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23 Oct 2011

Book review: Things We Didn't See Coming by Steven Amsterdam







"This whole thing is symbolic, symbolic of a system that's hopelessly short-sighted." Pg 21







It's the anxious eve of the millennium. The car is packed to capacity, and as midnight approaches, a family flees the city in a fit of panic and paranoid, conflicting emotions.
The ensuing journey spans decades and offers a sharp-eyed perspective on a hardscrabble future, as a boy jettisons his family and all other ties in order to survive as a journeyman in an uncertain landscape. By turns led by love, larceny, and a new sexual order, he must avoid capture and imprisonment, starvation, pandemic, and some particularly bad weather.

In Things We Didn't See Coming, Steven Amsterdam links together nine luminous narratives through the mind of one peripatetic and resourceful wanderer who always has one eye on the exit door and the other on a future that shifts more drastically and more often than anyone would like to imagine.

It should be noted that I never intended to read this book. I'd not even heard of the name Steven Amsterdam before. So imagine my surprise as I'm attending a panel event for Dystopia Fiction at the Melbourne Writers Festival - Purely to see Max Barry in action - that I learn of this strange and wonderful book.

Based purely on his talk and the chapter he read on stage, I purchased said book (getting it signed as well, of course!) and got stuck right into it. And did I get stuck into it. A seemly short novel of just 174 pages, I quickly caught on that this wasn't a book to breeze through. It is written in such a way that you never hear the whole story that the narrator is telling you. There is confusion and chaos at the beginning of each chapter - which is the authors' intent, naturally.

I love dystopian fiction, I think that is clear throughout this blog, but Things We Didn't See Coming brings the genre to a whole other level. I'm not sure I could compare it to anything else that's out there. Truly an experience I'll never forget.

Published: March 2009 by Sleepers Publishing Inc.

15 Sep 2011

Book Trailer Spotlight #3

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.
Published by Macmillan, May 2011.

This book is ridiculously gorgeous with it's illustrations. And the song is rather charming too!

(On a side note - I just want to apologise profusely for not updating at all recently! I'm moving interstate this weekend so life has been go go go for the past couple of weeks. But rest assured I will be back to my irregular posts in no time *grins*)

27 Aug 2011

Maria V. Snyder Giveaway WINNER!!!



First off I'd like to say a big THANK YOU!!! to those who entered my very first giveaway, I was really pleased with how it worked out and I plan to have many more giveaways in the future!

So, using random.org I was able to choose a winner of the signed copy of Inside Out......

And that winner is..........



AMANDA FROM BENTON, KY!! WOOHOO!!
Her favourite character is from a series called Paranormalcy:
"One of my favourite YA characters is Evie from Paranormalcy/Supernaturally. She's just such a strong character, but keeps her girlie side. Who can't love a girl who has a pink gazer?"
Amanda, your book is on it's way!

Thank you again to everyone who entered!
Next week I'm off to Melbourne again to attend some of the author events at the Melbourne Writers Festival - Hopefully I'll have a few posts about that soon *grins*

23 Aug 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #4

Waiting on Wednesday spotlights upcoming releases to be excited about! (Created by Jill at Breaking the Spine)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Published September 13th, 2011 by Doubleday
(This is GoodReads:)

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Reves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway - a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love - a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

(This is Alex:)
I really don't have much more to say about this book except - WOW! I cannot wait to get my hands on this one *grins* At least there's not much longer to wait!

12 Aug 2011

Maria V. Snyder in Melbourne and a GIVEAWAY!

On Tuesday the 9th of August in overcast (but not raining!) Melbourne - Hawthorn Readings bookshop played host to the wonderful author of 8 books (so far!) - Maria V. Snyder.

 

It was a very relaxed atmosphere inside - everyone was chatting excitedly as we waited for Maria to make her entrance - comparing book covers, favourite characters and scenes as well as (naturally) talking about the other books we'd read and sharing recommendations. That's what I liked about having a relatively small group (about 30-40 people in all) - there was a great vibe in the room.

    

Maria had an attentive audience as she spoke about her writing, inspirations and where her ideas came from. It was great to hear about how much her personal life was involved with her writing - and we were all quite amused when asked about her vision of Valek (featured in the 'Study' series) that her husband 'claims' the he was the model of that particular heartthrob character - with much rolling of the eyes from Maria and made us giggle quite a lot.


