Sunday, 21 February 2010

In My Mailbox - 5

In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by Kristi who's over at The Story Siren.
I had a quiet week this week and only received a few books but I'm really excited about reading and reviewing them all as they were titles I've been waiting for :).

This week I received:

Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots - Abby McDonald
Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs - Ron Koertge
Scarred - Julia Hoban
Happyface - Stephen Emond
No and Me - Delphine de Vigan

Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots - Abby McDonald
Acquired: Sent to me by Candlewick Press
Published: April 2010, Candlewick Press
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Jenna may hail from the ‘burbs of New Jersey, but Green Teen activism is her life. So when her mum suggests they spend the summer at Grandma’s Florida condo, Jenna pleads to visit her hippie godmother, Susie, up in rural Canada. Jenna is psyched at the chance to commune with this nature she's heard so much about – and the cute, plaid-wearing boys she's certain must roam there.
But after a few unpleasant run-ins with local wildlife (from a moose called Madge to Susie's sullen Goth stepdaughter to a hot but hostile boy named Reeve), Jenna gets the idea that her long-held ideals, like vegetarianism and conservation, don't play so well with this population of real outdoorsmen. A dusty survival guide offers Jenna amusing tips on navigating the wilderness, and those who call it home – but can she learn to navigate the surprising turns of her heart?

Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs - Ron Koertge
Acquired: Sent to me by Candlewick Press
Published: 2010, Candlewick Press
Summary: Fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland has a passion for playing baseball, a knack for writing poetry — and a cute girlfriend named Mira who’s not much interested in either. But then, Kevin doesn’t exactly share Mira’s newfound fervor for all things green. So when Kevin signs up for open mike night at Bungalow Books and meets Amy, a girl who knows a sonnet from a sestina and can match his emails verse for verse, things start to get sticky.
Should he stay with Mira? Or risk spoiling his friendship with Amy by asking her out? Ron Koertge, master of snappy dialogue and a deft poet, offers a fast-paced, sympathetic story that interweaves two narrative voices with humor and warmth.

Scarred - Julia Hoban
Acquired:
Sent to me by Piatkus
Published: 2010 (UK), Piatkus
Summary: Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen-year- old Willow’s parents drank too much wine and asked her to drive them home. They never made it—Willow lost control of the car and her parents died in the accident. Now she has left behind her old home, friends, and school, and blocks the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when Willow meets Guy, a boy as sensitive and complicated as she is, she begins an intense, life-changing relationship that turns her world upside down.

Happyface - Stephen Emond
Acquired:
Sent to me by Little, Brown
Published: March 2010, Little, Brown
Summary: Enter Happyface's journal and get a peek into the life of a shy, artistic boy who decides to reinvent himself as a happy-go-lucky guy after he moves to a new town. See the world through his hilariously self-deprecating eyes as he learns to shed his comic-book-loving, computer-game playing ways. Join him as he makes new friends, tries to hide from his past, and ultimately learns to face the world with a genuine smile. With a fresh and funny combination of text and fully integrated art, Happyface is an original storytelling experience.

No and Me - Delphine de Vigan
Acquired:
Sent to me by the lovely Jessica from Nayu's Reading Corner so look out for the review over there soon
Published: February 2010, Bloomsbury
Summary: Lou Bertignac has an IQ of 160 and a good friend called Lucas who gets her through the school day. At home her father cries in secret in the bathroom and her mother hasn't been out of the house properly for years. But Lou is about to change her life - and that of her parents - for good, all because of a school project she decides to do about the homeless.
Through the project Lou meets No, a teenage girl living on the streets. As their friendship grows, Lou cannot bear that No is still on the streets when she goes back home - even if it is to a home that is saddened and desolate. So she asks her parents if No can come to live with them. To her astonishment, her parents - eventually - agree.
No's presence forces Lou and her parents to finally face the sadness that has enveloped them. But No has disruptive as well as positive effects. Can this shaky, newfound family continue to live together? A tense, brilliant novel tackling the true meaning of home and homelessness.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Review: Fallen - Lauren Kate


Published: December 2009, Delacorte Press


Acquired: Sent to me by Sharon at Curled Up with a Good Book


Publisher’s summary: ‘There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are screwups, and security cameras watch every move.

Except Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her.’


My summary: After a terrible accident that kills Luce’s boyfriend, she’s sent to Sword & Cross boarding school for troubled teens. There she realises the true meaning behind the shadows that have stalked her for her entire life and learns that love can strike in the most unlikely places.

