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Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!!

Hello everyone,

As we will all be chanting in the New Year tonight, I thought it would be nice to do a little post to celebrate the books I enjoyed the most this year! So in the style of the New Years countdown in descending order . . .

10! - Secrets of a Henna Girl by Sufiya Ahmed - A great book that I think everyone should read.

9! - Being Billy by Phil Earle - Emotional and striking a really good debut!

8! - Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler - A fantastic take on the traditional break up book.

7! - Cinder by Marrissa Meyer - A brilliant futuristic retelling of Cinderella!

6! - Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - Gory with a great sense of humour!

5! - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - One of the best Dystopian books out there!

4! - Wonder by R J Palacio - For me the most heartwarming and heartfelt story of 2012.

3! - Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - A wonderfully written book. I can't wait to read more!

2! - Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas - Witty and fast paced fantasy, my favourite!

1! - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - Just amazing  . . If you haven't read it already I urge you to make it your first book of 2013!!

Happy New Year Everyone I hope you all have a wonderful night whatever you're up to!

Charlotte

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

I'm still alive!!

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to let you all know that I am still alive and reading away!

I've actually found it quiet sad that I haven't had a chance to blog at all over the past couple of months, especially as I have read some great books. But going in to Christmas I have been a very busy bookseller and I just haven't quiet found the time!

But never fear I will be back in the new year and if I have my way I will have made a few changes to the layout to my blog. (exciting)

But in the meantime . . . Happy Reading

Charlotte xx

Sunday, 16 September 2012

In My Mailbox #13

Hello Everyone and welcome to another In My Mailbox. IMM is a great weekly meme hosted by the Story Siren where we can all show off the brilliant books that we have got our hands on.

 
I got some great ARC's this week, check them out below!
 

All synopsis have been taken from Waterstones.com

ARC's

 
Geek Girl by Holly Smale - Published by HarperCollins Children's Books - Available to pre-order in paperback (published 28-02-2013)
 
"My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek." Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. She knows that bats always turn left when exiting a cave and that peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. When Harriet is spotted by a top model agent, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself in the glam but ridiculous world of fashion. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome model Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?
 
I couldn't find a picture for this ARC, I'm afraid. But I can assure you that it looks great and I can't wait to read it.
 
Sister Assassin by Kiersten White - Published by HarperCollins Children's Books - Available to pre-order now in paperback (Published 19-02-2013)
 
She never chose her deadly gift but now she's forced to use it. How far would you go to protect the only family you have left? Annie is beset by fleeting strange visions and a guilty conscience. Blind and orphaned, she struggles to care for her feisty younger sister Fia, but things look up when both sisters are offered a place at Kessler School for Exceptional Girls. Born with flawless intuition, Fia immediately knows that something's wrong, but bites her tongue...until it's too late. For Fia is the perfect weapon to carry out criminal plans and there are those at Kessler who will do anything to ensure her co-operation. With Annie trapped in Kessler's sinister clutches, instincts keep Fia from killing an innocent guy and everything unravels. Is manipulative James the key to the sisters' freedom or an even darker prison? And how can Fia atone for the blood on her hands?
 
An interesting concept, this should be an exciting read!
 
After the Snow by S.D. Crockett - Published by Macmillan Children's Books - Available now in hardback (Published 03-02-12)
 
I'm gonna sit here in my place on the hill behind the house. Waiting. And watching. Ain't nothing moving down there. The valley look pretty bare in the snow. Just the house grey and lonely down by the river all frozen. I got to think what I'm gonna do now that everyone gone. But I got my dog head on. The dog gonna tell me what to do. The dog gonna help me. The house look proper empty - don't it dog? You just sit quiet in these rocks Willo. Set in the haunting and barren landscape of a new ice age, AFTER THE SNOW is the story of fifteen-year-old Willo, a 'straggler' kid who loses his family in the opening pages. Completely alone, he is immediately flung into an icy journey of survival, adventure, friendship and self-discovery - with only the dog spirit inside his head to guide him. Meanwhile, across Britain, outlawed followers of survivalist John Blovyn are planning an escape to the fabled Islands talked of in a revolutionary book ...
 
I have been meaning to read this book for a while, and now I've been sent a copy so I have no excuses for not reading it!
 
Geek Girl by Holly Smale - Available to pre-order now from Waterstones.com
Sister Assassin by Kiersten White - Available to pre-order now from Waterstones.com
After the Snow by S.D Crockett - Available now in hardback from Waterstones.com.
 
Thank you for taking the time to read my IMM. Please feel free to leave links to your own In MY Mailboxes below. I would also love to know what you thought of my books this week, so please leave any thoughts you have in the comments box below!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Review - Boy Meets Boy


Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books – published 7th February 2005 - ISBN – 9780007191376

Synopsis from Waterstones.com

Love meets love. Confusion meets clarity. Boy meets boy. "There isn't really a gay scene or a straight scene in our town. They all got mixed up a while back, which I think is for the best! And whether your heart is strictly ballroom or bluegrass punk, the dance floors are open to whatever you have to offer. This is my town."

