My Catchphrases

Monday, 28 February 2011

MG Monday: Guest Review: Lily Alone by Jacqueline Wilson

Title: Lily Alone
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Publisher: Doubleday Children's
Publication Date: 3 Feb 2011

Source: Publisher - Thank you

Synopsis: From Amazon
Lily isn't home ALONE - but she sort of wishes she was; looking after her three younger siblings is a lot of responsibility.

When Mum goes off on holiday with her new boyfriend and her step-dad fails to show up, Lily is determined to keep the family together and show they can cope without any grown-ups. But taking care of 6-year-old twins, her 3-year-old sister and the family's flat feels overwhelming and Lily is worried that school or social services might discover their situation and break up the family. What could be better than to take all the little ones for a camping adventure in the park? Plenty of space to run about, no carpet to vacuum, and surely no chance anyone will guess they're there . . .

I think Lily Alone is BRILLIANT.

My favourite part was when the kind man gave them an extra ice-cream with sauce on.

My favourite character was Lily because she tried hard to look after her brother and two sisters. I have two younger sisters so I know how it feels to help look after them but I wouldn't be able to do it on my own.

I didn't like it when Bliss had an accident which lead to the family being separated, I cried. I think Bliss's twin brother could be quite mean and stroppy.

I would really like it if Jacqueline Wilson would write another book to follow on from this one to show all the family together. That would make me really happy.

Thank you to asacheekymonkey Age 10 for writing this review.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

In My Mailbox #8-2011 aka Christmas in the Mail [ : D ]

In My Mailbox is hosted by the lovely Story Siren every week.

This week has been the most fantastic book week EVER.
I am only showing a bit of what I had as I went nuts on the book buying this week and it is going to have to last me for the rest of the month. Thank goodness I am back in the library on Monday; still surrounded by books without spending anything, lol.

For Review (No I can't believe it either) Much screaming and happy dancing took place [ : D ]

For Review: I felt really really bad requesting this on Twitter - I don't know how people have the courage too. Anyway I am eternally grateful that I have it. Started it last night and all I can say at the moment is WOW. I really want my pupils to read this series, so I will be taking it into the library when I have read it, and hopefully tracking down a copy of The Body Finder for them { no budget left until May :( }

Pre-Order I had totally forgotten about:

(the last book of the series - can't wait to find out how this one ends)

Swapped via RISI

From UK Book Tours - Lynsey you are totally AWESOME

So there we have a small snippet of the books I received this week. I will be doing the rest next week - squeezing every last drop of book goodness out of half term. Apologies for the site being down this week - but now we have the lovely domain name Asamum Booktopia with loads of thanks and hugs to Susan K Mann for sorting out all the technical stuff (beautiful and intelligent).

I have also been under the weather this week and not been able to comment much - I am hoping to make up for that today {2nd day of antibiotics, feeling slightly better if it wasn't for the blisters on the roof of my mouth :( } Also debating writing a personal post about why I HATE February, you let me know what you think. Thanks for sticking with me - you guys ROCK [ : D ]

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Saturday Spotlight: Guest Post: Sanctuary Library Style by CJ Skuse

Taunton Library was my sanctuary when I was 17. It was the place in which I hid from everyone in order to read the books I wanted to read. The place to which I went when I skived off from lessons. My bolthole away from people my age with whom I just could not communicate.

I’d seek out the quietest corner of the YA section, where there was always a comfy chair, take off both my shoes and tuck them underneath and, like an overweight 17-year-old version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, would sit there whole afternoons and pore over any book of my choosing. I hated the books I was meant to be reading – Austen, Chaucer, volumes chronicling the Nazi rule in Germany. I wanted to read teen novels which really, according to my English teacher, I should have grown out of. I wanted to read Point Horror and Romance. I wanted to read The Wind in the Willows and The Railway Children. The aforementioned Roald Dahl. And in the library, I could do just that. I could read whatever I liked, and the only onuses on me were to look after the books and keep the noise down.

And people just left me alone. Sure, there was the odd waif and stray who would sit next to me and eat some rancid sandwich or try to strike up a conversation, or cough their way jaggedly through my precious silence while trying to lose themselves in a Barbara Cartland. But, by and large, I was left to my own devices and I loved it. The comfy chair was my throne, the towering bookshelves were my battlements and I was the queen of my own castle. It was the only place in the whole world where I felt powerful, and as a teenager with chronically low self esteem, this was vital.

