Saturday, 31 December 2011

Couples Countdown No 1 - Puck & Sean



So finally we reach the end! 

My absolutely favourite couple of 2011 has to be Puck and Sean from the wonderful The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I fell in love with both of them. Then I fell in love with them falling for each other. 

Theirs' is a quiet, restrained falling, but it is so beautiful (and beautifully written), because I was already so invested in the characters small moments had a huge emotional punch. This exchange, for example, reduced me to a small gooey pile of swoon.

"I say, "I will not be your weakness Sean Kendrick."

Now he looks at me. He says, very softly. "It's late for that Puck."


Friday, 30 December 2011

Couples Countdown - No 2 Alan and Sin

Couple Number two is Alan and Sin from The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan. Last year Alan and Nick were my couple number two - they started the whole it doesn't have to be a romantic couple thing. I ended that post by saying I hoped Alan would make the list again with a different partner. I'm delighted that Sarah Rees Brennan didn't let me down - it's clear Alan and Sin were meant for each other, even if neither of them thinks so.

In fact they don't care much for each other at all and I never gave a thought to them ending up together (I had Alan paired with someone else) until near the end of The Demon's Covenant  when Alan thinks something like "well I couldn't care less what Cynthia Davis thinks." Which we all know is code for I quite fancy Cynthia Davis and care very much what she thinks, although I'm not about it admit it, even to myself!


So I was rooting for them from the start and intrigued at how they were going to get together. The answer would be in a very rocky, but absolutely fabulous way. They had me giggling and swooning. Together these two are dynamite and I just love them to bits. Writing this just makes me want to go read the whole trilogy again - which actually sounds like a great start to 2012.

Apologies for the lack of quotes, but my copy is in the bookcase behind the Christmas Tree and I dare not try and find it. Angie wrote a wonderful post about why she loves Alan and Sin and included two of my favourite quotes.

Number One couple tomorrow, who could have knocked Alan and Sin from the top spot??? And there is still time to enter the giveaway.http://www.notenoughbookshelves.com/2011/12/christmas-coutndown.html I'm closing it New Years Day 12pm GMT

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Couples Countdown No 3 - Keek and Sylvia Plath



Resuming the countdown (guess we'll be counting down to 2012 now!) after it was interrupted by an evil virus and then a big celebration!


Couple number three is Keek and Sylvia Plath from Arlainia Tibensky's wonderful And Then Things Fall Apart. This book snuck up on me, I wasn't expecting to fall quite as in love with it as I did. One of the biggest reasons for that is Keek and her obsession with Sylvia Plath and The Bell Jar.

So for all of you who have re-read a certain book until it grew dog-eared, and who were made a little less lonely or a little more brave by a friend you found among it's pages, couple three - Keek and Sylvia are for you!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and for those of you who watch wasn't The Downton Abby Christmas Special brilliant!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

and 

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband!


The Christmas countdown will finish up on the 27th - I got sick! 

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Couples Countdown: Guest Post by Cath Crowley





I'm very excited to welcome Cath Crowley, author of A Little Wanting Song. Her guest post is on Six Impossible Things, a book I've heard wonderful things about, but haven't been able to get hold of yet ~ come on UK publishers buy Aussie!


Enjoy!


My favourite couple from a book that I’ve read this year is Dan and Estelle from Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood.

“There’s this girl I know.
I know her by heart. I know her in every way but one: actuality.
Her name is Estelle. I yearn for her.” (p.1)

Dan and Estelle are so beautifully drawn. They’re real and they’re detailed and they’re funny and they make me want to be with them after the last page. They don’t meet on page one and fall in love. They find out the faults of each other. They find out the secrets they both keep. They find out the good bits in each other.

I love that Dan is unsure how to kiss a girl. “It’s a classic learning-by-doing activity… How difficult can it be? And there is the crux of the matter: I have no idea how difficult it might be.” (p.229) I think the biggest risks are showing someone your vulnerabilities. Dan’s humour and his lack of know-how make me love him. So I know exactly why Estelle falls for him.

The great thing about Estelle is that she’s real. She starts out as an idea for Dan. And then he begins to know her. It’s the slow-knowing that happens between couples that I love in fiction. It’s the missed kiss and the awkwardness. It’s the truth in them. That’s why I love Dan and Estelle.

Fiona Wood is a spectacular writing. After finishing Six Impossible Things I sat in my chair for a while, not wanting to leave the world created. I’ve read it three times and I always feel the same way. 


Thanks so much Cath!


