Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Give a Theme Song to

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week's theme is...Books I'd Give a Theme Song To!

The Hunger Games...Change by Taylor Swift because the song is all about fighting and standing up for what you believe in; like the rebellion in THG, which is, ultimately, victorious.
"These walls that they put up to hold us back fell down,
It's a revolution, throw your hands up 'cause we never gave in
And we'll sing Hallelujah"   
 Perfect Chemistry...Love Story by Taylor Swift because Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles is just such a cute love story! And both song and book are sort of based around the story of Romeo and Juliet, and really are quite similar...  
"This love is difficult, but it's real
Don't be afraid, we'll make it out of this mess,
It's a love story, baby just say yes"
The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer...Fix You by Coldplay because Mara is going through a pretty troubled time and feels quite broken, but Noah is always there, trying to fix things and make things alright.
"Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try
To fix you"
Clockwork Angel...Reflections by Christina Aguilera because Tessa is struggling to find out who she really is, after discovering she has some strange power that she never even knew of.

"Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show who I am inside?"  
Finding Sky...Superman by Taylor Swift because the lyrics of this song seem to pretty much perfectly fit Zed and Sky. Zed is kind of a Superman flying off to save the world because he and his family use their powers to try and do good. I think these two bits describes Zed from Sky's point of view, once she's got to know him, perfectly.

"Tall, dark and beautiful,
He's complicated, he's irrational" 

"Something in his deep brown eyes has me saying,
He's not all bad like his reputation
And I can't hear one single word they say"  

Whew! That's only five, but that's all I could think of, at least for now. I love music, and I love books but that turned out to be harder than I expected! Maybe if I think of some more in the future, I'll come back and add to this list...
And, I KNOW, three of those five songs were by Taylor Swift, but what can I say?
 I LOVE HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Book Review: The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer

Title: The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Pages: 452
Source: Borrowed 

 "Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger. She wakes from a coma in hospital with no memory of how she got there or of the bizarre accident that caused the deaths of her best friends and her boyfriend, yet left her mysteriously unharmed. The doctors suggest that starting over in a new city, a new school, would be good for her and just to let the memories gradually come back on their own. But Mara's new start is anything but comforting. She sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere, and when she suddenly begins to see other people's deaths right before they happen, Mara wonders whether she's going crazy! And if dealing with all this wasn't enough, Noah Shaw, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen can't seem to leave her alone...but as her life unravels around her, Mara can't help but wonder if Noah has another agenda altogether... "

I am sooo glad that I signed up for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge. Why? Because 'The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer' is a 2012 debut (at least in the UK) and, while I may have read it sooner or later even if it wasn't a debut, the fact that it was just meant it was sooner. Sooner, rather than later, that I read this AMAZING book, which I completely LOVE!

 Nightmares, memories and hallucinations merge unsettlingly with reality, creating a darkly tense, mysterious story. I actually found myself to be quite spooked at some points in the book, with characters involving themselves in Ouija boards and old abandoned lunatic asylums; I know, that makes it sound like a classic, clichรจ horror story but it's not!

I think the main feature of this story is all the mystery. Right at the very beginning, before the story even starts, we are told "My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something." So from the very outset, we are already filled with questions, the biggest one being, 'Who is Mara Dyer???' This question is the foundation of the book, which builds up around it and, bit by bit, gives us fragments of insight into the protagonist's life in order for us to be able to start piecing together the answer. By the end of the book, we do have some answers, but the whole picture still eludes us, leaving us hanging and anticipating the sequel. And the end will leave you inwardly screaming for the next book.

I have already recommended, and passed on, The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer to one of my friends and I'm recommending it to all of you too!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

I've officially read my first book towards the 2012 Debut Author Challenge...
The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin!
And I LOVED it!!!
A review will be up here soon...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Quickly Save if My House Was Being Abducted By Aliens

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where a different  'Top Ten...' topic is picked each week. 

So... this week the topic is 'Books I'd Quickly Save If My House Was Being Abducted by Aliens (or struck by any other disaster)...

  1. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins...Does this need explaining? I LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES!!! I never had a favourite book until I read The Hunger Games, which I read when I was 12. Two years on, and it still holds that top spot in my heart! (Although I have discovered many other books that come very close...)
  2. Harry Potter Series by J.K.Rowling...This one needs hardly any explaining either! I love Harry Potter! I mean, doesn't everybody? I laugh every time I read the books and, yeah, they're just amazing.
  3. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman...This book deeply affects me every time I read it; I ALWAYS cry! And while, if I had just been made homeless, it would probably not be helpful to start bawling in the middle of the streets because of a sad book, I'm saving it anyway!
  4. Divergent by Veronica Roth...I would save this for two reasons - one, I adore it, and two, weird as it may seem, I get inspired by Tris to be brave. Thinking about all the brave things she does makes me feel I should be brave too (Katniss from THG also inspires me this way as well). I know, maybe it's strange that I draw courage from book characters but what can I say? I do!
  5.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott... I would save this because, not only is it a classic which I enjoy, but I won it as a prize from school when I was about nine. I'm not even quite sure what exactly it was I won it for; I think just being a good, all-rounded student. Or maybe for simply being the amazingly perfect person I am! (I am joking...)
  6. St. Clare's series by Enid Blyton...I think Enid Blyton was the author who drew out my love of reading. For ages, when I was younger, she was my favourite author and I still have a whole shelf full (plus loads more in the loft) of books by her! I especially loved reading about the mischief the girls at St. Clare's (and Mallory Towers) got up to, and I have a cute boxset of this series at home so I would take this with me just for old times' sake.
  7. Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
  8. Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
  9. Birthmarked by Caragh O' Brien
  10. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Book Review: The Future Of Us

