Sunday, January 31, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by The Story Siren.

Last week I had a really quiet week in the way of books and this week definitely made up for that.

I got two books in the mail. One that I got as a late Christmas Present which is:

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead…and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey has never felt so desperately alone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

I also got a book that I won in a contest from Kristen at Bookworming in the 21st Century and it is:

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

I also got a few books from the library. I went a little crazy at the library. ADVANCED WARNING: Some of the descriptions may contain spoilers.

And they are:

Flawless by Sara Shepard

The four bad girls at the heart of the Pretty Little Liars series are no strangers to trouble. Now in this second title, someone named RAS is taunting them with words that could bury the girls alive with the truth.

Unbelievable by Sara Shepard

Four girls living in a wealthy suburb discover the identity of a stalker who has been sending them shocking text messages, and uncover the mystery of who killed their childhood friend.

Perfect by Sara Shepard

After their missing friend's body is found and another of their friends commits suicide, four former best friends live in fear of their secrets being exposed by someone who is stalking them via their cell phones.

Wicked by Sara Shepard

The stalker's identity has finally been revealed but high school juniors Spencer, Emily, Hanna, and Aria seem condemned to repeat the past as they resume their unrepentant ways.

I also got something else in the mail, something bookish but I can't disclose what it was yet because it is for something coming up later.

And that was my week. Can't wait to see what everybody else got.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

When you reach me by Rebecca Stead

Title: When You Reach Me

Author: Rebecca Stead

Published: New York : Wendy Lamb Books, c2009

Pages: 199

Snippet: "'Do you even want to be friend's at all ?' I asked him."

Summary: As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1970s television game show, "The $20,000 Pyramid," a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.

Review: When you Reach Me was quite different to how I thought it would be but I really really liked it.

For starters there was the kind of twist ending that I really like and there were so many little bits and pieces that clicked together that made it so much more enjoyable.

There was a sad part, it wasn't too sad but I thought it was sad enough. But overall, the mood of the book was happy. It was very good.

The characters were all really interesting and some of the things I thought would happen didn't, in other words When You Reach Me was really unpredictable and so many unexpected things happened.

When You Reach Me is really good and if you get the chance to you should definitely check it out because it's very good.

Source: Library

Friday, January 29, 2010

Open Fire by Charlie Carter

Title: Open Fire

Author: Charlie Carter

Published: Pan Australia, 2009

Pages: 90

Series: Book 1, Battle Boy

Snippet: "A heavy hand clamped down on his shoulder."

Summary: Battle Boy 005 is hurtling through time. Destination: 1587. It's his very first mission for Operation Battle Book!

Review: This is the first ever book I have read and reviewed with a specific audience in mind. The whole time I was looking at this book I had in mind whether or not it would be suitable for an 8 year old boy.

First I have to say that this is mostly a male interest read but girl's could get into it too. It's also the kind of book that would be suitable for people just getting into bigger books. But I also have some complaints about this book.

For example, two of the characters are named Napoleon and Caesar and well I don't think a younger person just getting into reading would be able to pronounce those names. It's a clever idea to incorporate historical names into the book but those two are quite difficult to pronounce.

Storywise, this book is really good when it comes to science fiction and history. There's a little bit about history in there making it educational.

The illustrations are really good and they help explain parts of the book.

Overall, I think this book would be best suited for someone around the age of 8-11 but younger children should have a parent help them out with some parts. Open Fire is good for entertainment purposes too.

Source: Won from Y.A Reads

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bookish Webs About/Sign-up Page

Bookish Webs is a feature I currently run on the second Wednesday of every month. Every Bookish Web post mentions a website that is related to books in some way.

I am currently looking into expanding Bookish Webs to include online bookstores, author websites and book blogs as well as several other bookish webs.

If you have any suggestions of bookish webs or if you would like your book blog to be featured on Bookish Webs simply click here to fill in the form that will then be checked by me and I will then add it into a Bookish Webs post. If the form does not work for you email me at with Bookish Webs in the subject line.

If you have any questions concerning Bookish Webs you can email me at or comment below.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Newes From The Dead by Mary Hooper

Title: Newes From The Dead

Author: Mary Hooper

Published: London : Bodley Head, 2008

Pages: 307

Snippet: "If this happened, am I now dead?"

