Thursday, 30 June 2011

Faves of 2011 (so far) ~ The scenes and the Random

the scenes


1. best first chapter ~ I just started I Know it's Over and ~ whoa! ~ what a first chapter. Also loved Before I Fall


2. best climax ~ Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John, very rock and roll :D


3. best ending ~ The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Ress Brennan - everyone where they should be, 
happy sigh, but no perfect bow HEA <3


4. best plot twist/revelation (no spoilers!) ~ The Queen of Attiolia - Jaw dropped! Not once but twice! Good lord the twisty turns of these books.


5. scariest/most disturbing scene ~ ah I can't say it's such a spoiler if you haven't read the books. But I was shellshocked, shellshocked. The Demon's Surrender also had some disturbing moment, which made you think about the nature good and evil.


6. steamiest scene (or sweetest/sexiest kiss award) ~ Sweetest kiss ~ Robin and Sophie in What my Mother Doesn't Know by Sonja Sones. Sexist ~ Piper and Ed in Five Flavors of Dumb.


7. best swoon-worthy moment ~ Sin and Alan - swooning until I'm nothing but a little puddle of swoonyness on the floor.


8. biggest nail-biting moment ~ most of Divergent. Gah people jumping off things is terrifying to me.


9. most hilarious scene ~ The Demon's Surrender had lots of brilliant one liners. What Alice Forgot has some brilliant scenes and (this is a cheat as it was a re-read) but The Year of Secret Assignments just kills me ~ my ultimate put a smile on your face book.


10. most heart-breaking/tear-jerker moment ~ The Demon's Surrender "I missed you!" ~ had me in floods. The End of How I Live Now was completely heatbreaking

the random


1. fave first sentence ~ Slight cheat here as it is the last two sentences of the first chapter


Mostly everything changed because of Edmond.
And so here's what happened.


2. fave book title ~ What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen


3. fave reading experience (ie: created a great reading memory) ~ How I Live Now ~ sofa, chocolate, hot tea, rain pounding the windows up till 1am because I couldn't stop.


4. book with the best food in it (made me so crazy-envious-hungry) ~ Those rolls in What Happened to Goodbye sound amazing.


5. book with the most sensual weather (made you shiver/sweat) ~ Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma


6. most embarrassing book cover (feeling sheepish in public) ~ Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead :)


7. can’t believe you waited this long to read the book (!) ~ How I Live Now and The Queen's
Thief series. if you have not read them, well good grief you are in for a treat!!!


I had so much fun doing these list and my TBR pile has swelled enormously. Thanks to Nomes for hosting and to all of you for commenting (<3 comments) and recommending such great books. I'm looking forward to making a whole list in 2011, when hopefully I'll have a few more contenders (sorry for the repeats, well not really as I did love those books) :D

sorry for no photos, blogger won't upload :(

Monday, 27 June 2011

Faves of 2011(so far) ~ The Characters


The lovely and inspired Nomes of InkCrush has created



In her words (which are so much better than mine ~ 

it's already (nearly) half-way through the year (!)
and i am SUCH a huge fan of lists so i have created a kind of book blogger sharing-the-awesome book awards to celebrate all the cool stuff i've read so far this year. (which is just a fun-funky style book awards/survey thingy). i will be running it over three posts* staggered throughout the last week of june. (day one beginning this friday)


Hop over to InkCrush for the rules and to sign up.


Day 2 ~ The Characters






1. best female POV ~ Daisy How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. Definitely the most unique/engaging voice I've read this year.


2. best male POV ~ Robin from What my Girlfriend Dosn't Know by Sonja Sones. Oh I loved Robin even when he was doing stupid things I loved him!


3. Best couple <3 ~ oooh tie! Daisy and Edmond from How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff and (actually I won't say as. . . spoilers!)


4. who i so want to be best friends with ~ Piper from Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John and Deb from What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. I love Deb I really want a whole book about her and for her to fall for Jason :D


5. who i fell completely in love with (new literary crush) ~ I'm pretty smitten with Engenides from The Queen's Thief and Eli from Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott.

6. worst (best) villain ~ Gereld in The Demon's Surrender


7. best character twist (who you loved then hated or vice versa) ~ The Queen of Attiolia


8. best kick-arse female ~ Piper from Five Flavours of Dumb


9 best kick-arse male ~ Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth


10. broke your heart the most ~ Alan in The Demon's Surrender, oh Alan I love you and you have so much crap to deal with. Also a scene from Five Flavors of Dumb with Finn and Piper (the one with the guitar for people who've read it)
11. best/worst character names ~ Piper from Five Flavors of Dumb & How I Live Now and Eugenides from The Queen's Thief (could I get away with calling my child this???) for the best. And Mclean from What Happened to Goodbye for the worst - seriously she sounds like a toothpaste!



