Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (and win an ARC)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Original Sin, the sequel to Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers. I LOVED Personal Demons and sadly I've been too busy with Nanowrimo to finish off and post a lot of my reviews. I'm definitely working on Personal Demons next and I might even re-read it as a treat :)

Here's the Goodreads description for Original Sin:

"When secrets and old histories come to light, Frannie realizes that nobody is who she thought they were. Hell won’t give up and Heaven won’t give in. Some are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell's grasp.

And not everyone will get out of it alive

I am VERY excited to continue Frannie's story and can't wait until July, 2011 when it comes out. If like me, you can't wait then I have some very good news for you. You can WIN an ARC of Original Sin by visiting Lisa Desrocher's blog here. What are you waiting for?! Go now!!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Demonglass, the sequel to Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. I really enjoyed Hex Hall which I reviewed here and it still remains the one YA book with the most funniest and memorable line EVER from it. Basically, Sophie is tucked up in bed and some girls come and wake her up to go on some sort of initiation/adventure and say to her something along the lines of "We just need to hear five words from you" and Sophie replies with the best line EVER..."Are you freaking kidding me?". BRILLIANT. So yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to reading this and laughing my socks off as I love Rachel's sense of humour. Here is the Goodreads description for Demonglass:

"Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

OMG I HOPE SHE DOES is my answer to that! Can't wait for a bit more of sexy Archer. Lets talk cover love - I LOVE the cover and of course I have to get the US hardback to match my copy of Hex Hall. It's not that I don't like the UK covers, I just prefer the US ones. I don't think I'll be able to get hold of an ARC for this so I've signed up for a book tour. I just hope it gets to me before release date! Demonglass is released in February, 2011.

So, is this on your wish list? What else are you waiting on?

Friday, 19 November 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) Release Day!

One of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year is finally here - yes it's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which is released today! I may not have finished reading all of the books, I may not be going to a midnight showing but I still want to see it in the cinema and will be making plans to do so as soon as I get some time off work and the queue dies down.

In order to celebrate the release of the film and also the fact that Bloomsbury Children's Books have published the signature edition collection (which look beautiful) I have decided to hold a contest to win a set of bookmarks to celebrate both the movie release and the new design for the books.

This contest is INTERNATIONAL and will end Friday 26th November which gives you exactly one week to get your entry in. All you have to do it leave me a comment with your name, your e mail address and the country where you live. I'll be choosing a winner using random.org. You DO NOT have to be a follower but if you like what you see on the blog, I'd love it if you wanted to stick around and follow.

Finally, just because we need a bit of Harry Potter love, I've included the official movie poster above (or one of them) and as a special treat, here's the official trailer. GET EXCITED!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Starstruck by Cyn Balog. Here is the Goodreads description:

"When Gwendolyn “Dough” Reilly’s boyfriend and best friend Wish moves away in seventh grade, the only consolation she can find is in her family bakery’s donuts. Now, it’s sophomore year, and Wish is coming back. But in only three years, they’ve both changed—drastically. She’s seriously overweight, and suddenly Wish is the most popular guy in school, and girls everywhere want him. Dough has doubts that appearances don’t matter and that Wish can love her as she is, so she launches into a plan designed to keep them together. That is, until she discovers that Wish’s gorgeous looks and charm might not be all they appear to be."

OK, as always lets talk cover love. This one reminds me of Christmas baubles and as someone who LOVES Christmas (really, I'm just a big kid) then of course I love this cover! And it sounds like the book is set around a bakery. Already I'm in love. But what I'm most interested in, is the relationship between the two main characters and how it's changed in the course of three years. Now, the grl is overweight (I don't blame her, I mean she works in a yummy bakery for goodness sake) and the guy is super hot and popular. I'm loving this dynamic and of course I'm wishing for a happy ending. I've got to wait until July, 2011 to find out. ARGH!

What are you waiting on?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Nanowrimo Update

So for those of you who are interested, Nanowrimo is going really well for me so far and just in case you missed my intial blog post about it, it's here. Of course, it helps that I had a week's annual leave at the beginning of November which certainly helped to ease the pressure. We're in the middle of week 2 now and as it stands right now, my wordcount is...

