Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Loose Lips Sink Ships Review

Loose Lips Sink Ships
-      Katrina LaCroix
Kindle Book
*I was sent this book to review by the author*
Avery Leigh will stop at nothing to get her boyfriend, Carter Thomson, back. A high school girl who has no problem saying the first thing that pops into her head, no matter how crazy, she finds Carter has not only stopped taking her calls, he’s started avoiding her altogether. Could it have been something she said? Carter, a sometimes naïve but always gorgeous basketball player, doesn’t mind playing the field if it makes him look good in front of his friends, but he’s really trying to figure out what qualities he wants most in a woman. Unfortunately for Avery, impulsive and outrageous don’t make the list. 
What can I say about this book? There is only one thing on every characters mind – young or old and that is sex. Even the teachers seem to be obsessed by it. If you are easily offended or want some romance then this isn’t the book for you. However, there is also a lot of risqué comedy as well as and this kept me reading with some genuine laugh out loud moments. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first – the first two chapters introduce the main characters and neither really endears themselves at first. Both seem to be self-absorbed and I admit I was a little shocked at what they get up to. That never happened when I was at school!  
However, I soon felt sorry for Avery almost despite myself. She doesn’t behave in the most moral way and has little care for anyone else but considering her family life I can see how she became the way she is – and by the end I really wanted her to be ok. I found myself rooting for her despite not liking her very much and I attribute this to Katrina's writing. By taking some horrible people, some outrageous behaviour and sexual comedy she’s created a really amusing book which I couldn’t help enjoy and want to know what happened next! As such I sped through Loose Lips quickly. The big ‘finale’ was set up like one of the scams out of Saved By The Bell TV Series from the early 90s. Unrealistic and improbably but somehow it worked.
Recommended for fans of American Pie films and emotional dramas like The OC – and only if you aren’t easily offended! 6.5 out of 10.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Author Interview: Katrina LaCroix

I'm so excited (and nervous!) today as it's my first ever author interview - eek! As a relatively new blogger I'm still learning the ropes (I wonder how long I can use that excuse?), but I had great fun putting this together and trying to think up some original questions. Not sure I succeed with that but have a look for yourself!

Before we get to Q&A, let me introduce my guest: Katrina LaCroix, is author of Loose Lips Sink Ships - a comedy about a dis-functional teenage relationship. It's her first published novel and I will be reviewing it in full tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy getting to know Katrina as much as I did!

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to answer a few questions. Please either be as honest as possible to tell some outrageous lies - both are fun! :-)

Alright, I'll do my best with these questions.
First tell us a little about yourself...
I'm a twenty-three year old from New York City who loves having fun at all costs. I work a boring job, which gives me plenty of time to think of crazy stories, most of which probably border on the psychotic. 

Tell us a little about ‘Loose Lips Sink Ships’ –  what’s it all about?
This story is about a bad teen relationship, two people who are attracted to each other and yet have very different personalities. Emotions travel into their actions like a lightning rod, causing them to act out regardless of the consequences. I'd say there are a lot of people like Avery and Carter out there, the only difference being that most of us have learned some restraint. Sure, holding back has its advantages, but I think we lose a part of ourselves that way. 

Is Loose Lips your first novel? How long did it take to write?
I've written several novels, but this is the first one I've decided to publish. It took about three months to write, and then there was some time for tinkering with the jokes in addition to the revising. Writing humor is difficult because what people find funny varies so much, so if you find yourself on the same wavelength as this book you should know I'm especially thrilled.

There’s a lot of humour and sex in Loose Lips – what made you think of putting the two together? Where did you get your inspiration from?
I would say that I have an aggressive sense of humor. If something doesn't cut to the bone, it won't get me to laugh. Much of the plot and the jokes have to do with sex and the body. That's where we're all vulnerable because we're human and there isn't enough plastic surgery available to make us all perfect. None of the characters hold back from digging into each other's faults.

Not all your characters are very nice and sometimes behave in despicable ways – was that how you behaved at school? J
As much as I might regret it in my moments of weakness, I was a bit of a rumor hound back in school. You see, the trick to getting back at someone is never to go right at them, it's to set seemingly unrelated bombs here or there that somehow damage them. Whereas that would've meant gossiping for me, the characters in this story take it a step forward and do the terrible things to each other most of us dream of.

If you could write a letter to your younger self what advice would you give?
I would've told myself that none of it mattered. I bet a future self talking to me now would say the same thing. Stuff happens on a day to day basis, but over a long enough period of time it all fades away. Just do what you can, and don't sweat any of it.