  

As questions were opened up a lot of eager hands shot into the air. Questions ranging from Maria's idea for Inside Out/Outside In (a frantically written down dream) to how often she edits her books before publication (between 6-8 times).
Too soon it was time to suspend with the questions and Maria set off to begin signing all of our books. A lot of people had brought her entire collection with them and Maria was really great and took the time with each of us, signing personal messages in each book, posing for photos and answering some last-minute questions.


And now comes the competition time!!

I am giving away a SIGNED copy of the Australian Edition of Inside Out - the first book in the Inside Out/Outside In duo!

This competition will be open internationally and anyone can enter - you don't need to follow my blog (though naturally I would greatly appreciate it!)

All you have to do is send me an email with your postal address and tell me two things:
1) I've talked about four different Maria V. Snyder books in my blog before this post - tell me the very first book of hers I reviewed.
2) Tell me your favourite character from any Maria V. Snyder book and why. If you've not read any of her books before - then tell me about a character from another book and why.

As long as you've covered those two points, I'll put all the entries into a hat and draw out the winner.

Competition ends the 26th of August with the winner being announced shortly after! So get cracking!!

9 Aug 2011

Book Trailer Spotlight #2

Todays book trailer is for a picture book that is very dear to me. Quite possibly one of my favourite picture books after Oliver Jeffers 'Lost and Found'.
This is: 'It's a Book' by Lane Smith.
Published by Macmillan Children's books in August 2010.

6 Aug 2011

Update and what-not

Hey grand folks of the Internet world - it is I, you're illustrious occasional-blogger *grins*
So I thought I'd give a little overview of what I'll be getting up to, book-wise, over the next month!

Tomorrow (Sunday) I'll be shooting off to Melbourne for the week, which I am rather excited about for a few reasons - Firstly I have a job interview on Monday (!!!) in a bookshop no less (!!!!!!) so fingers crossed it goes well cause I am going out of my mind not being in a bookshop at the moment!

Secondly I'll be meeting the fabulous Maria V. Snyder! Which would also explain why I've been reading so many of her books lately ;) I'm almost done with Magic Study so I'll go on to Fire Study while I'm over there. I was thinking I could get her to sign one of my books and hold a little competition on here - open internationally - what would you guys think of that??

And at the end of the month there is the Melbourne Writers Festival which I am very VERY excited about, cause not only will it be my first one, but there are also some AMAZING authors attending including: Shaun Tan, Max Barry, Lili and Carole Wilkinson, Emily Rodda, Maggie Stiefvater and lots more. So I'll be there for the whole week and a half listening to and fan-girling all over these events (and no doubt getting lots of books signed for both myself and perhaps for a few more competitions down the line).

So that's pretty much most of it - I hope you guys like that I'm updating on a bit more of a regular basis. I'm hoping to get a few guest bloggers over which will bring a little bit of variety to my ranting qualities *laughs* I've also made wonderful book-blog friends with The Escapism Project so you should check them out, they're great fun!
I'm currently reading my first ebook as well, which is also my first email-review-request, so I'm very much looking forward to sharing it with you all here.

*breaths* Okay! That's it from me - back to packing :)
Alex.

Book Review: Outside In by Maria V. Snyder






"There wouldn't have been a rebellion or the Force of Sheep without you. You started everything and you need to finish it." Pg 55.








Me? A leader? Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside that we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion - between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again - while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants in.

(Read my review of Book 1: Inside Out here)

Okay, so the big rebellion is over and everyone in Inside knows that they are in a ship flying through space. A BIG freaking ship. The uppers and scrubs are attempting to get along, Trella and Riley are happy and more levels are being built in the expanse. But how long does harmony last on a ship like this? Not very long at all.
So I'm going to split this review up into two parts - The Good and The Not-As-Good. I'll do my very very best not to include spoilers, and if you've not read Inside Out yet... well this review has probably spoiled enough for you already!