Had I not had this amazing, free service to explore my own literary choices, I know I would not be a writer of YA fiction now. Libraries empower everyone who enters them and in my opinion, should be protected at all costs. As Oscar Wilde once said ‘It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.’ A library determined what I would eventually be, and for that I will be forever in its debt.

Thank you Claire for such a wonderful guest post, I for one identify completely with the library as a

Don't forget to check out Claire's book Rockaholic
Review here

Jody loves Jackson Gaitlin. At his only UK concert, she's right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and sent back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It's the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you've a rock god in your garage that doesnt want to leave? Jody's stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place!

Saturday Spotlight: Celebrating Wales

March 1st is St Davids Day and in celebration of being Welsh I thought it would be a great idea to spotlight Welsh Authors.

Please take a look under my Booklists page and you will find a link to a list of Welsh authors.

I great blogger tradition I have asked my wonderful blogger friends to review a welsh book/write a welsh themed post/celebrate a welsh author/basically anything to do with Wales and they will be linking below.

I hope you enjoy the reviews and maybe decide to try a Welsh author or two [ : D ]

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Thursday Tunes: Book Theme Songs: Delirium

There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.
Then, at last, they found the cure.
Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable...

Review HERE

I really, really had to put this one in - do you agree????

And this one because I LOVE it [ : D ]

Plus the official trailer and song:

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Title: Nightshade
Series: Witches War
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Atom (UK)
Publication Date: 28 Dec 2010

Synopsis: From Amazon
She can control her pack, but not her heart ...'I wanted him to kiss me?wished he could smell the desire that I knew was pouring off me. You can't, Calla. This boy isn't the one for you.' Calla Tor has always known her destiny: graduation, marriage and then a life leading her pack. But when she defies her masters' laws to save a human boy, she must choose. Is one boy worth losing everything?

I will start by saying I have seen a few reviews of this book and will probably disagree with the all [: P] To start I LOVE the cover for one thing it is purple, which you should know by now is my absolutely favourite colour. Purple hair (yay) I want.

The book opens by dropping straight into the action. We are immediately aware that Calla is a werewolf and that humans are not allowed to know about them, even that humans are deemed second class citizens in the community Calla lives in.

Written in first person narrative from Calla's perspective, at 18 she is destined to marry Ren, the son of the leader of the other pack of werewolves. Very much your arranged marriage to combine power and strength. Calla is confident, authoritative, gorgeous and powerful right from the start. Her family are portrayed as very loving and close-knit even in the face adversity.

Ren is the polar opposite of Calla; over-confident, a gigolo with no regard for humans at all plus his Father is completely obnoxious and cruelly controlling. Their relationship and that of the 2 werewolf clans emphasis the point that even werewolves have politics and allegiances. The details of the Keepers and the Guardians are revealed little by little. I do think it takes a while to fully appreciate the intricacies of the characterisations and their interactions/relationships within the plot.

The pages themselves are visually arresting with the start of each chapter depicting a phase of the moon. Symbols are placed above chapter headings; I have yet to figure out what they mean but I do think they have some significance to the narrative, they like a bit like runes, if that makes any sense to anyone.

Calla is immediately drawn to Shay, I felt it was like karma/destiny. The person Calla saves against the rules just happens to be Shay who is also the new boy in school. The connection between Shay and Calla is almost tangible from the beginning, like a thread that connects them on a deep level. I am sure that this connection has a plot implication that hasn't been explained so far in the story, I am literally gnawing for the next book to see how this is developed. I really felt for Calla torn between convention/expectation and her own heart. On one hand she has her family on the other her love, there is no middle ground.

This book is thought provoking on many levels: who we love; societies tolerances and who within that society is trustworthy etc - I almost felt as if a caste system was in effect within the narrative. The abuse of power/authority/position is clearly shown within the story. The effect this abuse has on the packs strengthens their bonds. It did irritate me that some allegiances were quickly altered and the way in which Calla, initially a strong warrior alpha, as the story progressed along with the relationship with Ren she was supposed to become subservient to the male alpha (not for me this I am all about girl power having 3 girls of my own). I felt as if the merging plot threads paralleled the merging of the packs [ : D ]

Ingenious use of philosophy provoked some deep thinking while reinforcing the plot. Insightful biblical reference added depth to the narrative. The plot is revealed in tantalising chunks full of threads/parallels/misdirections and assumptions with a sprinkling of WOW moments. Plus my personal favourite - Conspiracy Theories [ ; D ]. There is still so much more that needs to be answered, it has me chomping in anticipation.