Summary: In 1650 Anne Green, a young servant girl, gave birth prematurely to an illegitimate child. Sadly the baby died and poor Anne was falsely accused of infanticide. She was hanged and then carried to the College of Physicians. But as Anne's corpse lay on the table, a strange rattle was heard in her throat. Could she still be alive?

Review: Newes From The Dead is a book I judged the cover of before picking it up. I thought, wow this looks like a great book, there's a creepy girl on the cover so it has to be a creepy story.

I really shouldn't judge books by covers because this one was a lot different to how I thought it would be.

I'm not really a historical fiction fan, but Newes From The Dead was pretty interesting. At first, I wanted to know more about Anne, about why she was hung. Then when I found out I thought it was a little boring.

If you like historical fiction then I'd say you would like Newes From The Dead because it is quite good. It just wasn't my type of book.

I guess a good summary of my opinion would be that Newes From The Dead was alright, it was something different and while I didn't love it, I didn't hate it either.

Source: Library

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reading on Film : Coraline

The other day I watched the movie Coraline which is based on the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I read the book two years ago and ever since I found out there was a movie I have been wanting to see it. Now I have. Below is the trailer for Coraline if you are interested.

So, comparing the book to the movie I have to say that like most books into movies this one was not so great. They added in some bits and pieces that surprised me a little bit. For example they created a whole new character.

The movie itself wasn't too bad though. It was entertaining and while they did draw out a few elements I guess they had to though to make it into a feature length movie.

One thing I found odd was I don't recall Coraline having blue hair in the book so I thought it was kind of weird that she did have blue hair.

Other than that I did think that the character of Coraline was dead-on accurate. Her actions were so much like in the book.

Overall, Coraline was an interesting adaption into film and for me it was a movie I would only watch once.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Syren by Angie Sage

Title: Syren

Author: Angie Sage

Published: London : Bloomsbury, 2009

Pages: 628

Series: Book 5, Septimus Heap

Snippet: ' "It is a cowfish," said Miarr. "They taste horrible." '

In the fifth book of this Magykal series, Septimus and his friends find themselves on an island whose secrets are as dark and dangerous as its inhabitants. Septimus Heap returns to the House of Foryx with Spit Fyre to pick up Jenna, Nicko, Snorri, and Beetle. But the journey home does not go well and when Septimus and his friends are caught in a storm, Spit Fyre crashes into the Rokk Lighthouse. They are rescued by the lighthouse keeper who is disturbingly sinister, and who has an equally sinister cat And all the while, Septimus is trying to fight the strange pull he's feeling to the island and its mysterious secrets.

Review: I'm a huge fantasy fan and The Septimus Heap series is a great fantasy series. I've loved the first four books and Syren, at book number five, stays true to the Septimus Heap series as a whole.

I must say that Syren is more for a younger audience but it is actually still entertaining and really enjoyable. As the book is in sequence you have to read them in order. So if you haven't read any of the others I suggest you do so before Syren.

One thing I really like and also get really annoyed with is the different story-lines between different characters that eventually tie-in. I thought it was really interesting because it's good to know more than one viewpoint of things. I also get annoyed at it though because I'm always left hanging about what's happening with some of the characters for a while and I really want to know what happened.

I just have to mention that each chapter has a little illustration to go along with it and the illustrations are so great. They're really detailed and I love them.

While at some points I did find Syren to be quite boring, I did enjoy it as a whole. It is definitely worth a read.

Source: Library

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by The Story Siren.

So this week I didn't get any books out from the library, I didn't buy any books (well I bought one but it hasn't arrived yet) and I didn't get any in the mail.

Which is good because I'm trying to work on reducing my tbr pile.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

While I Live by John Marsden

Title: While I Live

Author: John Marsden

Published: Sydney : Macmillan, 2003

Pages: 300

Series: Book 1, The Ellie Chronicles

Snippet: 'I think that was one of the effects the murders had on me.'

