Friday, 30 April 2010

Finally Friday

This week hasn't been one of my best (note to parents: do not let your baby play with your laptop they will somehow send an email from your draft folder!) but it is finally Friday. The weekend is here and hopefully I'll get some sleep and maybe brunch somewhere nice.

Anyway I have lots of great links to share, if you fancy some weekend reading.


Maggie Stiefvater has a funny and true post on being willing to suck in order to learn. As someone who finds it very hard not to be good at something straight away,  I loved this one. I need to remember that this is the kind of message I want to pass on to my son.

If you need some inspiration while you suck Jo Knowles had a great post on battle cries. My favourite Write what you want to write!

Stephanie Perkins reveals what Anna and the French Kiss is about. Honestly, I wanted to read it based on the title and cover, but now I really want to read.


Heidi R Kling has a wonderful post about John Green and David Levithan's signing and she's giving away a signed cop of Will Grayson, Will Grayson


Beth Revis (whose debut book Across the Universe sounds amazing, a murder mystery in space!) had a lovely post on what influences you want to expose yourself too.

And if your doing any book buying this weekend Love you, Hate you, Miss you by Elizabeth Scott is now out in paperback. Definitely worth buying!


Have a great weekend

Thursday, 29 April 2010

On throwing myself down mountains

Sometimes you need to hurl yourself down a mountain.

I found this out on out Ski trip when my husband took me down my first black run. It was terrifying but I survived!

So I decided to throw myself down a different kind of mountain. I entered the first 250 words of Emma Undone,  into the secret agent competition over at Miss Snark's First Victim. It was even more terrifying than the black run, but I survived.

Actually I did better than surviving, I was one of the ten winners. YAY!

So if you have your own mountain waiting for you, I highly recommending going down it or up it if you prefer. To quote Dr Seuess  

"And will you succeed, yes you will indeed, 98 and 3/4% guaranteed.  Congratulations today is your day, your mountain is waiting so get on you way!"

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Back

It's been a hectic few weeks. We went skiing, then Volcano whatjamcallit blew up, stranding our visitors, then more visitors made it out from the UK before the first lot had gotten on a flight back. Then the baby got croup.

So writing and blogging pretty much went out the window because you can't do everything.

Anyway, now everything is back to normal. The visitors are all gone, after a wonderful time, the baby is on the mend and I'm back. With lots of book reviews and other news to share.

So what's been happening with you guys? Any exciting news?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Waiting on Wednesday for Like Mandarin by Kristen Hubbard


It's hard to find beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming. Fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances and pickup trucks adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild girl Mandarin Ramey: seventeen, shameless and utterly carefree.

Grace would give ANYTHING to be like Mandarin.

When the two misfits are united for a project, they embark on an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and constantly searching for someplace magic. Grace even plays along when Mandarin suggests they make a pact to run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds that plague their badlands town.

But all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, even the best friendships can't withstand betrayal.


This one sounds amazing but it's not out till March 2011 - boo! I just discovered Kristen Hubbard's blog too, it's really great. Check it out here.

"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?

Friday, 16 April 2010

Which YA book for my adult bookclub?

Okay, everyone. I need your help! My adult book group has agreed to read a YA book, and it's down to me to pick it. For most of them, this will be their introduction to YA, so what book should I choose?

Only one rule - it must be set in the USA (otherwise, you know, I'd have gone with Melina Marchetta).

This is my shortlist

If I stay by Gayle Foreman

The Secret Year by Jennifer R Hubbard

Looking for Alaska by John Green

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab



Which would you pick? Or do you have a better suggestion?

Thanks and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Waiting on Wednesday for Grace by Elizabeth Scott



A fable of a terrifying near future by critically acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott.

Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.

Told in spare, powerful prose, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they've reached the final page.


Oh my gosh. I seriously can not wait for this one! It's out on the 16th September 2010.


"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, 13 April 2010

Book Birthday - The Cinderella Society

Happy Book Birthday

to 

The Cinderella Society 

by 

Kay Cassidy



Run out and buy this one, I loved it (review here) and check out Kay's blog to win some fabulous things. Personally I want one of those book marks.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Book Review: The Sky Is Everywhere


Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey
dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in
town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding. 



When I fall in love with a book, it is usually more Bella and Edward, than Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy. With my favorites, I am irrevocably in love, by the end of the first chapter.

Not so with this book. It took a while. In fact, I put it down twice. But I picked it back up, and the second time I couldn't put it down. Suddenly I was so involved with these characters. I flew though the pages, waiting for the world to crash down, then holding my breath, hoping that it could be put back together.

The thing that called me back to this book was the notes. The ones Lennie writes to her dead sister. Not only are they beautiful, but I loved the idea that Lennie releases them into to the world, rather than keeping them in a notebook. It's like she's trying to keep Bailey's spirit in the world.

Here's the first one in the book

The morning of the day Bailey died,
she woke me up
by putting her finger in my ear.
I hated when she did this.
She then started trying on shirts, asking me:
Which do you like better, the green or the blue?
The blue.
You didn't even look up, Lennie.
Okay, the green. Really, I don't care what shirt you wear...
Then I rolled over in bed and fell back asleep.
I found out later
she wore the blue
and those were the last words I ever spoke to her.


(Found written on a lollipop wrapper on the trail to the Rain River)

The Sky is Everywhere was a slow burn for me, but it was so worth it. It's phenomenal, the characters are wonderful. I loved and ached for Lennie, and oh Joe Fontaine, I'll take you and your eyelashes over a bad boy any day!

