Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Freefall - Mindi Scott

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine and is a post detailing an upcoming book you can't wait to read. This week my pick is Freefall by Mindi Scott. I hadn’t heard about this one until recently, when I was scanning Goodreads for new books. It was the cover of this one that pulled me in initially but the summary is great and I’m looking forward to reading something by Scott, who I haven’t actually read before.


Published: October 5th 2010, Simon Pulse


Summary (from Goodreads): How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around... or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: The Radleys - Matt Haig

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly 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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My pick for this week is The Radleys by Matt Haig. I've almost finished this one now and it's out July 1st 2010 so do look out for it at the end of this week. It's a great, great book but my review will be coming soon so I'll save the praise for that.

Teaser sentences (from page 71): "And for a moment Eve doesn't see the man who just shamed her in front of her friends. She sees instead a man who has suffered whqat she has suffered, so she says nothing and looks at his hands on the steering wheel and the infinite sadness of the wedding ring he will never take off his finger."

So, what's your teaser for this week? Let me know, I'd love to check it out.

Monday, 28 June 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 4

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? This is a weekly meme to list the books completed last week, books currently being read and the books to be finished (hopefully!) this week.

This meme was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books.

Read last week:

So Much to Tell You - John Marsden
Trash - Andy Mulligan
Wasted - Nicola Morgan
Ipods in Accra - Sophia Acheampong


Currently reading:

The Radleys - Matt Haig


To read this week:

Star Shack - Lila Castle
Beautiful Dead 1: Jonas - Eden Maguire
13 Little Blue Envelopes - Mauren Johnson
Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler


So, what are you reading this week?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

In My Mailbox - 11

In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by Kristi who's over at The Story Siren.


This week I received:

Sent for review:

The Star Shack - Lila Castle
Beautiful Dead 1: Jonas - Eden Maguire
Trash - Andy Mulligan


The Star Shack - Lila Castle

Acquired: Sent for review by Sourcebooks Fire

Published: June 1st 2010, Sourcebooks Fire

Summary (from Goodreads): Pete and Annabelle live for their summers together on Gingerbread Beach. They've always believed they were a perfect pair… until junior year, when Annabelle becomes obsessed with astrology. Now they can hardly stand each other.

Pete thinks that Annabelle (a Leo) has become a total flake; Annabelle thinks Pete (a Scorpio) has become an uptight jerk.
When Annabelle dares Pete to open a summer business on the Boardwalk generating personalized horoscopes, their fast-paced, hilarious bickering soon rises to a fever pitch.

The he-said/she-said advice of the Star Shack is wildly popular and seems able to fix any relationship problem… except their own.
But when one of Annabelle's star charts helps catch a thief, Pete might have to admit that the stars could really hold the key to the future…and to his own heart.

Beautiful Dead 1: Jonas - Eden Maguire

Acquired: Sent for review by Sourcebooks Fire

Published: April 2nd 2009, Sourcebooks Fire

Summary (from Goodreads): Something strange is happening in Ellerton High. Phoenix is the fourth teenager to die within a year. His street fight stabbing follows the deaths of Jonas, Summer and Arizona in equally strange and sudden circumstances.

Rumours of ghosts and strange happenings rip through the small community as it comes to terms with shock and loss. Darina, Phoenix's grief-stricken girlfriend, is on the verge. She can't escape her intense heartache, or the impossible apparitions of those that are meant to be dead. And all the while the sound of beating wings echo inside her head!

And then one day Phoenix appears to Darina.
Ecstatic to be reunited, he tells her about the Beautiful Dead. Souls in limbo, they have been chosen to return to the world to set right a wrong linked to their deaths and bring about justice. Beautiful, superhuman and powerful, they are marked by a 'death mark' - a small tattoo of angel's wings.

Phoenix tells her that the sound of invisible wings beating are the millions of souls in limbo, desperate to return to earth. Darina's mission is clear: she must help Jonas, Summer, Arizona, and impossibly, her beloved Phoenix, right the wrong linked to their deaths to set them free from limbo so that they can finally rest in peace. Will love conquer death? And if it does, can Darina set it free?


