Thursday, 30 April 2009

Wish List

Because I didn't join in with "Waiting on Wednesday," I decided to post those books that are highest on my wish list. The ones I NEED!

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Willow by Julia Hoban
Uglies series by Scott Westerfield
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Pure - I can't remember the author but the cover was pink and had a cherry/grape on it I think.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

What is on everyone else's wishlist?
Happy Reading!
And enjoy May Day tomorrow!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Review: Forever X


I picked up this book from the library. For 10p, it was worth a try. The blurb was quite interesting and so I decided to pick it up. For those of you who are fast readers, you will finish this in a very short time. It took me about 2 hours whilst watching "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in German. "Wo ist deine Mam, Potter?" I think I'm little obsessed with German and Harry Potter. Moving on to the review:

By turning her head sideways, she could just make out that the bulbs formed letters, words -

FOREVER X

What did it mean - this strange sign on the strange house in the middle of nowhere? Who are these weird people? What is an agel doing up a tree? And why have the police arrived?

You'll find the answers in this imaginative and richly comic novel by an award-winning author.

I had a different cover to the one up above. They are both "Forever X" by Geraldine McCaughrean, but the cover I have looks scary and for a younger audience. When I picked this book up, I didn't know what age range it was for. However, when I started reading the novel, it was clear it was a book intended for a younger audience. Although that didn't stop my enjoyment of it.

This book revolves around Mia's family car breaking down. Mia herself is a teenager. They are near a B&B and it is here that Mia sees the light bulbs "Forever X". This is a traditional child's book, there are numerous misunderstandings. However, it also stands to reason that it can be quite different. It deals with some sad situations. Although there isn't anything which would tragically upset a reader.

The characters themelves weren't as well developed as they could be. We are told there is an unstable relationship between Mia and her father but we don't really know why. The family never really communicate. My favourite cahracter is Holly, Mia's friend at the B&B. She is quite cool and I like her bravery.

This book was a quick read So I didn't really put it down. However, if I had been younger, I would probably have been very interested in the book. So high for hookability for children.

Characters: 5/10

Plot: 7/10 (Had some good issues for children, slightly lacking for me)

Hookability: 7/10 (younger children would probably have liked it more)

Total: 19/30

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Review: If I Stay


I started this book today and finished it today. "If I Stay" by Gayle Forman was a quick read but by no means a light read. It was a novel that was deep and made you question yourself. It's the type of book that can make you see life in a different perspective. But, above all, it's enjoyable.

'Just listen,' Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel. I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen. 'Stay,' he says. Everybody has to make choices. Some might break you. For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they're all about a future full of music and love, a future that's brimming with hope. But life can change in an instant. A cold February morning ...a snowy road ...and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all. Gripping, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, "If I Stay" will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you've lost - and all that might be.

If you look up the definition of heart-wrenching you will find the words "Gayle Forman - see If I Stay." Maybe not, but that's where it belongs. This book almost reduced to me tears. And I have no heart. But I can see people crying their eyes out over this, and with good reason. This book can evoke deep and powerful emotions in you.

This book centres around Mia. And one choice. I don't want to give the story away so I might not be as detailed as usual. Whilst Mia is faced with what is one of the hardest choices anyone can make, we are shown flashbacks of Mia's life. We are able to see how music has shaped her life and brought her and her boyfriend, Adam, together. This book would have been so different if music were not mentioned in it.

I remember one quote from page 155 of "If I Stay." It is the last two sentences on the page.

"I realise now that dying is easy. Living is hard."

And I love how simply it fitted in to the book. When I read this book, there are things that Mia says and realises that make you stop and think for a moment. And this is why it is a truly memorable book.

Characters? I really loved Mia's family. I think this is because of Mia's love of her family. Mia also has a fierce love for her brother, Teddy. And he was one of my favourite characters.

This book kept me reading and reading. I needed to know what Mia would choose. The conflict Mia found herself in was the purpose of the book. Would she stay?