The Good:
In true Maria style she starts things off with a bang. Literally. Things pick up right where Inside Out left us - Trella is complacent in the fact that she's fulfilled her part in the rebellion and now she just wants to return to her old life of being alone and exploring new places. But naturally things don't work out that way; we get to see Trella really struggling with this new threat and who she can trust. The suspense is tight throughout the entire story.
I liked the new characters introduced in this episode - Bubba Boom plays a very interesting roll, you never really know whether he is really dangerous or not, and that kept me on the edge of my seat.
I also loved how Trella's relationship with the scrubs changed - from being almost a spectre and talked about in excited whispers to being openly scorned and treated so distrustfully. It added a new dynamic to the already complex society structure.

The-Not-As-Good:
Generally if I do not like a book, I will put it down and go on to something else. And you might notice that I don't review those books on here either. Who needs that? I enjoy talking about books I love!
So know that this bit isn't me not enjoying the book - just some niggling bits that I don't think should be ignored!
The pacing was really strange. The first half of the novel is Trella's journey, you could say, in trying to deal with all the new issues in her life - knowledge of her family, having a boyfriend and being involved in the chaos of possible terrorist attacks. It's very intense and she doesn't know whom to trust and loyalties keep changing and changing back. It almost felt like the story had gone slightly juvenile - where Inside Out wasn't at all.
So in the second half we are hit with the bombshell of these 'other beings' wanting to come inside. Suddenly the whole pace changes and it's so fast that one doesn't really have a chance to catch up. I wanted to know so much more about these beings and their story and I felt a bit cheated - so much of the book had been taken up by all that politics! Boo.
Oh and Sheepy.... If I never hear about Sheepy again it'll be too soon.... Just saying.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this. I do hate having such mixed feelings about a book, but I think it was still for the better. I like that it was just two books and the story was so enclosed and tight.
Oh and the UK covers are so gorgeous as this blog post shows - the cover on my review of Inside Out is of the Australian cover and it really doesn't do it justice at all! *laughs*
...
Wow, this was a bit of a rant, hey?

Published: March 2011 by Mira Books

3 Aug 2011

Teaser Tuesday #4


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
be careful not to include spoilers! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! you don't want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

I'm heading to Melbourne next week to meet Maria V. Snyder - who's making her way over to our great land from the almost-equally-great land of America! I'm very excited about this and am making an effort to read a few more of her books. I've just recently finished with Outside In and now I've started book two in the Study Trilogy:


Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Published: October by MIRA Books

An image of his prey appeared, snapping me back to my body. 
I stopped.
I must have gasped, because Leif turned and stared at me.
"What are you doing?" he demanded.
"The forest. Men."
"Of course. The woods are full of game," he explained as if talking to a simpleton.
"Not hunters. Ambushers. Waiting for us." 
Pg. 57



29 Jul 2011

August Highlights

Hey folks!
Well it's coming to the end of July - so I thought I'd do a little post on what I'll be looking forward to in YA this coming month! (As if I didn't have enough to read as it is *grins*)

There is no Dog - Meg Rosoff
Published: 4th August by Puffin

Meet your unforgettable protagonist: God, who, as it turns out, is a 19-year-old boy living in the present-day and sharing an apartment with his long-suffering fifty-something personal assistant. Unfortunately for the planet, God is lazy and, frankly, hopeless. He created all of the world's species in six day because he couldn't summon the energy to work for longer. He gets Africa and America mixed up. And he's beleaguered assistant has his work cut out for him when God creates a near-apocalyptic flood, having fallen asleep without turning the bath off. There is no Dog is a darkly funny novel from one of our most delightfully unpredictable writers.

Juliet Immortal - Stacey Jay
Published: 9th August by Delacorte Press

The most tragic love story in history...
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.
(This one could be fantastic or fantastically horrible... We shall see...)


A Long, Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan
Published: 18th August by Orion

Rosalind Fitzroy had been asleep for 62 years when she was woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically-induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose - hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire - is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put her past behind her and adept to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardises her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes - or be left without any future at all.

27 Jul 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #3

Waiting on Wednesday spotlights upcoming releases to be excited about! (Created by Jill at Breaking the Spine)

Crossed by Ally Condie
Published November 24, 2011 by Puffin
(This is Amazon:)

Rules are different outside the Society.


Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.

Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's points of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever...

