Sunday, 10 November 2013

Excuse me for a moment whilst I go and sort out my life...

Okay. Okay. So. You may have noticed (or probably not) that my presence in the blogging world has been somewhat sketchy for several months. The only reason for this is, well, life. And school. (Which, I guess, is a part of life, but, you know, school takes up so much time it's like a life of its own, really, isn't it?)

I tried to get back into the swing of things towards the end of the summer holidays, a comeback that was somewhat short-lived before I got swallowed  into the tidal wave that is otherwise known as Year 11/final GCSE year (kind of important exams for non-English readers)/TIME TO PANIC ABOUT IMPENDING EXAMS AND WISH THAT YOU'D CONCENTRATED MORE IN SCHOOL BEFORE NOW.

So, my time recently has been spent revising for the Mock Exams I have in a week’s time, along with actually doing homework on the day it is set, and just generally being more organised with regards to school. The problem has been, however, that this has left no time, or energy, for blogging, as I only have about 3 or 4 hours of time each evening (due to the fact that it takes me a relatively long time to travel to and from school, I have extracurricular activities on several days, and I am not one of those people who can stay up really late without feeling incredibly grumpy and ill the next day.)

BUT, now that I feel I've got hold of my school life now, and successfully handled becoming more organised with my school work, I can work on overcoming the blogging hurdle and refocus my efforts on relaunching The Book Parade!

So, my plan now... is to (well, firstly, get through my Mocks, but after that...) spend the Christmas holidays reading, getting back into frequently writing blog posts and reviews - so that I can schedule posts in advance for The Book Parade, which will reduce stress - and I hope to relaunch The Book Parade in January or February 2014.

I apologise to all my lovely bloggy friends and followers for being such a scatty blogger, but I am really excited at the prospect of a fresh start next year (which is only a few months away!)

So, for now, dear friends, it is farewell but, alas! I look forward to seeing you around in January or February! :D

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Blog Tour+Giveaway: Garden of Eden by Kate Cowan

Title: Garden of Eden (The Legend of Eden #1)
Author: Kate Cowan
Re-Release date: October 22nd 2013
Publisher: Anchor Group Publishing

Book Summary:

"It has been four years.
Four years since the day the Catchers found her family.
Four years since she escaped capture.
And four years since the day her mother locked her and Will, a boy she hardly knew, in an attic, 'for their own protection'. 
Now, Eden White is fifteen, and sick of being a prisoner of parents who all but abandoned her. It was as simple as one walk down a beautiful, foggy beach, but it ended with Eden and Will face to face with Catchers - and this time, there is no escape.
When Eden wakes, she finds herself on an island, surrounded by hundreds of stolen children. Enrolled in the island school, Jordan Hall, Eden quickly learns that the island is not what it seems.
And, in the woods surrounding the school, she discovers a wild, beautiful magic inside of herself - one she has no idea how to control. With three unlikely new friends, Eden begins to realize that the headmistress is hiding much more than the stolen children - and what they learn in the laboratories below the school could cost Eden her life."

Haunting and mysterious, this sounds like my type of novel! If you want to find out what happens, it's your lucky day! Enter the giveaway below for your chance to read Garden of Eden for yourself! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway About the Author:

Kate is an artist, an animation student, a black belt in karate and now, an author. She didn't discover writing until mid-high school, when she began writing an (unintentionally) hilarious novel involving a teenage girl and a magic necklace. Her current novel series, The Legend of Eden, began as a story of Arthurian magic, but quickly transformed into something much different.

Kate currently lives in Ontario, Canada, in a zoo of a house. When she isn't writing, she's drawing, cooking, or browsing the Internet for new music.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Cover Reveal: Defector (Variants #2) by Susanne Winnacker

Happy first day of month everyone! As my first post of October, I'm very excited to be able to share with you today the cover reveal of the second book in Susanne Winnacker's Variant series: Defector!

Title: Defector (Variants #2)
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Published by: Razorbill
Publication date:
June 26, 2014
Thriller, Young Adult

The synopsis for Defector is not currently available but in case you, like me, have not yet started the Variants series but are convinced that this a series you really need to read, like, right now (mostly by the awesome cover, but we're not going to admit this because obviously we know better than to judge books by their cover...right??) here is the synopsis of Impostor (Variants #1)...

