My Catchphrases

Friday, 31 December 2010

Random Post: New Year Tradition

I thought since I shared our family traditions for Christmas Eve; I would do the same for New Years Eve.

Every year since we came back from our stint in America, we attend the matinee performance of the local pantomime.

This year it is:

It is one of those 'cheap' panto's with loads of audience participation that the girls enjoy at the moment. I am sure in a few years time they will find it all a bit immature - as many teenagers do [ : D ] But for now away we go.

We try to get there early and have lunch out. We take a large bag of snacks with us that the girls seem to enjoy and they are threatened not to ask for any of the tatt that is on sale in the foyer.

We book early so we can get front row seats. I hate it when people block the view of young children.

We stop off at the local pub for an hour on the way home, this being Mum and Dad's time. The previous landlords were really good with children and had little treats waiting for them.

Back at the house we put on party music and have a little disco along with a hot buffet.

The children are allowed to stay up a bit later, this year I think we will be adding a movie into our agenda.

Then we ship them all off to bed. Have a few quiet drinks, while trying to find something entertaining on TV. I generally fall asleep on the sofa, get woken up at midnight to go to bed, lol.

Do you have a particular routine you follow on New Years Eve.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Thursday Tunes: Festive Tunes

Just some of the girlies favourite Christmas songs [ : D ]

The big girls fave:

The Middle Girls fave:

The Little Ones fave:

J's fave:

The family fave:

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Random Post: Book Blogger Turns Secret Santa

I thought this was a lovely idea when I saw it on a few other blogs so I decided to sign up for it. I love sharing books and what a great time to pass on some truly awesome books than at Christmas. Due to money constraints I did have to stipulate that I could only post within my own country (UK).

Imagine my delight when I got the email telling me the person to send the goodies to was non other than my music buddy Pewter Wolf

Unfortunately as much as I wanted to go out and buy him the specific books he requested, I just couldn't afford to do it. If I get Vampire Academy or Angel then I will certainly pass them on to Andrew [ : D ]

This is what I sent him:

Finding Sky by Joss Sterling
Tithe by Holly Black
Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll
Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel

A Robot bookmark

A selection box

2 months free gift-card for Love-Film

Some Hunger Games Tattoos [ : D ]

This is what I got:

My Secret Santa was Kirsty from The Overflowing Library

She even sent me a wonderful card that made me cry. Thank you so much for the gifts, the friendship and actually listening when I complained about not having a nice pen [ : D ]

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Festive Trailers

I read this book to my children every christmas eve before they go to bed, so I had to share this video.

Plus my most favourite movie to watch at Christmas:

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Saturday Spotlight: MERRY CHRISTMAS

I hope Santa has been good to you all. I can't wait to see what books you have [ : D ]

Friday, 24 December 2010

Random Post: Getting Ready for Santa

I was just wondering if anyone else has family traditions that they like to do on Christmas Eve to get ready for Santa.

Since having the girlies obviously Christmas is centred around them. Here is what we like to do on Christmas Eve - plus I will tell you that this is the only night of the year that they actually ask to go to bed early, lol

We have Christmas songs playing on the stereo.

We have mainly snacks and nibbles to eat rather than a lot to eat in preparation for all the sweets and chocolate that Santa is bound to leave.

After tea we put on a Christmas movie.

Then we go outside and scatter the magic reindeer food in order to guide the sleigh to our house.

The girls have a bath (well you have to be clean for Santa)

We make hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows. Plus get Santa's snack ready - in our house as we like to be slightly different this consists of lager and crisps
[ : D ]

Then we snuggly up and read The Night Before Christmas.

Off to bed the girls go then J and I collapse in a heap in preparation for the early start tomorrow, lol.

So would you like to share what you do???

And I just had to include this:

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Thursday Tunes: Book Theme Songs #8 Mercy

Synopsis: From Amazon
An electric combination of angels, mystery and romance, MERCY is the first book in a major new paranormal series.

There's something very wrong with me. I can't remember who I am or how old I am, or even how I got here. All I know is that when I wake up, I could be any one. It is always this way.
There's nothing I can keep with me that will stay. It's made me adaptable.
I must always re-establish ties.
I must tread carefully or give myself away.
I must survive.
Mercy doesn't realise it yet, but as she journeys into the darkest places of the human soul, she discovers that she is one of the celestial host exiled with fallen angel, Lucifer. Now she must atone for taking his side. To find her own way back to heaven, Mercy must help a series of humans in crisis and keep the unwary from getting caught up in the games that angels play. Ultimately she must choose between her immortal companion, Lucifer, and a human boy who risks everything for her love.

