Monday, 27 December 2010

Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson

Title: Priscilla the Great
Author: Sybil Nelson
Published by: Little Prince Publishing
Publication date: 15th April 2011
Pages: 314
Genres: Children's/Young Adult
Format: Manuscript
Source: Review copy from the author.
Buy the book (it's free!)
Did you ever want a blowtorch for a finger?

Meet Priscilla Sumner, an ordinary seventh grader with extraordinary gifts.

As if middle school isn't hard enough, not only does Priscilla have to fight pimples and bullies, but genetically enhanced assassins trying to kill her and her family.
Armed with wit, strength, and a genius best friend, Priscilla must defeat the Selliwood Institute, a mysterious organization with a mission of turning children into killing machines.

Middle school just got a lot hotter!

At first, I wasn't sure if this would be my kind of book. If you've read some of my reviews before, you'll probably know what kind of books I tend to go for. But there's a first for everything! This book was SO amazing. It has quite a unique storyline, and a really surprising twist. Usually in books you can guess what's going to happen straight away, but this had you thinking the whole time.


The main character is called Priscilla Sumner. She's just an ordinary twelve year old girl. She likes makeup, clothes and boys....she's normal. Or so she thinks. Until one day she finds herself with a super power.

Suddenly she can shoot fire out of her fingers! She's frightened, until she kinda gets used to the idea. Because she doesn't just get to use her powers to i.e warm up her bath when the water's gone cold. She can use them to save the world too! With the help of her mum and her best friend Tai, they manage to help lots of people. But it's harder than it sounds.

The story gets better and better as you get through the book. I read it all in one go because it was just so brilliant. I couldn't stop reading it!

I recommend this to everyone. The story is a mixture of every genre I know of, which is really rare in a book, so everyone will enjoy it! It's probably best for 11+. Brilliant book!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Top 5 For Christmas

First of all....sorry I haven't posted for a while. :/ You know how it is at this time of year! Plus we're not getting any post at the moment so whatever I've been sent is delayed, including review books etc. Secondly, merry Christmas! Here's my Top 5 Books, Authors and Characters.


Top 5 Books of 2010:
  • Swapped By a Kiss by Luisa Plaja (29th April 2010)
  • Breathing Underwater by Julia Green (7th June 2010)
  • Star Makers Club: Polly Plays Her Part by Anne-Marie Conway (29th October 2010)
  • Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman (28th October 2010)
  • Cherry Crush by Cathy Cassidy (2nd September 2010)
Top 5 Authors: 
  • Malorie Blackman
  • Keris Stainton
  • Kay Woodward
  • Michael Morpurgo
  • Cat Clarke
Top 5 Characters:
  • David from Split By a Kiss and Swapped By a Kiss by Luisa Plaja
  • Phoebe from the Star Makers Club series by Anne-Marie Conway
  • Maddi from Della Says: OMG by Keris Stainton
  • Skye from Cherry Crush by Cathy Cassidy
  • Grace from Entangled by Cat Clarke
It was fun! If you haven't read any of the books listed above, you really should.

Have a great Christmas everyone!! :o)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Cat Clarke Blog Tour

Today, Cat Clarke is stopping off at The Mile Long Bookshelf for part of her blog tour :) We have a  video, an extract of her book Entangled and even an interview with her! Hmmm. I think I'll start with the awesome trailer...




















I love the song that goes with it too - somehow it manages to sum up the whole book without using words. :) If you want to know more detail about the book though, here's the extract!

The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?
AM I GOING TO DIE?'

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got there.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?


It is a must-read, seriously!  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G And so is the author, Cat Clarke! She's really nice, as you can tell from her interview.



What actually inspired you to write Entangled, and how did you come up with the title?

I got the idea for Entangled in an English Language A-level exam, but I didn’t get around to writing the book for YEARS. The book’s turned out very different from that initial idea though – you wouldn’t even recognize it! As for the title, my lovely editor came up with it. I take no credit whatsoever.

What do you think the best song would be to accompany Entangled?

My number one Entangled song is Thnks fr th mmrs by Fall Out Boy. The lyrics don’t have anything to do with the book, but the atmosphere is perfect. Whenever I listen to it I get a real sense of impending doom, which is exactly the feeling I get from the story. The video for the song is all wrong though. It has monkeys in it.

What music do you like to listen to while writing?

I HAVE to listen to music while I write – often the same album on repeat for days and days (my poor neighbours!). My favourites for Entangled were The All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, Jack’s Mannequin, Elliot Minor and Cute is What We Aim For.

Random question - if you could have a famous grandma, who would it be? Dead or alive. :)

That IS a random question. I think I’d go for Maya Angelou. She would have some great stories to tell in front of a roaring fire.

Tell us one random fact about you.

I’m completely obsessed with sharks.

What is the best book you have ever read? (Except your own.)

Now that’s a tough one. Can I have two? To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) and A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving). The second one is a recent read for me, but I’ve never felt such awe whilst reading a book.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be.

New York City! My favourite place in the world. I think it must be a great place to be a writer – all those coffee shops, interesting people, culture... and I could eat Korean food to my heart’s content. And Mexican food. And mac and cheese.

Did anyone in particular inspire you to start writing?

Christopher Pike. I started reading his books when I was about 12 – I LOVED them. I decided I wanted to write Christopher Pike books, but then I realized this wouldn’t be possible since I wasn’t actually, y’know, Christopher Pike.

How old were you when you discovered you wanted to be an author?

