Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Books I had to read throughout my education.

I got this idea from Alison Can Read's feature 'What Books?' (check it out - she has a lovely blog) and I thought it was such a fun and original idea. So, sorry Alison but I'm copying this a little bit because I loved the idea so much!

So, for many MANY classes throughout my school life since Year 9 (8th Grade), I have HAD to read books as part of the course as coursework or just to read a book really. It's basically the normal classical books (Shakespeare, Austen) that most people will read at maybe at some point in their lives and that so much has been written about them, so it's easy to revise with many study books available (most of the time anyway).
Some of these books will always stay a favourite - or always stay in my mind for how much I hated them.

YEAR 9 (8TH GRADE): 

Much Ado About Nothing - William Shakespeare

 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Can I just say that this is the reason I hate To Kill a Mockingbird. We spent 5 whole months reading it and I still didn't understand a word - to be honest, I had to watch the film to realise what was actually happening.  So I have a bias view of this book but 5 months studying it?!

YEAR 10 (9TH GRADE):

An Inspector Calls - J.B.Priestley

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

An Inspector Calls is a very good play and it was the first piece of coursework I ever did. Of Mice and Men I had to learn completely about for the end of year exam which meant knowing every single little theme/movement/description and of course, this is full of it. Really enjoyed the book though and I got top marks in that exam!

YEAR 11 (10TH GRADE):

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare

Both of these were for coursework in my English Literature and Language GCSE's. We only did a section from Romeo and Juliet but I still barely understood the plot especially with the language. Here, we discovered the first adaptation of it with a Romeo who looks like he could be related to Zac Efron - I am not kidding. Some shouting 'Oh my god, it's Zac Efron' when we first watched it. Check it out. 
I had read Pride and Prejudice a few years before and didn't really understand it. But then I watched the movie and sort of fell in love with the story and the ideas of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. So I was quite pleased to be doing the novel over Frankenstein like some other classes. This did fuel my Austen adaptation addiction...

YEAR 12 (11TH GRADE) - NOW!

Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller

Othello - William Shakespeare


Enduring Love - Ian McEwan

 The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald

The Odyssey - Homer

This is what books I'm studying at the moment. Enduring Love is awful - I would not recommend it to anyone. Joe, the main character, is in the middle of a scene and then, okay, start rambling about science things WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND. My hate for this book does not even have words.

The Great Gatsby however, I love. It's a beautiful book and I love reading it. Gladly, this is the book we have to know in depth.
The Odyssey - it is good and interesting more so than Enduring Love. But we are halfway through. We started 3 months ago. We have our exam in 5 weeks. You see my dislike right there. 



I hope you found that interesting. Let me know what books you did at secondary school or college/high school. I am quite interested to see if they were similar!






Monday, 26 March 2012

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness (#1)

I've been meaning to write this review for some time. I read The Knife of Never Letting Go for the first time a few months before I started blogging so when I wrote reviews for the others ensuing (links at the bottom).

So, as part of the Chaos Walking week in Loving Books, I thought I should finally add my own to Rebecca-Books to celebrate. Check her site out, it's really good. (If you want to join in with the week, click here for the starter post)

This is simply a mini-review as I read it so long ago and am basing some of my thoughts on the next two books.

Synopsis: Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. 


Review: This book is a killer for someone trying to sleep at night. That is, not in a creepy scary way. But if you read before bed, this book is going to be unputdownable. 


This, for me on reflection, is the UK's answer to the Hunger Games series. The Chaos Walking series was something that really introduced me to the dystopia and science-fiction world that I never quite knew much about. 
The story is set in the near future where a group from another land who have landed on (I think) Earth. However, this is a place with a difference. For starters, there are no women. And the remaining men and animals (such as Todd's dog Manchee) have a disease where their thoughts can be heard aloud for anyone to hear - this condition was not in women, however. From the start, you can sense the corruption and the depth of the secrets hidden from both Todd and the reader. Patrick Ness successfully feeds information to the reader of the underlying secrets of Prentisstown and the world Todd is in. 


Todd himself is someone I continued to like the whole way through the books - he is someone you want as a friend. Viola, I think, is and always be my favourite - perhaps because she is a girl but I just like the way she is presented and how despite losing her family, she kind of gets on with it. The relationship between these two main characters is superb in the way they were written and this is developed and continued throughout the series. 