For Ellie Linton, being back on the farm with her parents is what makes the terrible things that happened during the war -- the things she, Homer, Lee, Fi, and the others had to do -- all worthwhile. It's where she belongs.
But the war won't let her go. A devastating tragedy has shattered any hope she ever had to reclaim her life, or herself. It's a new kind of fight. And the enemy isn't always from the other side of the border.

Review: When I read the Tomorrow series by John Marsden I really loved them. Then when I found out there was a series set after the Tomorrow series I was very excited because I did like this series. So when I finally read the first one I thought it was alright.

One thing I didn't think was so great was that none of my favourite characters except for Ellie were in it but there's a good reason for that.

While I did find it really interesting and I thought it was great how the book got straight into the action I did find it a bit dry in places and there was one part of the story where Ellie was thinking about her parents that I found a bit odd.

However, I loved how it talked about the aftereffects of the war.

This is a trilogy so I'll definitely be picking up the next two books in the series because I'm curious as to what can happen in those two.

Source: Library

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bookish Webs Links

Bookish Webs is a little feature I have on my blog every second Wednesday of each month where I talk about a website that is book related. Here is the main page with links to all of the previous Bookish Webs posts.

About/Sign-up Page
Book Blogs
Buying Books Online
Thomas Nelson: Book Review Bloggers (Now known as Book Sneeze)
The Ya Blogosphere

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Author Interview: Jennifer Brown

Yesterday I reviewed Hate List by Jennifer Brown and today I am here with an interview with Jennifer Brown. So without further ado I give you Jennifer:

  • What gave you the idea to write Hate List?
I think a lot of things came together at just the right time for me. I was bullied in junior high and part of high school, and that bullying was something that has definitely been on my mind for a lot of years. I've never really understood the bullying mentality, and have always wondered what makes some people act so cruelly. Strangely, after writing a "bullying" character and getting to know "the real girl behind the bully," I think I started to see it a little better, how she's flawed just like everyone else and that sometimes you can bully without really meaning to bully, and how sometimes you can get caught up in a situation where you're bullying even though you know what you're doing is wrong.

Also, as a parent, I have found myself very interested in school shootings and what we can do to stop them. I want schools to be a safe place for my kids to go. And I hate that so many people have suffered because of these truly senseless acts. I've asked myself a lot of questions about this over the years, and it, too, has been something on my mind.

The "spark" event, however, that brought all these things together, was the Nickelback song ("If Everyone Cared") that's quoted in the front of the book. The song got stuck in my head one night while I was sleeping, and when I woke up in the morning, I had this idea for a book, where I could ask all my questions and see if I could work out some answers. More importantly, I had my characters, who I could "see" in my mind when I listened to the lyrics of that song.

  • As a reader I found myself emotionally affected by Hate List, how did Hate List affect you emotionally as the author?
It did bring up some old memories and make me sort of face down the things I'd been hanging onto for a lot of years. For that reason, it was emotionally tough. But I'm glad I did it, because I do feel like I got some answers that help me look at people and situations more compassionately than I did before.

I'm generally an upbeat person, so it did at times feel a little "heavy" to me. Fortunately, I write humor for my local paper, so every week I was forced to put away the heavy stuff and write something nice and light. The humor was a lifesaver in that regard.

  • What do you hope people will get out of reading your book?
First and foremost, I hope for enjoyment. Reading provides so much enjoyment in my life, I want to share it with others. That's probably the main reason I even became a writer in the first place -- to share my enjoyment of the written word. But I also hope that HATE LIST makes readers think. Not feel guilty or anything, but just to think about how their actions and words can make big differences in this world.

I never set out to excuse school shootings, or to say they were somehow deserved because the shooters were possibly bullied. And I tried very hard in HATE LIST to show how not only Nick and Valerie were misunderstood by the people who tormented them, but also how the "tormentors" were misunderstood as well.
  • As a teenager were you yourself bullied the way that Nick and Valerie were?
Yes, and some of the scenes in HATE LIST were directly inspired by things that happened to me (the scene at the movie theater, for instance, is based on some things that happened to me). While I was tripped a few times in front of people, there wasn't a lot of physical bullying going on in my case, but there was a lot of name-calling and teasing/tormenting and public humiliation. Junior high was very difficult for me. It got better midway through high school, though, and by the end of high school, people were kind of over it. Finally.

