My Catchphrases

Sunday, 31 October 2010

In My Mailbox #24

Weekly meme hosted by the incredible Story Siren to share our book love *addiction*

After last weeks little pity party about books :( I had a super week this week plus I managed to get through a stack of my TBR pile.

I made the mistake of taking the girls in WH Smith with me, they kinda forced me to buy these so we could share ;)


Amazon pre-order: I have a real thing for the Blue Bloods series


Treasures from the library :D

From the awesome UK Book Tours

On loan from my lovely friend Sya at The Mountains of Instead

Terrific YES *happy Halloween dances*
Going to comment on other peoples IMM's later as have to feed the girlies. Bye for now : D

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Thursday Tunes: Book Theme Songs #3 Immortal Remains

I just had to put these songs as theme songs for:

Immortal Remains by Rook Hastings - Review here

Four freak accidents. Four mysterious deaths. Four signs of trouble. Welcome back to Weirdsville…

"You see, the girls that died – it wasn't by accident. They were cursed, every one of them. Cursed to meet a horrible death… And I'm going to be next."
Four girls from posh school Riverbank have been killed in seemingly random but freakish ways and it’s not long before Bethan and co. are lured into investigating the grisly case. Is it really just coincidence or is there something more sinister going on?
Meanwhile Hashim’s playing truant, Kelly’s on the warpath and Jay’s trying to avoid someone even more close to home… Himself.
Scary, paranormal and supernaturally chilling experiences are everyday in a town like Weirdsville…

Band of Horses - Is There a Ghost

The White Stripes - Walking with a Ghost

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Review: Stork by Wendy Delsol

Title: Stork
Author: Wendy Delsol
Series: Stork Trilogy
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: 12th October 2010

Thanks to International Book Tours for letting me read this book

Synopsis: From Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she’s a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born. Add to that Wade, the arrogant football star whom Katla regrettably fooled around with, and Jack, a gorgeous farm boy who initially seems to hate her. Soon Katla is having freaky dreams about a crying infant and learns that, as children, she and Jack shared a near-fatal, possibly mystical experience. Can Katla survive this major life makeover and find a dress for the homecoming dance? Drawing from Norse mythology and inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, debut author Wendy Delsol conceives an irreverent, highly entertaining novel about embracing change and the (baby) bumps along the way.

Lovely fresh idea interwoven with stunning Nors mythology. Although the outline to the mythological stories are given, it does help to have a basic knowledge of these stories to add depth to the plot.

Told in first person narrative from Katla perspective. I thought she started off being a bit of a 'brat' but as the story unfolds we gain perspective as to why she is behaving in such a manner. Her characters really does develop right through the plot, gaining self knowledge and respect for the past while taking things in her stride. Portrayed as visually dramatic with her almost white blond hair, she is striking within the imagination.

Richly descriptive right from the very beginning; if a book can make you literally scratch your head within the first pages, you start to wonder where it is going to take you from there.

I adored the writing style, it is exactly the sort of thing that goes on in my head, especially the wonderful use of metaphors. Random plot threads are placed throughout, to be picked out and added together. Family and friendship dynamics from the past intertwined with those of the present added another layer to the plot. I found that as I was thinking a question regarding the plot, it would not be much further into the narrative that I found the answer, terrific for impatient, questioning minds like mine.

All the characters were well-rounded, separate individual personalities that complement each other beautifully. Balancing the plot and adding depth/dimension.

A terrific modern fairytale. I am so glad it is a trilogy.

Monday, 25 October 2010

MG Monday: Review: Into The Woods by Lyn Gardner

Title: Into The Woods
Author: Lyn Gardner
Series: Into The Woods
Publisher: Corgi Childrens (RHCB)
Publication Date: 2nd August 2007

Thanks to Random House Children's Books for the review copy

Synopsis: From Amazon
Taking inspiration from numerous fairy-tales and weaving them into a wholly original story, INTO THE WOODS is a whirlwind of a novel, full of imaginative happenings, dastardly deeds and thrilling adventure. Our guides are sisters three: Storm, Aurora and Anything Eden. Accidentally orphaned and left to fend for themselves in a decaying mansion on the edge of the wilds, they come to the very much unwanted attention of the sinister Dr DeWilde: a scar-faced gentleman with a pied waistcoat and an unhealthy interest in rats. He's after a tiny little musical pipe that Storm has inherited, and he'll stop at nothing to get it. Fleeing into the woods, our courageous and eccentric sisters evade kidnap (almost), resist the temptation of sweet-filled orphanages (nearly!), and begin a treacherous journey across raging rivers, over mountains of ice, through deathly silent ghost towns and beyond the lairs of child-eating ogresses. With ravenously hungry wolves snapping at their heels every step of the way! Featuring wonderful illustrations by award-winning illustrator Mini Grey, INTO THE WOODS is a classic tale with a very modern twist and will delight readers of every generation