If you want a book that has everything this one is definitely for you. A charismatic protagonist, sensory imagery, action, mystery, romance and Conspiracy Theories *swoon*.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Vladimir Tod ROCKS!

I have only been lucky enough to read the 1st book in the series so far (thanks to UK Book Tours) but I am eagerly awaiting the other books from the library. Just to tease myself even more I found the trailers.

Junior high really stinks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: His mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers and no one to teach him, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a strange substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he realizes he has a much bigger problem: He’s being hunted by a vampire killer who is closing in . . . fast!

If middle school stunk for Vladimir Tod, high school is a real drain. Besides being a punching bag for bullies, he’s still stalled with dream girl Meredith, and he’s being tailed by a photographer from the school newspaper. Needless to say, practicing his vampire skills hasn’t exactly been a priority for Vlad — until now. A monumental trip to Siberia with Uncle Otis is Vlad’s crash course in Vampire 101. Training alongside the most gifted vampires is exactly what Vlad needs to sharpen those mind-control skills he’s been avoiding. And he’d better get it right, because the battle brewing back home with the slayer who’s been stalking him could be Vlad’s last.

It’s another sucky year at Bathory High for Vladimir Tod. The evil vampire D’Ablo is hunting for the ritual that could steal Vlad’s powers. His best friend Henry doesn’t want to be his drudge anymore. And as if all that weren’t enough, it’s getting harder for Vlad to resist feeding on the people around him. When months go by with no word from Uncle Otis and D’Ablo shows up demanding Vlad’s father’s journal, Vlad realizes that having a normal high school year is the least of his concerns. Vlad needs to act fast, and even his status as the Pravus won’t save him this time . .

It’s another awful year at Bathory High for Vladimir Tod. Joss, a professional vampire slayer and Vlad’s former friend, has moved back to town. The powerful vampire Dorian has an overwhelming desire to drink Vlad’s blood. And his archenemy, D’Ablo, has brought Vlad’s Uncle Otis to trial for crimes against vampires. So much for dating. When the tables turn on Vlad, he has just enough time to return to Bathory for his final good-byes.

It all comes down to this.
Vlad’s running out of time. The Elysian Council has given him weeks to live, and that’s if the Slayer Society doesn’t kill him – along with all the citizens of Bathory – first. Then there’s the issue of Vlad’s father, who may or may not still be alive after all these years, and oh yeah, that tiny little detail in the Pravus prophecy about Vlad enslaving Vampirekind and the human race. So much for college applications.
In this epic finale to Heather Brewer’s heart-stopping Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, dark secrets will be revealed, old friends will become enemies, and warm blood will run cold. Just be careful it isn’t yours.

Monday, 21 February 2011

MG Monday: Review: Rockaholic by CJ Skuse

Title: Rockaholic
Author: CJ Skuse
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: 7 Mar 2011

Source: Publisher - Thank you

Synopsis: From Chicken House
Jody loves Jackson Gaitlin. At his only UK concert, she's right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and sent back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It's the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you've a rock god in your garage that doesnt want to leave? Jody's stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place!

Written in 1st person narrative from Jody’s perspective. At 16 she appears selfish, self centered and occasionally immature yet completely relatable. I can remember being this age (so many years ago) and in a similar situation to Jody (minus the rock star [ ; D ] Music has always played a big part in my life – it is my sanctuary in my ears away from reality – so yes, I completely identified with Jody, sometimes uncomfortably so. Plus we have very similar taste in music. I use music for motivation to do everything even to go to sleep therefore the references helped immerse me in Jody’s world.

As a mother myself now I can see both sides of the family divide, Jody a favorite of a rather colorful Grandfather, coping with his loss but not taking into consideration anyone else’s feeling but her own. I don’t want a funeral either but I certainly wouldn’t be happy about a food fight at my wake. The details surrounding her Grandfathers death are revealed sporadically throughout the book until a complete picture of him and his relationship to Jody is formed. Showing how Jody’s personality had been shaped by this relationship more than any other. I had the feeling that Jody has been in her Grandfathers illustrious shadow and now that he is no longer there she has to discover who she really is. Although Jody feels the only way this can be achieved is via her crush on rock star Jackson.

