Monday, 30 August 2010

Signing Report: John Green

On Saturday 14th August, I went up to London to meet John Green at the Piccadilly Waterstone’s. I realise this was ages ago, but I was just too lazy to write up the post!

There were so many people there! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Waterstones so busy. There were about 150 people in the room and scores of people waiting downstairs who didn’t have a ticket.

John talked about how you can never know how it feels to be someone else and when you finally realise that other people are human beings, too. But he said it with clever, funny anecdotes that put us all more in awe of him than we were before.

We then went into a different room to get our books signed. I was shaking I was so nervous, but luckily John was just as nervous. He told me “It’s the table” in between us that induces the nervousness!

After the signing, all of the bloggers that had been in the signing; Jenny (Wondrous Reads), Carla (The Crooked Shelf), Liz (My Favourite Books), Caroline (Portrait of a Woman), Becky (The Bookette), Ana (The Book Smugglers) and two 2011 debut authors, Kaz Mahoney and Cat Clarke went for dinner at Tiger, Tiger and chatted endlessly about books. We then mooched on over to Foyles to drool over the beautiful books.

It was a brilliant afternoon and I always go home with a renewed love of books, authors and blogging after these events.


Sunday, 29 August 2010

In My Mailbox 76

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets.

For Review:

Blood Ransom - Sophie McKenzie

Clones Rachel and Theo now live thousands of miles apart. They keep in touch regularly via the internet, but things just aren’t the same.

When Rachel discovers that evil scientist Elijah is still working in secret for a section on the government and about to murder Daniel, she sets out to rescue the little boy, but her plans backfire with disastrous consequences.

Across the Atlantic, Theo quickly becomes suspicious when Rachel misses their weekly internet chat. He discovers a report online saying she’s killed herself and travels to Scotland to find her, certain that she’s been kidnapped. A clue leads him to Elijah’s mysterious clinic, where the sinister Aphrodite Experiment is underway. But why does Elijah need to track Rachel down so badly? And what is the ultimate raonsom that he demands for her?

A big thanks to S&S for this as I’ve heard really amazing things about the first book, Blood Ties.


I know I said that I was going to treat myself this week, but I’ve been getting tonnes of uni stuff instead. An Mockingjay was more than enough of a treat, anyway!

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

From Goodreads: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge...This thrilling final instalment of this ground-breaking trilogy promises to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.


Saturday, 28 August 2010

Win: A Glee Prize Pack (CLOSED)

The lovely people at Headline and Fox Entertainment have given me the chance to let one of you win the last Glee Prize package. This includes:

Glee: The Beginning (you can read my review here.)            

Glee: Road to Sectionals DVD (Glee: Road to Sectionals is available on DVD now. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.)
and Gleebook posters.

How to enter:
+1 Leave a comment with you email address and name.
+2 Follow my blog.

The deadline is Saturday 5th September at 11:59pm GMT.
This is UK only (because of the DVD).

Good luck!


Friday, 27 August 2010

My Desperate Love Diary - Liz Rettig

My Desperate Love Diary - Liz Rettig

Pages: 314
Publisher: Corgi (Random House)
Release Date: 23rd August 2005

Other Title in this Series: My Now or Never Diary; Jumping to Confusions; My Dating Disasters Diary; My Rocky Romance Diary

There’s G. Isn’t he gorgeous? I think he just looked at me - well, he looked in my direction anyway. Do you think he’d ask me out if I dyed my hair and got breast implants? Kelly Ann

I think you need brain implants, Kelly Ann, then maybe you’d see what a complete idiot G is. Stephanie

Stephanie’s right. Ok, G’s not ugly but he’s SO up himself! You’d be much better off with Chris . He’s really fit and crazy about you, if only you’d open your eyes… Liz

Don’t be stupid! Chris is a good friend but that’s it. I’d rather snog my brother (if I had one). Now be serious, how do I get G to notice me? A blonde wig a Wonderbra? Kelly Ann

My Desperate Love Diary follows fifteen-year-old Kelly Ann’s, well, disastrous, attempts to lure the boy of her dreams.

Liz Rettig has imagined a brilliantly memorable cast of characters to support Kelly Ann. Her best friends, Liz and Stephanie, are there for her every step of the way, but definitely keep her feet off the ground. Liz is always on a doomed-from-the-start diet and provides therapy sessions for anyone who’ll listen while Stephanie has gorgeous, not-so-clever boyfriend after gorgeous, not-so-clever boyfriend. Then there’s sweet and caring Chris and the arrogant, idiotic G.

