My Catchphrases

Monday, 31 January 2011

MG Monday: Review: Manga Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Series: Manga Shakespeare
Author: William Shakespeare; Kate Brown; Richard Appignanesi
Publisher: Amulet Books: Imprint of ABRAMS
Publication Date: 2 Feb 2008

Source: Publisher - Thank You

Shakespeare's enduring characters are set adrift in present-day Athens, but a present with a massive difference - an alternative history. Rigid class systems and `god given' monarchies of the past have not been lost. Modern technologies meet ancient tradition; and the citizens of Athens are frustrated by continuing restrictions and hierarchies. Only the forest, home to the fairies and fey spirits can offer the illicit lovers what they seek.

Let me start by saying I am not going to review the story of A Midsummer Night's Dream only the Manga take on the play.

I really wanted to see how these Manga books would relate in the Secondary school library, especially with the current trend for Manga.

Although the language remains the same as the original play it does make it easier to follow without the stage directions and with the illustrations of the specific person speaking.

The book starts with an introduction to each character along with a brief sentence as to their relationship with the other characters. Something that pupils can refer back to if they get confused as to who is with who etc.

The illustrations are beautiful and really add to the imagery portrayed within the dialogue. The way in which the characters were drawn is remarkably like the way I had pictured them within my imagination.

Really easy to follow and understand. My only 'complaint' which isn't really a complaint is that only the first few pages are in colour the rest are in black and white, I like colour but I think that it may increase the cost of production and therefore the cost to purchase.

I have shown the book to the English Department who are going to buy a set for the library. A great resource to run alongside the traditional text in the classroom and I think making Shakespeare more accessible to pupils.

Bringing Shakespeare to a whole new generation to fully appreciate cannot be a bad thing.

UPDATE: Since writing my review and taking the book into the library; to my great surprise and pleasure Year 12/13 students have been using it while working on their coursework [ : D ] I am one very happy Librarian.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

In My Mailbox #4-2011 otherwise known as I heart RHCB

Thanks to The Story Siren for holding this weekly meme so I can thank the wonderful people who feed my book love *addiction*

For Review:

For asacutie:

For asastar:

For asacheekymonkey:

asacheekymonkey would like a sequel to Lily Alone called Lily Together if you could pass that onto Jacqueline Wilson please [ : D ]
As you are probably aware my husband has been unemployed for nearly 2 years now, as you can imagine money is very tight, so for the girls to have these books was like an extra Christmas for them.   

This was the one book I picked up for myself:

J pilfered this one from the school pile - it will be going to school when he has read it

The pile of books in RHCB
I have already taken the books into the school library. They included:


I have had a pupil ask me for The Spooks Bestiary since the beginning of September and I haven't been able to get it for him. I took it in last Monday and had to put it on the library system immediately for him. He is one happy student [ : D ] 

These are  the Thank You cards my girls wrote - asacheekymonkey has declared her love for Jacqueline Wilson in hers.
The card in the centre was made by a group of students in my library and has been signed by them, they are so absolutely thrilled with the books.
I will be popping them in the post tomorrow, thank you again RHCB you are truly awesome [ : D ]

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Saturday Spotlight: Random House Blogger Brunch

Anna (Book Smugglers), Sarah (My Favourite Books), Liz (My Favourite Books), Amanda ( Floor to Ceiling Books), Sammee (I Want To Read That), Sarah (Sarah's Book Reviews), Carly (Writing from the Tub), Lauren (I was a Teenage Book Geek), Dwayne (Girls Without a Bookshelf) 
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone I meet last week. You made me feel so welcome and part of the group, I feel truly privileged to know you all.

Lyndsey (Heaven, Hell and Purgatory Book Reviews), Kirsty (The Overflowing Library), Carly (Writing from the Tub), Dwayne (Girls Without a Bookshelf)
I did warn everyone before hand that I like to hug even when nervous, and yes I did get hugs from everyone THANK YOU. I will also tell you that I think I was the oldest blogger there but someone was squeeing at the books *cough* now I wonder who that was.

Everyone was so reserved when we walked in - Lauren from Random House was waiting at the door to greet us - Lyndsey from Heaven, Hell and Purgatory Book Reviews followed by Kirsty from The Overflowing Library shook hands politely - what did I do - hugged her of course. How could I not [ : D ]

The Random House Team presenting Karen Mahoney with flowers
I would also like to take this opportunity to say that I was really, really, really impressed with the Random House Team their enthusiasm and complete happiness with the books was inspiring and catching. I would like to go live in their building.