Who are your favourite authors?
I have a broad taste in authors. I like Stephen King and Dan Brown, but then I also like Suzanne Collins and Stephanie Meyer. Any story with some action and emotion to it will draw me in.

What do like to get up on your spare time?
I go out a lot, partying sometimes. Then I'll wake up the next morning and really want to read, but I'll be so hungover that I'll stare blankly at the same page for an hour. I like movies and TV shows that are funny. Then there's my one secret love: raising mice and slipping them into the neighbors' houses.

Any hints about future stories...?
It depends how well this one does if I decide to do any more. If there's an audience for it and people like it, I bet I could put something else together. It would be fun to write more of this.

Thanks for stopping by - great answers!
Thanks for having me!

Loose Lips Sink Ships is available on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com & Barn & Nobel sites. And stop by tomorrow for my full review! :)

Sunday, 28 November 2010

My Book Haul/In My Mail Box

This is a weekly meme started by Story Siren where bloggers can share what goodies they've picked up this week - If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!
This week I discovered netgallery and the idea that I could request free digital copies of book for review! So excited to get books on my kindle so I went a little mad with the requests and asked and received five books! Now I just have to get busy reading them! :)
Haint Misbehavin'(Ghosthandlers 1) - Maureen Hardegree
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (January 2011)
 
It's hard enough being fourteen years old without having ghosts bugging you for stuff. Heather Tildy can't escape them; she's a ghost magnet, a natural "ghost handler" and so the spookies not only demand her advice, they meddle in her life. Which makes family stuff, boys, and high school even weirder than they already are. Welcome to The Ghost Handler Series, following Heather's adventures as BFTG-a Best Friend To Ghosts.
What's a girl to do when puberty arrives with a complaint worse than cramps and bloating... a mischievous ghost friend?

This looks like a fun book!

Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Sausages - Tom Holt
Publishers: Orbit Books (February 2011)

Polly is a real estate solicitor. She is also losing her mind. Someone keeps drinking her coffee. And talking to her clients. And doing her job. And when she goes to the dry cleaner's to pick up her dress for the party, it's not there. Not the dress - the dry cleaner's.
And then there are the chickens who think they are people. Something strange is definitely going on - and it's going to take more than a magical ring to sort it out.

Generally I'm a fan of Tom Holt for some comic fantasy based in the 'real' world, he can't be beat so I'm looking forward to trying this out

Lost Voices - Sarah Porter
Publishers: Harcourt Books (April 2011)
Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of her grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.
A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: the mermaids feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce's own remarkable singing talent makes her important to the tribe—she may even have a shot at becoming their queen. However, her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder?
This seems like an intriguing book - I haven't read many books based on mermaids.

Storm Warning - Toni Anderson
Publisher:  Carina Press (November 2010)

Sorcha Logan is looking for peace.
Recently returned to her hometown on Scotland's craggy coast, Sorcha wants to tame the spirits that made her flee. When she finds a corpse in the surf, however, she can't suppress the memory of discovering her father's body. Nor can she suppress the ghosts that haunt her-or the town's conviction that she's dangerous, and a witch.  
Ben Foley is looking for a killer.
An American DEA agent, Ben is in town to investigate the suspicious death of his partner. He's sure that Sorcha knows more than she's letting on-but the more time he spends with the sexy suspect, the less he can fight their illicit attraction. And the less certain he is she's involved with a drug cartel.
But can Ben protect Sorcha from being set up? Or worse-killed?

A little romance, a little mystery and a little danger - sounds good to me!

Night of the Vampires - Heather Graham
Publisher: Harlequin Books (November 2010)

As a soldier, Cole Granger fights to restore peace to a world divided by war and evil. His extraordinary talents are enlisted to prevent the president’s horrific premonition from becoming reality. Nothing—and no one—will stop him from fulfilling his duty. Especially the mysterious young woman who claims to be his comrade’s sister. Enemy or ally, he can’t yet determine. But one thing he knows for certain is that he must keep her close. Very close.
Megan Fox’s quest to uncover a family secret leads her to the center of vampire riots in West Virginia. To find the answers she needs—and clear herself of suspicion—she must join forces with Cole. They work undercover to bring justice, but they can’t disguise the potent attraction and need that draw them together. Yet trust doesn’t come easily for Cole…and when Megan unearths the grim, dark truth, can she trust him to believe her?

I've read a few Heather Graham books before and found them diverting enough.

So what have you got this week? :)


*Shameless Plug* - Stop by tomorrow for my first-ever Author Interview where I will be grilling Katrina LaCroix, author of Loose Lips Sink Ships!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

On My Wishlist #15

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track!

This week I'm looking at sequels to series I've already started...