Cath Crowley can be found blogging hereA Little Wanting Song is available now. Graffiti Moon  come out on the 14th February ~ I can't wait I have heard amazing things about this book!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Couples Countdown No 4 Charlie and Dave



Charlie and Dave from A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley.

This is such a beautiful, beautiful book. I loved it. It's told from both Charlie and Rose's point of view and they have such a fabulous dynamic ~ Charlie is shy and quiet, Rose is loud and dramatic, but they're both scared and lonely. I almost went for friendship and picked them as my couple. . .

but I just adore Charlie and Dave and I'm feeling romantic. They have one of those gorgeous, hesitant romances that I absolutely adore. Lots of looks, and almost touches, and awkward conversations.

Here are a few favourite bits.

He stands there rolling his bike back and forth and I want to ask him in. For a girl who doesn't talk all that much, strangely I have a million or more things I want to say to Dave. They're not even important things. It's stuff like Grandpa ordered in some Muppet Show toothbrushes, and I've been using one even though it's too small because I really like Frozzie Bear. But then I stopped using it because I wasn't sure if it was a sign of disrespect to use Frozzie that way.


and


We hover. Lips feathering. Chests spinning crazy. Skin burning. After a while I take out my iPod and give one earpiece to him and keep the other for me. I put it on shuffle and voices swirl around us and it's the strangest feeling. I'm nowhere and somewhere at the same time. The last song we listen to is one of mine. He doesn't know it and I don't tell him. I feel stranger still. As if the singer and me are different people.


Have you read A little Wanting Song? Did you love Charlie and Dave?

Couples Countdown: Guest Post by Kirstin Cronn Mills

I'm  delighted to welcome Kirstin Cronn-Mills, author of the fabulous The Sky Always Hears Me and The Hills Don't Mind. I haven't read BROOKLYN BURNING but I really want to after this post! Thanks so much for sharing Kirstin!




Have you ever been in the kind of love where you need someone, not just need-need them, but you need them for something, like to do something important, but you don’t know where they are so you look for them all over town in places they might go, but they’re not there, so you keep searching even though you might not find them, but you have to find them? And then when you do find them, or they find you, you breathe a sigh of relief, because they’re there again, thank god, and you can rest a little bit?  Ever feel like that?  Yeah.  That’s Kid’s love for Scout.  That’s BROOKLYN, BURNING, by Steve Brezenoff.

BROOKLYN, BURNING is the story of the different people Kid loves.  There's Konny, his longtime friend, but there's also Jonny the hustler, Fish the bar owner, and Felix the junkie.  And then there's Scout.  Scout becomes Kid's summer love, and their passion twines around and through their guitar and drum kit.  Anybody who's been a teenager recognizes Kid and Scout their shy but connected affection, their hesitation to get too close for fear of losing and hurting.   We hope for them, we root for them.  We want them to kiss, dammit!  And when they finally do, it is sweet for everyone.

What's most lovely about Kid and Scout is Brezenoff's decision not to tell us who they are aside from their names.  We know Felix is a guy, Fish is a woman, Konny is a teenage girl, and Jonny is a male for sale.   But Kid and Scout are just Kid and Scout.  We see them—hair flapping over Scout's eyes, shirt pulling up out of Kid's pants to show Kid's stomach—but those vague descriptions are as far as Brezenoff goes.  They're just two kids, trying to find themselves and finding each other in the process.  Their relationship moves past pronouns.  To me, this is the essence of love—it doesn’t matter who we are or who we’re loving, it just matters that we keep loving.


(A side note:  my other favorite couple in this book is Brezenoff and Brooklyn.  He’s clearly in love with her, and because of it, so are we. )




Kirstin Cronn-Mills can be found blogging here. The Sky Always Hears Me and The Hills Don't Mind is in bookstores and at The Book Depository. Kirstin's new book Beautiful Music for Ugly Children is out 2012 and sounds amazing!



Sunday, 18 December 2011

Couples Countdown No 5 - Morgan and Rob





Couple Five! Morgan and Rob from The Sky Always Hears me and The Hills Don't Mind by Kirstin Cronn-Mills. I have such a crush on this book. I absolutely loved it.


 I am a big fan of happy ever after, swoony, love stories. But sometimes a relationship sneaks in that's a a bit more thorny and complicated, where love might not conquer all, and maybe that's a good thing. In The Sky Always Hears Me and The Hills Don't Mind, Morgan is going out with Derek, crushing on Rob, and sharing a late night kiss with next door neighbour Tessa - recipe for heartbreak right there. Added to that the major incident in the book, involving Morgan's family it could be a bleak and depressing read. But it has lots of laughs, due to Morgan's wonderful voice, world view, and habit of writing fortune cookie fortunes on every piece of paper she finds. Plus there is plenty of swoon due to Morgan and Rob's banter.