When I was about 13 – after I’d read a fair few Christopher Pike books. I realized I wanted to write, but I couldn’t be bothered to write anything. It was a couple of years before I put pen to paper and wrote a couple of pages of terrible faux Pike fiction.

Have you got any tips for aspiring writers?

I’d recommend writing. That always helps. It’s much easier talking about it than actually doing it. And I’d recommend you write as often as you can – which is something I’m still working on. Also, you should read lots and lots of books. You’ll learn just as much from the bad ones as you will from the good ones.

QUICK QUESTIONS
Fruit or Vegetables:
Vegetables (especially aubergine).

Tea or Coffee:
Tea – and lots of it.

Reading or Writing:
WHAT?! Impossible. They go hand in hand, like Posh and Becks.

Facebook or Twitter:
Twitter. Words cannot express how much I love Twitter.

Pink or Yellow:
Pink.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Amber!

Read my review of  Entangled HERE, or buy a copy (you should) HERE.

Entangled will be published on the 6th January which is 4 weeks exactly today!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Happy 1st Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear TMLB,
Happy Birthday to you!!

Yup, you guessed right, it's The Mile Long Bookshelf's first birthday!! Aww. I can't believe it's been a whole year since I started this. It's been really difficult in places, but overall running this blog has been soo fun :) I hope to carry it on for years to come! I just want to say thank you to all the kind publishers and authors that donate books and prizes to me - without you, this blog would be....well, it wouldn't be anything! Anyway, to celebrate I'm having a big competition....

There will only be one winner  and this is INTERNATIONAL. The prizes are:

  • Lottie Biggs is NOT Desperate by Hayley Long
  • Della Says: OMG! by Keris Stainton promotional postcard
  • Seriously Sassy by Maggi Gibson promotional postcard
  • Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper double-sided poster
  • Troubadour by Mary Hoffman double-sided poster
  • Brand new signed paperback copy of Breathing Underwater by Julia Green
  • Brand new signed paperback copy of Seriously Sassy by Maggi Gibson
  • Luisa Plaja bookcover sticker sheet
  • Orange 'Nuffin Like a Puffin' tote bag
Cool or what?! I'd keep these goodies myself if I could, haha! Anyway, just fill out the form HERE for a chance to win.

The closing date is 10th December so you have ten days to enter. Hurry, and good luck!

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Friday, 12 November 2010

Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman

Title: Boys Don't Cry
Author: Malorie Blackman
Published by: Corgi Children's
Publication date: 28th October 2011
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Hardback
Source: Gift.

You're waiting for the postman - he's bringing your exam results. University, a career as a journalist... a glittering future lies ahead.

But when the doorbell rings, it's your old girlfriend; and she's carrying a baby... your baby.

She's had enough and now it's your turn.

What would you do?

What if.

She's had enough and now it's your turn.
What would you do?
What if you were left holding the baby?

The main characters are Dante, his younger brother Adam and Dante's newly discovered baby daughter Emma. I love the way that the chapters switch between Dante talking and Adam talking - you get better insight into what the different characters are feeling. There are some amazing twists in this novel, including a mental breakdown and, of course, the new baby.

You're never bored when reading this. It was so good that I did an all-nighter on a school night....which was really bad of me, and I suffered for it, but it was worth it because it meant I got to read the whole book. Even though she is so famous and well known, this is actually the first Malorie Blackman book I've read; it left such a good impression that I really want to read more of her books!

I really like the cover - the neon pink writing looks really good, and the book probably wouldn't stand out if it wasn't for the bright pink.

This book is FANTASTIC. I can't say how much I enjoyed it - it was brilliant, amazing, cool, awesome, excellent, fantastic, fabulous, good, great.....wow....it really was all that I just said and more. It's good because it makes teenagers more aware of how one night can change the rest of their lives. I give this book a rating of 5/5 and I think it's more suitable for readers aged 12+, although there is some mild swearing in this.

GREAT BOOK! :)

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Chosen One by Sam Bourne

Title: The Chosen One
Author: Sam Bourne
Published by: Harper Collins
Publication date: 27th May 2010
Pages: 576
Genres: Young Adult/Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher


QUICK NOTE: This is a guest review written by my Granny. A publisher sent me this book, but I didn't think I would like it so my Granny offered to review it. So here is her review!


Bruised by years of disappointments, political advisor Maggie Costello is finally working for a leader she can believe in. She, along with the rest of America, has put her trust in President Stephen Baker, believing he can make the world a better place.
But suddenly an enemy surfaces: a man called Vic Forbes reveals first one scandal about the new president, and then another. He threatens a third revelation – one that will destroy Baker entirely.
When Forbes is found dead, Maggie is thrown into turmoil. Could the leader she idolizes have been behind Forbes’s murder? Has she been duped by his message of change and hope? Who is the real Stephen Baker?
On the trail of the truth, Maggie is led into the roots of a massive conspiracy that reaches back into history - and goes right to the heart of the US establishment...

I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting, intriguing, unputdownable....I just loved it! Although it is fiction., it is perfectly credible and it was very exciting so it kept me on the edge of my seat.

It was very, very good - perhaps not for children; maybe adults and older teenagers. It was definitely one of the best books I've ever read; I give it a rating of 5/5. I recommend it!

        Sunday, 24 October 2010

        New Luisa Plaja Book Coming Soon!