*BE WARNED THERE ARE SOME SPOILERS TO EARLIER BOOKS IN SOME OF THE DESCRIPTIONS - BLAME AMAZON!*

Shades of Night (Icarus Project 2) - Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge
Publisher: UK - Piatkus
When Jet and Iridium - best friends turned enemies - came together to bring down a supervillain, they inadvertently destroyed the secret Corp-Co transmitter, whose frequency kept the New Chicago's heroes of in-line - and sane. Now the city is plunged into chaos as these heroes are suddenly the biggest threat. Corp-Co brings in a new Squadron from India - but when heroes are tied into a system of sponsorship, only money, and not a sense of duty, can persuade them to save the day. As they haggle, Everyman sets out to destroy the powers with a group of enhanced super-soldiers, and the mysterious villain Doctor Hypnotic is lulling heroes and supervillains alike into his seductive web - a dream-world where everything is perfect, but nothing is real. Once again Jet and Iridium are forced to set aside their hatred of each other to do what they were born to do: save the world.
.
I adored Black and White - the first book (Review here). A novel based on superheros is such a nice change of pace for me and I hope there are more stories planned in this universe!

Dragon Haven (The Rain Wild Chronicles 2) - Robin Hobb
Publisher: UK - Harper Voyager

The dragon keepers and the fledgling dragons are forging a passage up the treacherous Rain Wild River. They are in search of the mythical Elderling city of Kelsingra, and are accompanied by the liveship Tarman, its captain, Leftrin, and a group of hunters who must search the forests for game with which to keep the dragons fed. With them are Alise, who has escaped her cold marriage to the cruel libertine Hest Finbok in order to continue her study of dragons, and Hest's amanuensis, Bingtown dandy, Sedric.
Rivalries and romances are already threatening to disrupt the band of explorers: but external forces may prove to be even more dangerous. Chalcedean merchants are keen to lay hands on dragon blood and organs to turn them to medicines and profit. Their traitor has infiltrated the expeditionand will stop at nothing to obtain the coveted body parts. And then there are the Rain Wilds themselves: mysterious, unstable and ever perilous, its mighty river running with acid, its jungle impenetrable and its waterways uncharted.
Will the expedition reach their destination unscathed? Does the city of Kelsingra even exist? Only one thing is certain: the journey will leave none of the dragons nor their human companions unchanged by the experience.

Robin Hobb has written one of my favourite trilogies of all time - The Liveships - and while I haven't read the first Rain Wild Chronicles, it is still sitting on my TBR pile and I know I will want to finish the story as quickly as possible!

The Desert Spear (Demon Trilogy 2) - Peter V Brett
Publisher: UK - Harper Voyage 

The Deliverer has returned, but who is he?
Arlen Bales, formerly of the small hamlet of Tibbet’s Brook, learnt harsh lessons about life as he grew up in a world where hungry demons stalk the night and humanity is trapped by its own fear. He chose a different path; chose to fight inherited apathy and the corelings, and eventually he became the Painted Man, a reluctant saviour.
But the figure emerging from the desert, calling himself the Deliverer, is not Arlen. He is a friend and betrayer, and though he carries the spear from the Deliverer’s tomb, he also heads a vast army intent on a holy war against the demon plague… and anyone else who stands in his way.

I absolutely loved The Painted Man - it was one of the best fantasy stories I think I've ever read so I'm getting realy excited about The Desert Spear soming out in paperback - can't wait!

So what are you wishing for? :)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Book Blogger Hop #9

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books  and is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!This week's question is -

"What is your favorite book cover?"


One of the things I love about the Book Blogger Hop is not only do I get the chance to explore and visit some fab blogs, but it also gets me thinking each week. And this week, I'm not sure how to answer! I love the British covers of Kelley Armstrong but the story helps me love the book so much I don't know if it's my absolutely favourite cover... 

 

Having explored my book case for a while, I think my favourite covers are the UK versions of Jim Butcher's Codex Alera. I started reading this series with the US covers, but I was so annoyed when they were finally published over here with beautiful covers, but I already had the US versions! So frustrating. Don't get me wrong, I was really happy with the US covers - there's nothing wrong with them at all, but I love the British version. It has such great colours and re-enforced the Roman theme with centurion elements plus the runes with various elements looks so cool. I want them!

What do you think? Do you agree?


 

 


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Bloodthirsty Review

Bloodthirsty
- Flynn Meaney

Publisher: Poppy (Little Brown)

Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls. Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before--he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part. With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected. 