It’s here that she meets Daniel Grigori. Gorgeous and absolutely untouchable, she finds herself dreaming about him, even though he makes it clear he wants nothing to do with her. However, something draws the two of them together and in a dramatic climax that roars to an unforgettable finale, Luce learns Daniel’s shocking secret.


What I liked: The publishers were right about this one. It is the ultimate love story, standing out against the tens of Twilight rip offs we’ve been presented with lately. When I started reading Fallen I had initial doubts as to whether I’d enjoy it. I’m not a Twilight fan (don’t hate me) and thought Fallen would just be another ‘girl falls in love with a vampire and feels sad’ stories. I’m more than happy to report this wasn’t the case.

Fallen is mature, touching and funny in all the right places. Luce’s classmates provide excellent comic relief from the more serious stuff (Arriane and Penn in particular) and Cam plays the part of the irresistible bad boy perfectly.

Anybody who’s watched The Vampire Diaries is probably well aware of the gorgeous Paul Wesley (who plays the male lead, Stefan) – literally, the guy looks like a painting. Well, that’s who Daniel Grigori reminded me of. Yes, yes, he isn’t real, I’m well aware of that fact but seriously, Lauren Kate obviously spent a while crafting the perfect guy and let me tell you, she succeeded.


What I didn’t like: The whole ‘shadow’ thing seemed a little unnecessary for me, even after the book’s twist was revealed. The book is a bit long and drags in the middle and I think cutting out the shadow subplot may have resolved this. I liked Fallen but I didn't love it. However, it's a big step up from Twilight so that was a bonus.


Final thoughts: Fallen is a love story of epic proportions. Just try to resist swooning over Daniel/Cam (take your pick). Look out for the sequel, Torment, out September 2010.


Read if you liked...: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater or Stolen by Lucy Christopher


Rating:

Writing: 4/5

Plot: 5/5

Characters: 3/4

Cover: 4.5/5

Total: 16.5/20

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Review - Some Girls Are: Courtney Summers


Published: January 2010, St. Martin's Griffin

Acquired: Sent to me by Sharon at Curled Up

Publisher summary: Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.

Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully.


Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.


My summary: Regina Afton used to have it all. One of the most popular girls in school with a gorgeous boyfriend, she never had to worry about not fitting in. Instead, she made the lives of others hell, along with her cruel best friend, Anna.


However, after things go wrong at a house party the rumours start to fly and, before she knows it, Regina has been cast aside by her old friends and the torment begins. But Regina isn’t one to lay down and take it. She gives as good as she gets but things take a turn for the worst when the abuse gets serious and she suddenly realises it’s them or her. Things will never be the same again.


What I liked: Courtney Summers is quickly becoming a huge staple in the young adult market. It seems like every book blog in the business is buzzing about her unique style and fast paced stories. I, too, am becoming a massive Courtney Summers fan.


Regina is a great protagonist, simply because she’s so tough. Lately I think we’ve all gotten used to delicate heroines who need nothing more than to be wrapped in cotton wool and adored by a pretty boy. Not Regina. Her ex best friend starts terrorising her so what does she do? Terrorises her right back. Brilliant. Maybe not morally right, but brilliant reading nonetheless.


The story is great too and Summers isn’t afraid to pull out all the stops and shock her readers, which is something I really appreciate. She doesn’t gloss over the less desirable aspects of teenage life and when her characters do something, they really go for it, which makes for an explosive novel.


What I didn’t like: I loved Some Girls Are, so there isn’t much I can criticise. However, Regina spent years taunting Michael and generally trying to ruin his life. She really, really tormented him. So I found it a little disappointing that she batted her eyelids and cried a few times and he seemed to forget exactly how hard she made his life. That said, I do like a good love story so I wasn’t too put off.


Favourite quotation: ‘Hallowell High: You’re either someone or you’re not.’


Final thoughts: This book pushes the boundaries. At first it seems like your typical high school power struggle between two beautiful girls but it’s so much more than that. Some Girls Are reminds us all just how cruel teenage bullying can be and shows us what can happen when one person decides to stand up and fight back. Fantastic.


