Friday, 28 January 2011

Friday Five

1) EDITING - It's been busy, busy around here, hence the lack of postings. I am trying to edit my NaNo book. Although Edit is probably the wrong word, as the first draft is more of a gigantic messy outline, so I guess I am really still on the first draft. Or maybe the first and a half draft.

2) GOING HOME - In six weeks we are returning to England for good. It has been nearly eight years since we've lived in the UK, so it's going to feel quite strange. I shall try not to talk of sidewalks, grocery stores and diapers, and return to pavements, supermarkets and nappies! Excited as I am to return, I shall miss America so much!

3) SNOW! - I am so over snow. Well kind of, I do love watching it fall and it makes everything look so pretty. But if you haven't stocked up, especially on things like full fat milk AND you have a hyper active toddler it can be quite a pain. At least we kept our power though, unlike half od DC it seems, so I'm feeling grateful.

4) THE VAMPIRE ACADEMY SERIES by Richelle Mead. After Nic at Irresistible Reads reviewed the last book I thought I'd check them out. I've been motoring through them. They are just SO much fun and I love Rose and I love the world Richelle Mead has created, it's amazing. Strangely for me I am smitten with the, smoking, drinking, bad boy in this series. Not that Adrian is really bad but, you know, he's not that good either.

5) KINDLES - How happy was I to have a Kindle when I finished SHADOW KISS and couldn't get to the library for the next book? VERY! I couldn't wait to see what happens next.

Have a great weekend everyone, what books have you staying up past bedtime lately?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Girl Crushes

My awesome friend Kim Harris Thacker (writer and mommy) is one of the hosts of Bookshop Talk, a fabulous new blog all about, yes you guessed it, books! They're currently accepting reviews and guest posts, so go submit something, you could win a book - always a good thing.

The other day they featured a rather fabulous post by Lauren Gardner, all about fictional crushes. A favourite topic of mine. I left a very long comment, very long. I have many crushes. Awesome Kim also left a comment, including Ginny from the Harry Potter series.

Which got me thinking about girls I'm crushing on. While I tend to crush on the boys in books who I'd love in real life (no bad boys here thank you!), with girls it's a case of opposites attracts.

So here are my current girl crushes:

Rose Hathaway

of The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

I'm currently tearing my way through this series. While I like the guys, I'm not swooning over any of them, but I have a serious crush on Rose.

Katniss 


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Team Gale, Team Peeta? No, no, no TEAM KATNISS all the way.  (well maybe a little Team Peeta too!)

Hermione 

Harry Potter by J. K Rowling

How can you not love Hermione? She's the cleverest witch of her generation, plus defender of House Elf rights and brilliant friend to Harry. And Emma Watson does such a brilliant job in the movies she's made me love her more.

Elizabeth Bennet

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

If Mr Darcy is the ultimate boy crush, then Lizzie is height of my girl crushes. Wouldn't you love her as a best friend? She'd always have your back with a witty comeback or put down for the mean girls.

So there you go, my girl crushes, they're all girls who can kick ass, either literally, with magic or with words.

So which girls do you love and why?

Monday, 24 January 2011

And the Winner is. . .

Number 2 - KHYLA

Congratulations Khyla! I emailed you.

Thanks for entering everyone.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Maggie Stiefvater Book Signing and SHIVER Giveaway

I have a deep, deep love of The Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I fell hard for the story and characters in SHIVER and although I was very nervous about it having a sequel, LINGER cast its spell over me from chapter one. Grace, Sam, Cole and Isabel are some of my favourite characters, and I can not wait to get my hands on FORVER.


This being the case, I've been trying to go to a Maggie Stiefvater signing for ages. It shouldn't have proved that hard since she does a lot of events in Virginia, but the timing was always wrong. It seemed like I was jinxed and would have to live vicariously through James of Book Chic's posts.


Then on Friday, as I was killing some time of Facebook, I happened to see (fate!) she had a Saturday signing in Frederickburg. So I left the baby with his Daddy, jumped in the car, and headed off.


It was so worth the trip. Maggie was interesting, funny, and just plain nice. If you read her blog, listening to her talk is exactly like reading it. She tells stories, goes off on tangents, and makes you laugh.


A few of the stories I knew from her blog, but I didn't know that the British version of LAMENT has had the words bloody and frigid removed. Which strikes me as very funny, seeing as we do use them to mean covered in blood and cold too!


Anyway, I had a great time and I even asked a question, two questions in fact! Which, if you know me, you'll know is huge. I am, not shy exactly, but I don't like talking in big groups. But I asked and no one shouted what a stupid question, so it was all okay. 


And in case you're wondering I asked Maggie if she's a plotter or a panster. She answered that she writes her novels the way she plans her road trips. She has a starting point, a destination, and a few highlights along the way, but plenty of room for detours too.


Afterward Maggie signed books, handed out samples of the English version of LAMENT (bloody and frigid free - phew!), and posed for photos. 


I got a photo, in which I don't look completely insane, and Maggie has her eyes open, so I can post it here (although my hair needs a cut!)








AND


Of course I got a signed SHIVER  to share with one of you. Maggie even drew a cute wolf in it, look




So cool.


So if you live in the USA, UK or CANADA (sorry international readers I'm poor this month) and would like a signed copy of SHIVER. Leave a comment by midnight on the 21st January 2011 and I'll randomly pick one of you.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Aussie YA Book Challenge

The lovely and awesome Nic of Irresistible Reads is hosting the


 AUSSIE YA BOOK CHALLENGE






As I am currently obsessed with Aussie books, I had to sign up. All you have to do is read 6 Aussie YA books between  1st January, 2011 to 31st December, 2011.