However, I didn’t really gel with Kelly Ann. The way she pandered to G’s ever need and was convinced that the sun shone out of his ass even when he was being an ass really got on my nerves. Her inability to realise that he was not interested and being oblivious to Chris’s clear attraction to her wound me up. Open your eyes, girl! But the diary format was easy to read and I got the ending I wanted.

My Desperate Love Diary is a fun read for fans of diary books that follow the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare

Pages: 475
Publisher: Walker
Release Date: 6th September 2010

Other Titles by this Author: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass

Magic is dangerous - but love is more dangerous still

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gas lit street. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends and quickly realises that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Clockwork Angel is a spectacular example of YA urban fantasy. Cassandra Clare really is a genius.

The Mortal Instruments is one of my favourite series’ because of the extraordinary world that has been built for the Shadowhunters. Well, I love Jace too, but that’s a post for another day. Back to the world: it has roots in history of the biggest cities from all over the world and spanning centuries. Having read The Mortal Instruments I was able to identify the predecessors of very important characters in the series. The Lightwood family had a reasonable role in Clockwork Angel and the Wayland’s were also mentioned. I was very pleased that Magnus Bane was in it as I loved him in The Mortal Instruments. I love it when authors interconnect their stories!

Cassandra Clare is also extremely talented when it comes to creating characters hat sit perfectly in her dark and twisted world. Charlotte, Henry, Jem, Jessamine and Will who run the London Institute are very similar to Jace and the Lightwoods in The Mortal Instruments and so I immediately loved them. Especially sweet and caring Jem who’s hiding a heart-breaking secret and sarcastic, cutting, sexy and dangerous Will who isn’t all that he seems. They reminded me a lot of Alec and Jace, actually.

What set Clockwork Angel apart from The Mortal Instruments was the setting of Victorian London. The Institute was way ahead of it’s time. Female Shadowhunters wore trousers and fought alongside the men like equals, which baffled Tessa endlessly, they treated each other informally and skated over some of the stiffer Victorian societal rules. Women such as Charlotte had power and even ran the Institute. There was also period appropriate quotes and poetry extracts at the beginning of each chapter hinting at its contents.

I loved Clockwork Angel and after devouring it in hours, I’m already anxiously awaiting more of Cassandra Clare’s writing.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan

Pages: 310
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: 6th April 2010

Other Titles by this Author: JG - Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns. DL - Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, Love is a Higher Law etc.

It’s not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets. When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With a push from friends new and old - including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theatre auteur extraordinaire - Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most awesome high school musical.

I love everything John Green and having heard only amazing things about David Levithan’s books so I knew I was in for a treat with Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

What was immediately obvious to me while reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson was which chapters were written by which author. John Green delivered his trademark lovable and nerdy protagonist, wry humour, wit and cleverness while David Levithan’s chapters were new to me. I have to admit that I wasn’t too sure at first, but by the middle of the novel I had fallen head over heels for David’s Will and his writing. Now I know why he is so revered in the world of YA.

Like everyone else who’s read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I love Tiny Cooper. He is a masterpiece of a character. Everything that he said either made me smile or tear up and his flamboyance was a complete joy to read. I loved how his being gay wasn’t an issue in the book; it was simply an integral part of the character that the amazing john Green created. Oh, and he can write a mean musical. Seriously, if they were showing it in the West End I’d go and see it. Brilliant!

Even though I adored Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I did have a few initial niggles. The first thing is the amount of swearing there is in this book. I mean, I’m not a prude and I’m very used to people swearing (hello, I live in Crawley!) but there was just a lot of it that was occasionally unnecessary, though I did get used to it. But my major issue was the lack of capital letters in David Levithan’s chapters. I can be a bit of a grammar, punctuation, spelling etc. Nazi (I correct everyone!) so it really got on my nerves which probably didn’t help my early uncertainty about his writing.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a intensely emotional, unflinchingly honest and, ultimately, uplifting novel from two masters of their genre.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Glee: The Beginning - Sophia Lowell

Glee: The Beginning - Sophia Lowell

Pages: 218
Publisher: Headline
Release Date: 5th August 2010

All great performances deserve a warm-up!

