Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Book Promo & Guest Post - Grift

Grift follows a crew of orphaned teenage con artists living in Las Vegas. Piper, the main character, masquerades as a prostitute to con rich men. Unlike the others, she must split her time between hustling and raising her younger sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when Sophie gets kidnapped by the Las Vegas mafia, and the crew must rally to piece together the ransom money before the clock runs out.
 Links:
B&N
 
Author's Twitter:
 
Author Bio:
Jason Mosberg lives in Los Angeles where he works as a screenwriter. He has optioned several feature screenplays to independent financiers. He wrote his first novel Grift while staying in cheap hotel rooms in Las Vegas. When he’s not writing, Jason can be found playing soccer, walking, and over analyzing everything.
Having grown up in Delaware, Jason attended Wake Forest University before he lit out for the west coast. His top five TV shows of all time are The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, and Twin Peaks.
His one vice is claw machines.

Guest Post from Jason Mosberg:
10 Things That Make Grift Stand Out As A YA Novel
  1. It is dark! Piper, the main character, is an orphan who masquerades as a high-class escort to con men. Just from that, you can get a sense that this isn’t your regular YA novel.
  2. As dark as it is, it’s also fun. Just check out the book’s tagline: A Neon Noir.
  3. The side characters are memorable. The other grifters include a tourist-hustling pool shark, a sleight of hand magician turned pickpocket, and card-counting genius. Because they’re all orphans and runaways, they’re suffering from various abandonment issues, which make for rich, deep characters.
  4. The antagonist is one scary dude. Charlie Moses is a desperate, powerful mafia kingpin who will do anything to make money.
  5. The setting is fantastic. While the characters will be relatable through their emotions, relationships, and conflicts, the setting really helps give the story a larger-than-life element. These young adults live the high life in this amazing penthouse in a city nicknamed “America’s Playground.” Relative to other young adults, they’re flush with cash. They get to experience the greatest shows on the planet: bands, comedians, plays, circuses, magicians, sporting events.They meet other teens in the young Vegas social scene (which mostly consists of UNLV students). They basically inhabit some 21st century teenage version of Neverland.
  6. There are a ton of twists and turns. Just when you think you’ve guessed what’s going to happen, guess again.
  7. The protagonist is morally ambiguous. Piper’s actions always seem to inhabit that fascinating middle ground that sits in between right and wrong.
  8. The story is very cinematic. Actually, I first came up with the idea of Grift as a movie. I wrote many screenplays before writing my first novel, and Grift definitely has a cinematic quality.
  9. It balances characters and thrills. I wanted Grift to be a book that has rich, complex characters with deep backstories, but also be a page-turner.
  10. Despite it being a dark book where various tragedies occur, don’t worry; it has a happy ending! Or maybe I’m just conning you…


Monday, 2 March 2015

Book Review - Cowgirl

Title: Cowgirl
Author: G Gemin
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Release Date: 6 Mar. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0857632814

Synopsis
Growing up on the embattled Mawr Estate in South Wales, all Gemma sees are burglaries, muggings, sadness and boredom. With a dad in prison and a mum who has given up hope, she, like everyone around her, is holding on to memories of the times when happiness wasn’t so hard to find.

When her search for the scene of a perfect childhood day takes her up into the surrounding hills, Gemma is forced into a meeting with the legendary Cowgirl. Everyone at school knows she’s a weirdo: six foot tall and angry, the only conversations she has are with the twelve cows on her dad’s farm. But with her abrupt arrival in Gemma’s life, everything starts to look different. And with her only friends in mortal danger of the abbatoir, it turns out she and Gemma have a mission on their hands.  


My Review
This is once again a book on our Children's Book of the Year list, so one I had to read for work. I wasn't really sure what to expect from it, reading the blurb I thought it sounded odd and I have to admit I didn't have particularly high expectations for it. But I have to admit that I found myself really enjoying it and in fact read it in one sitting. 
I really liked Gemma and found her to be a very relateable character, she had a good sense of humour and a real feeling of honesty about her. She also really grows as a character throughout the book, as does the Cowgirl. Cowgirl was someone who I could really feel for and i felt myself connect with her and want everything to work out for her. 
The book was fairly light-hearted but covered some pretty heavy issues but it never felt like it was preaching at me or trying to teach me a lesson, it was just a good enjoyable read with some meaning to it. And I really loved the quirkiness of it.
I have to say this is one of the choices I have enjoyed the most so far and I am really glad I had to read it.  

