Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February 2012 Round-Up

So I decided I'd like to do a little round up post at the end of each month, just to list everything I've read that month, what I liked best, what I didn't like so much, that kind of stuff. It's more for me than for you, but I thought you might like to see because I like to see what other people have been reading... ;P So here's what I've read this month!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl  Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)  Vixen

1. Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie
2. Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
3. The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers
4. The Killables by Gemma Malley
5. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
6. Wonder by RJ Palacio
7. Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
8. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
9. Vixen by Jillian Larkin

These are just the complete books I've read this month, I'm currently half way through Forgiven by Jana Oliver, so technically this month I've read 9 and a half books! Not too bad, I don't think, though I would have liked to have read more, especially seeing as half term was in the middle of February... 

Anyway, I did some (not-so) speedy mathematics and I have come up with some useless but hopefully interesting information... 

Number of pages read in February: 2874
Average number of pages per book: 319 

But that's all I could think of to do with my maths ;P So, I'll announce my favourite book of the month: 

AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK by Joe Schreiber



My review of this will go up on its release date which is 5th March! All other reviews of books I read this month will also be going up some time in the first couple of weeks of March :)

Here are some of the books I'll be reading in March, the ones I'm especially excited for!

Spellcaster (Spellbound, #2)  Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)  Dark Storm

And lastly, I thought I could do a little something to get you guys to comment more. I totally understand that you probably read hundreds of blogs and you don't have time to comment, or sometimes you just can't be bothered (like me...) so I'm going to, at the end of every month, post who's commented on posts the most in the month! Like a commenting competition, but I don't have prizes because I'm broke ;P So this month, it was...

BookLuvr Mindy!

Thanks for commenting! Do you like this idea? Would you comment more if I made this a monthly thing? I don't know if it'll make a difference, and I may well forget, but let me know, in the comments, your thoughts :) I could buy like, sweets and send them to you, if you wanted? ;P Can you even send food in the post? (UK only, sadly) I don't know, just whatever you want to say, say it in the comments! ;D Thanks for reading! 

Monday, 27 February 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)
Title: Pandemonium 
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium, #2
Pages: 375
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Lauren Oliver captivated readers with Delirium, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

Full of danger, forbidden romance, and exquisite writing, Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Delirium races forward at a breathtaking pace and is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes action of The Hunger Games and the bittersweet love story of Romeo & Juliet.

THERE MAY BE SPOILERS FROM DELIRIUM IN THIS REVIEW, AND AS MUCH AS I'M TRYING TO NOT POST ANY PANDEMONIUM SPOILERS, THERE MAY BE A FEW SMALL ONES. READ ON WITH CAUTION IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED.

My Thoughts:
I thought Delirium was amazing. It is one of my favourite dystopians I've read, and while it didn't quite make one of my favourites of last year, it very nearly did. I was super excited for Pandemonium, as the ending of Delirium was like, seriously, WOW. And not in a good way. Anyway, I was very excited, as I needed to know the end and I needed more of the awesome writing and amazing world that Lauren Oliver has created, and while that wasn't exactly what I got, I did really really enjoy it.

Pandemonium, for me, was VERY different to Delirium. It wasn't what I expected but I'm happy to report that I still really, really loved it. I loved learning about Lena's life in the Wilds, and finding out about all the secret organisations that were rising up to try and stop the curing of love. It was good, I think, that it wasn't just another book set inside the barriers, because while that's the world I fell in love with, I think everything that needed to be said and everything that needed to take place was said and took place in Delirium, if that makes sense.

I really liked Lena in this book. I thought she was very brave and made the best of the difficult situations she found herself in. In Delirium, I found for a lot of the book she was boring and controlled by the society in which she lived, but in Pandemonium, right from the start, I could tell that she had become her own person, and she was no longer influenced by what she was always told - she finally realised that a lot of her life had been a lie and she was a much more interesting person because of it.