Wonderful re-telling of classic fairy-tales all woven together to create a multi-dimensional plot. Really interesting twists making it suitable for slightly older readers. It was so much fun to put all the pieces together and guess the fairytale being depicted. Especially to guess which character is from which tale. To fully appreciate the nuances of the plot I think you need a good knowledge of traditional fairy-tales.

Vivid descriptions with the use of many adjectives in order to create a full picture (plus adding to the vocabulary). Rich and interesting characterisation showing the differences as well as the similarities inherent in siblings. There is an element of the nature versus nurture debate within the narrative comparing the way in which Aurora and Storm's childhood differed and ultimately affected their relationship.

The third person narration guides the reader through the story, helping tie all the threads together. Sometimes the plot seemed a little drawn out which might challenge the attention span of some younger readers.

A brilliant twist at the end of the story showing how important an education is even when it is not appreciated at the time. The touching bond between the sisters had me trying to imagine which one of my girls would suit each of the characters in this book.

The beautiful illustrations reinforced and complimented the storyline perfectly.

On the whole, a deliciously twisted modern take on traditional fairytales.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

In My Mailbox #23

Thanks to the wonderful Story Siren for hosting this terrific meme.

I am extremely grateful to my blogger friends for sharing their books with me. For some reason I don't get an awful lot of books for review (do you feel sorry for me). I don't like to contact the publishers direct as I feel cheeky and think that they must get loads and loads of requests for review copies, especially as there seem to be new bloggers every week (great for promoting books/authors & publishers). So again thank you to my awesome book buddies for feeding my book addiction - YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY ROCK.

Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman
(thank you Lyndsey at Heaven, Hell and Purgatory for the loan)

Shiver by Maggie Steifvater (signed)

Thank you so much Caroline at Portrait of a Woman

See what amazing friends I have *hugs*

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Saturday Spotlight: Bullying

As you might be aware I ran a Saturday Spotlight a few weeks ago about bullying (here) Thanks to the wonderful comments from lovely fellow bloggers and some I came up with myself; I was able to put together a list of books which deal with bullying to some extent.

I was hoping to host a anti-bullying themed week on my blog for Anti-Bullying week 15th - 19th November. However, I understand that a few other people want to run their own anti-bullying weeks. I would like to tie this all together by using a hash-tag on Twitter #ABW and by displaying the Anti-Bullying Week Blog Button below. Also if you could give me a schedule of what you are going to post I will put it on my blog on the Monday and then a recap at the end of the week. Giving more publicity for the posts and therefore the anti-bullying campaign.



13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher (being reviewed by Caroline at Portrait of a Woman)

Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli (being reviewed by Asamum Booktopia)

Plus the list from Clover at Fluttering Butterfiles

Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson (being reviewed by Asamum Booktopia)
(Plus Clover will be giving you a chance to win a copy for yourself on her blog during #ABW)

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl - Barry Lyga

The Lottery - Beth Goobie

Please let me know if you would like to contribute by reviewing one of these bullying themed books or by writing a post from a personal perspective.

Don't forget to join the virtual march at Beat Bullying

Friday, 22 October 2010

Review: Immortal Remains by Rook Hastings

Title: Immortal Remains
Series: Weirdsville
Author: Rook Hastings
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Publication Date: 2nd Sept 2010

Thank you to the lovely Sya of The Mountains of Instead for the loan of her book

Four freak accidents. Four mysterious deaths. Four signs of trouble. Welcome back to Weirdsville…

"You see, the girls that died – it wasn't by accident. They were cursed, every one of them. Cursed to meet a horrible death… And I'm going to be next."
Four girls from posh school Riverbank have been killed in seemingly random but freakish ways and it’s not long before Bethan and co. are lured into investigating the grisly case. Is it really just coincidence or is there something more sinister going on?
Meanwhile Hashim’s playing truant, Kelly’s on the warpath and Jay’s trying to avoid someone even more close to home… Himself.
Scary, paranormal and supernaturally chilling experiences are everyday in a town like Weirdsville…

For me this is the eagerly anticipated sequel to Nearly Departed. The chilling modern tale of a ghost-busting gang of high school students. I had been warned how scary this one was so I think I had mentally prepared myself.