        Luisa Plaja has written a new book, and it's coming out next year! How exciting?! It's called Kiss Date Love Hate - I love the title, don't you? - and it sounds brilliant.
        Lex Murphy's group of friends have all dated, hated, ignored and lusted after each other for the last few years. If only there was a way of matching people perfectly to avoid all the unrequited love, dumping and drama! Then Lex's friend George is given a mysterious Sims-like game by his software-testing dad which involves building character profiles in the categories of Life, Looks and Love. Lex and George populate the game with avatars for all their mates, making a few 'wishful thinking' adjustments to the settings - and find that the next day these tinkerings have come true! But how long can this new calm, loved-up atmosphere continue...?
         It comes out on the 7th July 2011 - I can't wait! What do you think of the sound of this book?

        Luisa Plaja is a lovely person and a fantastic writer - she's written some great books so far, including Split by a Kiss and Swapped by a Kiss. I've reviewed both of these, so check those out (Review Index) and then buy the books!

        Saturday, 16 October 2010

        Sweet Hearts: Star Crossed by Jo Cotterill

        Title: Sweet Hearts: Star Crossed
        Author: Jo Cotterill
        Published by: Random House
        Publication date: 27th May 2010
        Pages: 272
        Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher


        'You did WHAT?' screamed Mari.

        'You turned down the cutest boy ever? Are you crazy?'

        This summer, Fliss is playing Juliet opposite her dream Romeo. If only she could tell him how she feels!

        But unless she finds some inner confidence, she's going to miss her chance with him.

        Because someone else has her eyes on Fliss's role - and her leading man...

        Could he be her real-life Romeo...?

        I really like the cover of this book - especially the heart shaped dressing room mirror.  I also like the small hearts on the cover; it shows this is a dramatic and romantic book with a touch of comedy.

        Personally, I love books that are to do with drama. Whether it's set in a drama school, a drama club or whether it's about an actress or actor.....it's guarenteed that I'll love it. So obviously this is going to be a positive review for it!

        My favourite character is Fliss. She's funny, kind and she sounds like a great actress. It's easy to imagine her and the other characters too, which is great. :)

        So. My rating for this? 5/5! It's a very good book. One of my friends, who always used to say 'Books are boring.' or 'I hate reading!' is now a definite bookworm thanks to this book! I'd recommend it for readers aged 9+. Awesome book!

        Sunday, 10 October 2010

        Discussion: We've currently got Vampires. What next?

        Welcome to the first discussion on The Mile Long Bookshelf! Please comment with your own opinions on this topic. I'd like to know what you think!

        Currently, the most popular genre out there right now is Vampires. Yeah. Thanks a bunch, Twilight. It's not that I don't approve of this book topic - of course I do, and I understand that millions and trillions of people LOVE this new take on the vampire world - but it's dragging on  a bit now.

        What about the people who don't really like to read about vampires? There aren't many new books coming out that don't mention them. The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer is a highly popular series of books and movies with teens and adults worldwide. Suddenly everyone became obsessed with vampires, angels and werewolves.

        Me? I just don't get the obsession. I'm just waiting for the next genre to come along. But....what will it be? We've had real life. We've had comedy. We've had sadness. We've had sci-fi. We've had chick-lit. We've had horror.

        Is this going to be the last genre? Like fashion. Fashion is just a big cycle - things that were popular back in the 80s are now coming back. Will the next genre be like that?

        I'd like to know what you think. Do you like this genre? Opinions through comments, please!

        Thursday, 7 October 2010

        Some Seriously Sassy Books!



        In case you don't know already, the picture is of talented author Maggi Gibson. She's written a series of books, and they're brilliant!


        I was so thrilled to get the chance to read Crazy Days, the third book in the series. I reviewed it back in the end of June - here is a quote from it...

        "I think this novel is brilliant, because it's about the environment and music. It will make children and teens more aware of global warming, and mixed with music....it's the perfect match, isn't it? The characters are realistic and well thought about. Maggi is such a fantastic writer, and she has done brilliantly in getting into a teenagers head. " The Mile Long Bookshelf, 24th June 2010. Read the rest of the review HERE.

        This series of books is FABULOUSLY SASSY! You should definitely read these. They can be read alone, but it would be better to have the whole series.


        I asked Maggi how she came up with the idea of Seriously Sassy.

        I wanted to write about a really feisty girl who cared about things, but who was also a lot of fun. I like to think I was a bit like that when I was a teenager. The plot ideas came once I got the idea for that character and her friends. I remember so clearly how confusing and difficult the whole boyfriend thing was for me when I was that age I wanted to make that part of the story. I kind of stole ideas from my own life, and from things that happened to my two daughters.

        Please buy the books - you definitely won't regret it, they're amazing. MUST-HAVE books, seriously! Click the links below to buy.

        Wednesday, 29 September 2010

        Sticker Dolly Dressing: Popstars and Movie Stars by Lucy Bowman and Fiona Watt

        Title: Sticker Dolly Dressing: Popstars and Movie Stars
        Author: Lucy Bowman and Fiona Watt
        Published by: Usborne
        Publication date: 30th August 2010
        Pages: 68
        Genres: Non-fiction/Activity book/Children's
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher.
        Buy the book
        Lights! Camera! Action!

        Girls everywhere will love picking the perfect outfits for these glitzy stars in this bumper Sticker Dolly collection. There are over 750 fabulous dresses, costumes, shoes, hats and accessories to choose from to dress the girls across twenty-six glamorous settings and prepare them for stardom.

        Discover the glittery world of popstars and movie stars in this exciting book. Use the fantastic stickers to dress the stars for photo shoots, award ceremonies and lots, lots more.

