Thursday, December 13, 2012

Losing Agir Blog Tour: Q & A with author Liz Fisher-Frank

Losing Agir: A story of courage, justice and love, crossing borders and cultures
Partly based on fact. this is the story of two young people, united by experiences of family separation and loss, whom, in their search for justice, find friendship and even love.
This is the story of Alice, a 15 year old in care and her relationship with Agir, a Kurdish boy smuggled into the UK following the violent destruction of his village in South-East Turkey. As Agir's terrible tale unfolds, Alice learns the truth about her strange and unnerving foster home. Against the backdrop of her own family tragedy, does Alice have the strength to challenge her foster father to free Agir from his clutches?
I am delighted to welcome Liz Fisher-Frank to Bookster Reviews today, answers questions about her debut novel, Losing Agir. Her answers are fascinating, enjoy reading them everyone!
1How did the idea for Losing Agir come about?

I decided to have a go at writing when, for a short period, I had to commute to London one day a week and I wanted to do something on the train. For many years I’d been representing young people in care through my work as a lawyer. So it made sense for my main character to live in the care system. I’d also always been very interested in a case my husband, a human rights lawyer, had taken to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In this case, a Kurdish village was attacked and destroyed in the early hours of the morning. Villagers were pulled from their homes, families were separated, homes were burned and livestock killed. The village men were then forced to walk blindfolded, many of them barefoot, through the snow for many hours to imprisonment. The court found, years later, that the villagers human rights had been breached that day and they won their claim for compensation. ‘Losing Agir,’ starts at the attack on this village and sees my character, 16 year old Agir, separated from his family during that chaos of that day. He later gets smuggled into the UK and there, in a slightly sinister foster home, meets Alice, a 15 year old struggling to come to terms with her own story of loss.

2)  Alice, one of the central characters, is in foster care. Can you tell us about your own experiences of working with young people in care?

Author of  'Losing Agir, Liz Fisher-Frank
I have worked with many young people living in the care system. What is so apparent is that their stories are always so totally different as to how and why they are living in care. For some, it’s because of parental illness meaning that a parent, due to physical or mental health problems, simply cannot look after the young person. For others it’s because of family breakdown, bereavement or abusive relationships which mean staying at home is just not possible. Many of the young people I met have had very supportive and committed foster parents and/or children’s homes. However, some had not been so lucky. In my book, Alice is desperate that her new foster home is ‘the one, the one which works.’ Like so many young people, Alice has moved about the care system. Also, again, as can be a real problem for young people in care, Alice is having difficulties in seeing her brother who has been placed many miles away. These are just some of the problems which young people in care can experience.  My feeling is that any young person, living away from birth parents for whatever reason, should be given the utmost support and help from our care system.

3) Losing Agir was published on Human Rights Day (10th Dec). Do you feel its important for young people to learn about law and rights?

I feel it’s really important for young people to have an understanding of law, rights and responsibilities. During my work representing teenagers, their problems often seemed to have many layers of complication. It always struck me that if help and information was available very early on, there would be a good chance that problems could be sorted out before they became too big and complex. I would love to see more work done in schools about law and rights and if my writing could, in any small way, raise an awareness of some issues, I would be delighted.

Daniel Craig - not sure if he'd be the best actor to play a 16-year-old!
Did you have any actors in mind when you were writing the central characters? Who would you like to play Alice if the book was every brought to the screen?

Now that’s a tricky question as the thought of my story being adapted for screen is something that I haven’t ever let myself even dream about. But if you’re forcing me too, then, I think I’d struggle with any of the famous names out there. If, in that wonderful world of daydreams, it was ever screened and I had a say in the central characters, I would like Alice and Agir to be unknown actors. I have very firm pictures of them both in my head, which I tried to explain to my friend when she suggested that, if ever anything happened with the book, it really would make sense to get Daniel Craig to play 16 year old, Kurdish, Agir.

5Would you ever write about Alice and Agir again? Where do you see them in 10 years time?

Yes, I think I would. Without wanting to spoil the ending, the book is left in a place whereby both characters still have a lot more to do in their lives. I would really like to write about this and the twists and turns their lives inevitably take. Just now I am focusing on the publication of my next two books, ‘Discoveries,’ (the story of 15 year old who finds out she is adopted) and ‘The Silk Slaves of Bangalore,’ (the story of a young person who uncovers the use of child labour in the silk industry). After that, it would be great to revisit the world of Alice and Agir and see how things are.

Thanks for those fab answers Liz! Readers check out Losing Agir, published by Live It Publishing, and is out now. It is available to buy on Amazon or The Book Depository.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blogging slump...