Read if you like...: A Match Made in High School - Kristin Walker


Rating:

Cover: 4/5

Plot: 4.5/5

Writing: 5/5

Characters: 4/5

Total: 17.5/20

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Review: Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


Published: 4/2/10, Puffin
Acquired: Sent to me by the lovely people at Puffin

Publisher summary: In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets... There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair.

Lena Duchannes.

There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And no one can stop it.

In the end, there is a grave.

Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided.

Ethan never even saw it coming.

My summary: Gatlin is a stereotypical Southern town, filled with small minds and little controversy. That is, until Lena Duchannes shows up to stay with her reclusive uncle, known as Old Man Ravenwood to the locals.

Lena’s arrival brings change to Gatlin and, as strange things start happening, the folk of Gatlin turn on Lena and her uncle. Only Ethan stays by her side, being drawn closer to her by an unknown force that both intrigues and terrifies him.

By the time he learns Lena’s terrible secret he is in too deep to let her go. But how can their relationship survive when Lena must make a shocking choice that affects not only Ethan but the fate of her entire family.

What I liked: Let me start by saying one of my favourite things about Beautiful Creatures is the way that every time it begins to feel like a love story I’ve read tens of times before something happens to remind me that this is not your ordinary teenage tale of love. Beautiful Creatures is something unique and it’s brilliant in every way. The characters are great, the story is great and the writing is second to none.

So, onto the characters. At first I thought Lena was going to go down the Bella Swann road of being ‘quirky’ and clumsy, to the point of really, really irritating me. Fortunately, Lena is a strong female lead. Quick witted and intelligent, I really found myself rooting for her. Ethan’s also another strength in the novel. He’s a brilliant narrator and it was a nice change to read a love story narrated by a male character.

However, my favourite characters are undoubtedly Amma and Macon. They are both sheer brilliance and, if anything, I’d have liked for them to have had a little more page time. Lena’s oddball (to put it loosely) family are also a delight.

Although I was gripped from beginning to end, the final chapters of Beautiful Creatures stood out to me as being the best. I read the ending on a packed commuter train on the way home from work and, honestly, even though I was being jostled relentlessly the entire time, I wasn’t actually on the train, I was in the story right until the final page. Managing to distract me from the hideous rush hour commute home is a feat unto itself so congratulations must go to the authors for putting together a fantastic ending.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t actually much I didn’t enjoy about Beautiful Creatures, I’ll be honest. The host of cheerleading girls who terrorise Lena at school were absolutely vile but that was clearly the point of them, so mission accomplished to the writers for that.

I suppose the only thing that did grate on me was the colloquialisms in dialogue throughout the book, particularly with Amma. It’s a personal thing but it’s something I’ve never been keen on so it did put me off a little. Also, I know Gatlin is supposed to be a typical Southern town but there were too many references to this throughout the book for me. I got the ‘Small Town’ stereotype in the opening pages so I didn’t need quite so many reminders.

Oh, and one more thing. It may just be me but another pet hate is perfectly demonstrated in the following quotation:

‘“Casting, A Briefe Historie.” She drew out another. “We’re on the C’s, I guess.” ... “Castyng to Creyate & Confounde. That’s an old one.”’

Yes, I understand the books are old. I don’t need every single word to be stuffed with extra ‘y’s and ‘e’s to get that. Rant over.

My favourite quotation: ‘She nodded to the room. “‘Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.’ Just ask Ray Bradbury. Or go to Charlotte, and read it for yourself on the wall of the public library.” Macon took Marian’s arm, but she wasn’t finished. “And he didn’t go to Harvard, either, Mrs. Lincoln. He didn’t even go to college.” With that, they were gone.’

Final thoughts: Beautiful Creatures is a dizzying story of love, where the twists are tighter, the characters are sharper and the stakes are higher. Do not miss this book.

Read if you like...: Fallen by Lauren Kate, The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith

Rating:

Cover: 2/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 4.5/5

Total: 16/20 (This rating would have been much higher but unfortunately the cover let it down for me)

Monday, 15 February 2010

Review: Tender Morsels - Margo Lanagan




Published: July 2009, David Fickling Books

Acquired: Sent to me by Luisa at Chicklish (Original review here: http://keris.typepad.com/chicklet/2009/07/review-tender-morsels-by-margo-lanagan-.html)









The re-imagining of fairy tales has become increasingly popular in recent years and Margo Lanagan’s newest offering is the latest novel to attempt this difficult feat. Tender Morsels is the story of Liga, who raises her two daughters in an alternate reality, keeping them safe from greed, hate and (most importantly) bad men. However, when her inquisitive daughter, Urdda, steps across the barrier between the two worlds, Liga finds that her heaven is shattered and realises that sooner or later she must face her fears.