Review here

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Review: Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney

Title: Bloodthirsty
Author: Flynn Meaney
Publisher: Poppy Books
Publication Date: 5 Oct 2010

Source: International Book Tours

Synopsis: From GoodReads
Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls. Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before--he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part. With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected. This hilarious debut novel is for anyone who believes that sometimes even nice guys-without sharp teeth or sparkly skin--can get the girl.

I would just like to say that I did read an ARC of this book and I hope the spelling errors were corrected in the final version. Some use of curse words but nothing too extreme and suited the characterisations and storyline.

Flynn Meaney manages to capture the essence of teen angst/neuroses in its purest form and yet turn it into something completely relatable and humorous.

Written in first person narrative from Finbar's (Finn's) perspective (yes really that is his name and also the cause of some series angst). At 16, Finn is a bit of a 'loser', he is so adorably geeky that I couldn't help but like him. Direct address to the reader gives the narrative an extra personal quality, my emotions were invested in whether Finn was happy/sad/angry. 

All of the characters are completely quirky and I think because of this they are very realistic, from the OCD cleaning Mum, the ADHD twin brother, the vampire obsessed goth, jocks and divas, so easy to imagine and relate their interactions. Weird and wonderful characterisations is the phrase I thought of when reading the book.

Finn is neurotic to the core providing some truly LOL moments. The realism portrayed alongside the parody of paranormal/fantasy stories worked really well together. Such an insightful look at today's pop culture and vampire/werewolf obsession, so easy to picture. The pop culture references were fantastic but did make me wonder how quickly the story would 'date'. The use of Shakespeare's Sonnets provided a lovely contrast to the pop culture.

Finn feels as if he has been living in his brothers shadow all of his life; due to his fathers promotion and subsequent move, for the first time in his life he will be going to a different school to his brother. The sibling comparisons and twin genealogy are touched upon within the narrative adding to the storyline. Finn takes this opportunity to invent a new persona for himself, without really realising that the persona he has created is more like the 'real' Finn than ever before in his life.

I think that everyone can relate to wanting to be someone else at one time or another; or even pretending to be something that we are not in order to fit in. I liked how by pretending to be something that he wasn't Finn actually found who he really was.

As his confidence grows Finn is able to view other people differently and I would say in a more positive way, becoming more sympathetic to others and a nicer person himself.

To sum up - a quick, light, nice and humorous read that appeals to both boys and girls. To twist a phrase - Geek Power [ : D ]

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Soul Mates

How much do I love the idea of soul-mates and reincarnation *swoon* so I thought I would find some awesome trailers to feed my love.

Synopsis: From Amazon
Haven Moore has always known she's different: there are the talents that can't be explained; the knowledge of places she's never been; and then there are the visions that overwhelm her - terrifying visions of a life that ended tragically two decades earlier and more than a thousand miles away in New York City. The citizens of Haven's rural, highly religious community, believe that she's been possessed by a demon. But this is no demon: it's reincarnation. Haven journeys all the way to Manhattan in search of clues about her past life and a decades-old murder. One wrong move could lead her into the clutches of the sinister villain at the center of a conspiracy much larger than she could have ever imagined. But if she makes the right choices, Haven will find the answers she's been seeking her entire life. This is an epic and thrilling romance set in the snake-handling churches of Appalachia, the dusty ruins of ancient Rome, and the grand mansions of Manhattan. The Eternal Ones tells the story of the first battle in a war between undying love and eternal evil.

Review here

Synopsis: From Amazon
Seventeen-year-old Ever is the sole survivor of a car crash that killed her entire family. Living with her aunt in Southern California, she's plagued by the ability to hear the thoughts of those around her, and haunted by the ghost of her little sister. She tries to tune everyone out, shunning her old lifestyle as the pretty, popular cheerleader, but somehow she can't hide from Damen, the new guy at school. Stunningly handsome, clever and not a little bit intimidating, there's something about him that doesn't quite add up. Ever realises he's hiding something, but nothing could prepare her for the truth - especially when the truth involves past lives, murderous enemies, everlasting love and the secret of eternal youth . . .

Synopsis: From Amazon
In 'Secret Vampire', Poppy is dying. Her best friend, James can offer her eternal life - as a vampire. One kiss and she sees into his soul. But can she follow him into death ... and beyond?
In 'Daughters of Darkness', there are three sisters with a secret, on the run from their cruel and ruthless brother. Can their new human friend Mary Lynette resist the powerful charm of their brother -and save the sisters and herself from a deadly fate at the hands of a werewolf?
In 'Enchantress', Blaise is irresistible. She's lethal. She bewitches boys for sport. then she meets a boy who matters to her cousin. Thea. They become rivals in love. It's Thea's white magic against Blaise's black magic. They're both breaking the rules. But it's Thea who risks expulsion from the Night World ...