(This is Alex:)
I read Matched early this year and I enjoyed it a lot. It's such an interesting dystopian world and even now I see things in the paper or on the news that makes me think back to Matched and how our society today is beginning to mirror this fictional world I've read. 
So Crossed is book 2, only a few months away from being in my hot little hands, and it looks like it will be a further look into the behind-the-scenes of this 'perfect' society. And of course continuing with this 'love triangle' which I'm not totally head-over-heals for, but such is the nature of YA these days! *laughs* I'm still very much looking forward to it - if you've not read Matched yet, I'd highly recommend it! 

25 Jul 2011

Book Trailer Spotlight #1

Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan, published by PenguinYoungReaders in September 2011.
Isn't it absolutely adorable?!!?! *gushes*

23 Jul 2011

Book Review: The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley






"Once I am in the Cellar, proving myself indispensable to the safety of Marblehaugh Park, they'll never send me away. I will be safe then, absolutely safe." Pg 39







She doesn't really know who she is or what she wants...

Corinna is a Folk Keeper. Her job is to keep the mysterious Folk who live beneath the ground at bay. But Corinna has a secret that even she doesn't fully comprehend, until she agrees to serve as a Folk Keeper at Marblehaugh Park, a wealthy family's seaside manor. There her hidden powers burst into full force, and Corinna's life changes forever.

I'd never even heard of The Folk Keeper until I saw a friend reading it on GoodReads and became intrigued enough to check it out - and soon after ended up buying a copy for myself. Two things surprised me about this book - 1) it is much smaller that I thought it would be, a mere 162 pages and 2) It was first published in 1999, with this new edition being released this year with a most gorgeous cover!

One thing that is evident from the very beginning is that Corinna is a tough girl. Not knowing who her parents are, she has been shuffled from one orphanage to another until she decides that the only way to get ahead in the world is to be a Folk Keeper. And with hard work and determination she goes from the girl Corinna to the boy Corin, gathering as much information about the Folk as she can and developing a heart of steel and nerve.
Which works fine for four years until she is 'found' by another family who seems to have some knowledge of her past and her parents - so she has no choice but to go with them as their new Folk Keeper.

I really enjoyed The Folk Keeper. It was like reading a fairy tale that could have been read to me when I was little, steeped in the curious and ancient lore of the sea. If you're looking for something short but full to the brim with adventure, mystery and even a little romance I'd seriously push you into a bookstore to buy it! For anyone aged 10 and up.

This edition published: April 2011 by Bloomsbury 

5 Jul 2011

Teaser Tuesday #3


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
be careful not to include spoilers! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! you don't want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

I'm really enjoying this book at the moment - and I love the UK/Australian covers!

Red Glove by Holly Black
Published April 2011 by Gollancz

"Dean Wharton's long list of things we will be punished for - a list that ranges from drinking, drugs and being caught in the dorm room of someone of the opposite sex, to skipping class, sneaking out after hours, and wearing black lipstick. The sad truth is that there is probably at least one person in each graduating class who's managed to break all the rules in a single wild night. I am hoping that, this year, that person is not going to be me.
I don't look all that good in lipstick." Pg18

30 Jun 2011

Book Rant - Differences

It's always disconcerting when you read reviews of a book you've read and loved - only to find that others have not loved it at all...

I have just recently finished Wither by Lauren DeStefano and enjoyed it immensely. However upon logging into my GoodReads account I noticed that one of my friends had just started reading it - only she wasn't enjoying it at all. In fact she seemed to be deeply unimpressed after a mere four pages in. I couldn't help feeling like this was an attack on me personally! I felt a maternal need to protect my glorious, just-finished, love.

But I really shouldn't feel so bad - after all, I have walked in those very shoes. How people can make their way through Lauren Kate's pure Torment without banging their head against a brick wall, I'll never know.
Some people enjoy it. Who am I to judge?

I recently recommended a book called Jennifer Government by Max Barry to a friend of mine - only to have him report back that he hated it! How is this possible? I thought. It's one of my favourite books! I was so confused. How could anyone hate that book that I loved?

But while sometimes I wish that I could live in a world where everyone loves the books I love, and hates the books I hate - it really would be no fun at all.
We're all different for a reason and sometimes it's nice to be reminded of that and to take joy in it rather than getting distressed about it all.

...