Enroll early at McKinley High to discover what went on before New Directions was even a glimmer in Mr Schuester’s eye. When did Rachel first decide Finn was more than just a jock? When did Puck and Quinn start their secret romance? And how did the fledgling Glee Club function without a fearless leader? Hint: It wasn’t exactly a perfect melody.

Break out the gold stars and refill the slushies: It’s time to find out what happened to all your favourite characters before the show-mance began.

As a huge fan of the TV show Glee, I was very excited when I was given the chance to read and review Glee: The Beginning.

It was obvious reading Glee: The Beginning that Sophia Lowell really knows her Glee. Every element of the characters was spot on: voice, personality, dialogue and actions. It was so much fun to get into the heads of Puck, Kurt, Quinn, Rachel, Mercedes, Finn, Artie and Tina who I’ve grown to love over the series. I was a little disappointed that Mr Schu didn’t get much face time, though. I love Mr Schu!

Glee: The Beginning worked brilliantly as a prequel as lots of both major and minor plotlines from the show were introduced. From Finn and Quinn’s doomed romance to Mercedes’ crush on Kurt and Finn’s pull towards the Glee Club to Quinn and Puck’s escalating flirtation. I turned the last page desperate to watch the whole season again and hope that season two is on our screens soon.

Sophia Lowell has written a quick, fun and easy to read novel that Glee fans will lap up.

For my 2010 Debut Author Challenge, 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Monday, 23 August 2010

Troy High - Shana Norris

Troy High - Shana Norris

Pages: 256
Publisher: Abrams Books
Release Date: 1st August 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Something to Blog About

Homer’s Iliad, the classic tale of love and revenge, is shrewdly retold for teens in Troy High. Narrated by Cassie, a shy outsider who fears that an epic high school rivalry is about to go up in flames, the story follows the Trojans and Spartans as they declare war on the football field. After the beautiful Elena—who used to be the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders—transfers to Troy High and falls madly in love with Cassie’s brother Perry, the Spartans vow that the annual homecoming game will never be forgotten.

The Trojans and Spartans pull wicked pranks on each other as homecoming approaches. And the Spartans’ wildcard football star, Ackley, promises to take down the Trojans’ offensive line. But the stakes are raised when Cassie is forced to choose between the boy she loves (a Spartan) and loyalty to her family and school.

Troy High is a clever and entertaining re-telling of Homer’s classic epic poem, the Illiad.

I’ve never read the Iliad, but I do know the story of Helen of Troy vaguely, and I had no trouble at all in following the plot and identifying the connections between the stories.. It’s such a famous tale that’s been re-told so many times and through lots of different medias, but I’ve never come across a modern YA version before. And though I have no point of comparison, I think Shana Norris did it brilliantly.

The rivalry between Troy High and Lacede High had been around for fifty years before Elena Argos was transferred from Lacede to Troy, fell in love with one of their star football players and sparked a war. Outrageous pranks were pulled by both sides and although they were meant to be funny, I agreed with Cassie and thought that they were petty and immature. I also DO NOT understand American football. At all. And are US high schools really like that? I so hope not.

Shana Norris has written a nice, quick read complete with a very sweet romance.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Sunday, 22 August 2010

In My Mailbox 75

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets.

A slow week this week. But there may be a few more next time as I intend to treat myself for passing my exams and getting into the university that I wanted. It’s been a nerve wracking week!

For Review:

The Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous - but love is more dangerous still

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gas lit street. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends and quickly realises that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

YAY!!! Thank you, Walker! I read this the afternoon it arrived: LOVE!

The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight - Jenny Valentine

“I didn’t choose to be him. I didn’t pick Cassiel Roadnight out of a line-up of possible people who looked just like me. I just let it happen. I just wanted it to be true. That’s all I did wrong, at the beginning.”

A fugitive teenager takes on the identity of another missing boy. But everyone has their secrets. Who will get to the truth first?

Thanks, Harper Collins.

The Wings of Leo Spencer - Jerome Parisse

Fourteen year old Leo has found the most amazing present for his mum’s birthday. Unfortunately, someone has decided that he will not live to see it…

As he dies, Leo finds himself facing a terrifying choice, one that will impact his life - or death - forever.

But who wanted him dead in the first place? And why is he being targeted by an evil force? Even Geraldine - dead and loving every minute of it - has no clue as to what’s happening.

Leo’s search for the truth takes him to the most astonishing places, and presents him with a challenge even greater than dying: to protect his family and his best friend from a terrible fate…

But how do you do that if you can make no impression on the material world?