Written beautifully and originally, this is a book I would recommend to everyone. The lovely characters and plot should give most people a good enough reason to put this up. With twists and turns, this book spits you out at the end, still on the edge with the annoying cliffhanger - making me HAVE to read on. 
There are hilarious moments, heart-wrenching moments (Manchee!) and moments which I cannot describe well for this review. If you haven't read this already, don't doubt it - just go for it and I assure you will be pleased with the outcome!


I give it a 5 out of 5


Author's Website: http://www.patrickness.com/
Pages: 479
Publisher: Walker


Book #2 - The Ask and The Answer
Book #3 - Monsters of Men
Book #0.5 (prequel) - The New World 


THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO is also being made into a film, the rights sold to Liongate who recently made the Hunger Games. 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

On My Bookshelf (19)

This meme is inspired by the similar meme, 'In My Mailbox' created by The Story Siren  (I don't have a Mailbox...)

This week features a non-YA book but still looks incredible.

Borrowed from a friend:

- The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern - so this has a small story behind it. My friend, G, got this book for her birthday and loved it. I mean LOVED IT. And because of working in a book store, I saw it frequently with people raving how good it was. 
So on a train ride home on Thursday, G, myself and our other friend E decided to do a three way swap. I gave E the only John Green book she hadn't read, An Abundance of Katherine's. E gave G John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. And G gave me this. So here we are :)


What did you get this week?

Friday, 23 March 2012

Author Interview: Randall Lowe

This is a original feature made by me where I give authors five questions to answer on their new book

Today I have Randall Lowe to talk about his new Immaculate Resurrections series. 



How did you first come up with the idea for the Immaculate Resurrections series?

I never thought about being a writer. I wanted to be a lawyer. So I went to law school. Then one day in the fall of 2009, I was in my yard raking leaves when an idea started burrowing its way into my consciousness. At first, it was little more than a collection of hazy, precariously tethered images. A scene set in Nicea in the year 325 AD—the year that the Emperor Constantine formed the council of Nicea. Ina matter of hours, the idea had evolved into a story spanning two thousand years.

What did you enjoy writing the most about in the books?

The story revolves around Felix, a college freshman who cheats on his SAT to get into Portland College. I love writing about Felix. He’ssuch a multi-layered character. He’s tormented by his past and convinced that he’s the dumbest kid on campus. But with the help of Lucas, his reality star roommate, and Allison, his friend from high school, his outlook on life starts to improve. Even with the city of Portland on edge as the mutilated remains of several hikers are discovered in the woods near the headquarters of Ashfield Enterprises Incorporated, Felix begins to feel comfortable with the routines of college life. He meets a girl, plays on the football team, parties with his friends, and just as he starts to feel like he belongs on campus, the school’s groundskeeper approaches him and says,“Welcome to college, Felix. By the way, you’re the Second Coming. And the Antichrist, well, he lives on the other side of town.”    

Describe the series in a sentence

A college freshman is made to believe that he’s the Second Coming and the only person capable of preventing the rise of the Antichrist and the Apocalypse.

What advice would you give to future writers—both writing and publishing wise?

Write what you want to write, not what you think people want to read. Too many publishers, agents and writers are trying to produce the next incarnation of yesterday’s best sellers. The end result is a market that’s flooded with indistinguishable titles. The profit motive is obviously part of the publishing industry, but writing a book shouldn’t be like manufacturing a better tasting toothpaste. Immaculate Resurrections has generated some intense reactions, in particular,the first chapter of Book I and the cover. But I would rather rile the sensibilities of people, who in most cases haven’t even read the books, than write some embarrassingly derivative garbage just because it’s popular at the moment.       

What are you working on next?

Book III of Immaculate Resurrections. I had planned to publish it at the end of 2012, but it may slip to the first part of 2013.

Thank you Randall!

Bio:
Randall Lowe wasborn and raised in Oregon and now lives in Connecticut with his wifeand son. He graduated from Willamette University with majors in History and ReligiousStudies and from Columbia Law School.  He practices corporate law by day and writesnovels at night.