The sequels starts with the apparent suicide of 4 teenage girls, all from the same school. This is very topical for me as you will know if you saw my Saturday Spotlight on Bullying a few weeks age. The beginning immediately sets a dramatic and tense atmosphere, plunging the reader into the story where Nearly Departed ended.

The third person narrator is an unobtrusive presence within the story. Focalization of different characters perspectives within different chapters gives a well rounded frame of reference. The characters balance each others personalities beautifully, Kelly's snarky comments and one liners certainly lighten what could be an oppressive mood. I literally giggled out loud at the description of a Ouija board being a form of twitter for ghosts. Interactions between the characters become strained due to circumstances but it is also these circumstances that bond them together.

The illustration of the crosses at the chapter headings give a sense of foreboding. The description of the freakishly gory deaths occurring within such a small town is really ominous in its illustration. Elements of quantum physics interwoven into the plot take the story to a whole new level. The saying 'sends shivers down your spine' takes on a whole new meaning in the narrative. Little plot teasers are placed throughout although some are a form of subtle misdirection. Very clever plot development culminates  into an action pact finale with an electrifying cliffhanger.

Phew - so it roundup: an intense psychological/paranormal suspense which really plays with your mind and lingers in your imagination. I can't wait for the next one.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Thursday Tunes: Guest Post: Musical Motivation by Lyndsey (Heaven, Hell and Purgatory)


If I’m at home reading, I have to listen to music. I can’t read with the TV or films on because it distracts me way too much….especially if it is something with any hot men. I tried reading the other night while watching Pump Up The Volume and I guess I had kind of forgotten how amazing Christian Slater is in it. Needless to say I read about 2 pages during the whole film.

Listening to music while reading really relaxes me and it doesn’t really matter what kind of music it is. I usually have iTunes set on random when I’m reading and there have been occasions where a song has come on that fits perfectly with either the book or more specifically, the chapter.

I know Emma has a song in mind for Sisters Red (here) and so do I but they are very different. The song that really reminds me of this book is Sisters are doing it for Themselves by The Eurythmics. Without even listening to this song it popped into my head as I was reading this book and it now has a place in my music library. Another song that really reminds me of a lot of YA books is Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts. I don’t have a specific book for this song yet but I know there is one out there. The lyrics are so heartbreaking that it just has to fit something.
You are right Lyndsey it is beautiful and I think it goes great with Vance and Portia ;)

When I write reviews, I HAVE to listen to terrible music. I really have no idea why but it seems to motivate me a lot better than anything else. So many people would probably laugh at my iTunes library due to the amount of crazy songs that are on there. I’m sure my neighbour gets extremely annoyed by me playing things like 90’s songs and film soundtracks at full volume. I go through periods of listening to different soundtracks but at the minute I’m addicted to Top Gun and Sister Act but that’s probably because I watched both films recently.

Here’s just some of the songs in my reviewing play-list:

The Sign - Ace of Base

Oh Maria - Sister Act

The whole of the Rocky Horror Soundtrack
I just had to include this song ;)

(Please don’t judge me on my horrible taste in music)

Wow thanks for sharing that Lyndsey. The word is eclectic (one of my favourite words) not horrible LOL

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Series: ? although it is a trilogy (thank goodness)
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: 2nd December 2010

Thank you so much to UK Book Tours for the chance to read it

Synopsis: From Amazon
On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life. Except he’s not. In Cassia’s society, Officials decide who people love. How many children they have. Where they work. When they die. But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own. And that’s when her whole world begins to unravel....

Wow, just wow. This one really lingers in your memory long after you turn that last page. That's all I can say is thank goodness this is a trilogy as I have so many unanswered questions and feel as if I am personally invested in the futures of the main characters that I just don't want to let them go.

Shades of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. A society that controls every aspect of daily life. Watching all aspects of 'normal' human behaviour. Monitoring everything from interactions to dreams. Controlling what is grown, what is eaten and how much is eaten; what jobs people do and even who we are allowed to love. All this was just so frighteningly easy to picture in the imagination, even relate to on some fundamental level.

People's behaviour and actions are predicted; what would happen if we were given a choice. The power the 'officials' possess makes them think that they are 'gods' playing with peoples lives as if it were some kind of sadistic experiment. The monotony of 'the society' and the drabness of their lives probably provides the reasoning behind this behaviour. As I read my mind kept questioning the entire foundation of 'the society', like a domino effect one question lead to another;  how did it start, why did it start, who controls it, I could go on.