Pandemonium is told in two parts that alternate between chapters - Then and Now. Now is her life AFTER everything that happens in the Wilds, and Then is back when she'd just crossed the border, carrying straight on from the end of Delirium. Confused? I was! It took me a while to really get to grips with this new way of writing, but once I had, I think it's a very effective way of telling Lena's story. I'd be reading Now, the chapter would end and it would go into Then, and I'd have to carry on reading to find out what happened in the next Now chapter, because, let me warn you, Lauren Oliver likes to end her chapters on cliffhangers... Very. Annoying, but still, it kept me reading, didn't it? ;)

And I know all you people who've read Delirium will be wondering about Alex. And I'm not going to say anything about him. Nothing at all. I don't want to spoil any of you by mentioning him or any other possible love interests that there may or may not be. (Which doesn't necessarily mean that there are any... Or does it? ;P I'm teasing!) You'll just have to wait to find out! Or go and read another review, either way ;)

Overall though, I loved Pandemonium. It was a great addition to the series, and the ending is CRUEL. Seriously, Lauren Oliver REALLY knows how to write her cliffhangers. The last word on the last page... Oh. My. Word. If you haven't read Delirium yet, why not?! You're missing out - you should most definitely go and read it, right now. I think you'll love it. And then you'll read Pandemonium and you'll love that too. So, what are you waiting for?

*HUGE thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 


My Rating:
I give it 5 Feet!

Challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #97

Saturday, 25 February 2012

In My Mailbox #44

Hey everyone! I haven't done an In My Mailbox in absolutely ages... So I have rather a lot to show you all! I probably should make a vlog to show you everything, but I'm lazy and can't be bothered so I'm just posting pictures (But, they are special Instagram pictures, which I've just discovered and I LOVE it xD ). So sorry for the lack of vlog, but I hope you like the Instagram pictures instead ;D

For Review:


Forgiven by Jana Oliver (Macmillan, March 1st 2012)
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams (Simon & Schuster, April 26th 2012)
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Random House, July 19th 2012)
Unravellling by Elizabeth Norris (HarperCollins, June 7th 2012)
Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud by Andrew Lane (Macmillan, released)
The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers (Random House, March 1st 2012)
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth (Random House, May 10th 2012)
Vixen by Jillian Larkin (Random House, March 1st 2012)
The Killables by Gemma Malley (Hodder & Stoughton, March 29th 2012)

Bought:


Torn by Cat Clarke (Quercus, released)
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman (ATOM, released)
Hollow Pike by James Dawson (Indigo, released)


On Monday 30th June, along with Rhys from ThirstForFiction, I went to the Penguin 2012 Showcase event in London. We were told all about some of the new releases coming in 2012 and some of the exciting new things there were releasing (such as apps and games, as well as books of course). There were 4 authors there - Michelle Paver, Louisa Reid, Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony McGowan, and they signed our books and we chatted and it was awesome. We then went to Starbucks to meet Caroline Lawrence, author of the Roman Mystery series, and then after that we spent about 3 hours in Foyles... ;)

Received from Penguin 2012 Showcase: 


Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver (Puffin, August 28th 2012)
Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid (Puffin, May 2012)
Jamie's Great Britain by Jamie Oliver




100 Ladybird cover postcards - These are VERY cool. They come in a box of 100 (obviously) and I just picked out the ones from the top of the pile, but they're great! I'm too young to ever have had any of these covers as actual books, but my mum was looking through them and picking out all the ones that she remembered having on her shelves when she was little... :D

Huge thanks to Penguin/Puffin, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Random House, HarperCollins, and Hodder & Stoughton for all my books this month! What did you get? Leave me a comment and a link below and I'll come check out all your awesome books xD

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren :) As always, huge thanks for hosting, Kristi! 

Friday, 24 February 2012

Book Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio

Wonder. by R.J. PalacioTitle: Wonder
Author: RJ Palacio
Series: 
Pages: 310
Publisher: Random House
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.


My Thoughts:
Wonder is one of those books that everybody loves because it is hard-hitting and many people will find a way to relate to it. It's about growing up while being bullied at school, and it's a story of overcoming the bullies and being proud of who you are. No matter what you look like, no matter what you wear, no matter who your family is. I can see why people say this, and I agree with them. I just didn't think the book was particularly great.

Now don't read that and think I hated it. I didn't. I liked it, quite a lot, actually. It was a strong, interesting read, but there was nothing about that blew my mind. The characters were brave, loving and lively, but I felt like there was nothing especially remarkable about most of them. Auggie and Via stood out for me, but the others I thought were just a little bit flat. I couldn't connect with them and to me they were forgettable.