As you can see from  the above photo, it was also my great honour to meet Karen Mahoney, who is very lovely and gives fabulous hugs [ : D ] The Random House Team had done a surprise book launch for Kaz for The Iron Witch (Review here) There was cake and champers and lots of hugs. Plus she signed books.

The Cake

The Queue
Kaz with a mega watt smile [ : D ]

More photos of all the wonderful bloggers there:

Sarah (My Favourite Books), Liz (My Favourite Books), Darren (Book Zone 4 Boys)
Jo (Once Upon a Bookcase), Sammee (I Want To Read That)

Lynsey Newton (Narratively Speaking) Karen Mahoney (Author)
 We actually did get to talk about some pretty terrific books coming out this year:

The Kissing Game – Aidan Chambers
Publication Date: 3 Mar 2011

United under the banner of flash fiction, this is a collection of stories, or little 'cells', complete in themselves but connected by the overarching themes of betrayal and revenge. All featuring teenagers and often with an unexpected twist, these frighteningly realistic stories will take you to the very edge and beyond.

From the master storyteller, Aidan Chambers, comes a collection of Stories of Defiance - moments in life, realizations, insights and sudden revelations - prepare to be amazed, enchanted and to gasp with shock.

The Emerald Atlas – John Stephens 
Publication Date: 14 April 2011

The first thrilling book in the most exciting children's fantasy series since Harry Potter and His Dark Materials.

They were taken from their beds one frozen night, when the world was covered in snow. The silhouette of a tall, thin man has haunted Kate ever since.

Ten years on, Kate, Michael and Emma have grown up in a string of miserable orphanages, and all memories of their parents have faded to a blur. Arriving at Cambridge Falls, the children quickly realise there is something different about this place – and Kate feels sure she has seen the dark, crooked house before.

As they explore, they discover an old, empty leather book. The moment they touch it, an ancient magical prophecy is set irrevocably in motion, and the children are thrown into a dangerous alternate reality of dark enchantments and terrifying monsters. Only they can prevent the terrible event that will ruin Cambridge Falls – and stop the world from falling into complete devastation.

Debut novel – screenwriter – lives in same street as Brangelina – came with The Emerald Atlas notebook to create your own journey.

Long Lankin - Lindsey Barraclough
Publication Date: 7 Apr 2011

A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge.

Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss . . .

When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawaken an evil that has lain waiting for years.A haunting voice in an empty room ... A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ... A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church . . . Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi.

Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

There is a huge amount of buzz about this one already. I am shuffling my TBR pile.

Blood Magic – Tessa Gratton  (someone squeed at this one *tries to look innocent*)
Publication Date: 26 Apr 2011

For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.

Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Violet Wings – Victoria Hanley
Publication Date: 2 Jun 2011

For Zaria Tourmaline, the three years without her mother and brother have been lonely ones, living with a cold and distant guardian while she completes her education. Just as she is ready to join the world of adult fairies and genies, she finds a spellbook written entirely in her mother’s hand. But this treasured object is not safe from a new enemy, a fairy with more power than Zaria ever dreamed existed. Only among the humans–who must never know fairies and genies exist–can Zaria hide the spellbook; but hidden magic, it turns out, can expose a fairy in ways she never thought possible.

We were shown some really gorgeous alternative covers for this one.

Where She Went – Gayle Foreman (more squeeing)
Publication Date: 28 Apr 2011

It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other. Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Killing Honour – Bali Rai
Publication Date: 2 Jun 2011

‘Honour,’ I repeated, wondering how such a small word could have caused so much trouble.When Sat's sister, Jas, is married off into the Atwal family she changes, she's quiet and distant. But Sat's too busy with his own life; his girlfriend, his friends, football . . . Then Jas disappears.According to her new husband, she's run off with another man. Her family disown her; don't seem to care if she's ever found. But Sat doesn't believe it. Something has happened to his sister and he's determined to figure out what. But his investigations take him into dark and dangerous territory . . .
A powerful, hard-hitting teen thriller on the controversial topic of honour killing, by multi-award-winning author Bali Rai.
For The Record – Ellie Irving
Publication Date: 2 Jun 2011

Debut - Luke is a gifted but awkward ten-year-old who is obsessed with The Guinness Book of Records, and is nervous about starting senior school a year early as ‘the swot with the dead Dad'. When Luke’s tiny, unique Jersey village is in danger of being bulldozed to the ground to make way for a waste incinerator plant, the only way to stop it is by putting the village on the map: by breaking 50 world records in a week. With the help of geeky adjudicator Simon and a colourful cast of oddball village characters, this is Luke’s chance to shine, to solve his mum’s relationship problems, and to face his biggest fears – with bizarre, extraordinary consequences.

