Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Best of the Bunch July 2012

Best of the Bunch is a meme hosted here on the last day of each month, where we can look back over the books we have read and give a Best of the Bunch award to our favourite book of that month.
For more info and to grab the button and stickers visit the BOTB page here and then add your linky to the list below.




July 2012
This month I have reviewed on the blog...

  • Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown My Review -3 of 5 stars
  • Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick My Review - 5 of 5 stars
  • Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs My Review - 4.5 of 5 stars
  • Last Echo by Kimberly Derting My Review -4 of 5 stars
  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly My Review -5 of 5 stars
  • Shadow Sight by E.J Stevens My Review -3.5 of 5 stars
  • Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry My Review -5 of 5 stars
and the award for Best of the Bunch July 2012 goes to...

...drumroll...


... I can't decide! 

Both Drowning Instinct and Pushing The Limits were such fantastic books, they are both my Best of the Bunch winners for July!

It's strange that two contemporary novels were the best reads of the month as they are not my usual choice of book. But both of these were so moving and emotional, completely sucked me in, and left me reeling for days. Both of these books will stay with me for a long time. 





So, let us know which book (or books) was your best book of the month? Add your post to the linky below!
Who gets your bananas?


Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Showcase Sunday 29th July 2012

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea, and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This is a chance for all us book bloggers to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.


I got a few new books this week-



Audiobooks: 
  • Endlessly by Kiersten White (Book 3 in the Paranormalcy series), I'm interested to see how the series will end. 
  • Waking Storms by Sarah Porter (Book 2 in the Lost Voices series). I wasn't too impressed with the first book, but I will stick with the series to see if it improves.
Both of these from Audible.



For Review:
  • Covet by Melissa Darnell (Book 2 in the Clann series). I have to confess that I haven't started reading book 1 Crave yet, but hopefully this will be the kick I need to start it.
  • Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire- this one is a bit of a guilty pleasure, I've read so many mixed reviews and people seem to either love it or hate it. 
Both of these from Netgalley.

Those were the books that I got to read this week. What did you get?
Happy reading!





Friday, 27 July 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry


Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry



My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Source: Publisher via Netgalley


Synopsis from Goodreads:
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


Just simply amazing. This really moved me- it is one of the best contemporary fiction books I have ever read. The characters are all fantastic, the plotlines all intricately woven together, and and the writing is heart-renderingly beautiful. Pushing The Limits is completely unputdownable.

The narrative splits between Echo and Noah, and I love this because it gives such an insight into the thoughts and emotions of both charaters, and really effectively tells both sides of the story. They are both so broken and misunderstood, and it's this that pulls them together. I really loved the chemistry between them- and that bad-boy Noah is only dark surface deep.

Underneath his coarse attitude and bad language, he is just struggling to deal with  pulling his life back together after a string of rough foster homes. Working whenever he can and fighting for custody of his younger brothers, he wants to prove that his trouble-maker label is completely unjustified. Noah's struggle to cling to the remains of his family is what moved me the most- he is so determined to be a part of his brother's lives and to take care of them.

On the surface Echo seems to be lucky- she is pretty, smart, and from a wealthy family, but she is actually struggling to deal with a controlling and pushy father, a pregnant new young step-mother, the death of her brother, and is recieveing therapy for post-traumatic stress, after an incident that she can't remember but that has left her with scars, and with her family telling her that her mother tried to kill her.

Echo and Noah are both so different and would never have spent any time together ordinarily, but from the time they are pushed together by the school counsellor their lives are turned around. There is no instant love but a gradual awareness of the other's pain and a tender need to support each other. I loved how Noah grew so protective of Echo as their friendship grew. Their relationship is full  of tension, angst, misunderstandings, and support, and is rocky, intense and so sweet.

Because I loved the characters and the author got into their head so well- I really felt their pain. For a brief time while I was reading this novel I was really right there beside them, and I teared up so many times reading this. I love it when a book can move me so powerfully. I spent every spare moment I could absorbed in their world- and crying my eyes out!