Book I and II are out now 


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Tuesday Top Ten: Books On My Spring To-Be-Read list

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. 

This week's theme is Books that are on my to-read list this Spring because well, I need to get round to reading them - like now. Next week, I go on half term (or Spring Break) for two weeks so MEGA reading time - although revising will be on the agenda...


1. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

2. The Girl in the Mask - Marie-Louise Jensen

3. Divergent - Veronica Roth

4. Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend - Cora Harrison

5. Fever - Lauren DeStefano

6. Beautiful Days - Anna Godbersen

7. What Happened To Goodbye - Sarah Dessen (WHY HAVE I WAITED THIS LONG TO READ THIS?!)


8. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

9. Velvet - Mary Hooper

10. The King's Speech - Mark Logue


AND SO MANY MORE. It's crazy...

Sunday, 18 March 2012

On My Bookshelf (18)

This meme is inspired by the similar meme, 'In My Mailbox' created by The Story Siren  (I don't have a Mailbox...)

So when I took back BUMPED to the library, I glanced into the teen section and found this quite by accident. In my work top (I work at a bookshop - surprise?) and in a library where everyone can see I come from there...wow, I felt unwelcomed. I could see the librarian thinking 'Why are you in here? You work surrounded by books'

Borrowed from library:

Crossed by Ally Condie - This is the second in the Matched series. I read the first one last year after it came out and had mixed feelings about it (as you can see here). However, there was so many things that I wanted to find out, I wanted to complete the series. Let me know your own thoughts if you have read it.


What did you get this week?



Monday, 12 March 2012

Bumped - Megan McCafferty (#1)

I had heard about this many times on the blogosphere, first from US bloggers around this time last year and eventually UK bloggers, when it was released here late last year. I could guess what it was about from the cover and although, this vaguely intrigued me, I was never TOO worried about this book.
Until I found it lurking around my local library in the 'NEW!'section. I had read a review by Ria from The Beaucoup Review which really made me want to read this. So I grabbed it along with a couple of others...

Synopsis: In 2036 New Jersey, teenage girls are either religious wives in Goodside or high-priced Surrogettes in Otherside. Due to the Virus, everyone over the age of 18 is infertile, making teenagers the only option for couples to have children. When 16 year-old twins, Melody and Harmony finally meet, they start to fulfil what THEY want to do with their lives.

Review: I'm not entirely sure what to say about this book. I read it very quickly as it was due back soon after I started it.
It is a quick read, even if it is 300-and-something pages. And why? Well, because I was so engrossed in what I was reading, I turned the pages quicker.

First thing first, this is a very controversial book. McCafferty looks at a variety of touchy, taboo like subjects such as teen pregnancy and paying the teens to get pregnant for a donor. She could also be accused of criticising the Church in MANY ways. However, despite the use of these touchy subjects, it makes it a very interesting read.

The book starts rather randomly really. We are taken to a moment after Melody and Harmony have met each other, like we've been dropped off in the middle of the narrative. I kind of liked this, the story started swiftly and we were introduced to our protagonists well here too. But it felt foreign and a bit confusing to be thrown into this book.
The aspect any reader will notice instantly is the slang language used by Melody and her fellow characters in Otherside. All the words reference to pregnancy or babies, constantly reminding me of this baby obsessed society. The slang is confusing at first, yes, but after a while, I started to understand and got used to this. After you understand all the words real meanings, you will understand them throughout the book and they won't bother you again. It's only at the beginning where we're thrown into this world and situation that it is a bit alarming.

The story is set in Otherside. These places act a bit like the North and South divide of America with the Bible Belt states - that what it reminded me a lot of anyway. The setting seems so realistic for me, places I would hang out with friends but different. When they go to the mall, they go to a clothes shop that is about getting accessories for having a baby or looking like you are having one. Constantly, the places and situations Melody and Harmony are in are realistic to teenagers like myself but yet very very different.

Something that struck me from this was that this is set in the near future for us and seems like our world could be like this. The world is very real to me, making it uncomfortable yet intriguing to read about at times. The sexualisation of teenagers is something that concerns us now, yet is second nature in this world in BUMPED. Alternatively, being a teenager, I never feel valued by my older peers but in this society, Melody could be me, pregnant constantly throughout my teens and always earning money. It seems so wrong yet, so right for the situation the world is in. Being pregnant or having sex with someone you don't know is encouraged? It seems such a weird idea to us.