Trash - Andy Mulligan

Acquired: Sent for review by Random House

Published: September 2nd 2010, David Fickling Books

Summary (from Amazon): Raphael is a dumpsite boy. He spends his days wading through mountains of steaming trash, sifting it, sorting it, breathing it, sleeping next to it. Then one unlucky-lucky day, Raphael's world turns upside down. A small leather bag falls into his hands. It's a bag of clues. It's a bag of hope. It's a bag that will change everything.

Soon Raphael and his friends Gardo and Rat are running for their lives. Wanted by the police, it takes all their quick-thinking, fast-talking to stay ahead. As the net tightens, they uncover a dead man's mission to put right a terrible wrong. It's three street-boys against the world...

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Summer Break Reading Challenge: Activity Two

So for activity number two in the Summer Break Reading Challenge I've made a Wordle of Nicola Morgan's fab book about chance and luck, Wasted. My review for Wasted is the post below this one so do check it out and if you haven't read Wasted yet make some time for it! It's brilliant.


To find out more about the Summer Break Reading Challenge and to join in, visit the blog here.

Review: Wasted - Nicola Morgan


Acquired: Sent to me by Walker Books Ltd


Published: May 3rd 2010, Walker Books


Pages: 352 pages (Paperback)


Summary (from back cover): Jack is obsessed by luck. He lets the toss of a coin rule his actions, whatever the risks. Chance brings him Jess, a beautiful singer who will change his life, but their luck won’t last forever.


During a night of heady recklessness, they run out of choices. Now it is the reader’s turn to take a risk! Spin a coin and determine life...or death.


What I liked: So I think everybody remembers those wonderful books from the 90’s, where you got to the end of a chapter and decided between two options how you wanted the book to continue. I remember there were some great ones in the Goosebumps series (which I adored, by the way) so I was really excited when I read the synopsis of Wasted and hoped it would be something similar.


Wasted is a more mature, sophisticated version of these books, which really explores chance and luck and how one tiny change can make a huge difference to the outcome of a situation. Wasted is an absolutely fascinating book and I read it in one sitting, after deciding I would only read one chapter to just get a feel for the book. I couldn’t resist!


Jess is a great lead, the narrator’s voice is chilling and there are so many near disastrous situations that I was absolutely gripped from beginning to end. The ending, I must say, is fantastic. After the book’s events rage to a terrifying climax, it’s up to the reader to spin and coin and decide between life and death. I forced myself to actually go this, instead of just going ahead and reading both endings – which I was really tempted to do. I actually span death, which made me feel a little uneasy but I went back to read the alternative endings and they were both brilliant.


Simply a joy to read – make time for this one and I promise you won’t regret it.


What I didn’t like: Well, it’s not something I didn’t like about the book but I have to say what a hateful villain Kelly was. To be blatant (and sorry to stereotyping) she is so much more than your run of the mill chav – she’s dangerous. She’s brilliantly written, absolutely ruthless and I’ll remember her for a long time.


First line: ‘Jess is spinning a coin.’


Final thoughts: A chilling look at luck and chance and how none of us are as in control of our lives as we think.


Read if you liked...: The Dice Man – Luke Rhinehart


Rating:

Plot: 5/5

Writing: 5/5

Characters: 4/5

Cover: 3.5/5

Total: 17.5/20 (A)

Friday, 25 June 2010

Review: Star Crossed - Jo Cotterill

Acquired: Sent to me by Random House

Published: May 27th 2010, Red Fox


Pages: 256 pages (Paperback)


Series?: Yes – this is the first book in the Sweet Hearts series. The second title ‘Strictly Friends?’ is out later this year and there are six titles in the series.


Summary (from Goodreads): ‘'You did WHAT?' screamed Mari. 'You turned down the cutest boy ever? Are you crazy?' Fliss isn't exactly outgoing. But on stage she really comes alive. And this summer, she's playing Juliet opposite her dream Romeo - Tom Mayerling.

