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

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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!

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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. 

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