I found myself rebelling mentally against the idea of living in a world where nothing is created. There are only 100 poems/books/paintings that have been chosen for the population by an appointed panel. I just could not live like that. I wondered if this lifestyle would turn people into automatons, not really living but just going through the motions until the 'society' sanctioned euthanasia at 80. It would be like living in an ant colony only there to serve and provide a reproductive service in order to maintain 'the society'. The inspired use of Dylan Thomas's Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night added impact to the imagery; being welsh Dylan Thomas is one of my favourite poets. Plus the use of a Harry Potter reference for sarcastic purposes made me feel that Ally Condie is a kindred spirit. The tone is at times delightfully sarcastic which I totally adore.

All the characters are tremendously well rounded; their interactions and behaviour are revealed slowly throughout the narrative. The main point, I felt, was that we may not know the people close to us as well as we think we do.

The three main protagonist work beautifully together.
Cassia: initially a drone desperate to be a model citizen. Slowly realises appearances aren't always what they seem mainly due to her Grandfather's influence. Her personality and creativity goes from strength to strength as the plot develops.
Ky: wow my heart just ached for him. Such a wonderful character to imagine. Always the outsider on the fringes watching and learning as he is in turn being watched. Hiding who he really is in order to blend in. The weight of so many secrets weighs him down.
Xander: another multi-dimensional character. it seemed as if he was too different people, one in public and one in private. He too has his secrets.
This was one very difficult love triangle in which to pick a side. Normally I have no trouble deciding which male protagonist I would pick but this one left me baffled, both Ky and Xander are wonderful. I really didn't want to see anyone get hurt.

The whole idea of being Matched by a set of criteria and then the developing love triangle really brought to mind the whole question of how do we fall in love. If matching wasn't involved who would they chose to fall in love with.

A truly fantastic book with a fresh dystopian theme. I am just so happy that this is a trilogy but obviously not at all happy that I have to wait for the next installment. I just hope that at least some of my questions get answered.

If you have reviewed this book as part of UK Book Tours please leave the link to your review here:

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Dystopia

I finished reading Matched by Allie Condie which really lingered in my mind.

Synopsis: From Amazon
On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life. Except he’s not. In Cassia’s society, Officials decide who people love. How many children they have. Where they work. When they die. But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own. And that’s when her whole world begins to unravel . . .

So I thought I would look at dystopian trailers this week. It was harder than anticipated.

Then I found this:

Doesn't that look fantastic - another for the wish-list I think.

Synopsis: From Amazon
An eighth grade girl was taken today . . . With this first sentence, readers are immediately thrust into a fast-paced thriller that doesn't let up for a moment. In a world not too far removed from our own, kids are being taken away to special workhouses if their families exceed the monthly debt limit imposed by the government. Thirteen-year-old Matt briefly wonders if he might be next, but quickly dismisses the thought. After all, his parents are financially responsible, unlike the parents of those other kids. As long as his parents remain within their limit, the government will be satisfied and leave them alone. But all it takes is one fatal visit to the store to push Matt’s family over their limit—and to change his reality forever.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

In My Mailbox #22

Hosted by the very lovely Story Siren.

I was too tired to do my IMM last week so this is 2 weeks rolled into one. Having to force myself to do it this week as the house has been hit by a tummy bug :( The joys of having kids ;)

(bought for 10p at a library sale)

From Random House (thanks guys)

From the lovely Tammy at The Book Fairy's Haven for the library *hugs*

Via swapping - thank you Kirsty from The Overflowing Library for Forget her Nots

On loan for the gorgeous Lyndsey at Heaven, Hell and Purgatory

From Jennifer herself (you rock my world and make me cry)

Matched by Allie Condie (just finished it - flippin' awesome)

From the publisher

My plans for a readathon this weekend went out of the window with the tummy bug. My plans for half term in a weeks time; read, read, maybe clean and cook, then read, read and read some more. Maybe invest in a speed reading course, lol

Anyone else have plans for half term : D

Friday, 15 October 2010

Review: Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

Title: Out for Blood
Series: The Drake Chronicles
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date of Publication: 1 Nov 2010
Huge thanks to my friend Lyndsey at Heaven, Hell and Purgatory for loaning me her copy

Synopsis: From Amazon
Hunter Wild just wants to get through her last year at the secret Helios-Ra Academy. To do so, she'll have to betray her grandfather, date a vampire and possibly take down the entire League - all before the end of term.