Everyone, I can't hide it any more...I'm going through a blogging, and a reading, slump. And, as we all know, the only way to get over it is to take a break for a while. I am going to miss all of you and your fab blogs, but  the truth is, I just amn't enjoying writing reviews at the moment, and I'm not motivated to write any posts! So I'm going to totally remove myself from the blogoverse until sometime in the new year, when I'll write a list of my favourite books of 2012, and a serious new year's blogging resolutions list!

Over the Christmas holidays, I'm just going to relax, and hopefully read some great books that will get me out of my reading slump! So until the new year, goodbye everyone!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Bookster Reviews!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to Bookster Reviews, happy birthday to me :)

It's Bookster Reviews' 2nd blogoversary - I cam't believe it's already been two whole years since I started blogging! Blogging has really had such an impact on my life, I can't imagine not blogging! I've made so many new friends through blogging (I won't name everyone, it'll take ages and I'll probably accidentally leave someone out!), discovered most of my favourite books, and just had loads of fun over the last two years! I've been through blogging slumps (actually I'm going through one right now, unfortunately, but more about that in a couple of days!) and reading slumps, but I've got through them, and I'm really happy with how Bookster Reviews has turned out! Over the past year I've discovered loads of new blogs, books, and have become more active in contacting publishers, authors etc. Blogging is a wonderful experience and I just love everything about it!
Thanks to everyone, bloggers, authors, publishers, who have helped me and been a friend to me over the last two years - I really appreciate you all! I remember two whole years ago, I read a single book blog and was just in awe of it. I never though I could do something like that! So to everyone who has helped me:

I just want to give a special mention to Zoe at Bookhi - we both started book blogging at the same time, and she was the first blogging friend I made, and we're still blogging friends now, after all this time! Her blogoversaey is around now too, so happy blogoversary!! You're the best, Zoe! :D

Annnnnnd one last time:

(sorry for the post being a couple of weeks late)

Monday, November 12, 2012

REVIEW: Shift by Em Bailey

"There were two things everyone knew about Miranda Vaile before she'd even arrived at our school. The first was that she had no parents - they were dead. And they were dead because Miranda had killed them."
 Since her breakdown last year, Olive has become the school loner, so she can only watch as new girl Miranda latches on to her old best friend, class queen bee Katie. Soon Miranda is talking like Katie, dressing like Katie - even going out with Katie's boyfriend. And then Katie dies. Olive is convinced Miranda is somehow responsible, but the only person who believes her is Lachlan, the hot boy who won't take the hint that she wants to be left alone. And then Miranda turns her attention on Olive. She makes life so much fun that soon they are best friends. But what price will Olive have to pay for this new friendship?

Shift is a thrilling, psychological, and utterly captivating book. It's different from anything I've read before, and it's addictive and exciting - I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through! There's always something going on - the author doesn't waste time with descriptions, it's action all the way through. I loved it! 

I liked the way there was two different plotlines - the mystery of what was going on with Miranda, and then the mystery of what exactly the 'big thing' that happened to Olive a few months ago. It kept me reading till the very end, because I was just dying to know what had happened/what was going to happen. The only thing I didn't like was the way that the author dropped some pretty obvious hints throughout the book about what had happened to Olive. I prefer when twists in books are like bombshells, when you're totally not expecting them! There was a few genius twists in the book though, that I definitely didn't see coming! There was one at the end of part 1, and I honestly just sat there re-reading the paragraph over and over, I was so shocked! It was so clever, and I absolutely didn't see it coming!

Every one of the characters were intriguing and unique. Miranda is so creepy, but at the same time there's something very alluring about her. She's such a fascinating character.  She's horrible, but still fascinating! What she was doing to Katie and then Olive was creepily subtle. I didn't understand how Olive didn't realise what Miranda was doing to her, when she was the one person convinced of Miranda's guilt nearly the whole way through. Olive was a strange character - I liked her though. She was fragile, and she's one of those people you just want give a big hug to! I LOVED Lachlan, he was a fantastic love interest! He really cared about Olive and they were so cute together.

I loved the ending of Shift. It was so exciting, and the book's climax was just - OMG. I'm being honest, my heart was literally racing in that scene! It was a very satisfying ending, even though is was left open to interpretation...

I think the idea of Miranda being a sort of a shapeshifter was a fantastic one  - it's so original and it's refreshing and interesting to read such an unusual story. Shift is not a book to be missed. It's a brilliant, heart-racing and fast-paced novel!
                                                 Rating: 4.5/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Age group: 12+
Official Publication Date: 7th May 2012
Publisher: Electric Monkey (an imprint of Egmont)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Feathered Man blog tour

I am delighted to welcome Jeremy de Quidt to Bookster Reviews for the blog tour of his new novel The Feathered Man. He has written a brilliant post about Halloween when he was a child - enjoy!