And sometimes it's good to have a rant about the whole darned thing *grins*

29 Jun 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday spotlights upcoming releases to be excited about! (Created by Jill at Breaking the Spine)

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Published October 17, 2011 by Harvill Secker
(This is Amazon:)

The year is 1984. Aomame sits in a taxi on the expressway in Tokyo.

Her work is not the kind which can be discussed in public but she is in a hurry to carry out an assignment and, with the traffic at a stand-still, the driver proposes a solution. She agrees, but as a result of her actions starts to feel increasingly detached from the real world. She has been on a top-secret mission, and her next job will lead her to encounter the apparently superhuman founder of a religious cult.

Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange affair surrounding a literary prize to which a mysterious seventeen-year-old girl has submitted her remarkable first novel. It seems to be based on her own experiences and moves readers in unusual ways. Can her story really be true?

Both Aomame and Tengo notice that the world has grown strange; both realise that they are indispensable to each other. While their stories influence one another, at times by accident and at times intentionally, the two come closer and closer to intertwining.

(This is Alex:)
I am really not sure I can describe just how excited I am about this book. Ever since I heard that it was being published in Japan two years ago I had been waiting and waiting for the news that it would be translated into English. It has been a very LONG two years, let me tell you. But it's almost time and I am getting jittery all over again. And really, if you've not read any Murakami by now - you're really missing out!

25 Jun 2011

Book Review: Shift by Em Bailey







“Anyway, aren’t we supposed to be staying away from Miranda?”








Shift is a sinister psychological thriller that tears through the themes of identity, loss and toxic friendship.

Olive Corbett is just a bit mixed up. Dealing with a family break-up and surviving a suicide attempt, Olive has turned from being the popular girl at school to the introverted ‘freak’ that everyone ignores. With the exception of her only friend – Ami – Olive talks to no one.
Then one day a new girl shows up at the school. There is a rumor that she killed her parents, and Olive admits that she’s just as curious as everyone else. But when Miranda turns out to be an ordinary (if not sullen and pale) girl, she is ignored – even teased – with Olive’s former friend Katie at the head of the gang. But things begin to change, as suddenly Katie and Miranda are best friends – swapping clothes and going out all night. And as Katie begins to show signs of wearing down, Miranda is looking more and more like Katie…

I’m really glad I had the chance to read this book. It’s so different and I think it’s going to be a strong addition to the YA market. The characters are solid and Olive really ties the story together – you are really living with her as she goes through her days convincing herself that she’s not at all crazy.

This one gets five stars from me and I strongly recommend you add it to you ‘To-Read’ lists and go out tomorrow and pre-order it from your bookstore!

Published: September 2011 by Hardie Grant Egmont

21 Jun 2011

Teaser Tuesday #2


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
be careful not to include spoilers! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! you don't want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Okay, got this proof off a fellow bookseller and have just started reading it! (So the quote may be a bit long, but it's rather intriguing!!) 


Shift by Em Bailey
Published September 2011 by Hardie Grant Egmont

"It's hard to take a site seriously when it's covered in banner ads telling you that you're the millionth visitor and urging you to click here to receive your prize.
The site was called Shifter World and the homepage featured pictures of celebrities - mostly actors and politicians. Below the pictures of celebrities were words in red. Beware! These people are all shifters. That's why they're so successful." Pg 52.

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green







"Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they'll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back." Pg 110.






When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. He's also a washed-up child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin's on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transforming him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl. 

Letting expectations go and allowing love in are at the heart of Colin's hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere.
---

Do you know who John Green is? If you answered 'no' then I strongly suggest you hop on over to YouTube and type in 'VlogBrothers' and have yourself a nerdy good time!
It's difficult to be critical of any of John's books as I feel like I know him so well from his YouTube videos, but I shall try *laughs*

Colin is a smart guy. As a former child prodigy he is desperate to prove his worth to the world. But it's hard to stand out when there are so many other geniuses throughout history. One thing that does make him different (besides his talent for anagramming almost any word/sentence and speaking in eleven languages) is his knack for dating girls named Katherine. And thus begins a very amusing story as Colin and his best friend, Hassan, take a journey to discover just why Katherine 19 dumped him and perhaps discover a formula to explain the history (and even his future) of relationships. 

I really enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines. I've read a few of John's novels now and I do see what others have said about him having a pattern to his characters, but I don't think it's a bad thing. Mostly because the story and the characters relationships between each other are so strong that it just works. 

