Friday 31 May 2013

Cover Reveal - A Closer Look

A Closer Look1
Title: A Closer Look
Author: Karen DellaCava
A Closer Look book description:
“…and there were these moments—when we laughed on the phone, or met for a kiss-and-run, when I noticed the sweet way he looked at me—well, I felt so good I could almost forget about my secret. But in the back of mind, it was like an invisible fist was lurking, one that followed me around, just waiting for the chance to rip out more hair.”
High school freshman, Cassie Donavan, is a stand-out sprinter about to move up to varsity track. Mom, a former teen model and Robin Lakewood, a competitive teammate are more than enough to handle when Cassie discovers her body is turning against her. On New Year’s morning she awakens to her pillow covered with her long hair. Mom and Dad explain alopecia areata—a secret they’ve kept from Cassie since she was three. And now it’s happening again. Cassie is losing her hair.
Life gets even more complicated when Cassie falls for jazz sax player, Tommy Sweeny.
Every day Cassie battles with her reflection, desperate to keep her hair loss a secret. Only her family and best friend, Tara Speziale, know the truth. With her rapidly changing appearance, relationships with Mom and Tommy are strained, damaged. And when Tara urges Cassie to race at a crowded track meet, Cassie is trapped in her worst nightmare. Shattered, she hides at home embarrassed and ashamed. Does she dare renew her trust in her family and friends? Will Cassie have the courage to take a closer look?

_JAY0021Author bio:
Karen DelleCava is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and her short stories have appeared in Highlights magazine. When Karen isn't reading, working on her next novel, or playing Scrabble, you can find her at the gym in step aerobics or Zumba classes. A Closer Look is her first young adult novel.
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Book Review - The Blessed

Title: The Blessed
Author: Tonya Hurley
Series: The Blessed (book 1)
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 2 Aug 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1444904758

Brooklyn teens Lucy, Cecilia and Agnes find themselves in the emergency room at Perpetual Help Hospital at the lowest point in their lives. Lucy, the superficial party girl; Cecilia, a drop out rock chick; and Agnes, a hopeless romantic. All rebels running from their lives and themselves, plagued by broken hearts and broken dreams.
Enter Sebastian: mysterious, compelling, seductive.
He brings the girls together and seems to provide each of them with what they long for ... and they begin to heal.
But Sebastian is on the run - and soon the girls are hunted too ...

My Review
I absolutely loved the clever, quirky and gripping writing in Hurley's other series - The Ghostgirl books. Since then I've looked out for something else by her and then this was released. It took me a while to get a copy but it came in at the library and I brought it home to read.
My first feeling whilst reading this book was 'what on earth am I reading? I'm not even sure I like this', but I kept reading. The blurb actually sounded pretty interesting, I wasn't sure what I was going to get from this book but what I did get was not at all what I had expected to come out. 
We are introduced to 3 girls, Agnes, Cece and Lucy. They all meet in the Perpetual Help Hospital, Agnes tried to commit suicide after her boyfriend dumped her, Lucy is a mini celeb who overdosed in a club and Cece is an aspiring musician who was found face down in a puddle - nearly drowned. My only problem with these girls is that they are all quite shallow and I never really cared about any of them. You don't really get to know all that much about them but to be honest I didn't really want to anyway. Agnes is probably the one you get to know the most, she's a hopeless romantic who doesn't get on well with her 'controlling' mother, but she seemed to be very self centered and very stubborn and just caused trouble for herself.
Then we have Sebastian, the 'mysterious' stranger, he pulls the three girls to him, through 3 bracelets, something about him draws them to him, but I couldn't personally see the appeal, he was rumoured to be a psychopath and to be honest he did come across that way. He believes himself to be some sort of saint sent on a mission but he was just delusional and trippy. 
I was so confused with this story, apparently it was supposed to be a sort of re-telling of three saint stories - (Agnes, Lucy and Cecelia) which means it does have a religious aspect to the book, and I got the basic undertones of that and wondered what would become of them but that was mixed with a whole load of strangeness that made me go 'What?!'
For one, at one point in the abandoned church they are all hiding out in Agnes is feverish and her wrist wounds are infected and she is what seems minutes from passing out and dying. Next thing you know they are all walking away from the church and Sebastian and she goes home and she has 'fading incisions' and only 'scars' to remind her of her experiences. How on earth did they heal that quickly, with absolutely no medical help? Unless I missed something.
The easiest way to sum up this book is just Weird, I felt like there was a good plot line in there but for me it just didn't come through. I did finish the book and worked my way through it, at over 400 pages it felt quite long. 