(Sorry about the terrible photo alignment - I'm terrible at computer stuff!)

Halloween wasn't made anything of in my house when I was a child. The shops might have had toffee apples in, and I can remember them alright, but as for Halloween itself at home - it just was another day. People didn't dress up and go from door to door then, not like now. I’m glad they do, now. I like that. We always make a pumpkin lantern and leave it on the wall outside. I like the sound of the gate going and hearing the muffled conversations. I like turning out the light and slowly opening the door to see who’s there. A couple of years ago I whipped it open as fast as I could and growled at the ghosts and ghouls on the step - it wasn't quite what they’d been expecting and the shrieks and screams that went up could have woken the dead - which is, after all, what Halloween is really all about - waking and remembering the dead. I knew that much even when I was growing up as a child in a house where Halloween was just another day. But you see for me it wasn't the day that was the problem, it was the night. As the afternoon drew in and darkness began to fall, I started to wonder what really did happen when all the lights were out and the clock struck midnight on Halloween. I began to wonder with growing disquiet what the graveyard at the church - the one that I walked past everyday on the way home from school- was really like in the darkness; all those crooked headstones and the green coloured chips of glass that were strewn over the white marbled graves, the bunches of withered flowers in the little vases. And suddenly the dark wasn't a place I wanted to be in - even a trip with rubbish to the metal dustbin down the path by the back door was done as quickly as I could do it - down the steps, take the lid off, bang it back on and get back in and shut the door - keep all that darkness out. But as the evening wore on there at the end of it, like some grim, awful train approaching, would be bed time and the house would be clicking and cold and quiet, and whatever was outside, all that remembering of the dead, would come knocking on my bedroom door. One year in the weeks before Halloween, Mr Jones died. He was the old man who’d lived in the house next door. I remember the absolute terror of lying in bed that Halloween night and thinking that Mr Jones was going to come tapping on my window, dressed in his old brown jacket and grey trousers, a bunch of withered flowers in one hand, and broken chips of coloured green grave glass in the other. That night lasted for ever. I remember it now.

I even looked on the frost covered path the next day as I went to school to see if there were any pieces of green grave glass dropped there.

I still wonder to this day what on earth I’d have done, if there had been.

Wow, fantastic (and creepy!) post Jeremy, thank you for that!

The Feathered Man was published by David Ficking Books on the 1st of November, and is now availible in all good bookshops, as well as Amazon and The Book Depository.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

REVIEW: My Now or Never Diary by Liz Rettig

Kelly Ann has only just come to her senses and realised that G, the boy she’s fancied all year, is a total nerd and Chris, the boy next door who’s been in love with her all year, is actually the man for her. But does that mean she’ll live happily ever after with Chris, discovering the joys of sex and smugly advising her friends in the ways of true love? Of course not. With the help of her faithful friends Liz and Steph, Kelly Ann manages to muck it all up and finds that the path of true love never runs smoothly! Can her relationship with Chris survive being found by his parents semiclothed in their living room on the day of his surprise birthday party? Or her wild girls’ holiday to the domain of the holiday rep, Faliraki? Can Kelly Ann get through all these crises and manage to singlehandedly look after her sister’s baby and the fake baby school have given her as a project too? A hilarious riot of teenage fumblings, terrible teachers and skincare made from porridge.

Kelly Ann has to be one of my favourite fictional heroines of all time. She's such a brilliant character! She's hilarious and some of the things she comes out with are just genius. She's very naive at the same time though, which can be irritating sometimes, but at other times it can be a contributing factor to her lovableness! It annoyed me the way that she was convinced that Shelly was such a good friend, when it was obvious she wasn't. 

Stephanie and Liz are fantastic friends to Kelly-Ann, and I love them too! The friendship the girls have is so real and lovely! Stephanie changes in this novel, for the better. She grows up, and she becomes a more genuine person. Liz stays much the same, and doesn't really have a huge part in the book, but she's still great to have around as a character, because she's so funny!

I still don't know about Chris! He's the only flaw in the book in my opinion. I don't dislike him, he just doesn't feel real to me at all. His and Kelly-Ann's relationship doesn't feel genuine, and he doesn't come to life for me!

One of my favourite things about this series is that it's so true to life. Kelly Ann's experiences with friends, family, school, boys and everything else are realistic, and very relatable! This series describes the highs and lows of being a teenager, with no sugarcoating!

I flew through reading My Now or Never Diary. These books are so readable, and are literally impossible to put down! The (usually) short diary entries make the reader keep going and going, and you hardly notice the pages fly by! The author is amazing, it honestly feels like I'm actually reading Kelly Ann's real diary!

