Sunday, 31 January 2010
Three of those books have become firm favourites, they are books I want to jump and down and shout read this read this now about. They are my 2010 Perfect You and Saving Francesca. I haven’t reviewed them yet because I was lucky enough to get ARC’s, so I’m waiting for nearer the release date, but make a note of them on or better yet pre-order them!
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony – Molly struggles to reunite her family. This is a heroine you will fall in love with. I kind of want to live in Molly’s world (except I’d survive for all of three seconds!).
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins – Reform school for witches, laughs to rival Meg Cabot and Archer Cross *swoons*
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy – female empowerment, secret societies (you know how I love secret societies!), the funniest date scene, I nearly fell off the bed laughing (actually I nearly fell out of bed laughing several times during this book). Funny and inspiring you don’t want to miss this one!
What books are you recommending from your January reads?
Friday, 22 January 2010
I know many blogs refer to this as unplugging, personally I prefer Going Dark. It makes me feel like Jack Bauer. Yes, I’m still watching 24 and yes I’m still loving it. I’m especially loving the addition of the amazing Katee Stackhoff and Freddie “I always look slightly puzzled” Prinze Jr. Not to mention the NY branch of CTU, which has gone all high tech. How I miss the bleep bleep phones of the LA branch, it;s all about the bluetooth headset now!
Anyway so I have some editing and some critiquing to do, but I shall be back in February with;
- a review of the utterly fabulous The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy. Saying I loved it may be an understatement. I’m wondering how I can become a Cindy.
- A very cool Cover Wars
- my thoughts on the passive heroine
- if I read fast a review of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. It has begun in a very promising manner. So I have high hopes. 2010 is a fabulous year for books, so far.
- A Valentines Day giveaway
Have an excellent week all.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
UNSUNGYA or how have you not read this yet?
The rules are simple, you can post about any book, as long as it has 500 member or less on Library Thing. For more detailed instructions check out Kelly’s blog.
So here are my Top Six UNSUNGYA
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
My absolute favoruite YA book, ever. If you like YA it’s a MUST read. If you’re new to YA it will hook you.
Perfect you by Elizabeth Scott
If you’re a regular you are probably sick to death of me and my love affair with this book. But only 185 member on library thing – travesty! Read it, read it now! Then read everything else by her too.
Willow by Julia Holban
Yes this book is about cutting and I know that doesn’t sound like the most appealing read, but this book is so beautiful and heartbreaking and real. You just have to give it a chance.
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ocklar
Love, loss and friendship and absolutely gorgeous language. It will make you long to walk across the sand, the sea lapping your feet, holding the hand of someone you love.
Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
Powerful and compelling. It will leave your stomach in knots, but it is an absolute must read.
If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
A beautifully told story of the blossoming of love between a white jewish girl and a black boy. This one makes you think without losing the story.
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Book Review – Candor by Pam
What it’s about
Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town
where his father brainwashes everyone, he’s found a way
to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He’s got them
all fooled: Oscar’s the top student and the best-behaved
teen in town. Nobody knows he’s made his own Messages
to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to
get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape
Candor, Florida before they’re transformed into
cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor,
and Oscar’s carefully-controlled world crumbles.(From Goodreads)
What I thought
Candor is a compelling and unsettling read, which poses the question, is it ever acceptable to manipulate another person?
I really enjoyed the world Pam Bachorz created. Oscar is a conflicted and interesting main character and I liked his struggle against his father. At the beginning of the book Oscar loathes the world his father has created. He hates the manipulation of himself and all the other teens, but as he tries to save Nia he becomes more and more manipulative himself. Justifying his actions in the same way his dad does.
The supporting characters are also well drawn and interesting, especially Mandy. I loved Mandy. A former beauty pageant contestant, her true nature occasionally breaks through the mind control messages of Candor, making for some very funny moments.
I really hope Pam Bachorz will be writing more about Candor. Creepy as it is, it’s a great place to visit.
I listened to the audiobook of Candor. It’s perfect for the medium. John Lavelle’s did a great job. I really felt like Oscar was telling me his story.
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Cover Wars – CANDOR
I liked the houses on this one, it reminded me of the tv show Weeds, which I love. I wasn’t that keen on having the boys face though. Although I do like the headphones.