Others more into Cult stories or books with religious aspects or even more sort of Gothic fiction would probably like this, but for me it just left me feeling confused. Just wasn't for me.

My Rating

Armchair BEA - Non Fiction?

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Today's topic for Armchair BEA is all about Non-Fiction. Do you read it? If so which topics are your go to picks?

To be honest I prefer to read to escape, a good fiction book can take you away and out of this world, this means that I don't tend to read a lot of Non Fiction. But I have dipped in.

If I head for the non, it's usually for an Autobiography. I like to find out about people and how they got to where they are, but even so it has to be someone I have an interest in. I couldn't read about just anyone. So I don't tend to read many, although I have really enjoyed all the ones I have read.

I have looked through some guidebooks before and of course I use cookbooks, but I don't 'read' those, not in the sense of going cover to cover, it's more of a flick through to look for recipes.

I like Non Fiction that can tell a story. The sort that reads like Fiction but is in fact real. For example I read 'Walk the Lines' by Mark Mason, which was about a guy who walked the Underground routes above ground, to explore new areas of London and I enjoyed it, it was like he was taking you on a journey and it read like one. So although you got information and facts it was fun. Those are the sort of book I like when reading Non Fiction.

What about you, are you hungry for facts or do you stick with the fiction?

FF (124)

Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs! Want to join? Check it out at Parajunkee.

This week's question feature is
The Fiction Conniption

Q: What blogger would you most like to meet in real life? Tell us about him or her.

My Answer: I've never met any of my fellow bloggers so the chance to meet any of you would be cool. Things like BEA would be a great event not just to meet authors but catch up with fellow bloggers. Unfortunately I live in the UK so it's not easy to get there, but I hope to one day.

I have quite a few bloggers I 'talk' to a fair bit and hope to one day meet them all, see the faces behind the names.


Happy Hopping & Blogging. :D



Wednesday 29 May 2013

Book Review - Shades of Earth

Title: Shades of Earth
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe (book 3)
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 2 May 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0141333700

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn't the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. Amy and Elder must race to uncover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. But each new discovery brings more danger. And if their colony collapses then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been meaningless...

My Review
Firstly I have to say - look at that cover!!!!! I am so happy. I loved the original cover for Across the Universe with the 2 faces and the purple stars and was then disappointed with book 2 (A Million Suns) when they changed the design and they didn't fit together. Then this book was announced and they had changed all the covers again. There was a reveal with all the covers and they were very mechanical and to be honest, boring! I was so upset, I love my books to match on my shelves and I couldn't afford and didn't really want to anyway - rebuy the whole series. So I came to accept the fact that I would just have to borrow this from the library to read it but not have it to keep on my shelves. 
Well, there must have been a lot of opinions similar to mine, I saw a lot of comments complaining about the change and next thing I know, this cover is released. I thought it was too good to be true but when my copy came through in the library i was real. 
I am now desperate to buy my own copy and it will look great on my shelf in line with the others. Finally publishers made a good cover choice.
Anyway - rant over, onto to actual review. :P
This takes a big turn from the previous novels, no longer on the ship or trying to get to the new planet, they are actually there and about to start a whole new life, but things go wrong straight away, there is someone or something already there that is not friendly. And when people end up getting killed everything descends into panic.