My Now or Never Diary is hilarious - the situations Kelly-Ann and her friends get themselves into are hysterical! If you need a good laugh, this is the series to read.

I know this is a short review, but to be honest I don't know what else to say - the Kelly-Ann series is fantastic, and if you're a teenage girl who hasn't read it yet, you're seriously missing out! My Now or Never Diary is one of the funniest books I've read, but it's also heartwarming and very likeable - like Kelly Ann herself! It's a great part of the series, not to be missed!

                                                Rating: 4.5/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Age group: 13+
Official Publication Date: 1st June 2006
Publisher: Corgi Childrens (an imprint of Random House Childrens Books)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

REVIEW: The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones by Susie Day

On her thirteenth birthday, Blue makes a desperate wish. To be transformed into a cool, confident teenager. Enter Red, appearing from nowhere like a wacky fairy godmother. She's only visible to Blue - in fact, she IS Blue, but a year older. With Red by her side to guide her, Blue can avoid all the gruesome embarrassments! But her future self causes a heap of crazy trouble - and there are dark secrets she's not telling...

The Twice Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones is a short book and it didn't take me long to read it - but it certainly made an impact on me! I loved everything about the book. The characters, the writing, the storyline, and the ENDING! 

Bluebell was a lovely character. She was kind and quite insecure, and very likeable as a main character and narrator. Red was...a strange character. I didn't think she should have kept so many things from Bluebell, but I suppose for the sake of the story it had to be done! There was a brilliant cast of supporting characters - I loved Bluebell's friend Fozzie, Bluebell's fantastic sister Tiger, and of course, the mysterious Merlin!

I liked the idea of Bluebell's 14-year-old self coming back to guide her - I've always loved time-travel in books, and I liked Susie Day's take on it. Although it wasn't actually as it seemed... 

The Twice Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones seems like a light-hearted read, but it's much more than that - there is real depth in it. The themes of family, friendship, and gaining confidence in yourself are important in this book, and Susie Day portrays them skillfully and subtly. I also liked the themes of music and photography - I love when a character is passionate about one or two things in particular in a novel, especially when they are also interests of my own as well.

I finished this book reading late into the night, because honestly, I couldn't stop reading! The book is so enjoyable to read, and also, I dying to see what happened in the end! The ending totally threw me - I was NOT expecting it. At all! After I had finished, I just sat there for about five minutes with my mouth open, thinking about the amazing book I had just read. I wish I could say more about it, but I can't (because it's a massive spoiler obviously!). You'll just have to read it for yourself!

The Twice Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones is much more than it seems from looking at the cover. It is a wonderful novel, and will break your heart!

                                             Rating: 4.5/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 177
Age group: 9+
Official Publication Date: 2nd August 2012
Publisher: Marion Llyod books (an imprint of Scholastic)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Letterbox Love # 9

Letterbox Love is a weekly meme, hosted by Narratively Speaking. It's a great way of sharing what books you receive every week, and I'm delighted to be taking part!  

This is my Letterbox for the past I don't know how long! I haven't had a chance to do a LL in ages so this is all the books I've received in (as I said before) I don't know how long! So here they are:

For review:

Double Cross by Malorie Blackman

This is the Fourth book in the fab Noughts and Crosses series - the series has been newly released with new covers, which are fab! I can't wait to read this - thanks Random House!

Falling To Ash by Karen Mahoney

Reading this now and struggling to finish it - I'm not sure about this one to be honest!

A Reckless Magick by Stephanie Burgis

I've only read the first in his series, but I can't wait to read the second one then this one - and look at that fab cover!

The Pendragon Legacy: Lance of Truth by Katherine Roberts

I read the first book in this series last year, and it wasn't my cup of tea - I'm not sure if I'll be reading this one!

Winterling by Sarah Prineas
I hadn't heard about this one before it arrived, but it sounds really brilliant and mystical! Thanks Quercus!

Me, Suzy P by Karen Saunders (proof)

This looks like a fantastic book, I'm really excited to start reading it! Thanks to Templar publishing for this and the above two books :)

Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School by Charles Gilman

This books looks like fun - and it has a really cool cover. You know the way you get some cards and things and when you turn them from side to side they have two different pictures? (sorry, terrible explanation) Well, it''s like that - it's so cool! :D Thanks Quirk Publishing for this.