But as I said, I did really like Auggie. He reminded me of my cousin (in the way he acted, rather than the way he looks), and I really think that RJ Palacio captured the essence of what it would be like for Auggie in school, and at home. I loved how he seemed like a very normal, excitable little boy, and he was incredibly brave to go to school for the first time. I think it's an achievement for all kids, because the first day of school can be hell, but especially for Auggie. He was cute and he was my favourite character, which I guess is a good thing seeing as the whole book was about him... ;P

The only other character who really stood out to me was Via. She was SUCH a good big sister! Seriously, I wish my younger brother and I had a relationship like theirs. (It doesn't work when your brother's only a year younger than you though ;) ) She was so caring and she looked out for him, and there was a point where it all got a bit too much for her, but I totally understood that and made me connect with her even more. I loved how she learnt from her mistakes and she realised when things were going really wrong, and it was awesome.

The plot wasn't really all that exciting, but I don't think it needed to be. I don't think that it needed huge plot twists or turns to make it interesting. I kept reading no matter what was going on, despite the fact that I could guess where it was going. It was real and so easy to imagine that it was an actual family going to an actual school in America.

While Wonder didn't strike me as much as I had maybe anticipated it would, it was still a good, solid read that I did enjoy. I think it's simplicity will appeal to both children and adults alike, and there's something in it that I'm sure everyone can relate to. It's made people laugh, it's made people cry, and I'm sure it can do the same for you!

*Huge thanks to Random House for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Book Review: The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers

The Kissing Game
Title: The Kissing Game
Author: Aidan Chambers
Series: Standalone
Pages: 224
Publisher: Bodley Head
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: United under the banner of flash fiction, this is a collection of stories, or little 'cells', complete in themselves but connected by the overarching themes of betrayal and revenge. All featuring teenagers and often with an unexpected twist, these frighteningly realistic stories will take you to the very edge and beyond.


My Thoughts:
I don't really know what to think about this book. I don't know whether to think that I completely missed the point of it, and that I've just not picked up on a fundamental theme within the book, or whether there just is no point. There were a whole bunch of short stories, flash fiction, that seemed to have nothing in common with each other, and I don't quite know what to make of them.

Having never read any kind of flash fiction before, I was intrigued as to what they would be like. And I don't think they're for me. I can't decide whether it's because the stories in The Kissing Game were either extremely weird or just uninteresting, or whether it's the format of the stories that I didn't like. (As you can tell, I'm very indecisive about everything about this book... ;P ) For example, there was one story in which a kid finds a tower, but his dad can't see it. He goes to find the tower, and then the kid's parents find him, floating in the air, because he's in the tower but they can't see it... It was very strange, and I didn't understand what the story was trying to tell me.

There were a couple of other stories like that, and then there were ones that just bored me out of my brain... I can't even remember half of them, unfortunately, so I won't say anymore on that.

And then some of them were just a little bit depressing and strange. In one of the *minor spoilers ahead* it ends after a girl stabs a boy while kissing him over a fence. I finished that story just thinking why on earth did Chambers write it that way? Have I missed something, again? Eurgh, it is SO frustrating when you don't understand things.

Perhaps the only story I really remember very clearly is the first story, about Ursula. She didn't like who everyone thought she was so she felt she had to change herself. So she changes her clothes and gets a makeover, and goes out into the world. It doesn't take her long to realise she doesn't like faking who she is, and it sends a much needed message to the reader to let them know that it's better to just be yourself.

Overall, I didn't really enjoy The Kissing Game all that much. It was a bit hit and miss, if I'm honest. I think it'd be good for people who want a book that will make them think, and people who like to analyse and find hidden meanings within the stories they read. I have a feeling it'd be great for an English teacher, but if you've had enough of studying books in school like me and just want something light and readable, then this one is probably not for you.

*Thanks to Random House for sending me this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Book Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlTitle: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 
Author: Jesse Andrews
Series: Standalone
Pages: 304
Publisher: Amulet Books
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: netGalley*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Greg has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high school without having any friends, but his life changes when his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia.