I recommend this book to practically anyone. My mum is a picky reader and when this came in the post she had a look at it and asked to borrow it after me. This is a book that can be enjoyed by all. There's no age boundaries. It's just a book that you simply need to read.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 9/10 (I wanted to know more about Kim, Mia's friend)
Hookability (ability to keep you reading): 9/10 (I was able to put it down for a while)

Total: 28/30

In The Post

It's "In My Mailbox" with a twist. The twist is, I don't really have a mailbox. Yeah, I live in England.

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi at The Story Siren. Kristi was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.




Books I received for reiew this book:








"If I Stay" by Gayle Forman. I will probably finish this tonight and have it up for review either tonight or tomorrow.


Books I bought.

I had Waterstone's vouchers from my friend for my birthday, and I couldn't resist spending them all. It was just too addictive.

The Bought:



"Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke (Is the surname pronounced like Funk or Funky? I really want it to be Funky :))

"The Kiss of Death" by Marcus Sedgwick. I will have to re-read "My Swordhand is Singing"

"The Little White Horse" by Elizabeth Goudge

"If You're Reading This It's Too Late" by Pseudonymous Bosch. Just realised this is part of a series and I will have to read the first. I hate not reading a series in order. It just feels wrong and evil.

And that was this week. How was everyone's week?


A Few Questions
(for those of you with mailboxes)

I just want to ask you a few things I've always wondered. I have only seen mailboxes in The Simpsons so my knowledge is very sketchy. I didn't think to look when I was in America the year before last. Or last year? I'm awful with dates.

1) Do you really have a flap type bit that the mailman flicks upwards when he gives you mail?

2) Does this mean that anyone can steal your mail?

3) Are the mailboxes quite big? Can they fit big packages in?

4) Are your mailboxes numbered or do they have the family name on? Or are they just plain?

Thank you,

I've always wondered.

Happy Sunday :)

Friday, 24 April 2009

Review: Extreme Kissing


Last night I finished Extreme Kissing by Luisa Plaja, who you may also know as the editor at Chicklish. Here is the synopsis:

"It's about freedom. Risks. Avoiding real life." - Carlota

"Are we still talking about my brother's socks?" - Bethany

Bethany and Carlota are best friends who long to escape the stresses of life as GCSEs loom on the horizon. Stresses such as a ridiculously strict step-parent (Carlota) or a long-term boyfriend displaying definite pre-dumping behaviour (Bethany).

Carlota suggests the ultimate in stress relief: Extreme Travel, where the journey is more important than the destination. The girls embark on a wild day out in London, choosing tasks at random from the pages of a magazine; extreme challenges that include exclusive shopping, excellent snogging and... explosive secrets.

This book centres around two main characters, Bethany (Bets) and Carlota (Lots). Bets is the one with the perfect boyfriend, the one who scores mostly B's in all those quizzes. She's also the one who thinks she could be 'late.' Lots is the wild one despite her strict step-parent. This is why Carlota arranges a day out. No worrying, no stressing, just letting the magazine tell you where you're going. I loved the idea of Extreme Travel, it's a brilliant concept. You pick a page number that's important to you or open the magazine to a random page and the page tells you where you're going or what you're doing.

I don't know who my favourite character was. I loved Lots for being outgoing, adventurous and daring. And yet both characters remind me a little of myself. I can be both. I think it's because you feel as if you can relate to the characters, they are so real and really manage to capture the attitude of teenagers.

I was really shocked at the ending of this book. I didn't expect it and it was a real twist. If you start this book, you have to finish it, even if it's just to read the ending. Though I'm sure you'll be so absorbed in the story you won't notice the reduction in pages until you're at the end.

You will find it difficult to put this book down, I did. I read it in two days. I read 26 pages one day, I was tired. The next day, I continued and made it through the entire book. It was just too hard to put down. That's why I was up until 12 on a school night. It might not sound that bad but I had a shower and washed my hair afterwards. That's how brilliant this book was. I knew I had to do all this before, and yet I still kept reading. I'm sure you will too.