My Rating
   

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Book Promo - Death Wish

Death Wish - Megan Tayte


Blurb

IN SEARCH OF THE MEANING OF DEATH, SHE’LL FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE.

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.

To believe the impossible. 

Author bio

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. 'Write, Megan,' her grandmother advised. So that's what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Megan writes the kinds of books she loves to read: young-adult paranormal romance fiction. Young adult, because it's the time of life that most embodies freedom and discovery and first love. Paranormal, because she's always believed that there are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. And romance, because she's a misty-eyed dreamer who lives for those 'life is so breathtakingly beautiful' moments.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood's county, Nottingham. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a paleontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

Social media links


Buy links


Excerpt

Waves everywhere, swirling, surging, seething – a raging melange of foam and salt and inky water biting at me, pulling at me, thrusting upon me a solitary invitation:
Death.

As I fought to remain on the flimsy polystyrene surfboard that seemed more bucking bronco than wave rider, I thought: That’s how easy it is – you just let go.Just release the grip on this world that in recent months had seemed so much an effort, and sink into the blue, beneath the waves, where chaos and fury turned to quiet and calm. Like she did.

Was drowning as they claim? I wondered. The easiest way to die – peaceful? How would it feel to give up all the dragging myself through the day, all the struggle to evade the aching void inside? A relief?
Another wave rose me up and slammed me down with breathtaking power. Its force stirred me. You could say a lot of things about Scarlett Blake – she’s a loner, she’s a wallflower, she’s a menace in the kitchen – but no way was ‘she’s a quitter’ on the list of character flaws.
‘Screw you!’ I shouted through the spray.
Funny, sounded like someone shouted back. But who else would be out in this tumultuous sea at six a.m. on a summer’s morning? Solitude was the entire point of hauling myself out of bed in the still-dark and picking my way down the cliff path to the beach just in time to see the horizon light up with the first burnt-orange glow of the rising sun. No one to see me make a damn fool of myself on my first surfing attempt.
‘Trying… yourself killed?’
Definitely a voice. Male. Angry.
Scanning the surroundings for the source proved difficult while lying stomach-to-board. On an upward surge I got a glimpse of the Devonshire cliffs that fringed the cove, all dark, jutting rocks topped by bushes of gorse, and then a flash of the beach. On a downward plummet there was nothing but eye-burning, throat-choking seawater.
‘Forward… next wave!’
The voice was closer now. There was an edge to it beyond the anger. Something raw.
My eyes picked out a black form between the waves. Someone on a surfboard, paddling it expertly seaward. I took one hand off the board to push sticky tendrils of hair from my eyes. Rookie mistake. Turned out holding on one-handed was impossible. The board shot upwards, out of my feeble grip, and then it was just me and Old Man Sea.
Kicking frantically, I tried to keep my head above the surface, but the waves were burying me, one after the other, only a second or two to come up for air before the next one hit. Far away now were thoughts of letting go – I was fighting furiously for life. Never in my seventeen years had I been so desperate. But my legs were tingling with effort, and I knew it was just a matter of time.
When the final wave broke me all I could think was, Sienna. With her name on my lips I inhaled a lungful of water and I sank…

… for all of a second before something grabbed the back of my t-shirt and hauled me upward. Coughing and spluttering, I emerged from the blue and was pulled roughly onto a board, my leg shoved over so that I straddled it. I had the fleeting thought that this board was much sleeker and more substantial looking than the one I’d just lost before my rescuer settled pretty much on top of me and started paddling toward the shore.
With him in command, we crested waves and glided down the other side with apparent ease, though I seemed unable to match the rhythm of our motion and kept taking in great gulps of brine. Over the sound of the waves and the wind and the splash of powerful arms cutting into the water to propel us along, I picked out low, irate grumblings.
‘… idiot tourists… total waste of… all we need… another bloody drama…’