I received this book from Jackie at Housewife Blues and Chihuahua Tales in one of her competitions and I’m so happy I did!
This isn‘t a long book, a little more than 200 pages and I managed to race through it within a day. However, it is a great story about a teenage boy who decides that girls’ fascination with vampires like Edward Cullen could play in his favour. With pale skin and a minor allergy to sunlight and brooding manner he could turn himself into a vampire – and get the girls! With this simple premise Finbar transforms his life and it is a sweet journey. I enjoyed spending time with the characters and there is some genuine warmth with Finbar and Kates’ relationship and the way it develops. This is a coming of age story with some real amusing situations but firmly set in the real world. There is plenty of amusing observations of the current vampire and supernatural craze – and I can easily see this happening in schools today! This is a fun, light book that makes a nice change from any save the world storylines out there at the moment.
Recommended for fans of Twilight and Smallville. 8 out of 10

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Book Impact!

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts mostly due to outside influences impacting my spare time. Now, I’m able to sit down and think about what I’m reading, what I’ve read and what I plan to read. One of the things that fascinates me about books is how much they can make you think and influence your life. After all, who hasn’t given a old lamp a bit of a rub in the hope that a genie would grant three wishes or used a stick to cry ‘expelliarmus’ at someone? Or is it just me searching for snowy woods at the back of the wardrobe? After reading Interview with the Vampire as a teenager I asked for a crucifix for my next birthday and refused to take it off for years (although I think it became habit rather anything else after a while!).
  So my query here is if there is anything you have done after reading a book? Any habit you formed or anything you avoid? How has a book impacted you?  Have you done anything differently after reading a certain book? 

Monday, 22 November 2010

Raven's Strike Review

Raven’s Strike
-      Patricia Briggs
Publisher: US - Ace Fantasy
Seraph is among the last of the Travelers, those who strive to destroy the dark magic released by their ancestors' mistakes. Seraph tried to escape her people's duty and live a quiet life, until evil found her...
A new force for darkness called the Shadowed walks the land, feeding on death, destruction and the sleeping Stalker's power. He plans to wake the Stalker, wreaking untold havoc, but he needs those who bear the Travelers' magic to release the dark god..an d he has his sights set of Seraph and her family. Now Seraph must use all her cunning and ability as a Raven mage to track down the Shadowed and strike against him before it is too late...
This is the second of Patricia Briggs Raven Duology. I read the first Raven’s Shadow a couple of months ago (you can read the review here) and quickly purchased this the second book. This books quickly carries on where Raven’s Shadow finishes with Seraph and Tier heading home after rescuing the emperor and exposing the Shadowed conspiracy. However, their problems aren’t behind them – the Shadowed escaped and Memory is still following the emperor.
The book is as easy to read as any of Briggs are and moves at a quick pace. There is a fair bit of action which starts straight away with a fairly creepy attack by a mistwight and continues right to the end. The action is well written and exciting but what I enjoyed most was the mixture of characters. They were all different and had their own worries and quirks but grew throughout the story. Seraph, Tier and their three children were people I could really relate too and I was rooting for them throughout. However, my favourites were the Raven, Hennea and the Emperor, Phoran. The mystery of who Hennea really is was subtlety done and added to the depth of story. However, it was the development of the emperor that I loved – he’s come so far from the spoilt, lost lonely boy we met in the first book and by the end of this novel he is a true hero.
I loved this book and while it isn’t perfect – perhaps the characters are a little too good with little shades of grey and perhaps the answers fall into their hands a little too easily. It was a great place to escape to and I definitely plan to check out more of Brigg’s fantasy novels. Raven's Strike was a faster paced book than Raven's Shadow - there is less setting the scene so the action just
Recommended for fans of Patricia Brigg’s other work and Maria V Snyder’s Study series. 9 out of 10.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

This is a weekly meme started by Story Siren where bloggers can share what goodies they've picked up this week - If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!
 
This week I gave in to temptation and picked up a couple of books that have been on my Wishlist for a bit. I have a problem saying no to books! Surely I can't be the only one?!
 
Grave Secret (Harper Connolly 4) - Charlaine Harris
Publisher: UK - Gollancz
 
When she was 15, Harper Connelly was struck by a bolt of lightning, which left her with a spiderweb of red over her body, headaches, and episodes of weakness. Sometimes her right hand shakes. And she can find dead people. It's taken a while, but at last Harper's pretty happy with her life: she's making a living for herself and Tolliver, using her unique talent to help people with. Then Tolliver's dad arrives on the scene, seeking forgiveness for the sins of their youth, and the police get a tip-off that after all these years, Cameron's been spotted in a mall. With all this going on Harper realises life is getting a little complicated, but she doesn't expect those complications to include Tolliver getting shot, or watching a cop die taking a bullet for her. Harper can find dead people, but now it's clear someone wants her dead . . .
 
