Wednesday, 25 August 2010

And Exhale

It's been a long time since I've gobbled down a book in one evening (and night, but I couldn't have slept until I'd finished Mockingjay. I mean could barely breath till I'd finished it.

And it's totally worth being a brain dead zombie, whose having to chug down endless cups of tea today.

What a series!

The term "emotional roller" coaster could have been invented for it.

And the resolution?

Well, I can't imagine any other outcome now - perfect!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Mockingjay Fever

Thank goodness for the iPad, which means I can download Mockingjay (of course my hardcover (on pre-order forever!) will be delivered to my house but I won't be back there for ages and I simply CAN NOT WAIT! And I can not risk spoilers!)

I can't wait to see what happens.

I can't wait to see if I will finally pick a TEAM. I go back and forth Peeta, Gale, Peeta, Gale, Peeta, Gale.

It's like choosing between cake and a burger. Both so good, both so essential, both exactly what you need sometimes!

My prediction:

Katniss and Gale will declare their love for each other

BUT

Katniss will then sacrifice herself to save Peeta because she knows he will keep the rebellion going and ultimately defeat the Capitol.

And, if it all goes Breaking Dawn, Peeta could then marry Prim and they could call their daughter Katniss. And She could have a May/September thing with Gale.

What do you think will happen?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Contemps

If you love contemporary YA then you should check out this new blog. Maybe you have already, I'm a few steps behind this week.

Celebrate realistic YA with The Contemps!

Doesn't it look fabulous? I'm considering taking the Contemps Challenge. Which is - read 18 Contemps books before August next year.

So do you love Contemporary YA? What are your favourites?

Friday, 20 August 2010

Just like a book

I'm currently at my Mum's house, which is near Bristol. She just moved here so we've been exploring.

Today we went to the Victorian Pier at Clevedon. That is Wales you see in the background.










Yes, those of you who've never been, the sky is normally that colour in the UK!





We walked along the pier and found that romance is alive and well in Clevedon.





Awww!!!!

Couldn't that be in a book or film?

It gets better too!





Double awwww!!!

Now how can I work that into a story do you think?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Sleeping Beauty or not

Sleeping Beauty glided through the clouds, all 214 souls on board were fast asleep, except two. They were reading Peeka Who for the hundredth time.

On Monday my son and I flew to the UK. It seemed like a great idea but as the time grew closer I got more nervous. Especially as people kept saying gosh you're brave or rather you than me or wow, you're flying alone? With a 14 month old?(which makes no sense, clearly I am not alone I am with a 14 month old!)

But I should not have worried as the 14 month old was an absolute star. Despite only sleeping for two hours(on a night flight!) he remained in high spirits and enjoyed his second transatlantic flight much more than his first.

Unfortunatly his lack of sleep scuppered my plans to a) finally watch The Blind Side b) finish Anna and the French Kiss

Still I couldn't have asked for a better traveling companion. Or a better airline than Virgin. Who were fabulous and very nice. Plus they NAME their aircraft! How adorable. I'm crossing my fingers that they are all fairy tale characters and we go home on Little Red Riding Hood.

Anyway for now we are in the home country, so blogging will be sporadic (or daily if my jet lag continues). Tomorrow I plan to check out Waterstones YA section, so stay tuned!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Book Review: The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

Jaclyn Moriarty has created some brilliant and realistic characters in THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS. The whole novel is told in alternating letters between the Ashbury girls, Emily, Lydia and Cassie and the Brookfield boys, Charlie, Seb and Matthew.  The novel also includes notes on the school notice board, memos from Emily's dad (loved this, I think when the baby can read I shall memo him) and dairy entries. Not to mention Lydia's How to be a Writer Notebook, which is pure genius and laugh out loud funny.

There is so much I love about this novel, that it's hard to write a review, part of me doesn't want to analyze exactly why I loved it so much, in case I ruin the magic. Does that even make sense? Does anyone else ever feel that way?

Still


I am going to try.

First of all, I love how it's written. It's so cleverly done. The fact that everyone is writing for another reader makes them all unreliable narrators. But because events are told from many points of view and because we get glimpses into the past, it is possible for the reader to  piece together the true picture. Or maybe to piece together the picture the way you want it to be. Depending on what you bring to the novel.