Thanks to Jerome for this. It sounds fantastic.


Friday, 20 August 2010

Linger - Maggie Stiefvater

Linger - Maggie Stiefvater

Pages: 416
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 21st July 2010

Other Titles in the Series: Shiver; Forever (July/11)

I feel the weight of the pack’s gaze…

Grace and Sam must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping dangerous secrets. For Sam, it means grappling with his werewolf past…and figuring out how to survive the future.

But just when they manage to find happiness, Grace realises she’s changing in ways she never could have expected…

Man, I love The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Because of this I was actually rather worried that Linger might not live up to Shiver. What was I worried about, again?

Before I launch into a full-on gush about Linger, I need to have my say on the four points of view. I’m a huge fan of multiple narration so I was very pleased to have Sam and Grace back, but I didn’t really warm to Isabel in Shiver so it took me a while to start properly enjoy her perspective and I got worried that I just couldn’t remember who Cole was. It turns out that he’s completely new. And the ultimate bad boy. Needless to say, he grew on me.

Maggie Stiefvater writes in the most extraordinary way. Her prose has a gorgeous lyricism about it: she really has a way with words. They float off the page and swirl around in the air before drifting down and sinking into my brain. The seductive tone drew me into the troubled and complicated minds of Sam, Grace, Isabel and Cole until I saw what they saw and felt what they felt.

And boy did I feel the connection between Sam and Grace. The strength of their love was demonstrated in every word, every look and every touch which only made the ending even more gut-wrenching. And being the sap that I am, I cried buckets.

I just hope that Sam and Grace get a happy ending in Forever, but after that evil, evil cliffhanger, I just can’t see how.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Thursday, 19 August 2010

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson

Roger and Amy’s Epic Detour - Morgan Matson

Pages: 342
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 4th May 2010
When you’re on a road trip, life is all about the detours…

Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother has decided to move cross country and needs Amy to get their car from California to Connecticut. There’s just one small problem: since her dad died this past spring, Amy hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger, the nineteen-year-old son of an old family friend, who turns out to be unexpectedly cute…and dealing with some baggage of his own.

Meeting new people and coming to terms with her father’s death were not what Amy had planned on this trip. And travelling the Loneliest Road in America, seeing the Colorado mountains, crossing the Kansas plains, and visiting diners, dingy motels, and Graceland were definitely not on the itinerary. But as they drive, Amy learns that the people you least expected are the ones you may need the most - and that sometimes you have to get lost to find your way home.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is a perfect read for summer that will touch even the hardest of hearts.

Throughout the novel, mementos of Amy and Roger’s trip across America are woven into the narrative. Receipts and menus from their diner stops, random photos from the road, play lists and even pages from books really add to the novel and set it apart a little. I really love when this sense of realness is introduced to the story and characters by extra little titbits.

All of the extras didn’t draw the novel away from the real essence of the novel - Amy and Roger working through their issues on the road trip - at all. Instead they connected them and allowed Amy to come to terms with her dad’s death and it’s repercussions on her family and Roger to resolve his girl problems. And of course they fell for each other, too. I would’ve been really annoyed if they hadn’t!

Morgan Matson titled her debut so perfectly. Amy and Roger’s road trip went off track immediately and on their travels they met some very cool people: Barb who gave them some very important advice, Drew who introduced Amy and Roger to heaven in burger form and Blonweyn who gave Amy her confidence back in a rather unusual way, among others. Every one of them helped Amy and Roger in solving their issues in one way or another.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour left me dying to go on a road trip across the US and eager to see what the very talented Morgan Matson has in store for us next.

For my 2010 Debut Author Challenge, 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa

Pages: 359
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 1st August 2010

Other Titles in the Series: The Iron King; The Iron Queen (01/02/11)

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is a prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey - ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s tuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

I made no attempt to hide my love for The Iron King and the same goes for The Iron Daughter. I loved, loved, loved it!

Julie Kagawa has the most stunning writing style. Her imagery is mesmerising in its vibrancy and detail of the Nevernever. The harsh, impersonal Winter Court, the dangerous Wyldwood and the regal, aloof Faery royalty leap off the page and bury themselves in my brain. This world holds me tightly in its grip until well after I’ve turned the last page. It’s utterly captivating and always leaves me wanting more.