My Thoughts:
The synopsis does not do this book justice. I have to admit, I requested this book from netGalley mostly because of the cover. Take a moment to just look at it. Isn't it awesome? I love it - it's so different from any other covers I've seen in YA right now, and it caught my eye and made me want to read it, even though I'd heard nothing about it from other bloggers and there's hardly any information on Goodreads about it.

After investigating Goodreads a bit more, I found some ratings from friends and they all looked pretty good, and one or two reviews saying it was hilarious. But even then I didn't want to go into it expecting too much and then end up disappointed, so I tried to keep an open mind. And it WAS funny - I laughed out loud a couple times, which never happens... And granted, I only laughed at the really immature stuff, but that's just what I find funny because I still have the mental age of a five-year-old... ;P

I think the title is a little bit misleading though. 'Dying Girl' suggests that this story will be one of Rachel's journey through leukemia, and how Greg deals with having a friend who's dying. But really, I don't think that that is the main focus of the story at all. I mean, it's not until about half-way through the book that Greg really realises that Rachel's actually going to die and that's when it starts to play a more-than-minor role in the story (I don't want to say major because it's not until the end that this is the case.) So yeah, don't go in thinking that this is going to be a tearjerker, because it wasn't. Or, I didn't think it was.

The story, for me, was more of a coming of age story, and it felt to me as if Greg was finally growing up, and realising that the world is not just a place full of fun and games. I think it's the first time he has to deal with something awful, and I really loved the way he tried to use film to cheer both himself and Rachel up. It was a great way to explain some of Greg and Earl's backstory and the films were so cool to read about, and imagining how bad the 1 star ones were was great fun.

One of my favourite things about the book was the way in which Jesse Andrews wrote it. It was just like a teenage boy writing a book! It was awesome - some of it was in script form (because Greg's a film maker) and then, there'd be other times when it would be written in bullet points, or in a different format because Greg supposedly got bored of writing the book. It starts off by saying something along the lines of, 'this book is rubbish, why are you even reading it?' and carries on throughout the book with more, 'why are you still reading this?' kind of sentences. I've never come across that in a book before, but I really liked it - however, I don't think it would work in many books... ;P

Overall, I really enjoyed Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I was very impressed - it was very different to what I thought it would be, but that definitely wasn't a bad thing. It was laugh out loud funny at times, but also at times it was touching and heart warming at the same time. I'd definitely recommend to fans of YA contemporary, or if you're looking for something a little bit different.

*Huge thanks to netGalley and Amulet Books for allowing me access to this egalley in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Broke My Heart A Little

Hey! I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday in agess, but since I haven't got any reviews that I can post now because they're all scheduled for March (though I might change that and post them earlier) I thought I'd do one this week :) And the topic is:


TOP TEN BOOKS THAT BROKE MY HEART A LITTLE

There are spoilers littered throughout this post. Don't read the writing if you haven't read the book and don't want to be spoiled, but you can look at the pretty covers :P

The Fault in Our Stars

1. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
I don't really think I need to say all that much about this one. Just, Augustus Waters... <3

Delirium (Delirium, #1)

 2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The end. Oh my days, that end. And let me tell you, the sequel doesn't really help. :'( 

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)

3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Prim... Oh, my lovely Primrose :'(

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3)

4. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
Dimitri Belikov, how could you?! I mean, I know it wasn't your fault, but STILL. 

Never Eighteen

5. Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic
Awww, this was adorable... But so, so sad!

Entangled

6. Entangled by Cat Clarke
This didn't break my heart in the same way as the others did, but still, it did. I know that doesn't make all that much sense, but I know what I mean in my head ;P

Inside Out (Insider, #1)

7. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
The end. The END. THE END!! Maria V. Snyder, you are one cruel lady. (but I love you ;D )

I can't think of any more right now, so here's my top seven! :D Weird how nearly all the covers are blue... IF IT'S BLUE IT WILL BREAK YOUR HEART, GUYS. Sorry, I just had to point it out! ;P Which books broke your heart? Leave me a link, or let me know in the comments! 

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Book Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

New Girl
Title: New Girl 
Author: Paige Harbison
Series: Standalone
Pages: 304
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Date of Publication: 31st January 2012
Source: netGalley
Synopsis from Goodreads: They call me 'New Girl'...

Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her.

Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault.

Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be.

And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.


My Thoughts:
I'll start by saying I'm kind of breaking my policy just this once, for this review. I HAVE NOT READ ALL OF THIS BOOK. I got to half way and I had to give up. I don't normally review books I have not finished, as I feel it is unfair as they may miraculously become awesome towards the end, but I feel like there are things I would like to say about this, and this is the best way for me to say it without sounding like I'm having a bitchy rant on Twitter, which is not what I want to happen, because I'm not.

I LOVE boarding school stories. Emotions and dramas are often exaggerated and heightened due to friends and frenemies living together 24/7, and if they are well written, they are AWESOME. So understandably, I had high hopes for this one, and I was left extremely disappointed rather quickly. The beginning was OK - it kept me reading for the first quarter, at least, and I was intrigued as to who Becca was and what happened to her and why she suddenly left so quickly at the end of the year. But, unfortunately, the further I got through the book, the more frustrated and quite frankly disgusted at Becca I got.

Everyone at Manderly thinks that Becca is perfect. She's blonde, sexy, and has a way with people that just makes everyone fall in love with her. She truly is one of those people that they describe as, 'all the boys are in love with her, and all the girls want to be her'. Well, sort of. Everyone in the book thinks that. I certainly do not. If I'm being completely honest, I thought she was a slut. She had sex three times with two different guys within the first 30% of the book, even though she wasn't in a relationship with either guy. She then goes on to say how she doesn't want people to think she's a slut and she cares about more than just sex, but really, what else am I meant to think?

And then there's the fact that she's EXTREMELY manipulative and cocky and just generally really annoying. She's stuck up and thinks she's amazing - and she believes she can get other people to do absolutely anything for her. And to an extent, she's right (everyone else in the book is a pushover) and it just really annoyed me that she could get away with everything. It made no sense! I think it was totally unrealistic.

And then there was the new girl (who narrates the story, yet we do not find out her name until the last page, apparently (so I don't know what it is because I haven't read all the book)) so I'm just calling her NG, for New Girl. She was a bit pathetic, if I'm honest. I get that she was new to the school and I understand that she found it hard to make friends, but she just didn't really do anything. However, I did enjoy her point of view a lot more than Becca's (it's alternating dual narrative), I have to say... ;)

And it wasn't just the two main characters who I didn't like. The rest of the characters in the school were also completely unrealistic - I understand that everyone's sad because they're all missing Becca and are worried about her, but they wouldn't have such a huge hatred for a girl who was given Becca's place in a school that she'd been wanting to go to for years and years... Maybe I'm being ignorant but I just can't see that happening in real life...But then again I've never been to boarding school so I don't really know.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend New Girl. I think it had a lot of potential from the premise, and I think it *could* have been good. However, it's badly let down by poor characters and it's laden with cringe-worthy scenes that I won't go into detail of here. Maybe if you're a huge fan of YA contemporary dramas then this would be your thing, but it most definitely wasn't mine. I've linked some reviews of this book below from people who've enjoyed it more than I did, so you can decide for yourself whether or not to read this book.

*Thanks to netGalley and HarlequinTEEN for allowing me access to this galley in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 


Other reviews of New Girl:
aLmYbNeNr
My Keeper Shelf
Books With Bite
Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic
Butterfly-o-meter

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Book Review: Fallen In Love by Lauren Kate

Fallen in Love
Title: Fallen In Love
Author: Lauren Kate
Series: Fallen, #3.5
Pages: 201
Publisher: Doubleday
Date of Publication: 2nd February 2012
Source: Review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Unexpected. Unrequited. Forbidden. Eternal. Everyone has their own love story.

And in a twist of fate, four extraordinary love stories combine over the course of a romantic Valentine's Day in Medieval England. Miles and Shelby find love where they least expect it. Roland learns a painful lesson about finding-and losing love. Arianne pays the price for a love so fierce it burns. And for the first -and last- time, Daniel and Luce will spend a night together like none other.

Lauren Kate's FALLEN IN LOVE is filled with love stories . . . the ones everyone has been waiting for.

True love never says goodbye . . .


My Thoughts:
I have mixed feelings about this series - some of the books I've really enjoyed, and then some of the books, I haven't. So I kind of didn't really know what to expect with Fallen In Love.