If only she could tell him how she feels! But unless Fliss finds some inner confidence, she's going to miss her chance with Tom. Because someone else has her eyes on Fliss' role - and her leading man...’


What I liked: I really like the whole idea of the Sweet Hearts series; how each book focuses on a different hobby. I also like the idea that, even though the books are in a series, each instalment doesn’t follow on from the last so they can all stand alone, which is something I find important and shows a strength in the writing.

Everything about Star Crossed is sweet. The characters are sweet, the storyline is sweet and the ending is nicely packaged with a pink bow that will leave you feeling very happy and content with the world around you. It’s nice to just sit down a read a book that has little to no angst in it – though I do love me a bit of angst, sometimes it does drag me down a bit. No angst in sight in Star Crossed, I’m happy to report.

Lovely Fliss, whose uninterested mother cares more about baking the perfect sponge than her daughter’s dreams, does make the odd little complaint that she wishes her mother would take more of an interest but it barely registers on the angst scale. Perfect for those days when you want to sit, read and come away happy.

The supporting characters are great too. Mari is a joy to read and I love poor Victoria’s terrible attempts at acting. Even our villain, Samantha, is great and it’s really worth checking out the character blogs on the Sweet Hearts website as they gave me a great insight to Samantha’s character.


What I didn’t like: There’s not really much not to like about Star Crossed (and I’m sure the same will be true about the rest of the Sweet Hearts series). It’s a sweetly packaged, summery story about a girl who wants to act and finally gets to pursue her passion opposite her dream Romeo.


First line: ‘“The next production,” said Candy, looking around to make sure she had everyone’s full attention, “will be Romeo and Juliet.”’


Final thoughts: A fun, summer read that is sure to be a huge hit with younger teens and I can wait for the next instalment!


Read if you liked...: Split by a Kiss – Luisa Plaja


Rating:

Plot: 3.5/5

Writing: 3.5/5

Characters: 4/5

Cover: 4/5

Total: 15/20 (B)

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Summer Break Reading Challenge Activity #1

Summer Break Reading Challenge

So I'm really excited about taking part in the Summer Break Reading Challenge. I've got a couple of months away from work over the summer (starting now - yay!) so I've got plenty of time to get loads of reading done and get through some of the books on many very, very long TBR list.

For the first challenge I'm posting my reading goals for the summer. I'm hoping I can read all of these but 24 books is quite a challenge - I'll give it my best shot so we'll see! So - the books I'm hoping to read between now and the end of August are:

Wasted - Nicola Morgan
The Radleys - Matt Haig
Trash - Andy Mulligan
My Worst Best Friend - Dyan Sheldon
Blue Bloods - Melissa de la Cruz
Party - Tom Leveen
The Market - J. M. Steele
Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
Linger - Maggie Stiefvater
Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler
Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
Pretty Little Liars (books 1 and 2) - Sara Shepard
When I was Joe - Keren David
Wags at the World Cup - Alison Kervin
Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots - Abby McDonald
Scarred - Julia Hoban
Gone - Michael Grant
Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen
Before I Die - Jenny Downham
Just Listen - Sarah Dessen
The Star Shack - Lila Castle
Beautiful Dead: Jonas - Eden Maguire

(10/24)

For more information on the challenge and to join in, visit the blog here.

*NOTE: All books read are in italics and I have updated the list to remove some library books I've had to return*

Review: And Baby Makes Two - Dyan Sheldon

Acquired: Sent to me by Walker Books

Published: April 2001, Walker Books Ltd


Pages: 240 pages (paperback)


Summary (from Goodreads): A sharply observed, bittersweet tale of the trials of teenage pregnancy. Lana Spiggs is fed up with everyone telling her what to do. If it isn't her mother nagging and shouting, it's her teachers nagging and shouting.


What Lana wants is to be grownup. She wants her own flat, her own husband and her own children - and then no one will be able to boss her around any more. When Lana meets Les on her fifteenth birthday, she knows he is the one. And when she gets pregnant without even trying, she knows it's her ticket to freedom - even though everyone else calls it a prison sentence.

