Monday, 18 November 2013

Book Review: Cruel Summer by James Dawson

Cruel SummerTitle: Cruel Summer
Author: James Dawson
Series: Standalone
Pages: 324
Publisher: Indigo
Date of Publication: 1st August, 2013
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: A year after Janey’s suicide, her friends reunite at a remote Spanish villa, desperate to put the past behind them. However, an unwelcome guest arrives claiming to have evidence that Jane was murdered. When she is found floating in the pool, it becomes clear one of them is a killer. Only one thing is for certain, surviving this holiday is going to be murder…

A compelling and psychological thriller - with a dash of romance.


My Thoughts:
I had high hopes for Cruel Summer after reading all the glowing reviews and also after reading and loving James' first novel, Hollow Pike, last year. I am delighted to say that Cruel Summer surpassed those expectations and I think I liked it even better than Hollow Pike.

Before reading, I'd heard that the story was told like a TV series and that it was a little confusing and difficult to get used to. I just want to emphasise that this was not the case for me, at all. Apart from the chapter titles and a few flashbacks, it read no differently to a 'normal' book. Even during Ryan's narrative it didn't read much like a TV show screenplay, as I kind of expected it to, it just seemed like he was fantasising that he was living in a TV show which is exactly what he was doing. So don't let that put you off!

On the whole, I really liked all of the characters (with the exception of Greg, perhaps). At first I found Ryan's narrative to be a little annoying and fake. Some of the things he says are so cliche and over the top that I couldn't take him seriously, although I did get over it pretty quickly once I just accepted him and it didn't bother me again. I still think that his treating Janey's death like just another twist in his imaginary TV show, centred around himself, to be a little inappropriate though... I really liked Alisha and her determination and dedication to turning her life around after her disastrous first try at Year 13. Ben was cool, Greg was a bit of a dick and Katie was really nice, if perhaps a little boring. I've purposely given my thoughts on the characters that I had before I found out who the killer was, so as not to give anything away. Make of that what you will, but I'm telling you nothing!

I really enjoyed the plot. It was so twisty! I haven't read a book with that many twists and turns that hasn't confused me completely for such a long time. It was great fun to read and to keep guessing who the killer was, and every time I thought I knew who it was, something significant would happen that would make me doubt myself. By the end of the book I'd suspected all of them for some reason or another, but I couldn't have guessed who the killer was and why they did what they did. It was brilliant and it all fit together so well. I kind of feel a little bit like I shouldn't have liked the final scene, but I really really did and it was definitely the best part of the novel. It was suspenseful yet fast paced and by that point I was so involved with the characters that I could not stop reading until I had turned the last page. It was epic.

I absolutely loved Cruel Summer and I definitely recommend that you give it a read! Perhaps not one for bedtime (I considered stopping reading more than once whenever I read it before I went to sleep - it's quite scary!), it is a fast paced thriller guaranteed to keep you enthralled until the very last page.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Book Review: Zom-B Baby by Darren Shan

Zom-B Baby (Zom-B, #5)Title: Zom-B Baby
Author: Darren Shan
Series:  Zom-B, #5
Pages:  215
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Date of Publication: 26th September 2013
Source: For review from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: B has spent the last few months bunking with the Angels, a group of teens dedicated to eradicating the evil dead from the face of the earth, beginning with the undead roaming the abandoned wreckage that was once London. But the Angels' mission is a bit more complicated than that, and B takes to the streets of a very changed London to decide: is it a mission really to be believed? But instead of answers, B finds a horror beyond imagining.


My Thoughts:
I think that Zom-B Baby is my favourite so far of the Zom-B series. I was so excited to read it that as soon as it dropped through my letterbox I quickly finished what I was reading so that I could get onto reading this. Sorry it's taken a little while to get my review out, but it's here now! I probably should get on with it...

We started to see B opening up a little more in Zom-B Angels, the previous book, and in Zom-B Baby she is even more open and you feel like you can really start to understand her as a character. Her loyalty and dedication to keeping the painter safe was admirable, even if was short lived. Everything that she did was very touching, and that is something that I never thought I would say about B Smith! It sounds kind of cheesy but I really like seeing her growing up and maturing, and I think that maybe she may even turn out to be a nice person one day :P

I really enjoyed the plot of this book, especially the London Eye scene. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see the characters doing something normal (or, something light hearted and for fun - for climbing up the London Eye is hardly normal) just to show that it's not all doom and gloom! I also think it was important to have that scene because the rest of the book's quite disturbing.

Disturbing. It's the best word I can think of to describe the zombie baby that the book is titled after. It's a mystery that I'm really looking forward to finding out more about later on in the series, and also it's just such a strange creature! It's like something out of Doctor Who, something more alien than zombie, so it'll be great to find out what the explanation for it is.

Overall, Zom-B Baby was a fantastic addition to the series and I'm sure that if you've been following the series you will think so too. And even if you haven't, you should definitely catch up quick, because it is definitely not a series to be missed and even more so as each book comes out.