I really don't know where to start. I love the Drake Chronicles, each book so far centres around one particular member of the Drake family. The family tree shown at the beginning highlights the characters to be focused on while showing the connection to the other characters.

I really don't feel as if I can go into to much plot detail with this book as it will certainly spoil the enjoyment of reading it yourself. Let me just say that I have not been disappointed yet with any of these books and this is no exception.

It is a brilliant piece of craftsmanship how Alyxandra Harvey is able to write a story with central characters and yet still progress the other characters that we have already come to know in the previous books. Nicholas and Lucy/Kieran and Soalnge from My Love Lies Bleeding alongside Logan and Isabeau from Blood Feud. Having chatted to a few authors on twitter and knowing that the characters actually talk to them inside their heads; makes me wonder what on earth must be going on inside Alyxandra's head. All the characters are well developed, easy to relate to (you can even sympathize with the Drake's craving for blood) and their interactions are realistic.

This story revolves around Hunter, the last in a long line of prestigious Helios-Ra agents. Revolving around the inner workings of the Helios-Ra training school. Great insight into how the other side work, giving a rounded picture of both the Vampires and the Helios-Ra. Some incredible twist and turns, leaving the reader wondering just who are the 'enemy'. Courageous, loyal with some kicking martial arts skills, Hunter is a great role model. Here connection to Kieran adds to the storyline and parallels the Quinn/Solange relationship dynamics.

I absolutely adored how Quinn was portrayed; although not my 'type' you can appreciate his appeal. A true 'ladies' man playing the field with unabashed fervour. That is until he meets Hunter. They are inexplicably draw to each other, although they both try to ignore it initially. It brought to mind the ideal of soul-mates and how you cant fight your destiny.

I could continue to waffle about how great the Drake Chronicles are but I will spare you. I will leave you with this - Out For Blood is the latest great addition to a phenominal series.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Thursday Tunes: Guest Post: Lacey Weatherford Part 2

Songs used for books 2-4

(Lacey won't tell me the significance of these songs as she thinks it will give away the plot of the other books)

Instead of embedding all the videos as it would make a giant post; I am just going to include my favourites and link to YouTube for the rest ;)

Heavily Broken- The Veronica's (heart wrenching when you think of Portia and Vance being separated)

Lithium- Evanescence (because I love it and the video is gorgeous: it wouldn't let me embed the official video so I have linked it and put in this fab anime one)

Bad Romance- Lady Gaga (I had to include this video as it is asastars fave song at the moment and she would never forgive me if I didn't include it. Plus I loved the Glee version)

Hot Mess- Cobra Starship (this one reminds me of Vegas ;)

Leave Out All the Rest- Linkin Park (I complete love/heart this song)(It goes so well for so many scenes)

Second Chance- Shinedown (Another song I completely adore)(I can really imagine this at the end of Book 2)

All The Right Moves- One Republic (another of my faves)(plus the video is awesome)

Right Here Waiting for You- Richard Marx (not a song I am particularly fond of but I can see how it fits into the story)

Nocture- Paul Schwartz (so beautiful)

Thank you once again for Lacey for sharing her eclectic taste in music with us. Listening to music has always been a really big part of my life, I think I have found my music twin. Thanks Lacey

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Review: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

Title: Guardian of the Gate
Series: Prophecy of the Sisters
Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: Atom (UK) Thank you for the review copy
Published: 5 Aug 2010

Synopsis: From Amazon
Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe must journey to the uncharted isle of Altus to continue her search for the missing pages of the Book of Chaos - the pages that could tell her how to end the prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. But the journey will test more than just her courage, it will also test her loyalty to her beloved boyfriend, James. Meanwhile, twin sister Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim Lia's role as the Gate. And that's not the only thing she wants from her sister: there's also Lia's true love. The outcome of their battle could have consequences of Biblical proportions and, in the end, only one sister will be left standing.

I cant tell you how much I looked forward to this sequel to Prophecy of the Sisters, the mix of realism, Gothic convention and historical setting, so richly depicted in Michelle Zink's writing provided an imaginary world in which I could totally immerse my imagination. The descriptions so sensory I could almost feel as if I was right there in the story with them.