Jackson in reality, obviously, is a complete contrast to the fantasy Jody has in her imagination. The topical reference of Princess Diana and Michael Jackson added to the image of stars how no peace at all and why so many go into rehab as there only escape is of a chemical form. It is good to remember that stars are people as well, sure we are interested in what they do but they should not be hounded like animals.

For me this book was all about finding your own identity on a multitude of levels, Jody/Jackson/Mac as well as the peripheral family characters. It was really heart warming to follow.

From start to finish I completely adored Mackenzie, Jody’s best friend, he is kind, considerate, talented and HOT, at times I felt like hitting Jody over the head to open her eyes to just how wonderful Mac is and how completely perfect they would be as a couple.

The vivid descriptive writing style brings all the events to life some use of strong language should be noted for younger readers but it isn’t out of context within the narrative. Plus I have to mention that Cardiff features in the story (Wales [ : D ])

Jody’s self-realization and acknowledgement of her talent/romance/personality is written in a straight forward manner but with warmth and humor sprinkled on top. Even at my advanced age I remember being a teen (yes it does get better) and the portrayal of Jody is spot on – there is no idealistic view of the teenage years in this book which make it all the more believable.

If you love rock music then make friends with Jody and travel through Rockaholic with her. A really enjoyable rock filled journey of self discovery.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

In My Mailbox #7-2011

 In My Mailbox is hosted by the lovely Story Siren - via this weekly meme I am able to thank the wonderful people who send me books and those that write them.

Huge thanks to Caroline at Portrait of a Woman, Kath Langrish and Kirsty from The Overflowing Library.

Gifted from Caroline at Portrait of a Woman for the girlies

Gifted from Caroline at Portrait of a Woman for the Library

Gifted from Caroline at Portrait of a Woman for ME

Gifted from Caroline at Portrait of a Woman for the Big Girl

Gifted from the author for the Library

Gifted from Kirsty from The Overflowing Library for the girlies/library

Off to comment on IMM's will try to catch up on other commenting later as I am spring cleaning *sigh*

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Saturday Spotlight: Blog Tour News: West of the Moon by Katherine Langrish

Synopsis: From Amazon
An epic and action-packed fantasy adventure that weaves together Norse legends, shadowy creatures and an unforgettable hero.
When Peer is orphaned he is taken by his wicked uncles to live at their foreboding mill in the shadow of Troll Fell. Here he meets beautiful and spirited Hilde and after a terrifying encounter with the sinister creatures who live below the fell the pair form an inseparable bond. They are thirsty for adventure, so when a Viking longship docks at their village, they decide to set sail for Vinland – a mysterious place across the perilous sea. But are the ship's captain and his sword wielding son really honest sailors? What creatures lurk in the shadows and forests of the new land? And will Peer and Hilde ever return?
Spanning years and continents and filled with brilliantly imagined characters and creatures, this is gripping, atmospheric fantasy at its best

Mon 28 Feb Reclusive Muse
Wed 2 Mar Mostly Books
Sat 5 Mar Asamum Booktopia (ME)
Mon 7 Mar Wondrous Reads
Tues 8 Mar Bookwitch
Wed 9 Mar The Bookmaven
Thu 10 Mar MG Harris
Mon 14 Mar The Bookette
Mon 23-Thurs 26 Mar Serendipity

Saturday Spotlight:The Marsden March

As a few of you may already be aware, my boss’s granddaughter has Leukemia, she is only just over one.

The staff and facilities at The Royal Marsden have been of great comfort and support during this trying time. Not only for the little one but for the entire family.

To raise much needed funds to continue their invaluable work they do a Marsden March every year. This year it takes place on the 27th March. The march itself is now full but my boss had a brilliant idea as a way of getting extra funds for the campaign something everyone can join in with schools, companies, etc no matter how big or how small.

I am sure like myself you probably have a million odd socks floating about your sock draw. So why not put them to good use.

Take them to school/work/club and for a donation have them tacked together to form a long trail. The donated money would then go to Marsden and you can challenge other places to see who can make the longest sock trail.

It is a good idea isn’t it.

Please tell as many people as you can.

Email: for fundraising packs or to make a donation

For further fundraising events please click here

Saturday Spotlight: Puffin Book Club

This is a little post about the wonderful Puffin Book Club

This is the way the School Library gets the most new book as we get a massive 50% commission for all orders placed using our school number.

I thought I would do this little post to ask if you are thinking of buying any new books would you check the Puffin site first and order using our school number so that we are able to receive more commission. Budget cuts are a terrible thing. So it really would be a big help to have this extra commission.