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

Friday, 1 November 2013

October 2013 Wrap-Up

Hey everybody! Welcome to my wrap-up for October! Here are the books I read this month:

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)  Zom-B Baby (Zom-B, #5)  Fearsome Dreamer (Fearsome Dreamer, #1)

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (reread)
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (reread)
3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (reread)
4. She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
5. Zom-B Angels by Darren Shan (reread)
6. Zom-B Baby by Darren Shan
7. Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve
8. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (for school)

I started off this month with a reread of The Hunger Games series, as I thought it would be a good idea to reread Catching Fire at least before seeing the film which comes out in THREE WEEKS!! Very exciting indeed. Of course, they were great, just as they were last time I read them :) Then, on 17th October it was my birthday and I received She Is Not Invisible from my parents, and so I read that as quickly as I could and really, really enjoyed it. Then I reread Zom-B Angels so that I could review it before reading Zom-B Baby, and I thoroughly enjoyed them both, and I definitely recommend that series if you haven't already read them! Fearsome Dreamer started slowly but in the end was a really great read and a solid debut.

My favourite of this month was...

SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE by Marcus Sedgwick

She Is Not Invisible

It's exceptionally good, and you should all read it! For more information you can read my review here.

'Like' CHEEZYFEET BOOKS on Facebook!


So I finally decided to make a Facebook page for my blog! Please like it, it only has 9 likes... I'll be posting my blog posts on there, as well as current reads, and anything else interesting that I find. It'll be fun! You can like by going here.

REVIEWS AND POSTS
I'm a lot happier with the number of reviews I posted this month. Even though it's still not loads, it's a lot better compared to the last few months!

Weirdos Vs Quimboids by Natasha Desborough
Zom-B Angels by Darren Shan
She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve

I also posted one Top Ten Tuesday which you should definitely check out.


In November I'm looking forward to reading...

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)  Panic  Antigoddess (Goddess War, #1)

And finally here are some new releases to look forward to in November!

After Eden (After Eden, #1)  The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)  The Midnight Dress
Champion (Legend, #3)  Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)
What did you read in October?
What are you looking forward to reading in November?
Any new releases you're looking forward to in November?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Book Review: Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve

Fearsome Dreamer (Fearsome Dreamer, #1)
Title: Fearsome Dreamer
Author: Laure Eve
Series:  Fearsome Dreamer, #1
Pages:  357
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date of Publication: 3rd October 2013
Source: From publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: There is a world where gods you’ve never heard of have wound themselves into hearts, and choice has led its history down a different path.

This is a world where France made a small, downtrodden island called England part of its vast and bloated empire.

There are people here who can cross a thousand miles with their minds. There are rarer people still who can move between continents in the blink of an eye.

These people are dangerous.

And wanted. Desperately wanted.

Apprentice hedgewitch Vela Rue knows that she is destined for more. She knows being whisked off from a dull country life to a city full of mystery and intrigue is meant to be. She knows she has something her government wants, a talent so rare and precious and new that they will do anything to train her in it.

But she doesn’t know that she is being lied to. She doesn’t know that the man teaching her about her talent is becoming obsessed by her, and considered by some to be the most dangerous man alive ...


My Thoughts:
I was so excited to start Fearsome Dreamer, as I'd heard so much great hype about it that it promised to be a good read. It's very imaginative and original and overall is a very enjoyable read, and I definitely recommend it!

It took a little while to get started and it also took me some time to really understand and get to grips with the world they lived in and all the different places and cultures, etc. I think there needed to be a little bit more world building, and while I know sometimes that can be a bit tedious and it isn't everyone's cup of tea, I do think it was necessary just to help the story begin to get going a little earlier, or to at least speed it up a little.

However, saying that, I did read it very quickly after about 100 pages, and I'd find myself having read for an hour and a half after what only seemed like twenty minutes, so that's always nice. Once I'd got to the second half though, which was when the story really picked up, with all the narratives coming together into one storyline, I raced through and read the rest in what would have been one sitting, if Strictly Come Dancing hadn't inconveniently come along and interrupted me :P

The story is told from three different perspectives, although it is written in third person which I think was done very effectively. Sometimes I think that dual narratives can be a bit disjointed and irrelevant when written in third person, but not in Fearsome Dreamer. Rue is a Talented apprentice hedgewitch living in Angle Tar, who leaps at the chance to get away and do something different - learn to use her Talent. White is extremely Talented, perhaps the most powerful Talented in the world, and Frith is a recruiter of the Talented to train them to fight against the thing that is coming to destroy the Castle. (This probably doesn't make much sense if you've not read it, but just run with it.) I liked Rue best, and yes, it's probably because she's a teenage (I think, anyway!) girl and she was the one I could understand and relate to the most. That's not to say that I didn't like White though, because I did, and Frith was cool but his narrative was a little confusing (this was where more world building was needed).