But can her dream of Happy Families stand up to reality?


What I liked: My love for Dyan Sheldon’s books began many years ago with Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and ever since then I’ve devoured many of her classic teen stories. And Baby Makes Two was released nearly ten years ago but I’ve only just gotten around to reading it and, just like all of Sheldon’s other books, I loved it.


I think one of the most noteworthy things about this book is that it was released nearly ten years ago but it felt fresh, current and I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was a new release this year. Sheldon makes a few references to pop culture but they’re all timeless and don’t date the novel at all, which is a real skill, especially when she mentions music, which I think is always tempting but dangerous if not done correctly.


Fifteen year old Lana is sick of her mother telling her what to do, making her do chores around the house and constantly checking on her school grades. She knows what she needs to do to break away from her family and go it alone – get pregnant.


Of course, to the reader this is clearly a ridiculous idea but I love that the book is written in first person so we hear Lana’s thought processes throughout the entire story and that she genuinely believes it will be easy to look after a newborn baby, when she clearly can’t look after herself.


I think Lana’s mother was extremely well written and I did sympathise with her, even though it’s clear she has her own faults, she probably develops the most out of all the characters and by the end of the novel I really had warmed to her.


What I didn’t like: Lana, however, I did not warm to and this is one of the first instances where I really disliked the protagonist but still loved the book. It didn’t seem to matter that Lana was a self-centred, spoiled little drama queen who didn’t give a second thought to anybody else in her life, including her baby.


Lana really is the stereotypical teenage mum who thinks having a baby is going to grant her an easy life of benefits and a council flat. *Rage*. In fact, I think taking such a dislike to Lana fuelled my enjoyment of the book as seeing her go through such a hard time made me feel a little better that she didn’t get away with being so cruel to the people around her.


Another slight grievance I had is that the book ended a little abruptly. I think it was a good ending and a nice resolution that tied up the loose ends but I’d have liked to have seen a little more action afterwards, to see how the ending impacted the characters involved. An epilogue set a few months later would have been a nice touch.


First line: 'In many ways, the twenty-fifth of October was an ordinary day, which means it started with a fight with my mother and carried on from there.'


Final thoughts: A story of teen pregnancy that any fourteen year old girl who thinks having a baby is a walk in the park should be forced to read.


Read if you liked...: Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty.


Rating:

Plot: 4/5

Writing: 4/5

Characters: 3.5/5

Cover: 4/5

Total: 15.5/20 (B)

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Interview: Jo Cotterill

Today I have the fantastic Jo Cotterill here on Writing From the Tub with an interview about her latest series of books, aimed at younger teens. The first book in the Sweet Hearts series is Star Crossed and I loved it - my review will be up soon but it's a brilliant summer read!

I'd like to thank Jo again for taking the time to do this interview as I know she's incredibly busy at the moment! So - onto the questions...

1. In case any readers haven’t read the book yet, can you tell me a little bit about Star Crossed and the rest of the Sweet Hearts series?


The Sweet Hearts series combines real life with romance – that all-consuming feeling you have when you fall for the boy in your class, or your brother’s best friend, mixed in with all the other things you have to deal with, like friends and family issues.


Each book focuses on a different girl and her particular interests, and in ‘Star Crossed’ the central character is Fliss, a girl who dreams of being an actress. She also dreams about the boy on the bus, Tom – and then he is cast opposite her in Romeo & Juliet!


The story follows Fliss as she tries to find the confidence to tell Tom how she feels and also stand up to her mother, who thinks acting isn’t a good career. She also has to deal with Samantha, a glamorous girl who wants Fliss’s role and Tom for herself!


2. Talk me through an average day when you’re working on a novel. Do you have a set number of words you have to write per day or do you set yourself different targets?


