Sunday, 31 October 2010

Book Review - Nightshade by Andrea Cremer


Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice? (From Goodreads)


It seems appropriate to post my review of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer on Halloween. A date that plays such a pivotal role in the book. Or rather Sanhein does, night of the blood moon. Yes, this book features wolves and moons but it's definitely not another creature of the night book, the world building is excellent.

Strangely, I still persist with the idea that I don't like fantasy. Then I end up falling for every fantasy book I read, Nightshade was no exception. It's so good.  I adored the details of the world. The weaving of legends I'd heard of and things Andrea had created.  I also loved the rigid social structure and hierarchy of the Keepers and Guardians.

Most of all though, as with most books, I loved the people. Calla is such a fabulous character, she is up there with Katsa on my favorite strong women list. I loved her. I loved her strength (both physical and mental), her doubts and her chaffing against the social stricture of her world. Her guilt and confusion over challenging ideas she'd grown up with felt so real. Even if you dont like fantasy (or like me think you don't) you can't help but fall for Calla.

Talking of falling. The love triangle in this book is extremely well done. Normally love triangles annoy me, but in Nightshade I completely understood Calla's indecision. Both Ren and Shay are great guys (although I am firmly on one team, no not telling which!). The tension and chemistry Calla has with both of them is extremely hot and steamy.

The end is a complete cliffhanger and I can not WAIT for book two. Andrea Cramer is on my buy immediately list.

ARC received from publisher.

Friday, 29 October 2010

End Notes

First things first. The winner of The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney is . . .

Andrea of The Little BookWorm


Yay! Congratulations Andrea. Enjoy! And if you need more more convincing to check out this book. Go visit Daisy's blog where she has some fabulous Mockingbird videos up - sure to intrigue!

In other news Disney was magical.


I don't mind a world where trolley buses pull up and people leap out and perform a song for you. I could do with more of it.

Also the DREAM song is everywhere (not sure if that is what it's called but I'm sure you know it) . I think I may make it my NaNoWriMo anthem. Cheesy? Yes, but oddly inspiring too.

Magical as Disney was it was nothing compared to Harry Potter's Wizarding World.

Look Hogwarts!



HoneyDukes!



and mummm butterbeer.



Harry, I have missed you!

The SCBWI conference was also pretty amazing. I adored Lisa Yee's speech and must find some of her books. The other panel's were fabulous too. And Emily Van Beek was there, she is Erin Bow's agent. I think I've mentioned my complete love of Erin's debut Plain Kate (read it, read it!) and through I knew the story of it's publication it was lovely to hear form Sarah's point of view.

The best thing I heard at the conference "Paranormal IS huge, but we're still selling contemporary" PHEW!

Anyway, this is getting epic ! So have a fabulous weekend everyone. Those doing NaNoWriMo hope you have a good rest before the insanity begins. Myself I shall be rallying

TO KEEP FEAR ALIVE!!!

Then watching my husband run the Marine Core Marathon.

GOOD LUCK TOM!

Running 26.3 miles makes writing 50,000 words in a month look like a perfectly sensible thing to do.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Interview Erin McCahan

I really enjoyed I Now Pronounce You Someone Else so I am delighted to welcome its author Erin McCahan to the blog today. Erin was kind enough to answer some questions about her book for me.

1) In a sentence tell us about I Now Pronounce You Someone Else.

When 18-year-old Bronwen Oliver discovers the Family of Her Dreams in the Guy of Her Dreams, she thinks her life’s path is clear when he proposes, but when the wedding date gets pushed up by years, Bronwen finds herself questioning not only what she wants but who she is, and the answers to these questions change her and her family forever.

(I tried to fit quirky and proctologist in there but couldn’t given the one-sentence restriction.)

2) What was the inspiration behind your book?

Weddings, my own alias (Phoebe Lilywhite) and my step-dad.

Weddings – love them all. Tacky, fancy, old, young, shotgun, romantic. I love weddings.

My alias – I was fooling around with the idea of the perfect alias for myself and came up with Phoebe Lilywhite which sounds English, which I wish I were, and it sounds like the name of someone who has never been tan in her life, which I haven’t been.

My step-dad – He was a perfect gentleman, and we were terribly polite strangers to each other, even though I called him Dad. We were just getting close when he died.

So these three ideas percolated until one day I poured out I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE.


3) If your book had a theme song what would it be?

Anywhere Is by Enya.
Good question. I had fun thinking about this one.


4) What's the last book you read that you keep recommending to everyone?

MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD by Francisco X. Stork


5) I would love to read more about Bronwen, any plans for a sequel?

