Monday 24 January 2011


Hi Guys,

Two of my fabulous housemates, Fliss and Anna, have just started up a new blog called Introduction where they'll be covering songs and, very soon, writing their own music. And as I love them to bits, I'm metioning it here in hopes that some of you will go and take a look and follow them if you like their site.

I know they'll be extremely grateful for any comments and followers and I hope that the blogosphere will live up to my expectations and support some new bloggers even though their blog doesn't focus on books.

They're awesome ladies and I know you'll grow to love them as much as I do.


Friday 21 January 2011

If I Could Fly - Jill Hucklesby

If I Could Fly – Jill Hucklesby

Pages: 292
Publisher: Egmont
Release Date: 3rd January 2011

Other Titles by This Author: Deeper Than Blue, Last Kiss of the Butterfly

Calypso Summer.
Yeah, that really is my name.

‘A girl with such a name is on a journey. She will have adventures,’ my mother used to murmur in my ear.

And now I am on a journey. I’m running from something terrible – but I don't know what. It’s like my brain has blocked it out. For now, I’m learning to survive: to break the System and not get caught. I’ve found a friend I can trust. Next stop, freedom. Somehow, somewhere...

If I Could Fly is a beautiful and fascinating read that completely captured my attention.

Jill Hucklesby wrote If I Could Fly in a lyrical and songlike prose that created a truly individual narrative style. It’s written in the rarely used present tense which, with the lyricism, gives the novel a dreamlike feel. I was constantly unsure as to whether what Caly was seeing and doing was real or not. I occasionally wondered if she was perhaps hallucinating or dreaming due to the intensely involving use of metaphor.

When I began this book I expected a very traditional middle-grade contemporary novel. But what I got was far from that. If I Could Fly is set in the England of the near future where a virus spreading across Europe has caused England to be split into zones, curfews, rebellions and widespread fear. It was almost apocalyptic in a way and was very unexpected which I loved.

The main thought from Caly through the novel is the mystery of what she is running from. As the novel moves forward, fragments of memories were stirred in her and we saw tiny glimpses of the event that led her to flee. Although the trigger for her running away is alluded to and could probably be guessed at, I didn't know until it was revealed near to the end. It wasn’t a disappointment at all and I understood completely why her brain had blocked it from her.

As well as the intriguing plot line and beautiful prose style, Jill Hucklesby created a cast of lovable and memorable characters. Caly is a strong and independent girl who I immediately liked and this only grew with the building of her hose of books. I think I want one. She did, however, seem both older and younger than thirteen. Then you’ve got sweet and funny Alfie in all his Superman t-shirted glory who was such a good friend to Caly. But my favourite character was crazy, old Dair. His madness was endearing and I would really liked to have heard his story.

If I Could Fly is a striking novel that shocked me a mind-blowing twist at the end that will be loved and remembered by everyone who reads it.

For my British Books Challenge 2011


Monday 17 January 2011

Bright Young Things - Anna Godbersen

Bright Young Things – Anna Godbersen

Pages: 389
Publisher: Puffin (Penguin)
Release Date: 6th January 2011

Other Titles by this Author: The Luxe, Rumours, Envy, Splendour

It’s 1929 in the glittering metropolis of New York, and three friends are having the most reckless, romantic and dangerous time of their lives.

Letty Larkspur is chasing her lucky break and dreams of seeing her name in bright lights in the big city.

Cordelia Grey has left her small Midwestern town in search of her long-lost father. But no sooner does she find him than she falls head over heels for a boy he disapproves of.

Astrid Donal is hiding a score of secrets beneath her seemingly perfect flapper’s facade...

Bright Young Things is the first in another deliciously addictive new series from Anna Godbersen.

The world of the glittering Twenties that Cordelia, Astrid and Letty live in New York is where I want to be right now. I want to run away with them! Anna Godbersen has all of the little details and trademarks of that period set up to form a world of glamour and seduction that completely pulls you in. The prohibition, bootleggers, speakeasies, flappers and cigarette girls are a mixture of several different worlds and covered by three very different girls in only a few short weeks. As in The Luxe series, Bright Young Things straddles the end of an era and the beginning of a new one so there are still people around who disagree with the freedom of this period and this turmoil is subtly represented.

Strangely for me, I actually really liked all three girls. I expected to dislike at least one of them; a presumption based on The Luxe, though I did favour Cordelia and her story. I get a bit hung up on the romance aspects of any book so it shouldn’t be surprising that from the off I became involved in Cordelia and Thom’s star-crossed love affair which has a hint of Romeo and Juliet. Even though I didn't feel I got to know Thom very well and there wasn’t very much direct action with him involved, I was cheering them on all the way. And then Anna Godbersen shocked me. I’m not going to tell you why, but I was slightly horrified at the turn of events.