23,044 words

I'm just ahead of target and a little bit happy about this. OK, A LOT. I've never written this much for one story in my life and although it may be crap (let's be honest, it's a first draft) I'm still really proud of myself. So I'm almost halfway there and is it getting any easier? NOPE. In fact, it's getting harder as the plot is developing and I find myself losing track at times. I mean, I know ultimately where I want the story to go but the journey is just as important as the destination. I'm definitely more in awe of published authors than ever and writing really is hard work, but so worth it and I find myself HAVING to write rather than wanting to if that makes sense. One thing is for sure, there is no way in hell I'm giving up and this is what I'm learning:

* To quieten down my inner editor (she won't disappear completely it would seem)

* That writing approximately 2k words a day is definitely achieveable even if you are working a full time job and if you want it bad enough, you'll make time

* That everyone is right about how crappy first drafts are

* That I need to read a lot more books on the craft of writing and find methods that work for me

* I went into a coffeeshop the other day, armed with my netbook and learnt that I CAN write amongst the hustle and bustle of every day life. I felt like a real writer *grin*.

* That the network of support out there is just INCREDIBLE

* That chocolate is the answer to most problems.

So that's it, I'm still working away at it and I'm really hoping to be able to frame my winner's certificate and put it on my office wall. Also, I want that 50% off coupon for Scrivener LOL.

Are you participating in Nanowrimo? How's it going for you?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Sweetly by Jackson Pearce. Sweetly is a modernisation of the Hansel and Gretel story and a companion book to Sister's Read and Fathomless. Here is the Goodreads description:

"Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

Can I just start by saying OMFG I LOVE THE COVER!! This is the cover for the ARC but I really do hope they keep it for the finished copy. I really enjoyed Sister's Red which I reviewed here and I'm loving the continuation of theme which is the re-telling of classic fairy stories. This time it's Hansel and Gretel. Who didn't love the idea that you could EAT a house that was made of gingerbread and all things yummy? Not sure if that particular idea is included in the book but I'm still dying to read it! I see this book as a grown up version of a classic fairy tale we all know and love. Sweetly will be released in August, 2011 so we've got a bit of a wait on our hands. Now who do I have to talk to, to get one of those ARC's?! ;)

What do you think guys? Is this on your wish list? What else are you waiting on?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Angel Review

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a total angel girl. If there’s a book involving any sort of angel, I have to read it. And with the influx of angel books coming out recently, I never thought I would say this but I was becoming a little fatigued with the subject matter which is why I approached ANGEL by Lee Weatherly with some trepidation. However, as I discovered this is no ordinary angel book and the story blew me away with its fierce originality, compelling plot line and strong characterisation.

ANGEL tells the story of Willow, a teenage girl who has an extraordinary ability as a psychic. She’s able to see the future and gets mixed up in trying to help a school friend who doesn’t see that she is in trouble. Angel sightings are on the increase and those who have experienced an encounter first hand become mesmerised by their presence. Most join the Church of Angels to relive their experiences and spend as much time as possible in the presence of angels. Unbeknownst to her, Willow is half-angel, half-human and as such represents a threat to the Church of Angels and their future plans. Alex, an A.K. or Angel Killer is hired to kill her but ends up being inexplicably drawn to her instead and has a feeling she is important enough to protect. So against all his beliefs, he stays by her side and vows to protect her. Cue a massive road trip as they’re on the run from the real threat – the angels and those who follow them. Is Willow the one to stop their evil plans?

When I first started reading ANGEL, I remember thinking that what I was reading was angel blasphemy. That I couldn’t possibly continue reading a book that portrayed angels as nothing more than parasites that feed off unsuspecting prey. But, I soon got past this as I gave myself a pep talk and told myself to approach the story with an open mind. It’s only fiction after all. And I’m glad I did as ANGEL is one of the most original paranormal stories I’ve read and I love the fact that the mythology surrounding angels is flipped on its head.

What I loved about ANGEL is that it seemed to be both plot and character driven and I need both for a story to truly satisfy me. The characters were complex and most of them were waging their own private wars with themselves, never mind with each other. I have to say that Alex makes for a very convincing hero and boy did I fall head over heels for him. He’s smart, tough and a survivor hell bent on protecting Willow at all costs *swoon*. I particularly like the suggestion Lee has for the look of Alex and I must say that actor Sean Faris is PERFECT for the role. It wasn’t difficult to constantly picture Sean in my mind as Alex as I was reading.

It hurts my eyes to look at that picture, seriously! And I had NO IDEA that he had been in a couple of Vampire Diaries episodes! Alas, I digress, Alex is of course an A.K. or Angel Killer. He’s been killing angels his entire life and isn’t about to stop now. In fact, it’s more important than ever that more of his kind exist. He may sound like a one dimensional character but he does come with a back story involving the untimely death of his brother. Add to the fact that he is now falling for the very thing he detests most – an angel. Even if Willow is only half-angel.