The overall plot was great and especially I loved reading about the university they're at and about the lessons with White, and it was great to learn about the Talent along with Rue. My favourite scene had to be the ball though - it was so beautiful... Aww. *sigh* The ideas behind the novel are very original and imaginative and I think that as the book went on, the pacing really evened out too and by the end it was paced brilliantly and the plot was engaging to read. It doesn't end on a massive cliffhanger either which is a bonus, although there is a preview of the next book in the series which does leave you in the middle of a scene wanting more, I'll not lie.

Overall, I definitely recommend that you read Fearsome Dreamer as soon as you can. Although the beginning does perhaps leave just a little to be desired, Laure Eve's writing is excellent and more than makes up for anything missing plot wise. If you're looking for a young adult novel with a fresh new voice and original plot line, look no further, as Fearsome Dreamer is the one for you.



*Huge thanks to Hot Key Books for providing me with a copy of Fearsome Dreamer in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Book Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

She Is Not InvisibleTitle: She Is Not Invisible
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series:  ~
Pages:  354
Publisher: Indigo
Date of Publication: 3rd October 2013
Source: Birthday gift
Synopsis from Goodreads: Laureth Peak's father is a writer. For years he's been trying, and failing, to write a novel about coincidence. His wife thinks he's obsessed, Laureth thinks he's on the verge of a breakdown.He's supposed to be doing research in Austria, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong.

On impulse she steals her mother's credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her. Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old. Because Laureth Peak is blind.


My Thoughts:
Before She Is Not Invisible, I'd never read a Marcus Sedgwick book, although I have met him and have heard so many great things about his books. I don't know why - I guess I've always just had so many books that I've never got around to it. Anyway, after She Is Not Invisible I shall definitely be making an effort to read more of Marcus Sedgwick's books because I really, really enjoyed it.

The book is about a girl called Laureth who drags her little brother off to New York to find her father, whom she believes to be missing. Just that sounded interesting, but then you find out that Laureth is actually blind, and that makes it even more so. I must admit I know very little about blind people and I don't think I've ever really had any experience with them. Because of this I really had no idea what to expect with the book, but that just made it all the more exciting.

I think that Marcus Sedgwick does a really great job of writing about Laureth's blindness, and in such a way that I feel like I understand much more now about what it's like to be blind. I'd always imagined that it's awful and I'm sure that if I were to lose my sight I would find it super difficult and probably wouldn't ever get over it. Laureth, however, is strong and determined, and she doesn't let her lack of sight get to her. She isn't embarrassed about it (not that it's something to be embarrassed about, but I imagine I probably would be if I were blind) and she's very brave, and I admired her greatly for it.

The book is also about coincidence, and the number 354. Feels like a kind of random combination, but Marcus Sedgwick wrote the book in such a way that it works completely and I didn't question it once. All the talk of coincidence made me really consider whether or not I believe that coincidences happen or whether everything happens for a reason, and to be honest I'm still not really sure. The number 354 is also woven into the story seemingly effortlessly and I loved seeing both the obvious and the obscure references to the number (it's very satisfying when you find an obscure one!).

Overall, She Is Not Invisible is a really great book that I heartily recommend to all of you, no matter what type of books you like. It's very original and I now totally understand why Marcus Sedgwick is such a popular writer. I'll definitely be eagerly checking out all of his other young adult titles and I'm sure that I shall be recommending this to everyone for a long time to come. This is not one to be missed!


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Book Review: Zom-B Angels by Darren Shan

Zom-B Angels (Zom-B, #4)Title: Zom-B Angels
Author: Darren Shan
Series:  Zom-B, #4
Pages:  239
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Date of Publication: 20th June 2013
Source: Publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: After spending the last few months wandering around London--a city filled with the dead--B Smith has given up hope for any sign of normal human existence. But then B finds strange signs all over the city--a "Z" plus red arrows. Following them, B finds The Angels-- a group gathered in the hopes of combating the evil dead and the forces that introduced them. But all is not as it seems and it's up to B to find out: what battle are they truly waging?


My Thoughts:
Zom-B Angels is the fourth book of the Zom-B series by Darren Shan. I really like this series, and I look forward to each book dropping through my letterbox every few months (another great thing - it's only every few months, rather than a whole year in between books! Anyway...) because it means I can get to read more of B's addictive story.

One of the best things about these books is that there's a very brief recap of the previous books at the beginning which makes it possible to get the story going super quickly. I know that I've said this before in reviews of this series but seriously it is so great and ALL BOOKS should have them. It makes life so much easier! Anyway. Right from the start we get to learn the truth about what it means to be a zom head, or an Angel, as new character Dr Oystein prefers to call them, which means that the action can start immediately and there's no boring build up, recapping things that we already know.

I liked reading about the sort of safe house that Dr Oystein set up. It was nice to read about B interacting and getting on with other revitaliseds and I especially liked the twins. I really liked how protective and defensive of them B was to the older revitaliseds, and she stuck up for them, which was great because she has seemed rather hard and ruthless in previous books (although it's understandable in her situation) but it still was really good to see her come out of her shell, even if it was just a little bit. I also really liked learning all about the revitaliseds and the extent of their abilities and lifestyles. I may have said before but I've never really read about conscious zombies, so it was great to learn more about them.