No, no plans for a sequel, but thank you so much asking. It’s really a gift when someone asks this question.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Book Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney








The Mockingbirds was one of my most anticipated reads of 2010 and thanks to James of Book Chic I was able to read it early- thank you James! The Mockingbirds lived up to all my expectations. It's amazing.

Here's the summary from Goodreads



Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it



The first chapter of the novel completely hooked me and I couldn't out the book down. I stayed up to 1am to finish and it was completely worth it.

Daisy's writing is amazing. I lived Alex's whirlpool of emotions. I cried for her, raged for her and wanted to reach into the book and hug her. I also loved her, admired her and was so proud of her.

Although I haven't cried this much at a book since The Book Thief, this not a depressing book - honestly. Some parts are difficult to read, some parts are heart breaking, but It's empowering and uplifting too. 



The Mockingbirds is about rape but it is also about justice, reclaiming what has been taken from you and moving forward. These are the things that stay with you.

I also loved the student group Alex turned to The Mockingbirds. This is such an interesting idea and Daisy explored the ideas of weights and balances and justice really well. I'm interested to see what happens in The Mockingbirds 2.

And finally I loved this book so much I'm giving away a copy. The Mockingbirds is out 3rd November but my indie already has it in - yay! So I'll ship it straight away.

To Enter leave a comment on this post.


The Contest is open Internationally.

I'll pick the winner Friday Morning.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Tangled




I just caught this trailer  while watching Glee (which is utterly brilliant this season). I want to see Tangled so much. It looks very cute.

Plus, it features the voice of Zachury Levi! I adore Zachury Levi! Seriously if I was going to have a fake boyfriend Zachury Levi would be it.  Or rather Chuck would be. He is just adorable in Chuck! In Good Guy V Bad Boy, I'm generally on the good guy side with the odd exception.



Aw, too cute. 

This blog might be improved greatly by a weekly Zachary Levi post, don't you think?

Plus, I always think of him when I imagine one of the characters in Emma, which is fun, even though he's older and taller.

Friday, 15 October 2010

End Notes

My new version of Friday Five because sometimes I have five things to say, sometimes one thing and sometimes many things!

I have been away from the internet this week both blogging and commenting (I'm about to try and catch up but my google reader overspillith). Instead of blogging I've been WRITING! Finally, after three false starts, this story is headed in the right direction. I'm excited and buzzing and I hope it continues into November for NaNoWriMo.

One of the few blog posts I did read this week though was by Sarah Dessen and it was all about how hard she finds writing.  You can read it here, if you haven't already. I love when authors share about their writing because part of me still believes that writers, like Sarah Dessen, just sit down, turn on the computer  and the words flow. And it's all perfect the first time around, no plot holes, no under developed characters, no adverbs running amok, no clunky dialogue or dull descriptions. Just perfection. So it's nice to know even NYT bestsellers have days (and books) when their souls get shattered.


I won't be around much next week either as I am going to Florida. You know, to escape this terrible cold Fall we're having in DC. I'm very excited to see Disney again, I may need some Micky Ears. I've stocked up the Kindle. I have Ascendant, Beautiful Darkness and The Spell Book of Listen Taylor. The kindle does kind of come into it's own on trips, but I think I might miss seeing the covers of these books, especially as they are all wonderful.






Enjoy you're weekends. Do come around next week as I have two reviews, an interview and a giveaway scheduled!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Sand Castles

More holiday snaps. We took a day trip to Weston-Super-Mare, a typical British sea side resort. Meaning it almost always rains there.

They had a rather wonderful display of sand castles or more accurately sand people. As someone whose hand isn't even steady enough to paint her nails I was very impressed with these.



















Anyone able to name all these icons of Britain?


Friday, 8 October 2010

Friday Five - writing, reading & cupcakes



1) I have signed up for NaNoWriMo, if you'd like to friend me you can find me here. Although I've actually started already. I'm hoping to get 20,000 words done in October and then win NaNoWriMo this year by completing the 50,000. Fingers crossed, because this novel had been giving me such a hard time. I really need to just get a first draft down rather than editing as I go along.




2) My friend Kim is celebrating 10/10/10 with ten writing related posts. It's really fun. So far my favourite has been her Genre Writing Prompets. Although now I want to abandon the WIP and explore the dystopian story, her prompt inspired.


3) Talking of dystopia, I just finished The Passage by Justin Cronin. I felt like I'd seen a lot of it before, but it is a good story and it kept me company while I ran, so that was good. The strangest thing was, in a novel where the human race is all but wiped out, I really didn't feel enough people died! There are a lot of lucky chances for the main characters.


4) Despite DC weather not co-operating at all! I am still celebrating fall! Pumpkin Spice cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake are now on my list of reasons Autumn rules.







5) In case you missed it. Courtney Summers posted, the first five chapters of Fall For Anything, on her blog. I had to read it but it made me even more desperate for the book than the trailer did.