        Popstars and Movie Stars is a lovely and entertaining book for 'little dreamers' as I like to call them :) This is a beautifully illustrated book, and I definitely think every little girl in the world would love this. I'm nearly 12 and even I enjoyed it!

        With a small amount of text on each page, it's very good for children who aren't very confident readers yet. The stickers are easy to peel off so you can have as much fun as you like with this book!

        I would recommend this book. With over 750 stickers, it proves hours of fun!

        I definitely recommend this book, to any girls 5-9. 5/5!

        Sunday, 19 September 2010

        EVENT REPORT: Cathy Cassidy's Cherry Crush Signing

        We set off at 9:15am hoping to be at Cathy Cassidy's Bluewater book signing for the 11am start. But a dodgy sat-nav and a 20-mile long traffic jam later and we were too late and had to go to....

        Plan B: The Bromley book signing, a few miles up the road from Bluewater.


        This was towards the end of the traffic jam over the Dartford Crossing on the way to Bromley.

        We found The Glades Shopping Centre which is where the book signing was. We bought our parking ticket but then spent half an hour driving around the car park looking for a space! Eventually we found one. We rushed to Waterstones and joined the queue to see Cathy Cassidy. :)


        As you may have read in THIS post, I was sent a manuscript copy of 'Cherry Crush' in July to review so I brought that along to be signed as well as the published edition of 'Cherry Crush', 'Letters to Cathy', 'Daizy Star and the Pink Guitar', and two mini books: 'Love, Peace and Chocolate' and 'Icecream and Dreams' for her to sign.

        Finally it was my turn. I had met Cathy once before when 'Angel Cake' was published but I don't know if she remembered me from then (Cambridge, 2009.)


        I had a post-it with my name and blog title on it. She looked at it, looked at me and said "Oh, it's YOU!!!" in a really excited voice. She was lovely!


        She thanked me for writing such nice reviews of her other books and came round the table to give me a hug. She then asked me if I'd like to stay for the rest of the book signing and help hand out chocolate, newsletters and friendship bracelets (obviously I said yes) :) She gave me a pair of wings and a wand, inspired by the Chocolate Fairies at the end of 'Cherry Crush.' So off I went to keep the fans happy who were in the queue :)

        I also met Lisa who is Cathy's publicist. She's the one who sent me the manuscript :) We've emailed each other quite a few times so it was nice to finally meet her :)

        Eventually it was time for me to leave, so I went to tell Cathy and she gave me another big hug and thanked me for helping and for travelling such a long way :)


        WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THE DAY:
        It was really fun, and the freebies were great :) Free chocolate! Free friendship bracelets! Free mini-books! What could be better? A hug from the author of course! That was really nice and it was so cool that she knew who I was :) She spent time on each fan, signing their books and letting them take photos, and also asking them what their favourite book was etc. The queue wasn't too boring though, because everybody there was a fan so we could all chat to each other about the books, and how excited we were :) Lisa was also handing out toffees and sweets which was nice :) I like how Cathy adds a personal touch to her book signings i.e the freebies, and asking certain people to be chocolate fairies :) She didn't ask everyone y'know! Hehe :) It was the best day ever, it was SO fun!

        WHAT WAS BAD ABOUT THE DAY:
        Nothing at all! It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

        Basically, it was a really good day and I really enjoyed myself. I think everyone else did too :) I can't wait to see Cathy again one day!

        Sunday, 12 September 2010

        Entangled by Cat Clarke

        Title: Entangled
        Author: Cat Clarke
        Published by: Quercus
        Publication date: 6th January 2011
        Pages: 256
        Genres: Young Adult
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher.


        The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
        What does he want from me?
        How could I have let this happen?
        AM I GOING TO DIE?

        17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got there.

        As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unraveling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

        Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?
        Grace is madly tangled with her gorgeous boyfriend Nat....But her friendship with Sal is coming undone...But is she so fast in love, that she can't see what a glorious mess all three of them are in?

        I must say, my first impressions of this book were not great. 'Another cheesy romance story. This SO isn't gonna get a good review from me.' But this wasn't just another normal, cheesy, un-original love story. And this is going to get a good review from me. Wanna know why? Because this was a highly original love story with a whole new take on the term 'Paranormal' and I have never read a book quite like this before.

        Entangled tells the story of Grace, who is struggling with life and love. Too tangled up in her own thoughts, she doesn't notice what is going on around her. This keeps the reader on the edge-of-their-seat, waiting to see what happens. I was glued to the page - I could not put it down; literally!

        I found some of it hard to understand. Some of the things in the book were never quite clear. For example, why was she in the white room? Will she ever make-up with Sal? It was quite disappointing at the end because the answers to the questions above, we will never know unless there is a sequel. It would have been nice if at the end, all questions were answered so the book finished with the reader being clear on what had happened.

        Other than that, this book was highly original and I really enjoyed it. I give Entangled a rating of 4/5 and I recommend this for readers aged 12+. I really do recommend reading this book! I've never read one like it. It was brilliant.
        Notes: My copy of this is a proof copy, so I don't actually have the edition with the cover on it (my copy is just plain pink with the title on it) therefore I wasn't able to comment on the cover.

        Friday, 3 September 2010

        My So-Called Haunting by Tamsyn Murray

        Title: My So-Called Haunting
        Author: Tamsyn Murray
        Published by: Piccadilly Press
        Publication date: 20th August 2010
        Pages: 352
        Genres: Young Adult
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher.