Bonus 5 Best Covers from Books I read this year


















Friday, 24 June 2011

Faves reads of 2011 (so far) ~ The Books!

The lovely and inspired Nomes of InkCrush has created





In her words (which are so much better than mine ~ 



it's already (nearly) half-way through the year (!)
and i am SUCH a huge fan of lists so i have created a kind of book blogger sharing-the-awesome book awards to celebrate all the cool stuff i've read so far this year. (which is just a fun-funky style book awards/survey thingy). i will be running it over three posts* staggered throughout the last week of june. (day one beginning this friday)

Hop over to InkCrush for the rules and to sign up.

Day one ~ The Books!






I'm afraid that I have a bit of a Titanic at the Oscars thing going on. Of the 27 books I have read so far this year a few are sweeping the boards. Sorry, but on the other hand you can tell I think they are really amazing.


1. favourite book read so far in 2011 ~ How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. I can not even begin to tell you how much I love this book. It's pure brilliance and I'll be reading everything else by meg Rosoff.


2. most powerful book ~ How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff


3. brilliantly funny ~ The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan. It's not a comedy but lots of giggly moments and fabulous one liners.

4. best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read ~ Where she Went by Gayle Foreman. *sob*


5. most beautiful story ~ Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma


6. delicious rainy day comfort read ~ What my Mother Doesn't Know by Sonja Sones. *sigh* I've re-read this four time now, I just love it.


7. adrenalin-fuelled, unputdownable award ~ Divergent by Veronica Roth


8. the beautiful prose award ~ Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. Oh my goodness Nova Ren Suma just has this ability with words, it really is magical.


9. most atmospheric and vivid setting ~ Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. The reservoir is like another character, a very scary one!


10. i-so-want-to-go-there award ~ Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohen and David Leviathan. New York, New York!


11. most original and imaginative ~ Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma


12. best under-appreciated, hidden gem book The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook


13. i-had-no-idea-i-would-love this-so award ~ The Thief (Book 1 of The Queen's Thief) by Megan Whalen Turner. I thought this was a typical adventure/quest book. It is SO much more.





14. most haunting story ~ The Invisible Bridge by Julia Orringer (not YA just FYI)


15. outside my comfort zone but gosh how i loved it ~ Seabiscuit by Laura Hillendbrand. non-ficiton about a racehorse and I couldn't put it down!


16. series that i’m loving ~ The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner


17.  most memorable voice award ~ How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff


18. completely awesome premise award ~ What Alice Forgot by Laine Moriarty. Alice loses ten years of memories, oh how things have changed.





19.  would make the best movie ~ Divergent by Veronica Roth


20.  want to re-read already ~ How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff


So, yes, I guess we can safely say How I Live Now, Imaginary Girls and The Queen's Thief will be in my top ten of the year :D


Thanks for creating such a fun list Nomes, looking forward to Parts 2 and 3. Let me know if you've joined in so I can come see what your favourites are.





Thursday, 23 June 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Nova Ren Suma

I'm so excited today to welcoming Nova Ren Suma, the author of the beautiful and haunting Imaginary Girls, to Not Enough Bookshelves.

Imaginary Girls is one of my favourite books of 2011 and definitely the most original. You can read my review here. Nova was kind enough to take some time to answer my questions. I hope you guys enjoy the interview and pick up a copy of Imaginary Girls.



1) Imaginary Girls is such a beautiful, haunting and amazing story, but I'm having trouble describing it to people without spoilers. Can you share your elevator pitch?

Thank you so much! First, let me say that elevator pitches intimidate me and if I were ever trapped in an elevator and asked what my novel was about I can't promise I wouldn't panic and stab all the buttons and flee at the closest floor. That said, this is what I say when asked in person and I can't escape:

Imaginary Girls is the story of two sisters, their strong bond, and the dead body that threatens to break it. I like to call the book contemporary with a fantastical twist—and I try not to say too much more than that.


2) Your style is extremely distinctive (loved Chloe's voice) and I can't think of anything like it. Who are your literary influences?