Happy Friday!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Waiting on Wednesday for Between Here and Forever



Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.


Until the accident.


Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.


She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.


Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could. (Taken From Goodreads)


A NEW ELIZABETH SCOTT BOOK!!!!

Sorry for the capitals but I am VERY excited. I thought with three books out this year Elizabeth might take next year off. So I was delighted to see the cover for her new book on her blog. Isn't it absolutely gorgeous? I love sunflowers, they are so cheerful looking. Even better it has two characters from Bloom in it. Yeah! I love revisiting characters.

It's here 24th May 2011, which is a long wait, but I know it will be worth it!


"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, 5 October 2010

The Lions of Bath

 I was uploading our holiday photos to the computer and thought I would share some.

Below are


The Lions of Bath









There are 100 Lions scattered around the city,  more information is here, if you're interested. As soon as I saw the first one I wanted to try and track them all down and my good sport of a mother agreed. So we bought a map and told the baby we were going on a Lion Hunt.


These are some of my favourites. If I'd gotten to design a lion it would of course be covered in quotes or maybe pictures from Dr Suess.

What would you put on your Lion?


Monday, 4 October 2010

Book Review - I Now Pronounce You Someone Else

When I was asked if I'd be interested in taking part in the blog tour for Erin McCahan's debut novel I jumped at the chance. It sounded exactly my kind of book.

Bronwen feels she is stuck in the wrong family, so much so that when she was younger she invented Phoebe Lillywhite. The girl she was switched with at birth. The girl who is living out what should have been her life in a family of brunette, ketchup haters. The feeling of being out of step with her family persists as Bronwen grows up. 


Then she meets Jared, the perfect guy with the perfect family. They adore Bronwen as much as she adores them. When Jared proposes Bronwen accepts without hesitation. As the wedding draws closer though she starts to question whether you can become an Us before you've ever really been a Me.

I really liked the premise of this book. As I met my husband when I was 18 I'm quite a fan of first love being forever love and I was interested to see how this story would end.

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else hooked me from the start. I loved Bronwen's voice and immediately connected to her. It took me longer to warm to Jared. He was a little too perfect for me and his habit of telling Bronwen to "dream of him" grated on me. Apparently I am less of a romantic than I thought, or maybe the husband is rubbing off on me. Jared did end up winning me round though, by basically being a throughly likable guy and listening to, being there for, and respecting Bronwen.

Bronwen and Jared's relationship  moves swiftly, but I felt Erin did a great job of showing us enough of their time together and their conversations to make their relationship believable. She also showed, through scenes with Bronwen's mother and stepfather, why Bronwen is so eager to create a new family. This actually broke my heart a little and I was so sad and mad on Bronwen's behalf.

Without spoiling anything for anyone, I have to say the end of the book was pretty much perfect, with one exception, I would have liked to have seen more of what happened with Bronwen and her mother. I actually wouldn't have minded a sequel as I was enjoying the characters and the story and the end comes very fast with more telling than showing.

Overall I Now Pronounce You Someone Else was an excellent read. I really liked Bronwen, and I liked her journey to find out who she was and who she wanted to be. I also liked the exploration of families and the holds they exert on us. This was definitely my kind of book.



Book received as part of blog tour.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Winter is Coming




I am so super excited for this series. I loved the books and I'm dying for A Dance of Dragons. But the absolute best thing about it is SEAN BEAN as Eddard Stark, so we get to hear Winter is Coming in that fantastic accent. *Squeal*

Anyone else excited for A Game of Thrones?

Friday, 1 October 2010

Banned Book Week

Instead of my five happy/random things, today I'm posting about banned book week. Which makes me both happy and sad, hopefully one day we won't need it anymore.


I borrowed this banned book meme from Jo Knowles, who has written lots of interesting posts on banned books. Thanks Jo!

1. Go find your favorite banned book.
2. Take a picture of yourself with said book.
3. Give that book some love by explaining why you think it is an important book.
4. Post it to your blog.
5. Spread the word!







Here's a photo of me reading The Subtle Knife, book two in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy.  I love these books, so much so that my son is named for one of the characters and I can't wait to share them with him when he's older.


I can understand why people may choose not to read these books. I can not understand why they would be so threatened by them they would seek to deny everyone the choice of picking them up. 


I could write a long defense but I think Philip Pullman says it best.


People should decide on the books' meanings for themselves. They'll find a story that attacks such things as cruelty, oppression, intolerance, unkindness, narrow-mindedness, and celebrates love, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, curiosity, human intelligence."


I also love this quote by him, which is perfect for Banned Books Week.


"After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world." 

You can learn more about Banned Book Week here

What's your favourite Banned Book?