Synopsis: From Amazon
Daniel tells me that he’s always loved me. That I feel the same. That I always have.

Not just in this life, but in my last life, and all my lives before.
But I don’t remember him.
He says he is always searching for me. Always hoping that one day I will remember. But it is only he that carries the memory of our love.
I know that finding true love is never easy. Perhaps you have fought for it. Perhaps, like Daniel, you have endured the pain of it being unrequited.
But I hope your quest ends happily.
I hope you never have to face the heartbreak that inevitably awaits us.
This is our extraordinary, unforgettable story.

Review here

Monday, 20 December 2010

MG Monday: Review: My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray

Title: My So-Called Afterlife
Author: Tamsyn Murray
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Publication Date: 1 Feb 2010

Source: Own

Synopsis: From Amazon
"I knew it was time to move on when a tramp peed on my Uggs..." Meet Lucy Shaw. She's not your average fifteen year old - for a start, she's dead. And as if being a ghost wasn't bad enough, she's also trapped haunting the men's toilets on Carnaby Street. So when a lighting engineer called Jeremy walks in and she realises he can see and hear her, she isn't about to let him walk out of her afterlife. Not least until he's updated her on what's happening in her beloved soaps. With Jeremy's help, Lucy escapes the toilet and is soon meeting up with other ghosts, including the perpetually enraged Hep and the snogtastic Ryan. But when Jeremy suggests Lucy track down the man who murdered her, things go down hill. Can Lucy face up to the events of that terrible night? And what will it cost her if she does?

How can I explain that a story about a murdered girl whose spirit is trapped in a Men's toilet is captivating, heart-warming and hysterically funny. Would you believe me?

Written in first person narrative from Lucy's perspective, murdered on New Years Eve doomed to spend eternity haunting the place she was murdered which unfortunately happens to be the male toilets. Lucy has a wonderful snarky voice that I can relate to. Remember I told you sarcasm is my thing. Yet underneath it all you can feel her vulnerability and for want of a better expression 'heart of gold'.

The introduction of Jeremy as the only person who can 'see' Lucy provided a wonderful contrast of personality between the two of them. Lucy a fashion conscious teenager compared to Jeremy a dowdy geography teacher, conjured fabulous pictures in my imagination. Jeremy's initial shock is replaced by his overwhelming kindness and urge to help Lucy move on. The inclusion of the spiritualist church was well thought out and easy to picture; especially the crowd of ghosts trying to get messages to their loved ones.

The typical teenage behaviour woven into the narrative gave the ghosts a true sense of realism including them having their own ghostly phone network. Teenage cliques were encompassed, the mean girl, the goth, the hot boy. Ryan's inclusion as the romantic interest for Lucy rounded the story off beautifully. He helps other spirits cross over partly due to his guilt over his own death, helping rectify any issues left over from their lives before they can achieve resolution. Lucy and Ryan balance each other perfectly.

Although the writing style is fun and humorous it doesn't distract from the emotions evoked at times, especially concerning the loss of a loved one. The portrayal of a parents anguish over losing a child really hit home to me, making me sob. I couldn't imagine losing one of my children, it is unthinkable. The details of Lucy's death were dark/scary/and far too easy to picture.

The depiction of both Hep's and a parents despair showed how easy it is to be overwhelmed with negative feelings; sucked into a void of darkness and despair if you will. This representation conveyed the need for a system of support/help, at one time or another I am sure that we have all needed that extra bit of support/help and we really shouldn't be afraid to show it or ask for it.

I am not going to give away any details but I have to say I totally adored the lovely resolution to the whole plot, a complete roundness to it.

So now do you believe me that a story about a murdered girl whose spirit is trapped in a men's toilets is captivating, heart-warming and funny??

Sunday, 19 December 2010

In My Mailbox #31

Someone remind me to add myself to the linky - I keep forgetting.

Thank you Kristi - Congratulations on the 3 years of blogging - you are totally AWESOME [ : D ]

I will confess much screaming took place on Thursday when I opened my packages.

For Review: Thank you Atom Books - I did scream LOTS

Gifted: From Kirsty at The Overflowing Library

I am still feeling decidedly 'bah humbug' at the moment. Cheer me up guys [ : D ] Looking at all the other IMM's will make me feel better I am sure, even if I do covet your books [ ; D ]

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Saturday Spotlight: Guide to Review Writing for MG

I am trying to encourage pupils at school and also my own children to write book reviews. The reason: I think it gives them a better understanding of both the book and their own preferences as to what they do and do not like.

My oldest daughter especially has asked me to compile an outline of what is expected from a review. OK she got me on that one; as I just write and don't actually think about the process. I will come back to this later. [ : D ]

So here is where you come in. Please, please, please could you help me put together a list or an outline of the things to include in a review.