I simply adored that in the beginning Morgan spent less time wondering what Rob was like and more time admiring his cute ass.


Their relationship felt real and I loved reading it. Here's a taste


Rob grins. "Come help me stock cigarettes." I wander over while he studies me. "You must be thinking very serious thoughts."
I am not going to tell him the truth; I was pondering his very cute ass, which he displayed as he was working on the smokes. Where has that ass been all my life.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Couples Countdown: Guest Post by Antony John







I'm very happy to welcome Antony John, author of the wonderful Five Flavors of Dumb to the blog today. He picked a great couple. I am dying to read Lola and the Boy Next Door (saving it for my holiday reading when I will hopefully have lots of uninterrupted reading time) and this post makes me even more keen to dive in.  Thanks for sharing Antony.




Hello, everyone, and a happy holiday season to all! I was chuffed to bits when Alexa asked me to write about my favorite couple of the year—partly because I can’t resist clicking on those web links that take you to photos of celebrity couples (please don’t tell anyone!), and partly because it makes me feel like an expert on romance (even though I know I’m not).

Oh, and a big THANK YOU to Alexa for including Piper and Ed in her countdown of favorite couples. An incredible (and unique) honor, and one I—or rather, they—will cherish for years to come.

So, my first thought when Alexa asked me to write was: Is there really a decision to be made here? After all, the obvious choice for favorite couple of the year would have to be Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries.

Wait, what? This is a serious post? Oops, sorry. Let me start again . . .

Because I’m a complete softie, and a hopeless romantic, I’m going to go with Lola and Cricket from Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door. Here’s the thing: we know from the opening chapters who Lola is going to end up with—and therefore who she is not going to end up with—which means that the suspense is all about how she is going to end up with Cricket, and why things didn’t work out between them two years ago.

But hey, that’s the genius part. Because while we long to see them get together, there’s just enough baggage to drag things out. And dragging things out, it seems to me, is the secret to tingly romance. While many teen boys attempt to move from first base to home run like a racecar shifting gears, it doesn’t make for terribly compelling reading. Literary romances work best when we spend about 300 pages watching the perfect couple almost getting together. 300 pages of lip-locking? Eh, not so enticing.

Of course, it helps that Stephanie Perkins writes awesome characters. Lola is super cool: intelligent, devoted, and fiercely unique in her style. She’s flawed, yes, but in a way that I find totally sympathetic. As for Cricket, he’s the total package: sometimes flamboyant, sometimes introverted; sensitive and thoughtful, yet slow to do / say the right thing. I can totally identify with Cricket . . . except that I’m a crappy dresser.

To prove how much of romance is about chemistry and build-up, I’ll admit that I can’t remember the kiss in much detail. Sad, but true. But it doesn’t matter, because in my mind, Lola and Cricket and still bantering back and forth, out-dressing one another, and generally reveling in each other’s company. And what can be more romantic than that?


Antony can be found blogging hereFive Flavors Dumb is out in paperback (buy it, buy it!) and his new book Thou Shalt Not Road Trip is out April 2012 - sounds like a great read.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Couples Countdown No 6 - Sophie & Robin

Sophie and Robin from Sonya Sones What My Mother Doesn't Know.


I was completely enchanted with this book and with Sophie and Robin. The writing is gorgeous and captures both high school and first love perfectly. Sophie and Robin are just so adorable and sweet and I just loved them. I really wish I could go back in time and give these to my high school self! If you haven't read these, they are the perfect Christmas afternoon read - especially if it is snowing outside.


One of my favourite passages


A Second Look


I just dug out the old sketch
that I did of Murphy*
in art class


It's funny because
I distinctly remember thinking at the time
that I'd really captured him.
But Looking at it now,
I see that it isn't
a thing like him.


I didn't get
that impish lean
he has in his eyes,
or that kid-like wonder.
And I didn't catch any of his
goofy sense of humor.


And he had this way
of gluing his eyes right onto yours,
and zoning in on you so totally that he makes you feel like you're
the most fascinating person in the world.
I missed that completely.


It's like I was looking at him
that day in class,
but I wasn't really seeing him.


* Murphy is Robin's last name in case you're confused.



Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Couples Countdown Guest Post by Audrey of Holes In My Brain


xmas+countdown.jpg



Welcome to the lovely Audrey whose fabulous blog holes In My brain has been one of my favourites for a long time. I love Audrey's reviews, especially when she falls in love with a book and does a complete rave - no one raves quite like Audrey :D


There really are an infinite number of YA couples I’d love to talk about, and I maybe one day I can find the words beautiful or tragic enough to describe some (I’m looking at you, Froi and Quintana) but for now, I’ll rewind to the very beginning of 2011 and still one of my favourite books of the year. And perhaps not as hugely promoted as recent dystopias, I’ve reverted to my go-to genre of contemporary fiction as well. From Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, here’s to Andi and Virgil.

Andi is kind of depressed. Yeah. And if you can get past her angsty-ness, she’s kind of a hugely talented guitar player and beautiful lyricist. She’s emotionally hurting and grieving after the death of her little brother and in a foreign country hanging out with her dad. She’s stumbling through the streets of Paris and…

Enter Virgil. A French-Tunisian artist and taxi driver with rhymes that I kind of swooned for even though they’re not exactly conventional. But he’s gorgeous and has a genuine heart and…

I loved the relationship between these two; brought together by music (I love books with music) and then midnight phone conversations, sunrises, a moment at the Eiffel Tower I reread like six times, and more music, the two circle around each other just Andi feels the world slipping out from under her. And maybe that makes all the difference. Because it’s different and off-balanced and romantic with all the rough edges, and I will forever adore his off-beat rhymes and her broken lyrics and when she sang him that song and oh gosh, I just want to get all of you this book for Christmas because I (more than ‘kind of’) loved it.


Thanks so much Audrey. Revolution is definitely on my wish list now!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Couples Countdown No 7 - Ruby and Chole

xmas+countdown.jpg


The only siblings on the list this year are Ruby and Chloe from Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

This is such a riddle of a book. I liked it even better on a second reading and think I might like it still better on a third, because I'm still not quite sure I get it!

Sibling relationships are always fascinating to me. In Imaginary Girls the relationship is particular intense. The bond between Ruby and Chloe is portrayed incredibly well. They have their own world and it is only the things that happen in that world that really matter to them, everything else is just show.

It was a relationship I loved reading about, but not a relationship I actually loved - it's too unsettling. It is compelling though, which is why Ruby and Chole make my top ten list this year.

Have you read Imaginary Girls, what did you think?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Couples Countdown: Guest Post by Angie of Angieville


To kick off the second week of the countdown. I'm delighted to welcome one of my favourite bloggers 
Angie from Angieville. Angie writes the most beautiful reviews. She always makes me want to run out and buy the book she's in love with straight away! I have her to thank for bringing the The Demon's Lexicon, The Queens' Thief and Meg Rosoff  to my attention - I'm extremely grateful!


So here is Angie with her couple of the year!



Hello there, gentle Alexareaders! Thanks for having me. It's certainly cozy round these parts. When Alexa asked me to take part in her Christmas Couples Countdown this year, I was delighted. I look forward to this event every year, and I knew it had been a good year for romance. But when I started reminiscing, it turns out it had been too good. At least for me and the couples I encountered over in my little reader's corner. Wowzers, it's been hard narrowing it down to my favorite couple from 2011! It nearly killed me. I mean, 2011 was the year of Grace and Vaughn, who nearly sent me to an early grave so hard did I fall for them, so worried was I over the state of them. It was the year of Carly and Ryan and all their surfy, honest, refreshing goodness. It was the year of Puck & Sean Kendrick, for the love of all that is holy! Those two alone deserve a moment of silence in which to reflect on their sheer perfection.



What is a girl to do? This narrowing it down to just one business . . .



Well, I dithered. And I pondered. And I re-read favorite passages. But when it came down to it, I came back to that crooked couple I love with all my crooked heart. Because 2011 was the year of Alan and Sin. And I'd been waiting for happiness for this boy for three years. You understand that happiness for a Ryves brother is hard to come by in general. But as far as I was concerned, it was About. Freaking. Time. for my Alan. And happiness came, unbeknownst to him, in the package of Sin Davies--the heir-apparent to the Goblin Market. It was unbelievably satisfying having front row seats to the meeting of these two equals. I am such a fan of strong equals coming together and clashing (naturally), and challenging each other (naturally), and each finding a partner (in crime) in the other. All of that took place between these two. The fact that it was against their admittedly formidable collective will was just icing on the cake.