Verdict: It captures teenagers and the stresses of GCSEs quite well. I'm in Lots and Bets year so I think I could do with Extreme Travelling. Read this book and try out Extreme Travelling yourself. Or maybe Extreme Kissing ;)

Character: 10/10 (I could really see myself in these two characters)

Plot: 9/10

Hookability (ability to keep you reading): 8/10

Total: 27/30

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Review: My Dating Disasters Diary



I finished "My Dating Disasters Diary" by Liz Rettig last night. I decided to review it today, after school, because it was a choice between a slightly later review or a review written yesterday by my half asleep self, which, trust me, would not have been very good. Below is the synopsis:

Kelly Ann is a total tomboy. She loves football and computer games and has no idea why anyone would want to bother with soppy romantic stuff and stupid crushes on boys. Her best mate is Chris, the boy next door, and he's not into that stuff either, is he? Follow Kelly Ann's ventures into the crazy world of love through her stonkingly funny diaries.

The book centres around a tomboy character who is always the guy's friend, and never the girlfriend. I liked Kelly Ann because of her love of football and complete boyish attitude. Incase you didn't guess, I was a tomboy too. Kelly Ann has a best friend called Liz who is the opposite of Kelly Ann in terms of attitude. Liz is the one who wears face masks, dates guys and is always on some type of diet despite being curvy. My favourite character in the book is a character who is introduced later on by the name of Stephanie. She is outgoing and knows everything there is to know about clothes, boys, hair and make-up.

The plot centres around Kelly Ann's quest to get a boyfriend, snog him and dispel the rumours that she is a lesbian. Sounds quite simple, right? Wrong! Nothing remotely girly is simple for Kelly Ann. There are also sub-plots which are happening. This book is what I would describe as laugh out loud funny, and that's not something I say lightly. It was funny in a sarcastic sort of way that represents teenager's humour. This book will be loved by Louise Rennison fans. And, in my honest opinion, I preferred it to the Louise Rennison book I read. Not that I don't like Louise Rennison or anything.

Could I put the book down? I had to. Now I'm back at school with GCSEs looming I can't read 24/7. However, it only took me a couple of days to read this book. I also loved the cover. It's quite bright and every so often I would catch a glimpse of it and long to stop my current task and read it.

This is, quite simply, a fun and interesting read. It tackles teenage issues in a funny and realistic way. From niggling worries to normal teenage problems, Liz Rettig covers it all.

Characters: 9/10

Plot: 8/10

Hookability (ability to keep you reading): 8/10

Total: 25/30

Sunday, 19 April 2009

In The Post

It's "In My Mailbox" with a twist. The twist is, I don't really have a mailbox. Yeah, I'm a Brit. Our mail goes through our door. I think we just like testing the postman to see if he can outrun the dogs :)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi at The Story Siren. Kristi was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

I didn't buy any books this week. It was hard but I resisted temptation. And I've got a massive TBR pile at the minute. As well as that revision for the evil GCSEs.

Anyway, for review this week, I received:

Split by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja
Extreme Kissing by Luisa Plaja
My Dating Disasters Diary by Liz Rettig




Split by a Kiss:
Jo has never been one of the popular kids... until she moves to the USA. Suddenly the coolest girls at her new high school adopt her, and the hottest boy, Jake Matthews, notices her. But when Jake picks her as a partner in the kissing game Seven Minutes in Heaven, it's not half as heavenly as she imagined!
Jo has a choice: should she carry on with Jake for guaranteed popularity - or should she tell him where to get off and risk losing her new friends...?
At this moment - Jo splits. She's Josie the Cool - girlfriend of Jake, member of the in-crowd. But she's also Jo the Nerd - rejected by the It girls, single... ordinary. Will her two halves ever come together again?