Let me start by saying that I love how the title is a play on words of the plot, completely ingenious. I can only describe this book in terms of a roller-coaster ride; the start builds slowly as you are chugging along to the top of the ride, but as soon as you hit that peak you are sent flying along with fast paced action and drama. The gentle start lulls you into a false sense of security, before the plot takes off with adrenaline fuelled action. Dramatic and intense Gothic imagery combined with fast paced action create a compelling storyline. The gathering forces of darkness held at bay by a small band of light/hope.

The history of the prophecy and the genealogy revealed expand the plot drawing the reader further into the plot.

Lia is a wonderful protagonist; fiercely loyal, insecure in her power to begin with but as time passes her belief in herself grows. Her sense of duty over-shadows her own desire for peace and security. She gradually gains both power and inner strength as the plot progresses.

The introduction of a new love interest for Lia gives an extra dimension to the plot with the parallels to Lia's parent's relationship. Dimitiri has a high sizzle factor mixed with a truly lovable nature. You have a sense that Lia and Dimitiri are connected on a profound level. I am adding them to my favourite literary couples along with Bella and Edward plus Vance and Portia.

Alice continues to be absolutely terrifying in her calm assurance that she should rule with Samael (the devil). Her power and lack of respect for the rules instills a shudder of terror whenever she is mentioned in the narrative. Her manipulation of people and events is chilling in its premeditation and complete callousness.

Altus would be my kind of utopia; mix in a few supernatural powers and I would move there in a heartbeat. However, the treatment Lia receives on Altus show how people base their judgements on preconceived notions rather than letting peoples actions speak for themselves. Most people don't bother to get to know people for themselves, instead they trust in rumours and gossip like it is the right thing to do. This makes me both angry and sad. It was lovely to see how Lia was able to alter peoples preconceived ideas about her.

Back to the roller-coaster analogue: there are some amazing twists and turns that take the reader by surprise.

I cant wait to see where this story goes from here.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

Without the Keys, something terrible will happen. Something that cannot be undone. And with them, I might bring an end to the riddle of the Prophecy and my strange part in it. If Alice and I are on conflicting sides of the Prophecy, the Keys would be dangerous in her hands. Which means I have to find them. And I have to do it before my sister. This is the story of sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe's quest to discover her role and her twin sister's in a powerful prophecy that has affected twin sisters for generations. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers - about herself, about her family, and about the danger that goes from haunting her dreams to becoming her reality.

Review here

Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe must journey to the uncharted isle of Altus to continue her search for the missing pages of the Book of Chaos - the pages that could tell her how to end the prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. But the journey will test more than just her courage, it will also test her loyalty to her beloved boyfriend, James. Meanwhile, twin sister Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim Lia's role as the Gate. And that's not the only thing she wants from her sister: there's also Lia's true love. The outcome of their battle could have consequences of Biblical proportions and, in the end, only one sister will be left standing.

I didn't actually watch this trailer until after I had read the books. Wow, it really does add to the whole atmosphere projected within the books. A powerfully depicted Gothic, historical adventure in which to totally immerse your imagination.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Saturday Spotlight: Bullying

I have been trying to put this post together for quite some time. It has been particularly pushed forward by the appeal Ellen DeGeneras made on her show.

I would like to get involved in Anti-Bullying Week which takes place 15th-19th of November this year. Being based in a school certainly is an eye-opener where pupil attitudes (to themselves and each other) are astonishing in their abasement.

Notably, the area I live in has had a spate of suicides over the last few years. One as recent as a fortnight ago involving a 13 year old boy. No connection has been found between these suicides but it does put the community on red alert. For further insight into this please read the article featured in Wales Online.

A way for the whole blogging community to come together and help with this never ending battle is to take part in the Anti-Bullying Virtual Protest March:

The Big March will be hosted entirely online and culminate at a virtual Number 10 Downing Street, where marchers will sign a petition asking Government for help to protect kids from bullying, violence and harassment.

People can join the march now at, where they can create an avatar with a placard and wait in the online Big March Park until November 15.

The charity is also hoping the march will put pressure on Government to set up a Big March Bullying Commission, which would investigate how Government, schools, families and communities can reduce incidents of bullying and give children a life free from violence and harassment.

The march will culminate at Number 10 where Beatbullying hopes the petition will be presented virtually to Prime Minister David Cameron by children, teachers, celebrities, charities and industry: an inspirational example of all strands of society working together to eradicate bullying once and for all.

Read more at The Mirror Online.

So all my lovely blogger friends please join me - create your avatar. Come find me under asamum booktopia banner.

If anyone can suggest some good books with bullying themes please leave a list in the comment box or email me here.