Finally, we reached the shallow waters and he slid off the board and pulled me off to walk to the beach. But my legs didn’t seem willing to respond to basic instructions like ‘walk’ or even ‘stand’ and breathing between wrenching gasps had become a challenge, so he threw an arm around me and half-carried, half-walked me, dragging his board with his spare hand.
Ten steps up the beach he let me down onto the sand.
‘Head down,’ he commanded. ‘Between your legs. Cough it out.’
I did as I was told. Liquid spilled out of me with each retching cough, and the cool air I gulped in burned my throat. I fought the panic, I fought the pain, focusing instead on the shells and stones strewn around. Finally, breathing won out.
‘You okay?’
I was reluctant to look up. For starters, I knew I must look a mess – long hair plastered to my head rat-tail style, face flushed and salt-burned, eyes teary and bloodshot. And then there was the fact that this guy, whoever he was, had just saved my life, and was evidently pretty mad about having had to do so.
‘Hey, you okay?’
I lifted my head slowly. Took in broad thighs clad in black neoprene; hands reaching out, palms raised; a wide, muscular chest; a striking face – rugged, square jaw, full lips, ruddy cheeks, Grecian nose bearing a thin scar across the bridge, thick black lashes framing eyes… oh, his eyes.
I opened my mouth, tried to speak, but I was paralysed by his gaze. All at once I was home in the cottage, tucked up beneath the blue patchwork quilt of my childhood; I was watching my grandmother remove vanilla-scented fairy cakes from her powder-blue Aga; I was running through a meadow of sky-blue forget-me-nots with my sister – free, exhilarated, happy. The memories took my breath away. I felt the familiar burn in my tear ducts.
His eyebrows pulled together and he placed a hand on my trembling knee.
‘Are. You. Okay?’ he said with exaggerated care, as if he were speaking to an elderly lady having a turn at a bus stop.
I blinked, cleared my throat and managed a husky, ‘Yes. Th-thank you.’
Concern melted into exasperation.
‘What’s the deal,’ he demanded, ‘out there on your own, clearly no idea what you’re doing, children’s play surfboard… you got a death wish or something?’
I cringed. I’d known the board was short, but I’d thought it was me-sized – at five foot three, what use was some enormous board?
‘I’m sorry.’
‘You would’ve been sorry if I hadn’t seen you.’
‘I just wanted to get a feel for it. I didn’t realise it was so rough out there.’
‘Rough? That’s not rough. Not even optimum surfing weather. Piece of cake for someone who actually knows how to surf…’
He paused when he saw a tear escape my eye and roll traitorously down my cheek. Furrowed his brow, combed his fingers roughly through dark hair that was drying fast in the breeze.
‘Listen, I didn’t mean to…’
I brushed the tear away furiously. Enough with the vulnerability.

‘Right, well, thank you…’
‘Luke. My name’s Luke.’ The stress lines in his face smoothed out and his lips curved. Like this, smiling and relaxed, his scrutiny was a touch less unsettling. ‘And you are…?’
‘Thank you, Luke, for your, um, help, but I’m sure you’ve better things to do, so I’ll just be…’
Before he could protest, I launched myself to my feet. He instinctively rose with me, and my water-fogged mind registered belatedly that my rescuer was a giant of a guy – my head was at the level of his chest. As I looked up to take in his stature I staggered slightly and he reached out to right me, but I stepped backwards. I didn’t need his kindness.
He looked awkward, unsure of himself, as he towered over me. ‘Hey, will you be okay?’
‘Yes, yes, I’m fine. I’ll just head home.’
‘You live close?’
I pointed vaguely west. ‘Yes, not far.’
‘Up there?’ He looked puzzled, and then interest sparked in his eyes. ‘You mean the Blake place?’

Busted. Of course being vague was pointless. My grandparents’ ramshackle cottage on the western cliff was the only building up there.
I made a noncommittal mnnnhnnn noise, but Luke was not to be deterred.