When I picked up Tender Morsels the first thing that struck me was the cover art. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I know it’s wrong but I really do judge a book by its cover and Tender Morsels has one of the most interesting covers I’ve seen in a long time. Like some twisted version of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, the cover really sets the tone of the book, which flicks from beauty to horror seamlessly.

However, after a look inside the cover it became clear that Tender Morsels is not your ordinary fantasy novel. ‘Not suitable for younger readers’ was printed boldly underneath the blurb, which itself states that the book is ‘sure to shock and amaze…Tender Morsels will take you to the very edge’.

Usually I disagree with content warnings and censorship but, for once, I think this one is deserved. Margo Lanagan deals with very adult sexual issues that are definitely not suitable for younger readers. That said, the controversial content didn’t detract from the plot and, even though some scenes were quite explicit, they were extremely well written.

My only issue with the novel was the language Lanagan uses, which took me a while to get used to. The dialogue is full of colloquialisms and syntax that didn’t feel natural to me, so for the first few chapters I had to concentrate so hard on what the characters were saying that it interrupted the flow of the story. Although, I did grow accustomed to the speech and, by the end of the novel, I didn’t give it a second thought.

Tender Morsels is a truly unique book, like nothing I’ve ever come across before. It is full of a host of utterly charming characters and I dare anybody to read it and not fall in love with Lanagan’s brilliantly crafted story.

Many thanks to the publishers for sending me this novel.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 14 February 2010

In My Mailbox - 4

In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by Kristi who's over at The Story Siren. This week I got a nice selection through and I also had a little spend on clothes/jewellery yesterday, yay! I know this is meant to be dedicated to books but I love my new dresses so wanted to share :).


Rainbow Boys - Alex Sanchez
High school's hard enough as it is without falling in love with your best friend - who's sweet on the most popular guy in school. Or feeling like your parents would throw you out if they knew you were gay. Or being afraid of who you are... Meet three friends - the popular, good-looking Jock Jason Carrillo with a beautiful girlfriend but still unsatisfied; the friendly, easygoing, intellectual but confused Kyle Meeks; and the independent, opinionated, defiant joker Nelson Glassman, hopelessly in love. Follow them through their second semester in Rainbow High.

Fly on the Wall - E. Lockhart
At the Manhattan School for Arts, where everyone is 'different' and everyone is 'special', Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. She sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of spider-man, so she won't have to talk to anyone; has a crush on Titus but won't do anything about it and has no one to hang out with when her best (and only real) friend Katya is busy. One day, Gretchen wishes that she could be a fly on the wall in the boys' locker room - just to learn more about guys. What are they really like? What are they really cretins most of the time? "Fly on the Wall" is the story of how that wish comes true.

Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets . . . There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes. There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And no one can stop it. In the end, there is a grave. Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
Clay Jensen returns home from school one day to find a mysterious box, with his name on it, lying on the porch. Inside he discovers 13 cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate - who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she did what she did - and Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list - and it'll change Clay's life forever.

Air Kisses - Zoe Foster
Is love really more important than lip gloss? Hannah Atkins - the girl most likely to be sporting streaky fake tan and a wobbly trail of liquid eyeliner - has bluffed her way into the position of beauty editor at "Gloss" magazine. Just as she's carving a path into the gorgeous world of guerrilla air kisses, she reads about her boyfriend and another girl in the gossip pages of the local newspaper. Then she gets dumped. By text. Vowing to claw back some dignity and make her ex regret what he's done, Hannah adopts some hardcore rules - look fabulous, act fabulous, steer clear of unsuitable men. But as her resolution starts to slip away, she finds herself having to decide on more important things than the perfect mascara.

Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen
Auden has always felt like the odd one out. Since her parents' divorce she's shied away, studying lots and staying out of the party scene. But now Auden's realized there must be something more and, just like that, she changes everything. Moving to her dad's house opens up a whole new world of beach parties, food fights - and simply having fun. As she gets to know herself - and a secretive boy with dark, brooding eyes - can Auden begin to let go and finally feel like she truly belongs?

And then a couple of pictures of the pretty new things I bought this week :) ...

Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everybody. Hope you're all having a lovely day, whatever you're doing, whether you're with the one you love of a tub of ice cream, have a good one :).

Sorry I haven't posted today but I've been busy playing mini golf, shopping, eating a roast, eating cheese, XBoxing, chick flick viewing, candle lighting, French breakfast eating and generally being half of an annoying couple.

Much love xxx

Friday, 12 February 2010

Results: Spinebreakers Valentine's Day Poll

(Note: Just as I was writing this blog post I opened up the parcels I received today and the first one was a copy of Beautiful Creatures sent from the lovely Tania at Penguin. Perfect timing :). I must say, it looks like a fantastic book and I can't wait to get started on it!)

*

In a special poll for Valentine’s Day teens vote Twilight’s Bella & Edward as their favourite literary lovers ever!

So does everybody remember the Spinebreakers.co.uk poll for favourite literary couple? Well the votes been counted and verified and Bella and Edward have won by a landslide!



To celebrate Valentine’s Day and the publication of paranormal romance Beautiful Creatures, Spinebreakers.co.uk, the only online teen books community run by teens, asked teens to vote for their favourite literary couple.

The results now in, show a staggering 80% voted for Bella & Edward from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. Slightly heartening for the longevity of the classics, Pride & Prejudice’s Darcy & Elizabeth got a nod by coming in second place but only with a meagre 6% of the votes. Much more tragically for Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet came in joint 7th place with Adrian Mole and Pandora from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole!


Beautiful Creatures, published by Penguin in the UK this month, is set to follow in the footsteps of Meyer’s phenomenal series with film rights already snapped up by Warner Bros. and Richard LaGravenese set to write and direct the movie.

This epic saga set in America's Deep South, with echoes of To Kill a Mocking Bird and Gone with the Wind, is a darkly magical love story which grips to the end. And the romance between its central characters, Lena and Ethan, are bound to capture the hearts of Twilight fans and true romantics everywhere.

Beautiful Creatures is written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Kami Garcia is a teacher and reading specialist with an MA in education. Margaret Stohl has an MA in English and studied creative writing under poet George MacBeth at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. They both live in Los Angeles, California, with their families. Beautiful Creatures is their debut novel.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Teaser Tuesday - 1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My book: Some Girls Are - Courtney Summers


'I rush to the door, but before I can open it, he's on me, crushing me into place from behind and breathing so hard in my ear, I can't even hear the vague sounds of the music outside or in. What turns a moment into this - me against the door, him against me.'

Book synopsis: Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.

Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day.

Monday, 8 February 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Its Monday, What are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheilia at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books in which you discuss what books you are reading this week and books you have completed reading last week.

So, last week I finished reading:

Fallen - Lauren Kate (sent to me by Sharon at Curled Up).



I loved this one and am planning to review it tomorrow. I'll post a preview of my review up soon and the full review once it's posted at Curled Up. I did have reservations that Fallen was going to end up being a Twilight rip off but, I'm very very pleased to say, it wasn't at all. It was fantastic.


Some Girls Are - Courtney Summers (sent to me by Sharon at Curled Up).



I really enjoyed Some Girls Are. It shows how cruel teenagers can be and really lays bare how complicated teenage life really is. That said, it wasn't all doom and gloom and I'll be posting a preview of my review up here soon.


This week I'm planning on reading/reviewing:

Girl, Interrupted - Susanna Kaysen.



I've been wanting to read this book for a while now and I'm only part way through but I'm really blown away by it. I haven't read a book so intense since The Bell Jar and I'm very excited about reviewing this one.

The Liberators - Philip Womack (Sent to me by Luisa at Chicklish).



I just started The Liberators today on the train on the way home from work (stupid busy rush hour train; spent the entire journey being jostled by college kids who kept standing on my boots, grrr!) and I'm already hooked!


Fly on the Wall - E. Lockhart.



I already reviewed one of Emily's other novels last week and I loved it so much I ordered Fly on the Wall, which I can't wait to get started on.


Wildlife - Joe Stretch (sent to me by Random House).



I posted a review of Joe Stretch's debut novel, Friction, a couple of weeks ago and I received Wildlife last week from Random House. Friction was a great book and I'm really intrigued by Wildlife so I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing it.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Reading Challenge - Lost Books Challenge

So as I mentioned in my post on Friday I love Lost, yes yes I do. As you can imagine I was more than excited to stumble across the Lost Books Challenge (if anyone else is interested you can view the challenge here: http://lostbookschallenge.blogspot.com/2009/01/sign-up-for-lost-books-challenge.html).