One Mum's Enough - Book 1 (Families in a Step-Chain)

Little Miss Perfect - Book 4 (Families in a Step-Chain) both by Ann Bryant

I won these two of the Girl Heart Books website and there was a mix-up in which book I was meant to be sent, so I ended up with two - not that I'm complaining! Hehe :)

What did you get in your letterbox?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

REVIEW: Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham

A first crush.
An unexpected friendship.
A dream come true.
Dear Dylan! 
Thanks so much for your email and I'm sorry about my last one when I said I love you. I hope you don't think I'm a weirdo mentalist?!!! It's just that I was watching Oprah yesterday and she said we should all say we love each other a whole lot more. Not to everyone of course. There's no way I'd tell my scummy step-dad that I love him because that would be lying. But the thing is, sometimes when I watch you on TV, I feel as if you're talking just to me and it makes me feel less alone. I know you probably get loads and loads of fan mail but I wanted to ask you - could we be e-mates? 
Yours hopefully, Georgie xxx.

I've been dying to read Dear Dylan for ages - all I had read were glowing reviews of the book. And, well, this is going to be another glowing review! 

I loved everything about this book. The characters, the format, the storyline, the writing - this author can do no wrong in my eyes! I loved Georgie  - she was such a brilliant main character  She was kind and brave, and I thought Curham portrayed her as a teenager perfectly. I think I'm quite like her - I felt I could relate to her and some of the issues she had - that's probably one of the main reasons I loved her character so much!

There was another character who was my joint favourite with Georgie - I just couldn't pick between them, they were both too fantastic! I'm not going to say who the character was, because it's actually a a spoiler - but if you've read the book you'll know who I'm talking about. This character was so wonderful. They were kind, thoughtful, helpful and caring. 

Dear Dylan also had a very realistic and well thought-out set of secondary characters; I didn't like Jamie at first, but once we got to know him he really grew on me!  He was great for Georgie and was just all-round lovely. I hated Tone-Deaf (Georgie's step-dad), with a passion - he is definitely one of my top 5 most hated characters of all time! I also really disliked Jessica, Georgie's 'best friend' she was so horrible and mean and a really bad friend to Georgie, especially when Georgie  need her most. I wasn't sure about Georgie's mum - she was quite selfish, and didn't appear to care about Georgie's feelings  but she showed she was brave in the end, and I began to - sort of - like her better.

I really liked the e-mail format. I thought it was a fun and different way to read a book. I liked the way some things could be included that wouldn't really be included in first person narrative, because Georgie and the other character were talking to each other - it's difficult to pinpoint what exactly, but it was just things that would seem strange if they were included in a first person book - but they fitted in this book, since the two characters were talking to each other. It was a really clever way of writing a book too - the (mostly) short enough e-mails made it very difficult to put the book down, and I flew through it!

The dual narrative was fantastic - it was interesting to get to see things from both characters point of view, I loved that element. And I just LOVE Siobhan Curham! She's such a fab writer - she makes the reader not want to stop reading, she makes the characters come alive on the page and feel so real - and she writes beautifully! 

Dear Dylan is heartbreaking, heartwarming, funny, and original. It deals with real life issues such as domestic abuse and bullying, and it will move you!  It is one of the best books I've read this year, and one of my favourite books of all time! Siobhan Curham is an amazing author and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.  If you're looking for a good book to read - don't hesitate to read Dear Dylan. Trust me - you won't regret it!

 Rating 5/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

Format: Paperback
Pages: 288 
Age group: 11+
Official Publication Date: 2nd April 2012
Publisher: Electric Monkey

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Reckless Magick by Stephanie Burgis release day!

Kat's back for her third adventure, and as per usual, social disaster is following in her wake - When the Stephenson family travel to a grand country house on the Devon coast for Kat's sister Angeline's wedding, Kat is stalked by a dangerous magical enemy and finds everything she thought she knew about her late mother called into question. With smugglers, sabotage, tangled romance and plenty of magic activity at work, it's the job of Regency England's feistiest twelve year old to protect herself and her family from impending ruin.

Happy book birthday to A Reckless Magick! This is a brilliant series - make sure you get your hands on this soon!

Check out Stephanie Burgis's website:

Friday, September 28, 2012

REVIEW: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Watch out, all you mythological beasties roaming the streets of San Francisco - There's a new kick-ass team of demon-fighters coming your way - Meet Grace, who just moved to San Francisco. It's a tiny bit scary, starting over, but it gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks exactly like her turns up to fight the monster. Then, there's Gretchen, who is fed up of monsters pulling her out into the small hours, especially on a school night. Getting rid of a minotaur is just another notch on Gretchen's combat belt, but she never expected to run into this girl who could be her double in the process. And Greer, who has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But everything tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're all sisters. These three teenage descendants of Medusa must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

I  absolutely loved Tera Lynn Childs' 'Fins' series, and had pretty high expectations for Sweet Venom. And while I liked it, it did disappoint me. There were good and bad points to this book - I'll outline them all for you in this review.