Extreme Kissing:
Bethany is the sensible one with a long-term boyfriend, Carlota is the rebellious one with the wild past. All is fine in their world - except Carlota hates her step dad and longs for her ex. And Bethany is worried that her boyfriend is about to dump her - and she’s ‘late’…Carlota has a plan to put their troubles behind them on a crazy day out in London. She uses her favourite magazine to guide them on a life-changing adventure - setting real challenges from the glossy pages that lead to exclusive shopping, exciting snogging and … explosive secrets.
The magazine will take them everywhere they need to go - but will it make them reveal the truths they are keeping from each other?

My Dating Disasters Diary:
Kelly Ann is a total tomboy. She loves football and computer games and has no idea why anyone would want to bother with soppy romantic stuff and stupid crushes on boys. Her best mate is Chris, the boy next door, and he's not into that stuff either, is he? Follow Kelly Ann's ventures into the crazy world of love through her stonkingly funny diaries.


How was everyone's week?

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Review: Split by a Kiss

Jo has never been one of the popular kids... until she moves to the USA. Suddenly the coolest girls at her new high school adopt her, and the hottest boy, Jake Matthews, notices her. But when Jake picks her as a partner in the kissing game Seven Minutes in Heaven, it's not half as heavenly as she imagined!

Jo has a choice: should she carry on with Jake for guaranteed popularity - or should she tell him where to get off and risk losing her new friends...?

At this moment - Jo splits. She's Josie the Cool - girlfriend of Jake, member of the in-crowd. But she's also Jo the Nerd - rejected by the It girls, single... ordinary. Will her two halves ever come together again?

"Split by a Kiss" is written by Luisa Plaja, or you may better know her as the editor at Chicklish. You may or may not know, that I need an interesting blurb or pretty cover for me to consider reading a book. I was honestly intrigued by the blurb on this book. I wondered how you could have two different people (well, different sides of Jo) with two different stories. After the first chapter I got to understand how this works. The book shows how one decision can shape the path that Jo takes.

The characters reminded me of actual teenagers, something which most authors have to work hard to achieve. As a teenager myself I know how hard it can be trying to understand what other people really feel. Yeah, we are slightly crazed hormone teenagers. I also loved how the main character talk about adapting at America. There were differences between America and England that I had never even noticed. I've always liked books that were based around secondary school, mainly because, it's what I'm living.

The plot was really interesting. It was about a journey that one girl took. Jo, who made the move from England to America with her mother, was given two choices. Both concerned Jake Matthews AKA the hottest boy in school. This is where it was interesting. We were allowed to see the results of both decisions. The real question was, would both paths become one? Or would one path ultimately shape her future?

This book was really unputadownable. I started last night and read one chapter, I needed my beauty sleep, and continued through the day, apart from daily distractions. I really wanted to know what would happen to Jo.

Characters: 10/10 (very realistic)

Plot: 8/10

Hookability: 9/10

Total: 27/10

Verdict: Read it. Especially, if like me, you love books based at school.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Review: Newes from the Dead

It is 1650 and a baby lies dead before it even drew breath. A young servant girl, terrified and alone, is accused of its murder and sent to the gallows. Protesting her innocence in the chill air of a December morning, Anne Green is hanged. Moments later her lifeless body is lifted down from the scaffold and carried to the College of Physicians for brutal dissection.

But as Anne's corpse lies on the table and the doctors assemble, a strange rattle is heard in her throat.

Could she still be alive?

"Newes from the Dead" by Mary Hooper was... different. It was different to books I've read recently. I was initially intrigued by this book. The blurb is quite interesting but the last question, "Could she still be alive?" is answered by the text on the front cover, "The true tale of a girl who survived the gallows." I like historical fiction because of its ability to take you to another era that you could only otherwise imagine through pictures. Don't you love how books can create different pictures in your head to those that others have when they read the same book? That's part of the beauty of books, but I'm rambling.

Anyway, what intrigued me about this book was how Hooper was going to make an entire book based on one girl's hanging. It was done by describing the events leading up to the death and the events afterwards.

