Friday, 30 January 2015

I Was Here Blog Tour: The Top 5 Qualities Gayle Forman Looks for in a Friend!

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend's shocking suicide. As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

I Was Here is officially published in the UK this week and promises to be an amazing, emotional book written in true Gayle Forman style.

I'm excited to be part of Simon and Schuster's UK blog tour and I hope you enjoy reading the following post from Gayle. Do you agree with the qualities she looks for in a friend?


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The top 5 qualities Gayle Forman looks for in a friend 
Humour: It’s a good thing I have good bladder control because otherwise my closest friends would make me pee in my pants with laughter on a daily basis. And, equally important, they laugh at my jokes. I know I have found my people when I can spend whole swathes of time with them without ever having to utter the words “I’m kidding.” 
Generosity: Generosity comes in many different forms but what I look for in friends is emotional generosity, the willingness to put yourself out there. 
Honesty: The older I get, the more I value this. Not just friends who tell the truth, but friends who allow me to be my true, naked self in front of them. It is just too much work to keep up a front. 
Intelligence: I like smart people. They are interesting and able to see things from multiple perspectives. 
Inclusiveness: I don’t do snobs. I don’t do exclusivity. My people may be smarty-pants but they are also the kinds of folks who talk to strangers on the street and invite everyone to the party.

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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Review: Captive by A.J. Grainger


Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
Format: Paperback
Released: January 29th, 2015
Rating: 7/10


Amazon summary:

Robyn Knollys-Green is an A-list celebrity, famous for being the daughter of one of the world's most powerful men. But not even the paparazzi can find her now. Robyn begins to realise that she is trapped in a complicated web of global corruption and deceit - and that the strange, melancholy boy who has been tasked with guarding her might not be an enemy after all...

Review:

Captive is a well-written, taut thriller that immerses you from the very beginning. It employs a sense of tension right from page one that continues for the majority of the book, and it always keeps you guessing. I've been reading more YA thrillers recently and this was a great addition to the genre!

Debut author A.J. Grainger already has a background in children's publishing and obviously knows what works and what doesn't. Her storytelling and imagination is the standout feature of Captive, as well as her well-rounded characters and ability to create genuinely unsettling moments of confusion. When Robyn is kidnapped and she has no idea where she is or who she's with, I felt exactly the same - I didn't know what was coming next and sometimes I wasn't even sure I wanted to find out.

The whole premise of Captive is an interesting one, while at the same time being very realistic. People get kidnapped in real life all the time, especially people related to political figures, so the plot itself is no big stretch of the imagination. Grainger writes it well and obviously did her research into what actually happens with events like these, and that shines through in her story.

Captive is a quick read but one that packs a punch. I enjoyed Robyn's story and her resolution, and I'm definitely excited to read more by A.J. Grainger. Thrillers are really coming into their own within the YA genre, so I'm glad to see that more are on their way in 2015!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Boy Next Door


Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.


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The Boy Next Door
 by Katie Van Ark

* Published by: Macmillan (UK), Swoon Reads (US)
* Format: Paperback (UK and US) 
* Release Date: April 1st, 2015 (UK), January 6th, 2015 (US)

* On Amazon: here



Summary from Amazon.co.uk:

Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure-skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she's also seen his arms around other girls - lots of other girls. Gabe can't imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So he's determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he's never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks. But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy's been hoping for or the big break-up that Gabe has always feared?


I loved the first book from Swoon Reads and I can't wait for this one! It's available as an ebook in the UK already but I'm going to wait for the paperback. I'm hoping it's a fun, romantic story just like A Little Something Different!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Review: The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton


Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Format: Paperback
Released: January 29th, 2015
Rating: 7/10


Amazon summary:

Andy and Terry live in the WORLD'S BEST treehouse! It's got a giant catapult, a secret underground laboratory, a tank of man-eating sharks and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you're hungry! Just watch out for the sea monkeys, and the monkeys pretending to be sea monkeys, and the giant mutant mermaid sea monster . . . Oh, and, whatever you do, don't get trapped in a burp-gas-filled bubble . . . ! 

Review: 

The 13-Storey Treehouse is a really fun children's book with an equal amount of text and brilliant illustrations. It's already been a huge hit in Australia and is finally being published here in the UK, much to the delight of many younger readers, I'm sure!