‘But that place has been empty since…’
He was looking at me now with such scrutiny that I took a further step back. I saw the cogs turning in his mind as he took in the classic green Blake eyes and then compared her – short, spiky red hair, eternally crimson lips, tall and impossibly slender – with me – petite and curvy, hair more blond than auburn reaching to the base of my spine and a pallor worthy of a vampire. His eyes widened.

‘Scarlett? Scarlett Blake!’
There was shock in his tone, and then sympathy.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Book Review - Just Like Fate

Title: Just Like Fate
Author: Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release Date: 27 Feb. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1405268073

Synopsis
Caroline is at a crossroads. Her whole family is on her back, and her grandmother, the only person who really understands her, is sick, maybe dying. All she wants to do is escape. So when her best friend suggests a night out to forget her troubles, Caroline must choose: stay by her grandmother's side, or go to the party and live her life . . . and maybe meet the boy of her dreams.

This decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths - and she's about to live them both. But there can only be one happy ending . . .


My Review
This is another book on the list for Children's Book Day at work and it sounded interesting to me, I was actually looking forward to it. The synopsis reminded me a bit of the film 'Sliding Doors' starring Gwyneth Paltrow which I enjoyed so thought this could be good.
Caroline has to make a choice - stay at her grandmothers bedside or go out for a night. It sounds like such a simple choice but as her gran is on her death bed it could be the difference between saying goodbye and missing those final moments. Sometimes our choices change everything. 
I liked Caroline, I immediately felt a connection to her and wanted to see what would happen. I was also very intrigued to see how the two different paths would affect the storyline and how they would meet again at the end (Because of course you know they have to meet again!) 
I liked the style of writing and although I was worried I would be confused about which path I was on but luckily the book makes it very easy for you and I had no problems at all. In fact I read this book in just one day. I found it hard to put down and I believe that did help in keeping track of what was happening. 
I think Caroline is a relateable character for many teens, as this book covers many aspects such as bereavements, friendships, first loves and general teen worries. She is human and has her faults and makes mistakes but she is still likeable and she doesn't give up which I like to see in a character. 
I am glad that I had a chance to read this book and I really did enjoy it. I've read some Cat patrick before and did enjoy it so I'm pleased she didn't disappoint on this occasion. I am intrigued to know if one author wrote the 'Stay' chapters and one wrote the 'Go' or if they shared each between them, but you can't tell it's two different people when reading it - they have combined their skills seamlessly.
Definitely a good read and one I would recommend. 

My Rating
     

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Book Promo - Dead Girl Walking

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Dead Girl Walking (Royal Reaper) by Ruth Silver

Published: November 25, 2014

Publisher: Booktrope

Forget everything you know about grim reapers.


Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered.


Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.


Now includes the prequel Ashes to Ashes as a bonus story in the Booktrope edition. Available in eBook & Paperback.




Dead Girl Walking

Licensed to Ruth Silver

ON SALE FOR JUST 99 cents!!!


Excerpt


“Listen, kid, I don’t care what you believe in. It’s not for me to say what’s true and untrue, real or unreal. My assignment was you. You get to be one of us, if you want it. Otherwise, you move on, life is over, kaput.”



Ophelia backed away from the stranger. For the first time, she realized she didn’t feel cold and wasn’t shivering. Is this what being dead was like? “One of you?”



“A grim reaper.” He held out his hand to properly introduce himself. “Edon Montgomery, head reaper and old soul.”

Dead Girl Walking (Royal Reaper)
Licensed to Ruth Silver

Author Interview

Do you have any plans to write a spin-off for Aberrant?

Yes! I am currently working on an untitled project that is a prequel, spin-off. I haven't spoken much about it, but I will say there is plenty of action and a world to explore that we've barely touched in the Aberrant trilogy.



What are you currently working on?

I've got several writing projects underway. Forget Me Knot (Royal Reaper 2) is in edits right now with an expected Spring 2015 release. I'm also writing steamy adult fiction under the name Ravyn Rayne, which will be available this year as well. You can find those projects on Ravyn Rayne Reads.