The narrative is told alternatively from Melody and Harmony's points of view which makes it a much more well rounded, engaging novel. However, I had my annoyances with both these characters. Melody started off very catty but I found her narrative much much more interesting the whole way through. Harmony, on the other hand, started off rather boring for me. When she started talking on and on about the Church and her belief, I thought 'Oh here we go for the whole book'. And I was right until about halfway through when she become increasingly more readable. The characters themselves were great, I much preferred Melody as I think she is a lot like me. A more minor character that I loved greatly was Zen, Melody's best friend. He adds much needed humour to a book that may be too intense.

My only problem with this book really is some of the choices by Harmony. Some of the actions she does in the novel, I don't agree with and I think the character she starts off as wouldn't have done these things anyway, even if she did change.

Overall, I found this book rather good actually. I didn't find it amazing...there was something for me that I missed, no great spark and it all happened rather quickly (it is set over three days!) for me. The characters are interesting and McCafferty has done a great job in making them so different and showing their personal change. Yes, this is controversial and may not be to everyone's tastes. But despite the cringy slang and the 'taboo' issues, this book has depth a lot of books miss out on. This is a world that I can see vividly in my future if it could happen and although, at times light-hearted, this deals with some serious, much needed to be addressed issues.
Verdict: Give it a go - but there may be mixed reactions. It is not amazing, yet not terrible.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5

Author's Website: http://www.meganmccafferty.com/
Pages: 323
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Challenges: None

The next book in the series, THUMPED, is due out on the 26th April 2012 (UK)

Cover Reveal: My Super Sweet 16th Century by Rachel Harris

When I heard about this book, I was both intrigued and in awe at what this book would be about. I loved the funky title and the sound of this book. So when I heard about signing up for an 'exclusive' cover reveal, I jumped at the chance - along with MANY others. So, sorry, if you have already seen this, I have too - it is a lovely cover.


Synopsis (from Goodreads): On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze
Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore
Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

And here's a sneaky excerpt:
I hear their muffled whispers and understand every Italian word. Every witty comment made at my expense.
It’s like my brain is automatically translating. I bunch the soft fabric of the dress in my hand and then reach up to feel the ribbon in my hair. I lightly skim my fingers over my chin and feel my lack of zit. I take in the costumes of the crowd, the stench of the animals, and the Italian I can now speak and understand. And suddenly it hits me.
Reyna must have pulled some kind of gypsy mojo.
Maybe this is one of those nifty “change your life” magic scenarios like in the movies. I mean, mostly I’m still expecting to blink and be right back in the midst of overpriced, gaudy tourism, but for now, the gypsy-time-warp explanation is infinitely better than thinking I’ve lost my mind. As I decide to go with that option, I feel my frantic tension melt away.
The growing crowd seems to notice my change in demeanor and begins shooting one another amused looks, but I don’t care anymore. A smile stretches across my face. Evidently, I was wrong earlier; Reyna is a psychic mind reader, because if this is her special brand of bibbity-bobbity-boo, then she made my exact daydream from earlier in the courtyard come to life.
The long red gown, the braided hair, the Italian merchant’s daughter, the time period. I am in Renaissance Florence.
I stare dumbly at the ground, the words and reality sinking in.
I’m in Renaissance Florence! 

MY SUPER SWEET 16TH CENTURY is out on 11th September 2012

For more info on Rachel Harris:



Saturday, 10 March 2012

On My Bookshelf (17)

This meme is inspired by the similar meme, 'In My Mailbox' created by The Story Siren  (I don't have a Mailbox...)

Last weekend, I may have taken advantage of some gift vouchers I had for Amazon and Waterstones...

Bought:

Fever by Lauren DeStefano - After Wither's (see review) AMAZING cover, I knew the whole series would hold amazing covers too. This isn't as great as Wither dress-wise (yes I judge this way...) but it's still better than a LOT of covers out there. Looking forward to this one.
The Girl in the Mask by Marie-Louise Jensen - This is her new book, just recently released. I heard about it last weekend and decided to order it as it was half price on Amazon. I LOVED her previous book The Lady in the Tower (see review) so I hope this will be as good if not better. It sounds a lot like Celia Ree's Sovay The cover is beautiful though...