I loved the way this world is set up, the book is written so we discover the world at the same time as the characters, new areas, discoveries, plants, land, creatures. We go along with Amy and everyone from the shuttle and see everything as they find it. It made me feel like I was a part of their journey, one of them, setting out and discovering everything.
My biggest shock though was Amy's parents. Now they have landed they wake up everyone that was frozen, all the doctors, military personnel and whoever else was there. Amy talks about her parents quite a bit through the series so I sort of had an idea of what they would be like when they finally woke up, but her dad was nothing like I thought he would be, in fact he was an arrogant ass and I really didn't like him. Man has a major attitude problem and a major superiority complex. I wanted to shake him and tell him to look around and shut up, maybe listen to Amy once in a while. She's been around for 3 months, she knows what is going on but he wants to do it all his way. But he wasn't a bad character, not at all, he was actually one of those guys you love to hate. He irritates you and makes bad choices but you can't help but want to read more about him and see what he does next. 

The big mystery on the island is what is killing them and why, is it just monsters, or are there aliens? Or other people. No one is sure what is going on, but as more people end up dead the suspicions start to fly around. You start to guess who is behind it and why. I actually had a fair suspicion from fairly early on and was correct when it was revealed, so it wasn't much of a revelation to me but it was still well written and I enjoyed seeing how it all unfolded. 

Amy is really tested in this book and I love her inner strength and the way she wants to fight for what is right. She refuses to give up and we see her really grow up. If you compare her to the scared girl at the beginning of book 1, she is hardly recognizable, she has been through so much and really developed as a character.

I'm quite sad that this series has finished now, I've really enjoyed journeying and discovering things with the people of Godspeed, it's a series that I think will stay with me though. Beth Revis' writing is fast paced, witty and totally gripping, I look forward to what is next from her. 

My Rating

Armchair BEA - Genre Fiction

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Today's topic for Armchair BEA is all about Genres in fiction.

We all have a preferred genre or two and today we are supposed to share our loves.

 For me my go to genre is Paranormal Fantasy, I have really gotten into the whole vampire and werewolf scene. If you had told me 7 or 8 years ago that I would enjoy vampire books I would have laughed in your face.

As a child I always loved the animal stories like 'Animal Ark' by Lucy Daniels, I also enjoyed Jacqueline Wilson and then anything to do with dragons - but I wasn't massively into fantasy, just dragons. I used to collect dragons and finding books about them kept me happy. Books like 'Dragon in Spring Term' would keep me happy for hours.

I have never been a fan of horror films or anything but I watched a bit of a vampire film when I was younger and it terrified me, I couldn't sleep for weeks and even now I can't sleep if there is a gap in my curtains, I was convinced that if they were open and I looked out I might see a vampire outside waiting to come in. I know it's silly but as a child it freaked me out.

As I grew up my interests grew to proper fantasy, Harry Potter widened my tastes and set me onto magic and monsters etc, but I still stayed away from Paranormal. Vampires still terrified me and I couldn't imagine ever reading one.

Then we had a book day at work where we were given a selection of books we had to read and then discuss. 'Marked' by P.C & Kristen Cast was on the list and my heart sunk. I would have to face it and read a vampire book. This was only about 4 years ago now. So I sat down to read it and actually really enjoyed it. I couldn't believe it, I found as many as I could from that series and then branched out to some others. Now I really like them. Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires are one of my favourites. I also love Julie Kagawa's 'Blood of Eden' series.

From there I branched into the whole Paranormal genre - werewolves have also become a favourite for me, the Shiver series by Maggie Stiefvater, Changeling series by Steve Feasey. I love them all.
That also led me into the whole Dystopian genre which I've noticed has become very popular lately which I'm quite happy about. I love it.
Some of my favourites include:
'Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins,
'Breathe' by Sarah Crossan
'Divergent' series by Veronica Roth
'Slated' by Teri Terry

My other genre of choice is what I suppose you would call contemporary fiction, sort of 'real life' feel to them, about growing up, relationships, friendships something quite light or that I can relate to. Used to call it 'Chic Lit' (is that still separate, a lot of genres seem to blur the lines these days!)
Things like the Georgia Nicholson series by Lousie Rennison, 'The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants' by Ann Brashares, 'Geek Girl' by Holly Smale, right through to the more serious ones like 'Pushing the Limits' by Katie McGarry and 'Before I Die' by Jenny Downham

I will read quite a wide range, but I won't read full out horror, I'm still a wimp in that respect and although I like a good mystery with maybe a very gentle murder (such as Sherlock Holmes) I won't read Crime or Thrillers, they're too gory.