        Spirits, spells and bad boy hell...Who says the living have it easy?

        Skye, a fourteen-year-old who can see ghosts, is very stressed. Not only is the ghost of sixteenth-century witch giving her fashion tips, but she's struggling to settle into life with her aunt, and is developing a crush on the most unattainable boy in the school, Nico.

        When her aunt asks for her help with a troubled teen ghost Dontay, she's glad of the distraction. But then Nico starts paying her more attention, and she's soon facing a battle to keep her love life and her psychic life separate.

        As things get ever more complicated, it looks as though Dontay's past might cost Skye her future.

        After reading My So-Called Afterlife (the first in the series) I was SO excited to find out there was going to be a sequel. I waited patiently for it to be published, getting more excited to read it every day, and now it is finally here! The wait was so worth it - I loved it! I'd even go as far to say it was better than the first one - and the first one was amazing so just think how good this one is! Definitely worth reading.

        This book was told by new character Skye, who is fourteen years old. She is physic; she can see ghosts and speak to them just like her auntie, Celestine. There are a lot of new people, ghosts etc in this book, but a few things from My So-Called Afterlife remain the same which I thought was nice. There's a few unexpected twists in this book, and you have no idea what will happen next, it's great! Tamsyn has done a brilliant job keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. :-)

        The cover is really, really cool. It's elegant, mysterious and fun at the same time! I love the bright pink against the black and grey, it really stands out.

        I have no complaints whatsoever about this book. It was REALLY REALLY GOOD! I can't tell you how good it was. Loved it! 10000/5!

        Saturday, 28 August 2010

        Frightfully Friendly Ghosties: Ghostly Holler-Day by Daren King

        Title: Frightfully Friendly Ghosties: Ghostly Holler-Day
        Author: Daren King
        Published by: Quercus
        Publication date: 2nd September 2010
        Pages: 128
        Genres: Children's/Light horror
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher.

        It's winter, and what better than a ghostly holler-day by the sea? But how are the ghosties to decide between Frighten-on-Sea and Scare-borough?

        A postcard from their friend Headless Leslie decides for them: Headless is in Frighten and cannot remember how to get home. He wrote the address on the postcard, then he forgot what the address was.

        So the friends set off on an exciting ghostie caper; involving a haunted Frighten pier, a fun fair, and a mysterious phantom magician. But will it all end in spooky fun or devilish disaster?

        And will Leslie keep his head?

        This cover is really good. To be honest, I think it could use a little more colour because it doesn't stand out very well. I do understand that it is a ghost book though, so I know it needs to look a little dark and spooky - but a little more colour would be a great improvement. The picture above doesn't do the book in real life, justice. In real life, the spider webs are shiny and spooky; you can hardly see them on the picture used for this review. Other than that, I really do like this cover. It's very mysterious and it just makes you want to grab it and start reading straight away!

        The characters names in this are ridiculously hilarious! Charlie Vapour, Humphrey Bump, Pamela Fraidy, Wither, Headless Leslie....to name a few. It's clear that the author has spent a long time thinking about the characters names and personalities - by the second page, you feel like you already know them!

        This is a very unusual, unique, original book. A family of ghosts living in a house that is no longer occupied by the 'still-alives'. Of course, that is not all the book is about. It's a story of fear, haunted piers at night time, con-men, spooky Victorian magicians, strange trap-doors and lots more...mwahahahahahahaa! Also, I love the authors play-on-words. Frighten, Holler-Day, Scare-borough....basically the whole book is hilarious; it's a must-read!

        I have only found ONE fault with this book and that is about the ending. The ending is extremely disappointing - it's as if the book has just stopped in the middle of the story. I would have liked a more detailed, dramatic, clear ending.

        Other than that....wow. That's all I can say. Wow. This book was great! I absolutely loved it. It's not extremely scary so I'd say this book is for readers aged...7+. Maybe even younger, if this was read to the child. I give this a rating of 4/5 - excellent :) I've never read anything by this author before but I certainly will be reading more by him now!

        Tuesday, 24 August 2010

        Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham

        Title: Dear Dylan
        Author: Siobhan Curham
        Published by: Electric Monkey
        Publication date: 2nd April 2012
        Pages: 320
        Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher.


        Fourteen year old Georgie Harris feels as if the summer holidays are over before they have even began.

        Banned from going to the local drama workshop by her bully of a step-dad and her increasingly fragile mum she is consigned to six long weeks of babysitting her kid sister.

        Sick of feeling like the outsider at home and at school, she starts emailing the one person she thinks might understand; Dylan Curtland, star of the popular soap opera Jessop Close.

        And when Dylan starts emailing back Georgie finally feels a spark of hope.

        At last she has someone who really gets her, someone who really wants to help. But in the faceless world of email all is not as it seems...

        My first impression of this book was 'Ohmigod. This looks great! I can't wait to read this.' I love the doodles around the edge of the cover and the hearts in the 'D's' in the title are really cute. I think maybe it would look better if you could actually see Georgie's face. Other than that, a very cute and eye-catching cover which gives great first impressions :)

        An interesting thing about this book is that it is written entirely in emails. The problem is that this sometimes made the book a little slow in places. Sometimes the emails are a bit too long for my liking and sometimes I just want a break from the long emails. Don't get me wrong, I like the unusual format, but sometimes it just got a little bit boring. It could have been better, but it was still a good read with twists and challenges along the way.