These two brought that slow, sly, sated grin (yeah, you know the one) to my face more than once. I think about them all the time and know they're no doubt cutting a swath through London as we speak. With all that charm and underhandedness? Oh, yeah. They're doing just fine.



My favorite quote from each of them:

"Oh, Alan Ryves," she said. "You're a fantastic liar. You are the smoothest con man of them all."
"I don't have deal breakers," Alan said. "I look on tempests, and am never shaken."
My heart, you guys. My heart.

My heart too! Thanks So much Angie, what a great couple! Anyone else out there loving Sin and Alan?

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Couples Countdown No 8 - Piper & Ed




Piper and Ed from Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. Ah I loved this book so much, and I had so much fun reading it. It's great story and the ending just builds and builds to a rock and roll finish. I have to quickly mention Piper's relationship with her family, especially her brother Finn, because I thought it was brilliantly done and Finn was my favourite character of the book.

However, on to Piper and Ed.

There's is just the cutest, sweetest romance. It can be irritating when the main character has no idea the guy likes her, but it was done just right here. The tension building up and up until I was just kiss already! Which is a place I kind of love to be.

So yeah Piper and Ed completely earn their place in best couples of the year. Favourite line ~

But all I could think was that he'd understood me when I needed it most.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Couples Countdown: Guest Post by Sarah of Desirous of Everything





I'm delighted to welcome Sarah of Desirous of Everything to the blog today. I discovered her wonderful blog earlier this year and am completely hooked, her blog is a must read - funny and inspiring! 






Hello Not Enough Bookshelves readers!  My name is Sarah. I blog over at Desirous of Everything and was honored when Alexa asked me to be a part of this series! I gave it a lot of thought and ultimately decided that the best couple of 2011 is... Andy and April from Parks and Recreation, hands down!  And I take my fictional television characters very seriously, people. I am still upset at the boring lameness that has become Jim and Pam on The Office.  Ugh, please don't get me started on that one!  Or as April would say, "It's just... adults are boring. And I hate them. And I don't want to buy all this stupid, boring adult stuff and become boring adults."  Um, exactly , Jim and Pam! 



Okay, I'm sorry, I did not come here to hate on Jim and Pam (because they will always have a soft spot on my heart) but I came here to love on Andy and April and here are my top five reasons why.



5. They high five all the time!




4. They eat turkey chili out of a Frisbee.




3. They swear on dead crows.






2. Their "Fancy party" was really a secret wedding!





1. They bring out the best in each other!  April is coming out of her shell this season because Andy loves her for who she is and nothing more.  And Andy knows he can be more than a shoeshine boy because April believes in him!  April and Andy are hilarious and adorable and while everyone knows that hilarious + adorable = awesome sauce, it's also so clear that they're doing something right.  They don't care what anyone else thinks of them, they want to have fun together and make the most out of life with their bucket lists and goofy shenanigans and when it comes down to it, they are best friends.  That's true love if you ask me!  I love these guys!  Best couple evs.




Thanks for having me Alexa!  All images and gifs found via Andy and April Timblr.  Thanks!


Thanks so much Sarah. I've never seen Parks and Recreation but I really need too!

See you tomorrow for Couple Number 8!



Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Couple Countdown No 9 - Rosie and Asher



The Australians are coming, and they will capture you heart! I've read so many brilliant Australian books this year was hard to choose who to include here, but my first couple from down under (yes there is another) have to be Rosie and Asher from Brigid Lowry's Guitar Highway Rose. 


This book just completely charmed me. Rosie and Asher's relationship is adorable and sweet and gorgeous to read. Here's a taste.


SUNSHINE AND ROSES


with rolled-up towels for pillows rosie and asher lie on their backs on the grass the sky is gently blue no clouds they take off their shoes so their feet can breathe they wriggle their ties and talk about when they were little and what's your middle names and what's your favourite food and what job would you most hate to do and what is the worst thing a parent can say to a kid and what's your favourite film and what's your favourite book and what shall we have for lunch and maybe we should get going in a while they do not kiss but they both want to instead their feet touch and so do their arms it is electric magic their tiny arm hairs tingling happily together the sun warming then watching sky through gree-leafed gum branches close enough to heard each other breathe sweet togetherness this lazy lying down dance of love.


And yes, that whole section is written exactly like that. Although the book consists of a variety of formats. It did feel a little strange at first, but the format ended up being one of the things I really adored about the book.