Meet PAUL. Gay his whole life and finding love as wonderful, confusing and heartbreaking as every other teenager in his high school. Meet Paul's friends:

JONI -- his best friend, who may not be his best friend anymore;

TONY -- his other best friend who can't leave the house unless his parents think he's going on a date! With a girl;

INFINITE DARLENE -- homecoming queen AND star quarterback in the football team;
 
KYLE -- the ex-boyfriend who won't go away;

RIP -- the school bookie who sets the odds;

And NOAH -- the boy who changes everything.

Witty, engaging, refreshingly upbeat and slightly surreal, David Levithan's debut has been attracting glowing reviews in the USA. After all, being in love at high school is a challenge for any teen -- regardless of sexual preference!

Review

As mentioned in last week’s IMM I have been looking longingly at a couple of books by David Levithan for a while now and as I’m a fan of the film of ‘Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist’ I’m not unfamiliar with his type of story. And when a fellow bookseller started telling me about Boy Meets Boy and how much he enjoyed it, followed by another person he had recommended it too telling me how much she was enjoying it, and that they only had one copy left I had to buy it!

And what a brilliant story it is too. From the first page I fell in love with David Levithan’s writing, characters and setting. My goodness I hope Paul’s town actually exists and if it does I would love to go there. A town where everyone is accepted for what they are or what they want to be it sounds amazing. I even became worried that this setting was too perfect and that there was going to be a horrible twist at the end of the book where it turned out that the whole time the way the town was portrayed was only Paul's perception of the world rather than how things actually are. Fortunately, that was my imagination getting the better of me.

This book tells the story of Paul, his relationships, friendships and altogether sense of self. It delves into the depths of the confusion that comes with growing up and finding out who you are and deciding who you want to be. The characters make wrong and right decisions and deal with the fallout in many different ways. The cast of characters and personalities are eclectic and each one shows the beauty of the world in their own way.

But Paul’s world isn’t all sunshine and flowers. His relationship with his best friend Joni is rapidly deteriorating, he doesn’t seem to be able hang on to Noah without the life of high school getting in the way, and then there’s Tony. Tony’s life seems to me to be the flip side of Paul’s and allows David Levithan to explore the more conventional adolescent relationship with sexuality and acceptance from family. Including this element within the story changes it from a simple love story to something more. It becomes a powerful and resonating of a coming of age story which makes it so much more believable and better.

The writing is beautifully descriptive and it’s just the right length to be read over and over again.

Reading this book made me feel thoughtful, wistful and overall happy. I don’t think I really stopped smiling while reading it and now I want to share this wonderful gem of a book with everyone.  

Overall Rating – 5/5

Monday, 10 September 2012

Review - Why We Broke Up


Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Published by Electric Monkey – available in paperback now (published 6th August 2012) - ISBN – 9781405261357

Synopsis from Waterstones.com

"I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened."
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

Review

Why We Broke Up is an interesting take on the traditional break up story told in a unique way.

 The first thing that pulled me towards this book is the brilliant artwork by Maria Kalman which gives it a great sense of atmosphere. Each thing that Min is writing about has been pictured perfectly by Maria which gives you time to study each one in turn and dwell further on each element of the story. The second thing that attracted me to this book was this brilliant promotional video where Daniel Handler runs around Grand Central Station talking to people about ‘Why We Broke Up’ and the universal subject of break ups!



So when ‘Why We Broke Up’ was finally released in paperback, in the UK, I brought a copy of it as soon as I could!  

The writing style is wonderful and it allows Min’s voice to flow through it effortlessly. I love the way the story is structured and how, as Min tells the story, it links its way through all of the items in the box. Min also has the retrospective knowledge that enables her to comment on events and actions throughout the story, which in turn gives you an insight into her state of mind as she writes the note that becomes this book.

The characters are well rounded and although quite a few of them follow a stereotypical role, the story that they are woven into allows you to see them for everything that they are made of and not what they appear to be. For most of the book I was wondering if everyone would conform to the particular group that they were lumped into at school, whether it be jock, cheerleader or artisan. Or in the end, if they would prove to everyone who they really are.

I think my favourite character was Al, who is the quintessential best friend and speaks in the most brilliant way. I love the fact that old films play such a vital role in the makeup of the plot and the interests of Min and all in all I love that by the end of the book I really, really wanted to know Ed’s side of the story. Now if you’ve read ‘How We Broke Up’ you might find that a strange response but to me there was obviously something that Min saw in Ed. And so after she’s told him everything that went wrong or right with their relationship, I wanted to know which side of Ed was left and what his reaction to it all would be. Would he have learnt more about himself, Min and the people around him? Would he brush it all off with a laugh and a shake of the head or would he return the gesture and tell Min why they broke up in his own way. The beauty of the ending to this book is that you are left with all of these questions. Through the telling of the story Min bares her soul to the reader because her intended reader is someone that already knows everything about her. But Ed is left as somewhat of a mystery and I enjoyed that!
Overall Rating – 4/5

Sunday, 9 September 2012

In My Mailbox #12

Hello Everyone and welcome to another In My Mailbox. IMM is a great weekly meme hosted by the Story Siren where we can all show off the brilliant books that we have got our hands on.