What did you get this week? 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Author Interview: Amy Lignor



And so continues the Until Next Time blog tour. Now, I admit I am not a huge paranormal fan, in fact I've never read a paranormal book EVER - mostly because the Twilight craze put me off them before I had chance to pick up a book of this genre. Considering that, this book really does intrigue me, it sounds different and well, the fact it's not copying or doing the whole vampire thing from the Twilight Saga, fills me with extreme joy.

So, I was quite excited when I was asked to join this tour so I could find out a little bit more about this new novel. Today I have it's author, Amy Lignor, to ask The 5 Questions on her next book, UNTIL NEXT TIME.


What made you write your new book, UNTIL NEXT TIME?

I am a big YA angel fan. I think the books that are coming out are really a great deal offun, but I was always wondering what a ‘fresh’ angel would do if they came here. In other words, I’ve read all about the ‘fallen’ and the ‘tormented,’ butI wondered what a being, that was actually born and trained to come down here and help, would end up doing and how they would end up surviving? Human emotions are so strong, and they range from everything to romance and happiness, to serious nightmares, like envy, anger, hate, etc. So for a pure innocent mind to head down here on ‘assignment’ and be faced with these realities, I wondered how they would handle it. I knew they would have a great deal of questions, and the romance aspects of life, as well as jealously and heartache could really make them want to head right back up there and say, “Forget it! These people are on their own.” Which made me really want to explore that and see how they’d handle it.

What did you enjoy the most about writing it?

It was so much fun because it’s really two lives in one book. I already know that there will be a ‘parting of the ways’ where fans are concerned. A group will like Emily and Matt, and agroup will like Liz and Daniel (which are the ‘assignments’ that the angel/warrior team take over.)  Emily and Matt have a job to do; they have the ability to help, save, judge, destroy,protect, etc., but it’s fun to see them fall in love and struggle with the ‘earthly’ lives they have to lead. For me, these four characters are interesting each in their own way. The only thing I really hope for is the fact that people ‘see’ that Emily and Matt, although being trained and mentored by archangels, are not overwhelmingly religious. This story offers inspiration, but Emily and Matt are really just ‘questioning’ everything while living out their human lives and trying to be everything to everyone. So, it will be interesting to see the ‘split’ between readers.

Describe the book in a sentence.

UNT is the story of a truly ‘divine’ team that must find a way to keep their faith in each other in a world that’s slowly ripping them apart.

What advice would you give to future writers - both in the writing and publishing process?

Don’t stop. I know I say this a great deal - most likely because with my company, The WriteCompanion, I help a great deal of debut authors get up and running and published. But working with all of these authors, I have to reiterate, not to give up!  This is a dream industry…when it works; but this is a hard industry to break into and there are rejections. In fact, your favorite authors were once rejected a great deal.What authors should always remember is, just because you get a rejection from an agent or a publisher does not mean that the next one won’t say, “Yes.”  So try not to get depressed and throw your manuscript into a filing cabinet somewhere. If you want this, don’t stop!

Are you working on anything else?

I have just completed Book II of The Angel Chronicles, and I am on story five out of seven for the Tallent & Lowery series. Tallent & Lowery is being ‘shopped’ around for a print publisher now that the first book, 13, has done so well in electronic formats. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that one. J

Thank you Amy and to Tribute Books. 


Contact:
Website
Goodreads
Twitter


UNTIL NEXT TIME is the first book in the Angel Chronicles series, released 1st February 2012.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Cinder - Marissa Meyer (#1)

I saw this frequently on the blogosphere with many bloggers raving about it, on their 2012 to-reads - needless to say, there was a lot of hype about this book. Which is what intrigued me when I found a copy at my local library. I nearly put it back down when I found it but thanks to my Goodreads app, I had a look at reviews and decided to give it a go. Wow - so glad I didn't put it back on the shelf...

