Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Waiting on Wednesday for Restoring Harmony

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony


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The year is 2041, and Molly McClure was only six when the Collapse of ’31
happened, ending life as the world’s population knew it. When she is forced to leave the comfort of her small B.C. island to travel down to Oregon, Molly discovers how hard the Collapse has been on the rest of the world. What starts out as a quick trip to the U.S. to convince her grandfather to return to Canada and be the island’s doctor, becomes a rescue mission. How much will she have to compromise to succeed in getting back home.


Restoring Harmony is due to hit shelves May 13th 2010.

I've had a sneak peak of this book and can tell you it's every bit as good as the stunning cover suggests.

Add it to your list and check out Joelle's website

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Banned Book Week

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Taken from the ALA

I was brought up to believe censorship was wrong. To believe that anyone had the right to say or think anything, even if I might find their views offensive or strange or downright crazy.

I hope my new son will be a reader. I hope he'll love books as much as I do. I hope books will be a bridge between us when I stop being the centre of his world and become annoying and embarrassing and everything else mums always become.

I hope in books he'll find friends. I hope he'll find people just like him going through the exact same things. I hope he'll find people completely different from him and learn that difference is nothing to be afraid of. I hope he'll visit magical places - beaches and jungles, the past, outer space, other worlds.

I hope books will provide him with answers and prompt questions and help his imagination take flight.

Most of all I hope he will never walk into a library and be unable to find a book that could have provided him with comfort or information or just pleasure because someone decided they knew what was best and right for every child in America.

We shouldn't have banned books. I applaud those who fight to keep them on the shelves.

Monday, 28 September 2009

In my mailbox

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In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren

Books I bought


Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

The Summer I got Pretty by Jenny Han

Elements of writing Fiction by Orson Scott Card

The Tales of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillio


Books I won


Donut Days by Lara Zielin


Books I borrowed



Willow by Julia Hoban

What would Emma do? by Eileen Cook

Friday, 25 September 2009

Bits and Pieces

Things I've liked and loved on the internets this week.

On Reading

I'm now dying to read

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpaterick

Which I first saw on Reverie Book Reviews but have since seen everywhere.

According to My favourite Books they had a pretty cool marketing stunt for it in London. Looks like everyone is excited for this one and I can see why.

I'm also longing to get my hands on

Ballard by Maggie Steifvater

after reading The story Siren's review.


Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma


got a fabulous write up from Courtney Summers and definitely sounds like my kind of thing. Old movies and sarky heroines, yes please!


On writing


I loved Emily Hainswoth's 10 Things to do at your first writing conference. Great advice and lots will be useful for KidLitCon 09.

Especially No 1 "locate the bathrooms" I always do!

and finally

The Literary Lab had a great post on Forward and Backward Revisions

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Audio Books: Do you love them or loathe them?

I was never really a fan of audio books. Since I learned to read fast enough to satisfy my desire to find out what happens next, I've preferred reading to be a solitary activity.

But since having the baby I've discovered audio books.

Some books are perfectly suited to this medium. I loved Along for the Ride and am currently deep in Annabelle's world in Just Listen (it's the only thing that gets me on the treadmill). Sarah Dessen's books just seem to be made for audio. It feel like a friend is telling you their story.

I also loved The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Good Book by David Plotz on audio. Both authors read them and do an amazing job.

Specials by Scott Westerfeld left me cold though. I read Uglies and Pretties and fell in love with the characters and the world. I just couldn't listen to Specials, I had to go and buy the hard copy. I'm not sure whether it was because I was too desperate to find out what happened next or whether I just didn't like the reader. Her voice did vex me, maybe someone else would have kept me gripped.


Question: What are the best books you've listened too? Go on help me increase my To be listened to pile.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Leviathan & Fire

Like many people I am eagerly awaiting

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (out 6th October)

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In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

I mean how amazing does that sound?

I'd love to know how he comes up with this stuff and I may get the chance because I just found out that Scott is coming to DC *screams*

I am bouncing up and down with excitement. I was a late and reluctant guest at the Uglies party. I was just sure I wouldn't like it but it's completely wonderful. I just couldn't put the books down. I started Pretties in the car on the way home from the bookstore. (I wasn't driving.)

And as if this wasn't enough excitement Kristin Cashore is also doing a signing here. I've been following the Fire Tour and the book sounds even better than Graceling, hard to imagine I know.