        I like Nancy, or 'Nan' as Georgie calls her for short. She's really nice and she helps Georgie with all her problems. Also she gave lots of advice for acting during the book, which is good for everyone who likes drama. :)

        My favourite character was Jamie Phelps, Georgie's crush. He seemed nice and he cheered Georgie up when she was sad or angry. A character I didn't like at all straight from the start was Jessica, Georgies 'Best Friend'. She sounded a bit jealous of her and sometimes she was mean to Georgie. Especially when she turned up at the woods and - oops! Can't tell you any more about THAT. You'll have to read the book to find out what she did. ANYWAY...

        This book gets a rating from me of 4/5. The book could have been better, but it's a nice short read for the summer hols :) I do recommend this, it was a great book despite the few faults I found :)

        Wednesday, 18 August 2010

        Half a Sister by Kelly McKain

        Title: Half a Sister
        Author: Kelly McKain
        Published by: Usborne
        Publication date: 30th August 2010
        Pages: 272
        Genres: Young Adult/Family/Contemporary
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the author.

        A half-sister is better than none - or is it?

        Hannah is thrilled at the idea of her newly discovered half-sister coming to live with her family.

        She's always imagined a lovely sisterly world of girly chats, swapping make-up and sharing secrets and clothes.

        Beautiful, glamorous Ellie seems to live up to all Hannah's expectations.

        But gradually she begins to realize that Ellie has a darker side - one that threatens to tear Hannah's world apart.

        This book is in a diary format, which is - in my opinion - a more fun way to read a book. Plus, a book in diary format breaks it all up a bit so it's easier to read for younger children. This starts off with Hannah (main character) telling us about herself, and why she started the diary. The idea of having a half sister is a very common theme for books, but Kelly McKain has managed to make it into an original, unique, funny book with a few twists and adventures to Paris along the way.

        The cover of Half a Sister is gorgeous, and it gives a great first impression! I like how most of the cover is illustrated, but there are a few real flowers on it too. I don't think illustrators of books get enough credit for what they do, so I'd just like to say that Katie Lovell has done a brilliant job on this cover - well done!

        The characters in this book are just simply....awesome. ;) My favourite character is Ellie, Hannah's newly discovered half-sister. She sounds quite cool, and although she has her down sides, she's a great addition to the story. Her background is really interesting - but sad - and not many authors give a lot of information on the background of a character, so this was great.

        My overall rating of the whole book? Well - I can't see any down sides to it at all! A great book to add to your bookshelf. Although my copy of this book can't actually fit on my bookshelf...wow I really need a third one....ahem anyway, I give this book 5/5! It really does deserve it. Well done Kelly - you rock! :)
        Thank you to Kelly herself for sending me a SIGNED COPY (!!!) Thanks so much! And....apparently I'm the first girl to read this in the whole United Kingdom! WOW. I can't thank you enough :)

        Friday, 13 August 2010

        That Summer by Sarah Dessen

        Title: That Summer
        Author: Sarah Dessen
        Published by: Penguin
        Publication date: 2nd July 2009
        Pages: 240
        Genres: Young Adult
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Library.


        For fifteen-year-old Haven this is the summer where everything changes.

        Dad is remarrying. Her sister Ashley is planning a wedding of her own. They're both moving on, but Haven is lost in memories of a time when life was happy and her family was whole.

        And then Ashley's ex, the charming and funny Sumner Lee; arrives in town.

        He reminds Haven of carefree days gone by, and she can't help but wonder - has fate brought this person back from her past to change her future?

        Firstly, I love how all of Sarah Dessens book covers are like a collage. They look amazing and every time you look at it, you see something new. It's interesting, eye-catching....Sarah Dessens books have the best covers I have EVER seen - seriously!

        The story was a little slow in places. You found yourself wanting to skip some pages because they were boring, sometimes there wasn't enough....drama.  Other than that, this is a great book to start with if you haven't read anything by Sarah Dessen before!

        My favourite character is Sumner Lee. Haven, (the main character), has an older sister called Ashley - Sumner is Ashley's ex boyfriend. He seems really cool, and he drives an old VW Beetle ;)

        So....overall, it is worth reading. I'd give it a rating of 3.5/5....it's good, but not as good as some of Sarah Dessen's other books!

        Thursday, 5 August 2010

        Almost True by Keren David

        Title: Almost True
        Author: Keren David
        Published by: Frances Lincoln
        Publication date: 2nd September 2010
        Pages: 368
        Genres: Young Adult
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher.

        This isn't the first time that someone's tried to silence me forever. It's just the first time that someone else has died instead.

        Ruthless killers are hunting Ty. The police move him and his Mum to a quiet seaside town. But a horrific attack and a bullet meant for Ty prove that he's not safe yet.

        On the road again, Ty's in hiding with complete strangers...who seem to know a lot about him. Meanwhile, he's desperate to see his girlfriend Claire, and terrified that she may betray him.

        Ty can't trust his own judgment and he's making dangerous decisions that could deliver him straight to the gangsters.
        A thrilling sequel to When I Was Joe, shot through with drama and surprise.

        After reading When I Was Joe (my review here) I was really excited to get to read this a few months ago. I've been dying to be allowed to review it since I read it, but I was requested to wait until nearer to the publishing date. So, what do I think of the book? Read on!

        This story follows on from the last book, When I Was Joe. It tells how Ty finds his new life, but it also tells a story of danger, emotion, romance and life on the run.