Thank you all for your support

Friday, 8 October 2010

Break-ups Book Style #1

Thanks to Carla at The Crooked Shelf for letting me use her terminology in order to keep track of the books I have read but didn't necessarily enjoy; or given up on as I just couldn't get into them.

I do not like writing bad reviews, I have stated this a few times now. This is just my way of keeping track of the books I have read/attempted to read and my own personal opinion regarding them. Remember reading is subjective - one mans poison and all that.

I will try to add links to positive reviews in order to balance it out.

Cassel is cursed. Cursed by the memory of the fourteen year old girl he murdered. Life at school is a constant trial. Life at home even worse. No-one at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at home is ever going to forget that he isn't a magic worker. Cassel's family are one of the big five crime families in America. Ever since magic was prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground and into crime. And while people still need their touch, their curses, their magical killings, their transformations, times have been hard. His granddad has been driven to drink, his mother is in prison and his brothers detest him as the only one of their family who can't do magic. But there is a secret at the centre of Cassel's family and he's about to inherit it. It's terrifying and that's the truth. The White Cat is a stunning novel of a world changed by magic. In this world only 1% of the population can work magic but they have the power of nightmares.

My thoughts: I did actually read this one to the end. As I closed the last page I just found myself thinking that I had wasted the best part of 3 evenings reading it. I know other people that rave about it and will hunt down their reviews. For me I found the plot quite predictable, the characters were in the main unlikable. Throw in gory imagery and that is me put off completely.

Other opinions:

How do you describe "Elsewhere"? This is a novel so astoundingly original and carefully crafted that its complexities become common place and the common place resounds with poetry. In this delightful novel death is a beginning, a new start. Liz is killed in a hit a run accident and her 'life' takes a very unexpected turn. At nearly sixteen she knows she will never get married, never have children, and perhaps never fall in love. But in "Elsewhere" all things carry on almost as they did on earth except that the inhabitants get younger, dogs and humans can communicate (at last) new relationships are formed and old ones sadly interrupted on earth are renewed. Full of the most ingenious detail and woven around the most touching and charming relationships this is a novel of hope, of redemption and re-birth. It is a novel that tells of sadness with heart-breaking honesty and of love and happiness with uplifting brilliance.

My thoughts: although I love the premise of this book, I really like the idea of life after death and fulfilling your dreams. However, this take on the after-life ideal just wasn't for me. I didn't like the fact that they worked, rather than getting to a utopia. Plus I found the idea of the relationships formed as they were getting younger just a bit 'ick'. I will admit to only reading the first few chapters and then skimming the end, but unfortunately this one just was not for me.

Other Opinions:

rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what's coming to you. A sort of cosmic balancing act. But when Mason Brooks, Maddy's boyfriend of two years, gets caught tongue-wrestling with Miss Perfect Body Heather Campbell, and absolutely nothing happens to either of them - except that they wind up the hot new couple of Colonial High School, it seems like Karma has officially left Maddy in the lurch. That's why Maddy and her best friends, Angie and Jade, decide to start the Karma Club - a secret organisation whose sole purpose is to clean up the messes that the universe has been leaving behind. Whether they're modifying Heather Campbell's acne cream as part of 'Operation Butterface', or righting a few wrongs when it comes to Angie and Jade's own slimy exes, they know they're just doing what karma should have done in the first place. They're taking care of one another.

My thoughts: although I actually really liked the writing style and the idea behind the story. I love the whole Karma ideal and positive thinking ethos - what you give is what you get; unfortunately I found the female protagonist so utterly annoying, it put me off reading the whole thing. Again, I read the first few chapters and skimmed the end.

Other Opinions:

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Thursday Tunes: Guest Post: Lacey Weatherford Part 1

Can you imagine my excitement when I was chatting with Lacey on Twitter and randomly asked her if she had a play-list for her books; I was literally jumping about in my chair with excitement that not only did she have said play-list but I could put it on the blog *faints*

Here is part of the email she sent me *happy dances*

Most of these songs have actual significance to the story somewhere.  There may be a couple that I have on here that I just liked.  These are songs from the play-lists of all four books so if you hear something that you think doesn't relate to the story, it may be because you haven't read that part of the story yet!  Anyway, these songs were hugely inspiring.

Lacey knows I have only read the 1st book in the series so far but I have fallen in love with the whole premise of it.