I have to be honest, I wasn't impressed. Fallen In Love is a book of four short stories, based around the romances of four of the major characters in the book (Roland, Arriane, Miles and Shelby, and Luce and Daniel. (I don't know why there's a story about Luce and Daniel - isn't that the whole point of the Fallen series? )) Anyway, with each story being very short (one of them is 36 pages) they read very quickly and a lot has to packed into a short space of time to keep it interesting. And it was interesting to start with.

The first story was Miles and Shelby. This was probably my favourite - because I got to learn more about two characters that I already knew, but didn't know much about. Their story was cute but there was nothing about it really that made me think that I was really glad to have read it. I guess I feel as if I know Miles and Shelby a little better than I perhaps did before but I doubt it will change how I view them in the final book, Rapture.


The second story was Roland's love story. Roland is one of the bad guys in the main series, so the fact that he had it in him to love kind of surprised me, I think. His story was adorable, and I have to say that next time  when he appears in Rapture I will definitely view him differently - I can sort of understand why he is the way he is now, because of this story, which is good.

Then there was Arianne's story - about her romance with a girl called Tess. I wasn't expecting it at all - it's never mentioned in the main books (that I'm aware of) but it was nice to find out more about Arianne as she is one of my favourite characters of the whole series. It was so sad too, and I just wanted to give Arianne a big hug...

The last story was Luce and Daniel's love story. This was my least favourite of the four - nothing new happened! I thought that the Fallen series was all about telling Luce and Daniel's 'epic love story' so why have a short story about their romance when that's the whole point of the series? Everything about the story felt so familiar as I was reading and I don't really feel like I gained anything from reading it... So great, Luce and Daniel have a great Valentine's Day together... They're a couple, isn't that what couples do?

Anyway, overall, I didn't enjoy Fallen In Love. I wanted to, but I just couldn't help feeling that the stories were just not up to the standard we saw in Torment and Passion. I would only recommend this to super massive fans of the Fallen series, or if you want to read it, maybe borrow it from the library, rather than buy it. I don't know, maybe I missed the point or am being too critical, but Fallen In Love just wasn't for me, but don't let me put you off - if you're a huge fan of the series I'm sure you'll love it!

*Thanks to Random House for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 


Some other reviews of Fallen In Love:
Book Passion For Life (4 stars)
Book Angel Emma (4 stars)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Blog Tour: Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale - Fact or Fiction Guest Post!

Someone Else's LifeHey everyone, welcome to my stop on the Someone Else's Life blog tour! I have for you today an awesome guest blog from the author, Katie Dale - A Fact or Fiction post!

__________


A lot of things that have happened in my life have somehow made their way into my debut novel, Someone Else's Life. But can you guess which ones... ?


Which of these statements do you think are FACTS and which are pure FICTION... ?


Answers below - no peeking!

1) Just like Rosie in Someone Else’s Life, my mum made me a gingerbread house birthday cake when I was little.
2) The incident where Trudie blew up a pressure cooker and had to scrape mashed potato off the ceiling actually happened to me!
3) Just like Rosie, I used to live in Bramberley, in Sussex.
4) Just like Kitty, I trained as an actress and played Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
5) There really is a Woody’s Plaice in Provincetown, New England.
Katie Dale6) Holly Woods in Someone Else’s Life is named after my daughter.
7) I’d never heard of Huntington’s disease before I wrote Someone Else’s Life.
8) There is a Christmas tree made from lobster-pots in Provincetown.
9) Just like Kitty in Someone Else’s Life I lost my two front teeth just before playing Mary in the church nativity.
10) In Someone Else’s Life Rosie’s mother was a children’s book illustrator – so is mine!

__________

So have you decided which ones you think are fact and which ones are fiction? Read on to find the answers! 
__________


1) FACT! It was absolutely amazing, and the best birthday cake ever!

