Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Apologies... Again

This week I hope to get round to posting the blog awards I have received. I did actually finish this post but blogger refused to save it and my internet explorer closed down so I had to start again. And so I've got half of that post done. This week I've been revising/also going out. I went to a Girls Aloud concert last night which was really good. And Thursday I'm going to see Blood Brothers at the theatre (I've already seen Blood Brothers but my parents haven't and it's amazing). And in the free time, revision. Oh, and I've also been trying to catch up on blogs. I'm going to catch up on blogs in alphabetical order probably. I have six exams next week. No exam on the Wednesday. So that means I have two exams on two days. This week is going to busy. I also have to have my maths tutor Friday, attend TheatreTrain on Saturday and have two dance exams on Sunday. My God that looks like a long paragraph. I may also get round to finishing Triskellion/writing a review.


But to make up for my absence, here are some pictures I think you'll find amusing:








































































Disclaimer: I don't own any of these pictures. I found them all using google images but forgot to link them to their original site.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Wow. I loved this book. It was what I wanted in a book. Just wow. I'm going to start gushing like an idiot if I don't tell you what this book is about so I can gather my thoughts. The Knife of Never Letting Go is written by Patrick Ness. Thank you Patrick Ness. Here is the blurb:

"If one of us falls. We all fall..."
Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Or are there?

Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.

Which is impossible.

Prentisstown has been lying to him.

And now he's going to have to run...

Astonishingly powerful and breathtakingly exciting, The Knife of Never Letting Go is an unflinching novel about the dangerous choices of growing up.

I really am in love with this book. But I''ll tell you why, this is my type of book. I love books which have a large amount of action/adventure with a great plot. In other words, I want a fast paced read that you have trouble putting down. And this book ticked all those boxes for me.

The plot was original. In Prentisstown, there is a germ, the Noise germ. It means you can hear everyone else's Noise. Noise is people's thoughts, and other things that are swirling around in the back of their mind. You never have no Noise. Even when you sleep, you have Noise, it's just more crazy than normal Noise. Imagine it? Not being able to keep anything secret. Not really being safe inside your own mind. Anyone can know what your thinking. And that's what makes this book so interesting. But there's more. Todd, the youngest Prentisstown boy, stumbles upon a spot of complete silence. But that's impossible because there is never silence. Even when you're alone you can hear your Noise. And one more point on the plot, the animals can talk. Here is the first line: "The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don't got nothing much to stay."

The characters? The main character is Todd Hewitt. At times I thought he could be slightly annoying but when are you ever going to love an (almost) teenager. And it isn't really his fault. He has spent his life being lied to. Then there is a girl: Viola. Viola is my favourite character and I was actually imagining who would play her if there were to be a film: please let there be a film. You learn more about her as the book progresses. And then the simple and yet brilliant dog: Manchee. He sees things so simply and really loves Todd.

I found it so hard to put this book down! I didn't read it, I devoured it. Seriously. I haven't been so in to a book for a long time. Just thinking about it brings back that amazing feeling. When I reached the end of this book I was angry. I thought to myself, "How dare Patrick Ness leave me on such a cliffhanger?" I need the next book. I have borrowed the first book from my library and I'm going to see if they can order in the second book tomorrow. I have to know what happens.

I recommend this book to those who love action/adventure. I really did love it. I realise that I might sound like a gushing idiot in my review above, but I really did love this book. It won the Guardian Children's fiction prize and is shortlisted for the 2009 CILIP Carnegie Award.

Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
Hookability (ability to keep you reading): 10/10

Yeah, 30/30
My highest ever rating. I really do love this book and can't wait to get my hands on the sequel!

Book Websites

Thanks to a post that I read on Lenore's page, this post, I was intoduced to Technorati. I had sort of heard the word before but had no idea what it was. So I decided to sign up to Technorati and Library Thing. My username on both is Kate9999. What I wanted to know was, who else out there is on either site? If not, are there any other sites you are on?

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Teaser Tuesday... on Wednesday again

Damnit! I'l get this right one week. It's the exams making me forgetful. That's it for the week though now. And I want to say a thank you to Chicklish for discovering who hosted Teaser Tuesday.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Thanks to MizB for this wicked bookish meme.

And without further ado, a teaser from a book that I'm going to read over the next few days, "The Knife of Never Leting Go" by Patrick Ness. I haven't actually started this book yet so this will be a teaser for me too. But first, the rules:

-Grab your current read.
-Let the book fall open to a random page.
-Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
-You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
-Please avoid spoilers!