I think Willow has to be the most interesting character in this story. She’s just a seemingly ordinary teenage girl who just so happens to have an extraordinary ability. And pretty early on in the book we learn that against the odds, she is in fact half-angel, half-human. What a cool predicament from the outset! Until of course you realise the devastating consequences of what that actually means in the world of ANGEL.

What I loved the most about the relationship between Alex and Willow is that it is a slow burner. None of this falling in love in the first few pages. It took time to build their relationship into something meaningful and it’s realistic as they only had each other to rely on. In the end I was WILLING them to get together, just to end the agony.

I think the only criticism I have with ANGEL is with the dialogue. There were a lot of um’s and er’s which you could argue is realistic to every day speak however it does get a tad annoying when you’re reading it. Also, the chapters constantly switched between 1st person and 3rd person which I found a little weird to begin with. Thankfully, these are only minor nuances though and didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

ANGEL read like a movie playing in my head. It could so easily be made into a film and I sincerely hope that someone buys the movie rights. I would *LOVE* to see it on the silver screen. ANGEL was published in the UK in October, 2010. The US rights have been sold and it will be published there next year. You'll be pleased to know that ANGEL is part of a series and the sequel ANGELFIRE will be released in June, 2011. In case you haven’t seen the gorgeous cover for it yet, here it is in all its glory.

I understand that not only will the US copy be a hardback but it will have a new cover treatment too so I’m excited to see what they come up with. I’ll be buying it anyway (hello?! It’s a hardback!!)

I can’t recommend ANGEL highly enough as something fresh and original in a arguably saturated genre. In case you’re wondering how much I enjoyed the book, how is this for an endorsement? I have to date bought five copies of the book to give away to friends. FIVE! And you know I ended up giving a copy to Maggie Stiefvater, when I met her right? She just happened to ask me what I was reading so I started talking about the book and before I knew it, I was handing it over to her. I then spent about a week (OK it may have been a few days but it FELT like a week) desperately searching for another copy as I was halfway through the story and NEEDED to know what happened!

You can find out more about Lee and her books by visiting her website here. ANGEL also has its own facebook page and website which you can access by clicking here. Lee is active on Twitter.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Of All the Stupid Things Review

Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz is a book that teased me with its tagline: “Three friends, one forbidden love affair”. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this premise but I got something a little different than I had imagined. Because I’m having difficulty actually putting into my own words what this book is about, I’m going to use the Goodreads description:

“It really was a stupid thing that Brent Staple did – doing it (so the rumour goes) with Chris Sanchez, one of the guy cheerleaders. Who’d have thought that Brent, the school’s hottest jock, could be gay? But the doubt about Brent doesn’t just hurt Tara – it’s the beginning of the end for an inseparable trio of friends. Tara’s training for the marathon, but also running from her father and her fear of ever being abandoned again. Beautiful Whitney Blaire’s got everything and nothing, because her parents have never had time for her. And Pinkie has a compulsive need to mother everyone to make up for the mom she never stops missing. The girls couldn’t be more different, but doesn’t that just prove the strength of their friendship?

Then new-girl Riley arrives in school, wafting her long black hair and a scent of lilacs. Suddenly, Tara starts to feel things she’s never felt before for a girl - and to reassess her feelings about Brent and what he may/may not have done. Is Tara gay – or does she just love Riley? And can the map of her deepest friendships ever be redrawn in a post-Riley world?”

The beginning opens up with an incident that seems to set the course for the rest of the book. I'm not sure you could call it a shocking incident, more unexpected I think. This incident has a direct effect on one of the main protagonists and an indirect effect on her friendship with two other girls. The problem I haved with this is that I didn’t care enough about the characters at this stage. As I read on, I began to learn about the characters, to understand the motivations behind their actions and towards the end of the book, I felt the story had improved but it was too little too late for me.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. That’s how I feel about all of the books I read. I go in with an open mind and give them all a fair and equal chance. I don’t have any sort of rule that says if I don’t like a book within the first so many pages or so many chapters then I give up. I’m not the giving up sort of person. And so even though I did not love this book, I carried on reading until the end. I think this is a testament to Alexandra’s writing that I wanted to carry on.