What stood out to me most about this book was the really unexpected twist at the end, and the explanation that is given for why this zombie apocalypse has happened. At first I wasn't sure about it and didn't really believe or even like it, but now having reread it a couple times it makes sense and I think it can work. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where Darren Shan takes it in the next few books! I won't say anything else so I don't spoil anything, but it was definitely unpredictable!

Overall I think that Zom-B Angels was a great addition to the Zom-B series and I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book, Zom-B Baby. I definitely recommend that you start this series if you haven't already and despite their kind of morbid subject - a zombie apocalypse - they are great fun and very quick reads, and if you read them at the rate I devoured them, I'm sure it won't take you too long to catch up.

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

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Character Names That I Loved

Hey everyone! I'll be back with a review in the next couple of days hopefully but today I thought the Top Ten Tuesday topic was fun so I'm taking part! Here are my Top Ten Character Names That I Loved!


1. Cricket Bell. Right, so he's from Lola and the Boy Next Door and at first I hated his name and thought it was stupid - I mean who would think Cricket was a good name? But as the book went on and he got more adorable, the name completely suited him and although I still think it's weird, it kinda fits and I actually really like it!

2. Plutarch Heavensbee. He's from Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and I just think his name is great! I love how there are so many names of Greek (Plutarch) and Latin (Caesar, Seneca) origin in The Hunger Games trilogy, but Plutarch Heavensbee was my favourite, I think.

3. Laureth Peak. I've just finished She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick and I laughed at how she was named this. Also her little brother's raven, Stan, too.

4. Blossom Uxley-Michaels and Petrina-Ola Olsen. I've put these two together because they're from the same book, Weirdos Vs Quimboids by Natasha Desborough, and because I love them for the same reason - just look at their initials! ;)

5. Bennett Cooper. I don't know why but I just loved that he was called Bennett. Time Between Us is also an adorable book and I kind of fell in love with Bennett so perhaps that has something to do with it...

6. Pippi Longstocking. Her name is just the best :P

7. Augustus Waters. It's a good name, that one! Again of Latin origin, which makes it even more awesome. I love Latin!

8. Aurora "Rory" Deveaux. Rory is the main character of The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson, and although I generally think of Rory as a boys' name, I do really like it. Also the name Aurora is really pretty and reminds me of one of my favourite characters in Animal Crossing, so it's a pretty good name I think :P

9. Etienne St. Clair. It's just such a good name.

I can't think of a tenth name that I particularly liked so I'll leave it at nine. On the whole I like most character names, unless I don't know how to pronounce them in which case they're just annoying. On the other hand there are a few names I can think of that I really hate but for fearing of insulting people I won't share them :P Thanks to Broke and Bookish for hosting Top Ten Tuesday!

What are your favourite character names?
Are there any character names that you really don't like?
If you could rename a character, who would you rename and what would you change their name to?

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Book Review: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle

Vivian Versus The ApocalypseTitle: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse
Author: Katie Coyle
Series:  ~
Pages:  288
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date of Publication:  5th September, 2013
Source: For review from publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-­year-­old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated 'Rapture' -­ or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church's thrall for too long, and she's looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed 'Rapture', her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling...

Viv is determined to carry on as normal, but when she starts to suspect that her parents might still be alive, she realises she must uncover the truth. Joined by Peter, a boy claiming to know the real whereabouts of the Church, and Edie, a heavily pregnant Believer who has been 'left behind', they embark on a road trip across America. Encountering freak weather, roving 'Believer' gangs and a strange teenage group calling themselves the 'New Orphans', Viv soon begins to realise that the Rapture was just the beginning.


My Thoughts:
Vivian Versus The Apocalypse was one of the two winners of the Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize 2012. It sounded so different to anything I'd read before, or even heard about before, and I find books about faith really interesting (as long as they're not too preachy) so I couldn't really pass it up. I read it during my work experience and devoured it in just two train journeys, and I can definitely say that it was a very worthy winner of the Young Writers Prize. Definitely.

It's described as post-apocalyptic but while I was reading it, it didn't really feel like it was, if that makes sense... I mean, it is one, but I thought it was kind of pre-apocalyptic at the same time, if that's even a thing (I'm aware that that makes NO sense but hopefully it does sort of, if you've read it at least?) There was a lot of build up to the second 'Rapture', where all Believers are taken and everyone else is left to wither away on Earth. It sounds like it'd be really sort of preachy, and a little bit extreme, and it is extreme I guess but it definitely isn't preachy, if that makes sense. I just don't want people to see the whole Church of America thing and think eurgh, that'll be really preachy. It's not! :)

I thought the characters in Vivian Versus The Apocalypse were really great. I really loved Vivian and I loved watching her grow up and mature as a person as the book went on. At only 288 pages, it's not very long, but Vivian's character development does not seem rushed or unrealistic at all. She's forced into a difficult situation and to grow up very quickly and she kept her cool and was mostly sensible. I also really liked Viv's best friend Harp, even though I'm sure she'd be that one girl in school that I really can't stand... Sorry Harp! However, in the book as we get to know her it becomes blindingly obvious that she's so broken and so alone that I couldn't help but feel sad to read about her. She wasn't wimpish or anything though - I admired her strength despite everything that was going wrong for her. She had a few wobbles but ultimately she was there for Vivian and she held it together, and I really loved the emphasis on the importance of reliable and strong friendships throughout the book, because that's something that is so important to me.