Title: The Future Of Us
Authors: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 356
Taglines: 'Update your destiny'

 It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

First off, I love how cute and colourful the cover is! It looks a bit like a whole new world has just exploded, which in a way it has for Emma and Josh in the book, because the whole concept of Facebook is something alien to their Internet-deprived lives in 1996.

A little fact found at the start of the book: In 1996, LESS THAN HALF(!!!) of all American high school students had ever used the Internet. Yep, definitely sounds like a very different world to the one we live in today. Now, the Internet is probably a daily feature in most of our lives. I mean, you're on the Internet right now, if you're reading this!

Anyway I got a little sidetracked there, just highlighting some of the ways Josh and Emma's lives would have been different to those of today's teens, but one of the ways they are similar is in how they dealt with discovering Facebook. If you had an opportunity to find out your future, maybe even tweak it a little, what would you do? I'm guessing a lot of people would take it. And that's what Emma and Josh do.

The result is an engaging story with a plot that is constantly moving and changing, just as the future is constantly shifting and reshaping. It's really interesting to get an idea of how the little things we do every day - really insignificant things like what we eat, maybe, the little choices we make, even the things we think - they can all create tiny ripples that, radiating out into the future, morph into big waves of change and have unexpectedly large impacts on our future.

Yay! New books!

Don't you just LOVE getting new books? I was so hyped when I found out that all childrens' (including YA, obvs!) books at Waterstones AND WHSmith were on 3 for 2! So of course I was going to go out and buy some; it was a great opportunity to spend some of those giftcards I have been accumulating (all my friends and family know I LOVE reading so I often end up with giftcards for books as presents...not that I'm complaining!)

Anyway, as tempting as it was to go completely wild and buy enough books to fill an entire new bookcase... I did manage to restrain myself and bought only three (saving some of that gift money for another time!)

So...these are the books I bought!

WITHER by Lauren DeStefano

At age 16, Rhine Ellery has four years to live. Thanks to a botched effort to create a perfect race, all females live to age 20 and males live to age 21. On the cusp of her 17th birthday, Rhine attempts to flee, but what she finds is a society spiraling out of control.

 LEGEND by Marie Lu

He is Day. The boy who walks in the light.
She is June. The girl who seeks her brother's killer.
On the run and undercover, they meet by chance. Irresistably drawn together, neither knows the other's past.
But Day murdered June's brother.
And she has sworn to avenge his death.

 ANGEL FIRE by L.A. Weatherly

Only Willow has the power to defeat the malevolent Church of Angels, and they will stop at nothing to destroy her. Willow isn’t alone, though. She has Alex by her side – a trained Angel Killer and her one true love. But nothing can change the fact that Willow’s a half-angel, and when Alex joins forces with a group of AKs, she’s treated with mistrust and suspicion. She’s never felt more alone…until she meets Seb. He’s been searching for Willow his whole life – because Seb is a half-angel too.

 Can't wait to read them! Are they good? I'll be posting my thoughts on them up here once I've read them :)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Book Review: Divergent

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 576

          In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
          During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

          Having finally read Divergent, at last I understand why it is held in such high esteem. And I couldn't agree more with all the people who have read it and described it as one of the best books they have ever read; I am now one of those people myself!
           There is just so much to love about this book...
           I love Tris, who is fiery, strong and actually very brave. I think her name matches her perfectly - (aside from the fact that her name is very short, like she is physically as well) I think Tris sounds like a fighter, and Tris is a fighter. I actually did a double-take when I first read the name 'Beatrice Prior' at the beginning of the book; it sounded so prim and proper that I didn't even realise it was the protagonist's name but rather thought that it was just another character. Then again, it makes sense - Abnegation Beatrice is sensible and reserved, whilst Dauntless Tris is fiery and wild. Once in the book, Tris is described as 'tough as nails' and I totally agree with this image. There are times when Tris does seem cold and hard-hearted, but she makes up for it with selfless acts of bravery such as taking the place of a friend to stand in front of a target whilst knives are being thrown at her.
          I love how Tris visibly learns and grows throughout the book. Tris has never really felt like she belongs in her home faction of Abnegation, where everyone is meant to always be completely selfless, but she has led a relatively untroubled and straightforward life for sixteen years. And then, on Choosing Day, the one choice Tris makes really does change her life entirely.
         The tough and brutally competitive initiation into her new faction that follows presents challenging situations and pushes Tris to her boundaries, both mentally and physically. Along the way, she discovers her own capabilities and learns the true meaning of bravery.
          I love Four, strong and seemingly fearless, surrounded by the mysteries of his past. When we first meet him, he is cold and guarded but this wall slowly comes down and we fall in love with the person we find underneath.
          I love the fascinating plot - tense and full of action, but still somehow managing to be beautiful, and
          I love how realistic everything is - somehow Veronica Roth has managed to create both a world, and characters, that felt really real to me as I read Divergent.
          I was quite surprised to discover that Veronica Roth is only 23, but hopefully this means we can expect much more wonderful reading material from her in the future; I, for one, can hardly wait until the release of Insurgent!