Going back to how I write;  Adele from Persnickety Snark featured a vlog a while ago describing her review writing process (link below) I was so fascinated and other people took up the challenge:

How I Write Reviews  - Persnickety Snark
How I Blog Now - The Mountains of Instead
How I Write Reviews - Books 4 Teens

I will be doing a How I Review post in the New Year (something for me to look forward to). While I have been examining my own review process, I thought of a few things that I generally like/don't like to see included in the review:

The picture of the cover.

The synopsis - preferably the one from the book (my own preference)

Personal perspective of the book - written in first person narrative - remember my catch-phrase "reading is subjective" - so the way in which I view/feel about a book is going to be different to how someone else relates to that book. I like to see exactly how that book has affected that particular person.

Correct spelling [ : D ]

Some background information on the main characters, their personalities, history and interactions without giving away too much detail about the plot.

That's what I have so far and really need to simplify it for 9 to 12 year olds to fully understand.

So what else do you think is required within a review and how would you explain it to a Middle Grader.

If you have any links to review tips please leave them in the comment box for me.


Friday, 17 December 2010

Review: The Emerald Talisman By Brenda Pandos

Title: The Emerald Talisman
Series: The Talisman Series
Author: Brenda Pandos
Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Publication Date: 1 Aug 2010

Source: UK Book Tours - Thank you Lynsey Newton

Synopsis: From GoodReads
To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness, but it may require the life of the one she loves.

Written in first person narrative from Julia's perspective. The first thing I would like to point out is that I really did not think the name suited the character at all. Really interesting extra sensory talent of reading emotions was very fascinating.

The mystery surrounding her Mothers disappearance adds a parallel to the current plot.  Plot hints are placed throughout, leading the reader to add the puzzle pieces together before they are revealed within the narrative.

The writing is delightfully descriptive making the imagery very easy to picture. Although I have to admit that I really did not like the idea of the fish pedicure at all. I have to add that the continued use of the word 'drug' made me actually wince, it was that annoying.

Parts of  Julia's characterisation was a bit confusing, the mix of teen emotions made her appear somewhat self-absorbed not in keeping with the general impression I had of her. I did feel that this book has set the basis for the progression of the series. A lot of time was spent of character development and interactions as well as revealing the background leading up to present day events.  Although I was left with the feeling that not enough of my questions were answered. I felt as if I needed a bit more substance to the story. I was a bit bemused by Julia's complete infatuation with Nicholas after their first encounter, infatuation is probably too mild a word, it was as if she was totally consumed by thoughts of him. The portrayal of friendship was really lovely, I guess being able to read emotions makes it easier to know who your true friends are.

The ingenious use of biblical references added validity to the plot. Proving that my fear of snakes is completely justified.

OK OK I know everyone uses Buffy references but I really have to in this instance; Julia is surely a totally obvious choice for Vampire Slayer while Nicholas is all broody, has the half vampire thing going on, and is totally reminiscent of Angel. There I said it.

A really interesting take on Vampire mythology,a compelling start to what promises to be a very gripping series.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Thursday Tunes: Book Theme Songs #7 Radiance

Synopsis: From GoodReads
Riley Bloom left her sister, Ever, in the world of the living and crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. Riley and her dog, Buttercup, have been reunited with her parents and are just settling into a nice, relaxing death when she's summoned before The Council. They let her in on a secret—the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure; Riley has to work. She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a curious boy she can't quite figure out.

Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup return to earth for her first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But he's never met Riley...

Review here

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Review: The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Title: The Eternal Ones
Author: Kirsten Miller
Publisher: Puffin/Razorbill
Publication Date: 19 Aug 2010

Source: UK Book Tours - Thank you

Synopsis: From Amazon
Haven Moore has always known she's different: there are the talents that can't be explained; the knowledge of places she's never been; and then there are the visions that overwhelm her - terrifying visions of a life that ended tragically two decades earlier and more than a thousand miles away in New York City. The citizens of Haven's rural, highly religious community, believe that she's been possessed by a demon. But this is no demon: it's reincarnation. Haven journeys all the way to Manhattan in search of clues about her past life and a decades-old murder. One wrong move could lead her into the clutches of the sinister villain at the center of a conspiracy much larger than she could have ever imagined. But if she makes the right choices, Haven will find the answers she's been seeking her entire life. This is an epic and thrilling romance set in the snake-handling churches of Appalachia, the dusty ruins of ancient Rome, and the grand mansions of Manhattan. The Eternal Ones tells the story of the first battle in a war between undying love and eternal evil.

Before I start my review I have to tell you that I completely adore the whole premise of reincarnation and soul-mates; so for me I was swayed by the synopsis before I started reading it.