One of the things I did like was the exploration of sexuality as I’ve not read a book that addresses this before. Not for any reason, I’ve just not picked one up yet. I thought that Alexandra captured the voice of a teenage girl exploring her sexuality perfectly. I enjoyed reading about how Tara was discovering all of these new feelings she had about Riley but couldn’t really explain them. One line that particularly stood out for me was when Tara talked about being the sort of girl that fell in love with a person rather than a gender.

This was definitely a character driven novel as there was no real plot to speak of, at least not in my eyes and that was where I thought the book was lacking. It started right in the middle of things and ended right in the middle of things. It was like a snapshot into three friend’s lives with no real beginning and no end. I realise that this may have been intentional and for all I know, I completely missed the point. Perhaps I am the sort of person that prefers an intricate plot as well as interesting characters?

That’s not to say there wasn’t at least a sense of a conclusion. There was a point towards the end of the novel where I saw some growth in at least one of the characters which was Pinkie. I really enjoyed how she developed throughout the novel, how she learned from her mistakes and grew up a little. I think Pinkie was probably my favourite character although she didn’t start out like that.

So you see, if I hadn’t have finished reading the book, I would never have known that. I had no problem with Alexandra’s writing and I even enjoyed some of the scenes, two in particular spring to mind but I can’t tell you about them for fear of ruining the story should you wish to read the book. Overall, I think this book wasn’t for me but I gave it a chance. As always, it’s just my opinion and I would never tell anyone not to pick up a book because someone gave it a less than favourable review. You have your own mind so don’t be afraid to try things before making your decision as to whether you like it or not.

Of All the Stupid Things was released in December, 2009. Thank you to International Book Tours for letting me read and review this book. To find out more about Alexandra Diaz and her books, you can visit her website here. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Crossroads Blog Tour Finale WINNER!

Thank you to everyone who entered The Crossroads Blog Tour Finale contest to win a copy of Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White. As always, I have chosen the winner using random.org and so without further ado, the winner is...

*drum roll*


Congratulations to Skye! Your details have been passed along to Amy who will even sign the copy before sending it out to you! Thank you again to everyone who entered and commented during the blog tour.

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is The Iron Witch by UK author Karen Mahoney (or Kaz as she is more affectionately known). Here is the Goodreads description:

"Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect."

Firstly, have you seen this cover? It's freaking GORGEOUS and makes me want this book just because of the cover art! I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of faerie stories that don't include Tinkerbell but I hold my hands up and say that I haven't read enough in this genre. I DO however like the idea of Alchemy and the magical iron tattoo's that the main character has been branded with. I'm definitely interested in reading this one and as Kaz is awesome, I'm pretty sure her book will be too ;) The Iron Witch will be released in February, 2011.

So what do you think? Will this be on your wish list? What else are you waiting on?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Nanowrimo Participation

For all of those that don't know, this year I will be participating in Nanowrimo. Nanowrimo is short for National Novel Writing Month and is an annual event for both professional and amateur writers. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. It's free to participate and there are no prizes - it's just a challenge so the motivation must come from within. This is the first time I've done this and I'll admit to not really knowing what I'm doing. I'm also crazy for entering in the first place as I still have to work full time at the hospital, take care of all domestic duties at home, run my website and the book tour site. What was I thinking?! Well, writing is important to me and I want to write a book. I always have so many ideas for books and I just want to get on and write it! I'm hoping that Nanowrimo will help turn off my inner editor and encourage me to just get the words on the page. So please wish me luck!

The reason I'm telling you about this is that I might be a little quieter than usual on Twitter and the blog. THIS IS WHY. I'm still going to participate in Waiting on Wednesday and I have a back log of reviews that ideally I would like to take care of this week so I can stagger the publication on the blog. That way, it might lOOK like I'm still around ;)

I hope I'm still sane in December and can announce some good news. I'm starting my prayers tonight ;)

Lemniscate Book Trailer

So you guys all know that LEMNISCATE, the sequel to Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia, comes out in March, 2011 right? You've seen the cover art and you've obviously read the Goodreads description, yes?

For Teagan, these last few months have been heaven on earth- especially now that Garreth, her boyfriend and guardian angel, is earthbound. But perhaps Garreth is becoming a little more human than either of them expected.

Now, Teagan must realize that her world is once again about to shift, as she questions the faith she held in others against those once considered enemies.

In this continuation of Angel Star, Lemniscate will draw you even deeper into the world of dark and light as Teagan realizes the angel who could possibly save them all is the one angel she feared the most.

NOW you can watch the newly released book trailer...

Ooooooooh, I like it and can't wait to read the next installment! What do you guys think?