I was very pleased that Bright Young Things didn’t end on a cliffhanger but instead left a nice, understated set-up for the next book, Beautiful Days, which I am very looking forward to reading.

For my YA Historical Fiction Challenge


Thursday 13 January 2011

Inside Out - Maria V. Snyder

Inside Out – Maria V Snyder

Pages: 315
Publisher: Mira INK (Mira Books)
Release Date: 1st January 2011

Other Titles by this Author: Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Study, Storm Glass, Sea Glass, Spy Glass

Keep your head down. Don’t get noticed. Or else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I just do my job and try to avoid the Population Control Police, who dream of recycling scrubs into fertiliser. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? It’s not like it’s dangerous...

Well, turns out it is. Because I know every corridor, pipe and shortcut I’ve become the go-to girl to lead a revolution. I know if we find a gateway to Outside it’ll be suicide plain and simple. But guess who likes a challenge?

I should have just said no...

Inside Out is something new from Maria V. Snyder, and I can honestly say that it’s by far my favourite of hers that I’ve read so far.

With this novel Maria V. Snyder has created a stunning and complex world in Inside. It’s a true dystopian universe with me knowing as little about it as Trella does and more and more of it being shockingly revealed as the novel progresses. Until the completely unexpected discovery of the truth about Inside and Outside at the end I was continually trying to guess the truth. There are also the different dimensions of Inside’s society with the scrubs, Uppers, Pop Cops and Controllers all locked in a handed down hatred of each other that is occasionally unjustified.

As a heroine of a dystopian novel, Trella is pretty damn good. She’s spunky, spirited and dangerously curious. Her strength and slight naivety give her the ability to hope for the possibility of the Gateway and Outside and let her carry on after failures and disappointments. All of these things made her the perfect person to lead the revolution.

But my favourite part of Inside Out was watching the blossoming relationship between Trella and Riley. I loved catching all of the little moments that push their relationship forward and increase their trust of each other despite everything they’ve been taught. The risks that they were willing make for each other such a short amount of time was very, very sweet.

Inside Out is a fantastic novel that Maria’s fans are going to eat up and leave them hungering for Outside In.


Saturday 8 January 2011

My Soul to Take - Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take – Rachel Vincent

Pages: 345
Publisher: Mira Ink (Mira Books)
Release Date: 6th January 2011

Other Titles in this Series: My Soul to Save (18/02), My Soul to Save (15/04), My Soul to Steal (N/A)

Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh...

She can sense when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest boy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the dark forces behind Kaylee’s power than she does.

And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason and only Kaylee knows who’ll be next she realises that finding a boyfriend is the least of her worries!

My Soul to Take is a fast-paced and addictive paranormal novel that I fell instantly in love with.

The first thing that struck me about My Soul to Take is its level of mystery. There so many questions brought up in the first 100 or so pages: why does she scream? Who’s killing the girls? What’s going on?! As I didn’t read many reviews of this before I read it, I had no idea what Kaylee was going to turn out to be. Imagine my surprise when it was revealed that she was a bean sidhe – or a banshee as they’re more commonly known. Now I don't know about you, but I’ve never come across them in fiction before and I didn't really know anything about them. It’s turns out they’re a kind of faery!

Kaylee’s struggles to deal with the screaming and to come to terms with her heritage were very realistic as her ‘episodes’ caused her major pain and stress and led her to think that she was crazy. It’s not often that heroines of supernatural YA react like I would. I instantly liked Kaylee because of this. And then you’ve got Nash who, naturally, was completely gorgeous and popular, but also, quite unusually, Kaylee’s equal. I did notice something about their relationship that made me laugh, though: all of the important conversations they had happened over food.

As much as I loved My Soul to Take, I did have a minor issue. Kaylee’s best friend, Emma, seemed to disappear for the middle of the novel when Nash and Kaylee’s relationship started to develop due to a rather convenient grounding. However, Rachel Vincent more than redeemed herself with action-packed ending that solved the mysteries in a rather shocking way.

I loved My Soul to Take and I can't wait to get my hands on book two in the series, My Soul to Save, when it's released next month.


Thursday 6 January 2011

Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf - Curtis Jobling

To promote the release of Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, Puffin developed an ingenious idea for a blog tour: beginning with author, Curtis Joblings, bloggers on the tour would create their very own creature and each would post a picture of it as they added it along with their review. Brilliant, isn't it? Here's how it looked as it left me:

And here's my review:

Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf – Curtis Jobling
Pages: 418
Publisher: Puffin (Penguin)
Release Date: 6th January 2010

‘You are the last of the werewolves. Don’t fight it, son; embrace it. Conquer it.’