I'll start with the negatives - I may as well save the best for last!

the characters: Grace, Greer and Gretchen were all likeable, (yes I liked Greer even though she was a snob!) but they were really typical characters. The plain, clumsy girl, the tough girl, the snob girl with the fragile inside layer - it's all been done before! I found them to be boring and predictable. I also didn't like Nick at all - he wasn't even cute, he was just annoying. I did like Milo though, and Thane seemed like an interesting enough character, but all round the characters didn't impress me. They felt very one dimensional - not real at all!

the plot: I honestly had no idea, even towards the end of the book, where the story was supposed to be going. We basically just heard about Gretchen and Graces' (quite boring) lives. Greer didn't come into the book till near the end, and I can't help wishing that she wasn't mentioned in the blurb - discovering that the three girls were triplets could have been a great twist, but it wasn't because we knew that it was coming. That's another thing - there were hardly any plot twists. There was the one about Una at the end, but I didn't really feel shocked - maybe it's because to be honest, I didn't care about the characters!

Now I'll move onto the positives:
 the writing: I love Tera Lynn Child's writing, and this book, despite all of it's flaws, was pretty fun to read! It was humorous and just all round quite enjoyable to read.

the Greek mythology: as some of you probably know, I'm a a huge fan of Greek mythology! The author took the myth of the monster Medusa, and portrayed her to be a guardian instead - not evil. It was a really interesting take on the story, which the author wrote cleverly. I also loved reading about the fights between the girls and the beasties, and learning about the monsters they fought - I would have loved if more information was included in the book, but that probably would have bored some people!

Conclusion: While Sweet Venom had a lot of flaws, I still liked it, and enjoyed it. The ending is a good one, and makes me want to read the next book soon! I think this is a series I will be continuing with - hopefully I'll enjoy the next book more!

                                                                Rating: 3/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Proof
Pages: 320
Age group: 12+
Official Publication Date: 1st September 2012 
Publisher: Templar Publishing

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Letterbox Love #8

Letterbox Love is a weekly meme, hosted by Narratively Speaking. It's a great way of sharing what books you receive every week, and I'm delighted to be taking part! 

Hi everyone! I'm really sorry about now posting much this week, I though I would have more time :/ And I've just found out that my computer will be out of order for the next week (my dad is fixing something or other :L) so I won't be able to post this week either! And I also won't be able to read or comment on posts - sorry guys, I'll miss you all! 

Anyway, here are my books: (sorry for no pictures - didn't have enough time!)

For review:

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

I've been wanting to read this for so so long and now I have it and I'm so so happy! This sounds amazing, I was delighted when this and Pushing The Limits arrived in the post!

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

I can't wait to read this one! It's gotten amazing reviews, and it sounds fab :) Thanks Mira Ink for this and Saving June!

For The Record

Billy Templar's War by Ellie Irving
I'd never heard of either of these before they turned up in the post, but I though For The Record sounded so good that I read it practically straight away when I got it! I liked it and will review it soon :) I'm also looking forward to reading Billie Templar War - I especially love that cover! Thanks Random House for these!

Sammy Feral's Diaries of Weird by Eleanor Hawken

This looks like a a fun read, maybe a bit young for me, but we'll see :) Thanks Quercus!

Icespell by C.J. Busby
I loved the other two books in this series, and I can't wait to read this one, it looks like so much fun! Thanks to Templar! 

What did you get in your letterbox this week?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

REVIEW: Debutantes by Cora Harrison

It’s 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresses, the excitement seems a lifetime away. Luckily the girls each have a plan for escaping their humdrum country life: Rose wants to be a novelist, Poppy a jazz musician and Daisy a famous film director. Violet, however, has only one ambition: to become the perfect Debutante, so that she can go to London and catch the eye of Prince George, the most eligible bachelor in the country. But a house as big and old as Beech Grove Manor hides many secrets, and Daisy is about to uncover one so huge it could ruin all their plans - ruin everything - forever.

I really liked Debutantes by Cora Harrison. The characters are colourful and life-like, and it's a really fun book to read. During a lot of the book, there actually isn't much going on, but honestly, that didn't bother me, because it was written so beautifully that I just loved reading the book, even if there wasn't much happening in the story.

I loved the time period the book is set in, as well as the backdrop of Beech Grover Manor and London. The descriptions were wonderful, and I could picture clearly the big house and it's many rooms, as well as the city of London and the scenes of the dances the girls attended. The descriptions were precise but not boring, and the writing was one of my favourite features of the book!