Synopsis: The population of New Beijing holds mostly humans and androids. Oh, and Cinder - a cyborg. A deadly plague has swept Earth and the Lunar people on the Moon are waiting for their next move to start a war. No-one quite realises that the future hinges on Cinder herself. - neither does she. She is a second-class citizen with an unknown past, with an evil stepmother for a guardian and blamed for her stepsister's illness because she is...well, different. Soon her life becomes intertwined with Prince Kai's and she becomes caught between duty and freedom, past and future or loyalty and betrayal. She must uncover her previous life in order to help the future.

Review: So obviously my first thoughts were 'Really, a cyborg that's based on old fairytale of Cinderella?' I wasn't sure. I think the thing that made me doubtful was that this sounded such a far fetched story - something no-one has done before. I was so intrigued but I didn't know if it would let me down. Looking back now, that is such a stupid thought. I don't know if this review will be sufficient in showing my thoughts on this book - I shall try.

The novel is loosely based on the classic Cinderella story, the first in four books based around our traditional fairytales. There are all the elements we recognise in there - the ball, dresses, evil stepmother and sisters, handsome prince. But then, there are new things that really make this book unique (Exhibit A: Cinder is a cyborg).
Cinder's story is really unique, really. She was adopted by a brilliant scientist who died not long afterwards and since then, she has been with her stepmother and their two human daughters, Peony and Pearl. Another twist - Peony is her best friend and the less 'ugly stepsister' of the two. Cinder's guardianship means she earns money for the household while doing chores with the help of her assistant android with a faulty personality chip, the hilarious Iko. Because of working at the market every day, she has become one of the most skilled mechanics, so it is no wonder that the Prince approaches Cinder with his broken android for help.

My favourite part of this book was the subtle homage to the late Cinderella story - not the Disney one (although I love that film), the original fairytale. The setting is New Beijing - a city rebuilt after World War Four. Of course, the original Cinderella story was set in the Eastern world so I liked this touch. The ball where the prince dances with all the legitimate young ladies - ah, favourite part of Cinderella (and of the book!). Marissa Meyer has created a book that hasn't copied word for word the story of Cinderella but based Cinder around this idea and added her own unique and quirky edge, making this such an interesting, dense novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was nice for the major countries where most books are set (America and England) to move away from the spotlight for a bit. They placed such a minor role in the book (Nice reference to English royal family - 'Queen Camilla' - if anyone catches my drift...)

The story is really engaging, especially the climatic scenes at the end. We are drip fed information and there are moments where they're just going to reveal it...and then, something happens to stop them. Yes, it is frustrating but oh my, it made me devour this novel. I admit, it takes a while to warm up, but by halfway through, this book grabbed me, swirled me crazily to know what happens, and then spat me out in the end - stunned. There are so many things discovered in this book, I wonder what new things we will find out in the next. Although, there were all these interesting cliffhangers and revelations, some of them were quite predictable, but then, some weren't. The ending of the book I didn't expect at all, but the revelation at the end I guessed early on. The last page holds the moments after the major event at the end so if you read the last page (like I did) it is hard to discover what happens throughout the book. A good choice if those reading are like me!

Cinder herself, could be seen as irritating as she is quite cynical and sarcastic. But I liked it! I liked that she was a bit different - went away from the things most girls drew towards. She wasn't fazed when the Prince casually turns up at her stall - as you do - unlike Iko or Peony. She wasn't fazed when he helps her and flirts with her. She was very cool, calm and collected and not incredibly girly like Cinderella is mostly depicted. She has attitude and doesn't mind using it on those above her. Her sarcasm provided some much needed funny moments to the book, which otherwise may have been quite intense.

Prince Kai. Well. I can see why he is seen as quite a catch. I was starting to fall for him like the other single ladies in this book. He could be played two ways - incredibly pretentious or incredibly modest. Meyer optioned for the latter and it worked really well. He was this child Prince that suddenly had a lot of responsibility with the Lunar Queen demanding to marry him. He has deal with this and is only 18. With the combined sarcasm and humour for Kai and Cinder, it made a lovely relationship to read about and some of the most readable parts of the novel for those that did not like this book. They built their relationship up from helper, friends and then more. There is an instant where it all comes together and you want desperately for it to work out.