So what genres do you love and which books would you recommend from them.

If you've read all that, you've done well!!! :D

Blog Tour - Angelstone

Title: Angelstone 
Series: Dark Angel
Author: Hanna Peach
Available: May 31, 2013
Format: E-book
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Length: ~87,000 words
Review formats: .Mobi, .ePUB, .PDF
Cover URL:

"Fans of The Mortal Instruments [by Cassandra Clare] will love this!"

After escaping from the Hollows and the Michaelea lightwarriors, Jordan takes Alyx and Israel to Aradale, a secret Rogue community, where they appear to be safe − for now. But did they bring the enemy with them? “Mini”, the strange and speechless young girl they rescued from the Hollows, is not as she seems. Why was Elder Michael keeping her locked up? What is she hiding?

Alyx and Israel are driven further apart as Israel continues to obsess over making Adere human and Alyx hides two secrets from him: that he may be part-demon and that she may be carrying his child, a tri-blood keye that can be used to unlock Hell.

Out in the mortal cities, pieces of Black Stone, the only material that can disrupt the angels’ healing abilities, continue to be stolen to make weapons for Samyara’s dark army. Alyx and her friends must stop them, but this means infiltrating holy and guarded places to steal the Black Stone − a monastery in remote China, a mosque in Saudi Arabia, an art gallery in Florence and a cathedral in Peru.

Can they win this deadly race against the Darkened?

About the Author

Hanna Peach
“I write about fantastical things, especially creatures with fangs, magic or wings.
I want to tell you tales that will rip away the glamor from your life, keep you running and fighting and gasping long past the devil’s hour and maybe, just maybe, reality will look a little bit different when you return.
Sit with me around this witchlight. Let me tell you a story.”
At the beginning of 2013, Hanna left her "respectable" career, packed up her life and sold everything except for what fit in a suitcase to be a full-time writer and go "gypsy-ing" across Europe. Even she thinks that she is a little crazy sometimes.
Hanna Peach is the author of Angelfire, book 1 of the Dark Angel series. Angelstone, (Dark Angel #2) is due for publication on 31 May 2013 and Angelsong (Dark Angel #3) is due late 2013.
Author Photo URL:
Find out more about her at:
Amazon – Kindle (Angelfire)
Author’s note: Angelstone links will be sent out as soon as they become available.
Book Trailer (Angelfire)

Additional Information

Angelfire will be FREE through Amazon for 28 May to 1 June 2013.
Angelstone will be on sale for US$0.99 for 31 May and 1 June only.


“So,” Israel said, “could I learn to defend myself against your magics?”
“Interesting.” Jordan made a small noise in his throat. “Could a mortal raise a defense against the magics?” Jordan began to pace. “Your only option against the elemental magics – fire, water, earth, air – is just to get the hell out of the way. But the Seraphim don’t need magics to defend themselves against mental magic attacks. DreamWalker and MemorySong can be deflected by using the defender’s own will, his or her inner power... theoretically, if a mortal’s mind was strong enough, they may be able to learn to raise their mental defenses in the same way.”
It sounded like this Rogue was issuing a challenge. “I’ll do it.” Bring it, Rogue-boy. “What do you want me to do?”
Jordan stopped pacing and spun so that he was facing Israel. Jordan looked at Israel in silence for long enough that Israel began to feel uncomfortable. There was almost a leer to Jordan’s stare. The side of Jordan’s lip tilted up. “Are you asking for my help, mortal?”
This cocky prick was going to make him say it. Israel grumbled a little before acquiescing. “Yes, Rogue, I am asking for your help.”
Jordan’s face broke out into a grin. Israel didn’t have a good feeling about this.
“On the basis that I think that this will be… an interesting experiment, I agree to help you.”
“On one condition.”
Of course there had to be a condition. “Which is?”
Jordan pursed his lips and stepped up to Israel. This Rogue was a few inches shorter than Israel, but he had this thing about him that made him seem bigger, taller, than he actually was. Israel lifted his chin higher.
“Which is?” Israel repeated. He wasn’t intimidated by this Rogue, magics or not.
“You’ll do exactly as I say, when I say it.”
“And no arguing with me.”
“You said one condition.”
Jordan narrowed his eyes. “And no arguing with me.”
Israel growled deep in his throat. “Fine. I accept your conditions.”