Th characters were fab! I can't pick a favourite of the four girls, but I really loved Rose and Daisy. Rose was really funny, coming out with her newspaper headlines all the time, and I could relate to her (I want to be a journalist too!).  Daisy was so lovely! It was fascinating, hearing about her film-making - I knew nothing about film making before reading this book, and now I feel very clued in ;D. She was a good main character, and I felt for her when she was going through tough times!  Poppy and Violet were nice too, but Poppy didn't really stand out to me, and Violet could be a moan sometimes!

I didn't really know where the story was going for around three-quarters of the book, and that didn't really bother me, but luckily the story started to pick up just as I was getting a little restless. Something that bothered me about the book was the fact that there was this really big plot twist (I actually saw it coming, but that's ok :) ) and the characters didn't seem fazed at all! It was something that would be really shocking if it happened to you, and Daisy was semi-upset about it for like five minutes, and then just acted as if nothing had happened afterwards! That annoyed me :/

And of course I can't review this book without mentioning the stunning cover! It's GORGEOUS! It seems so perfect, and is probably one of my favourite ever book covers :D Is it just me or does that girl remind you of Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)?! 

Debutantes has great characters, is brilliantly written, and is so fun to read. It's a really enjoyable read, and I'm delighted it's going to be a series!

                                                       Rating: 4/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Age group: 11+
Official Publication Date: 2 August 2012 
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Letterbox Love #7

Letterbox Love is a weekly meme, hosted by Narratively Speaking. It's a great way of sharing what books you receive every week, and I'm delighted to be taking part! 

I'm baaack! :) This is my LL for pretty much all of August, so I have a lot of books! I will be posting more regularly in September now that I'm back to school, so expect lots of reviews and hopefully an LL every week! :) Now, here are my books:


Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I've heard great things about this author, and this looks like an emotional read, one I've been wanting to erad for a while now! Thanks to Caroline at Portrait of a Woman for this!

For review: 

The City's Son by Tom Pollock
I hadn't heard anything about this before it turned up (thanks Quercus!) but I've since seen a few reviews, positive and negative! However, it's a beautiful hardback edition, and I hope to read it soon.

Breathe by Sarah Crossan (ARC)

This sounds so amazing! I'm been looking forward to this for aaaaaages :D I can't wait to read it! Thanks Bloomsbury :)

Jenny Q: Stitched Up by Pauline McLynn

I love Father Ted, and this book looks and sounds hilarious! Thanks Puffin :)

Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham

I've been wanting to read this for ages, it's gotten rave reviews and the story sounds fantastic :) Thanks to the author and to Electric Monkey for this!

Crusher by Niall Leonard (ARC)

This doesn't sound like my usual thing, but I'm looking forward to giving it a go, it sounds quite different :) Thanks Random House!

Torn by David Massey

I haven't read many war book before, but this looks brilliant. Thanks Chicken House!

Debutantes by Cora Harrison
Tempest by Julie Cross
Starcrossed by Josephine Angilini
Abandon  by Meg Cabot
Thanks to Macmillan for these! I've already read and loved Debutantes, (how could I not, look at that cover!) and am looking forward to reading the others books too.

The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones by Susie Day
This came with a candy cane thing, which was delicious ;) This looks fab, thanks Scholastic!

The awesome purple edges! :)

The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable

I hadn't heard of this before it turned up, but it came with a lovely letter from the publisher, and now I'm totally intrigued, it sounds amazing! It came in gorgeous purple packaging...with sparkles :') Thanks soooo much Chicken House!


Vampire Academy: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
I've already read this (but won't be reviewing it). It was good, but a bit disappointing compared to the others books in the series. If any of you have read the VA series, which is your favourite and least favourite book? And are the fifth and sixth book better than the fourth?! ;)


Losing Lila (not pictured)

REALLY looking forward to starting this :D I loved Hunting Lila, and I've heard this is just as good! yay :)

What did you get in your letterbox?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quickie :)

Hi guys - I just wanted to let you know that I probably won't be posting at all these next couple of weeks, because summer's nearly over and I want to take advantage of the last couple of weeks before school starts back again by swimming, and going out etc. :) Sorry! But I'll be reviewing lots in September hopefully :D Bye everyone and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Going away for a bit...

Hi evertyone! Just a quick post to say I'll be gone away til next Tuesday - sorry, I forgot to schedule posts, so there won't be any til then :L Anyway, see you then!

Monday, August 6, 2012

REVIEW: A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis

At twelve years old, any proper young lady in Regency England should be sitting quietly at home, practising her embroidery and keeping her opinions to herself. But Kat Stephenson is no ordinary young lady. Kat's father may be a respectable vicar, but her late mother was a notorious witch and Kat herself is the newest target of an ancient magical Order. In the first thrilling instalment of The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson, there are highwaymen to foil, sinister aristocrats to defeat and true loves to capture for Kat's two older sisters. 