If you haven't read it, definitely pick up a copy of Guitar Highway Rose and fall in love with Rosie and Asher too.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Couples Countdown: Guest Post by Meredith of Fairy Tales and Cappuccino



I'm delighted to welcome Meredith to the blog today with the first guest post for the Couples Countdown. Meredith can be find blogging about writing, books, and life over at Fairy Tales and Cappuccino. Her blog is lovely and I especially love her 5 things that make me happy even on a Monday feature. It always leaves me feeling happy and usually craving a starbucks!


Anyway here is Meredith on her favourite couple of 2011.


My favorite literary couple of this year came from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Kate “Puck” Connolly and Sean Kendrick are slated to race against each other in the water horse race, but as they train together, they begin to fall in love. And the reader begins to fall in love with them.

Puck is impulsive and stubborn, a tomboy of a girl who feels more at home on the back of her beloved horse, Dove, than anywhere else. Sean Kendrick is a boy of sharp angles and silence, so in tune with the water horses (murderous horses dragged from the sea) that he almost seems to belong to the ocean himself. The two of them seem to understand each other immediately, even though the rest of the world doesn’t.

Their relationship is a slow burn, something that builds every time they see each other. And when they finally admit their feelings to each other, you can’t help but cheer.


I couldn’t get enough of this couple. They were just so cute and genuine, with a believable chemistry that jumps right off the page. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!


Thanks so much Meredith, great choice! Personally I cheered and swooned, quite a lot. That Sean Kendrick :D


Have you read The Scorpio Races? Did you love it?


If you can't wait for tomorrows couple you can always look at the list from 2010 and 2009 and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Couple Countdown No 10 - Grace and Cole

So we are starting to countdown with a rather unusual pairing ~ Grace and Cole from Maggie Stiefvater's The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy.


Quick Note for those who haven't read Forever yet, don't worry! Maggie doesn't pull the biggest twist of all time and have Grace run off with Cole, leaving Sam all alone with his guitar.


I went into Forever, the final novel in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, expecting to be delighted by Grace and Sam's deepening relationship and their sweet moments together - love those two! I was also hoping to be swooning/laughing as Cole and Isabel continued to prowl around each other - both far more dangerous in human form then any wolf.


What I didn't expect was to adore the relationship that started between Cole and Grace. I wasn't really expecting much interaction between them at all actually, but there was, and I loved it. Seeing Grace through Cole's eyes, and seeing Cole through Grace's eye added a depth to their characters I hadn't even been aware was missing. Also Cole's observations of Sam and Grace together are both gorgeous and kind of heartbreaking.


The way all four characters interconnected was really nicely done and is another reason why this trilogy is one of my favourites.


See you tomorrow with the first guest post!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Christmas Countdown



Welcome to the 

THIRD COUPLES CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN


Wow that's quite impressive isn't it? Anyway if you are new around here, for the past two years I have celebrated the countdown to Christmas, by devouring mince pies, watching Love Actually, listening to jaunty chirtsmas tunes, AND blogging about my ten favourite couples of the year. So hard to narrow it down to ten!


Year one was all about romance. Year two was more about friendship. This year is a mixture of the two. I do hope you enjoy it. Some wonderful bloggers and authors have again joined in - thank you! If you want to share you're own favourite couple, either below or on your own blog, I would love to hear about them!


GIVEAWAY


I will be giving away two books from my countdown list. Just fill in the form below (I know you don't know what they are yet, but they're good, I promise). Open to anyone who lives in a an area the Book Depository ships too.




I hope you'll enjoy counting down with me! Thanks for sticking around :)


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Unravelling Isobel by Eileen Cook


Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons. 

I loved What Would Emma Do? and The Education of Hailey Kendrick, and this sounds exactly my kind of book - Thrilling and creepy, super sexy, and so very hilarious." --Lisa McMann


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

So excited for this one and the cover is just gorgeous!








Bitterblue is a companion book to both Graceling and Fire and takes place in the seven kingdoms eight years after Graceling. This third book will tie all three books together in some way. Bitterblue is the sixteen-year-old protagonist, and Katsa, Po, Giddon, Helda, and other characters from Graceling will be part of the fabric of the book. (from Goodreads)



"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?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Inspiration

We're half way through National Novel Writing Month and I'm in need of some inspiration - to keep going, to keep struggling through, when I'm not quite sure where I am going or what I am doing. I need a guiding light!

Luckily the internet is full of inspiring things, here's two blog posts I read this morning that inspired.

A Reminder of What Really Matters by Kristin Hoffman (link found at The Intern)

I loved this post, especially the end which I am sticking over my desk.


And then put everything out of mind when you’re sitting down to write. Because that’s your time, your space, your joyful play with the characters that you love and the world that you’ve built. Let nothing get in the way.