Top Ten Books That Might Break Your Heart A Little

An 'Anti-Valentine's Day' edition of the weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

  1. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman...I cry every single time I read this. Every. Single. Time. Even though I know exactly what's going to happen, I just can't help myself! Callum is a Nought. Sephy is a Cross. What will a racist society where white Noughts are inferior to the black Crosses do to their relationship?
  2. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare...Three words sum up why this book is on this list. Will. Jem. Tessa. AAarrgghh! (well, maybe that was four words? Although the last one was really just a sound to express my feelings so maybe it doesn't count as a word...?)
  3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins...LOVED it (of course) but there were some REALLY REALLY SAD bits. So much of the ending made me cry; by the time I reached the epilogue, tears were just streaming down my face.
  4. Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah...This is the story of a young girl unwanted and unloved by her family, considered bad luck because her mother died giving birth to her. Sounds sad already, doesn't it? Will definitely break your heart a little bit.
  5. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell...I felt so sad for Evie at the end of this book...
  6. Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur...11-year-old Aubrey has lost her father and little sister in a recent car crash...and then her grief-stricken mother abandons her. I read this a couple of years ago so I don't remember it much now but I can recall feeling incredibly moved by the sense of loss and abandonment that Aubrey felt.
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte...I find it really sad how Cathy and Heatchliff, who so obviously really love each other, never get to be together. Seriously, they get about one kiss - one kiss! - and then Cathy dies!
  8. Let's Get Lost by Sarra Manning...Nobody can get through to Isabel, not her teachers, not her friends, not even her family. Nobody understands her. And that's the way she likes it. But then she meets Smith and her iron wall begins to fall, and when it finally crumbles and she breaks down into tears, I broke down and cried as well.  
  9. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson... Tenderly and honestly written, this is the story of 17-year-old Lennie who has been deeply affected by the abrupt death of her shining older sister.
  10. Between Shades Of Grey by Ruta Sepetys...This story follows Lina, aged fifteen and just like any other Lithuanian teenage girl, through her ordeal during the Russian genocide in 1941. I always find it really sad to read about incidents such as these, and to think that humanity is capable of such awful things. But at least this beautifully-written story has a happy ending.

Monday, 6 February 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Birthmarked

 Title: Birthmarked
Author: Caragh O'Brien

In the Enclave, your scars set you apart, and the newly born will change the future.

Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia's mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.


                 I’ve read a lot of dystopian novels recently and they have all been really good. So, with the likes of The Hunger Games, Matched and Ashes, there’s a lot to live up to in this particular genre.
                And how did Birthmarked measure up? I think it definitely proved itself more than worthy of being placed in a league with the aforementioned titles.
                I was drawn into Gaia’s world right from the very start. We are thrown straight into her challenging life: delivering babies at sixteen years old, destined to a life stuck on the outside of the walls that enclose the Enclave where people live in luxury, and always suffering the stigma that comes with having a prominent scar on the side of her face. I was reminded a little bit of Katniss from the Hunger Games. Gaia has the same fiery determination to fight for what she believes in and a fierce loyalty towards her family.
                This is what drives her to sneak into the Enclave and it is here, really, that things get interesting. Before long, Gaia realises that the Enclave in reality is different to the airbrushed image in her mind and her life is turned upside down during her short time there. She delivers a baby from a dead mother, gets thrown into prison, gets out of prison and discovers and learns so much along the way.
                I think that the story really progressed at a nice pace, going into enough detail that you had a nice insight into life in this different society and could really believe in each of the characters, but not too much that you began to get bored. In fact, not once was I bored reading Birthmarked. I was gripped, virtually unable to stop reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit.
                Amidst all the action did blossom a romance, which I think complemented the storyline very well. It grew slowly and sweetly, so that you often weren’t quite sure if it was there and intrigued me even more.
                Overall, I really loved Birthmarked and definitely recommend it to everyone!

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Hi! Welcome to The Book Parade!
My name is Catherine and I LOVE reading so I decided to start this blog to share all that love with the rest of the world! I hope to show off and parade (hence the name 'The Book Parade') the many amazing books there are out there and add my thoughts and feelings about them!
I'm really excited to be starting off my journey into the book blogging community and I hope that you all enjoy The Book Parade!