Puffin book club account no. 0007916184
Click link to go to Puffin Book Club Site:

Friday, 18 February 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Series: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: 3 Feb 2011

Source: UK Book Tours

Synopsis: From GoodReads
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

I would first like to say that the idea of looking at love as a disease is ingenious and completely identifiable. Although love can sometimes be painful would a person really want to go through brain surgery in order not to be able to love. It really makes you think of how that would feel and this hypothesis is intricately woven into the narrative; providing an internal debate on the positives and negatives of love.

Written in first person narrative from Lena's perspective. Lena has lived under the shadow of having a Mother who was outcast for her unending capacity to love. Her Mother was truly wonderful but not seen as such in a society that classes love as a disease similar to the bubonic plague. Lena is afraid to feel, afraid to consider any other option until she meets Alex *swoon*. Lena's best friend, Hanna, provided a stark contrast to Lena in every way - looks/social standing/attitude - yet there is something about there co-dependent relationship that goes far beyond the surface. For me I think Lena and Hanna identified something in each other subconsciously, elements that come to the for as the story progresses.

The use of Mary Magdalene with Lena's name was particularly brilliant, the biblical link was well researched and added to the argument in favour of the cure.

I have to say that I didn't particularly like Lena, I found her self absorbed, judgemental and opportunistic. I had the same problem with Before I Fall but the protagonists path of self discovery redeemed herself in my eyes by the end of the book, I am hoping that Lena does the same in future books.

The similarities portrayed between the dystopian society and that in Matched developed the realism within my imagination. A society that controls music/books/movies, I do not think I would survive. My love of conspiracy theories was fueled by the portrayal of the divide between rich and poor. Government officials decide your place in society, who decides their place or is it a birthright like royalty. There are no restrictions placed on Government officials, they have every convenience and unlimited energy supplies whereas everyone else's is restricted. Unjust and corrupt, I was virtually climbing on my soapbox as I was reading.

The cure itself is completely horrific, akin to a lobotomy, as a reader I was left wondering who on earth would have discovered the way to remove a persons ability to love in the first place. Not only does the cure stop you from falling in love; it stops you loving at all, you cant even love your own children. Yet the ability to hate/be aggressive is left untouched. Personally I kept thinking why not remove the hate out of people rather than the love, wouldn't the world be a better place without hate and with love (stupid scientist). Aggression seems to be exaggerated without the capacity to love depicted vividly with the raids and the sadistic pleasure the actual raiders seem to take in hurting people and destroying things. I was almost sick when reading a particular action of the raiders (no spoilers). Imagine a world without compassion or sympathy; unfortunately it is all too easy to picture.

The writing style is wonderfully descriptive, encompassing beautiful use of similes. The description of feelings was astute and really got to the 'heart' of the matter. The merging of science and religion within the narrative along with the quotes used at the top of chapter headings added depth, dimension and impact to the basic storyline while providing additional insight into the characters and plot development.

I am not going to gush about this book as I know a lot of other people have, the reason behind this is that at the end of it I felt as if I had my heart ripped out then trampled on.

A haunting and emotional read, believe me it will stay with you for a long time.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Thursday Tunes: Book Theme Songs: The Lonely Hearts Club

Synopsis: From GoodReads
Love is all you need...or is it? Penny's about to find out in this wonderful debut.

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows - no more. It's a personal choice...and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born; The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways...which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like...
Review here
Although this book is chock-tastically jammed packed with music, this song for me just went with the storyline so well. Enjoy [ : D ]

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Review: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

Title: Immortal Beloved
Series: Everlasting Life
Author: Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: 6 Jan 2011

Synopsis: From GoodReads
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.
Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

Written in 1st person narrative from Nastasya’s (Nasty) perspective alongside her many aliases. Your ‘typical’ conflicted teenager but with the insight of over 400 years of life. Nasty has a wonderful narrative voice, directly addressing the reader at points which made me completely invested in the events concerning her.

The Gothic convention of nesting different stories within the same narrative is woven ingeniously into the book. Multi-layered plot giving aspects of suspense, romance, thriller and the paranormal all work beautifully together. Pieces of the plot are tantalizing revealed little by little making for compulsive reading. The Gothic aspect is reinforced by the Gothic font on the lettering at the start of each chapter.

