My Catchphrases

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Title: Tempest
Series: Tempest #1
Author: Julie Cross
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 5 Jan 2012
Source: Amazon Vine
Challenge: DAB
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveller. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.


A fast paced, action filled debut that sweeps you along. Mix time travel, conspiracy theories, secret government departments and romance to give a total page turner.

Told in first person narrative from Jackson's perspective. A privileged yet lonely upbringing with a mostly absentee widowed father. Mystery surrounds both Jackson family history, what exactly does his father do and how did his mother die? Woven into the main plot. The male perspective provides a satisfying insight into the mind of a teenage boy. But Jackson isn't your typical teenage boy and I don't just mean that he has the ability to time-travel. His sensitive nature endeared him to me even if he didn't always know how to express it. 

The plot jumps back and for through time concentrating specifically on 2007 and 2009, the insight the 2009 Jackson brings to his life in 2007 added depth to both the emotion evoked and to the plot. The jump between time frames can initially be confusing, the use of 007 and 009 helped keep the distinction between the time periods clear it also added the underlying parallel of government conspiracies/spies to the plot.

One thing I really wasn't expecting from a book about time-travel was the depth of emotion evoked. As Jackson relives painful episodes of his past while trying to alter the future I became completely invested in his well being and the outcome of events. 

Revelations and action combined with romance and friendships provide a really fast paced plot, the characterisations and interactions throughout are ingeniously portrayed. The concepts explored within the narrative are thought provoking to say the least. Quantum physics, the theory of relativity, chaos theory, string theory along with the idea of parallel universes are all weaved together. As someone that didn't grasp physics especially well in school these theories have always fascinated me. I think these concepts appeal to a wide variety of people even if they are unaware of the fundamental laws of physics or even that they are physics based concepts. 

There are a number of twists within the plot that I can honestly say I wasn't expecting. Nothing can be what it seems, everyone has secrets but the way in which these secrets affect time is skillfully depicted within the story. Events, personalities and interactions all shape who we are, down to the smallest decision. Quite a mind blowing idea when you think about it. 

The fabulous use of music lyrics and song titles used within the narrative provided an additional bonus in my eyes.

This book provides a solid basis for the series, a cliff-hanger type ending has left me literally pining for the next book. I have to say that this is one book that you can immediately picture as a movie. Now that I would definitely like to see.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Musical Moments: Guest Post: Kiss, Date, Love, Hate Playlist by Luisa Plaja

It is my great honor to welcome Luisa Plaja to Book Angel Booktopia today. Speaking to Luisa via twitter I was aware that she creates play-lists for just about everything lol. I was absolutely over the moon when offered the chance to host the play-list for Luis's new book Love, Date, Kiss, Hate. Over to Luisa......ENJOY.

I often write while playing music, and I have several long play-lists for every book. I add tracks for various reasons. Sometimes the lyrics are perfect for the themes I'm writing about, or they represent a certain character for me. Other times, the music creates the right atmosphere or calls to mind certain locations. I can't explain why other tracks are there, but they somehow feel right.

It was very hard to narrow it down, but here are just a few highlights from the music I played while writing my latest novel, Kiss Date Love Hate.

This is the one I carried over into every new Kiss Date Love Hate playlist I made. A lot of the book's scenes are set in the (relatively tame) wilds of a man-made forest, where tall trees vie with more recent structures built and left by young offenders on an out-of-bounds course. This was the track that inspired some of my thoughts on what it is to look 'wild' on the outside (Drew), or feel 'wild' on the inside (Lex, Jess... George...)
By the way, it was tough to choose just one Flo song and I nearly selected CosmicLove instead, for the sake of Lex's cosmic Geography teacher Ms Cosgrove.

Another scene-setting track, though this one is mostly for Drew.

This one's for Lex's slightly lost friend Jess. Plus it's a brilliant track. Sing it loud!

This is a perfect soundtrack tune. For me it captures that night-time, street-lit atmosphere where anything seems possible. I chose this for the driving scene after the party...

A timeless love song. Hey, it's even *called* Love Song! This one is for all the couples in the book, including the ones that didn't make it to the final cut. I like to think they're out there somewhere!

Just to round things off, for a game-based story, I had to include something about playing (and losing?) a game…

Thank you very much for having me here, Emma!

Thank you Luisa for sharing your awesome music taste.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Review: Kiss, Date, Love, Hate by Luisa Plaja

Author: Luisa Plaja
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Publication Date: 2 Feb 2012
Source: Review Copy
Challenge: BBC
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

What if you could change your friends' lives and loves through the settings of a computer game...?