Fire Dial for blogger.jpg

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Go Join in.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Old friends, New Friends

The characters in my novel are like house guests who have out stayed their welcome. I love them to bits andi want to spend time with them but I also need a break.

I'm just worried that if I take a break and go make some new friends I'll lose them. They'll drift away and never come back.

Which is why, while I've been editing, I've resisted starting anything new because I'm not ready to say a permanent goodbye to these people.

Luckily Lady Glam and the gang at The Literary Lab launched Genre Wars, a short story contest. It was the perfect solution.

I didn't think I could write a short story but then this time last year I didn't think I could write a novel. So I tried and I loved it.

I've written three stories in eight days and had so much fun. Being able to just write something new and let my imagination fly again has been such a buzz. I feel completely revitalized and because I know it's not the start of something big I've been playing around trying things I couldn't keep up for a whole novel but I can for 2000 words.

And the best part is that spending time with these new people has made me love and appreciate those old friends.

If you want to take part in The Literary Lab's Genre Wars you can find all the details here.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Book Review - Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

What it's about

Auden doesn't sleep, well not at night anyway, and she doesn't have fun either. Until she spends the summer with her father and his new family. There she makes new friends, including the mysterious Eli, and with their help experiences the childhood she never had.


What I thought


While Along for the Ride doesn't quite live up to The Truth about Forever, it's a charming story. I liked Auden and I enjoyed her road to self discovery. Her blossoming romance with Eli is sweetly done, I was rooting for them. The cast of supporting characters are also brilliant. As with TTAF I found I was as interested in Auden's friends and family as I was in her. The strong supporting characters are part of what put Sarah Dessen's book in a different sphere. Lots of authors do good romances but friends and family come out flat.

The other thing is her genius for creating worlds, characters and situations that feel so real and true. I loved my nightly forays into Auden's world. Dessen also manages to take all the small, everyday things that happen to a person and show how they can completely change the direction they're going in.

I listened to this book and it's perfectly suited to audio. Rachel Botchan does an excellent job and sounded exactly how I would have imagined Auden.



Saturday, 19 September 2009

KidLitCon 09





I signed up for KidLitCon 09. I'm veering between excited and terrified.

Excited because people who write blogs I love are going to be there. As well as some amazing authors, including Elizabeth Scott and Diana Peterfreund.

Terrified because I am really shy with people I don't know. I stumble through conversations and as soon as they're over all the things I should have said occur to me.

The excitement is winning over the terror at the moment. I think registration is still open if you want to go. More information on attendees and schedules can be found here.

BBAW Competition Winners

Well BBAA is over and I had a lot of fun and found some great new blogs. Thanks to Amy of My Friend Amy for all the organization and hard work and to everyone else who helped her out.

Thanks to everyone who entered my competitions

The Winners are

Signed copy of Rampant by Diana Peterfreund and bookmark

Wendy of the Book Lush

and

Copy of The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

oO Mariana Oo of Chica Reviews.

Congratulations to you both. Get in touch and I'll send your prizes.


Friday, 18 September 2009

BBAW Setting Goals

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Setting Goals!
Write in 50 words or less…what do you like best about your blog right now and where would you like your blog to be a year from now?




Bye Bye pink! I love my new autumnal colours. I love all the visitors I’ve had this week too.

Next year it would be nice to have achieved a better writing/book reviewing mix on the blog. Writing a post about having an agent would be nice!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

BBAW The book I read because Jordyn gave it an A

The Book: Cracked up to be by Courtney Summers



The Blog that recommended it: Ten Cents Notes

What it's about: Parker Fadley, who used to completely perfect, has gone off the rails. No one at school or home knows why and Parker's not telling. She just wants to be left alone and she'll do what ever it takes to get that.


Why I put it on my TBR list: I've talked on Monday about Jordyn's blog and how great it is. I trust her recommendations. So when she gives a book an A I add it to my list.

I have a large TBR list though so when I was in the library, 10 days after giving birth (yes our first trip out with the baby was to the library) I couldn't remember what it was about. I grabbed it because the girl on the cover reminded me of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girl series. I love Ally Carter and I was in the mood for a Gallagher Girl type book.

Parker Fadley is so not a Gallagher Girl.

What I thought:

omg I loved it so much it's completely brilliant and powerful and fresh and addictive and read it now!!!

Okay now we've got my fan girl screaming out the way I'll try and write a review.