        I really, really liked this novel! It combines excitement with teenage realism, to create a unique teen book and it always has you sitting on the edge of your seat. I'd say that both girls and boys would enjoy this novel - and that's something hard to come across these days.

        I don't like this cover as much as the cover of When I Was Joe, but I do like the fact that they both look similar, so you can tell they're both in a series straight away. This is a very eye-catching cover, and I think it makes you just want to grab it instantly and start reading!

        My favourite character was Claire. She was nice and she had an interesting past.  I think she was one of the best characters in this.

        Overall, this is a great novel that I would recommend to ages 11+ although it deals with some serious issues. It depends what you usually read. I give this a rating of 5/5 - brilliant book Keren!!

        Monday, 26 July 2010

        Cherry Crush by Cathy Cassidy

        Title: Cherry Crush
        Author: Cathy Cassidy
        Published by: Puffin
        Publication date: 2nd September 2010
        Pages: 304
        Genres: Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary
        Format: Hardback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher.

        Cherry Costello’s life is about to change forever.

        She and Dad are moving to Somerset where a new mum and a bunch of brand-new sisters await.

        And on Cherry’s first day there she meets Shay Fletcher; with suntanned skin and sea-green eyes he’s the kind of boy who should carry a government health warning.

        But Shay already has a girlfriend, Cherry’s new stepsister, Honey.

        Cherry knows her friendship with Shay is dangerous – it could destroy everything. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to stay away from him...

        I have been SO excited about this exciting new book ever since it was announced that Cathy was writing it, way back in July 2009! So when Puffin contacted me asking if I would like the manuscript version (!!) of it, how could I refuse! 

        The cover is so gorgeous and yummy. I love that some of it is illustration, but the pictures of the chocolate aren't! Mmm... I also love the silver against the bright red. It looks fun and entertaining, yet also sophisticated and.....well....chocolate-y!

        The whole idea of The Chocolate Box Girls is just genius. Apparently there will be five books in total (Cherry Crush being the first one), each book being from the point of view of each sister. This one is from Cherry Costellos. I love the way she looks at things, and yet I feel sorry for her sometimes too. Her stories are magical, and mysterious....love it!

        My favourite character, apart from Cherry, is Shay. When he first appears in the story, I thought he was a bit weird, but then further on in the book, I thought he was quite cool.

        My overall rating of this fabulously amazbrilltastic book is 5/5! It has friendship, a gypsy caravan and chocolate....what more could a great book need?

        Wednesday, 21 July 2010

        The Poisoned House by Michael Ford

        Title: The Poisoned House
        Author: Michael Ford
        Published by: Bloomsbury
        Publication date: 2nd August 2010
        Pages: 288
        Genres: Young Adult/Horror
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher.


        Abi is a servant at Greave Hall, a stately London home.

        She runs away, but is soon recaptured, to suffer once more under the tyrannical rule of Mrs Cotton, the housekeeper.

        The house, though, has a darker secret. Something ghostly inhabits the corridors, leading Abi to the very truth someone has tried so hard to bury.

        The more she discovers, the more her life is in danger, as she begins to unravel the mystery within the poisoned house.

        A gripping and masterfully woven story of intrique, passion and greed.

        My first impression of this book was that it looked quite boring and a little bit scary...I'm not a big fan of historical stories, or scary mysteries, so let's just say I wasn't extremely excited to have the opportunity to read this book. But I decided to read the first page, to give it a try. And I'm so glad I did! I loved this book and I think it's a great novel for anyone who hasn't read this kind of book before.

        For me, there were no boring bits and you could never guess what was going to happen next so it did keep you reading. I quite like the cover although the colours are a bit dull (yes, I know, it's a book set in the 1800s so of course it's going to look a bit dark - I just think it could do with a little bit of colour.) so I don't think it's very eye catching.

        My favourite character....hmm...hard to choose! I think my favourite character is Lizzie, another servant who is Abi's friend. She's kind to Abi and tries to stick up for her if Abi somehow gets in trouble.

        If you like a novel with surprising twists and scary bits, this is for you. And the ending is the best ending I've EVER read, seriously! It was so surprising and scary but good as well! I give this novel a rating of 5/5. I really hope there's a sequel, because the ending sentence made you want to read more.

        Saturday, 17 July 2010

        Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

        Title: Withering Tights
        Author: Louise Rennison
        Published by: Harper Collins
        Publication date: 8th July 2010
        Pages: 368
        Genres: Young Adult
        Format: Hardback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher

        The misadventures of Tallulah Casey! Hilarious new series from Queen of Teen -- laugh your tights off at the (VERY) amateur dramatic antics of Talullah and her bonkers mates. Boys, snogging and bad acting guaranteed! Picture the scene: Dother Hall performing arts college somewhere Up North, surrounded by rolling dales, bearded cheesemaking villagers (male and female) and wildlife of the squirrely-type. On the whole, it's not quite the showbiz experience Tallulah was expecting! but once her mates turn up and they start their 'FAME! I'm gonna liiiiive foreeeeeever, I'm gonna fill my tiiiiights' summer course things are bound to perk up. Especially when the boys arrive. (When DO the boys arrive?) Six weeks of parent-free freedom. BOY freedom. Freedom of expression! cos it's the THEATRE dahling, theatre!
        It’s time to meet Tallulah Casey as she careers about in her tights. She’s your kind of mate!