The plot is definitely very thrilling - it's a page turner! I thought that the idea of the Church of America was really well thought out and it was written brilliantly and in such a way that I could believe that it could actually happen. I needed to keep reading to find out what actually happened to all the Believers - did they actually get taken, or did something else happen? And was the second Rapture actually going to happen? Oh it was so frustrating, not knowing, but I think Katie was absolutely right to keep the reader hanging on until almost the very end to find out what actually happened and what's going to happen next. I wasn't expecting the ending at all and it's impossible to predict, which of course always makes the most exciting stories!

Overall I really enjoyed Vivian Versus the Apocalypse and I cannot wait to read more of Katie Coyle's work in the future! I definitely recommend you check it out, especially if you're looking for a fresh take on young adult apocalyptic fiction.

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

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Book Review: Weirdos vs Quimboids by Natasha Desborough

Bella's Reading...Title: Weirdos vs Quimboids 
Author: Natasha Desborough
Series:  ~
Pages:  285
Publisher: Catnip Books
Date of Publication: 3rd October 2013
Source: Event
Synopsis: Blossom Uxley-Michaels and Petrina-Ola Olsen, aka Bumface and Poohead are the school Weirdos. Fiona Tittledown and Lucy Perkins are the Winners biggest quimboids and stupidest slangers.

All that's set to change when Blossom and Petrina start on the school radio station. Not only do they get to work with the coolest proper real time HOTTEST boys in school, but Blossom has big plans to book some special guest appearances international ROCK GOD JOSH RAVEN. Plus working on the radio is the perfect opportunity to launch their band,

Nina and the Norks
The Violent Amputees


CAMEL TOE!


My Thoughts:
I was lucky enough to attend the launch party for Weirdos vs Quimboids on Tuesday last week. I didn't know too much about the book before I went, just that it looked really funny and it had had a few really glowing reviews. So, I went along and had such a great time that as soon as I'd finished the book I was reading, I started Weirdos vs Quimboids, and I whizzed through it it a matter of hours.

The first thing to say about Weirdos vs Quimboids has to be that it is really funny. Like, laugh-out-loud-in-public funny. Some of the things that happen are so ridiculous and so silly that you can't help but snigger and cringe and at there were points that I was actually crying with laughter. With the two main characters being called Blossom Uxley-Michaels (initials BUM) and Petrina-Ola Olsen (initials POO) and their band called Camel Toe, it's impossible not to laugh! Brilliant.

I actually really liked Blossom. At first she got on my nerves a little bit because she was so obsessed with becoming popular and wanting to get Felix to notice her, but once I got used to her she really made me laugh and I could forgive her for being so obsessive. As she was the narrator of the story, her voice seemed very authentic and being a teenager myself it was really great to be able to relate to her and I can totally understand some of her problems, from experience... :P

The rest of the characters were really great and had awesome personalities that were so individual, so it felt like each character was fleshed out really well. Blossom's family especially were great, although I do feel like her father could have fought harder to fix the problems he had with his wife, if that makes sense? (It will if you read it :P) I did really like Breeze though, Blossom's sister, and I liked how individual she was, but especially how she was confident and liked being different. I really hate it when people are ashamed that they're not the same as everyone else, or because they have a little bit of individuality... Anyway. That's a rant for another day!

I also really enjoyed the plot. Blossom is trying to get Josh Raven, a mega star, to perform at her school disco while simultaneously trying to get the hottest guy at school to dump his 'quimboid' girlfriend and snog her. Every few chapters Blossom sends Josh Raven's manager or publicity team (I forget who she actually emailed) an email to ask him to play, and each time they get more and more desperate as the school disco approaches and Blossom's still had no reply. These were so funny and so ridiculous, and I can totally imagine an obsessed fangirl doing that. There was also the Dempsey dating agency thing, which was great and it really worked well. It was so fun to read about! I won't say much more though, to keep you intrigued!

Overall I actually enjoyed Weirdos vs Quimboids way more than I thought I would. I don't often find books hilarious but I genuinely thought this one was. Full of awkward dates, embarrassing parents, and frequent naked moon dances, there's definitely something in there to make everyone laugh and I would most definitely recommend it if you're looking for something light and funny to read to relax. When can I read the next one?!

*Huge thanks to Catnip for hosting the launch and for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Monday, 30 September 2013

September 2013 Monthly Wrap-Up

Hey everyone! How are you all? I'm doing well - I've settled into Sixth Form at school now and am really enjoying it - and also learning to balance school work with reading and blogging, hopefully! Here's what I've been reading this month!