Written in 3rd person narrative but mainly focalized from Haven's perspective. The narrator is a subtle presence guiding the reader through the intricacies of the plot and keeping control over the weaving of past and present action together.

Haven is an outsider even in her own home. Her defences are high and understandably so. At first I had difficulty picturing her as her current self as there were so many images of her previous incarnations taking precedence within my imagination.  At times Haven's pessimism can be very annoying especially with regards to Iain/Ethan; I wanted to literally shake her for causing more problems due to her lack of faith in him.

The way in which different religious points of view were shown within the narrative was ingenious giving a well rounded plot. The vast contrast between the description of the churches within Haven's home town reflecting its parishioners and their true beliefs or lack there of. The portrayal of the church services showed how religion can be manipulated in order to control or isolate individuals. Especially the use of 'everyone is a sinner' preaching, it makes me want to get on my soapbox and rant. The bible quotes really reinforced the storyline. The description of Haven's condemnation by her local community and more importantly her Grandmother for her visions was brutal and haunting in the imagination. Connections within different religions proved a nice comparison with how the world actually is and how it should be.

The storyline and plot were so compelling I literally had to force myself to put the book down in order to get some sleep.

Plot teasers are placed throughout like puzzle pieces to be slotted together. Suspicions given validity as the story developed. Some aspects of Haven's vision were a bit confusing to begin with until they were put into context later in the action. The paranormal/supernatural woven together with religion was fascinating; I particularly liked the reference to the Devil being on earth based in NYC, swaying the balance of good and evil using temptation to tip the scales. Confirmation of this reference becomes apparent later in the book. The imagery depicted via the paintings was amazing; the dark figure symbolising the devil watching as the evil he has orchestrated comes into fruition; strengthening the plot.

Iain/Ethan balanced Haven's personality perfectly and I could definitely picture them as soul-mates, 2 sides of the same coin if you will. Were as Haven is impulsive and pessimistic, Iain/Ethan was calm, optimistic and logical. The narrative showed that it does not matter what you look like on the outside but what you have on the inside is what makes a person beautiful or ugly.

I have to say that I completely adored Beau as Haven's best friend and was unbelievably disappointed that he was gay. I adored how self assured and comfortable he was with himself. Yet his inability to move on with his life provided an additional sub-plot within the story. The bond of friendship he had with Haven was amazing and awe inspiring. I think Beau is a major player in this series and am looking forward to seeing a lot more of him in future books.

The writing style throughout is so wonderfully descriptive and sensory with everything from the sensual feel of fabric to the sights and sounds of Rome. Pieces of history woven into the description added depth to the imagery.

How can I sum up: For me this book had everything and more: action, adventure, romance, friendship, reincarnation, soul-mates plus a battle of good versus evil. What more could I ask for. I only have one complaint.......why is it sooooo long before the next installment is published??????

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Fairy Appreciation #2

Synopsis: From Amazon
When your world is paranormal, be glad that you’re human…

Sixteen-year-old Evie has always taken comfort in the fact that she is normal, even though her best friend is a mermaid and her ex-boyfriend is a lunatic – and a faery.
In a world where paranormals are monitored and controlled, Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency because of her unique ability to see through glamours. But someone – or something – starts killing vampires, werewolves and other paranormals, and Evie must figure out what’s happening before they all disappear.
Then a shapeshifter named Lend breaks into the agency, and Evie is irresistibly drawn to him, even though he makes her aware that the IPCA is not as noble as she once thought. With everything Evie believes suddenly called into question, the IPCA is attacked and she must choose who she can really trust.
And when Evie discovers she’s part of a faerie prophecy of death and destruction… so much for normal.

Review here

Monday, 13 December 2010

MG Monday: Review: The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy

Title: The Cinderella Society
Series: The Cinderella Society
Author: Kay Cassidy
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: 13 April 2010

Source: UK Book Tours

Synopsis: From GoodReads
When the Prom Queen becomes your fairy godmother…

Sixteen year old outsider, Jess Parker, gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join a secret society of popular girls dedicated to defeating the mean girls of the world. The Cinderella Society guides all new recruits through its top secret ultimate life makeover. It’s all part of preparing them to face down the Wickeds and win. Determined not to let the Cindys down, Jess dives in with a passion. Finally, a chance to belong and show the world what she’s made of.
… be careful what you wish for.
Jess’s transformation wins her the heart of her dream crush and a shot at uber-popularity. Until the Wickeds–led by Jess’s arch enemy–begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers the real force behind her exclusive society. It’s a high stakes battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys in power need Jess on special assignment. When the mission threatens to destroy her dream life come true, Jess is forced to choose between living a fairy tale and honoring the Sisterhood… and herself.
What’s a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn’t want to wear it anymore?