Of Witches and Warlocks Play-list

Naturally- by Selena Gomez (Portia's song to Vance, used through out)
It certainly takes on a whole new meaning when you listen to the lyrics and put it together with the story

I Can't Stay Away- The Veronicas (Used through out)

Apologize- Timbaland (Featuring One Republic) (Used during the scene where Vance is begging Portia while he is contained) God I love this song even more now -I just cant get it out of my head.

Pictures of You- The Last Goodnight (For the picture taking scene in the canyon)

4ever- The Veronicas (used during some of those hot chemistry scenes)

Fall For You- SecondHand Serenade (used at the end of book 1 and in the beginning of bk2)

Faraway- Nickleback (Used all through the book because I just love it!)

Savin' Me- Nickleback (Used at the end of book one)OMG I can just picture it ;)

Better- Lynden (Used at the end of book one)

Tired of Being Sorry- Enrique Iglasias (Used through out)

Speechless- The Veronicas (Used through out)

Wow Thanks for sharing these amazing songs with us. I have discovered some great new artists for my collection.

Part 2 next week : D

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Review: Of Witches and Warlocks: The Trouble with Spells by Lacey Weatherford

Synopsis: From Goodreads
Portia Mullins had always lived the life of a normal teenager, up until her sixteenth birthday. She is then informed by her grandma that she is actually a witch who is a descendant from a long line of witches and warlocks. After overcoming her disbelief she finds that being a member of the coven comes with one great perk in the form of the school's handsome bad boy, Vance Mangum. Vance and Portia have an immediate connection as a budding romance begins, only to be threatened by turbulent skies on the horizon as Vance's checkered past rears its ugly head to haunt them. Portia is forced to use her untried powers in defense of everything she loves in a desperate attempt to hold on to the one thing that really matters in her life.

WARNING: The following review will contain lots of gushing. Read on if you dare : D

From the start I should tell you that this series is right up there with the Twilight Saga for me. Are you shocked? In fact the female protagonist, Portia, makes a far better role model than Bella. Imagine if you will a 16 year old Buffy mixed with Willow's magical power. I can even go so far as to say I wanted to be Portia even more than I wanted to be Buffy *Gasp*. Portia kicks some series butt, both magically and literally. At 16, she has more inner strength, loyalty and devotion than most double her age.

From her 16th birthday her abilities manifest, phenomenal in their power and Portia's ability to use them. The background and imagery of the witchcraft was astounding, showing an amazing amount of research on Lacey's part.

If you saw my trailer post yesterday you will know that the male protagonist is based on Matt Lanter. At 18 Vance has the whole brooding bad boy thing going on; throw in a leather jacket and motorcycle and you have a protagonist so hot you can feel the steam coming off the pages ;) As you probably know by now I kinda have a thing for the bad boy trying to be good. So Vance hit all the right buttons for me. Bad through his upbringing (his dysfunctional family made mine look relatively normal, lol) battling his destiny with his soul-mate at his side. The intensity of the emotion emanating from the pages was heart wrenching (in a good way).

The incorporation of different religions, showing their compatibility was fantastic. Making the point that why are there so many different factions all battling each other when they could work together. Why does there have to be a divide.

For me this is one book that I could read time and time again. Something I only normally do with Twilight. It has everything; powerful central characters you will fall in love with; action; adventure; romance with a mix of paranormal/supernatural.. It is addictive and compelling. Definitely rate it as one of my favourite books.

Check out the Of Witches and Warlocks website

So all you UK publishers take note - Lacey doesn't have a UK publisher - someone really needs to snap her up now!!!!!!

If you have reviewed this book as part of UK Book Tours please leave the link to your review here:

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Matt Lanter Appreciation

For those of you who don't know (where have you been) The Of Witches and Warlocks series is right up there with the Twilight Saga for me in terms of awesomeness. The male protagonist Vance is so swoon-worthy I had to share the inspiration behind his character ;) A giant thanks to the author Lacey Weatherford for giving us such a hot literary character (so smokin' I can feel a hot flush coming on, lol). Yes, in answer to Lacey's question the series should be called The Vance Series ;0. Anyway, back on track, the inspiration behind Vance is Matt Lanter. Have you swooned yet. So for this weeks trailer I thought I would include Matt's new movie coming out in the UK on October 15th.

I have so got to see this movie *sniggers*

For more Vance/Matt appreciation visit:

Heaven, Hell and Purgatory: Loads of Vance love going on here ;)

Let me tell you - as soon as you read these books, you too will be hunting down all the information and sharing the Vance love that we do ;) Enjoy
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