Yes let nothing get in the way, especially fear and doubt!

Second, Shannon Hale (who is always inspiring) is wrote about her struggles with her latest book in a post called Biting off  more than I can chew, and then chewing 

Cut out and keep quote -

"Write what you know" is for sissies.


Yeah it is.
Anything Inspiring you today?


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Maggie Stiefvater Book Signing

On Saturday I headed up to London to the Maggie Steifvater event at Foyles.

Just a side note - Foyles is my favourite bookshop in England and well worth a visit if you are ever in London and need a rest from all the sightseeing!

The event was excellent and made even more so by the fact that Jonas and Plunkett were performing. They sang Summer Girl, a song Sam writes about Grace in The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy, and they performed their song Spaceship, which Maggie listened too while writing Linger. They're really good (and funny) and I recommend checking them out on iTunes. I like Stole the Show.


Jonas & Plunkett and Maggie (who had seriously excellent boots on)

Then Maggie spoke, she was very funny and engaging and made everything feel very spontaneous and interesting, which must be hard because she'd been on tour for a while.

She began with a list of the Ten Things You Need To Know To Write a Maggie Stiefvater novel. Of which I can remember;

1) Start with a mood

and

10) Ignore the list.

Then she told the story of finding out she was on the NYT best seller list. She was on a plane, on a cellphone, the air stewardess was unimpressed! Then  she told about visiting a british school, where the first question was actually a comment that her accent was cute, and the second was what airline did she fly with - haha very British. I hope one of them asked her about the weather in America.

Then she spoke a little about her The Scorpio Races (which is amazing, review coming soon, but I think I can safely say it was my favourite book this year) and how much she wants to leave readers sobbing wrecks.

Then she took questions. Of which I remember these answers;

The duel narratives are because she wanted to know what the boy was thinking not have the girl guessing.

Cole is her favourite character (really? not Sean!) but you need to find yourself a Sam.

If you get stuck - research.

There may be another fairy book, but it keeps getting kicked in the ditch by other books.

She can not speak about her next book, but referred to it as magical novel.

That's all. I should really take notes as I'm sure she said a lot more interesting things!


The we made a very long line to get books signed. As she'd told us she wanted to leave her readers sobbing. I told her I'd cried over The Scorpio Races in Costa coffee the day before (p316 people who've read it), and I did cry again at the end *sniff*.

Anyway I wouldn't go to a signing and not pick up a copy for my lovely blog readers. So if you would like a signed copy of the  The Scorpio Races (UK cover) leave a comment here by Friday 18th November 12pm GMT and I'll put your name in the hat.

It's International.

NaNoWriMo Week 2

Well NaNoBloPo kind of feel down and died this weekend - opps!

NaNoWriMo is fairing better. I now have 9,133 words.

One thing that has really helped me keep writing is Scrivener Project Targets. I leaned all about them in this post by Sarah Enni.

How much do I love seeing that bar go green! A LOT! It's so satisfying.

How is everyone else doing?

Monday, 14 November 2011

P D James & Pemberley!







I don't how this book has only just come to my attention, but it sounds wonderful. P D James is one of my favourite mystery writers. Her books, and the television adaptations of them, are wonderful. 


This book has a different focus though. It's set six years after the end of Pride and Prejudice and begins with a late night arrival at Pemberley by Lydia, whose husband Mr Wickham has been murdered!


I'm not a huge fan of what happened after the happily ever after books, but if anyone can do it P. D. James can.


I'm also completely inspired that P. D. James didn't start writing until she retired, and is now 91 and has published over 20 books - it is never to late :)


Death Comes to Pemberley is out now in the UK, and out on the 6th December in the USA.


I much prefer the USA cover. It's much nicer than that yellow, I prefer the font too.






Do you like retellings, works inspired by Jane Austen? What's your favourite? 

Friday, 11 November 2011

11/11/11

My view at 11.11am on 11/11/11.


My Dad was always pointing out when the dates fell in patterns, he would have loved the fact that his grandson was born on 03/06/09. Then I never paid much attention, now I find it is another way to remember him.

***

It is also Remembrance Day here today. WW1 ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.


Thanks to all those who served and who currently serve.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund



Diana revealed the gorgeous cover for her latest book last week on her blog. If you hop over there you can read an intriguing snippet from the story and the background on the title - which I love!

We have to wait until June for this one and I'm counting the months. I love Diana's writing and I love the premise of this book, oh and I love the main characters names too.

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliott wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him.