 
The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy 2) - N.K. Jemisin
Publisher: UK - Orbit (November 2010)

In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. However, this act of kindness is to engulf Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. Oree's peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger - but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the Lord of Night himself?

And I couldn't resist another purchase on my Kindle - one recommended by The Slowest Bookworm

Whisper of a Witch - Suza Kates
Kindle Edition

A Choice -  Shauni Miller has no idea why her life is changing, but she must answer when an unknown force summons her to a mystical island.  She also harbors a secret, one that has the potential to alter her life forever.  If she chooses to share it.
A Deception - Dr. Michael Black helps Shauni in her time of need, but sees more in the raven-haired temptress than she ever meant to reveal.  he knows she's hiding something, but then, so is he.
A Prediction - Both Shauni and Michael have a role to play and decisions to make as a centuries-old prophecy unfolds.  Only the fated know if they are meant to be together.  Or if one of them has to die.
That's my haul this week - what did you get? :)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

On My Wishlist #14

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track!

This week there's a queenly theme to my book wishes!

Iron Crowned (Dark Swan 3) - Richelle Mead
Publisher: UK Bantam (March 2011)
Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham is the best at banishing entities trespassing in the mortal realm. But as the Thorn Land’s queen, she’s fast running out of ways to end the brutal war devastating her kingdom. Her only hope: the Iron Crown, a legendary object even the most powerful gentry fear…
Who Eugenie can trust is the hardest part. Fairy king Dorian has his own agenda for aiding her search. And Kiyo, her shape-shifter ex-boyfriend, has every reason to betray her along the way. To control the Crown’s ever-consuming powers, Eugenie will have to confront an unimaginable temptation--one that will put her soul and the fate of two worlds in mortal peril…

I've really enjoyed the first two books in the Dark Swan Series and after the end of the second one I really want to see how Eugenie copes and deals with those events.

The Captive Queen - Alison Weir
Publisher: UK - Arrow (Paperback out July 2011)

It is the year 1152 and a beautiful woman of thirty, attended by only a small armed escort, is riding like the wind southwards through what is now France, leaving behind her crown, her two young daughters and a shattered marriage to Louis of France, who had been more like a monk than a king, and certainly not much of a lover. This woman is Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, and her sole purpose now is to return to her vast duchy and marry the man she loves, Henry Plantagenet, a man destined for greatness as King of England. Theirs is a union founded on lust which will create a great empire stretching from the wilds of Scotland to the Pyrenees. It will also create the devil’s brood of Plantagenets – including Richard Cœur de Lion and King John – and the most notoriously vicious marriage in history.

Alison Weir is one of favourite writers - she can take dry facts and turn them into fascinating stories. And her recent move from historical biographies to fiction is one I've been enjoying. I don't really know a huge amount about this period of history - aside from Robin Hood films! - so can't wait to get my hands on this at some point!

The Red Queen (Cousins War 2) - Philippa Gregory
Publisher: UK - Simon & Schuster (Paperpback out April 2011) 

The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England.

Philippa Gregory has written plenty of historical fiction, most of which is highly entertaining so I'm looking forward to her next novel when it comes out on paperback next year.

So what are you wishing for this week?

Friday, 19 November 2010

Want to play? TAG you're it!

Jackie at Housewife Blues and Chihuahua Stories tagged me yesterday so I'm passing it on!
 
 
Rules of the game:
1) Accept the tag and link to the tagger at the beginning of your post.
2) Answer the questions honestly in your post by listing four things.
3) Pass on the love by picking four other people to tag and listing them at the bottom of your post. Notify them that you tagged them.



4 Things That Are In My Handbag:

  1. My mobile phone - I can't go anywhere without it! 
  2. The book I'm currently reading
  3. My purse including all my loyalty cards
  4. A memory stick - you never know when you might need one!

4 Favorite Things In My Bedroom:

  1. My bed - I love a lie in!
  2. My To-Be-Read bookcase (it is getting a little full at the moment!)
  3. My stereo - I love listening to music as I fall asleep
  4. My handbag collection - I love bags!

4 Things On My Desk:

  1. My new dell laptop
  2. My bookmark collection
  3. A pile of bills to pay
  4. A hand-made knitted stuffed cat (a gift from a friend!)

4 Things I've Always Wanted To Do:

  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. See a total eclipse of the sun
  3. See lions in the wild
  4. Learn how to drive! (I know, I Know - I just haven't got round to it yet!)

4 Things I Enjoy Very Much At The Moment:

  1. Experimental cooking (what can I do with a tin of tuna and some flour!)
  2. Blogging (I'm still feeling my way around but loving it!)
  3. Robbie Williams back with Take That after 15 years!
  4. My new flat - I'm loving decorating and owning my first place!