(Adorable! ;D )

2) FACT! I was staying with some friends in Australia and wanted to thank them for having me to stay by cooking them a meal. But when I tried to boil the potatoes I used what I thought was a saucepan – but it turned out to be a pressure-cooker! I really struggled to get the lid off, and when it finally did – BOOM! Mashed potato everywhere!
3) Partly Factual... Bramberley doesn’t actually exist, but I made it up out of the names of two pretty villages near where I lived in West Sussex – Bramber and Amberley.
4) Partly Factual... I did train as an actress – I went to Mountview drama school after university – but I have never played Titania. I did spend a summer playing Juliet in an open-air production of Romeo and Juliet though – and it RAINED! Brr!
5) FICTION. There are some great fish restaurants in Provincetown, but no Woody’s – as yet…
6) FICTION. I don’t have a daughter. But my other half’s surname is Woods so technically I could have a daughter called Holly Woods someday!
7) FACT! I only discovered it after I started writing. I knew I wanted to write about a girl who’d been switched at birth but I needed a compelling reason for her to find out about the switch. So I started researching genetic illnesses and came across Huntington’s disease – a fatal degenerative neural condition, with symptoms including memory loss, uncontrollable jerky movements, and loss of motor skills, which only affects people in later life, and children whose parents have it have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting it and can take a test when they’re 18.
This got me thinking – would I want to know? It’d be wonderful to get the all-clear, but if it was positive you’d always know what your future held in store. Would I really want to know?
Would you?
Huntington’s disease consequently became a much bigger part of my story, and part of the proceeds from the book are being donated to help people affected by Huntington’s.
8) FACT! Every year, local fisherman Julian Popko and his family erect the massive tree from lobster pots and red bows and plastic lobsters – crazy!



9) FACT! I was totally gutted. I had wanted to play Mary in the nativity for YEARS (the acting bug bit early on!) but the role always went to the vicar’s daughter- then one year they finally picked me! Then my teeth fell out and it showed in all the pictures. GUTTED.
10) FICTION. My mum is a children’s book author, though, and inspired my love of books from an early age, and is still the first person I show all my writing to. :)
__________

Thanks very much Katie - that was great!
I hope you all enjoyed this post, and that if you haven't read Someone Else's Life yet, you definitely want to now! You can read my review here, and visit the other stops on the blog tour as they are posted here:

1st Febraury - Book Angel Booktopia
4th February - A Reading Daydreamer
6th February - Cheezyfeet Books
8th February - Readaraptor
9th February - Juniper's Jungle
11th February - Heaven Hell and Purgatory Book Reviews
13th February - SisterSpooky
15th February - Thoughts from the Hearthfire
16th February - Ink Scratchers
17th February - The Cait Files


You can also read a short sneek peak here!

Useful links:
Twitter: @katiedaleuk
Facebook:  Katie Dale | Someone Else's Life

Someone Else's Life is published by Simon and Schuster UK on February 2nd 2012, and by Delacorte Press USA and Doubleday Canada on February 14th.

Buy the book: UK | US | Canada | The Book Depository

And finally, here's the awesome trailer for this awesome book!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Book Review: Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

Someone Else's Life
Title: Someone Else's Life 
Author: Katie Dale
Series: Standalone
Pages: 478
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date of Publication: 2nd February 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all... Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own - one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all...

My Thoughts:
Someone Else's Life was a huge surprise for me. I'd heard next to nothing about it from other bloggers, and I didn't really have any sky-high expectations for it - not because I didn't think it would be good, but because I just didn't really know all that much about it, just that I thought the plot sounded pretty interesting, and I've been trying to read less well-known books in an effort to try and get more people to read them. I know I don't have the biggest readership, but I like to think that I can at least make a difference to a couple of people... ;) Anyway, Someone Else's Life really surprised me, in a bloody good way. I LOVED it.

I really loved the idea behind the story. I thought the way in which Rosie and Holly were switched at birth and no one noticed or knew was awesome - I'd never really thought about it before - I just assumed that you would know if the baby you are holding in your arms is your own or not, but of course, having never seen if before, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference if your baby was switched with someone else's. It intrigued me and got me thinking about all the consequences of this switch, even before I found out more about the Huntington's disease around which the story is based. So right from the very start, I was hooked.


I really liked Rosie. I felt she dealt with things very realistically and very calmly, and she just seemed like a very nice person. She wasn't exactly remarkable in any way, but I think that was one of the reasons I liked her so much. She was just a normal person who just happened to be in a very unusual circumstance.