This is a hard contemporary novel with dark moments. Echo and Noah's lives are difficult, and sometimes brutal, but also always felt so realistic. The psychological aspects of the story are so fantastically written, it makes their story feel even more raw and poignant. It is also an emotional and gripping story that will really move you. You root for them and really want them to work everything out.

The characters are the at the root of the story. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what this book is about because I don't want to give too much away, and I haven't mentioned a bunch of my favourite characters, but there are so many, and all I can say is- you have to read this book!

Unless you have a heart of stone this book will make you cry, laugh, despair, and swoon! It's a romance book with plenty of ups and downs, characters with big problems, and gradual revelations that always added an extra element to the story. As the backstory of each character is explored I wanted to keep reading to find out more. It left me feeling all warm and fuzzy, but also lost by the end, because I'd finished it! One of the best contemporary books I have ever read- just sheer brilliance.


Alternative cover:
This is the UK cover published by Mira Ink August 2012.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

From the Review Pile #10

This is a weekly meme hosted every Thursday by Stephanie at Stepping Out of the Page where we can showcase books that we have either bought, borrowed, or been given for review that we haven't gotten around to reading yet.




I haven't had this book for very long, but I think it's another one that will sit on my TBR for a long while while I read other books first- even though it looks so good, and I love a good romance book. Just check out this blurb-



What I didn't Say by Keary Taylor
Goodreads
Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.


Published May 2012


Has anyone read it yet? What did you think?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #19

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we can spotlight those books that are not yet published but that we are eagerly anticipating.


I really loved Slide when I read it earlier this year. It has mystery, secrets, family drama and a romance. It was a quick read but very clever and I rated it 5 stars. (Full review here). I'm looking forward to the sequel Impostor, which is due to be published in March 2013. 




Impostor by Jill Hathaway
Goodreads


What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies.






This is due to be released March 2013.
This is the US cover- (there is no UK cover yet)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Giveaway: Shadow Sight by E.J Stevens

Shadow Sight by E.J Stevens releases today, the first book in a quirky new series about Ivy Granger- a psychic detective, who gets visions just by touching a person or object. Set in the fictional town of Harborsmouth where all sorts of creatures from fae to vampires, demons, and trolls wander the streets unseen by the human population. I really enjoyed this book as you can see from my review here.




For more information on the book check out it's
Goodreads page-
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12670968-shadow-sight
or the Ivy Granger website
http://ivygrangerpsychicdetective.blogspot.com


E.J Stevens has kindly offered an ebook copy of Shadow Sight to one lucky reader. This is compatible with kindle, kobo, sony and other e-readers.

But first, to whet your appetite, here are some excerpts from the book!

Excerpt 1-
Introduction
Welcome to Harborsmouth, where monsters walk the streets unseen by humans…except those with second sight.
     Whether visiting our modern business district or exploring the cobblestone lanes of the Old Port quarter, please enjoy your stay.  When you return home, do tell your friends about our wonderful city—just leave out any supernatural details.  
     Don’t worry—most of our guests never experience anything unusual.  Otherworlders, such as faeries, vampires, and ghouls, are quite adept at hiding within the shadows.  Many are also skilled at erasing memories.  You may wake in the night screaming, but you won’t recall why.  Be glad that you don’t remember—you are one of the fortunate ones.
      If you do encounter something unnatural, we recommend the services of Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective.  Co-founder of Private Eye detective agency, Ivy Granger is a relatively new member of our small business community.  Her offices can be found on Water Street, in the heart of the Old Port.  
      Miss Granger has a remarkable ability to receive visions by the act of touching an object.  This skill is useful in her detective work, especially when locating lost items.  Whether you are looking for a lost brooch or missing persons, no job is too small for Ivy Granger—and she could certainly use the business.
      We can also provide, upon request, a list of highly skilled undertakers.  If you are in need of their services, then we also kindly direct you to Harborsmouth Cemetery Realty.  It’s never too early to contact them, since we have a booming “housing” market.  Demand is quite high for a local plot—there are always people dying for a place to stay.