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Blog Tour - Love and Skate


Love and Skate
Title: Love and Skate

Author: Lila Felix

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Book Description:

On the rink she’s tough, she’s a leader, she’s fast and she’s the epitome of a rebellious girl. But Nellie’s been hurt, only once, but it was enough to make her look at life through different eyes and off the rink she’s a timid girl who loves with no pretenses.

A long time ago Owen Black was betrayed by the girl he thought he loved and the guy he called his best friend. The anguish set off a domino effect of negativity in his life and he never has fully recovered. He meets Nellie Forrester and thinks he can let it go for her.

But how can you love someone when the wounds from your past are still wide open?

Make sure you check out the rest of the books in the Love and Skate series, How it Rolls and Down N Derby

About The Author

Lila Felix made the decision to write a book after being encouraged by friends. She is a stay at home mom to three wild children and three boisterous dogs. Between writing books she loves read and watch sappy 80's movies. Favorite things: ice cream, anything purple, roller derby and any kind of music she can get her hands on. If you're looking for her, try looking under Cypress trees in the swamps of Louisiana.



Youtube Trailers

Purchase on Amazon

Amazon Author Page

Purchase on Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble Author Page

Armchair BEA - Introductions

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So, whilst all those lucky people have made their way to New York for BEA, I'm sitting at home wishing I was there. So I've once again signed up to Armchair BEA. And this is our chance to get to know each other.
We have some questions to answer so here are mine:

1.Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I am Becky, I am a Library Assistant, and am 24 years old. I've been blogging for just over 2 years, I originally started it as a way to keep track of everything I read. I then enjoyed the community aspect of the blogging world and teh excitement for books, reading and chatting.

2.Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures.

I am blogging from the UK, East Anglia. I live approximately 40 minutes away from London (if you're lucky enough to catch a fast train!!!) This weekend I attended Collectormania fair in Milton Keynes which is about 20 minutes away from me. Collectormania is a smaller version of the MCM conventions where you can meet actors from films and TV (mainly Sci-Fi) Last year I met Amandla Stenberg who played Rue in the Hunger Games, and she was lovely. I got her autograph and a picture with her!

3.Have you previously participated in Armchair BEA? What brought you back for another year? If you have not previously participated, what drew you to the event?

I took part last year and really enjoyed it, I met some fab new bloggers and had fun. I just had to come back for another year.

4.What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?

I have just finished reading 'Scarlet' by Marissa Meyer, and not quite sure what I will pick up next, I have a pile next to me to be read. I have read some absolutely cracking books so far this year, I can't pick one favourite. But I'll mention a few I loved: 
-Geek Girl by Holly Smale
-Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
-Fractured by Teri Terry
-Ink by Amanda Sun
-Poison by Bridget Zinn

5.Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I am currently learning how to do a full twisting pike somersault off the 1m springboard at Diving, hoping once I've got it right to make it a full twisting pike one and a half somersault off the 3m board.

6.Name your favorite blog(s) and explain why they are your favorite(s).

- Girls Heart Books, they do great posts and really encourage readers and writers. It is set up for children which I find useful for running my book group at work but it has a strong adult following too. 
- Alison Can Read, I love her style and she is a real sweetheart. Great content, love her Manga Mondays and always so friendly.
- Parajunkee - a whole blog of awesomeness, I love her Follow Friday meme and she also does a blogger help meme every week that has really useful advice on it, I've learnt loads from her. She's also got fab style!
- Annette's Book Spot - A fellow librarian Annette and I have quite a lot in common and share a similar taste in books. Always great to get some book recommendations from and always happy to chat too. :D

7.Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?

Erm let me think, *slinks off to look through some posts...*

OK, at the start of this year I ran a promotion called 'Top 12 of 2012', it was a huge task for me, something I had never tried before and I got some great feedback from it, both from readers of my blog and authors. 
I picked my top 12 books that I had read and contacted all the authors to see if they wanted to feature, I got interviews and giveaways from a number of them and I enjoyed doing it.
So in a way I cheat here with my favourite post, as I'm selecting the launch post of that promotion - but it has links to all of the posts done for the 12 days.
I'm proud of the work I put into the whole thing and with how it turned out. 