Working on Sweet Hearts is a bit different from what I’m used to because I no longer work on just one book at a time. So at the moment, I’m half-way through writing Book 4, but I spent last week editing Book 3 – and of course Book 1 has only just been published, so I’m doing lots of publicity stuff for that!


However, when I’m just concentrating on writing the one book, I try to do two thousand words a day. That sounds like a lot, but I only work part time because my daughter is still too young for school, so I have to fit my writing around her. When she goes to nursery, I get straight on the computer and write as much as I can.


I usually do my best work in the morning – by the afternoon, my head tends to be fuzzy and lacking energy. If the writing is going well, I often forget about lunch – occasionally it can be 3pm before I remember to eat! I write until my daughter and husband come home and then I stop – but if I’m on a tight deadline I sometimes work in the evenings too.


3. In young adult fiction in particular, it’s important that readers bond with the characters - what do you think is the most important thing to get right when you're creating a character?


Dialogue. I think dialogue is hugely important – everyone knows that you can’t write exactly how people talk because it would be so difficult to read, but I do think a lot of a character’s believability comes from the way they talk. For example, in Star Crossed, Mari says things that Fliss wouldn’t say, and vice versa. You want your readers to recognise themselves and their friends: ‘That’s exactly the sort of thing I would say!’ etc.


4. Theatre and acting are important in Star Crossed. Did you draw from any of your own experiences in acting while writing this book?


Yes, although I hasten to add no one ever tried to injure me in a production! But when I was acting, I loved rehearsals – possibly even more than the performance. I loved finding out what costume I was going to wear; it helped me get into character. And I loved highlighting my lines in the script. I just loved the whole atmosphere; being in a play can be more exciting than anything else. And sometimes I found it easier to be confident on stage as a character than myself.


5. What are the three most important things you need to be able to write?


Imagination, self-discipline and an understanding family!


6. Some writers relate take great inspiration from music while they’re writing. What about you? If so, what artists/bands do you like to listen to while you write?


Ooh, this is a good question! I like to listen to music while I write – well, I say ‘listen’ but actually most of the time I barely notice it. I only notice when the CD has come to an end (I do have an MP3 player but I prefer CDs) and so I put it on again – sometimes three or four times!


I love film soundtracks – ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Titanic’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ are particular favourites. But if I’m writing a scene where people are yelling at each other, I might listen to Avril Lavigne or Evanescence!


7. I heard you’re a big fan of cheese – me too! What’s your favourite kind of cheese and can you give us fellow fans a cheese-based recipe to try out?


Gosh, this is hard…my favourite cheese depends on my mood! I love Brie, though, and really strong Cheddar.


I do have a favourite cheese recipe though, it’s one that my husband made for me once! You get a Camembert and cut a large chunk to fit into a ramekin. Oh, and you poke slivers of garlic into it – just a few, unless you want to frighten off everyone around you! Fill up the ramekin and then bake in the oven until the cheese is all melty and bubbly (about ten minutes I think). Serve with thinly-sliced toast, rubbed with a raw clove of garlic – heaven! Sort of like your own personal fondue!


8. Did Star Crossed always have this title or was that something that came later on?


Titles can be really hard – I don’t know any writer who hasn’t struggled with a title at some point. However, this title was one that we came up with in a brainstorming session at Random House (the publishers). There were about nine of us sitting round the table and we had to come up with a series title as well as titles for the first three books – it took us about an hour to get them all!


The title for Star Crossed was actually thought up by my editor, Ruth – and once she’d said it, we all went, ‘Of course! It couldn’t be anything else!’ Quick bit of trivia – the Sweet Hearts series was originally called Heart Beats!


9. What advice would you give to writers who want to make the leap from writing as a hobby to actively pursuing a career in writing?


Don’t give up the day job. It takes a long time, possibly never, to earn enough from your writing to live on. But I have two other tips too – READ. If you’re writing historical fiction, read everything you can find in that genre. If you’re into 7-9s humorous series fiction, then read that. And keep it current.


I now read almost exclusively teen fiction published in the last five years – partly because I need to in order to keep up with what’s out there, and also because I love it! And my final tip is – don’t put all your eggs in one basket.