Excerpt 2-
Chapter 2: 
     I sniffed the air and smelled a whiff of sulfur.  Oh, Mab’s bloody bones!  My hand snagged a crucifix off the desk and I started muttering the Lord’s Prayer.  I may not follow any particular faith, but Kaye had taught me a trick or two.  Ten to one odds my client wasn’t bothered by today’s intense heat.
      Color me pixed—the guy sitting on the other side of my desk was a demon.  My hand, the one holding the crucifix in a white-knuckled grip, was starting to shake. 
      “You seem to have some inkling as to my lineage, however I am not here for myself,” he said.  “Hell has no interest in you…yet.  I represent a client, someone very powerful who requires your special services.”
      “You’re telling me that you’re some other dude’s lackey?” I asked.  My hand steadied as I held the crucifix out before me.
      “Attorney,” he said, shooting me a narrow eyed glare.
      “Lower than a lackey then,” I said. 
      I was playing with fire, or brimstone.  I should order the demon to leave, but there was something intriguing about his story.  I couldn’t help becoming curious.  Someone had made a deal with a devil, literally, to gain my services.  I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or die of fright. 
      At least I knew my instincts were good—this was definitely going to be a long day and this really was a client from Hell. 

To be in with a chance to win an ebook copy of  Shadow Sight simply read the terms and conditions and fill in the form below.

Terms and Conditions- AKA "The Rules".
  • You must be over 16 years old to enter.
  • You may only fill in the form once- extra entries will be deleted.
  • Contest ends at midnight on Saturday 4th August.
  • The winner will be selected at random and notified by email within 24 hours of the contest ending. The prize will be sent out by the author.
  • Your details will only be used to contact you if you are the winner, and the entry forms will be deleted after the contest ends.
  • This giveaway is open internationally.
Sorry- this giveaway has now ended. The winner is... Heather Rosdol!

Good luck!

Review: Shadow Sight by E.J Stevens


Shadow Sight by E.J. Stevens



My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Source: Review copy from author


Synopsis from Goodreads:
Some things are best left unseen...

Ivy Granger's second sight is finally giving her life purpose. Ivy and her best friend Jinx may not be raking in the dough, but their psychic detective agency pays the bills--most of the time. Their only worry is the boredom of a slow day and the occasional crazy client--until a demon walks through their door.

Demons are never a good sign...

A demon attorney representing the water fae? Stranger things have happened. And things are about to get very, very strange as a bloodthirsty nightmare hunts the city of Harborsmouth.

There's blood in the water...

Kelpies have a reputation for eating humans. Unfortunately, Kelpies are the clients. When an Unseelie faerie this evil stalks the waterways of your city, you have to make hard choices.

The lesser of two evils...



I already knew E.J Steven's writing from the funny and sweet Spirit Guide series, and this new series has the same wonderful fast paced plotline and fun quirky characters. I really enjoyed this book- packed with magic, secrets, and a dramatic action-packed battle against good and evil, all told with an undercurrent of wry humour.

Ivy is a great tough-as-nails heroine, who has had to cut herself off from people because of her ability to get visions of traumatic experiences just from touching a person or an object- even food wrappers or telephones. She wears a permanent growl on her face to avoid people accidentally knocking into her.

But along with her understanding and friendly best friend and roommate Jinx (the unluckiest girl in the world) she has set up a psychic detective business to help people find lost possessions- and to just pay the rent. The friendship between these two is great and they love each other like sisters, even though they are so different.

Because they struggle most weeks to make ends meet they usually accept any client that walks in the door- but Ivy is especially wary when demon lawyer Forneus strolls in wanting her help. However, as it looks like a deadly band of water creatures is threatening not only the kelpies that Forneus represents but the whole of Harborsmouth Ivy has no choice but to take the job and do what she can to save the town. And can she convince the local vampires to join her side?