I've always found myself drawn to strong first-person voices. When I was first finding my voice as a writer, I was devouring books like Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys, A Feather on the Breath of God by Sigrid Nunez, The Last Life by Claire Messud, and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (which is really collective first-person, and wow, what a novel!). I think what I read and admired in those days really shaped my own voice. I was first inspired to write YA by the author Laura Kasischke, whose novels Boy Heaven and Feathered completely took hold of me and—in leading me to stop writing adult fiction in favor of YA—effectively changed my life.


3) You're very open and honest on your blog about how hard your journey to publication has been, aside from never, never, never give up, what one piece of advice would you give aspiring writers?

I would tell aspiring writers the thing I refused to listen to myself: Don't be afraid to give up a manuscript and start over. I mean start over entirely. From scratch. Even if you've devoted five years to writing it and you want to try every literary agent on the planet with it until there are only ants left. I say this only because I had a hard time letting go. I felt in my gut that I should, but I didn't want to admit it. It took me years to realize that the novels I'd written were not working and I could, in fact I should, try a new story.

It's hard to give in when you've spent so much time on something, but sometimes it takes a few tries before you find your stride. The truth is, I'm glad—relieved, even—that there are 845 unpublished pages living under my couch. It's okay that those novels never made it. Imaginary Girls is what I wanted to write all along.


4) Ruby is such an amazing character, so vivid and compelling. Did you ever consider telling the novel from her point of view, or writing a duel narration? And was it hard to find what makes her tick or was she one of those characters who just was?

I'm completely taken by Ruby. She's surely one of those characters who just walks out onto the page and takes over. I couldn't stop her, and the story took flight from what she did.

I love trying to imagine what Ruby's really thinking and what she means by what she does—but so much of the way I see Ruby is through her little sister Chloe's eyes. Chloe who adores her. Chloe who believes almost anything she says. It's important that Chloe tell this story because her vision of Ruby is what gives her so much magic. I never wanted to write this novel from Ruby's perspective. That would have taken the mystery away.



The 5 quick currently questions

a) Currently reading? I'm just starting this novel called Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey that comes out from HarperTeen this fall. I try to avoid reading too much fiction when I'm drafting, but I'm having a hard time putting this one down and I may not be able to wait.

b) Currently watching? I'm in the midst of Netflixing all available seasons of Friday Night Lights, which I'm shocked that I like so much, since I have no interest in football. I think that speaks to the skill of the series writers that someone like me, who avoids sports at all costs, could be so drawn into the lives of these characters. I could learn from this.

c) Currently listening to? The Xx. I can't stop playing them while I write my new novel.

d) Currently eating? As I answer this question, I am battling a craving for some Thai food.

e) Currently wishing for? A searing bolt of inspiration so overpowering, I'll look up a few days later and my whole manuscript will be finished.


And because I love this book so much, I'm giving away a copy. Just leave a comment below to be entered. I'll randomly pick a name on the 30th July.

The giveaway is open to where ever the Book Depository ships.

You can find out more about Nova Ren Suma and Imaginary Girls at her website and her wonderful blog, Distraction No 99.

Imaginary Girls is currently on a Blog Tour ~ the tour details can be found here, secrets are being revealed and giveaways hosted so check it out!

Thanks again to Nova for answering my questions and thanks to all of you for reading :D

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Viva La Revolution!



Tara Kelly, author of the fabulous Harmonic Feedback (my review is here, I loved this book!), has launched a


Realistic YA Revolution!

You can check out her post and win an ARC of her new book Amplified on her blog Tara Tracks. As a huge fan of realistic YA here are six of my favourites that haven't had as much attention as they deserve;


All Unquiet Things by Anna Jazarb


A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley


Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott




If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson


Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly



Thanks to Jordyn of Ten Cents Notes where I found about the revolution! 


What would be on your list?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Book Review - Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.
The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.
The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?
Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb. (from Goodreads)


As soon as I read Nic's of Irresistable Reads wonderful review of Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John, I knew it was a book I needed. Much as I love demon'\s and werewolves and dystopian futures, contemporary YA remains my one true love, because when it's done well, it rocks! Five Flavors of Dumb is done very, very well.


Although this is the tale of how and if Piper will get Dumb their gig, at it's heart it's a story about family, and Piper's family were amazingly well portrayed. Especially her brother Finn whose a popular, guitar playing, almost bad boy ~ his scenes with Piper were my favourites in the book.