But my favourite aspect of The Iron Fey trilogy is still Ash. I guess I just have a thing for dark faery princes and I’ll have to learn to live with it. J though in The Iron Daughter he traumatised me. Ash ripped my heart out and stamped on it multiple times. Admittedly, it wasn’t always his fault and I still love him. I suppose you could say I’m Team Ash, really.

Putting my Ash love aside, I’ve also got to give Meghan her dues. I felt like she grew up in The Iron Daughter. Meghan knew what she wanted and how to get it, what she needed to do and how to do it and still put her life on the line to protect the people she loves. The experiences of the first book strengthened her and by the end of The Iron Daughter she was a fighter. And after the last chapter, she’s going to need to be.

Even though there was a not-quite-a-cliffhanger ending, I’m still dying for The Iron Queen, the final instalment of Meghan and Ash’s story.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Sing Me to Sleep - Angela Morrison

Sing Me to Sleep - Angela Morrison

Pages: 301 (ARC)
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: 4th March 2010

Other titles by this Author: Taken by Storm

Beth has always been “The Beast” - that’s what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Who could love a beast? Beth’s only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she’s selected to be her choir’s soprano soloist, and receives the makeover of a lifetime. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of Beth.

Things only get better when her choir travels to Switzerland and Beth meets the mysterious Derek. They have an incredible whirlwind affair that makes Beth realise, for the first time, she too can find love. She’s no longer The Beast. In Derek’s eyes, she’s a beauty. But then Scott makes a heartbreaking confession to Beth that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, passionate feelings she has for Derek?

And there’s an even bigger problem: Derek’s got a secret…one that could shatter everything.

I’ve put off writing my review for Sing Me to Sleep for quite a while as it’s hard to articulate my thoughts about such a complex and emotional novel.

Sing Me to Sleep packs an immediate punch with the brutal treatment Beth receives from her peers. I was horrified by the names, the pranks, the taunts and the whispers that she endured every day. Her strength while dealing with her tormentors - who she called the Horsemen of the Apocalypse - was so admirable that I was literally in awe of her, even with her constant disbelief in herself.

But there’s so much more to this novel than bullying. A beautiful, choppy, almost stream-of-consciousness narrative passionately conveys Beth’s innate love of music and her undeniable talent. Her intrinsic connection with melody and lyrics are reflected in the songs and song fragments that are scattered throughout the novel. As someone who doesn’t have a musical bone in my body, I love reading about characters who have a love that’s so unreachable for me.

Though I’m sure that what you’re really dying to hear about is Derek and his secret. And what a secret. But before we go into that, I have a confession to make: I knew the secret before it was revealed. You see, I flicked to the back of the book to answer somebody’s question on the length of Sing Me to Sleep and two words from the author’s note caught my eye and gave the game away. Regardless, the reveal still made me cry and the ending broke my heart.

After loving Sing Me to Sleep I’m extremely eager to get my hands on a copy of Angela Morrison’s first novel, Taken by Storm.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Monday, 16 August 2010

Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols

Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols

Pages: 245
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date: 17th March 2009

Other Titles by this Author: Major Crush; The Ex Games; The Boys Next Door; Endless Summer; Forget You

How far would you go?

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far…and almost doesn’t make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him too the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied town, they will drive each other to the edge - and over…

I was promised amazing things from Going Too Far and Jennifer Echols and my fellow bloggers did not lead me astray.

Jennifer Echols’ writing is stunning. It’s sharp and direct, but fluid and endlessly compelling at the same time. I was catapulted into Meg’s and I remained completely involved until the shocking last 40/50 pages jolted me out with their power and intensity. I was completely and utterly blown off my sun lounger. Seriously, I refused to move until I had finished it.

Meg and John had a hell of a romance. Fiery and rebellious Meg and law-abiding, serious John are so opposite that some very hot and intense scenes arose. They were both hiding huge secrets from their pasts that had the potential to rock their already volatile relationship. My curiosity about these secrets was part of the reason why I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page. And the constant challenges and witty exchanges between Meg and John, of course.

After reading and loving Going Too Far so much, I went out and bought Forget You and Endless Summer the very next day. I think I’m going to be a lifelong fan.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Sunday, 15 August 2010

In My Mailbox 74

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets.

For Review:

The Fallen 1: The Fallen and Leviathan - Thomas E. Sniegoski

The ultimate quest for redemption.

On his eighteenth birthday, Aaron begins to heard strange voices and is convinced he is going insane. But having moved from foster home to foster home, Aaron doesn’t know whom he can trust. He wants to confide in the cute girl from class, but fears she’ll confirm he’s crazy.