Holly was great too. She was a bit more angsty, more like a teenager, and she was really going through a whole lot (what with her pregnancy and her 50 percent chance of having Huntington's, etc) and I felt all her emotions were excellently written.

While the plot didn't hold too many surprises, I just couldn't stop reading. Something would happen, that led to something else happening, both bad and good, and I ended up reading the last half all in one sitting (almost 250 pages) on a Saturday night when I should have been sleeping. I needed to know what would happen to Rosie and Holly, and whether they would ever get along, or whether they would never see each other again. The more I read, the more I needed to know - there were so many questions flying around my brain that I needed answers to.

Overall, I thought Someone Else's Life was brilliant. Definitely one of my favourite reads of this year. I recommend it to all fans of YA contemporary fiction, and I think Katie Dale is a welcome addition to the genre - I can't wait to read anything else she writes for young adults!

*Thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

My Rating:
I give it 5 Feet!

Challenges:
2012 British Books Challenge

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

New Releases in February 2012

Here are all (I say all, I mean, as many as I can find... ;P ) the awesome new YA releases coming out this month! If I've missed any, let me know in the comments!

The Boy on Cinnamon Street  The Other Life  Pure (Pure, #1)

The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone (1st February 2012, Arthur A. Levine)
The Other Life by Susane Winnacker (1st February 2012, Usborne)
Pure by Julianna Baggot (2nd February 2012, Headline)

Daylight Saving  Someone Else's Life  Hollow Pike

Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan (2nd February 2012, Walker Books)
Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale (2nd February 2012, Simon and Schuster Children's Books)
Hollow Pike by James Dawson (2nd February 2012, Indigo)

Advent  To Be A Cat  This is Not Forgiveness

Advent by James Treadwell (2nd February 2012, Hodder and Stoughton)
To Be A Cat by Matt Haig (2nd February 2012, Bodley Head)
This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees (2nd February 2012, Bloomsbury)

The Brides of Rollrock Island  Everneath (Everneath, #1)  After the Snow

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan (2nd February 2012, David Fickling Books)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (2nd February 2012, Simon Pulse)
After the Snow by S. D. Crockett (2nd February 2012, Macmillan)

Kiss, Date, Love, Hate  Fallen in Love (Fallen, #3.5)  Legend (Legend, #1)

Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja (2nd February 2012, Corgi Children's)
Fallen In Love by Lauren Kate (2nd February 2012, Doubleday)
Legend by Marie Lu (2nd February 2012, Puffin)

The Catastrophic History of You and Me  The Wood Queen (The Iron Witch, #2)  Divergent (Divergent, #1)

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenburg (2nd February 2012, Puffin)
The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney (2nd February 2012, Random House Children's Books)
Divergent by Veronica Roth (2nd February 2012, HarperCollins)

A Beautiful Evil (Gods & Monsters, #2)  Dead to You  Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)

A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton (2nd February 2012, Simon Pulse)
Dead To You by Lisa McMann (7th February 2012, Simon Pulse)
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (7th February 2012, Putnam Juvenile)

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)  The Butterfly Clues  Scarlet

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (7th February 2012, ATOM)
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison (14th February 2012, EgmontUSA)
Scarlet by AC Gaughen (14th February 2012, Bloomsbury)

The Nightmare Garden (Iron Codex, #2)  The Disenchantments  Bloodrose (Nightshade #3)

The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge (14th February 2012, Delacorte BFYR)
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (16th February 2012, Dutton)
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer (21st February 2012, ATOM)

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)  Double  Partials (Partials, #1)

Fever by Lauren Destefano (21st February 2012, Harper Voyager)
Double by Jenny Valentine (21st February 2012, Disney-Hyperion)
Partials by Dan Wells (28th February 2012, HarperCollins)

When the Sea is Rising Red  Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries, #1)  Shooting Stars

When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellison (28th February 2012, Farrah, Strous and Giroux)
Undeadly by Michele Vail (28th February 2012, HarlequinTEEN)
Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby (28th February 2012, Walker Books)

Bzrk  A Touch Morbid (A Touch Trilogy, #2)

BZRK by Michael Grant (28th February 2012, Egmont)
A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford (28th February 2012, Greenwillow) 
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