Easy, when there are so many fabulous Aussie YA's hitting the shelves this year.


My six are;


1) THE PIPER'S SON by Melina Marchetta ( I have read it but I want to re-read it and I want the US version too)


2) FURY by Shirley Marr


3) GRAFFITI MOON by Cath Crowley


4) GOOD OIL by Laura Buzo


5) SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS by Fiona Wood


6) KINGDOM OF CELLO by Jaclyn Moriarty


The only problem will be getting my hands on them, but I'm hoping The Book Depository will come up trumps.




If you think this sounds like a great challenge, you can sign up HERE


I'm not signing up for any other challenges, as I have a horrible record with them, but I have made my own personal challenges which are


Every month read:


One Classic
One YA (at least it'll probably be more)
One Adult
One Re-read
One Audio


I'm trying to mix things up a bit, 2010 having been the Year of YA. 


What about you guys any challenges/reading resolution to welcome in 2011?

Friday, 7 January 2011

Four Things on Friday

1) The Cybils Finalists have been announced. I'm very happy to see three of my favourite reads of 2010  in there; Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly and I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan in the Young Adult category, and Plain Kate by Erin Bow in the Fantasy and Science Fiction (Young Adult) category. Are any of your favourite there?

2) I have a busy few month ahead and I've been thinking about taking the blog in a new direction too. So I'm going to be doing less reviews, but the reviews I do post will be books I really love. I do keep a list of all the books I read on Goodreads though, so if we're not friends on there please send me a request, because I love talking about books. I'm also being a lot meaner with my five stars this year, so you know if I give something five stars I REALLY loved it.

3) Talking of books I just finished Jane Eyre. I can't say I loved it, a certain coincidence really annoyed me, but I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Plus I found a certain famous line comes from it - I had no idea!  Also I can't wait for the film, which looks super.

4) Don't you love it when you recommend a book and that person loves it. It's so satisfying.  My friend Kim just finished Grace by Elizabeth Scott and thought it was fabulous (which it is) you can read her review here.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Monday, 3 January 2011

11 Books for 2011

 Happy New Year! And what better way to welcome 2011, than with a list of 11 books I can't wait to read this year.


Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott 

 Because it's Elizabeth Scott!


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. (from Elizabeth Scott's website)



C-Side Tales by Tara Kelly




Because I loved Harmonic Feedback and this sounds like it will be just as amazing.




 When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their industrial rock band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright, and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it.(from Goodreads)




The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan (June 14th 2011)






 Because it's the final book in the trilogy AND it has Alan on the cover!!! I can't wait!







Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

because it's the final book in my other favourite trilogy. In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.(from Amazon)




Hooked by Catherine Greenman

Because the description of this just has me hooked!



Thea Galehouse has always known how to take care of herself. With a flighty club-owner mom and a standoffish, recovering-alcoholic dad, Thea has made her own way in her hometown of New York, attending the prestigious and competitive Stuyvesant High School. But one chat with Will, a handsome and witty senior, and she's a goner—completely hooked on him and unable to concentrate on anything else.
Always worried that she loves Will more than he loves her, Thea is pleasantly surprised when their romance weathers his move to college and Will goes out of his way to involve her in his life. But then, Thea misses a period. And that starts Thea and Will on a wild ride that neither of them could have possibly prepared for. When they decide to keep the baby, their concerned parents chip in what they can to keep Will in school and give both teenagers a comfortable place to raise their child. But when a freak accident leaves Thea shaken and threatens to upend their little family altogether, Thea is forced to turn to the last place she would have chosen for comfort: her stiff, uncompromising father.
This smart, touching first novel brims with realistic, beautifully drawn characters, and reminds us that love is never as easy or predictable as we might like it to be. (from Goodreads)



Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Because it not only sounds amazing, Courtney Summers says it is amazing. I think this is my most anticipated book of the eleven. Also I think I'd buy it for the cover alone.

Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home two years later, a precarious and deadly balance waits. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Imaginary Girls is a masterfully distorted vision of family reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, laced with twists that beg for their secrets to be kept.






Like Mandarin by Kristen Hubbard


Because it's been blurbed by Melina Marchetta - "A beautifully crafted, bittersweet story about an unlikely friendship that sets two very different people free.". Plus it's about friendship and some of the best books I read in 2010 were about friends.




It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. 

When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their badlands town. 

Because 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, no friendship can withstand betrayal. (from Goodreads)



Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Because I've been hearing a lot of buzz about this one and it just sounds a great, fun idea. Plus I'm really curious as to Monster!

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment (from Goodreads)

Whatever Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

because it's Sarah Dessen!

What Happened to Goodbye is about a high school senior who, after her parents’ divorce, has taken up the practice of assuming a new identity in each of the four towns she’s lived in. (from Goodreads)




Untitled ( Kingdom of Cello #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty


Because her books are now on my pre-order list, and because this sounds so intriguing and quite Philip Pullman like - "A series set partly in a Kingdom, and partly in the real world. I want a character to walk out free and clear, I want him to be tossing a ball, a red ball, and his hat is woollen and dark grey, and he’s walking across snowy fields. Across white, white, white, white fields." (From Goodreads). I'm really hoping they don't mean a 2011 release just in Australia though!


Lola and the boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins


because it's a companion novel to my beloved Anna and the French Kiss and it has FOUR hot boys in it, and the main character is called Lola, and I love that name.






What are your most anticipated reads of 2011?