Synopsis for book 1 – Impostor:
Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late?

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

So what are your thoughts on the cover? Personally, I think it's very striking; I love the mismatched collage effect, which hints at a thrilling mystery hidden within the pages, and it's definitely something that would catch my eye in bookshop! Let me know what you think in the comments! :)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Listening For Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur

Title: Listening for Lucca
Author: Suzanne LaFleur
Published: August 2013
Pages: 229


" 'We're moving to your house - the one from your dream'.
Siena sees what isn't there; collects what's left behind.
'Lucca led me to his room, and then just stood in the middle, waiting for me to notice something'.
Her brother Lucca is three and hasn't spoken for over a year.
The doctors think he needs a fresh start, that's why her family left Brooklyn. But their new home feels hauntingly familiar - and when Siena finds an old pen, the story she writes is not her own . . .
Can Siena's discovery of past secrets help break her brother's silence in the present? "
(from Goodreads)

My Thoughts...

A beautifully crafted novel, which may just tickle the heartstrings, Listening for Lucca weaves together a sense of magic and mystery in a calm seaside setting to provide a light, summery read.

Aimed towards the 9+ age range, Listening for Lucca is not a complex read; I was able to simply relax and enjoy the story as it unfolded itself around me, which was a comfortable, refreshing experience - a nice break from the heavier plots I am more accustomed to reading. This is not to say, however, that Listening for Lucca's plot was in any way overly simple in a way that made it boring, rather the storyline held just enough interest and mystery to make this a compellingly readable novel.

Siena is a 13-year-old girl who has trouble fitting in. This is due to a number of oddities about her - her unusual hobby of collecting abandoned things, her 'gift' of inadvertently being able to see into the past, her vivid, vision-like dreams...and her 3-year-old brother who doesn't talk. However, this book tells the story of a fresh start for her as her family move away from the busy lifestyle of Brooklyn to a peaceful seaside town. Here, Siena discovers the story of a family who lived in the same house, which now belongs to her family, during the time of World War II that has strangely similar parallels with her family...

Some more picky readers may be dissatisfied with the ending, saying that some things are not fully explained, and although I understand where this argument is coming from, I personally liked the ending. The thing is, this book has an element of magic to it; therefore I don't believe it is necessary for there to be a completely rational logic to its conclusion. I liked the way the story was tied up; it was kind of the ideal ending - predictable, maybe, but it still gave me that warm, fuzzy, content feeling.

Though not amazing - and this might simply be because I am older than the intended age range - Listening for Lucca is a sweet read that I enjoyed. Due to the fact that it is aimed at readers from the age of 9 upwards, along with the compelling storyline - the perfect balance between realistic and magical - it is easy to read and understand; I found myself flipping very swiftly through the pages. I do in fact have a 9-year-old sister, to whom I think I might give this book (she is as big a bookworm as I am!) and see what she thinks of it!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Caught in a Moment by Martin Dukes

Title: Caught in a Moment
Author: Martin Dukes
Published:February 2012
*Thank you very much to the author for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review :) *

"Caught in a Moment is the story of Alex Trueman, a teenager who daydreams himself unwittingly into the strange world of Intersticia. This is a world outside of ordinary time, that exists in the slender intervals between instants. From Alex's point of view the world around him freezes into immobility. At first it seems the he alone is free to wander the hushed streets with their motionless cars and people. But he is not alone. Alex soon discovers that he shares the world with others. There are a few dozen fellow daydreamers who share his fate. There is plump, bespectacled Will, pretty brunette Kelly, and the rebellious outcast Paulo. Presiding over them all is the enigmatic Ganymede, and irascible vagrant who distributes food to his dependents and sets them perverse tasks to perform in return.

Alex soon finds that he has rare skills in Intersticia. Most uniquely he can affect the motionless world of 'Statica' around them. He can open doors, help himself to food, and move objects. But this forbidden activity soon sets him on a collision course with Ganymede in which the very existence of Intersticia is put at risk."

My Thoughts...