The other characters are all lovely. Adri, Pearl and Levana I hated. I loved the characters of Peony and Iko and the way they help Cinder. Dr Erland was a strange character - I'll leave your views on him for later.
This novel holds all the ingredients for a great book and it delivers. For those who are sceptical about a Cinderella re-telling with a cyborg, just go for it. It's so worth the surprise.
Meyer, my hat goes off to you, well done for making such a lovely, surprising, thrilling novel based upon one of the most loved fairytales. I cannot wait for the next in the series.

Verdict: Bottom line? I really really liked this book.

I give it 5 out of 5

Author's Website: http://marissameyer.livejournal.com/
Pages: 387
Publisher: Penguin
Challenges: None

The next book in the series SCARLETT will be released in 2013 (oh, so long...)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tuesday Top Ten: Favourite Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. 


This week's theme is my favourite book covers, and THERE ARE A FEW. So this may just be rambling on about how pretty books are in general because I ALWAYS judge a book by it's cover - just a warning before we start.  


*Some of the covers may be different to others as I live in the UK*


 The Lover's Dictionary - David Levithan


This is the hardcover version and I don't know why but I love it.
It was what drew me towards the book, I liked the italic writing, the way it is arranged into a heart and the 'V''s being in a different colour.
It is such a simple cover but did it for me.
 Wither - Lauren DeStefano


Let's face it, this is going to be on most of these posts. But it is so beautiful.

What I like about it is that although some covers have pictures and colours that vaguely relate to the book, all the aspects of this cover make sense and relate utterly to the novel.
The subtle circles to highlight the main things - the dress, face, ring, birdcage. Knowing the story now, I think this is so clever and how all book covers should be really.
 The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky


I must admit, this cover has no correlation to the events in the book. But I love this cover anyhow!
This is again the reason I wanted to read the  book (see a theme?). And it shows the style of the book - modern, quirky, indie.
I guess I liked the pink and black contrast that looked like someone just wrote it on there a minute ago. The pictures creep me out a bit though...


 The 10pm Question - Kate De Goldi


Not the best book I have ever read but again, the appeal for me to read this book came from the cover.
The book is set in New Zealand and knowing that, you can see that in the bird.
It's just such a nice original cover that works with the book itself.
And it's a preeetty bird...



The Luxe - Anna Godbersen


How could I not include this?! The Luxe series features some BEAUTIFUL DRESSES that had me lusting over them and wishing I could wear a dress like that. My favourite has to be RUMOURS - that red is such a lovely colour. LUXE comes closely behind. Ah! Amazing!




The Selection - Kiera Cass


I do not own or have read this book but it keeps popping up on the blogosphere and on Goodreads. HAVE YOU SEEN THAT DRESS? HAVE YOU SEEN THAT COVER? IT IS GORGEOUS. 


I want this book, just merely to lust over the cover. Don't judge a book by it's cover? THAT is out of the window right now.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

On My Bookshelf (16)

This meme is inspired by the similar meme, 'In My Mailbox' created by The Story Siren  (I don't have a Mailbox...)

On Monday, there was a broken down train so I couldn't get to college until later. So what did I do?
I went to Starbucks with friends and then went next door to Waterstones to buy books!

Bought:

Divergent by Veronica Roth - this is the new UK paperback and a very last minute purchase as I picked it up as I was heading to tills. I mean £4.99 for a book of this size - very good! I've heard it's a great book so I thought it was worth a shot. 
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - this was the book I went into the bookshop for in the first place. As I mentioned here, they are doing special £1 editions to honour World Book Day. £1? I'm there. 


What books did you get this week? 

Friday, 2 March 2012

Looking back at FEBRUARY

February seemed very long. I mean, it was a month since I turned 17 and that seemed to me like ages ago. I look back at what I read and think 'That seems like I read that a while ago now'.
We're into March which means 2012 has really got under way - why must the time go so fast?

Blogging wise - I feel bad because I want to improve the blog to gain more people, make people more knowledgeable of the blog. But I don't know how - Suggestions from anyone are welcome!

Reviews: 
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Notes to Self - Avery Sawyer
The Lover's Dictionary - David Levithan
Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi


So, had a bit of a David Levithan fest/introduction this month and honestly, he's good. Very good. I have reviewed three requests this month (more than EVER!) which makes me feel like a proper reviewer now, ha. 