The thing about reading even one of John's books is that you will inevitably learn something from it. And I think as the main character of this one is so insanely smart - John had good fun throwing in his numerous personal interests including: Anagrams, Mathematics (despite the fact that he himself is not so good at it!), English poets, Seriously random facts, Venn Diagrams and even Co-joined twins. 
And Footnotes!! It has footnotes! How can you not love the footnotes?! *grins*

First published: September 2006 by Dutton Juvenile 

15 Jun 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #1

Waiting on Wednesday spotlights upcoming releases to be excited about! (Created by Jill at Breaking the Spine)


Naked by Kevin Brooks
Published: October 6th, 2011 by Puffin
(This is Amazon:)
London 1976: a summer of chaos, punk, love... and a boy they called Billy the Kid.

It was the summer of so many things. Heat and violence, love and hate, heaven and hell. It was the time I met William Bonney - the boy from Belfast known as Billy the Kid.
I've kept William's secrets for a long time, but now things have changed and I have to tell the truth. But I can't begin until I've told you about Curtis Ray. Hip, cool, rebellious Curtis Ray. Without Curtis, there wouldn't be a story to tell.
It's a story of our band, of life and death... and everything in between.

(This is Alex:)
I'm really excited for this. I had no idea who Kevin Brooks was until I was living in England and kids would come into the bookstore asking after him. The first book of his I read was Killing God which was a great book to start with and immediately drew me in. He has a fantastic ability to write about very serious and dark issues that kids deal with today, and iBoy is by far my absolute favourite read of 2010.
I simply cannot recommend him enough. So GO! Experience him now if you haven't already! *grins*

14 Jun 2011

Teaser Tuesday #1


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
- be careful not to include spoilers! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! you don't want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!



Well, there's a first time for everything folks - and I always liked the idea of TT on other peoples blogs, so here we go :D


An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
"Colin backed away from the door then. It occurred to him that he'd never done anything else in his whole life. Anagramming; spitting back facts he'd learned in books; memorizing ninety-nine digits of an already known number; falling in love with the same nine letters over and over again: retyping and retyping and retyping." Pg 92


DFTBA ;)

13 Jun 2011

Book Review: The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell



"You know what I think? she says.
What do you think?
She points through the hole into the dark throat of the diseased landscape.
I think you're more dangerous than what's out there.
Well, girl, he says, that's a funny thing you just uttered.
Because I was just thinkin the same thing about you."




Older than her years and completely alone, Temple is trying to live one day at a time in a post-apocalyptic world, where the undead roam endlessly, and the remnants of mankind seem, at times, to retain little humanity themselves.
This is the world she was born into. Temple has known nothing else. Her journey takes her to far-flung places, to people struggling to maintain some semblance of civilization - and to those who have created a new world order.
When she comes across the helpless Maury, she attempts to set one thing right. If she can just get him back to his family in Texas then maybe it will bring redemption for some of the terrible things she's done in her past. Because Temple has had to fight to survive, has done things she's not proud of and, along the road, she's made enemies...

The Reapers are the Angels is not so much a book about a Zombie Apocalypse as it is about the living humans left alive afterwards. 25 years ago the world went straight to hell and so for 15 year old Temple - this is the only world she's ever known. Taught not to read and write but to shoot and survive. Carrying with her the memory of her almost-brother Malcolm, Temple encounters groups travelling the country, cities of people attempting to rebuild a civilization and some very strange mutations. Oh. And lets not forget the Zombies. Countless 'slugs' of which Temple has no problems dealing with.

The narrative is almost beautiful in its' violence and gruesomeness. The strength of this book is seen so acutely through the clarity of the landscapes and each of the characters; which makes it so unbelievably easy to inhabit the world and it's subsequent dangers. The characters Temple meets are each special in themselves - the silent Maury, the easy-going Lee, the sickening Abraham. But it is her sadistic dance with Moses that has to be my favourite. The depth of understanding they have for each-other is none that I have seen before.
Talk of God and Religion is apparent throughout - as you might have guessed simple from the title - but it fits in well with this broken and wasted husk of a world. Also the lack of speech marks takes a bit of getting used to, a-la-McCarthy's The Road, but like The Road I think it fits in well. If I had a rating system on this site I would give it five stars! *laughs*

Published: September 2010 by Macmillan

2 Jun 2011

Book Review: Inside Out - Maria V. Snyder








"I never said it would be easy. Giving up is easy."







