by Jane Fallon
29th September 2011

Thursday, 1 September 2011

On My Radar - September Releases: YA Edition

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
20th September 2011

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
27th September 2011

1st September 2011

Spook's I Am Grimalkin by Joseph Delaney
1st September 2011

Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard
29th September 2011

Dark Passage by M. J. Putney
13th September 2011
Fury by Elizabeth Miles
1st September 2011

Darkness Falls by Mia James
29th September 2011
The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees
27th September 2011

 Blood by K. J. Wignall
27th September 2011