There is a whole spectrum of supernatural creatures in this book from faeries and water kelpies to vampires, demons and a unicorn. One of Ivy's best friends is a bridge troll. I liked this sense of never knowing what to expect and being surprised by creatures that you wouldn't expect to be Ivy's ally.

Ivy reaches out to her old friend Kaye, a powerful witch, who runs Madame Kaye's Magic Emporium to help with the research, and also contacts the local priest to help with dealing with the demon. The characters are the best part of the story, as they are each unique, endearing and odd in their own way. You can't help but love them all- for example Kaye's grumpy kitchen brownie Hob- who is obsessed with cleaning but is always concerned about Ivy's health.

This is the first book in what looks to be the start of an interesting and kooky new series- there is definitely more to tell, now that the world of Harborsmouth is established and the lovable band of Ivy, Jinx, Kaye, Hob and co. are brought closer together. I'd be interested to see what adventures they can get themselves into next.

Book 2 is titled Ghost Light and is due 2013


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Showcase Sunday 22nd July 2012

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea, and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This is a chance for all us book bloggers to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.




I wasn't going to get any books this week but then Audible announced a members sale, and I ended up with these three pretties-


Audiobooks:



  • Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan (Book 2 in the Sky Chasers series) Goodreads
  • Dark Water by Tricia Rayburn (Book 3 in the Siren series) Goodreads
  • Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready (Book 3 in the Shade series) Goodreads
I was so pleased with all three of these. It was a struggle to decide which one to listen to first- space, mermaids or ghosts?!

What did you get to read this week? Happy reading!




Saturday, 21 July 2012

Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars







Source: Audiobook and borrowed from the library


Synopsis from Goodreads:
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.



This book was absolutely amazing! It had me alternately crying, laughing, gripped on the edge of my seat in anticipation, and in awe of its beautiful writing.

At the start of the book, I really didn't like Andi at all- she is a bit of a spoiled brat, and mopes about in an attention-seeking way. She is depressed and lost, and angrily takes it out on the rest of the world. I loved her as a character, but I didn't like her personality (if that makes sense!).

She needed to be a pill-popping angry depressed teenager to show how much she grows and changes through her journey. It is only when she is taken out of the poisonous atmosphere of her exclusive high school, with it's drinking and drug-taking, and is taken to Paris with her Dad, that she really comes back to herself, and we see how smart, and normal she is.

When she finds the diary of a young street actress from the time of the French Revolution she becomes completely entranced by her story and lost in the world of the court of the French Revolution. I loved the mystery around the young prince and the gradual unravelling of this second storyline through the diary.

In 1795 Alexandrine, a poor singer and theatre player, gets a job working at the palace and is caught up right in the middle of the events as they unfold. Her position gives her an insight into the full spectrum of that society, from the Royal family right down to the street beggars. She knows some of the secrets of the time- like who sets the forbidden fireworks off into the sky and influenced the composer Malherbeau, and she is the one who through her diary can possibly tell Andi what finally happened to the lost prince. Her tale is hauntingly heart-breaking.

Andi has had a very difficult time since her brother's death, and hasn't had anyone to lean on. Her mother completely fell apart and refuses to leave the house, and Andi has had to be the one to care for her. Her Dad only focuses on work and doesn't even notice her until she stops doing well at school.

Initially, all Andi wants is to quickly finish her school project so that she can bribe her Dad to let her go back home, but gradually she begins to recognise where she is, and she becomes so engrossed with not only her own research but also with what happened to to Alex and Louis-Charles, and her Dad's scientific approach to finding out the truth.

She also gets distracted by a certain musician she befriends on her travels. Virgil is a great character that definitely adds an edge to the story, but isn't a focal point in it. Actually there are so many wonderful minor characters that enrich the background of the story.