I can't tell you how much I liked this book. A modern fairytale with buckets of girl power. I am so buying this series for my girls [ : D ]

Written in first person narrative from Jessica's (Jess) perspective. The new girl in school, she has moved around a lot due to her fathers job; cheer-leading is her haven. She is very insecure, afraid of being shunned this is exasperated by the fact that the meanest girl in school has a 'hate' campaign against her. Started due to Jess taking her place on the cheerleader; but is that all there is to it??

Kay Cassidy seems to have tapped into the core essence of most girls insecurities and simplified it yet dramatically conveyed the meaning/feeling. The manual and its ethos was fantastic, it left me wanting one so I could go through it with my daughters when they are older. The whole ideal of making the most of what you have, accentuating your good points while ignoring your imperfections was delightful to picture. Making me think that as girls/women this is what we should be doing rather than being 'slaves' to fashion. I should be taking notes [ : D ] The main point is that everyone is unique and this fact should be celebrated rather than trying to be a copycat.

Isn't it everyone's dream to have a terrific support network of friends that are there for you no matter what the circumstances. No peer pressure just acceptance for you to be who you are. Why isn't the real world like this??

Interwoven in the narrative you then have the giant battle of good versus evil, the blending of Wicca elements into everyday practice. I have to say that all the different elements within the plot really worked together even though they were so diverse. The word that keeps jumping into my mind is CUTE especially the romantic angle.

A refreshing light read chock full of girl power. A perfect book for a tween girl. Can I have the next one please.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

In My Mailbox #30

Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting this weekly meme.

For me Christmas arrived Friday and Saturday through the mail [ : D ]

For Review: Thank you Abrams

I am really interested to see how these work in the school library and if they help with the English coursework, I will keep you posted.

Won [ : D ] Twitter Competition @fiercefiction

For Review: Thanks Puffin


For Review: Thanks Random House

From my lovely friend Caroline at Portrait of a Woman for the library

From my Secret Santa [ : D ] Kirsty you are totally awesome, thank you.

A gorgeous pen (after I complained J came back with plastic ones)
A full set of Harry Potter bookmarks
Sweets and purses for the girlies

So as you can see this is my Christmas. Have a great week everyone, I am going to look at the other mailboxes [ ; D ]

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Saturday Spotlight: British Books Challenge 2011

Alongside the Debut Author Challenge I am going to be attempting the British Books Challenge 2011 hosted by The Bookette.

Such a lovely idea to promote 'home grown' talent. Some of the books I wish to read for the Debut Author Challenge actually count towards this challenge too *Yay 2 birds 1 stone* [ ; D ]

Here are a few of the books I would like to read:
  1. Entangled by Cat Clarke
  2. WereWorld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling
  3. Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
  4. Small Blue Thing by S C Ransom
  5. Almost True by Keren David
  6. Swapped by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja
  7. White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick
  8. Jessie Loves NYC by Keris Stainton
  9. Mortal Coil by Derek Landy (I have had this on my TBR shelf for months - I love Skulduggery Pleasant and this is the push I need to read it
  10. The Necromancer by Micheal Scott (same with this one - this is the push I need)
  11. The Demons Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan
I also found a great resource for finding UK Authors:

Saturday Spotlight: Debut Author Challenge 2011

Being a complete donut I did not fully understand the Debut Challenge at The Story Siren for 2010 *doh* but after nearly a year of blogging and chatting to some truly awesome people it all started to click together.
Plus Kristi made a really clear and concise post for the 2011 Challenge that even I can follow [ : D ] The only problem I am having is deciding which book I am going to limit myself to. OMG there are so many fantastic books how on earth am I going to choose.


Definately want to read:
  1. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand 4 Jan 2011
  2. Entangled by Cat Clarke  6 Jan 2011
  3. WereWorld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling 6 Jan 2011
  4. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff 6 Jan 2011
  5. Halo by Alexandro Adorentto 20 Jan 2011
  6. Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison Feb 2011
  7. The Iron Witch by Kat Mahoney 3 Feb 2011
  8. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford 22 Feb 2011
  9. Haven by Kristi Cook 22 Feb 2011
  10. Clarity by Kim Harrington Mar 2011
  11. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton 1 Mar 2011
  12. Across The Universe by Beth Revis 3 Mar 2011
  13. Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard 8 Mar 2011 (Also YA Contemps Challenge)
  14. Born at Midnight by CC Hunter 29 Mar 2011
  15. Department 19 by Will Hill 31 Mar 2011
  16. Bumped by Megan McCafferty 26 April 2011
  17. Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton 2 May 2011
  18. Divergent by Veronica Roth 3 May 2011
  19. Hourglass by Myra McEntire 24 May 2011