I just LOVE this one. I would definitely pick it up in the bookstore. The cover captures the feel of the book, kind of edgy and ominous, without giving you any idea what it’s about.
I like how they have used the same colour scheme for both the UK and USA versions.
What do you think?
And come back tomorrow for my review of Candor.
Sunday, 17 January 2010
In My Mailbox
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
Received as part of The Cinderella Society Blog Your, see the sidebar button for details
When the Prom Queen becomes your fairy godmother…
Sixteen year old outsider, Jess Parker, gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join a secret society of popular girls dedicated to defeating the mean girls of the world. The Cinderella Society guides all new recruits through its top secret ultimate life makeover. It’s all part of preparing them to face down the Wickeds and win. Determined not to let the Cindys down, Jess dives in with a passion. Finally, a chance to belong and show the world what she’s made of.
… be careful what you wish for.
Jess’s transformation wins her the heart of her dream crush and a shot at uber-popularity. Until the Wickeds-led by Jess’s arch enemy-begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers the real force behind her exclusive society. It’s a high stakes battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys in power need Jess on special assignment. When the mission threatens to destroy her dream life come true, Jess is forced to choose between living a fairy tale and honoring the Sisterhood… and herself.
What’s a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn’t want to wear it anymore?
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Received from Random House for review – thanks Random House.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.
The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl springs up—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.
I’m half way through the Cinderella Society and loving it and I can’t wait to start The Maze Runner which I’ve heard is wonderful.
Friday, 15 January 2010
Apart from having nowhere near the recommended 8 hours sleep a night (who says babies sleep a lot!) it has been a great week.
1) I write 10,000 words of the WIP. They are probably all gibberish but they are there ready to be transformed into less gibberish at a later date.
2) I’m reading The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy, which is amazing. This is going to be one of those books I am always wittering on about here, I’ll warn you now. I just adore it. Not only does it have a great message for girls of all ages, it’s funny too. So funny that my husband asked if I was reading Meg Cabot as I cackled away. Oh and there are hot boys, which you know I love.
3) I’m finally going to see Avatar tomorrow.
4) I impulse bought some Gourmet Kettlecorn Popcorn in Wholefoods, it was right by the checkout and I was starving. OMG it is SO good. terrible for the diet but so, so good.
5) I ran three times this week, well jogged, but I was moving.
What lovely things happened to you this week?
Have a great weekend.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Debut Author Challenge
I have had limited success with challenges in the past but I thought I’d sign up for the debut author challenge hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren because
1) I really want to read these books
2) It’s fun to support debut authors.
I’m aiming to read fourteen debut books this year, although that number might rise, It was so hard to pick, there are some fantastic releases this year and I’m sure as I read reviews my TBR pile will increase. For now though, these are my picks. I’ll link to reviews as I read.
Before I fall by Lauren Oliver
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
If you’d like to take part in the debut author challenge you can sign up here
Cover Wars: The Demon’s Lexicon
Personally I’m all about the UK cover but what about you? Vote and comment!
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Book Review – Beautiful Creatures
What it’s about
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
What I thought
Beautiful Creatures is an absolutely gorgeous book that sucks you straight into the steamy southern town of Gatlin and doesn’t let you out till you turn the last page. And even then you’ll find yourself thinking about these characters and counting down the days till book two.
It’s an amazing story of star crossed lovers, curses, family ties, good and evil and consequences. I loved Ethan and Lena’s epic romance, which is the centre of the book. But it’s not just about the lovers, they are surround by a cast of intriguing and wonderfully written characters; Amma, Uncle Macon, Link, Ridley and Marian.
Then there’s the town of Gatlin, which is almost like another character. I’ve never been to the south but Garcia and Stohl made me feel like I had. The history of Gatlin, both mortal and caster, is woven through the book so they both feel real, which I loved.
Read Beautiful Creatures you won’t be disappointed.
Friday, 8 January 2010
2) I got The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy. I’m trilled to be taking part in the Blog tour organized by Daisy Whitney. More information on that here.
5) Chuck starts again on Monday. Yay, yay, yay! I adore Chuck. Zachery Levi is adorable.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Where will you be tonight at 8pm?