Rules of Summer  Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2)  Weirdos vs Quimboids

1. Rules of Summer by Joanna Albin
2. Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
3. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
4. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
5. United We Spy by Ally Carter
6. Model Misfit by Holly Smale
7. Weirdos vs Quimboids by Natasha Desborough

As you can probably tell I really loved Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, and I read them all in order (ish - I had to read Dorian Gray in between books 4 and 5 for school - boo! and they didn't have them in the library so I had to wait for them).. Anyway, it was as in order as I could get them :P I really loved them and I think the series might be one of my favourites - and I'm thinking I will review it as a series soon, as that will be a little different from just a regular book review, which is always nice. I really enjoyed Model Misfit, although I think Geek Girl was just a little better - not to say that Model Misfit isn't worth reading because it definitely is! You can find a link to my review below. I also went to the launch party for Weirdos vs Quimboids, and that was super awesome, and the book was really, really funny too. My review for that will be out later this week!

My book of the month was...

UNITED WE SPY by Ally Carter

United We Spy (Gallagher Girls, #6)

Such a great end to a brilliant series! I'm so sad that they're over for good now :(

Posts this month:
Blog tour post for Little White Lies by Katie Dale - it's a really fun post, you should check it out!
Review of Phoenix by SF Said
Review of Model Misfit by Holly Smale

Still very infrequent, I'm afraid! I'll try really hard next month!

In October, I'm thinking of having a NetGalley month because with the new Recommended Feedback to Approval Ratio being a percentage, I can tell that I need to up it. Although it's not as bad as I thought it would be, it's still below average and we can't be having that :P So, in October I'm looking forward to reading lots of NG titles, as well as some physical books too:

18006642  The Infinite Moment of Us  Fearsome Dreamer (Fearsome Dreamer, #1)

And here are some new releases to look forward to in October!

Goodbye, Rebel Blue  Skulk  Unbreakable (Legion, #1)
Allegiant (Divergent, #3)  Mortality Doctrine: The Eye of Minds  Teardrop (Teardrop Trilogy, #1)

What was your favourite book you read this month?
Did you read any you didn't enjoy?
What are you looking forward to reading in September?

Friday, 27 September 2013

Book Review: Model Misfit by Holly Smale

Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2)Title: Model Misfit
Author: Holly Smale
Series:  Geek Girl, #2
Pages:  356
Publisher: HarperCollins' Children's Books
Date of Publication: 26th September 2013
Source: Publishers, via NetGalley
Synopsis from Goodreads: “My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek.”

Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.

What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.

With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.

Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.

Can geek girl find her place on the other side of the world or is Harriet lost for good?


My Thoughts:
I was super excited to get started with reading Model Misfit so as soon as I could, I did. I absolutely loved Geek Girl and for once, I didn't have to wait a whole year to get the sequel! Model Misfit lived up to my expectations and I really, really enjoyed it.

The majority of Model Misfit is set in Japan, which was REALLY cool. I really want to go to Japan - I always have, but even more so now! Just the sound of Tokyo and the people and buildings, everything just sounds so different and amazing and it would be so cool to go there! I also liked how we got to read a little bit about the countryside of Japan, and that was awesome because just like Harriet I had never really considered that they would have a green countryside, although now that I think about it, of course they do! Hehe it's funny how you don't think of things until they're pointed out to you.

I really enjoyed the plot of the story, even if it was a little bit predictable. I had my doubts about some things as the book was going along and I had a few little annoyances, but at the end you find out why those things happened (sorry to be so cryptic but I don't want to spoil you!) and it suddenly all made sense and I could forgive the certain characters that I didn't want to forgive before the end. I really hope that made some sense to you! The only thing I would have liked was possibly a little more variation in the places that Harriet went to model - as I said I did love reading about Japan but one of the things that I loved about Geek Girl was reading about all the cool places that she went to model, instead of just the one place. I'm only nit-picking though!

My favourite thing about Model Misfit was probably Rin. She was so sweet and cute, and her attempts at speaking English were so funny and really made me laugh out loud, for example when she tells Harriet about a letter that came in the post for her, but she calls it an "alphabet". There are others too which have escaped me now, but trust me when I say she will make you laugh. I want to be her friend! She's just so silly and loveable :D

Just as in Geek Girl I really enjoyed reading about all of Harriet's modelling shoots - the costumes, the scenery, and even all her mistakes. The shoots were just so wacky and I loved imagining what she would look like surrounded by fish, or stuck in a glass box. Sometimes I found them a little unbelievable, but all you have to do is flick through a fashion magazine and you realise that some of the shoots, poses and costumes that actually take place are so peculiar that anything seems normal. The world of fashion is so weird... Aaaanyway.

Overall I really enjoyed reading Model Misfit and I definitely think it's a worthy follow up to Geek Girl. It was full of everything I loved from the first book, as well as new characters and a new setting that worked so well. I'm not sure whether there is going to be a third book but I really hope that there will be - I haven't read enough about Harriet's world yet! If you've not started the series, I definitely recommend that you do, as you're missing out!