Lex Murphy's group of friends have all dated, hated, ignored and lusted after each other for the last few years. If only there was a way of matching people perfectly to avoid all the unrequited love, dumping and drama! Then Lex's friend George is given a mysterious Sims-like game by his software-testing dad which involves building character profiles in the categories of Life, Looks and Love. Lex and George populate the game with avatars for all their mates, making a few 'wishful thinking' adjustments to the settings - and find that the next day these tinkerings have come true! But how long can this new calm, loved-up atmosphere continue?


The first thing I would like to say about this book is how well Luisa Plaja creates realistic teen narrative voices. This does however, mean that they are not necessarily like-able to begin with. 

Told in first person narrative from the viewpoint of Lex. I adored the Jurassic Park link to the name. Lex is very much a daydreamer, she lives inside her head and is easily distracted. I can completely relate to this - ohhh look there is a squirrel [ ; D ] Lex continually over-thinks things, she isn't good with praise and finds numerous ways in which to alter what has been said, twisting it until it suits the way she views herself.

Friends and families are portrayed as extremes. When viewed from the outside this exaggeration of personalities enables greater insight into the relationship, making it easy to see who really does belong together. I especially adored George in all his geekiness and Drew in his bad boy pierced hotness. If only kissing had been that good when I was a teen. Believe me the kissing scenes have smoke coming from the pages. 

The way life shapes personalities provided a powerful undercurrent to the plot. Insightful narrative shows the way modern society has changed the view we have of family units, the stereotypical Mum, Dad and 2.5 children no longer exists. It is more likely to be single parents or second marriages. The revelations regarding past history of the characters and their interactions kept the pace flowing. Humorous moments and a fabulous helping of sarcasm all add to the individual characterizations. 

The first half of the book concentrates on the game building and its affect on the characters. The concept of a computer game altering aspects of real life is intriguing. If you had the ability to alter your appearance or enchant people to like you with the simple click of a mouse - Would You? It would be like the modern equivalent of waving a magic wand. I am pretty sure I would make myself slimmer, look younger and be more optimistic just as a start [ ; D ]

The second half of the book is where the revelations occur tying everything together beautifully. Showing how and when events occurred to cause the current interactions. Impeccable writing draws all the characters history together while blending it with the current plot.

One of the things that stood out for me within the story-line was the way in which people make assumptions about other people based on their looks/where they have seen them. Drew is the best example of not judging a book by its cover. 

Lex's journey through this book is fabulously portrayed. Not only does she understand herself better; she also appreciates her friends and family in a whole new way. There is hope for everyone in the end that everything has worked out for the best and is where it is supposed to be.

Luisa has a knack of creating utterly realistic and believable characters; her teens are flawed, insular and pessimistic. Ask anyone who works with teens and they will tell you, Luisa has them pegged. The insight into the inner workings of a teens mind is both encouraging and frightening in equal measure, this is speaking as a Mother of a pre-teen. 

Another brilliant book from a brilliant author. 

In My Mailbox - January 2012

Hosted by The Story Siren to share the wonderful things that come into our homes. I have decided to only post this meme monthly due to time constraints. 


The 7 year old is reading this to review. She keeps giggling to herself <3

Love this series (Review HERE)

Love this series too - a brilliant conclusion to the series (Review HERE)

Only one word SQUEEEE

Swapped on RISI for the school library

So excited to read this one

You can check my review for this one later today [ : D ]

Swapped for the school library via RISI

A lovely surprise from Raimy at Readaraptor for the school library

Planning on reading both Siren and Pulse together

Swapped for the school library. Plus I want to read this and Beat the Band together

Another SQUEEE

Love this series

Interested to read this one, love the premise

I couldn't wait for the UK release so I bought it

Such a gorgeous cover - really looking forward to this one

Another I just had to have - Asda you are a temptress

Won in a Twitter Give-away - going into a special box in the library for the MAT readers

Angel Evolution by David Estes
( angels, good versus evil YAY)

Ticket to Love by Marilyn Kaye
(I hadn't heard of this one before it arrived in the mail. Going on the tour site)

Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom
(I had to have this one)

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
(isn't it beautiful - I can't wait to read it)

This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees
(won from The Overflowing Library British Book Challenge - perfect for the school library)

Dark Warning by Marie-Lousie Fitzpatrick
(I have already read this one - the review is scheduled for March)

I have has some more amazing books this week that will be added to February's IMM <3

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