 
I haven't received many ARC's recently which is why everything has been a bit quiet on the IMM front but here are a couple that I did get which look great!
 

All synopsis have been taken from Waterstones.com
 

ARC's

 
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead - Published by Anderson Press LTD - Available to pre-order in Hardback (published 04-10-12) 
 
Georges (the s is silent) has a lot going on. He's having trouble with some boys at school, his dad lost his job and so his mum has started working all the time - and they had to sell their house and move into an apartment. But moving into the apartment block does bring one good thing - Safer, an unusual boy who lives on the top floor. He runs a spy club, and is determined to teach Georges everything he knows. Their current case is to spy on the mysterious Mr X in the apartment above Georges. But as Georges and Safer go deeper into their Mr X plan, the line between games, lies, and reality begin to blur.
 
I was intrigued when this lovely looking hardback landed at my door as I read 'When You Reach Me' last year and found the writing style compelling.
 

Bought

 
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - Published by HarperCollins Children's Books - Available secondhand in the UK  (Published 07-02-2005)
 
Love meets love. Confusion meets clarity. Boy meets boy. "There isn't really a gay scene or a straight scene in our town. They all got mixed up a while back, which I think is for the best! And whether your heart is strictly ballroom or bluegrass punk, the dance floors are open to whatever you have to offer. This is my town." Meet PAUL. Gay his whole life, and finding love as wonderful, confusing and heartbreaking as every other teenager in his high school. Meet Paul's friends: JONI -- his best friend, who may not be his best friend any more; TONY -- his other best friend who can't leave the house unless his parents think he's going on a date! with a girl; INFINITE DARLENE -- homecoming queen AND star quarterback in the football team; KYLE -- the ex-boyfriend who won't go away; RIP -- the school bookie who sets the odds; And NOAH -- the boy who changes everything. Witty, engaging, refreshingly upbeat and slightly surreal, David Levithan's debut has been attracting glowing reviews in the USA. After all, being in love at high school is a challenge for any teen -- regardless of sexual preference!
 
I have known of David Levithan for a while and I've been staring longingly at 'Will Grayson, Will Grayson' for a long time but for some unknown reason I still haven't picked up any of his books. Well after talking to a fellow bookseller about how much he loves 'Boy Meets Boy' I decided that this had gone on long enough and I brought the last copy he had. I just couldn't resist!
 
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead - available to pre-order from Waterstones.com
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - available second hand from Waterstones.com
 
Thank you for taking the time to read my IMM and please feel free to leave links to your own in my mailboxes below. I would also love to here what you think of my very blue (in colour not mood!) couple of books so please leave any thoughts you have in the comments box!


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Review - Throne of Glass


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC – available now in paperback (Published 2nd August 2012) - ISBN – 9781408832332

Synopsis taken from Waterstones.com
Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness. In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught. Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament - fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin's heart be melted?

Review

Wow! I loved this book! Its action packed, full of great characters, amazing settings, has a kick butt heroine with a sense of humour and it’s written really well! What more really can you ask for? I’d heard  good things about ‘Throne of Glass’ from friends and all the reviews I had seen online were glowing so I knew that I was in for a good read. And low and behold I couldn’t put it down. It actually turned out to be a book that I didn’t want to end and now I can’t wait to read more from Sarah J Maas.

The whole world within this novel has been beautifully constructed and, I think, will stand up against the high standards that is normally imposed upon fantasy novels. The world is set up in a similar way to many fantasy books but the premise of this story is different enough to make ‘Throne of Glass’ stand out from the rest of the pack. On top of this the end of the novel opens up the world even further to allow the story to continue.

 I love Celaena as a main character. She has a couple of normal characteristics like the fact that she is beautiful but the difference with her than other female main characters is that she knows it and she uses it as much as she can, sometimes even as a weapon! She’s funny, sarcastic, resourceful, arrogant, proud, impulsive, faithful and overall really interesting. You find out lots about her life throughout the novel but other areas of her past remain a mystery. This in turn makes me want to find out more about her!

 And that’s just the main character! The other three supporting characters, and the rest of the not so nice cast, are just as layered and mysterious. Not one of them seems unrealistic in the world that has been created for them.

The writing is great and the flowing descriptions of locations and characters help you to immerse yourself into the book. Once I’d finished reading ‘Throne of Glass’ I wanted to know more about this first time author, who had written a brilliant novel. And through looking at Sarah J Maas blog I found out about ‘Fiction Press’ which looks like an amazing place for aspiring writers and I will endeavour to read and review writing on the website whenever I can. The only problem that I now have is that is that I want to read more by Sarah and although she has written a couple of novellas, they are only available in ebook form and I don’t own an e-reader. So I suppose I will just have to wait and see if Bloomsbury publishes the rest of Sarah’s work in a physical book or hopefully a follow on from ‘Throne of Glass’.

Overall Rating – 4.5/5