There's a mystery at the heart of this book. Why has Parker, the girl who had everything, cut herself off from everyone and everything. It's hinted at from the beginning and information is dripped to the reader throughout.

While the plot kept me intrigued, it wasn't what kept me up late finishing the book. That was all down to Parker. She's rude, sarcastic and funny and the pain she's feeling jumps off the page.

Courtney does such an amazing job with Parker. Her voice is compelling. I had to know what had happened to her. I had to know she was going to be okay. I cared about her, I cared a lot. She's the reason this book is so amazing.

I'm so glad I read this book and I can't wait for Some Girls Are, Courtney's next novel. Which judging from the first chapter is going to be just as fabulous and powerful.

Courtney Summers website can be found here. Ten Cent Notes can be found here.

And don't forget you can enter to win a signed copy of Rampant by Diana Peterfreund HERE or The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford HERE

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

BBAW Giveaway - The Pursuit of Love

If killer Unicorns aren't your thing perhaps love is.

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

is one of my favourite books and no one seems to have read it. Which makes me sad. So to celebrate BBAW I'm giving away one copy.

Here's a quote so you can see if it is your cup of tea

"Obsessed with sex!" said Jassy. "there's nobody so obsessed as you Linda. Why if I so much as look at a picture you say I'm a pygmalionist."

In the end we got much more information out of a book called Ducks and Duck breeding.

"Ducks can only copulate," said Linda, after studying this for a while, "in running water. Good luck to them."



To enter leave a comment telling what your favourite book is.

For another entry twitter about this contest and leave me a comment telling me you did.

This one is International, good luck.

BBAW Reading Meme

I went the 5 words or less route, I am the Queen of Brevity!

Note: If killer unicorns aren't your thing maybe my favourite book will be. Check out both giveaways.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Nope

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of
writing in books horrify you?


Horrified!


How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
Laying the book flat open?


Bookmark

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Fiction

Hard copy or audiobooks?

Hard but getting into audio.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you
able to put a book down at any point?


Anywhere, I have a baby :)

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Yes

What are you currently reading?

Jessica's Guide to dating on the darkside

What is the last book you bought?

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can
you read more than one at a time?


More than one.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
Anytime, anywhere.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

Honestly I'm unsure.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

Philip Pullman.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

By favourites.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

BBAW Interview

I hope the powers that be at BAWW don't mind that my interview is slightly different. My partner didn't get in touch so yesterday I asked if any commentors had questions and lots of lovely people did. Thank you so much BookChic, Kelly, S. Krishna and Blustocking.


From Book Chic


1) How did you start blogging? Did you have any blogs as inspiration while starting your own?

I started when I moved to DC and was home alone all day. There had been a huge fuss about bloggers in the UK press because Petite Anglaise had just got a book deal off the back of her blog. I thought it looked fun so I started writing one about life in DC. Then I discovered book blogs and Not Enough Bookshelves was born.


2) Book bloggers always have huge book piles and wish lists. What are you reading now, and what books are you looking forward to reading?

Oh gosh this list could go on and on. I’m currently reading Jessica’s Guide to dating on the dark side, which is very funny. I’m looking forward to

Willow Julia Hoban

The girl with the dragon tattoo Stieg Larsson

Fire by Kristen Cashore

If you come softly Jacqueline Woodson

3) Have you had the chance to meet many authors? What has been your favorite author event to go to so far?

I met Diana Peterfreund on Saturday and that’s been it. It was very interesting though and I’d love to go to another event.

4) Continuing with the same theme as the last question, what would your dream author event be? It can include any writer, living or dead.

I would love to have met Nancy Mitford who write on of my favourite books The Pursuit of Love, she had quite a biting wit though so I’d probably have been scared to death of her.

I’d also love to hear Philip Pullman talk about his work. I thought he’d made it all up but I recently read that Salvabard is a real place, so I’d be interested to know if any of the things in the book come from old folk lore etc.

5) Surprisingly, book bloggers do have a life outside of books. What are your favorite movies and TV shows? What do you do when you're not reading or working on your blog?


Favourite movies are Breakfast at Tiffany's, It's a wonderful life, The Bourne Films, Legally Blonde, Juno and The Sound of Music

Ah TV how I love you. Currently I’m loving Glee. I’m watching Friday Night Lights, Veronica Mars and Arrested Development on DVD. I’m looking forward to The Vampire Diaries and Flash Forward and the new seasons of Gossip Girl, House, Lost and Chuck.