*Huge thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for allowing me access to this title for the purpose of an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale

Hey everyone! Sorry I've not been posting much, again... Anyway, today I've got another awesome guest post from Katie Dale to celebrate her new book, Little White Lies!

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LITTLE WHITE LIES
Gorgeous Christian is a mystery. Why does he dye his hair, clam up whenever Lou asks about his past, and have no family photos?
But when Christian’s secret is publicly revealed, Lou finds herself in terrible danger – and keeping secrets of her own…

As lie follows lie, nothing is as it seems, and soon Lou finds herself ensnared in a web of deceit, her loyalties torn, her emotions in tatters as she faces a heart-wrenching dilemma: should she shatter the lives of those she holds dearest, or betray the guy who, against all odds, she's fallen in love with?

LITTLE WHITE LIES by Katie Dale
Published by Simon & Schuster UK August 2013
Website: katiedaleuk.blogspot.com
Twitter: @katiedaleuk

__________

A lot of things that have happened in my life have somehow made their way into my novel, Little White Lies. 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 Lou, I studied English Literature at Sheffield University.
2) Like Lou, I met my now-boyfriend at university – by spilling coffee all down him!
3) My boyfriend is also called Christian.
4) Like Lou and Kenny I went to boarding-school for sixth form college.
5) Like Lou and Christian, I have a fake ID.
6) Like Poppy, I own a Maple-leaf shaped USB necklace.
7) Like Poppy, I once started knitting a cardigan for a baby and it ended up way too big!
8) Like Lou, I used to go jogging every day before lectures to check out the hot guys.
9) Like Lou and Christian, I once snuck out of a window on a rope made of tied-together sheets.
10) Like Lou, the first time I rode on the back of a motorbike I nearly fell off!



____________________


1) FACT! – English Lit was always my favourite subject, but when I started at Sheffield uni I was shocked both at how ridiculously hilly it is, and at how far away it was from my home in Sussex – geography’s never been my strong subject!

2) Partly factual – I did meet my now-boyfriend at Sheffield uni, but not by spilling coffee down him – we got talking because he had Tigger slippers and I had Tigger pyjamas (though actually I’d borrowed them from my sister!).

3) Almost factual! – My boyfriend is called Christopher, not Christian – so they’re both Chris for short!

4) FACT! – My dad’s a biology teacher at a boarding-school, so after I won a scholarship I went there for
sixth form college as a day girl. Like Lou, I found it both wonderful and frustrating – there are no secrets at a boarding-school as gossip spreads like wildfire!

5) FACT! – When we went to Thailand both me and my boyfriend thought it’d be fun to get fake IDs on Khoa San Road – they’re incredibly realistic!

6) FACT! – It’s brilliant. When I do author visits I just store all my data on my necklace and plug it into a computer when needed – stylish and useful. Plus if it’s round my neck I’m much less likely to lose it!

7) FACT! – I spent AGES following a pattern and knitting this little cardigan for my new baby niece, but the stitches turned out way too big and so the garment ended up ENORMOUS. I was totally gutted as I’d spent hours working on it. But on the plus side it does now fit my huge teddy-bear. :)

8) FICTION! – The LAST thing I’d ever have the willpower to do is to go jogging before lectures. Morning + jogging = ugh! Worst combo ever. I did enjoy checking out the hot guys on my way to lectures though. :)

9) FICTION! – though I’d LOVE for it to be true! Whenever I read about it in Enid Blyton stories I always dreamed of escaping down a knotted rope. Though knowing my knots it wouldn't hold at all and I’d tumble to the floor. I did once sneak out of my boarding-house window though…(ground floor).

10) FACT! – The first time I rode on the back of a bike was for a film audition and I didn’t know the guy (the director) driving the bike, so like Lou, I held on really loosely – and nearly landed on my bottom on the road when the bike roared off!

__________

How many did you get right? I got about 6 right in the end, I think :) 

Here's a little bit about Katie Dale:


KATIE DALE
An actress as well as an author, Katie loves nothing more than creating characters - both on page and onstage. She kept her parents happy by getting a “proper degree” in English Literature at Sheffield University, before finally going to drama school, then whilst she was on a belated gap year travelling through South-East Asia she found out she’d been chosen as a winner of the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices competition with the her first novel, the emotional rollercoaster SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE, which launched her writing career, and is now published all over the world. LITTLE WHITE LIES, her second novel, has just as many twists and turns, but is more of a thriller...
Website: katiedaleuk.blogspot.com
Twitter: @katiedaleuk

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Thanks so much to Katie for this post! It was so much fun :) Little White Lies is out now so you should definitely go and grab yourself a copy! 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Book Review: Phoenix by SF Said

PhoenixTitle: Phoenix
Author: SF Said
Illustrator: Dave McKean
Series: Standalone
Pages: 496
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Date of Publication: 1st August, 2013
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads:
THE SUPERNOVA IS COMING . . . ONE BOY ALONE CAN SAVE THE GALAXY!