The first thing that struck me, from the very moment I began reading Caught In A Moment, was Martin Dukes’ writing style. I’m not quite sure what it was about it exactly, but there was something. I can’t quite put my finger on it. There was a kind of fluidity to the way the words seemed to roll off the page effortlessly, weaving together a story that was very easy and enjoyable to read.

What caught my attention about this book was the uniquely intriguing idea behind it – a world that exists in a frozen moment of ‘real time’? I have a personal fascination in the mysterious workings of time and space and frequently ponder ‘what-if?’ scenarios such as the one created in this book and so I was very interested to see how the idea would be executed in a novel.

And the great thing was, it came off really well! Somehow, the whole idea of this different strand of time and the concepts of ‘Intersticia’ (the parallel world Alex gets trapped in) and ‘Statica’ (the real world frozen around him) were explained in such a plausible way that I could almost believe they were actually true!

A delightfully diverse range of well-rounded characters graces the novel – from our protagonist Alex Trueman, a pretty realistic portrayal of an average teenage boy, who gets up to the mischief you would expect from anyone who suddenly found themselves in a classroom where everyone else is frozen, to the rambunctious Paulo who brings a touch of humour to the table with the jinx that makes him unknowingly yell the names of vegetables whenever he intends to say a swear word, causing him to say things like: “Peas! I don’t runner bean believe it. We’re like Robin turnip Hood or something.” A solid cast of characters id, of course, an important feature of any good novel - it is much harder to enjoy a book when one is not engaged by the characters.

All in all, an eclectic mix of magic and sci-fi, angels and parallel worlds, Caught in a Moment offers a refreshingly quirky, light-hearted read that I would recommend to anyone looking for something a little different, and unique, to enjoy.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Title: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 452
Publication Date: February 2013

This is not the fairytale you remember.

But it’s one you won’t forget.

Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.

Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.

As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .


 My Thoughts...
I started off Scarlet somewhat hesitantly, remembering how it had taken me some 100 pages to get into its prequel Cinder.  However, only 3 chapters into Scarlet and I was already loving it! It’s often the second book in a series which is a disappointment but with ‘The Lunar Chronicles’ that situation is completely inverted. Scarlet, without a doubt, easily surpassed Cinder and left me hooked onto this series and hoping that the next two instalments (Cress and Winter, due to be released in 2014 and 2015 respectively) will follow this trend and be even better!

Scarlet was just so much more entertaining and exciting to read than Cinder. One major reason contributing to this was the alternation of two storylines – Scarlet’s and Cinder’s. The two plotlines really complemented each other and I thought the way they fitted together was clever. I have to say, I preferred reading Scarlet’s scenes more than Cinder’s though, definitely, although both characters had their exciting moments. 

A third mini-storyline (a kind of sideline plot, which I feel was big enough to earn it the title of ‘mini-storyline’) was the one following now-Emperor Kai and his political negotiations with Queen Levana. You could really see Kai’s struggle to deal with his predicament – he was still trying to absorb Cinder’s Lunar/cyborg-ness, along with the fact that he was on the brink of war with Levana over Cinder, along with the fact that he might still have feelings for this Lunar/cyborg girl who appeared to be causing him a lot of trouble. Poor guy.

Anyway, all these alternating storylines meant there was always a lot going on, and as a result, I was never bored whilst reading Scarlet.

Another great thing about Scarlet was the new characters it introduced to us. Scarlet was a very likable protagonist, although she and Cinder did seem very similar to me – they were both fiery, feisty, sarky characters, and I just felt like they were quite obviously penned by the same author. It would have been nice to see a bit more differentiation between the two, but there’s still space for them to develop throughout the series so I’m not worried.

I loved Wolf, although he felt a little bit like a cliché – the tortured, mysterious love yeah, he was alright but nothing new. Who I did really like though was Captain Thorne! We didn’t see much of him in Scarlet (but I hope we will be throughout the rest of the series) but he’s such a charming, self-deprecating character and I found him very amusing.

Overall, Scarlet was SO MUCH BETTER than Cinder, and, having read several reviews by others, I’ve found that this opinion is shared by both those who loved Cinder and those who didn’t alike. So, if you were one of those who fell in love with ‘The Lunar Chronicles’ series immediately after reading Cinder, be excited because you’ll love Scarlet! And, if you weren’t...well don’t worry because you may be surprised by Scarlet! I was!