Basically, before Season 6 ends on May 23rd (sob) I'll be reading books featured in Lost and reviewing them here, also discussing how they tie in with the series. Anyone who watches Lost knows what a literary show it is and how important the books featured are so I'm really excited about this. A while ago me and some friends started a Lost book club (sad? Yes. However, I do not care) so I'm looking forward to picking up where I left off.

The books I'm going to be reading between now and May are:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Carrie - Stephen King (Okay, I've read this one but I'll be writing a new review)
Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
The Turn of the Screw (Well I've read this one too but I haven't reviewed it before)
Watership Down - Richard Adams.

In My Mailbox - 3

In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by Kristi who's over at The Story Siren. I had quite a few books through this week so here they are:

Direct from Random House:




Bought myself:


Review: The Boyfriend List - E. Lockhart





Published: 2005, Delacorte Press

Acquired: Bought by myself









“Agonizingly funny” was what Girl’s Life Magazine called The Boyfriend List and, although I generally don’t agree with such displays of hyperbole, this time I was in complete agreement. The Boyfriend List (and it’s sequel, The Boy Book) is a laugh out loud, honest look at teenage life and all its complications.

Our heroine is the brilliant Ruby Oliver, who is definitely one of my favourite teen protagonists; she’s a real breath of fresh air in the sea of perfectly manicured leading ladies we’ve become accustomed to seeing in young adult fiction.

The Boyfriend List is the story of Ruby’s experiences (or perhaps lack of) with the opposite sex, starting from the very beginning and not leaving anybody out (however unpleasant the memory may be). The Boyfriend List was an assignment given to her by her shrink, Doctor Z, and was supposed to make things easier. However, as we find out, the list causes Ruby nothing but trouble, especially when her list of conquests finds itself in the hands of her old best friend (and super bitch), Kim.

One of the things I loved so much about The Boyfriend List is Lockhart’s writing style. From the outset I felt as though me and Ruby were old friends, catching up on gossip after time spent apart. Lockhart’s tone is so familiar and friendly that you can’t help but get caught up in Ruby’s (complicated) world.

The footnotes are another excellent part of the book. I’ve seen them used in numerous young adult books but never as well as Lockhart uses them. They’re used sparingly, which is important to stop the joke wearing thin and lift the book beyond the confines of your average teen story of an awkward teen struggling through high school.

There are a lot of male characters in this book. Ruby’s list consists of exactly fifteen specimens but Lockhart manages to create a host of unique characters, each with individual flaws and merits that helps bring them to life.

However, where the male characters are so strong, I felt the girls were a little lacking in both character and charm. Meghan seemed to have as much personality as a beige sock (although she comes into her own in The Boy Book) and Cricket wasn’t much better. For somebody with such great characterisation skills, I felt a little let down by Lockhart’s lack of creativity for the girls.

Uninspiring female characters aside, I loved The Boyfriend List, devoured its sequel in a matter of hours and am eagerly awaiting the third instalment in the Ruby Oliver series (as long as Ruby and Noel end up together that is).


Rating:


Writing: 4.5/5

Plot: 4/5

Characters: 4/5

Cover: 3.5/5

Total: 16/20

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Lost - Season 6, Episode 1-2

So, you may or may not know that I'm an absolutely massive Lost fan. I've been ridiculously excited about the premiere of season 6 (the last season, sad face) pretty much since the end of season 5 and I finally watched the first two episodes last night with my wonderful boyfriend Mark (aka Faraday), number one Lost fan Matt (Jack lover) and a bottle of champagne.

Yes, yes, they're not on Sky 1 in the UK 'til tomorrow, I'm a bad person but it totally would have been spoiled if I hadn't watched it early. Don't worry though, I'm not going to post any spoilers until Saturday, by which time everyone in the UK will have had a chance to watch it. I'll put a big massive *SPOILER* warning at the top of my post so nothing will be ruined for anyone.

All I will say, though, is I absolutely adored it. It was brilliant, brought up some awesome questions and I just know this series is going to be amazing already. Ahhh, so good, so confusing as always but excellent!

I'll be back on Saturday morning with an in depth review of the first two episodes, a list of things to think about before next week's episode and my list of predictions for season 6. Until then, namaste (I am a geek, I do not care).