I am really interested to see how this one works in the school library as The Guinness Book of World Records is the bane of my life. Kids take it out for their English lesson and then spend the hour discussing the pictures *sigh* perhaps a fictional story about the records will encourage them to read *crosses fingers*

The Devil Walks – Anne Fine
Publication Date: 7 July 2011

'The devil walks . . . But the devil can make no headway if he has no help. We must invite him in . . .'

Raised in secrecy by a mother everyone thinks has gone mad, Daniel’s only link to his past is the intricately built model of the family home – High Gates. The dolls’ house is perfect in every detail.

As Daniel is reunited with the last remaining member of his family - his ‘uncle’ Severin, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a sinister wooden doll he has found hidden in the house, he begins to suspect that this vicious, haunted puppet of a figure has a chilling influence, bringing cruelty and spite in its wake.

Now Daniel's very life is at risk as his uncle is determined to get his hands on the figure . . .

The menace builds throughout in this deliciously creepy Gothic tale. (How creepy does this one sound)

In the Sea there are Crocodiles – Fabio Geda
Publication Date: 7 Jul 2011

One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah’s mother tells him three things: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons, don’t steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn’t there. They have fled their village in Ghazni to seek safety outside Afghanistan but his mother has decided to return home to her younger children. Ten-year-old Enaiatollah is left alone in Pakistan to fend for himself.

In a book that takes a true story and shapes it into a beautiful piece of fiction, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah’s remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally managed to claim political asylum aged fifteen. His ordeal took him through Iran, Turkey and Greece, working on building sites in order to pay people-traffickers, and enduring the physical misery of dangerous border crossings squeezed into the false bottoms of lorries or trekking across inhospitable mountains. A series of almost implausible strokes of fortune enabled him to get to Turin, find help from an Italian family and meet Fabio Geda, with whom he became friends.

The result of their friendship is this unique book in which Enaiatollah’s engaging, moving voice is brilliantly captured by Geda’s subtle and simple storytelling. In Geda’s hands, Enaiatollah’s journey becomes a universal story of stoicism in the face of fear, and the search for a place where life is liveable.

A bestseller in Italy, a beautiful, heartbreaking novel based on the true story of an Afghan boy’s journey in search of safety. True Story (I passed this one onto Clover at Fluttering Butterflies as this is more her thing than mine)

Dearly Departed – Lia Habel
Publication Date: 6 Oct 2011

From the ruins of a cataclysmic ice-age a new society has emerged, based on Victorian customs. Nora Dearly, a feisty teenage girl and apparent orphan, leaves her exclusive boarding school for the holidays to return home - only to be dragged into the night by the living dead.

Luckily for her, this particular crack unit of zombies are good guys - sent to protect her from the real nasties roaming the countryside and zeroing in on major cities to swell their ranks. Nora must find a way to defeat the evil undead with help from Bram, a noble, sweet and surprisingly hot zombie boy for whom she starts to fall...

A pacy, bloodthirsty, hugely entertaining teen zombie novel with an unconventional but tender love story at its heart. (OMG I cannot wait for this one - how fun do these zombies sound)

Baggage – Robin and Lawrence Etherington
Publication Date: 1 Sep 2011

“Baggage!" tells the tale of Randall, a happy-go-lucky but disaster-prone lost property officer working for the Tram service, deep in the heart of Triptych City. After a particularly destructive incident, his weary boss presents him with an impossible ultimatum. Either he locates the owner of the oldest item stored in the immense lost property warehouse by the end of the day, or he's out of a job. So begins an adventurous journey through a wondrous city. Randall's enquiries attract a myriad of bizarre, often amusing, and sometimes dangerous characters. Clues are uncovered where and when he least expects them, and help arrives from the strangest of quarters. But wherever Randall goes, trouble is sure to follow. Will he succeed in his impossible mission? And even if he does, just how much of the city will be left standing?

The DFC Library is a bold new collection of comic stories. Prepare to be entertained, excited, scared and thrilled by the very best artists and writers.