Memes:

Sorry, no Top Ten Tuesday's - I have either been too busy/tired or just didn't like the subject. I'll try to do some in March. 



Author Interviews:

So I launched the new feature THE 5 QUESTIONS and I have some authors coming up in March for you guys. If you are an author reading this, contact me (look at Review Policy for email) to let me know!



Other:


Apart from all these lovely posts, you may have noticed the new header (made by my own fair hands) and a general spice up of the blog. I hope you all like it!

So a lot has happened this month really...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Author Interview: Derek Kent


This is a original feature made by me where I give authors five questions to answer on their new book

Today, I have Derek Kent (aka Derek the Ghost), author of The Scary School series to talk about the first and upcoming second book in the delightful series.


How did you come up with the idea for Scary School?

The first novel I ever wrote was originally called SCARY SCHOOL: BOOK 1 - MY HOMEWORK ATE MY DOG!  - it's a middle-grade fantasy series very similar to Harry Potter. The only problem was, it didn't have a whole lot to do with a "scary school". I just thought of that title and wanted to use it before someone else did. So my editor at HarperCollins read the book, and almost acquired it, but in the end, they ended up passing on it, but gave me the recommendation to write a book series called SCARY SCHOOL that was lighter, funnier, and more school-centric. I took their advice, which became the Scary School series we know today.  It was also great because for inspiration I got to use all of my favorite characters from the horror movies I loved, like Jason, and Freddy, and even the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park! I wanted to imagine what it would be like if they had all gone to school together when they were kids, and in my silly head, the reality of that would be pretty dang funny.

By the way, the original book ended up becoming RUDY AND THE BEAST: BOOK 1 - MY HOMEWORK ATE MY DOG! which is available exclusively through my website at http://www.scaryschool.com/bookstore.html  - and you can get it on Kindle (just $2.99!) or paperback! For those who like dark fantasies like Harry Potter, I've gotten many responses that young readers enjoy it even more than Scary School! 

What did you enjoy writing most about in the book?

I had to change schools when I was 11 years old after being with the same group of kids my whole life. I had a really hard time adjusting, so both books of Scary School and Rudy and the Beast deal with kids starting a new school and figuring out how make new friends. I enjoy writing about problems like this. Experiences that every kid has to go through at some point in their life, but told against the backdrop of a fantastical or supernatural story that kids love.
Describe the book in a sentence.

At a school where the daily routine consists of learning, horror, and mayhem, unique kids and scary teachers have the time of their lives at a place where just making it lunch with all your arms and legs is considered a great day.
What advice would you give to future writers - both writing and publishing wise?

For writing: just read and write as much as you can. The more you read and the more your write (especially in the genre you want to write in) the stronger your writing will get and the more aware you will be of your strengths and areas open for improvement. For publishing: if you are in the Southern California area, I'd actually highly recommend you take my class that I teach on getting an agent or publisher. I also teach 5-week children's and YA writing workshops as well as those special one-day workshops on getting published through Writing Pad in Los Angeles - www.WritingPad.com - so that's one option. If that's not an option, first off I'd advise you to complete your novel. That's an important first step. And when it's ready to be submitted, make sure you have a super-strong query letter and then get very serious and focused about sending it out, for which there are many different strategies that I wish I could get into, but that would go on for hundreds of pages. There's lots of good information about it online though.
What are you working on next?

I recently turned in Book 3 of Scary School, so you can expect new books in that series every June. Scary School #2: Monsters on the March comes out June 26, 2012 and Book 3 comes out June 2013. I also recently finished a new middle-grade comedy book called Principal Mikey about a 10-year-old kid who becomes principal of his school, and we're shopping that around right now. You may also see a spin-off of Scary School in the near future as well as a cinematic adventure book!

For more information on Scary School and all my other books, I invite everyone to visit www.ScarySchool.com- it's a super-fun website! You can play a video game on it, and if you win, you will receive the weirdest trophy ever! Plus you can tour the school, meet the students and faculty, watch some cool videos, and even unlock the "Secret Last Chapter" but you'll only know how to do that after you finish reading Book 1 of Scary School!

Thank you Derek!


The first book in THE SCARY SCHOOL series is out now. 
The second book will be released on 26th June 2012