The book was written from two different character's perspectives. The first view is that of the victim, Anne Green. The second view is that of Robert Matthews, a scholar of New College, Oxford. Robert is present at the dissection and is therefore an important character in the book. This split account of events works. Anne can reflect on what happened and Robert is like the eyes, he describes what happens when Anne is unconscious.

I enjoyed the plot of this book and liked the main character, Anne Green. Her only flaw is dreaming of a better life and being misled.

It took me a while to get in to this book but once I did, I was pretty much hooked I was able to put the book down, but every so often I found my nose back in it. The verdict? Pick it up if you like historical fiction or you just fancy giving it a try. I'm glad I did.

Characters: 9/10

Plot: 8/10

Hookability (ability to keep you reading): 8/10

Total: 25/30

And one more thing: the back cover says its "Not Suitable for Younger Readers"

(There are some mild sexual references/scenes but nothing too bad)

Monday, 13 April 2009

TBR Pile

These are the books that are in my current TBR pile. There will be reviews on these coming up when I've finished reading them. I have too many books, so I've stopped buying them for the minute. Or until I give in to temptation. I'm not lsting all the books because there really are too many. So I'm going to list books that I recently acquired instead.


Rumours by Anna Godbersen
Bloodline by Kevin Brooks (looked interesting and for 10p who is going to argue)
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (I've never read a Hardy novel)
The Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper
The Dead Days Omnibus by Marcus Sedgwick

Sunday, 12 April 2009

A Little About... Me

Okay, now I've done a few reviews, I'd just like to introduce myself a little more. As you can read on the left my name is Katie (grrr, I like being called Kate) and I'm 16. I'm from London and really enjoy reading. My first favourite two authors that I had were J.K. Rowling and Anthony Horowitz. Yup, you guessed it, I am a Harry Potter lover. And Anthony Horowitz? I love a bit of action/adventure. I own a few Bond films :D

You can contact me on katiepinn@googlemail.com or katiepinn@hotmail.com
I'm happy to talk. Happy Easter everyone! I've already been at the chocolate. Word of advice, if you've given it up for lent, less chocolate than before will make you feel sick. I've over done it, urgh.

And some books that I've recently read, but were read before I started a blog and started reviewing:

"Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac" by Gabrielle Zevin
"The Lady in the Tower" by Marie-Louise Jensen
"Just Listen" by Sarah Dessen
"Generation Dead" by Daniel Walters
"Maximum Ride series" by James Patterson (excluding the new one out called "Max")
"The Poison Apples" by Lily Archer
"The Declaration" by Gemma Malley
"The Resistance" by Gemma Malley
"The Twilight Saga" by Stephenie Meyer
And I'm sure there are other books that I can't remember :)

And to round it off...
A quick thank you to those who follow my blog or visit it, considering I'm a newbie and am slowly working out how to use this site :D

Review: The Luxe

I was attracted to this book first by it's pretty cover. I'm a sucker for nice covers. But how can you not fall in love with this cover? The blurb also hooked me. Surprisingly though, it gives very little description of the actual book. It's a device that can be effective and ineffective. It worked for "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas." And it worked with "The Luxe." Here is a description of Anna Godbersen's first Luxe novel.

Imagine, if you will, New York City, 1899...
Society's elite: the glamour, the grandeur, the glittering parties, the most handsome beaus, the most beautiful debutantes ...the rich girl, the humble boy, the forbidden love, the hushed whispers, the stolen glances, the whispers, the scandal, the mystery, the revenge...You are cordially invited to step into 'The Luxe', where the secrets are dark and the sins are delicious ...R.S.V.P.

I don't know what my expectations of this book were. It comes across as a girly book because of the cover but that was all I knew about it. "The Luxe" started off by revealing the ending. I didn't like this because it made the idea of reading the book seem pointless. I trudged onwards though. The plot itself was actually quite good. There were a few problems and predicaments but nothing that was too difficult. It was an easy story to follow.