Nasty’s history is revealed in a series of flashbacks in the form of dreams and visions. Very strong imagery and descriptions immerse the imagination in both the past and the present seamlessly. The use of old European/northern language mixed with modern terms added to the longevity aspect of the prose. While the historical references spanning the term of Nasty’s life were really well researched, adding a sense of realism while giving depth to the plot.

The 2 different sets of people Nasty associated with give a striking contrast in personality and actions. All the characters are wonderfully individual yet the group dynamics of both sets work well together. I really liked the inclusion of Nasty’s interaction with ‘bad girl’ Drey, the way in which she helped her via her own experiences showed how caring Nasty really is, even though she tries to project a tough girl persona. The character development throughout the book of all of the central characters was impeccable.

The magic/paranormal element to the book mixed modern ideas of witchcraft with older more traditional beliefs. The use of aromatherapy/homeopathy/herbalism all have a basis in Wiccan/Pagan/Druid ‘faiths’ really showed the need to utilize the natural ingredients we have available. The idea of balance – that power comes at a cost – emphasized the need to work with resources rather than deplete them.

One aspect I didn’t really like was the inclusion that everyone is born ‘dark’ and that they have to work to achieve light paralleling the religious concept that everyone is born a sinner and they have to work at redemption. This is not something I can mentally reconcile, it makes me just want to go BLAHHHH. However, this is just my opinion and it worked well within the narrative.

The chemistry between Nasty and Reyn *sigh* literally crackled off the pages, the back-story *no spoilers* was insightful although somewhat distressing in places. However, the morale of the story shows how people evolve from their past, they change and hopefully learn from actions and events making them *fingers crossed* better people for it. It also showed that we should not dwell on the past rather life in the present. The journey of self-discovery for both Nasty and Reyn was completely engaging.

For me this was a great start to a different view of immortality, I cannot wait for the sequel and have been trying to track down information about when it will be published but to no avail. Anyone else know????

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Some Like It Hot [ ; D ]

If like me you like your romance more steamy than slushy then these books are for you - just make sure you have a fan handy [ ; D ]

High school senior Meg revels in being a rebel. She sports choppy blue hair, and tight t-shirts, cuts class, and is often found where she's not supposed to be. Like hanging out on a railroad-tracks-covered bridge that's off-limits to trespassers. When she and her friends are busted for trespassing and underage drinking, she's sentenced to spend her spring break riding along with a rookie police officer on his nightshift patrol. Compounding the punishment is the fact that the cop, John After, is only two years older than Meg, and a former classmate to boot. He thinks he has Meg's number and has nothing but contempt for her childish rebellion. Meg in turn has nothing but contempt for Officer After's straight-laced, by-the-book attitude. But Meg has her reasons for lashing out, and John has his reasons for his need for law and order. And they're about to discover that they have a lot more in common than either one of them could have dreamed...
Review Here

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created "perfect" life is about to unravel before her eyes. Forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, Brittany finds herself having to protect everything she's worked so hard for - her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend and, most importantly, the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But the closer Alex and Brittany get to each other the more they realise that sometimes appearances can be deceptive and that you have to look beneath the surface to discover the truth. 

Carlos Fuentes isn't happy about leaving Mexico to start the "new" life his older brother, Alex, has planned for him. Carlos liked his freedom; living life on the edge - just like Alex did. Kiara Westford doesn't talk much; instead preferring to shut out the world. And when Carlos bounds into her life she struggles to understand him. Carlos is sure that Kiara thinks she's too good for him, which is just fine because he's not interested anyway, right? But when they finally open up to each other, the connection they feel shocks them both. Can they overcome their fears and realise that sometimes opposites really do attract?

WHY CAN’T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET . . .  AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER?  There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.  But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug. 
Review Here

Well I for one now have steam coming out of my ears [ : D ]

Monday, 14 February 2011

MG Monday: Guest Review: Tomorrows Guardian by Richard Denning

Title: Tomorrows Guardian
Series: Hourglass Institute
Author: Richard Denning
Publisher: Mercia Books
Publication Date: 1 Jan 2011

Source: Author - Thank you

Synopsis: From GoodReads
Experiencing episodes of déjà-vu, eleven year old Tom believes he is going mad. Then, he meets the adventurer Septimus Mason, who shows him that he is a "Walker" - someone who can transport himself to other times. Septimus explains that these abilities can be removed leaving him, once more, an ordinary schoolboy. Given the hurt these talents have caused, the choice would seem easy enough, but it is not so simple. In dreams, Tom has experienced life as other "Walkers" in times of mortal danger: Edward Dyson killed at the Battle of Isandlwana, 1879; Mary Brown who perished in the Great Fire of London, 1666; and finally Charlie Hawker, a sailor who was drowned on a U-boat in 1943.Agreeing to rescue them, Tom has three dangerous adventures before returning to the present day. Tom's finds he has drawn the attention of individuals who seek to bend history to their will. Soon Tom's family are obliterated from existence and Tom must make a choice between saving them and saving his entire world.