Then a mysterious man begins following Aaron. He knows about Aaron’s troubled past and his new powers. And he has a message for Aaron: As the son of a mortal and an angel, Aaron has been chosen to redeem the Fallen.

Aaron to dismiss the news and resists his supernatural abilities. But he must accept his newfound heritage - and quickly. For the dark powers are gaining strength, and are hell-bent on destroying him…

Angels! Thanks, S&S!

My Desperate Love Diary - Liz Rettig (signed)
There’s G. Isn’t he gorgeous? I think he just looked at me - well, he looked in my direction anyway. Do you think he’d ask me out if I dyed my hair and got breast implants? Kelly Ann

I think you need brain implants, Kelly Ann, then maybe you’d see what a complete idiot G is. Stephanie

Stephanie’s right. Ok, G’s not ugly but he’s SO up himself! You’d be much better off with Chris . He’s really fit and crazy about you, if only you’d open your eyes… Liz

Don’t be stupid! Chris is a good friend but that’s it. I’d rather snog my brother (if I had one). Now be serious, how do I get G to notice me? A blonde wig a Wonderbra? Kelly Ann

Thanks, Liz.

The Maze Runner - James Dashner

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas can remember is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible maze.

Like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they came to be there, or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to find out - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horrors that hunt the Maze’s walled corridors.

So excited for this one. Thanks, Chicken House!

The Eternal Ones - Kirsten Miller

Have you ever fallen in love at first sight?
Do you long for a place you’ve never been?
Do you often experience the feeling of déjà vu?

Ever since Haven Moore can remember, she’s experienced visions of a previous life as a girl named Constance, whose love for her soul mate Ethan ended in tragedy.

And then the sight of the world’s hottest movie star, Iain Morrow, brings Haven to her knees. She knows she has met him before. Is Iain her beloved Ethan?

Unable to deny her past any longer, seventeen-year-old Haven flees to New York to find him - and an epic love affair begins. But it is both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Can Haven unlock the deadly secrets in her past lives - and loves - before all is lost and Ethan disappears again…forever?

Thanks, Puffin! I really love the sound of this.

Crescendo - Becca Fitzpatrick (ARC)

Nora should know better than to think her life can return to normal after falling in love with a fallen angel. And Nora’s life isn’t normal - her dad was murdered, and the facts about his death just don’t add up. Now Nora’s own life is in imminent danger. Are she and Patch strong enough for the battle ahead?

!!! I don’t really need to say anything, do I?

Boom! - Mark Haddon

It was a stupid, insane, suicidal idea. Which makes it quite hard to explain why I decided to help. I guess it boils down to this. Charlie was my best friend. I missed him. And I couldn’t think of anything better to do. Really stupid reasons which were never going to impress the police, the headmistress or my parents.

Looking back, I reckon this was the moment when my whole life started to go pear-shaped.

Thanks, Random House. I loved The Curious Incident… so I’m looking forward to this.

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson’s story-telling skill makes the ‘How?’ and, just as importantly, the ‘Who?’ of scientific discovery entertaining and accessible for all ages.

In this exciting new edition of his worldwide best-seller, A Short History of Nearly Everything, which has been specially abridged and adapted for younger readers, Bill Bryson explores the mysteries of time and space and how, against all odds, life came to be on the wondrous planet we call home.

Along the way, we meet several bizarre scientists, crackpot theories which held sway for far too long, and some accidental discoveries which changed the way science developed.

Thanks again, Random House. This appeals to my inner geek!

Scarlett Dedd - Cathy Brett

Scarlett would kill for a kiss from the boy she’s crushing on…But her life has just taken a turn for the worse and now it’s not just her romantic plans that are festering - even her friends are acting like she doesn’t exist…

Left in Limbo, bored to death and fearing her friendless state is terminal, an ominous idea pops into Scarlett’s head. Over her dead body will she be ignored…But can Scarlett really execute such a grim plan? And will it reap the reward of eternal friendship or turn out to be a fatal mistake?

I loved Ember Fury so I’m really looking forward to this. Thanks, Headline!


Friday, 13 August 2010

Rules of Attraction - Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction - Simone Elkeles

Pages: 324
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 6th January 2011

Other Titles by this Author: Perfect Chemistry; Leaving Paradise; Return to Paradise (01/09/10)

Carlos Fuentes isn’t happy about leaving Mexico to start the “new” life his brother, Alex, has planned for him. Carlos liked his freedom; living life on the edge and carving out his own path - just like Alex did.