  • Do you have any more books in the works?
Yes, I've been working on another YA novel about a girl who's being abused by her boyfriend. It's tentatively scheduled to come out in Spring 2011.
  • When you're not writing what kind of things do you like doing?
I'm a stay-at-home mom of three, so there's not a ton of time for extracurriculars. I love to play board games with my kids. I love outdoor sports during the summer. And I'm a huge reader. I read for at least two hours every day.

  • Do you have any must-haves for when you are writing?
Not really. I like to have music (preferably something in a foreign language so I'm not distracted by lyrics) and something to drink while I'm writing, but I can pretty much write anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances. I'm great at drowning out peripheral noise (I credit the "pod learning" classrooms of one of my elementary schools for helping me hone that skill) and am able to sink into work fairly easily.

  • Any advice for aspiring authors?
Say you're giving up as often as you like (it's nice and cathartic to do that every so often, especially if you fling a manuscript on the floor dramatically while you say it), but don't actually give up. Ever. If you hang in there through all the rejections (and, yes, there will be many), you will succeed and it will be worth it in the end!

Thanks heaps Jennifer! Be sure to check out Hate List if you haven't already.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Title: Hate List

Author: Jennifer Brown

Published: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2009

Pages: 405

Snippet: 'Just like there's always time for pain, there's always time for healing.'

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain.

Review: Hate List is one of those rare finds that leaves you completely stunned and quite literally sends your emotions running around in circles.

As I was reading Hate List I found myself on the edge of my seat wanting to know more about everything in the book. I really loved Valerie as a character, I found myself feeling so bad for her. I hated the way that almost everyone treated her. I think that in a way I found Valerie to be so relatable was because she had flaws and she wasn't perfect, she was a typical girl.
I loved how Jennifer Brown put together the novel with the main story but also some newspaper articles about the incident. It all tied nicely together and created one very good book.

The ending was incredibly emotional and I felt tears prickling in my eyes as I was reading it.
Hate List brings up some very interesting issues and I found it amazing to read how sometimes the smallest little things can escalate into something that becomes out of control. I was also surprised about how sometimes people say things without thinking and then later these little things can become huge.

I feel like I could go on forever about how much I loved Hate List. But I think if I did that there would be no point in anyone who reads this to read the book. So I will stop here and say that if you have not read Hate List then you definitely need to. It is a must-read!

Source: Library

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Title: Pretty Little Liars

Author: Sara Shepard

Published: New York : HarperTempest, c2006

Pages: 286

Series: Book 1, Pretty Little Liars

Snippet: "I'm still here bitches. And I know everything. -A."

Summary: Everyone has something to hide- especially high school juniors Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna. Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful. But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished. How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and all the dirty secrets they've kept. And guess what? I'm telling.

Review: I wasn't really sure if Pretty Little Liars would be my type of book at first but it sounded really interesting so I gave it a go and all I can say is that I found myself quite addicted.

I was flicking through this book quite fast because I really wanted to know more about all the girls and I wanted to know more about Alison's disappearance and who the elusive A is.

While there was one resolve that opened up more questions I find myself wondering just what is going to happen next.

There's not a lot I have to say about Pretty Little Liars other than it was a very exciting start to what I hope will be a great series and I cannot wait to read the next book.

Source: Library

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by The Story Siren.

This week I had quite a good week in the way of books.

Firstly I won four books from YA Reads. Which are:

Open Fire by Charlie Carter

Red Devil Down by Charlie Carter

Destroy Troy by Charlie Carter

BloodAxe by Charlie Carter

And I also bought a book:

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe and her twin sister Alice have just become orphans, and, as Lia discovers, they have also become enemies. The twins are part of an ancient prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. To escape from a dark fate and to remain in the arms of her beloved boyfriend James, Lia must end the prophecy before her sister does. Only then will she understand the mysterious circumstances of her parents' deaths, the true meaning of the strange mark branded on her wrist, and the lengths to which her sister will go to defeat her.

And that was my week in the way of books. Can't wait to see what everyone else got.