"I'm not afraid to kill you," I say, tho I totally am but I'm hoping my Noise and his Noise are now so rackety and revved up that he won't be able to make any sense from it. "That makes two of us then," he says, lunging for his machete.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Blog Award #4

Thank you, thank you, thank you! A big thank you to Jo from the amazing blog Ink and Paper. Check it out if you haven't already! I received the Enchanted Blog Award.

The only requirement for this award is that you share it with whomever you like, sharing the love is always a good thing. The blog has to show only one characteristic, caring. So, start sharing this enchanted award with five other bloggers. Let your bloggers know they have received this enchanted award. (Remember, fairies are fickle wee things, don't incur their displeasure by ignoring their gift.)

I wouldn't want to aggravate the fairies, so without further ado here are the five blogs I've picked (it's hard just picking five).

I wish I could choose more because there are so many fabulous blogs that i follow and have on google reader. Once again, thanks to Jo at Ink and Paper.

Reviews

^_^ In alaphabetical order by author's surname ^_^




A
Anonymous: WAGS' World Playing the Game

B
Bantle, Lee: David Inside Out
Blume, Judy: Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great

C
Collins, Suzanne: The Hunger Games


D
Dean, Zoey: The A-list: Malibu Sun
Dowd, Siobhan: A Swift Pure Cry

Dowd, Siobhan: Bog Child


E

F
Forman, Gayle: If I Stay

G
Godbersen, Anna: The Luxe

H
Harrison, Michelle: The 13 Treasure
Hooper, Mary: Newes from the Dead


I

J

K
Krohn, Kevin: Severed Ties

L
Lanagan, Margo: Tender Morsels
Lee, Y S: The Agency: A Spy in the House

M
McCaughrean, Geraldine: Forever X

N
Naylus, Mary: The Dresskeeper
Ness, Patrick: The Knife of Never Letting Go


O

P
Page, Jan: Selina Penaluna
Peterson, Will: Triskellion

Pendleton, Thomas: Wicked Dead Lurker
Petrucha, Stefan: Wicked Dead Lurker
Plaja, Luisa: Extreme Kissing

Plaja, Luisa: Split by a Kiss


Q

R
Rettig, Liz: My Dating Disasters Diary
Richelle, Mead: Vampire Academy


S

T

U

V

W


X

Y

Z

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Review: A Swift Pure Cry

After reading and reviewing "Bog Child" by Siobhan Down, which can be found here, I was excied to read "A Swift Pure Cry". This book was good but unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations.

I loved the cover of this book and had enjoyed Bog Child so I thought why not. The blurb also made it sound really appealing:


Life has been hard for Shell since the death of her mam. Her dad has given up work and turned his back on reality, leaving Shell to care for her brother and sister. When she can, she spends time with her best friend Bridie and the charming, persuasive Declan, sharing cigarettes and irreverent jokes.


Shell is drawn to the kindness of Father Rose, a young priest, but soon finds herself the centre of an escalating scandal that rocks the small Irish community to its foundations.


This magnificent debut novel was inspired by a true story.

I'm not entirely sure why the book was given this cover. Oh wait, I think I just got it. The girl, the bathroom and the pink dress make sense. But the wings are just thrown in to look random I think. They serve no purpose. One of my issues with this book was the title. It appeared about twice throughout the book and I don't think it is relevant enough to the story for it to be a title. It's an interesting title, but not massively related to the story. It could have been given more consideration.

The plot in itself was quite good although it felt a little dragged out at parts. However, the storyline was quite interesting. I had my moments with the main character, Shell. At times I thought she was a little too naive but what she had to cope with and the fact that she dealt with situations without a lot of moaning made me like her. She was quite a strong character and had to deal with a lot. I think my judgement of this book may have been affected by my stress levels at the time, I should have been revising.

I was able to put this story down but I did finish it. I can't not finish a book! I feel extremely guilty. Overall, this is a good read, but it felt dragged out at parts. If you want to read a Siobhan Dowd book, I recommend "Bog Child". I think I should also mention that both books are set in Ireland, the author was Irish.

Plot: 8/10

Characters: 9/10

Hookability (ability to keep you reading): 6/10 (Too easy to put down)

Total: 23/30

A Quick Apology


I have been neglecting my blog recently due to exams (whose idea was it to invent GCSEs?). Grrr. I have an exam on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week. And that's it for this week. And then I have a week off next week. I love that half term falls in between the exams! I plan to get some reading done on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I have plans Sunday. And then back to revision. After half term I have nine exams left. My last exam is on the 18th June. And then I'm free! Free to relax and read (my version of R&R). So I will officially be back to normal on the 19th June (I'm going to celebrate on the 18th when my exams are over). I don't know if any of that made sense.