We also talked about other TOP SECRET projects that I can tell you I am very excited about. I know, I know you cant believe I am excited by books - well those that met me last week will be able to understand [ : D ]

Don't forget to check my IMM post tomorrow to see the mound of books I came away with. I actually only had 1 book for myself plus the review copies. The 2 older girls had 5 books each, little one had 3 beautifully illustrated picture books and the library had a whooping 20 books for which we have made the team at Random House a lovely thank you card (pic tomorrow) and my girls have written thank you cards, the oldest one has declared her love of Jacqueline Wilson in hers LOL 

Friday, 28 January 2011

Review: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Title: 13 to Life
Series: 13 to Life
Author: Shannon Delany
Publisher: Saint Martin's Press Inc
Publication Date: 4 Aug 2010

Source: UK Book Tours

Synopsis: From Amazon
Jessica's life was difficult enough since the sudden loss of her mother, but meeting Pietr Rusakova turns her world completely upside down. The newest member of Junction High, Pietr is a first generation Russian-American, a fact that by itself gets him lots of attention in the small town. But Pietr has far more going for him than good looks and an interesting accent. Pietr has secrets to hide - like the fact that he's a werewolf! These secrets lead Jessica into an exciting and dangerous world where her understanding of reality and what makes someone a man or a monster are challenged.

I have to start by saying what a completely fabulous and fascinating slant on werewolf mythology.

Written in first person narrative from Jessica (Jessie's) perspective, she has been struggling emotionally since her mothers death. Completely obsessed with the wolf story/attacks in her local area. Feisty, self assured and inquisitive; it is easy to understand here position on the school paper.

Introduce Pietr, an enticing enigma from the start. Their attraction is immediate and you can completely understand why. I loved Pietr from the moment he was mentioned, his looks, character and quirky quips/one liners had me swooning; add in the tortured soul and the deep dark family secret - wow LOVE with a capital L.

Wonderfully descriptive writing style blending the realistic with the fantasy seamlessly. The plot is full of puzzles, intrigue and suspense, add in high school cliques and rampaging hormones and you get a tumultuous mix. The reference to vampire/paranormal romance within the narrative made me giggle along with Pietr's vampire digs. The comedy and the drama were exceptionally well balanced and provided a nice contrast.

The ingenious use of Macbeth and Hell added to the imagery giving it depth and dimension. While the Russian history and Cold War elements added to the realism.

A cliffhanger ending left me chomping for the next book.

If you love Werewolves then this book is a must have - if you love paranormal romance this book is a must have. Let me put it another way - this book is A MUST HAVE [ : D ]

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Thursday Tunes: Wolfy Play-list [ ; D ]

With all the werewolf books I have been reading lately I thought I would try to find a wolf themed play-list to go with it [ : D ]

Of course I really had to start with this one:

I had to include this one - WOW a metal band with a symphony orchestra - AWESOME


I hope the Wolves are as happy with the play-list as I am [ : D ]

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Review: Immortal by Gillian Shields

Title: Immortal
Series: Immortal
Author: Gillian Shields
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 1 July 2010

Source: Library

Welcome to Wyldcliffe, the place that haunts my present, my past, and my future.
Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn from her home near the sea to become the newest scholarship student, strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave her drowning in loneliness.
Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a mysterious and attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie's feelings for Sebastian blaze with each secret meeting, she begins to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. As the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.

Gillian Shields does state that she is inspired by the Bronte's; if I wasn't already aware of this I would have made the connection due to the parallels placed through the narrative; the description of the rugged landscape akin to Wuthering Heights and the ingenious use of naming Sebastians family home Fairfax Hall brings to mind Mrs Fairfax in Jane Eyre. Even the relationship between Evie and Sebastian has parallels to Jane and Mr Rochester. I even visualised shades of Sleepy Hollow with the description of the horseman.

Written in first person narrative from Evie's perspective. At 16 she has a wonderfully snarky voice accompanied by a hot temper that she valiantly controls. Raised by her Grandmother, her father is in the forces and stationed abroad, her mother died when she was a child. Following her Grandmothers stroke Evie is 'lucky' enough to be granted a scholarship to Wyldcliffe, a rare occurrence to gain a scholarship. This is where one mystery begins - what are Evie's families past connections to Wyldcliffe?

Chapters are interspersed with journal entries by Agnes, written in italics to visually differentiate between the 2 story-lines. The journal entries piece together the mysteries of the past while adding depth to the present action/mystery/interactions. The weaving of the past together with the present produce a rich tapestry of diegesis (I like the word so I am using it [ : D ])

Abounding Gothic imagery is reinforced with the use of the Gothic convention of nesting parallel plots within the prose. Appropriate biblical references add deeper meaning to the narrative. Completely unexpected twists within the story braid the threads of the plot together in a tantalising fashion. Teasers are interspersed into the narrative, ideas are hinted at leaving the imagination to place the information given into the correct place; not altogether successfully in my case.

The high school cliques were shown in all their 'glory' comparable to the inner workings of the coven. The resemblance between the dynamics of the two groups was astounding. All interactions were believable and easy to relate to. Although Evie's immediate strong emotions for Sebastian seemed rather exaggerated, they could be explained by the bloodline to a certain extent.