When I’m not reading/blogging, the baby and I are out and about at cute things like Mommy & Me yoga. When he’s sleeping I’m trying to edit my first novel, it’s going very slowly!

6) What's your favorite genre to read? Least favorite? Why?

YA. I discovered it last year and I just love them. There is so much talent in the YA world.

My least favourite is confessional memoir. I just find them far to upsetting and depressing.

7) What was your favorite book to read as a child? Tell us about it.

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier. It’s about three polish sibling whose parents are taken away by the Nazi’s and they have to survive in war torn Poland.

8) You've recently become a new mom. What books do you plan on bringing into his life as required reading as he grows up?

I can not wait to start reading books with the baby!

While he’s young I love


We’re going on a bear hunt,

Each Peach, Pear, plum

Charlie and Lola

All of Dr Suess

All Eric Carle’s books

When he’s older

The Dark is Rising,

Harry Potter

His Dark materials

The Famous Five

Swallow and Amazons

The Hobbit

I could go on and on

9) You live in Washington, DC. What are your favorite sites to see and places to go around the area?

I love living in DC. I still get excited when I see it on TV and can say I actually live here! My favourite area is the National Mall. I love how it’s laid out. My favourite monument is the Lincoln Memorial. My favourite museum is The Museum of America History and The Spy Museum. My favourite restaurant is Hank’s Oyster bar, they have the best oysters and best crab cakes.

10) This is something I ask of pretty much everybody I interview, but what is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

Gosh I haven’t had Jelly Bellys beans in years. I remember the excitement when I was a kid and they arrived in the UK but I’m not really a sweet person. I think I used to like butter popcorn, is that a flavour?


From S Krishna


If you were a book, what genre would you be?


YA


From Bluestocking


How many books do you have?


5 big bookcases full


How long have you been blogging?


Nearly 2 years -gosh that went fast!


What's your favorite genre?


YA


Are you going to come visit me?


Of course

From Kelly

How has your blogging changed since becoming a mama? Have you had to cut back, or carve out time explicitly?

I have a lot less time and I have to limit my time when the baby is asleep because I really need to work on the book too. For example I really don't have time to add links to all the lovely people who asked me questions (sorry!) or the books I mentioned.


Thanks very much to everyone who asked me questions. It was fun. If you haven't entered to win a signed copy of Rampant hop over now! And if Killer Unicorns aren't your thing come back tomorrow when I'll be giving away one of my favourite books.

Monday, 14 September 2009

BBAW:Book Blogs I love!

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Here are three blogs that feature great reviews and have consistently pointed me in the direction of books I have loved.

YAnnabe is Kelly's blog on reading and writing. Unsurprisingly the focus is in YA books.

I love her reviews, they're well written, concise and interesting. She has a great eye for what makes a good YA book and always seems to include a quote that captures the essence of the book completely. Like in this review of Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.


Ten Cents Notes is the blog of the *awesomtastci* Jordyn.

Jordyn writes really thoughtful reviews and I love her scoring system. I have found brilliant books on her recommendations. Most notably Cracked Up to be by Courtney Summers and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Okler

Joelle Anthony is the author Restoring Harmony (out May 2010). She has an excellent section on her blog called Need to Read. Because of Joelle I read Meg Cabot for the first time, thanks Joelle!


Note: My BBAW partner seems not to want to interview me (I know sadness) so if you want to ask me a question that would be nice. Otherwise I shall take a leaf out of Stephen Cobart's book and interview myself. I'm a formindable opponent.

BBAW Giveaway - Rampant

One of my favourite books of the year, so far, has been

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

I was lucky enough to get to go to a reading/signing of Rampant on Saturday. Diana was very interesting about the research behind the book and very nice too. She was also wearing an awesome unicorn t-shirt which I can't share because I completely forgot to take a photo, despite remembering my camera.

What I did get was

a signed copy of Rampant

and

a very cool bookmark.

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Which I'm giving away as part of BBAW.

  • To enter all you have to do is leave a comment below

The competition is open until Friday 18th September and I'll randomly select the winner on Saturday 19th September.

I'm afraid the competition is only open to those with a USA, Canadian or UK mailing address. Sorry it's a heavy book.

You can read my review of Rampant HERE

Review - Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

What it's about

Unicorns but these aren't the fluffy sweethearts of bedtimes stories. They are lethal killers and they can only be stopped by the virgin descendants of Alexander the Great.