Andy and Terry live in a thirteen-storey treehouse that's home to man-eating sharks, giant catapults, sea monkeys and mermaids to name but a few. This book follows their adventures as they try to write a book of their own, while living with all the unusual goings on in their treehouse. I'm not sure I could have coped if I were them!

This book is told through both text and cartoon illustrations, which I think is my favourite way to tell a middle grade story. There's something about illustrations that really brings a story to life, and that's exactly the case here. Not only do we get to read about Andy and Terry's crazy lives, but we also get to see it in great detail. It makes the reading experience so much more fun!

The 13-Storey Treehouse is a mad little book that 7+ readers will love. It's not quite as funny as I thought it would be but the imagination and illustrations more than make up for that. I'm glad this series has finally come to the UK and I look forward to reading more about the most amazing treehouse in the world - here's hoping the next instalment will be just as bonkers as this one!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Vendetta Blog Tour: Catherine Doyle's Playlist!

When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion next door, Sophie Gracewell's life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nic, Sophie finds herself falling into an underworld governed by powerful families. When Sophie's own family skeletons come to life, she must choose between two warring dynasties - the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with. When she does, blood will spill and hearts will break...

Vendetta is published in the UK by Chicken House and sounds like a great YA  book. I haven't read it yet but I have a copy waiting - I'm very much looking forward to it! I love the cover too, isn't it brilliant?!

As part of this blog tour I have Catherine Doyle's playlist to share with you all, and you can find out more about her favourite songs over at Sister Spooky. You can also find the playlist online here.

Thanks to Catherine for sharing her playlist, and I hope you all find some new songs to listen to. I can definitely recommend 'Take Me to Church', 'White Winter Hymnal' and 'Never Let Me Go'!


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Vendetta Playlist


* Take me to Church by Hozier 
* Beautiful War by Kings of Leon 
* We Don't Eat by James Vincent Mc Morrow 
* I Will Follow You into the Dark by Death Cab For Cutie 
* Lover of the Light by Mumford and Sons 
* Flaws by Bastille 
* Never Let me Go By Florence and the Machine 
* White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes 
* Closer by Joshua Raidin 
* Devil Town by Tony Lucca 
* Fans by Kings of Leon 
* You are Mine by Mutemath 
* Elastic Heart by Sia 
* Demons by Imagine Dragons 
* Hellfire - Hunchback of Notre Dame Soundtrack


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Sunday, 25 January 2015

In My Mailbox #242: New Books This Week



In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and any links take you to Amazon. Click images for a bigger picture!

Thanks so much to all publishers/authors who sent me lovely books to review - I received some nice surprises this week!


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For review:










Happy reading!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Review: Heartside Bay - The New Girl by Cathy Cole


Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: February 6th, 2014
Rating: 6/10


Amazon summary:

Welcome to Heartside Bay - for life, love and everything in between... Lila Murray is desperate for a fresh start after her family moved from London to Heartside Bay. It's the perfect chance to leave her past mistakes behind. But nothing is ever that easy. Day one at Heartside High School brings a whole new set of problems, and one very big new crush. Why did the first boy she met have to be Ollie? The hottest boy in school. And the boy that the school 'it' girl Eve has already claimed as her own. Eve is not someone Lila needed to make an enemy, but it's already too late.

Review: 

Heartside Bay: The New Girl is the first book in a new twelve-book series for teenagers. It's similar in style to Gossip Girl and It Girl, and centres around Lila Murray and her move to Heartside Bay: the love capital of Britain. There's romance, gossip, friendship and scandal, everything you'd expect from a book about spoiled rich kids!

Lila is an okay character. I can't say I loved her because I didn't but, as the leading lady of Heartside Bay, she does the job. I found her to be too self-involved for the majority of the novel, though that's to be expected when these kinds of characters are concerned. She's literally the talk of the town, has numerous boys chasing after her and quickly makes an enemy at school - all in a day's work!

As far as I know author Cathy Cole doesn't actually exist and instead is a pseudonym for several different authors chosen to write the series. I could be wrong of course, but I think that's usually how these series work. Whoever wrote this first instalment did a good job of setting the scene and introducing characters, with an easy style of writing that quickly engages the reader.

The New Girl is a fast read, one that I liked and wouldn't hesitate to recommend to teens wanting a replacement for Gossip Girl. It's more British and less addictive, but it's still a good read for new and casual readers of YA. I'll probably read a few more books in this series though I doubt I'll manage all twelve. Still, never say never!