I liked the characters because it shows how appearances can be deceiving. You may never truly know a person as closely as you think. However, I disliked the name of the main male character "Schoonmaker." I kept misreading it as a swoon. It just seemed too obvious. The main female character, Elizabeth Holland, was a seemingly perfect character, unless you know her well enough. My favourite character was her younger sister Dianna. She didn't mind not following protocol and I loved this. I think I just love rebels.

The story is meant to be set in 1899 but I highly doubt that this book stuck to what would have been accurate in 1899. It seems too modern. But that doesn't really detract fromt the story because I don't really consider it to be historical fiction. It just seems like normal fiction to me.

This book didn't score too well on hookability for me. It could be because I was busy but I didn't feel myself drawn to the book. It was one I was easily able to put down. I made it to the end, but it took a few days.

Plot: 9/10 Easy enough to follow.

Characters: 8/10 Lost marks for what I consider silly names.

Hookability (ability to keep you reading): 7/10 I made it but it was a struggle.

Total: 24/30

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Review: The Hunger Games

I had heard nothing but great reviews for this book when I picked it up from a shop. And so I set out to find out what it was that people loved so much about "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.

Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event together called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

This book could not have been more deserving of the high praise it received. The idea of reality shows where the winner is the only one left has been thought of before (I remember an episode of Doctor Who where they were at a recording show and there was The Weakest Link playing, with a robot presenter, and the loser was killed each round). However, I have never encountered this idea in a book format.

The characters in the novel were very well developed, although I might have liked it more if we were given the book in both Katniss and Peeta's view. But that's not my decision to make. As it was, it was still a really effective novel and I could see why it was chosen to be done in only Katniss's point of view.

Hookabilty? I read this book in less than a day. Almost non-stop. You need to know what will happen. It is actually a book which asks some deep questions. When faced with death and the prospect of killing someone or losing your own life, what do you do? Kill? Hesitate, which could mean your death? It is a deep book that really gets you thinking. I recommend it to anyone looking for a good read and something a bit different to the YA books already out there. It really is distinguishable from most books I have read. Just pick it up, you'll love it.

Plot - 8/10 (I didn't consider it original but liked the fact it made you question yourself)

Characters - 9/10 (Really well developed)

Hookability (ability to keep you reading) - 10/10

Total - 27/30

Other reviews of "The Hunger Games":

http://jo-scrawls.blogspot.com/2009/03/main-blog.html

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Review: WAGS' World Playing the Game


I was lucky enough to win this book in a competition run by Chicklish. At first, I didn't expect alot from this book. I expected it to be filled with simple niggling woman worries and to just portray an unnaitanable perfect standard of WAGS. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
Sixteen-year-old Amy Thornton can't wait to spend the summer with her super-fit boyfriend, Damien Taylor, footballer of the moment. She's left her life in Yorkshire behind and is ready for London. But her dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered when Damien spends all of his time out on the pitch and partying in nightclubs.
Soon Amy is surrounded by gossiping girls and friends who seem more like enemies. In this world of secrets and scandal, who can Amy trust?
Let the games begin.
The plot was actually really good. The writer strings you along for the entire book, not telling you who is trustworthy and who isn't, until the ending where you finally find out the truth. I wasn't able to put it down. It scores high marks for keeping you reading (that's why I'm writing this at almost 11.30 at night).
The characters are really interesting. Based around sixteen year old Amy's experience, you are introduced to a crazy WAG world through her eyes. I also fell in love with the character Rosay, like the wine. She seemed quite bold and misunderstood. I loved this combination. There was a nice range of characters. However, I think they could have been more developed. Although for the first in a series, it was really quite good.
I shall think of this as a guilty pleasure book. Something which I shouldn't enjoy, but really actually did. Read it, it'll throw all your previous misconceptions to the wind.
Plot - 8/10
Characters - 8/10
Hookability (ability to keep you reading) - 10/10
Total - 26/30

Welcome


It's my first time blogging so book reviews may be a bit slow at the start. However, once I start to understand the system, I'm sure it'll all happen a lot quicker. Until then, I have a picture to keep you entertained: ---------------------------------->