I just loved the way that all the threads of the story were all connected and subtly intertwined. Everything that is going on in Andi's life, from her fascination of the (fictional) composer Malherbeau, to her Dad's research into genetics, her brother's death years before, to her reading of Alex's diary and the events of hundreds of years ago- it is all cleverly linked and tied together. I was dying to find out the truth of what had happened to Alex and the young prince Louis-Charles, and always wanted to keep reading just a little bit more, to have the mystery solved.

The other thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that although the author has obviously done a lot of research into the French Revolution, it never comes across a lecture about that time period, and I never got a feeling that all the research was being shoved into the story in a "look at all this stuff I've found out" way. Rather, it is just there as a part of the story telling, and written seamlessly into the narrative. I feel like I learned a lot from this book more because of how Andi's passion and enthusiam for music, her Dad's passion for science and research, and Guillaume's passion for French history, came through so well, and their passion was just infectious.

Vivid and completely captivating- no review can do the genius of this book justice. Donnelly has managed to mesh a gripping historical novel and an emotional contemporary story with a complex multi-layered plot.






Alternate covers:


<-- The US hardback cover. I love this cover- showing the flip sides of the two different stories being told by two very remote women who are linked through the diary. This is also exactly as I imagine Andi to look.
-->
The UK paperback cover. I really love this cover as well, it's very eye-catching. 






Thursday, 19 July 2012

From The Review Pile #9

This is a weekly meme hosted every Thursday by Stephanie at Stepping Out of the Page where we can showcase books that we have either bought, borrowed, or been given for review that we haven't gotten around to reading yet.




I love Netgalley, but sometimes I get so excited to see a title- request it, and then forget that I have no time to actually read it! I really want to read this book though. It's bound to be good because it's written by the author of the River of Time series (Waterfall, Cascade and Torrent) which I just LOVED. It is about a girl who travels to Europe to take the "Grand Tour" in 1913.  Hopefully, I will get to it... one day!



Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren

It’s the summer of 1913 and Cora Kensington’s life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, but someone dear to Cora is failing as well.

In one fateful afternoon, a stranger comes to call, and Cora discovers a terrible secret about her past…a secret that will radically change her future.

Cora is invited to take the “Grand Tour” of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person’s eduction, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France, with kin she’s never known, Cora encounters the blessings of a family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning…. 

The first book in the Grand Tour series will take readers on a journey of cultural refinement, but moreover, explores what truly informs a person’s sense of identity.


Published 1st June 2012


Has anybody read it yet? What did you think of it?



Monday, 16 July 2012

Review: Last Echo by Kimberly Derting


The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Source: Library


Synopsis from Goodreads:
In the end, all that's left is an Echo.

Before, Violet's morbid ability to sense the dead led her to uncover dark murders and long-buried secrets in her small town. Now that she's working with a special investigative team, Violet hopes she can help even more people--whether by saving a life or catching a killer.

Although she's relieved to finally be honest about what she can do, her instant connection with her mysterious partner, Rafe, is both confusing and unsettling, and their unique bond creates tension with her boyfriend, Jay. When she discovers the body of a college student murdered by "the collector," Violet refuses to give up on the case. With her own relationship on the line, Violet doesn't realize that the serial killer is looking to add to his collection and that she may have caught his eye. Will the life Violet has to save be her own?



Book 3 in the Body Finder series

This series is so good- I couldn't wait to get my hands on this latest installment! The writing is so addictive, and I just love the perfect sweet relationship between Violet and Jay.

I so easily slipped back into reading about Violet's life, and her coping with her unusual power of being able to sense the echoes from murdered bodies, and the matching imprints left on the killers. After a lifetime of hiding her power from everyone but her closest family and friends she has now been found out by a mysterious branch of the FBI, and encouraged to share her gift with other psychics on the team.

Violet feels like she has found a place with the FBI team, with other people who have unusual powers like her, and really starts to come into her own more, becoming increasingly more bold and more confident.

Unfortunately this means that she drifts away from Jay a lot more, as she has her new friends to confide in now and  a sense of purpose working with the team. There is also the distraction of Rafe- another team member, who is normally so frustratingly aloof, but who obviously has a crush on Violet, and a secret of his own.