  1. Chocker by Elizabeth Woods 4 Jan 2011
  2. XVI by Julia Karr 6 Jan 2011
  3. Timeless by Alexandra Monir 11 Jan 2011
  4. Warped by Maurissa Guibord 11 Jan 2011
  5. The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker Mar 2011
  6. Those That Wake by Jesse Karp 21 Mar 2011
  7. Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell 22 Mar 2011
  8. Entwined by Heather Dixon 29 Mar 2011
  9. The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder 4 April 2011
  10. Future Imperfect by K Ryer Breese 26 April 2011
  11. Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton 26 April 2011 (I actually really want to read it but am afraid it is going to be gory - I do not do gore)
  12. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter May 2011
  13. Angel Kiss By Laura Cassidy 5 May 2011
  14. Die For Me by Amy Plum 10 May 2011
  15. Jane Jones Worst Vampire Ever by Caissie St Onge 10 May 2011
  16. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini 31 May 2011
  17. Hereafter by Tara Hudson 7 Jun 2011
  18. Forgotten by Cat Patrick 7 Jun 2011
  19. Luminous by Dawn Metcalf 30 Jun 2011
  20. Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray 5 July 2011
  21. Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris 12 July 2011
  22. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab 2 Aug 2011
 Not as yet available in UK
  1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  2. My Un-Fairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski
  3. Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

Friday, 10 December 2010

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy
Series: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Publication Date: 6 Jan 2011

Source: Borrowed from my lovely friend Lyndsey at Heaven, Hell And Purgatory 

Synopsis: From Amazon
When your world is paranormal, be glad that you’re human…
Sixteen-year-old Evie has always taken comfort in the fact that she is normal, even though her best friend is a mermaid and her ex-boyfriend is a lunatic – and a faery.
In a world where paranormals are monitored and controlled, Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency because of her unique ability to see through glamours. But someone – or something – starts killing vampires, werewolves and other paranormals, and Evie must figure out what’s happening before they all disappear.
Then a shapeshifter named Lend breaks into the agency, and Evie is irresistibly drawn to him, even though he makes her aware that the IPCA is not as noble as she once thought. With everything Evie believes suddenly called into question, the IPCA is attacked and she must choose who she can really trust.
And when Evie discovers she’s part of a faerie prophecy of death and destruction… so much for normal.

Written in first person narrative from Evie's perspective. At 16, Evie has spent most of her life living in the International Paranormal Containment Agency due to her special ability to see through supernatural 'glamours', her childhood is a mystery. Where did she come from and how does she have this special ability? This mystery is entwined seamlessly with the action.

Evie had a wonderfully sarcastic voice and snarky attitude that I adored and could relate to. Sarcasm is my thing remember [ ; ) ] The way in which she stamped her personality on everything gave her such a solid presence within the imagination. I particularly liked that she had a pink taser embellished with diamante that she even named 'tasey'. This femininity was well balanced with her ability to kick some serious paranormal butt.

The contrast with Evie's 'normal' teenage activities like watching TV dramas about high school and colourful fashion sense made me realise just how young and isolated she really was. Her enthusiasm for lockers made me giggle. The introduction of Lend enhanced Evie's personality perfectly (or as I like to call him Water Boy and I would like one please). The characterisations and imagery were spectacular, each character had such an individual voice that is truly unique and refreshing. The references to The Little Mermaid had me snickering to myself.

What really stood out for me in the narrative was how image and action can create a false impression. It was difficult to tell who was good and who was bad, or if there were truly two separate factions. Not everything is black and white only varying shades of grey. Got you thinking now haven't I [ : D ] The depiction of faeries in particular provided a fresh appreciation into the wonderful world of the Fae.

I still can't believe this was a debut novel. I can sum it up in one word and this time I will refrain from using awesome - STUNNING. Please let me have the sequel *begs, grovels, bribes*

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Thursday Tunes: Book Theme Songs #6 Misguided Angel

Synopsis: From Amazon
After inheriting the complicated Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler fled to Florence with Jack, risking both of their lives for love. The two of them embark on the mission Schuyler was destined to complete: to find and protect the remaining five gates that guard Earth from Lucifer, Prince of Hell and lord of the Silver Bloods. As the Blue Blood coven weakens yet further, fate leads Schuyler closer to a terrifying crossroads?and a choice that will determine the destiny of all vampires.

Review here

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Review: Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll

Title: Black Swan Rising
Author: Lee Carroll
Publisher: Bantam Press (Random House)
Publication Date: 25 Nov 2010

Source: Publisher - thank you so much for the review copy

Synopsis: From Amazon
Jeweller Garet James isn't the same as everyone else.