To sum up, my apologies for neglecting my blog. I will try and get some reading done on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You can expect a review tonight :)

Friday, 15 May 2009

Blog Award #3

Yay! I'm really excited to recive my third blog award (when I've been blogging for one month and one week). You blogger types are the best :)

I got the "You Don't Say Award" from I Heart Monster, an amazing blogger who regularly provides great material!

This award goes to the top commenters. I'm not sure how many people you are supposed to send this to and I don't have that many regular commenters. So this is going to the few people who I know comment regularly :)

Luisa from Chicklish

Mishel from mis(h)takes

prophecygirl from Wondrous Reads

I think I have more commenters than I realise. I'm going to copy the idea from I Heart Monster and use one of those counters which tells me who my top commenters are. Sorry if I've missed anyone out. If I have, just add yourself :)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Author Interview: Gayle Forman


For my first interview, I am pleased to welcome Gayle Forman. In case you don't already know, Gayle Forman is the author of You Can't Get There From Here: A Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World, Sisters in Sanity and If I Stay. "If I Stay" is Gayle Forman's most recently released novel and I, and many other bloggers, have had the pleasure of reading it. If you want to see my review, the link is here.

The film rights to "If I Stay" have already been bought. It is to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the lady who directed the film Twilight. If you'd like to know a little more about Gayle Forman you can visit her website and there is a very interesting bio. Just click here.

And let us commence with the interview:

Music plays an important role in “If I Stay.” Do you believe that music can really shape our lives and has it had any major impacts on your life?

Definitely. I’m no expert on neurology but music must have like some direct link to the part of your brain where emotions live because sometimes I will hear a song that I have not heard in a while and it will literally trigger not just a memory but it will make me feel the way I felt at a certain point in my life. Music can make me feel happy when I feel sad, emotional when I’m feeling numb. I love it in so many forms, whether it’s dancing around to goofy songs with my kid or chanting before a yoga class, which makes me feel tingly. There is a reason so many cultures have music as a central part of celebrations and important rituals. It is just that powerful.

I have seen a lot of excellent reviews of “If I Stay”. Not only is there an online buzz about the book, the film rights to it have already been bought. Did you ever anticipate the impact it would have or predict how popular it would become, all before the release date?

No!! When I wrote If I Stay, my original file name for the book was Why Not? As in: This doesn’t really seem like a viable book idea but hey, why not write it anyhow? Because at that point, I had neither agent nor editor nor publisher. My first teen novel, Sisters in Sanity, had come out, and been read by about 17 people. But then this character of Mia dropped into my consciousness and suddenly this story demanded to be written. I wasn’t sure if was a teen novel or an adult novel or even a viable novel at all. But once I started writing, I didn’t care. Writing it felt right. So, when, later, I found an agent and then it started selling in all these countries and then the movie stuff happened, it all seemed so surreal. It still seems surreal, like it’s happening to someone who I really like a lot and am happy for but who is not me.

Mia’s journey is an emotional one and a lot of people have read this book through cloudy eyes because of the tears. Did Mia’s journey have the same impact on you when you were writing it?

Yes. The places where people cry while reading I was probably crying while writing. It was a very emotional book to write.

You started out writing articles for Seventeen. You wrote articles about things that really mattered, issues that we should all be aware of. How important to you is it that people know about child soldiers, teen migrant workers and what is really happening in the world? Do you wish more people were aware of what was happening beyond their borders?

It’s very important to me that people know about these kinds of things, and most important to me that teenagers do. Because I think if your social conscience is ignited when you are a teen, you never lose your sense of yourself as a global citizen. When I was 16, I was an exchange student in England and I went to this great school where everyone was politically active and that’s when I became involved in various causes, etc. and it’s what formed who I am today and probably shaped who I became as a writer. I’m not so concerned with teens being aware with what’s going on outside their borders so much as them having a sense of empathy, caring about what happens to people outside their reality, whether those people are down the road or on another continent.

Your first book “You Can’t Get There From Here: A Year On the Fringes of a Shrinking World” was based on your travel memoirs. Travel is quite different to YA. “Sisters in Sanity” was your second book but classed as YA. What inspired you to change genres?