Lucky thinks he's an ordinary Human boy. But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing - and wakes to find an uncontrollable power rising inside him.

Now he's on the run, racing through space, searching for answers. In a galaxy at war, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies, the only people who can help him are an Alien starship crew - and an Alien warrior girl, with neon needles in her hair.

Together, they must find a way to save the galaxy. For Lucky is not the only one in danger. His destiny and the fate of the universe are connected in the most explosive way . . .


My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Phoenix and I thought it was great. I didn't know too much about it until it dropped through my letterbox, but I knew that as soon as it did I would have to read it, especially after seeing the brilliant trailer and reading the synopsis, which really intrigued me.

I don’t often read space books, so I was both excited and apprehensive to read it. I was excited because it was something new, something that I’d never really experienced before, and I was looking forward to it. I was apprehensive because there's a reason I don’t read too many space books – because the few I have read have been a bit hit and miss (mostly miss, to be honest!). But, I’m happy to say that Phoenix is definitely a hit for me.

The world created in Phoenix is so wonderfully imaginative, and so brilliantly written. I got lost in the stars within only a few minutes of reading. I loved the concept of the singing stars being the centre of everything, and the universe was just such a pleasure to read about (even the bad bits like the Shadow Guards!). I especially loved any scene where Lucky was inside the astrolabe and flying through the sky.

The characters were fantastic. I especially loved the Axxa, and I really liked how they were so similar physically to humans, yet their lifestyle and culture is so hugely different. I felt sorry for them while they were attacked and hated by humans, and I was really glad that Lucky could overcome his ingrained hatred of them and that they could actually work together in the end and be happy doing so.

At first, I wasn't sure about the ending and didn't like it at all. I know that sounds harsh, but I was expecting (or maybe I was just really hoping for) something different. Now though, having reflected on the book a little and thinking about it, it seems like the best ending the story could have had and I’m happy that it ended that way. It just felt so right. And sorry if that doesn't make too much sense...

Anyhoo, I think you can tell that I liked it, a lot. I'm definitely recommending to all YA fans out there, especially if you'd like something fresh and intriguing. With fabulous world building, great characters and an exciting plot, there's a little something for everyone and it's definitely not one to be missed!

*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. 

Saturday, 31 August 2013

August 2013 Wrap-Up

Guys! I finally read lots of books this month! Hurrah! :D That's a first in a VERY long time. Here's my wrap-up of my bookish month of August!

The Lucy Variations  Adorkable  Phoenix
You should definitely read these books!


1. The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
2. Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur
3. Adorkable by Sarra Manning
4. Butterfly Summer by Anne-Marie Conway
5. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (DNF)
6. I'd Tell You I Loved You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
7. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
8. Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem
9. Backward Glass by David Lomax (DNF)
10. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
11. Phoenix by SF Said
12. Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter

I had two DNFs this month - I've decided that if I'm not really loving it, and I don't really care about the story that much, I'm not going to bother finishing it. There are so many other awesome books out there that I really want to read, so why waste time reading ones that I'm not enjoying? So, I gave up on The 5th Wave because everybody kept dying and it was bumming me out and I was on holiday and really didn't want to be bummed out on holiday. And Backward Glass was good but it was confusing time travel and there were several times when I had to go back and reread because I couldn't get my head around how things were happening, and in the end I just gave up.

My book of the month...

I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)

This book was so much fun! I loved it so much that I read the next one straight away and will definitely be reading books 4, 5 and 6 as soon as I can (I have them reserved for me in the library). I might review it, not sure yet!

MOVIE NEWS
Since there's been a lot of YA adaptation related news this month I thought I'd collect that all for you here. Have you guys seen The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie yet? I actually really liked it, and although it was nothing special it was a lot of fun. There have been a lot of mixed reviews though, so I'd like to hear your thoughts!

Also, there have been a couple of trailers released this month, one for the Vampire Academy movie, and one for the Divergent movie!



I think this looks awesome, definitely looking forward to Divergent!



This, however, I think leaves something to be desired... I'll still see it though, I'm sure.

What do you think? Lastly, The Fault In Our Stars movie, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, has started filming, yay! Cannot wait to see that one, although I'm kind of scared that it won't live up to the book, and also because I shall weep throughout the whole thing ;) Here's a video from the set.



Reviews posted this month (just one this month due to holidays!):

Soulmates by Holly Bourne

I'll definitely try to post some more in September!

Here's what I'm looking forward to reading next month:

Only The Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls, #4)  Stray  The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine, #1)

Some September releases for you to look forward to! I'll hopefully have reviews out for Vivian Versus the Apocalypse and The Rig in the next couple of weeks - but in the mean time they're both well worth the read!

SOULMATES  United We Spy (Gallagher Girls, #6)  Vivian Versus The Apocalypse
The Rig  Briar Rose  The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

What was your favourite book you read this month? 
Did you read any you didn't enjoy?
What are you looking forward to reading in September? 
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