Evie's personal journey did seem a bit drawn out due to her lack of belief in herself, when it eventually takes place it seems like a vast change in a short space of time. What I think I am trying to say is; most of the book deals with the necessary back story both in the past and the present leaving little room for the actual action in the present; something I think will be rectified in the next book.

Ultimately a fascinating modern Gothic tale.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Werewolf Wonders

Jessica's life was difficult enough since the sudden loss of her mother, but meeting Pietr Rusakova turns her world completely upside down. The newest member of Junction High, Pietr is a first generation Russian-American, a fact that by itself gets him lots of attention in the small town. But Pietr has far more going for him than good looks and an interesting accent. Pietr has secrets to hide - like the fact that he's a werewolf! These secrets lead Jessica into an exciting and dangerous world where her understanding of reality and what makes someone a man or a monster are challenged.

A prodigal son. A dangerous love. Haunted yearning...Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood. Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother. As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.

Becoming a werewolf is not an option for seventeen-year-old Lacey Quinn, but death can be a strong motivator.   Lacey is so focused on her future that everyday life has passed her by. Counting down the days to her eighteenth birthday, Lacey is almost home free. But when she falls for the mysterious Alex Morris, she lands in the middle of an ancient war between two enemy wolf packs. Tempting dreams, tantalizing lies and a dangerous love triangle ensues leaving Lacey heartbroken and confused. Lacey's fate rests in the hands of Alex and Brandon, but both are pulling her strings for their own agendas. Even as she slips further into the dark world of werewolves, Lacey struggles to find the truth and save the only family she's ever know.

I have read all of these and am eagerly awaiting the sequels - if anyone wants to take pity on me and send me them I will not say no [ ; D ]

Monday, 24 January 2011

MG Monday: Review: Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Title: Avalon High
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 5 Jan 2007

Source: Own

Synopsis: From Amazon
Avalon High, Ellie's new school, is pretty much what she'd expected. There's Lance, the hunky footballer. Jennifer, the cute cheerleader. Marco, the troublemaker. And then there's Will - the most gorgeous guy Ellie's ever met. She can hardly believe he likes HER.

When Will says he thinks he's met Ellie before, things start getting a little weird. A feeling that grows as Ellie discovers the strange bonds that entwine Will, Lance, Jen, Marco - and herself.
As darkness turns to danger, can Ellie stop the horrific chain of events that is about to engulf them all . . .

OK I raise my hand this is the first Meg Cabot book I have read. I can hear you gasping.... I know, I know ....I don't know how I have lived this long without reading Meg Cabot either. I pushed  this one up my TBR pile because there is a Disney movie being aired on the Disney channel later this month. When I saw the trailer I knew I had to read the book before I saw the movie. Remember I have 3 young girls so that is my *cough* excuse for watching the Disney channel. Plus #1 my oldest daughter has read the Mange version and loves it. Plus #2 it is about King Arthur - I adore stuff about King Arthur/Merlin/The Knights of the Round Table - so how could I not read it.

Written in first person narrative from Ellie's perspective. Wow, did she have such a quirky, fun character. Her parents are both professors of, guess what, medieval studies specialising in the Arthurian legend (especially her mother). Allowing in depth revelations concerning the Arthurian legend intertwined with the plot making it almost three dimensional.

From the very start of the book little plot hints and subtle references to the intricacies of the Arthurian legend are placed throughout the narrative. The writing style is so relatable I felt as if Meg Cabot had tapped into my head to see how I thought. It was wonderfully light yet superbly descriptive, (I am struggling to express myself on this one).

The way in which the Arthurian mythology was woven into the narrative was ingenious, not only was it relatable it was completely believable. The use of the names not only of the characters but of peripheral aspects such as the dog was a mastermind stroke.

All the characters were well developed, had individual character to complement the story and provide realism to the plot and believable interactions. They weren't perfect but even their character flaws gave them a sense of roundness in personality and imagination.

The use of Lord Tennyson's ballad 'The Lady of Shalott' at the start of each chapter which then corresponded with the action in the plot, giving it multiple layers, was inspired and brilliant. I don't know how Meg Cabot managed to do it but it worked fantastically well.

The main theme I found for me within this book was that although we may all have a destiny to fulfill its outcome doesn't have to be dictated to us, in the end it is each individual that is in control of their own destiny and therefore its outcome. You shouldn't conform to anyone's expectations of you but be true to yourself.

Quirky/witty/fun/entertaining. A stroke of pure genius. I heart Meg Cabot. That is all [ : D ]
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