Secondly it is very, very funny but it manages to explore friendship, and life and death, and the fear of the unknown without feeling like it's trying to do that. In between the funny is a lot of truth.

Thirdly (although this should really be the first point) I LOVE the characters. Lyd, Cass and Em are the type of characters you could imagine being friends with. They leap off the page and feel very real. The dynamic between the three of them is wonderful, they're role models for friendship. They love each other and care about each other; they see each others faults and accept them anyway. The boys are fabulous too (especially Seb, who is quite swoonworthy). The letters that fly thick and fast between the group feel very real.

So in a sentence. It is funny but sad, real but a little crazy, and it has characters who capture your heart.

Here's a taste of the book:

Emily to Charlie Okay, now listen here, Charlie. There is no need for you to correct my language. I notice this is getting to be a habit, and I think it is very strange that "garrulous" means talkative. To me, the word "garrulous" has a nervy, shaky feeling matching Auntie Jane to a T.


Charlie to Emily I know you don't want to be corrected, but I swear to god you mean "up-shot" don't you? Not ap-chotte? It is not always necessary to translate into another language you know.


Emily to Charlie Can you stop lecturing me please? thanks. It's really morally resplendent. And besides, it is as if you don't want me to be ME. . . well, BLEEP (as in the sound of an incorrect answer). it is ALWAYS NECESSARY TO TRANSLATE THINGS.


THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS is highly recommended. I loved these characters so much that I immediately order THE GHOSTS OF ASHBURY HIGH and put aside a book I was loving just so I could revisit with Em, Lyd and Cass.

I won this book in Nomes of Inkcrush's giveaway. Thanks Nomes!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Hi5 First Chapters that Hooked Me

meme hosted by Cara @Chasing Words, Anne @Potter, Percy and I and Nomes@Inkcrush...


This weeks topic: First chapters that had you hooked. 

Something Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
You can read the first chapter here

How can you not fall for a book whose first line is Everyone's seen my mother naked. This was my first Elizabeth Scott book and it had me at that line. Plus it just gets better.







Saving Francesca by Melina Marchatta
You can read the first chapter here

I fell in love with Francesca's voice from page one? One of my all time favourite books.

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
You can read the first chapter here

Such a fabulous first chapter, swords under the sink, guns, knives, raven attacks and Nick and Alan's banter. How could you not be hooked?








The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
You can't read the first chapter, sorry. I know it's mean to include it, but this is such an amazing first chapter I had too. I read it and couldn't out it down.













The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
You can read the first chapter here



Can you tell I have a new favourite author? I think she's made it into my last five posts. Anyway this book is brilliant and hooked me straight away. As did The Ghosts of Ashbury High, and as I'm sure her other books will.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Finally Friday

Friday again and I've been largely absent from the internet, due to guests and the WIP behaving very badly. So not many links to share.


Diana Peterfreund posted a trailer of Rampant and Ascendant. Yay for killer unicorns!



Inkcrush shared how Simon and Schuster are promoting Crescendo down under! I loved, this but it's so unfair. Not only to the Australians get Melina Marchetta's novels a whole year before us now they have half naked men handing out free books! I'm lobbing for a posting to Australia next!

For those who have seen Inception I thought this was rather funny. I really enjoyed Inception but now find I can't really remember anything that happened, apart from that van falling very slowly.



And finally, I'm thinking of maybe moving blog homes and was wondering if anyone used wordpress of livejournal and liked/hated them? And the reason I'm thinking of leaving blogger is because it does rubbish things like not allowing me to make the Acsendant trailer smaller! (of course this could me my general incompetence and things would be the same of wordpress LJ but let's blame blogger.)

Thanks! Have great weekends.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Judging Books by their Covers

I always do it, sometimes I'm disappointed, sometimes I strike gold but here are five books I want to read based solely on their covers, the titles are pretty fabulous too though.

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard


I want cupcakes!

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin



Just gorgeous

It Started with a Dare by Lindsey Faith Rech



Ooh what started? 



Daughter of Winter by Pat Lowery Collins



Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Hi5 - Favourite MG/YA books to Movies

Hi5 is a weekly Meme hosted by Cara @Chasing Words, Anne @Potter, Percy and I and Nomes @ Inkcrush

I struggled with this but eventually came up with five. So in reverse order

Anne of Green Gables

Ah, my childhood Sunday night viewing. I so wanted to move to America and have red hair.