What I thought


Lets see:

It's by Diana Peterfreund.

It's got a great premise - killer unicorns.

It's got a kick ass, Buffyesque heroine.

It's got a half Italian love interest.

It's set in the eternal city.

There was really no way I wasn't going to like this book but I wasn't prepared for how much I would love it. It could just have been a fun fantasy adventure story, but Diana did so much more with it. Rampant blew me away.


The plot starts with a goring, as Astrid encounters a Unicorn for the first time and discovers the stories her mother told her are all true. The resultant mayhem leads to her being whisked away to Rome. Here she meets her fellow hunters in training, the mysterious benefactor funding the hunting, a hot Italian boy and a unicorn called Bonegrinder (possibly my favourite animal in a book ever).

The world building is so seamless I had absolutely no problem believing that there could indeed be Unicorns in the world and killer ones at that. Unicorn legend is woven into the action, so you get a sense of the historic battle between the Unicorns and the Hunters without being thrown out of the story

Although the plot of Rampant is intriguing and fast paced what really lifts the book to my favourites shelf is narrator, heroine, and reluctant unicorn hunter, Astrid. She's such a great character, strong, smart and funny but also vulnerable and confused. I loved her emotional growth and her struggle to reconcile her hunter abilities with the life she wants. And, of course, I loved her romance with Giovanni, Diana writes such good boys and such good kissing scenes.


There is a lot going on in Rampant. As well as the epic fight between hunters and Unicorns, the novel touches on abstinence, choice, female roles in society now and throughout history, obligation, personal responsibility and the question of how we treat dangerous but endangered animals. It's definitely the kind of novel that needs re-reading but I have no problem with doing that.

Just so you know, Rampant is aimed at the fourteen plus age range. Which seems about right to me. I'd have no problem with my fifteen year old niece reading it but some may have issues with the frank discussion of virginity and sex.


You can visit Diana Peterfreund and learn more about the research behind Rampant at her website. Where you can also join in with your thoughts in the Spoiler thread (authors take note, this is such a great thing to host on your blog, I love the discussion that goes on there)

Friday, 11 September 2009

Do you write?

Then get over to The Literary Lab and read all about the

2009 Genre Wars Fiction Writing Contest!




It sounds great. I've never written a short story but then I'd never written a novel before this year so who knows. It's worth giving it a whirl, if nothing else it will be fun.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you for BBAW on Monday.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Book Review - Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Against all odds Katniss and Peeta both survived the Capitol's Hunger Games and came home victorious.

Life should be good but the Capitol is not happy that they have two victors not one. Especially as the unexpected turn of events has sparked the rumblings of a rebellion in the Districts.

President Snow visits and tells Katniss unless she can convince the Districts that she acted out of love and not defiance, the consequences, for her and all the people she loves, will be horrifying.


The Hunger Games was one of my favourite books of 2008 and I was desperately impatient for the sequel.


Catching Fire did not disappoint. Again I was completely sucked into Katniss world and dragged along by the narrative. The pace is frantic, especially in the second half. This is not a book you can put down and come back to the next day.

But Collins manages not to sacrifice character to the pace. Old characters are developed and the new characters introduced feel real and complex. I especially enjoyed Finnick, a past winner of the Games and I love Haymitch, Katniss and Peeta's often drunk and sarcastic mentor.

Then there's the boys. Should Katniss choose Peeta her fellow tribute in The Hunger Games who declared his love for her to the world and then did everything he could to keep her alive or Gale her childhood friend. I have to say I'm torn. When I finished the book I really wanted her to be with Peeta but now I think Gale might be what she needs.

If I had to choose a team
(and I do so I can display a cool button, pick yours up at Galleycat)
I would have to be Team Katniss.

katniss.jpg

She's the thing I love best about the books. I love her pragmatism, ruthlessness and how much she's grown in the two books.

If you haven't read Catching Fire you should and if you have you might be interested in The Literary League Read'til YA Drop who are kicking off with a discussion of Catching Fire. I can't wait.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Back to Blogging

Well with Labor day weekend over and the weather suddenly turned cool, Fall is definitely here.

Which means the start of Glee on television.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes in Starbucks

and

Not Enough Bookshelves
posting again.

So many exciting things, right?

Check back tomorrow when I'll be starting things off with a review of a little book that you may not have heard of - Catching Fire.