4 Songs I Can't Get Out Of My Head:
  1. The Flood - Take That's new single with Robbie!
  2. Lost Highway - Bon Jovi
  3. Hollywood - Michael Buble
  4. Bad Romance - Lady Gaga - it just stays in my head every time I hear it!
4 Things You Don't Know About Me:
  1. I'm a vegetarian as I don't like the taste of meat after being served raw chicken my Gran 15 years ago
  2. I go to the cinema every week - and will even see terrible films!
  3. I managed to break my leg every four years from the ages of 4 to 20! (Don't ask how - I wasn't trying to!)
  4. I once jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet over lake Taupo in New Zealand and spent 75 seconds in free-fall. (Didn't break my leg then though!)

4 Bloggers I Am Tagging:

Ria from Tea and Tomes
The Bookish Snob
Melissa at Books & Things
Amy and Jennifer at Seduced By Books
Angela at Library Girl Reads

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Books Remembered #5: Strange Orbit by Margaret Simpson

This is a semi-regular feature where I reminisce about books or even series that I read over and over again. Or even a book read once that changed the way I looked at life. It can be a book from childhood or a modern series I just can’t get enough off. It’s not a review of the book(s) but merely remembering the impact it had on me and how it’s shaped my reading habits and likes –what made that book(s) memorable.
When I was a teenager I read a lot of teen books. Back in the early 90s in Britain this mostly meant Point Horror books – a print house that specialised in horror stories for teenagers based on premises like The Babysitter – where the call was coming from inside the house (not a scary story that would work so well these days with mobile phones!) - to more supernatural causes such as moving to a new a house to find a vampire living there. I may come back to these stories in the future but what I’m getting at is that Point Horror was extremely successful. So much so, that the print range soon expanded and you could find Point Fantasy and Point Sci-Fi books. And the book I want to remember today is one of the Point Sci-Fi books. It’s no exaggeration to say this book really did change my life.
The book is Strange Orbit by Margaret Simpson (a name which these days conjures an image of a grown Maggie Simpson but meant little to me back then!). The book involved a privately funded trip by a wealthy woman who wanted to take children into space. The heroine was one the children who was picked to go (after having to apply and go through a variety of intelligence and physical tests). I think there were four of them in the end plus the pilot and woman funding the trip. The idea of teens going into space was fascinating to me and what happened when they got there blew me away. Something went wrong when they were orbit and they ended up travelling around the solar system trying to find a way home. This involved them meeting Schrödinger’s Camel (not a cat as is popularly thought), travelling into the future to a dying earth when most humans have left and visiting Mars (or it may have been Jupiter). There was so much imagination and possibility in this small book that I was enthralled – I wanted to go into space! I wanted to meet a talking camel on the moon!
While I can’t say that I’ve ever done either of those things, I did the next best thing I could – I started studying the solar system – the planets, the moon, the sun and the stars. After all we all know they’re there but how much do you really know about them? This soon developed into me wanting to know as much as I could about all things astronomical. This was a phase I never really grew out off and when I was 18 I went off to study Astrophysics at Cardiff university. I finished four years later was a Masters degree – all this because I read Strange Orbit when I was a teenager.
And do you know what? At least three other people I met on the same course also knew about Schrödinger’s Camel!

If you liked this feature, check out previous entries:
Books Remembered #1: Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Fry Chonicles Review

The Fry Chronicles
-      Stephen Fry
Kindle Book
Thirteen years ago, Moab is my Washpot, Stephen Fry’s autobiography of his early years, was published to rave reviews and was a huge bestseller. In those thirteen years since, Stephen Fry has moved into a completely new stratosphere, both as a public figure, and a private man. Now he is not just a multi-award-winning comedian and actor, but also an author, director and presenter. In January 2010, he was awarded the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards. Much loved by the public and his peers, Stephen Fry is one of the most influential cultural forces in the UK. This dazzling memoir promises to be a courageously frank, honest and poignant read. It will detail some of the most turbulent and least well known years of his life with writing that will excite you, make you laugh uproariously, move you, inform you and, above all, surprise you.
This is actually Stephen Fry’s second autobiography. His first, Moab is my Washpot, covered his early childhood and rebellious teens. The Fry Chronicles covers his university years and the first few years of his early career. Now, I’m not usually a reader of biographies and hadn’t intended to read any this year, but I ended up with a copy of this book and thought I’d give a go. (The full story of how and why I ended up with this book can be found here). I’m actually a fan of Stephen Fry – comic, actor, writer and all round entertainer - he always ends up on my dream dinner party guest list! But I know his work rather than his life so I was quite taken aback about how little I actually knew about him.
This book is painfully honest regarding Stephen’s self-opinion and his lack of believe in himself. That Stephen Fry is bi-polar is well known and although it is hardly mentioned here, you can see how even in success this casts a shadow over his achievements. That he had a turbulent time at school was a shock to me – and to be honest the end of book was a big surprise as well – it never fit in my opinion of Stephen Fry as an affable, English gentleman. Which tells you how honest Stephen has been and I guess the reason why biographies sell so well is the ability to get to know a celebrity in raw, honest form.
If you’re after gossip about other celebrities, you won’t find it here. Stephen writes with elegance about what he admires in his contempories and friends but dishes no dirt and bad mouths no-one. I found that quite nice – and if it means the book occasionally reads like a ‘lovie’ name dropping that is only because Stephen does know everyone. The style is intelligent, witty, sometimes philosophical and amusing. It gave me a great deal to think about and I think it actually increased my admiration for Stephen Fry. And hey, The Fry Chronicles beat Tony Blair’s A Journey as best biography at the Galaxy National Book Awards this year!
Recommended for fans of intelligent humour. 8 out of 10