When the air is clear, sixteen-year-old Drew Ferran can pick up the scent of a predator.

When the moon breaks through the clouds, a terrifying fever grips him.
And when a vicious beast invades his home, his flesh tears, his fingers become claws and Drew transforms...
Forced to flee the family he loves, Drew seeks refuge in the most godforsaken parts of Lyssia. But when he is captured by Duke Bergan’s men, Drew must prove he is not the enemy.

Can Drew battle the werecreatures determined to destroy him – and master the animal within?

Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf is the first book in a thrilling new fantasy adventure series from Curtis Jobling.

This was a book that grew on me steadily. At first I felt that Rise of the Wolf was occasionally over-descriptive. It seemed to distract me from Drew and the action in the beginning but I soon got used to it and eventually barely noticed it. I also warmed to the characters as I would real people: as I got to know them. This was especially true of Gretchen who I hated for at least half of the novel until we began to see the real her.

I loved the mythology of Rise of the Wolf. The idea of the Werelords – who are all different types of therianthropes – is brilliant in its variety. There are species of shape-shifter that would never even occur to me. The feral and ritualistic Wyldermen were completely fascinating, though very dangerous, and I hope we see more of them as the series goes on.

The politics and the history of the Werelords of Lyssia is complex and well thought out. There were wars, battles, dictators, heroes, tragedies and everything else that comes along with a kingdom. It’s brilliantly intricate and helps you get a real taste of what it would be like to live in Lyssia.

I really enjoyed Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf and I’m looking forward to the next instalment in the series.

For my 2011 Debut Author Challenge


You can see where the picture started at Wondrous Reads.
What was added next at Nayu's Reading Corner.
And how the picture develops again on January 10th at Once Upon a Bookcase.

Saturday 1 January 2011

2011 Reading Challenges!

I am signing up for three reading challenges this year as my success at the 2010 Debut Author Challenge has made me confident I can do more this year! Though I am going to overlap books for my challenges!

2011 Debut Author Challenge (COMPLETED)
The Challenge is to read 12 books from 12 debut authors. Here is my list so far:

1. Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf - Curtis Jobling
2. Entangled - Cat Clarke
3. Across the Universe - Beth Revis
4. Small Blue Thing - S.C. Ransom (did not finish)
5. Flawless - Lara Chapman
6. Here Lies Bridget - Paige Harbison
7. Blood Red Road - Moira Young
8. Blood Magic - Tessa Gratton
9. Dark Inside - Jeyn Roberts
10. Undead - Kirsty McKay
11. Fury - Elizabeth Miles
12. Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
13. The Goddess Test - Aimee Carter
14. Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan
15. Ashes - Ilsa J Bick

British Books Challenge 2011 (COMPLETED)
I will be entering this in the Home Grown category and aim to read 12 books by British authors. Here's my list so far:

1. Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf - Curtis Jobling
2. Entangled - Cat Clarke
3. Small Blue Thing - S.C. Ransom (did not finish)
4. Kiss, Date, Love, Hate - Luisa Plaja (date moved to 2012)
5. If I Could Fly - Jill Hucklesby
6. The Queen's Lady - Eve Edwards
7. David - Mary Hoffman
8. The Rogue's Princess - Eve Edwards
9. Baby Be Mine - Paige Toon
10. Jessie Hearts NYC - Keris Stainton
11. There is No Dog - Meg Rosoff
12. Undead - Kirsty McKay
13. Naked- Kevin Brooks
14. Verity Fibbs - Cathy Brett
15. Northern Lights - Philip Pullman

YA Historical Fiction Challenge (COMPLETED)
I am going to join this at level one and endeavor to read 5 YA historical fiction novels. Here is my rather sparse list so far:

1. Bright Young Things - Anna Godbersen
2. The Queen's Lady - Eve Edwards
3. The Rogue's Princess - Eve Edwards
4. David - Mary Hoffman
5. A Tangle of Magicks - Stephanie Burgis
6. Velvet - Mary Hooper
7. Beautiful Days: A Bright Young Things Novel - Anna Godbersen
8. This Dark Endeavour - Kenneth Oppel
9. Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare

Dystopian Challenge 2011
I am joining this late (July! eek!) at the Contagion level which is to read 15 dystopian novels. Luckily I've already read and reviewed quite a few this year!

1. Inside Out - Maria V. Snyder
2. A Small Free Kiss in the Dark - Glenda Millard
3. Divergent - Veronica Roth4. Outside In - Maria V. Snyder
5. Bumped - Megan McCafferty
6. Blood Red Road - Moira Young
7. Rip Tide - Kat Falls
8. Dark Inside - Jeyn Roberts
9. Ashes - Ilsa J Bick

Wish me luck!