This book is full of tension and angst, and an imminent sense of danger. Another serial killer is on the loose, but now that she has the back up of a team of FBI, she shouldn't be in as much danger- but this doesn't always pan out. Some of the chapters are told from the serial killer, and they are seriously so skin-crawly creepy!

This is another fantastic installment in a series which I have loved from the beginning. These books are thrilling, exciting, tense and romantic. I definitely recommend them, and I can't wait for book 4!


Alternate cover:


This is the cover as published in the US and other parts of the world. I much prefer this cover because it matches the rest of the series.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Showcase Sunday 15th July 2012

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted every Sunday by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea, and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This is a chance for all us book bloggers to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.




Only 2 new books this week-


  • I borrowed The Other Life by Suzanne Winnacker on audiobook from the library. This is a set in a post apocalyptic world, where Sherry and her family have been living in a bunker underground for 3 years, since they were told to take cover and await further instructions. But now with no food they must venture out onto the surface again. 
Goodreads




  •  I got What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor for review from Netgalley, thanks to the author and publisher. This sounds really great too- it's about a guy who had always liked a girl at school but never had the courage to tell her. When a car accident damages his throat and leaves him mute, he realises that he will never be able to talk again. He will have to work to tell her how he has always felt, without actually being able to say it. 
Goodreads




Those were all the books I got to read this week. What did you get?
Happy reading!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Q and A with author Ransom Riggs

I'd like to welcome author Ransom Riggs to the blog, whose awesome debut novel Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (published last year) is now out in paperback for the first time.

I loved the book, and you can read my review of it here.

 
Q. Can you describe Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children in 5 words or less?
A. I can't even describe it in 50! I'm really terrible at plot summaries. I get all twist-tongued. I took a class in film school where we had to pitch movie ideas in two minutes. It was a semester-long nightmare!

Q. When/ how did you have the idea to create a story out of the pictures in your collection?
A. Right after I started collecting, I showed a batch of my weirdest photos to my editor at Quirk Books, and he suggested I try and weave a story around them. I guess this was about three years ago -- not long after my first book, the nonfiction Sherlock Holmes Handbook came out. I'd never written a novel, so it was a really exciting opportunity for me -- that someone would trust me to write one, having never attempted it before.

Q. Do you have a favourite photograph from the book?
A. I really like the one of the boy and woman in silhouette, walking away from the camera out of a tunnel into a gauzy light. It kind of sums up the whole book for me. 

Q. How long did it take to write?
A. I did one pass in about four months. Then decided it was terrible, threw it away, and wrote a very different second version in about 6 months. So 10 altogether.

Q. If you could have any of the powers of the peculiar children, what would it be and why?
A. I always thought it would be cool if I could take pictures of whatever I was looking at just by blinking. All I do when I'm holding a camera is try and reproduce / interpret the way I saw something with my eye, so this would cut out the middle-man! My friend's dad makes tiny cell-phone cameras, and according to him, this is actually something that might exist one day. Which is exciting. 

 Q. Most of the book is set in a remote island off the coast of Wales. Did you visit Wales as part of the research for the story?
 A. Nope!  The whole story is so made-up, I didn't need to. That's the beauty of speculative fiction -- you don't have to get too hung up on research! 

Q. It's very exciting news about the film rights to the book being bought by 20th Century Fox. Do you have any actors in your mind to play the characters? What would be your dream cast?
A. See, the trouble is the characters are so young, and I don't know a lot of actors in their teens. It's something that talented casting directors do -- they know all these great up-and-coming actors most of us have never heard of. But me, all I know are the obvious ones. Chloe Moretz as Emma? I think she's great. And Kodi Smit-McPhee is a really talented young American actor. He was pretty young in The Road, but that was a few years back. By the time they get around to shooting the movie, maybe he'll be Jacob's age!