I don’t know that they’re so different. They’re both about journeys and about characters and about transformation. It’s just the trip I take with YA, I take in my imagination and I get to make stuff up instead of reporting it. But as to why I changed, here’s what happened: I came home from traveling around the world for a year. I wrote You Can’t Get There From Here. I had a baby. Suddenly, I couldn’t do the kinds of stories I’d done before, or I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to travel and leave my baby at home. And we’d bought an apartment and were broke. And I needed money. And someone suggested I ghost write a YA novel but then said I’d be better off writing my own. And four days later, I had the first 12,-000 words of Sisters in Sanity written, which was based on a story I’d done ten years earlier on behavior modification bootcamps for Seventeen.

What inspired you to write “If I Stay”?

Lots of things. Music. Love. My husband. A real life tragedy. But mostly it was a question that has haunted me for years: What would you do if something catastrophic happened to your family and you yourself were hovering between life and death. And you were somehow aware of what was happening. Would you choose to go with you your family? Or would you stay? Then one day this 17-year-old cellist popped into my head to answer that question for me.

There are certain authors that inspire you to write. They create books that make you want to delve in to your own creativity and start writing. I have a feeling you will become one of these writers. Are there any particular authors who inspired you or that you grew up adoring?

Thank you for saying that. There are some authors that I grew up loving that still hold up. Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird still remains one of my favorite books. Jane Eyre is still one of the most romantic books I’ve ever read and gives me a fluttery stomach. I loved the Beverly Clearly Ramona books when I was little and now that I’m reading them again with my daughter I think I love them even more. I loved Kurt Vonnegut growing up. But I also read a lot of trash, like Jackie Collins and this series called Sweet Dreams romances. I don’t think it matters. Whatever books bring you to reading are good.

Mia has to make a really tough decision. Are you a decisive person yourself?

It’s funny. I am very decisive about the big things. Leave home to travel around the world for a year? Yep. Adopt a second child? Sure. It’s the little stuff I waffle over, like what color to paint the living room or what to order for breakfast. All in all, I’m pretty decisive, though.

Have you got any tips for other aspiring writers?

Write. Write. And write some more. And read. You absorb everything you read, whether you’re aware of it or not. But I think writing is something you only get better at the more you do it and the more life you amass to inspire your writing. So don’t worry about publishing (or publish a blog). Worry about enjoying writing, experimenting, playing with it. As my old journalism professor used to say: A real writer is one who writes.

Thank you so much for answering the questions. Is there anything you would like to add?

Just a thank you. My biggest fear is that one day someone is going to take away this amazing privilege I have to write books. The only reason I get to do what I do is because readers like you read what I write. Without you guys, I’d be out of luck.



I would just like to say a big thank you to Gayle Forman for taking the time to answer my questions and allowing me the privilege to read "If I Stay". It is out now.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Teaser Tuesday... on Wednesday (oops)

Things have been a bit hectic recently. All the GCSEs are coming up (I have another exam tomorrow). So I'm sorry that I'm a bit of shambles today. If anyone knows who started Teaser Tuesday's, please can you tell me so I can give them their well deserved credit and post a link.

On to Teaser Tuesday. The rules are as follows:
-Grab your current read.
-Let the book fall open to a random page.
-Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
-You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
-Please avoid spoilers!

"My God." Father Rose put his hands flat on the table, the fingers splayed. "What's been going on? What's the man done?"

This is from "A Swift Pure Cry" by Siobhan Dowd.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

In The Post #2

It's based on the "In My Mailbox" meme which was started by Kristi at The Story Siren. She was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. In The Post is the British version. We lack mailboxes and receive our post through a hole in the door. Fancy or what?


I didn't do In The Post last week because I didn't get any books last week. I got a prom dress instead :)

I didn't think that I would be able to do this post this week either because I didn't buy any books. But then I went to the library (evil cackle). You can't leave me alone in a library, it's dangerous. I tell myself I'll get one book. Just one, maybe two. And then I left with ten, the maximum. But I noticed, when I looked at the pile, that two books were re-telling of classics which I don't want to read. So here are the eight remaining books:








"The Knife of Never Letting Go" by Patrick Ness (I'm pretty sure it won the Carnegie Award)
"The Lord of the Rings trilogy" by JRR Tolkien (I got three separate books for this)
"Evil Star" by Anthony Horowitz (I've read Raven's Gate and I love Anthony Horowitz's work)
"Nightrise" by Anthony Horowitz
"Triskellion" by Will Peterson (has anyone read this?)
"A Swift Pure Cry" by Siobhan Dowd (I loved Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd and my review of Bog Child can be found here)

How was everyone else's week?