Send out your manuscript, but get going on something else. Keep writing – the more you write, the better you will get. Don’t invest your whole life in one book in case it doesn’t work out.


10. Are you a Shakespeare fan? If so, which is your favourite play? If not, which playwright do you consider the greatest?


I am a HUGE Shakespeare fan. I like the comedies best, though I did study King Lear at school and thought it was amazing. My favourite play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though Twelfth Night comes a close second.


11. As well as books for teens, you’ve also had picture books published. Do you find writing for teens or younger children more of a challenge and why?


Only one picture book! Hah, and when it was published I thought, ‘well, I guess I’m a picture book writer’ – and then my next twenty texts were turned down. Seriously – at least twenty different stories all rejected! Which goes back to my point about not putting all your eggs in one basket.


I found I was actually better at writing longer books for teens. I don’t write for younger children any more – maybe at some point in the future I will again, but not for the moment. Writing picture books is INCREDIBLY hard and I admire those authors who consistently turn out amazing picture books.


12. There is a lot of argument within the young adult market as to what is appropriate for teens to read. Where do you stand on this matter? Do you think teens should be protected from reading about taboo subjects or do you think they should have the freedom to choose their own reads?


I wrote a long and complicated answer to this and then deleted it because actually I think that by the age of thirteen, young people are quite capable of choosing their own books and shouldn’t be ‘protected’ from anything. I feel quite strongly about that.


13. Thank you so much for your time, Jo. Before you go, could you tell me about any upcoming projects you have in the pipeline we can look out for?


The second Sweet Hearts book, ‘Strictly Friends?’ will be published in September, and the third one, ‘Ice Dreams’, will be out in February next year. Then there are three more books still to come! So that is keeping me quite busy enough for the time being!


Many thanks for the interview! I love being asked questions!


Waiting on Wednesday: The Ghost and the Goth - Stacey Kade

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine and is a post detailing an upcoming book you can't wait to read. This week my pick is The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade. Luckily we don’t have long to wait for this one but I for one cannot wait until the 29th of June!

Published: June 29th 2010, Hyperion Book CH


Summary (from Goodreads): After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck here in spirit form with no sign of the big, bright light coming to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser/outcast type who hates the social elite. He alone can see and hear her, but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Can they get over their mutual distrust—and this weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Trash - Andy Mulligan

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly 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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My pick for this week is Trash by Andy Mulligan. I received an ARC for it yesterday and I've got huge expectations for this one. It looks great but I'm going to post more about it soon. For now, here are my teaser sentences:

(From page 43) "Then again, the letter made no sense: we understood none of it. All we were sure of was that we were in something deep, getting deeper."

Based on what I've read so far and the hype that's already buzzing around, I'm guessing this book is going to be huge so keep an eye out for it in Autumn this year!

Monday, 21 June 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 3

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? This is a weekly meme to list the books completed last week, books currently being read and the books to be finished (hopefully!) this week.

This meme was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books.

Read last week:

Star Crossed - Jo Cotterill
And Baby Makes Two - Dyan Sheldon
Confetti Girl - Diana Lopez


Currently reading:

So Much to Tell You - John Marsden


To read this week:

Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler
The Radleys - Matt Haig
Ipods in Accra - Sophia Acheampong
13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson

Sunday, 20 June 2010

In My Mailbox - 10

In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by Kristi who's over at The Story Siren.


This week I received:

Sent for review:

The Radleys - Matt Haig

From the library:

Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

Baby Blue - Julia Green

Ipods in Accra – Sophia Acheampong

Just Jealous – Anne Cassidy

13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson

Stardust – Neil Gaiman

After the Death of Alice Bennett – Rowland Molony

So Much to Tell You – John Marsden


The Radleys – Matt Haig

Acquired: Sent to me by Walker

Published: July 1st 2010, Walker Canongate

Summary (all from Goodreads): Meet the Radleys.

Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in an English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content. But as their children have yet to find out, the Radleys have a devastating secret

From one of Britain’s finest young novelists comes a razor-sharp unpicking of adulthood and family life. In this moving, thrilling and extraordinary portrait of one unusual family, The Radleys asks what we grow into when we grow up, and explores what we gain – and lose – when we deny our appetites.

Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

Acquired: Borrowed from the library

Published: February 8th 2005, Simon Pulse

Summary (all from Goodreads): Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license—for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world—and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Baby Blue - Julia Green

Acquired: Borrowed from the library

Published: April 29th 2004, Puffin

Summary (all from Goodreads): ‘Baby Blue’ picks up Mia's story (begun in "Blue Moon") just after the birth of her baby. Mia is sixteen now, and still living with Dad, although this relationship becomes increasingly under strain.

Not only is Mia having to work out the complicated emotional and practical implications of being a mother when she herself is still a child, with huge emotional needs of her own, she is also having to negotiate new relationships with the adults and young people around her.

Ipods in Accra – Sophia Acheampong

Acquired: Borrowed from the library

Published: June 26th 2009, Piccadilly Press Ltd

Summary (all from Goodreads): Makeeda’s plans for the summer holidays are falling apart! It’s suddenly announced that she’s going on a trip to visit her relatives in Ghana – and then she splits up with her boyfriend Nelson. Can things get any worse?

But in Ghana things are different, and Makeeda, the sophisticated London girl, makes some surprising discoveries about herself, her family and her friends. And, while she’s struggling to reconcile her two cultures, could it be that she’s found true love where she least expected it?

Just Jealous – Anne Cassidy

Acquired: Borrowed from the library

Published: January 5th 2009, Scholastic

Summary (all from Goodreads): Elise has a crush. She's been infatuated with her best friend, Carl, for as long as she can remember. When he starts dating an American girl who's just arrived at their school, Elise thinks it will just be a short fling. When she realizes it's not, she decides she needs to take matters into her own hands.

13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson

Acquired: Borrowed from the library

Published: October 1st 2006, HarperTeen

Summary (all from Goodreads): When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Acquired: Borrowed from the library

Published: 1998, Harper Perennial

Summary (all from Goodreads): From the extraordinary imagination of Neil Gaiman -- bestselling author of Neverwhere -- comes a haunting fable of love, duty and magical lands.

After the Death of Alice Bennett – Rowland Molony

Acquired: Borrowed from the library

Published: January 2007, Oxford University Press

Summary (all from Goodreads): Before mum died, she told Sam that she would always be with him. On the day of mum's cremation, his sister Becky receives a text from a friend: 'Thinking about you. X' Sam becomes convinced that the text is from their mother. Imagine if he could text back?!

When he finds mum's mobile phone and a 'contact number' in her handwriting, Sam his heart pounding, sends a message. It is received by a kind but lonely lorry driver, Tony. Unthinkingly, Tony responds. Before he knows it, the boy is texting regularly, and Tony is replying. Sam thinks he's in contact with mum and forms a plan. He's going to find her and bring her back for Christmas.

By the time Tony realises what's happening, he can't bring himself to tell Sam that it's not his mother on the end of the phone, but neither can he just stop texting or, worse, let the child turn up. He also realises that he's come to rely on Sam's messages because they make him feel less alone. As Sam sets out on his journey, Tony must try to find him. But how will he explain to this little boy that his mother is really dead? And how will Sam cope when confronted with the truth?

So Much to Tell You – John Marsden

Acquired: Borrowed from the library

Published: 1988, Walker

Summary (all from Goodreads): Scarred, literally, by her past, Marina has withdrawn into silence. Then, at her new boarding school, she is set the task of writing a diary by her English teacher, and finds a way of expressing her thoughts and feelings and of exploring the traumatic events that have caused her distress.

Through Marina's diary we gain an insight into life on her dormitory, and her difficult relationship with her father, who injured her in an angry moment. Eventually, Marina makes tentative friendships and, in a moving denouement, is reconciled with her father.