Twilight


I LOVE both the books and the films pure, perfect escapism. It's been a while since I've read the books but I'm pretty sure they're not as funny as the films, so extra points of adding laughs, especially Charlie's lines.




The Bridge to Terabithia

I haven't actually read the book and I'm not sure I can bare to because the movie more or less destroyed me. Tears welled as I tried to find a photo to post. 



The Harry Potter Films (especially The Prisoner of Azkaban)




I love the books and I think they did a great job with the movies, brilliant casting (Alan Rickman was clearly born to play Snape) and they stay more or less true to the books.











The Princess Bride

One of my favourite movies of all time. Last Christmas the husband managed to flummox me by claiming to have never seen it. I made him watch it, sure he was remembering wrongly, but no he'd never seen it!! Which just shows even after 14 years of knowing someone you still don't know everything about them.






Although I'm not sure if this counts. I haven't read the book but if the film is true to it, it definitely feels like a YA to me? What do you think? And what adaptations do you love?

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Book Review: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway








I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.

Three sisters share a magical, unshakable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.

Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood. (from Goodreads)
     

 
 
If you loved Robin Benway's fresh, funny and utterly wonderful Audrey Wait and you miss the magic
and sisterly squabbles of Charmed (before it went all crazy) then The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June is the book for you. 
 
April, May and June are three sisters with distinctly different personalities, complex sisterly ties and
emerging magical powers. The book is told in alternating chapters by each of the sisters. 
 
As I would come to the end of each chapter I'd find myself thinking nooo I want more of April or May or June. Only to be completely hooked by the voice of the next sister two sentences into her chapter.

I loved all three sisters and their interactions with each other felt spot on. May ended up being my favourite mainly for the sarcastic remarks but also because she is the most unsettled of the sisters by her power, wondering if the ability to become invisible stems from feeling invisible. I also loved her scenes with tutor Henry.
 
I did adore June's utter glee at being able to read minds and April's surprise and horrow when she had flahes of her own romantic furture.

Things wrap up nicely by the end, the mystry of April's visions being solved satisfactorily but there are many unanswered questions and I can't wait to see what Robin has in store of the sisters next. 
 
FTC: ARC received from the publisher

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Beach

We're just back from a trip to Nag's Head in North Carolina. We ate crab cakes and scallops, played scrabble, listened to Brad Paisley and introduced the baby to the beach. He decided he liked the sea, so much that we had to restrain him from running straight into it, and that sand does not taste good.

I also read. Not as much as I usually do on holiday but I did get through 31/2 books and, lucky me, they were all fantastic.

The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst. An adult book! I heard about this on Books on the Nightstand. Then found out Carolyn was appearing at Politics and Prose. She did a great reading. I had to buy the book after the bit she read made me cry. It's a great read especially for writers I think.

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney. This book was incredible, empowering, and heartbreaking. I loved it!  (a proper review nearer the time). But I'd advise pre-ordering.  Thanks to James of Book Chic for the loan of his ARC.

The Year of Secret Assignments Jaclyn Moriarty I won this book in Nomes of InkCrush's contest. Thank you Nomes. I think I've discovered a new favorite author. This book made me laugh and cry and feel like Em, Lyd, Cass, Charlie and Seb are real and this was a school project that got published! Seriously every Australian Author I have read has not only been outstanding but innovative too*. Do they put something in the water downunder?

I am also half way through Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. All I can say right now is swoon!

I hadn't planned to do any writing or thinking about writing or fretting about writing at the beach but really when faced with this every morning how could I not imagine who might be walking along the beach watching the sunrise?



Then there was this and this.



Pure Inspiration!

One night we even got a Low Red Moon. No werewolves though and no photo sadly.


I also really need to write a scene a Jurassic Putt - best name ever.  It made me laugh every time we went past. My characters may also need to go to the need to go to the Brew Thew. Drive through beer, nice. It's just a shame about that pesky 21 age limit.

So all round a fantastic break with just one disappointment. The Dairy Queen. The ice cream and the place did not live up to my childhood imaginings. But it was okay because the Ihop on the way home totally did.


* based on books by Melina Marchetta, Markus Zusac, Justine Larbalestier and now Jaclyn Moriarty. Not a huge pool I know :)