I jusknew I was going to love 'A Most Improper Magick' - it's just my kind of book! I had high expectations, and I was not disappointed! Kat was a brilliant character, and I loved her sisters as well. Angeline was probably my favourite character after Kat -  she was clever and funny, and very entertaining to read about! Kat's other sister Elissa was more serious, but I liked her too. I loved their sisterly relationship, they bickered and fought at times (of course!) but they were ultimately loyal and kind towards each other, and I thought that was great. I really like great literature sisters, but you don't get it much in books theses days, so it was a lovely change to have it in this book.

Kat was just amazing! She was all that I love in a person (or character), rebellious, adventurous, fiercely loyal and funny! She was fiery and loveable and I loved reading the book from her point of view. 

There was a wondeful cast of supporting characters - to name a few, Elissa and Angeline's love interests, who were romantic and lovely, the girls' father, and their stepmother whom, towards the end, I sort of started Am I supposed to start liking her? Because she seemed a lot nicer near the end of the book :) Charles seemed like a really fun character with a lot of potential - I was disappointed we didn't see more of him, and I hope he will be in the next book more!

Stephanie Burgis is a fantastic writer - her descriptions are exact and made it easy for me to imagine what people, clothes, and rooms looked like. She also has a brilliant way with words - she phrases things and uses words in a way that I never would have even thought of doing! She is just an amazing writer and I am dying to read more of her work. Reading A Most Improper Magick just made me feel so happy - it's definitely a feel good read!

The only thing I have to complain about is the magic in this book - I didn't get the whole Guardian-magic thing. What they did wasn't really explained at all, and that annoyed me! I liked reading about the witchcraft magic though - that was explained a lot better, and was quite enjoyable to read about!

A Most Improper Magick is one of the best books I've read this year - middle grade 1800's fantasy is my new favourite genre! ;) I must admit, I love reading books from this era - I would recommend this to fans of Cora Harrison's 'Jane Austen' series. This amazing book is written beautifully, has an unstoppable, extremely likeable heroine, and deserves to be read by everybody! I am absolutely dying to read A Tangle of Magicks. If you haven't already, add A Most Improper Magick to your to-read lists now - it's a must-read!

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Age group: 9+
Official Publication Date:1st August 2010
Publisher: Templar Publishing

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Letterbox Love #6

Letterbox Love is a weekly meme, hosted by Narratively Speaking. It's a great way of sharing what books you receive every week, and I'm delighted to be taking part! 

This is my IMM for the past three weeks - I got loads of awesome books, and I can't wait to read them! 


Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid
I read a brilliant review of this on The Book Addicted Girl a while ago, and have been dying to read i ever since - it sounds really intriguing, I hope I'll like it :)

Adorkable by Sarra Manning
I've heard mixed reviewes for this, some super-positive and some super-negative - hopefully I'll be on the super positive side! It sounds awesome and the cover is so cute - I think the tagline is very fitting!

(by the way, although the three for two stickers are on the books, I didn't get three books - my dad got a book for himself, and I got these two :D)

Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
My charity shop buys! I haven't heard much about any of these books before (except for a little bit about Teenage Amnesiac) but they all look great!

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison
I liked 'Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend' and I know I'll love this too :) Will hopefully be reading this soon.

Just In Case by Meg Rosoff
I've heard Meg Rosoff is brilliant and I hope I'll have time to read this before it has to go back to the library! 

Baby Blue by Julia Green
I've never heard of this before, I've only heard of the author, but it looks amazing!! I'll definitely be reading this ASAP!

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
I've never read a book like this before, but it sounds very sophisticated and cool :D 

The Princess Diaries: Mia Goes Fourth by Meg Cabot
I love this series, and I'm currently reading this - to be honest, I don't like it! I'm finding it quite boring and repetitive :/ 

For review
My Dating Disasters Diary (not pictured - I, eh, temporarily misplaced it ;) )
My Desperate Love Diary 
My Rocky Romance Diary
My Now or Never Diary by Liz Rettig
Thanks so much to Harriet at Random House for these! I've already read, loved and reviewed the first book and am dying to read more! 

Muddle and Win: The Battle for Sally Jones by John Dickinson (Proof copy)
I read a little bit of this and it's really cute,I'm looking forward to reading more :) Thanks Random House for this too!

I had a great week this week, I got some awesome-looking books :) Leave me a link to your LL in the comments and I'll drop by and have a look!

What did you get in your letterbox?