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Life Is Good: My First Award!

Checking my comments yesterday I was delighted to find myself with an award from Melissa at Books & Things. This is especially as I've only been serious about book blogging for three months - thank you Melissa!
So what does mean?

Here is what is what they've asked after receiving this Award:

1.Thank and link back to the person that gave this award.

2.Answer the following 10 survey questions mentioned below.
3.Pass it on to another 15 Blogs that are fairly new and interesting to you.

4.Contact the bloggers so they know they've been chosen.

This is a great refreshing idea that will be useful and fun for blogs mentioned and blogs just beginning. The questions are a neat way to find out more about fellow blogs as well discover other likes and dislikes. So without further adieu... let's continue with this ongoing extravaganza! 



I received this award from Melissa from  Books & Things  which is a fantastic blog with some great reviews and additional content - go visit & enjoy! 

1. If you blog anonymously are you happy doing it that way; if you are not anonymous do you wish you had started out anonymously so you could be anonymous now? 
I tend to go by Mel S or just Mel more because I would get confused if I tried to use anything else! Although the reason why I choose Mel was because I've already discovered a lot of Melissa's on the blogosphere - perhaps we tend to gravitate towards book blogs? Hmm...philosophical question!


2. Describe one incident that shows your inner stubborn side:
Refusing to give up while waiting for my train home yesterday - it was delayed, delayed and finally cancelled. I made it home eventually - it pays to be stubborn with London's public transport system!

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

An obsessed reader who has to work to pay for her book addiction!
4. What is your favorite summer cold drink? 
Mocha Frappaccino - coffee, chocolate and ice - yummy!

5.When you take time for yourself, what do you do? 
Read of course! I also visit the cinema and love shopping.

6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it? 
I want to go on a hot air balloon ride on every continent - so far I've done Europe, Africa and Australasia!

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever , the shy person, or always ditching? 
The class Boff - I was always the good girl! Or at least, I was never caught! ;)

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment of your life what would you see? 
Watching the sunrise over Ayers Rock.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?
I'm not that interesting so much easier to write about people! :)

Passing the buck to:
Sam at The Tiny Library
The Slowest Bookworm
Kirsty at The Overflowing Library
Kay at Dead Book Darling
Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian

Sorry, I'm only passing it on to 5 blogs - I don't know that many blogs! Hope that's ok!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Vampire Diaries: Shadow Souls Review

The Vampire Diaries: The Return – Shadow Souls (Vampire Diaries 6)
-          L.J. Smith

Publisher: UK

Elena is forced to trust her life to Damon, the handsome but deadly vampire who wants Elena, body and soul. They must journey to the slums of the Dark Dimension, a world where vampires and demons roam free, but humans must live as slaves of their supernatural masters. Damon's brother, the brooding vampire Stefan whom Elena loves, is imprisoned here, and Elena can only free him by finding the two hidden halves of the key to his cell.

Meanwhile, the tension between Elena and Damon mounts until Elena is faced with a terrible decision: which brother does she really want to be with?

 

I’ve had a bit of a chequered history with the vampire diaries – the books not the TV Series. I love the series but that’s diverged from the original book long ago. I read the original four books when I was a teenager and loved them. So I was very excited when I heard LJ Smith was going to write a sequel trilogy but I was very disappointed with Nightfall. It was incoherent, the girls seemed to burst into tears every other page and there were memory losses every chapter in some sort attempt to shoe-horn the scenes into some sort of storyline. It was one of the worst books I had ever read. So I was a little reluctant to pick up Shadow Souls – and to be honest I wasn’t expecting a lot from it.

What I found was a book trying its best to resolve some of the threads from the previous book and weave them into a story. It’s not great, but it as least more coherent. Elena has regained herself (no more random floating and kissing everyone!) and you feel her being torn between brothers Stephen and Damon more as she works closely with Damon to rescue Stephen from the Dark Dimension. Her friends Bonnie and Meredith get short changed in this book and aren’t really given much to do apart hug Elena occasionally and cry. Damon is a large part of this story as are a variety of new characters – Sage is intriguing even if he isn’t given much to do.

What I find with this is that you are told so much about peoples relationships but little is seen or felt. Just be being told that the girls would do anything for each, you are expected to believe it. I’d rather have seen the Meredith or Bonnie risk something – and possibly even lost, rather than just told they were risking everything. I didn’t feel much connection to the characters and thought they behaved in a rather inconsistent way – one minute acting like a slave and the next rescuing a beaten woman.

However, despite this and some unintentionally hilarious phrases (Velocoraptor sisterhood forever!), there is enough action that moves the story along and I have to give the book an extra bonus for a surprise ending that will probably have me reading the final book in the trilogy – if only to see how it all ends.

Recommended for fans of Twilight and Fallen. 5 out of 10.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

My Book Haul/In My Mail Box

This is a weekly meme started by Story Siren where bloggers can share what goodies they've picked up this week - If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!
I'm still being good so I've only added one book to my TBR bookcase this week. I won it at Housewife Blue and Chihuahua Stories and the lovely Jackie sent over this week (Thanks!). It looks like a great read - and I have to say I love the cover!
Bloodthirsty - Flynn Meaney
Publisher: Brown Books
Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls. Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before--he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part. With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected.

So what have you picked up this week? :)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

On My Wishlist #13

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track!

The heavenly theme continues this week with books based on a Gods theme...

Amercian Gods - Neil Gaiman
Publisher: UK - Headline (September 2005)

After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the time until his release ticks away, he can feel a storm brewing. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr Wednesday claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But the storm is about to break...

I've been eyeing this book up for months, possibly years. It made such a big splash when it was first released but I some how missed it. Since then, I occasionally pick it up in the book stores but never quite made it to the till with it. One day I will read it!


The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy 2) - N.K. Jemisin
Publisher: UK - Orbit (November 2010)

In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. However, this act of kindness is to engulf Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. Oree's peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger - but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the Lord of Night himself?

I really enjoyed The Hundred-Thousand Kingdoms, the first of teh Inheritance Trilogy earlier this year, so I'm looking forward to getting this, the next in the trilogy!


Goddess of Legend - PC Cast
Publisher: UK - Piatkus (January 2010)

Isabel, a world-weary photojournalist, is grounded back home in Oklahoma, when her car plummets off a bridge into a lake. Struggling on the edge between life and death, she's miraculously saved by the Water Goddess, but with one tiny caveat: Isabel must travel to another time to seduce the legendary Lancelot du Lac away from Queen Guinevere. Simple. After all, the handsome knight is a dream for any woman in any century. Unfortunately Isabel is the one who's seduced - by the soulful eyes of the wise and soft-spoken King Arthur. But for Isabel, a deal is a deal. Now, the King watches as fate takes from him the mysterious beauty he has come to worship, knowing all too well that any interference on his part could destroy the kingdom he loves.

PC Cast is an author I've been exploring this year - love some books, not keen on others. So I'm curious to try her Goddess summoning series which is being released in the UK in the next few months!

Aphrodite's Workshop for Reluctant Lovers - Marika Cobbold
Publisher: UK - Bloomsbury (February 2010)

Rebecca Finch is a highly successful romantic novelist who has fallen out of love with love. When she heads off for a weekend in Paris and doesn't care that she has absent-mindedly left her boyfriend on the platform in Waterloo, things look bad. But when her god-daughter, struck with pre-wedding jitters, asks Rebecca if marriage is a good idea, and she can't think of a single reason to reply 'yes', she realises it's serious. The 'High Priestess of Romance' is having a crisis of faith. On Mount Olympus, things aren't any easier. Aphrodite is stressed because divorce rates are rocketing and nobody is taking her seriously any more, and Eros, going through a difficult phase, seems to be carelessly shooting arrows without even a thought for the basic compatibility of his victims. So with even her favourite earth-bound acolyte, Rebecca Finch, showing signs of disillusionment, Aphrodite resolves to take drastic action.

This seems like a fun read - I haven't read any chick-lit for a while so I'm looking forward to some lighter reads!

So what are you wishing for this week? :)