Do you have a full-time job?

Writing and marketing my own novels is my full-time job. It involves far more than 40 hours a week, but I love it, so I don't mind.

About the Author


1 lo res

Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of the Aberrant trilogy. With a passion for writing and a love of story-telling, Ruth is actively writing two series: Royal Reaper and Orenda. Her interests also include traveling, reading, and photography. Her favorite vacation destination is Australia. Ruth currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and her book blog Write Away Bliss.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Book Review - Half my Facebook Friends are Ferrets

Title: Half my Facebook Friends are Ferrets
Author: J.A. Buckle
Publisher: Curious Fox
Release Date: 30 Jan. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1782020745

Synopsis
Fifteen-year-old Josh fantasises about becoming a death metal guitarist complete with tattoos, piercings and hoards of adoring fans. But it’s not easy when his super-strict mom won’t let him grow his hair! Luckily Josh has a way of coping with life’s setbacks; it’s only a diary, but it contains all Josh’s hopes, dreams and frustrations (not to mention some great ideas for band names and lyrics!). There’s a lot he wants to get done before his 16th birthday, but things never turn out quite like he plans… What Josh doesn’t know is that his mother also kept a diary, back about the time he was born, and a secret in there holds the key to Josh’s life becoming a whole lot more metal. 

My Review
This was another book on our Book Day list at work that I had to read, but after seeing one of my colleagues reading it and giggling away to herself I was actually quite looking forward to it, and I must say that I wasn't disappointed. 
The book follows Josh, a 15 year old boy who loves death metal and ferrets. He has so many things he wants to achieve before he is 16 and he recounts events in his diary. HIs mum is 'super-strict' and doesn't let him do anything he wants but always seems to manage to get him to go round and do chores for the neighbours. They are having money problems and his mum likes to remind him of this quite regularly, so the guitar he has been staring at in the music shop for months is more than a bit out of reach. How is a boy supposed to become a rock god without a guitar!?
This book had me laughing from the first page and I never really stopped. Josh has got a very dry yet at times sarcastic humour that just makes you burst out laughing, and the antics he gets up to with his friends and his pet ferret Ozzy are brilliant. 
The book is pretty light hearted but does deal with some issues and I can see a lot of teenagers being able to relate to Josh. 
The story line is at times predictable, but not to an annoying degree and most of the time I was laughing too much to really care. 
This is a real gem of a book and I am glad that this was on the list as I never would have read it otherwise. 
A must read for teens and adults alike. Word of warning though - not for younger readers, there are some rude parts and suggestions of explicit content. 

My Rating
    


Friday, 13 February 2015

Book Review - Angel (Audio Book)

Title: Angel
Author: L.A Weatherly
Series: Angel (Book 1)
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Release Date: 1 Oct. 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1409521969
ASIN: B004A93MSE (Audio Book)

Synopsis
Angels are all around us: beautiful, awe-inspiring, irresistible.

Ordinary mortals yearn to catch a glimpse of one of these stunning beings and thousands flock to The Church of Angels to feel their healing touch.
But what if their potent magnetism isn't what it seems?
Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars.
Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. But she has no idea where she gets this power from.

Until she meets Alex…
Alex is one of the few who know the truth about angels. He knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her.
The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible.
In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.