I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of the thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own... until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

Trella lives a very different life Inside compared to both the Uppers and her fellow scrubs. Nick-named the 'Queen of the Pipes' she exists in isolation - crawling through the vast corridors and pipes that are used to make the Uppers lives as comfortable as possible. Trella has grown to enjoy her solitary environment. Until she meets with a prophet from the Upper sections, and everything begins to change...

If you've read Maria V. Snyder's previous books, you will understand when I say that Trella is a typical heroin in the Snyder universe. She is strong, independent and fiercely sure of herself. All she wants is to be left alone. But as she is thrust into one extraordinary event after the other, she is forced to come out of her shell, and this is when we see just what she is made of.

The idea for Inside Out is a fascinating one. As I was reading I had no idea where Inside actually is or what function it serves. And as Trella dug deeper into it's secrets - I was right along with her.
A bold addition to the YA Dystopia genre and like Maria's previous novels and other dystopian novels such as Hunger Games and Across the Universe - the story isn't clogged with copious amounts of romance, which left the plot free to be fast-paced and riveting. What a relief!

Published: April 2010 by HarlequinTeen


(Read my review of the second book - Outside In)

3 Jan 2011

2010 in review

Fortunately 2010 was an amazing year as far as the book reading went. Thanks to working in the bookshop I was privileged to read quite a number of proof copies, as well as reading novels already published.
Here were my favourite reads of 2010:




Temeraire - Naomi Novik (Published by HarperCollins Voyager, UK)
Unquestionably one of the most brilliantly crafted fantasy novels that I have read in a very long time. The relationship between Lawrence and his dragon Temeraire is heart-warming in the harsh setting of the Napoleonic Wars.






Bleeding Violet - Dia Reeves (Published January 2010 by Simon Pulse, USA)
I took a chance ordering this book from Amazon.com based on reviews and the blurb and I'm glad I did. Strange and unusual are the basis for this dark and twisted fantasy novel set in Portero, Texas. It's best not to go in with any expectations on this one. *grin*





Forbidden - Tabitha Suzuma (Published May 2010 by Definitions, UK)
One of those books that needs to be read without question or prerequisites. It challenges everything society makes us think is 'right' and leaves you with the feeling that you've not read a 'novel' - but a true story. Brilliant.







iBoy - Kevin Brooks (Published July 2010 by Puffin, UK)
I will never tire of recommending this book to customers. It's the perfect 'super-hero' novel with a modern twist. Ignore the blurb - it really doesn't do it justice - and just read it. You wont regret it.







Stolen - Lucy Christopher (Published 2009 by Chicken House, UK)
I am so glad that I picked up this book. It challenged ever emotion I had and left me feeling like I'd not just read a good book, but that I'd also learned something valuable as well.







Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins (Published August 2010 by Scholastic, UK)
What can I say of the last of the Hunger Games? We had been waiting for this for a year and I know many had mixed feelings after it's release. I for one loved it. It was real, hard - not glossed-over with everything turning out alright in the end. Because war and revolution isn't always like that.






Silent Land - Graham Joyce (Published October 2010 by Gollancz, UK)
A simply stunning story of love under extreme circumstances. Graham's ability to create a world, not unlike our own, and twist and mould it in ways we do not expect is astounding. This is the very reason he is Number One on my favourite author list.





I have also had the good fortune to read a few books not yet published in 2011. I cannot wait till they come out as they will no doubt entice and excite many of you!




Entangled - Cat Clarke (Published January 6th 2011 by Quercus, UK)
I read this in four hours, impossible to put down. An amazing story that will stay with you long after it has been put down. (Not to mention the cover is absolutely divine!)








Across the Universe - Beth Revis (Published 3rd March 2011 by Penguin, UK)
Bringing, what I hope to be, a strong presence of Science Fiction to YA. Completely intoxicating.







Department 19 - Will Hill (Published 31st March 2011 by HarperCollins Children'sBooks, UK)
A fast-paced, exciting new twist on the Vampire Genre. Not to be underestimated or missed.