But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret—-one that could change the society in which they live…or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she has lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it. (from Goodreads)



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, 7 November 2011

NaNoWriMo Week 1

Well week one of my own person NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is over and I have 5,659 words. Not as many as if I was doing it for real, but more than the targets I set for myself, so I'm very happy.

Alos I LOVE my story. Really, really love it.

It's hasn't been that hard fitting writing in either.

I really wanted to get up early and do it, but I am so not a morning person. So I've been staying up late and it seems to be a good time to write. I like the quiet. I like knowing there is nothing else I should be doing (well apart from sleeping).

Fingers crossed for another 5,000 next week.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo or some version of it? How is it going?

Happy Monday

I stole borrowed this Happy Mondays idea from Meredith who blogs at Fairy Tales and Cappuccino (isn't that a lovely blog name?)

Anyway five things making me happy today;

1) My son slept in till 7.30am! This is unheard of! Six is his usual wake up, but it can be earlier. Fingers crossed it happens tomorrow too.

2) On Saturday I am going to a Maggie Stiefvater book signing in London. I am very excited. I'm also hoping I'm not the only adult there! Any other UK book bloggers going? I'd love to say Hi if you are.

3) Orange leaves. There are many things I don't like about Autumn - shorter days, colder days, rain, but I do love watching the trees turn. It's beautiful here right now.

4) Pinterest I just love this site. I have found so many fabulous things on there. My current favourite is this, love the quote, plus I collect owls, so added bonus.



5) Mince Pies. Much nicer than they sound. They're a traditional Christmas treat, full of fruit and spices. Mr Kipling makes the best ones, but I'm planning to try making my own this year.

What's making you happy on this wet, misty Monday?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Just Ordered!


Thanks to FishPondWorld! I simply couldn't wait until March!

Also there is going to be a Jellicoe movie, squee, I'm so excited!

Bought any books this weekend?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bonfire Night



One of the things I have most been looking forward to since retuning to the Uk, is getting to go to Bonfire Night.

Historically it is a celebration of the failure of Guy Fawkes and his friends plan to blow up King James I (VI of Scotland, have to put that in for my Dad) and the Houses of Parliament (you can find a more detailed account here, if you are curious). 

Although a Guy is still made and burnt on the bonfire, the 5th November is now mainly a chance to watch fireworks, stand around a big fire, eat parkin and drink mulled wine and generally have a magical night.

There is something about the smell of a bonfire on a cold, crisp autumn night that is just gorgeous. I have always loved Bonfire Night, but I'm even more excited this year because; I haven't been to one in seven years, it will be my son's first Bonfire Night experience, and there is a brilliantly evocative scene in The Scorpio Races set around a Bonfire, that completely has me in the mood to go to one. Now if only I had a November cake to eat!




Friday, 4 November 2011

The Fades



A little bit of TV reviewing this Friday.


The Fades is my current TV obsession, it's just so good! A sort of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with ghosts/zombies, set in a grey and vaguely grim england.


Here's the Main Cast


 Paul - the outsider/chosen one, given to bad dreams of a coming apocalypse. Fond of strawberry coloured cords, his sister's best friend, and dessert (loved how he and Mac were always eating dessert)



Mac and Paul and dessert!

Mac - Paul's best friend. Utterly fabulous and steals every scene he's in. Also does a brilliant re-cap at the beginning of every episode.


Anne - Paul's twin sister. Starts off as a mean girl with a big mouth, but is utterly brilliant in later episodes.


Jay - Anna's best friend, Paul's secret crush. Another awesome girl.


Neil and Sarah - members of the Angelics. A secret group who can see ghosts and guard the world against them. 


Mark - Sarah's husband, Paul's history teacher. Played by the very cute Tom Ellis.


The plot (kind of)


Paul is seeing a therapist due to his strange and violent dreams. Then one night he sees a women killed in a abandoned shopping centre and discovers he is an Angelic. The angelics are a secret group of people who can see ghosts. 


The ghosts are starting to be able to touch things and people. The ghosts would like to be alive again. This is not good news for anyone.


The main reason I'm blogging about it, apart from my the fact that I love it deeply, is because if you are a writer, then The Fades is a brilliant case study of how to create a world, build tension, develop character, be funny, twist expectations and always keep your viewer/reader guessing. Episode Four in particular is some of the best storytelling I've seen.


If you can get your hands on this, watch it. I am counting down to Series Two.


Although a warning -  as the BBC puts it The Fades contains violence, strong language, disturbing scenes and some sexual content.