My Review
I got bought this book as a present a few years ago and just never got round to reading it, I've looked at it many times but never made the commitment to pick it up, so when I saw the audio cd version on the catalogue at work in the library I ordered it. I needed something to listen to in my car and thought this would be a good chance.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, other books I've read with Angels in have always disappointed me in various ways, but I was soon becoming hooked with this one. Right away I was intrigued and wanted to know more. Some parts are a little bit predicatable but actually overall I found this book very enjoyable. 
I loved the twist that Angels are actually the dark beings, they are usually presented as the heroes, the good guys, the heavenly beings but here they are dark life drainers out to take over humanity. 
Willow is a sassy teenager who is way over her head, until recently she didn't even know Angels existed. She was a high school girl who loved to fix cars and was psychic- so maybe not that normal but nothing too out of the ordinary. Then suddenly she is thrown into this whole other life and I have to admit she deals with it admirably. Don't get me wrong, she breaks down and has her moments, after all she is human (mostly) and it makes her seem more realistic. 
Then we have Alex, a trained Angel Killer, it's been his mission for most of his life to hunt down the Angels and get rid of them, and then he comes across Willow and she is nothing like anything he has met before. He knows he shouldn't like her but something draws him in and soon the two of them become a team.
Alex is a great character, he's cool, calm and witty with a cheeky, sarcastic sense of humour that you can't help but love. He really grows as a character throughout too and I loved to see how he developed.
The story is quite fast paced and keeps you anticipating what is happening next, so even when the pacing slows a bit you're still hooked. I couldn't wait to listen to how the story panned out, but at the same time I didn't want it to end. I found myself looking forward to going out just so I could get in my car and listen to a bit more.
I definitely want the next part to see what becomes of them, but unfortunately we don't have it on audio book in the library so I need to get the physical copy and with my coursework and book day at work with a reading list I don't know when I can squeeze it in, but I may have to make an exception and be a rebel and read it!

My Rating
   

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Book Review - The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig

Title: The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig
Author: Emer Stamp
Series: Pig (Book 1)
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 30 Oct. 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1407136370

Synopsis
Hello. I is Pig. This is my diary. It's super Top Secret, but Duck and me agrees that you needs to read it so you can help us, because we is in a bit of a pickle. I hopes you will be believing what I has written, because Duck says it is UNBELIEVABLE. But it isn't. It's my life. You will see. Love, Pig 



My Review
This is another book on our 'Children's Book Day' list that I have to read for a course at work. I have to admit that when I saw it my heart sunk a little and to be honest it didn't get any better.
Pig has decided to write a diary of his life, not expecting much to happen, but with his best friend Duck, the cows, sheep and evil chickens life on the farm has more to write about than you would think. Then pig discovers what Farmer really wants him for and everything turns around.
I understand that the whole 'Diary' book is popular and whilst I didn't enjoy things like 'Wimpy Kid' I can see why kids would like them and it does get them reading. Which of course I approve of. But this book made me cringe. 
I don't want to be mean or degrade this book or anything like that. Remember everything here is just my opinion, but I honestly did not like this book. Every page is filled with the words 'farts' or 'poo' - of course kids find this funny but there was just too much for me and the grammar is dreadful.
I understand it is supposed to be written by a pig so of course the English won't be perfect but this will just teach kids bad habits. It is aimed at the sort of age range that is very impressionable and therefore this book will just make kids think that this sort of language style is acceptable - they wouldn't realize that this is a marketing/character thing.
It is the sort of book that I can see kids loving, and with the fart jokes in it, boys especially will pick it up, but for me I just couldn't gel with it and I don't think I'll be reading the sequel.   

My Rating
    

Book Review - Half Bad

Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Series: Half Bad (book 1)
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 3 Mar. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0141350868

Synopsis
Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.


Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan's only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it's too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?