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Cover Wars: The Uglies Trilogy
The Book: The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
Now I have posted a covers wars on UGLIES before (see here) and the US won hands down. I hated the UK covers but they have been re-issued. Look at these stunning new covers.
Monday, 4 January 2010
Book Review – All Unquiet Things
What it’s about
Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.
Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.
Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.
As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.(from Goodreads)
For those in a rush
A gripping mystery dealing with love, loss and healing, these characters will stay with you for a long time. Read it!
For those with some time
All Unquiet Things is a complex book; a murder mystery with two narrators and multiple flashbacks. It would be easy to get lost or thrown out of the story. I never was though because past and present and Neily and Audrey’s distinct voices are so skillfully weaved together.
Although this is a mystery the real heart of the story is in the relationships. My favourite being Neily and Carly’s. I loved the flashbacks where we got to see their relationship develop. You could really feel why they were attracted to each other and how much they connected and how their ideas about loving someone changed. Which made later events all the more heartbreaking. I also enjoyed Neily and Audrey’s relationship. Their disagreements and sniping lightened the tone of a heavily charged, emotional story.
The big revelation, of who the murderer is, is fantastically well done. I was trying to work it out all the way through and I got on completely the wrong track. But the who dun it aspect wasn’t really the main pull of the story for me. It was the exploration of growing up, of what it means to love someone, how you deal with and recover from loss and how you start living again.
I really recommend this book. The writing is beautiful and the characters unforgettable. I’ll definitely be reading it again.
Anna Jarzab can be found blogging here.
Monday – A Book Review
Wednesday – Cover Wars
Friday – Resolution Review. Maybe quite dull for you but hopefully motivating for me!
Weekend – Random thoughts and In my Mailbox
Monthly – A round up of books I read, best first lines and best covers.
Come back later, as I’ll be kicking off with my first book review of 2010.
Friday, 1 January 2010
Happy New Year & blogs you should be reading in 2010
Thank you for reading, commenting and writing blogs of your own. I love being part of this community.
Since the baby arrived I have had to cut back on my blog reading, a lot. These are the blogs I always hit when I can. If you don’t read them you should add them to your blogroll in 2010.
Although I’m English I’m American at heart (does that count on green card applications?). Sarah’s blog is a slice of how I imagine every day to be in a small American town to be (although I have no idea if her town is actually small). Her blog is very much like her books, you get pulled in to everyday events from the first sentence. She can make shopping for groceries interesting. Instead of Writergrl her blog could share the name of her latest book, Along for the Ride, because that’s how it feels.
Daisy Whitney at The Book Chick
I just discovered Daisy’s blog in the last few months of the year but it is now a firm favourite. Her energy, enthusiasm and love of reading and writing just jump off the screen and leave you feeling energized. I can’t wait for her debut novel The Mockingbirds or to see how she’s going to spread the word about it.
Another blog I discovered this year. James’ reviews are great and have made me want to read everything he has read. He loves the books he reviews. He also has excellent author interviews and funny stories about book signings he’s been too.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any time at all, you probably know that I LOVE Diana’s books. Her blog is just like them; funny, clever and entertaining, but not afraid to talk about serious topics and make you think about them too.
An old favourite. I love Joelle’s blog, hearing about her writing and her Need to Read posts on books she loves. This year she introduced Wild Card Wednesday interviewing authors and aspiring authors, including yours truly.
I adore Jemi’s posts on writing and I like how she ends each post with a question that gets me thinking. She also leaves wonderful comments.
Another new blog but again a firm favoruite. I’m enjoying following Kim’s road to publication.
I adore her books and I adore her blog too. It is wonderfully chatty, has great contests and if you don’t have much time to search the internet Elizabeth is the Queen of Links. If it’s worth reading she will have linked to it.
Agent, blogger and now writer too. I love Nathan’s posts. He is always interetsing and usually funny too. The only danger is being sucked in to reading all the commetns, which are also interesting and funny.
Miss Snark’s First Victim
A must for all aspiring writers. I have learned so much from this blog. Kudos to all those who enter their work in the many competitions.
There are SO many more excellent blogs that I love and wish I could visit more regularly. What are your favourites?