Q. You're currently working on the sequel to Miss Peregrine's. How many books are planned for the series?
A. Well, it's funny. There was only one book planned, and I wrote it. But I had to go and put that cliffhanger ending in there, and it had to go and become a bestseller, so now I'm writing a second one (and super excited to do it). Is there a third book planned? All I can say at this point is: MAYBE.

Q. What can we expect in book 2? 
LOTS of action and adventure. Some very creepy bad guys. And lots more peculiar photos!

---------------------------------------------------------


Thank you so much for answering my questions! I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel next year. 





----------------------------------------------------------------
Find Ransom Riggs online:


Website: http://www.ransomriggs.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ransomriggs
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ransriggs
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ransom-Riggs/191481354199281



Review: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs



My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Source: Publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive




I first heard about this book over a year ago, and it immediately piqued my curiosity. But actually, this book exceeded all my expectations of it.

The story is interspersed with genuine weird old photographs, like the picture on the front cover, which if you look closely, you can see that the little girl actually looks as if she is floating. The book is full of these really interesting and mysterious pictures. Having the visual there made what I was reading seem so much more real.

Jacob has grown up listening to his grandfather's odd stories about growing up in an orphange with children with special powers, ruled over by the strict bird-like Miss Peregrine. But with his grandfather steadily getting more and more erratic and confused, Jacob starts to wonder what is real and what was just a fantastic story. When his grandfather dies suddenly in bizarre circumstances Jacob decides that he needs to travel to the orphanage where he his grandfather grew up, and try to find out the truth behind the stories.

Most of the book is set in a remote island in Wales. As Jacob starts to explore the quirky island and finds the old abandoned orphanage it becomes clear that something is definitely not right, and that it might be possible that somehow the children from his grandfather's old stories might still be alive...

The back cover of the hardback edition.
Before starting this book I wondered if the fact that it was based around some old pictures would make it feel forced, as if the story had to be twisted to fit the pictures- but it doesn't at all- the story flows so well, and the photographs nicely complement it, and just give it that something extra.

I loved the magical writing style, and the witty humour throughout the narrative which meant I had a permanent smirk on my face all the time I was reading this book. And there is a love story too!

But underlying all the strangeness and the mystery is a sense of menace and danger. Jacobs grandfather was running from something, and we never find out until nearly the end exactly what the real danger is. The bad characters in this are truly sinister. I liked this slow unravelling of new facts and wondrous revelations. The pace is very even but keeps you constantly engaged.

One of the best things about this book is the characters, Jacob is so flawed but lovable, and all the children so interesting, and at times a little bit creepy! I loved Jacob's complicated relationship with Emma- his grandfather's old flame. All the children of Miss Peregrine's home are special in their different ways, mischievous and odd- and it's strange to think that they are frozen in this time loop- doomed to repeat the same perfect summer day every day for years on end. 


Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is adventurous, exciting, magical and addictive, and such a wonderful story. This is such a quirky book- fun and so unique, and such an easy read. I just loved it.



-------------------------------------

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is now out in paperback. There is set to be a sequel out next year, which is as yet untitled.

Film rights have been bought by 20th Century Fox, with rumours that Tim Burton is interested in directing. I think that Tim Burton would be perfect to direct the adaptation of this book, because it has a definite Tim Burton-esque feel to it. It's very like the film Big Fish, because it is set in a modern time but it has that magical feeling that fairytales are real and anything could happen.





Thursday, 12 July 2012

From the Review Pile #8

This is a weekly meme hosted every Thursday by Stephanie at Stepping Out of the Page where we can showcase books that we have either bought, borrowed, or been given for review that we haven't gotten around to reading yet.




I got this book from Netgalley after the publication date, and I think it sounds awesome. It is about female spies and fighter pilots during the Second World War. History, intrigue, friendship, and tragedy. What more does a book need?!  I really hope to find time to read this... one day!




Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


Goodreads:
I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.


Published February 2012 by Egmont



Has anyone read this one yet? What did you think?

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Elvendorf Valley and Make Believe kits by Irene Alexeeva