She just doesn't know it yet.
With her fair share of problems – money (lack of), an elderly father, a struggling business – Garet should be just like any other young, feisty, single New Yorker. If only it was that simple...
It begins with the old silver box that had been soldered shut. All Garet has to do is open it. A favour for the frail owner of the antiques shop. Who wouldn’t help?
Only it’s then that things start to change. Garet doesn't notice at first, the shifts barely perceptible. But the city in which she grew up is beginning to reveal a long-hidden side – darker, and altogether more dangerous: parallel world of chaos, smoke and blood.
And now it’s out of the box...and it has no intention of going back in.

Written in first person narrative from Garet's perspective. In her mid-twenties she has shied away from relationships since her mothers death, which she feels partly responsible for. She is highly talented and gifted creatively, although very critical of herself, she does not see herself as those around her do. I immediately felt compassion for her and this carried throughout the book, plus I adored her music taste [ : D ]. I could totally relate to the shock of finding yourself in a negative economic situation. Topical reference to the global economic crisis added to the sense of realism, plus the use of Despair and Discord paralleled the way in which the world appears on occasions.

The scene setting was excellent right from the very beginning; descriptive writing captivating the imagination with lovely use of similes to aid the imagery. The sinister and the sensuous were mixed together rounding out the whole good versus evil ideology. The rise and fall of tension mirrored the rise and fall of emotions brilliantly. Visually enchanting with the gorgeous type face used at the chapter headings.

The jewellery/art/history/literature reference were well researched adding to the narrative and aiding the sense of realism. Richly woven historical events within the plot were easy to picture in the way they were portrayed, supernatural/paranormal influences adding to the action. In a nut shell myth and magic woven into history embellished with wonderful literature and art references.

I loved the way people were portrayed as guides; they come into our lives at the moment we need them akin to little miracles in people form. The descriptions of auras and their meanings was fascinating; the whole 'pay it forward' aspect of the effect aura's have was heart warming, I wished it happened in real life. It would be nice to be able to blame the world's horrors on myth and magic while being able to dispel it with positivity.

The use of Shakespearean fairies was totally fantastic, I am completely in love with A Mid Summers Night Dream. The whole way that the characters were not all they appeared was ingenious. The entire plot is kept under tight control with nice recaps of events sporadically placed throughout. Some ingenious twists and turns kept me on my toes, I couldn't make any assumptions. Further hints to future plots are entwined making me desperate for the next installment.

All the characters were well rounded and individual, their interactions completely believable. It was difficult to tell who was good and who was bad, there was no black and white definition just all shades of grey. The issue of nurture was brought into question portraying the reality of how well do we really know our parents just as people and the skeletons hidden in family closets.

Engrossing narrative, a completely seductive page turner, in short I could not put it down.

PS Can I have that alchemy recipe NOW please [ ; D ]

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Fairy Appreciation

There are a number of amazing books out with fairies as the central protagonist. Such a vast array to suit any taste of fae.
Plus the trailers are just so gorgeous.

Synopsis: From Amazon
The clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in this cool, urban 21st century faery tale. Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries. Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world, and would blind her if they knew of her Sight. Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries. Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer. Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention. But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King and has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost! Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working any more, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

I adore this series, especially the books featuring Aislynn, Keenan and Seth. I cannot wait for the concluding part next year Darkest Mercy. Review of Ink Exchange here

Synopsis: From Amazon
 Mortal affections and faery rivalries continue to collide in the town of Huntsdale, as New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr takes urban fantasy to new heights. After the terrible events of Ink Exchange, the Dark Court has a new ruler. But will Niall's kindness survive his new responsibility to the most violent of Faerie courts? Meanwhile, Seth and Aislinn attempt to mend their relationship. But Aislinn is the Summer Queen and Keenan is her king -- and as summer approaches, their chemistry sparks. Will Seth's mortality lose him the one thing he loves above all others? As Niall seeks to control his new Court, Aislinn attempts to resist the seduction of summer, and Seth searches desperately for the gift of immortality, a delicate balance is threatened, and a terrible plot is revealed!
Had to include this one - Seth is ohhh sooo yummy [ ; D ]

Synopsis: From Amazon
An extraordinary faerie tale of magic and mystery, romance and danger, described by Stephenie Meyer as 'a remarkable debut'. Laurel is an ordinary fifteen-year-old high school girl. But something incredible is happening to her. She is changing. Now Laurel is about to discover that a deep and powerful magic holds the key to her destiny.

Review here

Synopsis: From Amazon
My name is Meghan Chase. In less than twenty-four hours I'll be sixteen. Countless stories, songs and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset. I don't think it will be that way for me. Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school...or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical fairy king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face...and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I really NEED to read this series. *Scuttles to track down a copy*

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