8.If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

Predictable answer here, but I have to say J.K Rowling. She is just incredible and I would love to meet her. 

9.What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

I would love to visit the countryside where WInnie the Pooh is set, I want to play Pooh Sticks on the bridge just like A.A Milne did. It seems so peaceful and beautiful there. 
If not that then I would quite like to visit the Roald Dahl museum.

10.What is your favorite part about the book blogging community?

The fact that it is a really strong community. everyone is always so friendly and helpful and always happy to say hello. 

11.Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?

The only change I would make would be me actually being in America for the real live BEA, but for now I will enjoy sharing this experience with all of you. Armchair BEA is a great substitute and I love being a part of it.

Book Review - Scarlet

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (book 2)
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 7 Feb 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0141340234

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic is trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

My Review
I really enjoyed Cinder when I read it last year, I thought it was different and I remember being drawn into the story. I waited and waited for this book to come out and then sort of forgot about it, but then I was unpacking a box of new stock at the Library and this was in it, I squealed (startling my colleague) and grabbed it, knowing I had to read it and not wanting to risk anyone else getting it before I could. So I processed it, issued it straight away and took it home. Well, there's got to be some perks right!?
Cinder was of course based on the story of Cinderella, but it takes it to a whole new world, but this book is very much focused on Scarlet, which works around the Little Red Riding Hood tale, but again nothing is as it seems.
Cinder is still featured in this story, of course she is - that can't be ignored but the chapters alternate between her and Scarlet, with them coming together in a very important way towards the end.
Scarlet has spent most of her life on the farm with her gran, helping out with the work and making deliveries, but when her Gran is taken and no-one seems to want to help she sets off to find her, she then meets 'Wolf' a real tough guy who may or may not know more. There is a real on again off again thing between these too, there is a definite attraction between them, but not much trust. I found myself quite liking Wolf, but I did have moments when I wanted to slap the attitude out of him. 
Scarlet herself is quite feisty and I loved her drive but she tended to rush into things a bit too quickly which isn't always wise.
I really liked the different take on the whole Wolf aspect, it gave it a very different feel and introduced a new way of thinking but I think it worked very well.

Meanwhile back to Cinder she has escaped from prison with a fellow criminal named Thorne, he is a bit pathetic at times and tends to make silly mistakes but he has a wicked sense of humour and I loved his sarcasm, it really made me chuckle and I found myself wanting to read more from him. He works very well with Cinder too and they made a great team. 

At 452 pages this is a fairly long book but most of it flew past, I did have a couple of moments where I wished it would move a little quicker and my attention would drift a little bit, but never for long before I was snapped back into it. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first but it was still very good. 
And I can't wait to see what Meyer brings in for the next book. 

My Rating

Monday 27 May 2013

Book Promo - The Long Way

Young Adult
Published by BookRix: 5/19/2012

In a move that defies all logic and likelihood, a young boy named Spiff is called upon to carry
out the most important quest that has ever been undertaken. His mission drags him headlong
across the face of the world, through a veritable pantheon of hardships and threats that are at once
chilling and baffling. Along the way he meets dragons and madmen, and learns that the lovable
and the monstrous are two sides of the same coin.

Conceived as a darkly whimsical loose retelling of the Tolkien saga, The Long Way poses the
question that high fantasy rarely cares to ask: Why?

Aaron Redfern
Aaron Redfern has been reading and writing fantasy since a time when he could count his age on his fingers. He went to Williams College and studied English, a language in which he was already proficient, and although he learned almost nothing from the English professors, dead poets and novelists taught him a great deal. While at college, he fell thoroughly in love with New England. He has decided never to leave and currently resides near Northampton, Massachusetts.

Aaron has written three novels, including The Long Way and its sequel, The Forgotten Way. His short-fiction titles include Stories About the Rain and Crawl.