        The cover is.....how would the students at Dother Hall Performing Arts College say it?....Fabulous, dahling! I love how the pink stands out against the black, and the font of the words are great. Also I love the little pink owl in the corner, it just adds a bit of humour to it all. As soon as you see this cover, you just know you're going to have a hilarious time reading it!

        Those of you who have read Louise Rennison's other books before will know of one of Louise's best-known characters, Georgia Nicholson. Surprisingly, Georgia appears briefly in this book too, as Tallulahs cousin! I think that's a really nice touch, as it adds familiarity to the story.

        My favourite character is Tallulah because she's hilarious. Her random bursts of 'Irish Dancing' had me laughing out loud! 

        Overall, I'd say this is a book worth reading. It isn't as good as some of Louise's other books, but it's still brilliant and I definitely recommend it. 4/5!

        Friday, 16 July 2010

        Fortune by Megan Cole

        Title: Fortune
        Author: Megan Cole
        Published by: Harper Collins
        Publication date: 8th July 2010
        Pages: 432
        Genres: Young Adult/Chick Lit/Romance/Contemporary
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher.

        Step into the world of the mega-rich… and the mega-bitches. Three girls. One life-changing fortune…

        Madison is so over New York. Her mom won't let her have botox and she can't leave the city because her step-father is sick. Snoresville. So when she gets a mysterious invitation to a private party in Capri, held by billionaire music mogul Brad Masters, she's determined to go.

        Simonetta wants her mamma off her back. Of course she's not going to give up modelling in Rome to go back to her fusty little village. When she gets her invitation, she sees the chance to lose her roots forever.

        Sapphire just wants to write songs and hang out in the London record shop where she works. When she's invited to Brad's party, she doesn't even want to go – but her mum seems strangely excited about it.

        Madison, Simonetta and Sapphire: three girls from different worlds who are about to find out they have more in common than they think.

        I really, really like this cover. The font is perfect, the colours are perfect....I wouldn't change a thing! It definitely stands out among all the black vampire-y type novels that are popular lately, because it's so bright. I love the black silhouettes of the girls against the bright blue sky. It's a peaceful, relaxing cover and perfect for a day at the beach.

        The story isn't very unique - it kind of reminds me of Mamma Mia, but I can't tell you why. It would spoil the story; you'll have to read it yourself! I do love the whole idea of Fortune, though. I wish I could say more on this, but it would spoil the surprises and the twists.

        My least favourite character is Madison. She is so nasty! Her thoughts and schemes were funny though, so it added a little humour to the story. My favourite character is Sapphire because she's kind and she loves music and her guitar, just like me. I felt really sorry for Sapphire when Madison and Simonetta were mean to her, and Brad always blamed it on Sapphire.

        The surprises and the twists were SO good! And this novel wasn't predictable at all - it keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, waiting to see what will happen next. The author has done a brilliant job keeping the reader interested.

        This book gets a rating of 5/5. It was an excellent novel. A perfect beach read! I desperately hope there will be a sequel! Definitely worth reading.

        Thursday, 15 July 2010

        Loving Spirit by Linda Chapman

        Title: Loving Spirit
        Author: Linda Chapman
        Published by: Puffin
        Publication date: 5th August 2010
        Pages: 192
        Genres: Children's
        Format: Paperback
        Source: Review copy from the publisher


        Ellie turned and felt a rush of love as she saw the trust in his eyes...

        Ellie has lost her parents, her home in New Zealand and everything she knows. Now she must live in England with family who are more like strangers.

        Life on her Uncle Len's horse farm seems so lonely - until Ellie meets Spirit. She's never seen the grey horse before, but she has the strangest feeling they've always known each other.

        Like Ellie, Spirit is alone in the world, and they form an intense bond. And as the weeks go by, Spirit helps Ellie to discover an incredible talent that changes both their lives forever.

        Now Ellie's found him, she'll never let go...

        The first book in an amazing series.

        My first impression of this book was "Great. It's about horses. I'm not a very horsey person, I bet I won't understand half of the horsey terms in there." And it was true. I didn't understand most of the horsey words. But the story is so good that I didn't actually need to know what they meant. Even if you're not a horse lover, this is still an extremely enjoyable read.

        I'll be honest, I'm not a big fan of the cover. It looks a bit dull to me, and I don't think it stands out. I do like the hint of purple in the authors name, though. I also like the way you can see a hint of pink on the girls cheeks. The whole look of the book just looks kind of....magical. It seems to pull you into the story, and I think that's a good thing.

        The characters were very realistic, and the things they did were very believable. My favourite was Joe, Ellie's cousin, because I think it was sweet how he tried to help her and how he was always nice to her when her Uncle Len and one of the other horse riders, Luke, weren't.

        I. Love. This. Story. I can't wait for the next book in the series! I'm really looking forward to it. The ending was a tiny bit of a cliffhanger - it left you wanting more. I think the author did a really good job of writing Ellie. I really felt her emotion i.e when she was reminded of her parents dying, when she was worried about her horse, when Uncle Len was nasty to her...Overall I give this book a rating of 5/5. Perfect for everyone!

        Tuesday, 13 July 2010

        In My Mailbox #11


        FROM BOOKBABBLERS




        FROM BLOOMSBURY


        FROM PUFFIN



        FROM HARPERCOLLINS

        (Proof)


        FROM WHSMITH


        FROM SCHOLASTIC

        (In full manuscript format)

        Woo! Ten books! Just to let you know that some of these books will not be reviewed on this website as I am a member of various reviewer panels, and they send me books to review for their site, not mine.

        Thank you to all of the above people who sent me these!