Kiara Westford doesn’t talk much; preferring instead to shut the world out. And when Carlos bounds into her life she struggles to understand him and his wild ways. Carlos is sure that Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, which is just fine because he’s not interested anyway, right? But when they finally open up to each other, the connection they feel shocks them both. Can they overcome their fears and realise that sometimes opposites really do attract?

I loved Perfect Chemistry so my hopes were high for Rules of Attraction. Was I let down? Absolutely not.

To give an indication of how excited I was to read this, look at the release date: January 2011. I’m usually pretty good with sticking to a books release date month, but I just couldn’t help myself. I was hoping for a romance as intense and seductive as Alex and Brittany’s, and while it didn’t quite reach that very high bar, it was still hotter than most. But I suppose it had to be; Carlos is a Fuentes, after all!

I fell in love with Carlos and Kiara in Rules of Attraction. Kiara is not your typical girl: she fixes cars, follows her parents rules, loves to hike and is initially able to ignore Carlos’ advances. I loved her! And Carlos is pretty awesome too. Though he didn’t quite reach Alex’s level of godliness as he seemed rather immature in comparison. And, once again, I love how Spanish punctuated his speech and narration. It really is incredibly sexy, I think.

A different side of gang culture was portrayed in Rules of Attraction compared to Perfect Chemistry, but it was equally horrible. It’s a world that I can’t imagine living in and it saddens me that for some people it’s normality. But don’t think that its all heavy and serious, Rules of Attraction is brilliantly witty and very funny. And it has my favourite kind of ending: happy and very cheesy. Love it!

I’m now eagerly awaiting Chain Reaction, featuring the youngest Fuentes brother, Luis. Bring it on!

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Pictures of Lily - Paige Toon

Pictures of Lily - Paige Toon

Pages: 394
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 7th July 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Lucy in the Sky; Johnny Be Good; Chasing Daisy

‘Will you marry me?’

I think of you, then. I think of you everyday. But usually in the quietest part of the morning, or the darkest part of the night. Not when my boyfriend of two years has just proposed.

I look up at Richard with his hopeful eyes.

‘Lily?’ he prompts.

It’s been ten years, but it feels like only yesterday that you left. How can I say yes to Richard with all my heart when most of it has always belonged to you? I take a deep breath and will myself to speak…

Ten years ago when Lily was just sixteen, she fell in love with someone she really shouldn’t have fallen in love with. Now, living in Sydney and engaged to another man, she can’t forget the one that got away. Then her past comes back to haunt her, and she has to make a decision that will break her heart - and the heart of at least one of the men who love her.

Paige Toon is my go-to author for a fun, touching, adult chick-lit book and Pictures of Lily did its job by making a long flight go much quicker. I loved every word of it!

Pictures of Lily, just like Paige Toon’s previous three novels, is written in such easy, fluid prose that is far too addictive for its own good. Paige Toon has the ability to hook you in with the very first sentence and suck you into the lives of her characters. And I was even more excited than usual when I met Lily as she is sixteen for just under half of the book! I was very surprised and very, very pleased. I’m hoping that this will encourage those of you who read YA exclusively to give my favourite adult author a chance.

One of my favourite elements of Pictures of Lily is the Australian setting. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia so seeing both rural Adelaide and buzzing Sydney through Lily’s eyes was a treat. I think I could even handle the 24-hour flight if I got to go to the wildlife sanctuary where Lily worked that summer or go past the Sydney Opera House on my way to work everyday. This setting also allowed Lucy and Nathan from Paige’s first novel, Lucy in the Sky, to be a constant presence in the second half of Pictures of Lily. All of the characters from her other novels also had mentions and cameos. I love it when authors do this!

The summary promises that Lily will fall in love with someone she shouldn’t: my very favourite kind of love story. And the second Ben was introduced, I knew it was going to be him. Ben works for Lily’s nearly-stepdad at the sanctuary, is teaching her how to drive and 12 years older than her. But they were perfect for each other. Even with the age gap, they seemed to be equals and so I was overjoyed when they were reunited ten years later. I was cheering them on all the way.

I urge every single one of you to run out and buy Pictures of Lily or another of Paige Toon’s books while I begin the agonising wait for her next one.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge