Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Recommend A... Book With A Green Cover

'Recommend A... ' is the awesome new feature thought up by the amazing Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit. Each week there will be a different, creative prompt for us to recommend books that we sometimes maybe forget how much we love, giving us the chance to share book recommendations of books that might not get recommended as much as they deserve.

Heya there, guys! How are you doing? I thought I'd take a quick breather (a VERY QUICK breather because, considering that I have a geography exam tomorrow and I have revised about two pages of Geography, I have A LOT of revision to do! I know, I know, the whole reason I was taking a break from blogging was so I could concentrate on revision properly, and I have been, promise! Only I've kind of had to revise loads for each exam the night before I actually take it, and well, I don't particularly like Geography so I could never really find the motivation to revise for it. I find it hard enough to find any motivation to revise at all as it is! ANYWAY, back to the subject...)

...Which is this week's 'Recommend A...' post. Yes, I know, these are meant to be posted on Mondays but I didn't have time on Monday so Wednesday will have to suffice. Better late than never, right?

This week's prompt is:

Recommend A...Book with a Green Cover

I had to rack my brains to think of a book with a green cover and the only one I could come up with is one that I read AGES ago. So long ago that I can hardly remember what happens in it, although what I do remember is that I really enjoyed it. My book recommendation is:

Frozen In Time by Ali Sparkes 

"Ben and Rachel Corder are sure they're in for the longest, dullest summer ever, until they discover an underground vault at the bottom of their garden with an amazing secret inside - two children from the 1950s who have been asleep for decades.

But waking up Freddy and Polly Emerson means unearthing the secrets that were buried with them. Why would their father leave them frozen? How is cryonic suspension even possible? Why doesn't the world know about the process fifty years later? How will the Emersons ever fit into the 21st century world of cell phones and microwave dinners? And why does it feel like they're all suddenly being followed?

Winner of Blue Peter's Book That I Couldn't Put Down and Book of the Year Award 2010 

(summary from Goodreads)

 Can you think of any books with green covers that are worth recommending? Let me know in the comments section! :) 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Exams are coming...!!

Hiya guys! Yes, unfortunately, it is that time of year when exams are looming and you have no choice but to tackle all the revision that awaits (urgh!)

I have 11 end-of-year exams next week (ELEVEN!) and considering the amount of revision I've done for them so far (hardly any), I've come to the inevitable conclusion that I really need to take a break from blogging for a couple of weeks and alleviate some of my time so that I can revise.

WHY is it that only A WEEK before my exam do I only begin to realise just how much stuff I actually have to learn, and how little time I have to do it?!! I honestly was planning to be all on the ball and everything with my revision this year as well! That clearly didn't work out :(
(So far, I've only made a start on revising 5 of the 11 subjects I need to do. And I'm nowhere near finishing those yet at all. *eeeeek!!!!*)

Oh no, I'm getting more and more jittery the more I think about my exams! Okay, that's it - I NEED to go revise! 

But anyway, I just thought I should pop a quick note up here to warn you that I'll be absent for a little while (only a couple of weeks - it'll fly by without you even noticing I'm gone, promise! And it'll be half-term after my exams anyway, so I'll have extra time to blog then!) so that you won't think I'm abandoning you!

Rest assured that, of course, I would MUCH rather be here on my blog chilling with all of you than revising, but, sad as it is, revision needs to be done :(

I'll be back! Hang in there! :)

Recommend A... [1]

'Recommend A... ' is the awesome new feature thought up by the amazing Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit. Each week there will be a different, creative prompt for us to recommend books that we sometimes maybe forget how much we love, giving us the chance to share book recommendations of books that might not get recommended as much as they deserve.
(Click here for the 'Recommend A...' introduction post at Chick Loves Lit.)

I think this sounds like a really fun feature and I'm really excited to be participating! Kudos to Shanyn for coming up with such a cool idea!

This week's prompt is:
"Recommend A...Book with Three Words in the Title"
Now, I could recommend some books that are already very well-known like The Hunger Games, City Of Bones and Noughts and Crosses but, chances are, you already know how amazing they are. And if you don't - well they are AMAZING!

So, instead, I'm going to recommend these three books that have three words in the title... (it was really hard trying to pick only a few!)

  1. Blood Red Road by Moira Young...You know I love a good dystopian... This one was AMAZING! I LOVED it so much! Heart-stopping action, adventure and romance - this book has everything.
  2. You Against Me by Jenny Downham...Mikey's life begins to fall apart when his sister claims a boy assaulted her. Ellie's life begins to unravel when her brother is charged with the assault. 'Brave and unflinching, this is a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.' (Goodreads)
  3. Let's Get Lost by Sarra Manning...Isabel doesn't let anyone past her harsh facade. But then she meets Smith. And her wall begins to crumble... I really liked this book - Sarra Manning is such an awesome teen writer and she deals with teen issues so well. She had me crying streams of tears as I read this book!

I hope you all at least consider my recommendations - they're all really worthwhile reads! What are your recommendations for this week? Leave me a comment or a link and I'll be sure to check your "Recommend A...' posts too! :)

Friday, 18 May 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Adorkable by Sarra Manning

 Title: Adorkable
Author: Sarra Manning
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 24th May 2012  
Tagline: 'Love, hate, whatever'
Source: For review (I was lucky enough to get the chance to review this book because I am an Atomics reviewer! Thanks to Team Atom for sending me this review copy of Adorkable!)

 "Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian's 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World. And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane's boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common - she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can't she stop talking to him?"

Michael Lee is a typical teenager, and the cliché of perfect. He excels at everything he does, be it playing football or writing essays, he’s good-looking, popular and wears Jack Wills and Abercrombie.

Jeane Smith is anything but typical, and definitely no cliché. She’s strongly opinionated, sarky, a self-confessed dork, head of her own lifestyle brand, Adorkable, and dresses as outlandishly as possible.

Adorkable alternates between Michael’s and Jeane’s perspectives, which meant I really got to know and understand both main characters. I felt that whichever character’s viewpoint I was reading, I really empathised with – for example, at the beginning, when seeing through the eyes of Michael, Jeane really did seem very rude and snarky and not at all likable. However, when I read from Jeane’s perspective, I saw that there was more to her than her abrasive surface and, despite her not-so-nice facade, I actually found myself liking Jeane. 

In fact, you really can’t help but admire Jeane. Aged only 17 and living alone, she is already a massive success with her own brand, Adorkable. She writes columns for teen magazines, speaks regularly at conferences and made the Guardian’s list of ’30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World’. This is not the sole reason behind my admiration for her, however. What makes me really admire Jeane is how sure she is of herself. She knows who she is. She knows what she wants. She knows what she believes in and she believes in herself.  Jeane is incredibly quirky and unique, but she’s not afraid to be different. In fact, she relishes in being different! She is so completely her own person and she won’t let anyone or anything get in the way of that. This, I think, is a very admirable quality because most teenage girls are constantly worrying about how they look and what people think of them; I can honestly only think of a maximum of two people I know who are so secure within themselves like Jeane is.

At first, I didn’t particularly like the relationship between Jeane and Michael. It seemed weird to me how they hated each other and the only basis of their relationship was that they liked kissing each other. However, it was very nice to see how their friendship grew and progressed – it was by no means perfect, but then again, in real life nothing is really perfect, is it?

I was expecting Adorkable to be a light-hearted, enjoyable read. It was very light-hearted and funny, but it was actually so much more than that. There are some meaningful messages behind Adorkable that I think teen readers will definitely be able to relate to – for example, it’s okay to be different, and it’s okay to be whoever you want to be.
I loved this book – Sarra Manning has written yet another amazing novel for teens – Adorkable was funny, quirky and totes adorkable!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

I Won A Competition!!!

OMG. Wow. Wowee zowee! WOWEE ZOWEE!!! 
Okay, I am just a little out of breath at the moment because I literally just ran up and down the stairs clapping, jumping and screaming more than a little over-excitedly! Really. You should have seen me. (Actually, on second thoughts, maybe it's better that you didn't.) I was hopping around uncontrollably, burbling random, incoherent noises and clapping like a maniac. 

'Has she finally gone absolutely MAD?!' you are thinking.
Fear not, my friends! I am not mad! (At least, I hope not...!)
But I have just received an email that MADE MY DAY!!! :D
Actually, no, and email that MADE MY WEEK!!! :D :D :D

Not long ago, I entered a competition on the Spinebreakers site. (By the way, if you haven't joined Spinebreakers, you might want to go check it out - they have cool reviews, creative stuff and competitions going on down there...) 
The description of this competition was:
"We all know distractions come thick and fast (and too easily) during exam season, so we want you to write a short story (no word count) about the things that do and could distract you the most whilst you try to revise!"
The winner of the best short story (selected by Fever author Dee Shulman!) will get a signed copy of Fever as well as a £50 Topshop/Topman voucher.
5 runners up will also get a copy of the book (unsigned).
Now, imagine my excitement when I checked my email inbox today to discover an email waiting for me notifying me that I HAD WON THE COMPETITION!!!

My face probably really did look like this!

 I am so incredibly happy - this is maybe the third time I've ever entered a writing competition, and the first time I've ever won one! Thank you SO MUCH to Dee Shulman, the author of Fever for picking my story!

This has given me hope that my writing is not just a rambling mess of words that only makes sense to me, and maybe there is some hope of me becoming an author in the future after all!

So, anyway, I thought I'd share the story I wrote with you guys. I hope you like it! :)


As willingly as a deer might approach a lion and shake hands with it, (if the two animals in question were not lacking in the necessary anatomical facilities to perform the action in question, that is) I opened my Biology book.  If I was to be the deer in this situation, then that dreaded book was most certainly the lion – something dangerous, something to be avoided at all costs and definitely not something to be getting too friendly with. I glared at it.

Making sure to maintain a sufficient distance between myself and the offending object, I leant slightly closer – not too close! – and recoiled immediately. Clearly, if the careless, barely-legible scrawl I had apparently been trying to pass off as my handwriting was anything to go by, I had been just as delighted in September by the prospect of a whole year of Biology looming ahead of me as I was now with the prospect of having to revise that same whole year of Biology.

Well, to be truthful, ‘revise’ was perhaps not the most accurate of word choices. ‘Learn’ a whole year of Biology work would be more like it – considering the rather insignificant percentage of what we had covered in class that had actually made its way through to my brain.

I sighed. A big, long, deep sigh.

I sighed again. A bigger, longer, deeper sigh.

I sighed once more for good measure.

I screwed my eyes shut and strained my ears for the sound of my mother’s hurried footsteps up the stairs, hoping she would burst in with her motherly intuition and say –
“Oh, darling! I heard you all the way from downstairs! Is the stress getting to you? Are you coming down with something? Oh, sweetheart, maybe you should forget about revision for the rest of today – no, for the rest of the week. Why don’t you come downstairs and I’ll make you a nice, creamy hot chocolate?”

I opened my eyes. The room was empty except for me and my Biology book. Hooray. What a perfect opportunity for some quality ‘getting to know each other’ time. Oh, joy of joys, just what I wanted.

I slumped down in my seat, defeated by the knowledge that there really was no choice now but to buckle down and attempt to begin deciphering my handwriting which, really, made tears spring to your eyes with the mere effort of trying to read it.  

But wait! What was that dry, tickling sensation I could feel at the back of my throat? Oh goodness me, all that sighing had made me so incredibly thirsty! There was absolutely no way I could embark on my long journey down Biology Revision Lane without first replenishing my water supply.

I made my way downstairs – not too fast of course, for fear of over-exerting myself. Wouldn’t want anything to keep me from my beloved Biology book, would we now? I reached the kitchen far too soon.

I took a sip of water and flinched as I felt my throat filled with iciness. Oh dear, now ice-cold water just would not do for my poor throat! I needed warm water. I put the kettle onto boil.

Blissful minutes passed as I stood in the kitchen enjoying the undisturbed silence.
‘Hang on a minute,’ I thought, ‘silence? Kettles don’t often boil silently.’
I checked the switch. It was off.

 ‘This must be a sign,’ I thought. ‘I am evidently not in the right mindset for revision if I can’t even remember something simple like turning the kettle on!  No, it would be a waste of my time to put my efforts into Biology right now.  I’ll just wait until the right time for revision comes, whenever that might be, and, meanwhile, I’ll go and do something useful and productive like –’ My eye fell onto the laptop on the kitchen table. 

Before I knew it, I was logged into Facebook, my fingers flying furiously over the keyboard as I engaged in a heated discussion about the many evils of school exams with my best friend, a fellow revision-hater.
Twenty- eight minutes later, however, the conversation was beginning to dry up...

Me:                 I hate revision
Friend:           Same
Me:                 I hate Biology
Friend:           Same
Me:                 I hate exams
Friend:           Same
Me:                 I hate people who make us do exams
Friend:           Same
Me:                 I think this conversation has kind of reached its end
Friend:           Same
So, we logged off. For a moment, I contemplated heading upstairs to tackle that book that still lurked upon my desk like a parasitic organism. But the thought was quickly squashed by enticing thoughts of the endless list of things that I’d much rather be doing. Really, was it my fault that there were just so many things that were way more fun than revision?

It’s quite amazing how much time you can pass just dawdling about on the Internet. It’s like a never-ending web full of mystery and excitement and, in general, things that are just way more interesting than the likes of the lives of plants and animals – which is pretty much all Biology entails.

And so there I was, happily wandering about on the Internet, learning about anything and everything – from books to films, celebrity break-ups to celebrity make-up, what to do in the case of an alien attack and how to find a unicorn – when I stumbled across a page that caught my eye. I looked closer and began to smile. 

‘This looks like my cup of tea,’ I thought. ‘A interesting...’
All thoughts of revision and exams that had stubbornly remained lingering in my mind vanished, and I knew they would not be returning anytime soon.

‘A writing competition...’


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Book Review: Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie

Title: Falling Fast
Author: Sophie McKenzie
Pages: 247
Publisher: Simon&Schuster UK
Tagline: 'This is life, not a rehearsal.'

" When River auditions for a part in an interschool performance of Romeo and Juliet, she finds herself smitten by Flynn, the boy playing Romeo. But Flynn comes from a damaged family—is he even capable of giving River what she wants? The path of true love never did run smooth . . . " (Summary from Goodreads)

 For me, this was one of those 'meh' kind of books. You know - you finish reading it and you're like, 'meh, that was alright - didn't love it, didn't hate it.' And you don't really have much to say about it. 'Alright' is pretty much the word I'd use to describe Falling Fast. At best it was a fairly cute, light romance that might be enjoyable if you were just looking for a quick, easy read. I mean, I didn't hate the story - I just didn't particularly like it.

The main characters of River and Flynn I found slightly irritating. I found their relationship a little irritating too. Flynn was prone to sudden, unpredictable mood swings, angry and rude. Whilst I do sometimes like the 'bad boy' type in books (take Alex from Perfect Chemistry for example), Flynn was just annoying. Granted, he had a difficult life, but still! As for River, she laid eyes on Flynn and practically fell head over heels in love with him then and there. And then when Flynn was being all moody and pushy she was still crazily in love with him. And she had a tendency to overreact sometimes. I know this was meant to be a story about true love and how 'the path of true love never runs smooth' blah blah blah, so it was meant to be a bumpy ride and probably an attempt at showing the gritty, realistic side of love but it didn't really feel very realistic to me.

Despite the fact that I love much of Sophie McKenzie's work, this was definitely not one of her best, and I for one did not fall in love with this particular love story.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Book Review: The Substitute by Holly Barrington

Title: The Substitute
Author: Holly Barrington
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 119
Release date: End of May
Source: Given for review (a big thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book!)

“The Substitute” is set in an alternate Britain, where Vampires and Mortals co-exist more or less in harmony. However, that may soon be about to change . . .
Emily Brown starts her new job at Pathway Software, and at first everything goes well. She makes new friends there and her bosses are impressed so things are really looking up for Emily. Until her friend is killed. Murdered. The official account said it was a gang hit gone bad, and rumours suggest she had drugs in her possession.
However another, unofficial, report suggests that the bullet wounds were all post-mortem, and the drugs were planted on her in the morgue. It also says that she suffered multiple broken bones, cuts, contusions and…vampire bites. Everything suggests that her friend died a brutal and vicious death at the hands of a number of vampires.
Vampire and Mortal relations are, on the whole, very good. Ever since The Compact, there have been eighty five years of unprecedented peace between the two worlds. But there are some dissenters, the foremost of which are the sinister Circle of Ixiom. And Emily is about to become their bitterest enemy . . .

I was rather excited to read The Substitute because I haven'e really read any vampire books other than Twilight (which I liked), The Vampire Diaries (which I didn't), and Cirque Du Freak (which came somewhere in between).
So, you know, I was interested to see where The Substitute would rank amongst my not-so-vast resumé of vampire fiction. As a matter of fact, it fell 'somewhere in between'. I wouldn't say I loved it, but I definitely enjoyed it.

One thing I really liked about The Substitute was how unique it was in that - whereas, as far as I'm aware, vampires in most books have to live in secret and hide what they really are - not only was this a world where humans knew about vampires, but they actually lived in harmony with them!

It was clear that the author had put a lot of thought into building this alternate version of Britain in which the story is set and, as a result, the world I was reading about felt pretty realistic. As there would be with any government or ruling party, there were those who opposed The Compact and the way the country was run. This meant the existence of several different political/terrorist parties, including 'The Friends' and 'The Circle'. One small problem I had, however, was that I kept on getting confused between all the different groups - there weren't that many, but I kept forgetting which group was supporting which side and whaat they did etc. I also sometimes got a little confused with all the different characters. Of course, with the main characters I was fine, but it seemed like there were a lot of very minor characters whose names were thrown into the mix somewhere along the storyline only for me to forget who they were when they were mentioned again later on. Oh, and also, one thing that eluded my understanding throughout the whole book was what Emily was actually doing at Pathway Software. It was obvious that she was doing something to do with computers, and there was talk of 'integration modules' and whatnot (most of which I didn't have a clue about), but I never really knew what Pathway Software actually did...

However, my forgetfulness and easily confused mind aside, The Substitute had an interesting storyline. It was written in the third person, focusing mainly on Emily, but there was also the odd flashback, or excerpt from a book that gave more insight into the history of The Substitute's Britain. There was a nice touch of mystery to the book- who was Emily really? and what was she really doing? - and there was a little twist at the end which I liked a lot - I hadn't seen it coming at all, not until several pages before.

The Substitute may not have been the most well-written of books, but it certainly was an interesting and enjoyable debut novel. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to try something a little different in the genre of vampire fiction, or anyone simply wanting to try something a little new and different.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

With the sudden current craze of YA book-to-movie adaptations that seem to be flooding our screens (or are to flood our screens sometime in the near future), following the likes of Twilight and The Hunger Games, this week's theme for Top Ten Tuesday is quite appropriate...Books you'd like to see turned into Movies!

  1. Blood Red Road by Moira Young...LOADS of action, adventure and romance = awesome movie!
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth...Hmm, ditto above, really.
  3. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare...The first Mortal Instruments movie (starring Lily Collins and Jamie Campell-Bower) is set to come out later this year...why not make movies of Cassie Clare's other awesome series?
  4.  Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter... I mean, a school full of kick-ass girl spies in training? Awesome, or what?
  5. The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman...It's a shame they never followed up The Golden Compass movie with screen adaptations of the rest of the His Dark Materials trilogy... :( Of course, it's probably a bit too late for them to do them now, seeing as Dakota Blue Richards (Lyra) is all grown up now :(

Hmm...can't think of any others right now at this moment in time...maybe later...

Anyway, feel free to leave a comment with your Top Ten Tuesday posts and I'll drop by and check them out! :)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Letterbox Love [1]

You might be wondering, "What IS Letterbox Love???" Well, it's a new , UK, drama-free equivalent of IMM thought up by several UK bloggers, still in its developing stages. I personally never took part in any memes in which I showcased my book hauls but with the emergence of this new meme, I thought, 'Why not? I should take part and show some love for, not only letterboxes, but the country I live in!'
I'm not sure how frequently I'll want to post these things, but I think I might start off with doing them every month (I might change my mind, though! I guess it depends on how many books I get...) 
Anyway, for my first Letterbox Love post, I'm going to showcase all the books I got this month. (As a matter of fact, only one of them actually came through my letterbox, but you know, never mind...)

OKAY I AM REALLY ANNOYED because I did this post TWO nights ago and I THOUGHT I had published it but I log in today and...clearly I was mistaken! And not only has it not been published but the rest of my post hasn't even saved!!! GRRRR! I don't have the time to put all the pictures and stuff in again now so I'm just going to quickly list all the books that were here before and move on with my life before I start getting too annoyed with Blogger!


Birthmarked by Caragh O' Brien (I love this book so much I had to go out and buy myself a copy of my own!)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten (and 99 other thought experiments) by Julian Baggini (random, I know, but I'm kinda interested in psychology and philosophy and whatnot, so decided to get this when I saw it in a charity shop.)

 For review:

Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Power Within by Chantelle Causer
The Mayfair Moon by Jessica Redmerski
The Substitute by Holly Barrington
Prince Charming Must Die! by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky
Hell's Game by Teresa Lo
Paraglide by Peter Kelley
I Am A Harvester Of Light by Sarah Tsomides


Entangled by Cat Clarke
Lord Of The Flies by William Golding
Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees
Flawless by Sara Shepard


Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale
Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Whoah! That's quite a lot of books! You know, on second thoughts, maybe I'll do these Letterbox Love posts more often than once every month! 
So, did you guys get anything nice through your letterbox (or not through your letterbox) ? :)