Pick this one up, keep reading, it's so worth it.

If you want to read an excerpt (don't be put off by the houseplant business) the book had it's own web site! http://www.theskyiseverywhere.com/



Thanks to Penguin for the ARC.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Finally Friday

It's been so hot this week in DC, summer weather rather than spring. It's been the perfect time to read Something Like Fate by Susanne Colastanti. This book really took me back to my school day summers (although I think they involved more rain and less watermelon juice). I love Susanne's writing and I loved the whole fate thing, that ran though this book. Although it didn't end how I wanted, it's a great summer read.

Any recommendations for fun summer reads? 

In writing news I think EU is finally done. I know this because I'm completely thinking about the new book. I've outlined this time, so hopefully it will be less of a massive slog than EU, and involve less rewrites too. I think I have an entire other book with the stuff I've cut from EU.


Lots of exciting things happening round the internet.

Kay Cassidy has posted the first chapter of, The Cinderella Society (LOVE this book),  on her blog. There's also a chance to win a rather fabulous bookmark - I want one! Here's the link.

In my quest to make everyone read an Elizabeth Scott book, I have to tell you that, Jessica (the winner of my contest) is passing her copy on of The Unwritten Rule, because she loved it so much and wants more people to read it - yay! So go and enter at Jessica's Ramblings.

And if you missed my Tuesday post, my friend Joelle Anthony, not only has a new web site, but a trailer for her fabulous book Restoring Harmony. Go check it out, here.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Waiting On Wednesday for The Ghost and The Goth

 

The Ghost and The Goth by Stacey Kade

After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck here in spirit form with no sign of the big, bright light coming to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser/outcast type who hates the social elite. He alone can see and hear her, but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Can they get over their mutual distrust—and this weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?

Such a fun take on the mean, popular girl falling for the loner guy. Released, 6th July 2010, it sounds like the perfect beach read. I also love that cover! 

"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?

Monday, 5 April 2010

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony - The Book Trailer

This is a book you want to pre-order! It's as good as the trailer!


Book Review: The Naughty List by Suzanne Young

  As if being a purrfect cheerleader isn’t enough responsibility!

Tessa Crimson’s the sweet and spunky leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens), a cheer squad–turned–spy society dedicated to bringing dastardly boyfriends to justice, one cheater at a time. Boyfriend-busting wouldn’t be so bad . . . except that so far, every suspect on the Naughty List has been proven 100% guilty!


When Tessa’s own boyfriend shows up on the List, she turns her sleuthing skills on him. Is Aiden just as naughty as all the rest, or will Tessa’s sneaky ways end in catastrophe?


The Naughty List. Is your boyfriend on it?
(from Goodreads)

This book is just so much fun! I gobbled it up, laughed, a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I love the premise of Cheerleaders going undercover to catch cheating boys.

It was also refreshing to see a popular, blonde, happy, nice cheerleader! I spent my childhood longing to be a cheerleader (why do we not have them in the UK!) but lately they seem to have a bad rep. In order to cheer, you apparently, need a heavy dose of bitchiness. Not so with Tess. She was upbeat, full of good intentions, and school spirit. I loved her.

Tess could easily have become irritating, with her super positive attitude and refusal to swear. Suzanne gives her a great backstory though. I liked the glimpses of why she is the way she is. She's also funny and I liked her commentary and the action. Here's a taste

"Yep. And you're a cheerleader?" There was that tone again. The same one as Christian had this morning. Had they been attacked by a roaming band of cheerleaders when they were younger? What was with the hostility?

Tess's refusal to swear, provides the book with one of my favourite elements. Alternative swear words! These are genius, I loved the every day phrases Suzanne used. Things like strawberry smoothie!, Brooklyn Bridge! and Holy Snap Dragon!  I think I'll be adopting these when the baby learns to talk. I may even make up a few of my own Washington Monument!, Cherry Blossom!


I'm looking forward to The Naughty List Two and hoping for some more development of the other kittens. There's a lot of potential in some of these characters, I want to hear their stories.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Movies in my brain!



Audrey at Holes in my Brain (don't you love that blog title) is running a competition to win a copy of Paper Towns by John Green (or a different book if you've read Paper Towns)

I thought I'd enter because I love movies, nearly as much as I love books, but I never talk about them here.



Some of my favourite movies are the old musicals. I love when people burst into song in the middle of a conversation. It's why I adore Glee, and why I think musical Buffy was the second best episode (the first being the one where everyone lost their voices). I'm really hoping for a musical Dr Who soon!

As it's Easter I should probably suggest you watch Easter Parade, but I'll point you in the direction of my favourite Judy Garland film, Meet me in St Louis.  How can you not love a film, that includes the incomparable Judy singing, Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meet me in St Louis and the utterly joyous Trolley Song.


Happy Easter

And the Winner

of The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy is


Michelle

This was her entry

I'm thinking being able to feel confident or empowered as a girl can take a lot of work, but it just comes down to those simple things. Like accepting yourself for who you are and finding friends who like you for you and not who they think you should be. And I think service is also a big help in this department: anytime you can step outside of your own problems to help someone else, your problems don't seem so bad all the sudden! It's an instant cheer-up remedy.

Which I love and which ties really well to the themes of The Cinderella Society.

Thanks to everyone who entered.