Then there is Piper herself and she is a fabulous character; funny, honest, strong, confused and at times endearingly clueless. I loved how she didn't give up and kept battling and trying to find solutions to her problems. I also liked how her deafness was part of her and referenced throughout the novel, but it certainly wasn't her stand out trait or the point of this story.


The five member of Dumb provide a lot of comedy and some heartfelt moments. I loved their growth, especially the girls, and I found myself truly invested in whether they would become a band and get a gig.


On top of all this there is an adorable romance, with a sweetheart of a guy (who can make perfect cups of coffee!), and who shows over and over how much he cares about and likes Piper. Plus a truly swoony kiss.


Meaning Five Flavors of Dumb is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year. Plus it has an awesome cover!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Summer Reads for Rainy Days

It is raining here because that's what it does in England in June. I guess at least I'm not having to cover myself in bug spray which is what I'd be doing in DC.

Luckily you can always find Summer in books. I did a guest post at Daisy Chain Book Reviews on my favouirte summer reads, I'd love it if you dropped by and told me your summer must reads.

Image from Weheartit
I also decided to join Audrey's Awesome Awktopus Summer of YA Lit Challenge (mix and match from her ten mini challenges - such a great idea). I absolutely love making lists, especially of books I'm planning to read, although I suck at keeping to them :)

Here's my summer list ~ I can practically feel the sunshine on my face as I read it!

1) Start and Finish a Series ~ The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.

2) Read THAT book, the one you keep putting off for some reason ~ The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

3) Read a Summer related book ~ Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton

4) Read a Book published before 2000 ~ A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

5) Read three stand alone book by the same author ~ C K Kelly Martin

6) Buy a book ~ Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Thanks Audrey, that cheered me up.

Do you like planning your reading, or do you pick a book based on how you feel in the moment?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

I love Sarah Rees Brennan's triology and The Demon's Surrender was pretty much the perfect ending to it. 

(I've tried very hard to avoid spoilers, but if you are spoiler obsessed you might want to skip this.)

The Funny

I have raced through all three books, grinning most of time, and laughing out loud at others. Even though these books are quite dark (murder, betrayal, demons, double crosses) they are infused with humour. During one scene, when a character I love was in danger, something horrible had just happened, and I knew something even more horrible was about to happen I still laughed out loud at the line "Nick grim faced behind the wheel seemed to be taking street corners personally." 

It's all about Family

While the humor is definitely a plus in these books ~ who doesn't like laughing? ~ it's the relationships that make them one of my favourite series. In the dedication Sarah Rees Brennan says these books are all about family, and it's so true ~ Sin, Lydia and and Toby, Mae and Jamie and, at their heart, Nick and Alan. Ah those Ryves brothers, I do love them so, and they made me cry - again! The siblings in these books are fiercely loyal, protective, loving and most definitely there for each other, no matter what.

She wanted to look at him, but she had other responsibilities: the kids came first, always,She couldn't let them down.If Lydie was scared looking at a demon, if she felt unsafe even for a moment, she had to be able to look around and see that Sin's eyes were on her, that Sin was there for her.

Soul Mates

I love that these books don't feature soul mates. Not that I have anything against soul mates, it's just so nice to see people choosing to be with each other. And basing those decisions on interactions with the other person, where they see their strength and loyalty and real nature and humour and, ability to lie :D I also loved that the characters weren't paired up straight away. There is no love triangle here, more of a love web! Which means lots of kissing - yay! 

Kick Ass Girls!

I loved Mae from the beginning and I love how she has grown as a character. We really get to know Sin for the first time in this book, and now I love her too. They are both so complex and well drawn and even though they are pitted against each other in this book, they manage to be friends and see the good about each other. It doesn't get all hair pully and cat fighty.

POV

Each of the books has a different point of view character. The first book it's Nick, the second it's Mae and the third it's Sin. I thought this worked brilliantly in the first two books, and Mae's book remains my favourite. Although I really liked Sin, I'd become invested in the other characters and I did miss them, especially Mae and Jamie (who has a lot less page time in this one). Also, because there are many story threads that don't involve her, Sin did do a lot of eavesdropping, so we could learn information essential to the plot. 

These are small quibbles though, overall I loved this trilogy. It made me laugh, cry and cheer and I really liked the ending. As Sin points out "victory is always bitter", and this ends with just the right amount of darkness mixed into the light.

I highly recommend this one.

The Demon's Surrender is out in the US and the UK. I have the UK version, but I think I need the US one too, seeing as Alan is on the cover!