My Review
This book hit the shelves with a storm last year, I remember everyone talking about it, it was nominated for a YA book prize and you couldn't go to a book store without seeing it. And a lot of people were raving about it, I will admit I picked it up back then, but didn't like the narrative style at the start of the book and put it down. I never intended to go back to it, putting it down as another craze.
However this book then appeared on our 'Children's Book Day' list for work, one of a bunch of title we have to read and then discuss. So here I was - faced with it again. I usually like fantasy, magic books but something wasn't jumping out at me with this one. But I knew I had to read it so I sat down determined to give it a good go.
The story starts off in 2nd person (i believe) and I really don't get on with that, I find it annoying and slightly confusing, instead of absorbing me and making me feel like part of the story it actually does the opposite for me. I silently prayed that it wouldn't be that way through the whole book and I am pleased to say that after the first chapter it changes to first person which I am a lot more comfortable with and find it much easier to read.
We follow Nathan, a young boy who is different to those around in. In a society divided into Good witches and Bad witches there is a clear line. The Good Witches are the accepted ones, the regular, the norm. Whereas the Bad are outcast and shamed. Nathan is of course half and half. When he turns 17 his powers will come into effect, and no one knows which side he will go towards, we follow him on the years, months and weeks leading up to his birthday.
There were some really good parts of this book but there was also some really slow parts too. This book is almost 400 pages long and for me it just went on a little bit too long. There was far too much build up, then when it finally starts to get really exciting and the pace picks up - the book ends. I suppose it's a way to make you want to read the sequel but it's also a bit annoying. 
I liked Nathan as a character and could really feel his struggle and you really see him change and develop throughout the story but there were times when he was whiney and a bit pathetic and I wanted him to just get on with something. 
There is a lot of back story and bits of information which may turn out to be relevant in the following books but right now I'm not sure it all is. 
I am not saying it's a bad book though - not at all, just too long for what it is. In fact if you peel back all the moments of walking across countrysides, sitting and waiting and exercising, what is left is very good. I liked the idea behind it and thought it was put over very well. All the characters play important roles and i like the interaction between them all and how it changes. I hope we see more of Nathans brother - I liked him and feel like he may be a pivotal part. 
So whilst I struggled with this book for quite a while I did enjoy it overall and I dare say I will probably give the next one a go just to find out what happens to everyone. 

My Rating
I would actually say this was slightly higher than an Average, but not quite as high as 'Really Enjoyed It' so call it an 'Average +'
    

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Book Review - Cakes in Space

Title: Cakes in Space
Author: Philip Reeve
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Release Date: 4 Sept. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0192734563

Synopsis
Astra's family are all snoring in their sleeping pods, but Astra is WIDE AWAKE. With her friend, Pilbeam, she goes off exploring and soon finds out the ship is in deep trouble. It's been knocked off course and invaded by a gang of Poglites, an alien salvage crew searching for spoonage.
But even the Poglites need Astra's help when they discover something far more sinister lurking in the canteen. Sure, they're cakes; but no one would describe them as sweet.
 

My Review
It's that time of year again in our library service - 'Children's Book Day'. This is an annual event where staff at the library are given a set of books to read, we go through them over the next few months and then all meet up for a big day of book discussions, author visits and idea sharing. It's the high point of my year and is a great way for staff to expand their knowledge of current books and discover new books. This year I believe we have 4 Teen/YA titles, 4 children's titles and 6 picture books. If you have followed my blog before you will have seen write ups of the books the last couple of years. It's always a great mix.
I try to review from both my point of view and that of the target audience although that can be hard to do.
So Cakes in Space was the first one I picked up. Partly because I know Sarah McIntyre who has illustrated this book- (I met her when she did an event at our library last year and she was totally awesome.) But I also took it because it was the only one left at the time :P
Astra and her family are going on a journey to a new planet for a fresh start, but it's going to take a hundred years to get there so everyone has to go into a pod and enter a frozen sleep to preserve their bodies. But something goes wrong and for some reason Astra wakes up early. Everyone else is still sleeping soundly but her pod has failed, she then discovers that more than that has gone wrong with the ship - it's been invaded by aliens called Poglites, the systems are crashing and worse than that the ship is being over-ridden with giant man eating cakes. With vicious frosting, wicked cream-cakes and killer cupcakes. 
The illustrations are of course fabulous and match the story perfectly, but I have to admit it that I found the story rather annoying. It turned very silly very quickly and seemed to try and focus on too many aspects at once. It wasn't just the cakes, but the computers and the aliens and the spaceship. There were too many problems and a lot of messages hidden in there that it seemed a little jumbled to me. 
But it is a very simple read which only took me about 45 minutes in total and it is fun. Astra has a very spunky attitude and is fun and feisty. She doesn't shy away from trouble and faces problems head on. Her robot friend Pilbeam is quite funny and cute and the Poglites don't seem all that bad.
I can see kids loving this book and the mash of nonsense and fun with the illustrations to bring it to life more. But I have to admit it just wasn't for me- it was just too hectic and silly but I can admire the charm in it.

My Rating