As I have not yet finished the book due to work commitments, this review is a basic guideline of half the story. I’m going ahead anyway. In my opinion, Tomorrow’s Guardian parallels the 2008 film, Jumper as the film involves someone “jumping” from place to place. However in this book the main character “Walks” through time. I also noticed that the main character was named Thomas Oakley, which I recognised from the 1998 film adaptation, Goodnight Mr Tom. I am unsure whether this was a deliberate name choice or whether I’m just reading too much into it.

Anyway onto the book, I thoroughly enjoyed the parts that I have read and I feel that not only can this book provide a good story; it also provides historical facts which I found interesting to read. The book follows the young life of Thomas Oakley, who discovers that he is a “Walker”, which means that he can “walk” through time. His new found powers confuse him as he feels he is going mad. An elder Walker, Septimus Mason, appears and explains to Tom why he has these powers. Of course, Tom wants to get rid of these powers and have a normal childhood. When he meets the Professor of an organisation to aid Walkers, he realises that his powers could be put to some use. Tom has been having dreams of people dying in different times, he discovers that these people are just like him and he must rescue them from death and bring them back to his time. But of course, there’s a villain of the book in the name of Redfield (I think :-L) and he tries to convince Tom to use his powers to change time completely, which can have disastrous results.

I would recommend this book to people who are around Tom’s age (11-12) as I feel that they would enjoy the book much better, but I believe that this book is suitable for all ages due to the historical element and the excitement that grips you to the book.

Thank you to Danni Year 12 for such a honest and insightful review.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

In My Mailbox #6-2011 plus Why I do IMM

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

I don't know whether you have all seen Kristi's post about Blogging and the cruel comments made about IMM by an *author person*(click here to view the post)

Not to jump on the bandwagon or anything I would just like to take this opportunity to express why I do IMM.

I don't get a lot of review copies - I don't like to just request stuff from publishers if I already have a massive TBR pile and I know that the book requested, although I may want to read it is not a high priority. Some of the review books I have received I have not requested but have been kindly sent to me, therefore by showcasing them in an IMM post I can show my gratitude to that publisher. If the book is not the kind of thing I generally read I will pass it onto a fellow blogger who will have more interest in it. Sound fair to you so far???

Some review books I have been approached to read are more for work than my own personal taste, however this provides me with an insight into books which has proved invaluable in the school library. Plus I get to take them into the school library for the pupils to read - small sacrifice of my reading time to give pupils a 'subjective' opinion about a book while providing new books for them to read wouldn't you agree?

Reason 2 for doing IMM - a lot of the books I am lucky enough to read have been loaned by friends or from UK Book Tours (I think I have read 14 books so far Lyns [ : D ]) without these people I would not have the chance to read such brilliant books. IMM is a really small way to say thank you - believe me guys it is nothing to how grateful I am for your kindness. 
Slight whinge about this point too _ do you think that if you are sent a book that you should say who that book has come from or do you just 'umbrella' it all together under the IMM label. I think part of my OCD and obsession with good manners is that you state who that book has come from. What do you think?

Reason 3 for doing IMM - through the generosity of UK bloggers/authors and publishers I have received books for the school library. By showcasing them on my IMM I feel is a small way to express the gratitude I feel for this generosity. Seriously the pupils are ecstatic about the selection of books we have had in. Take a look at my I Heart RHCB IMM to fully appreciate what I mean.

Reason 4 for doing IMM - my local library has been brilliant about getting books in for me and the girlies. They listen to my suggestions, have increased their YA/MG stock gaining more of my pupils. What better way to showcase their range than through IMM.  

So there you have it - the reasons I do IMM. Your thoughts would be really appreciated - THANK YOU.

Onto this weeks IMM (which also reinforces the points I have made above):

From UK Book Tours (hugs Lyns)

Loaned from the gorgeous Sya at The Mountains of Instead

Received via swapping

I think this weeks IMM proves my point [ : D ]
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