Buy this eBook on BookRix 


Guest Post

Perspectives 101

One of the first decisions you have to make about any story before you can even start writing it is what perspective you'll use.  Should you choose first or third person?  An omniscient narrative voice or a close-up view inside the head of one character?  Third person past tense narration is a perfectly good default that's probably as old as civilization, and there's no shame in it; it's probably the right choice for the majority of stories.  But the important thing is to remember that your writing is a craft, and perspective is one of many tools you have available to make your work shine.  How to best use those tools depends on your goals for the story.

Third person gives you more of a distance from the characters than first person does.  This doesn't mean that your readers will feel like the characters are distant, it just means that you'll have sort of a null effect.  It's the standard.  Third person works very well if you want a storytelling tone, and it's practically essential if you want more than one character's perspective to tell the story.

If you do choose third person, you'll have a whole range of options, from zooming in on one character to hopping between multiple characters in different chapters to using an omniscient narrator that is so far back from the story that it can tell everything at once.  Having multiple viewpoint characters lets you add a lot of depth of perspective, and you can even play different character's ways of seeing the world off of each other.  If you've read George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, you know how interesting it can be to see a conflict from many different angles, especially when the characters all have strong opinions that contradict each other.  Omniscient narration lets you move around even more easily and see even more, but you may lose a sense of closeness to the individual characters.  When choosing a third person perspective, it's important to consider a few key questions.  Where do you want the focus of your story to be?  How do you want the reader to relate to different characters?  What do you want your reader to know or not know?

First person, on the other hand, puts you as deep as you can go inside a single character's head. It may often have the disadvantage of distancing you more from everything else, though.  It's harder to interpret any other character's viewpoint, and readers won't have access to any information the narrator doesn't have.  Of course, sometimes that's not a disadvantage at all.  For instance, if you want to use an unreliable narrator with a distorted perspective, first person can help you lock the reader inside of that perspective, giving the distortion more weight or making it harder for the reader to discern the truth.  First person also makes it easier to hide things from the reader.  You can pretty easily get away with not revealing things as simple as your character's name and gender, and you can use this well in certain situations.  In third person stories, the reader trusts the all-knowing narrator to reveal everything that the viewpoint character knows—but in first person, the narrator has complete control over the story and can reveal or not reveal anything he or she chooses.

You can also mix and match, as long as you have a reason for it.  The Scar by China Mieville focuses on several viewpoint characters, but it also sometimes backs out to a more godlike perspective that shows things happening far away.  Surprisingly, that greater distance is able to convey even more of a sense of dread.  It's like some sinister force is granting you, the reader, terrible visions of what is coming for your beloved characters, and there's nothing you can do about it.  You can also mix first and third person with different characters.

And if you want, you can be even more experimental than that.  What happens if you put your narration in second person?  What can you do with present tense?  Is there a way to tell a story with a narrator looking forward into the future rather than back into the past?  You should never use any perspective just as a gimmick, but the sky's the limit on what you can do to bring out the best in your story.

Sunday 26 May 2013

Book Review - Struck By Lightning

Title: Struck by Lightning
Author: Chris Colfer
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 20 Nov 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0349001357

Life comes at you fast. It hits you and tries to escape and be expressed in any way possible. In a way, it's a lot like... Lightning.

Carson Phillips is at the bottom of the food chain in a high school filled with people he hates, stuck living with his depressed single mother in a small minded town at the corner of nothing and nowhere. He has just one goal: escape to Northwestern University as a hard-hitting journalist.
He can practically smell the ink on the admission letter when disaster strikes: his guidance counsellor tells him that he needs to bolster his application by creating a literaty magazine which means he needs submissions. From other students.
With Seventeen years of animosity standing between him and his dreams, Carson resorts to the only thing he can think of: blackmail. After all, desperate times call for desperate measures, and everyone has a secret they'd do anything to hide. 