Thursday, 7 May 2009

My Second Book Blog Award

Yay :D

A big thank you to Emmyreader from Don't Lose My Place who gave me the One Lovely Blog Award.


The rules for this award:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.

3) Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.



The fifteen bloggers I award this to are:



1. Chicklish

2. Wondrous Reads

3. So Many Books, So Little Time

4. ..

5. the epic rat

6. A Maze of Books

7. LiyanaLand

8. Korianne Speaks

9. in BetweeN the pages

10. A Lush Budget ProductionTales of a Ravenous Reader

11. FANTASTIC BOOK REVIEW

12. Frenetic Reader

13. Hello Ello 2

14. Juciliciousss Reviews

15. The Book Blogger


Once again, thank you to Emmyreader. Be sure to check out Don't Lose My Place.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Review: Bog Child

This book took me ages to read but that was because I had to fit it in with GCSE revision. I finished it last night but I didn't think I should write reviews at 11.30. It would have consisted of me telling you how much I need to sleep. Here is the summary of Siobhan Dowd's book "Bog Child":



One inch from the wall of brown turf, he froze. 'There's something here. In the earth. A hand.'



Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds something that makes his heart stop. Curled up deep in the bog is the body of a child. And it looks like she's been murdered.



As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him - his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his mam and da arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck - a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls.





Siobhan Dowd is also the author of "A Swift Pure Cry". Unfortunately, in 2007, Siobhan passed away. She was also a human right campaigner and an obituary can be found here. All proceedings from her literary work go towards the Siobhan Dowd Trust which helps many great causes. There is also more information on Siobhan Dowd at this website.

Bog child is an amazing story. It doesn't seem like YA. There are a lot of Irish references which I love e.g. the Garda (the police). My grandad is Irish and I really like learning about Ireland's past. This story takes place during the Troubles (when Thatcher was still running Ireland). There are some references that I think some teens won't necessarily know about (e.g. Bobby Sands). I wasn't entirely sure about Bobby Sands and had to ask my grandad. One more thing that might be misunderstood. Ireland is split in to two parts: Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The capital of Northern Ireland is Belfast. The capital of the Republic of Ireland is Dublin. There are also references to the IRA and talk of the provos. You don't need an excellent history of Ireland to enjoy this story. But a basic knowledge is very helpful.

The main character of this book is Fergus. He is a very likeable character and you feel really sorry for the situation he is in. It is also fair to say that another main character is Mel - the bog child. But I don't want to give away the story so I won't say much about Mel other than that she is an amazing character when you learn about her.

I was addicted to this plot. I needed to know what would happen to the brother Joe who was on hunger strike. The ending was - unexpected. I really was shocked. The decision Fergus's family have to make near the end is monumental. And the truth about.... just read it!

This had to be put down - whether I liked it or not. If I had more free time I would probably have read this in a sitting. I loved this book. Quite literally. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Characters - 9/10 (I would liked to have known a little more about Da)
Plot - 10/10 (I love the Irish setting)
Hookability (ability to keep you reading) - 10/10

Total - 29/30

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Post about Posting

It feels like ages since I last posted... it was Friday. I have decided what book I am going to read... Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd. I would have done IMM but I didn't get any books this week. I did spend alot of money though. I've been quite busy. On Friday I saw Pink in concert. She was amazing! And I spent yesterday going to theatretrain and then London. But through it all, I have finally got my prom dress. My prom is a week Monday. What do you guys think http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10001_10001_61856_809641_-1 I really like it :)

How was everyone's week?
I should finish Bog Child soon. I'm on chapter 15 already. It's quite good :D

Friday, 1 May 2009

My First Blog Award

Yay! I got my first blog award from in BetweeN the pages. I received the Let's Be Friends Award.


"Blogs that received the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers."



I am extremely grateful to in BetweeN the pages for this award.



The eight blogs I will give this to:

Chicklish

Wondrous Reads

So Many Books, So Little Time

the epic rat

A Maze of Books

LiyanaLand

..

Don't Lose My Place

Happy Blogging!

Blog Header


Today I'm going to write a short post about my blogger header. I tried making a blogger header before, but failed miserably. When I was browsing book blogs I came across the Garden of Headers. Polo.Pony creates custom headers on her website. After failing, I asked Polo.Pony. I got three excellent headers sent to me the next day. I have obviously picked the one up above. The point: If you want a new blog header, then visit the aptly named, Garden of Headers.
Thank you to Polo.Pony :)