My Review
I love Chris Colfer, I obviously know him from Glee and know how talented he is. Last year I read his children's book 'Land of Stories' and really enjoyed it. I was impressed. I then saw him on the Ellen Degeneres show talking about a movie he had directed and starred in, Struck by Lightning. I then found out there was a book of it and I knew I had to get hold of it. I haven't managed to see the film yet but I am hoping to soon. It's not available in the UK yet so I have to wait for now.
I saw the book in the shops though and knew I had to get it. This is nothing like his other book, this one is much more grown up and reads like a personal narrative. It has quite a bit of swearing in it and may bot be suitable for younger readers.
Carson comes across as a bit of an ass to be honest, thinks he is superior to everyone around him and just wants to move on to better things, but as you find out more about his past and what he wants from life, I came to understand and even like him a bit more. I could really feel his frustration and impatience with those around him who just don't engage their brains and i have to say I can totally identify with that. I have noticed myself get impatient like that too. I think at some point we've all dealt with people who are just idiots!
You actually don't get told much about any of the characters, but the bits you are told shape them well and I felt I had a good picture of who everyone was. Although I do think it is set up for more information to come out, you get a brief insight into their lives and their troubles but then nothing happens about them.
I already knew the ending from seeing Colfer talk about it on Ellen, but it did come quite suddenly and still surprised me in a way. It's quite a stark reality that anything can change in a moment and not everything works out as we might expect it to.
I agree with some comments that this would probably actually make a better film due to the way it's written, and I suppose that's how it first came about anyway, but that's not to say it's a bad book, it's really not, I did enjoy it and would recommend it. 

My Rating

Book Review - Etiquette & Espionage

Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School (book 1)
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 5 Feb 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1907411588

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

My Review
I will confess that it was the cover of this book that originally caught my attention. It's an absolutely gorgeous cover and gives you a real feel for what the story is about, with a steampunk feel to it. I liked the title too, it intrigued me.
I sat down with this book ready to be amazed. I haven't ever read anything by Carriger before but have heard fabulous things about her.
I have a real fondness for books set in the Victorian era, I don't know why but I really like them, so having a 'steampunk' version of that world would be really cool. But I have to say I was really disappointed. I struggled with this book and at 150 pages into it I still wasn't sure whether or not I should just give up, but I had hope it would improve and pushed on. After all it's only 312 pages which isn't massively long.
I'm going to try to explain what I didn't like about it. Firstly, it seemed quite slow, a lot of the book is setting up the world and characters, there is a lot of information presented and I didn't really know how much was actually relevant, I just wanted it to get on with the action. 
I was actually confused with the world, for me too much had been added: Victorian era, Stemapunk adjustments, then robots, vampires, werewolves, floating buildings, highwaymen, flywaymen, spies, assassins. It just seemed like everything was thrown in together and for me it didn't gel properly. I couldn't keep up with it all, I actually think a simpler version would have been much more enjoyable. 
The names in this book, blimey we get given some names. The main character is Sophronia Angela Temminnick, what a mouthful, I ended up just reading it as Sophie, I gave up trying to pronounce her proper name and just renamed her simply. Then we also meet Pillover - Pill for short, I renamed him Phil for ease. We also get Preshea, Professor Braithwope, Dimity, Sidheag and so on. Each one I ended up giving an easy nickname that I would glance through when their name came up. I get wanting to be original, but these are mouthfuls to say or I'm not sure how to pronounce them. And it slowed down the pacing everytime I stumbled on one. Renaming them meant i could just keep going without hesitating. 
It took a while to get into the plot, I actually enjoyed the last 70 pages more than the whole rest of this book, things started to happen, the story came to a point, it got more exciting and I found myself finally interested and willing for Sophie to be successful. If there had been more of that in this book I would have really enjoyed it.

But it wasn't all negative, I enjoyed Sophie's excursions into the Boiler room and the characters she meets there were great, Soap and Vieve have a real innocence and sense of adventure. They have an easy humour and I could picture them running about the school. 
The basic idea and plot of the story was good I just wanted it to go somewhere further, become more exciting. I feel like this book only scratched the surface of something that has potential to be very gripping. 
I can't say I would want to read anymore in the series though, I struggled a bit with this and it didn't make me go Wow. 
I've heard that this works as a Prequel to her Parasol series, I have book 1 on my book shelves to read, I'll still give that a go, as I've heard it's quite different, but I'm not as excited about it. 
I think this is just a personal preference though. Just didn't work for me.

My Rating