Friday, 26 February 2010

Celia Rees Book Signing

I just found out that author Celia Rees is doing a book signing in Cambridge! I was going to go, but then found out it was on a Saturday so I can't make it as I have stage school...but maybe you lot could!

DATE: Saturday 10th April 2010
TIME: 4pm
VENUE: Cambridge Central Library
GENRE: Children's/Teen's

The award winning and bestselling author of Witch Child, Pirates! and Sorvay has broken her own rules with her new book. She vowed never to use Elizabethan England as a setting and never to write about real historical figures. And so The Fool’s Girl opens in London in 1601 with two characters about to make the acquaintance of one William Shakespeare...

Ages 12+.

All events are free and take place on the 3rd floor, Central Library, Lion Yard, Cambridge.
Tickets must be obtained from the ADC Theatre Box Office.
Children must be accompanied at all times.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Tapas and Tears by Chris Higgins

Title: Tapas and Tears
Author: Chris Higgins
Published by: Hodder Children's Books
Publication date: 4th February 2010
Pages: 272
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift

Jaime never wanted to go to Spain in the first place.

But when she's forced on to the school exchange trip with Concepcion Inmaculada she knows it will be OK.

After all, someone named after the Virgin Mary must be kind, sweet and gentle...Right?

What happens in Spain, stays in Spain - until it chases you back to England...

This novel is about an extremely shy girl called Jaime, who has an embarrassing problem...she blushes very easily! She would rather not be seen, not be noticed, but of course, that doesn't happen.

She ends up in Spain, on the school exchange trip, where she is constantly in the spot light!  Jaime goes to stay with Concepcion Inmaculada (or Concha for short), her exchange partner, thinking that she'll be a lovely kind girl...she couldn't have been more wrong...

Tapas and Tears was, I think, the best Chris Higgins book I've ever read! It kept you interested the whole way through.
Kept me hooked! - Chicklish
Exactly! It really did. I couldn't put it down, and managed to read it in just over two hours! The characters were funny and love-able,  the book had a plot that I've never read in a book was just brilliant!

Usually lots of books I read have similar plots, but I had never read a book before with a Spanish Exchange Student story-line which made it even better.

I honestly couldn't put it down! I give this book 5/5, it was GREAT.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Princess For Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

Title: Princess for Hire
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Published by: Egmont
Publication date: 1st February 2010
Pages: 384
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

WANTED: teenage girl to serve as substitute princess. Must be willing to travel. Please call Meredith.

Desi's life sucks. She had to wear a stupid, furry costume at work, the guy she likes doesn't know she exists and her former best friend hates her.

So when she's accepted as a substitute princess, it looks like she might finally have a chance to shine...and there's a hot prince to meet!

But is Desi really up to the royal challenge? After all, the life of a princess isn't just tiaras and glass slippers...

Firstly, I just want to say that all the reviews I've seen of this book have said "But the bath on the front cover has nothing to do with the story!" Well, yes it does. In the first and second chapters Desi is in the bath when she sees the advertisment for a princess substitute. And personally, I think the UK cover is much nicer than the USA cover, but that's just me! Maybe because I'm younger than most book reviewers.

This book took a bit of time to get into, but eventually it had me staying up until 3am, desperate to find out what happened next!  What happened next was, I decided this was one of the best books I've ever read! It was surprisingly brilliant for an author's debut.


Desi:  Desi is the main character. At the beginning of the book Desi works at a pet shop wearing an embarrassing furry costume. Soon though, her life takes an unexpected spin and life changes for the better!

Meredith: Desi's princess sub agent. Meredith is always in her own little bubble (literally) and takes Desi to new princess gigs.

Drake: Desi's old boss from the pet shop. A slightly odd person, but quite funny as well.

Lilith: Pretends to be a nice, warm, funny person but actually she's really mean and hates Desi. She trains Desi when Desi first comes to Facade Agency.

Celeste: Used to be Desi's best friend but soon turned her back on her and got together with Hayden, Desi's crush.

It was very funny and I loved the idea of a princess substitute agency, and the way that everyone who worked there had different rainbow coloured hair! Meredith had green hair, and I seem to remember some of them had pink and blue hair!

Happy ever after...or a date with disaster?

My favourite character was actually Meredith because it was really funny when she was being stern and mean, because you could tell she didn't really mean to be.  The ending was fantastic and I really hope there is a second book! Overall I give this book 5/5.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sunita's Secret by Narinder Dhami

Title: Sunita's Secret
Author: Narinder Dhami
Published by: Random House
Publication date: 4th May 2006
Pages: 240
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Sunita has just started at Coppergate School but has to be ultra-careful about making friends. She's scared someone will discover her horrible secret.

Her worst fears come true when she makes an enemy of Celina, the class goddess, and Celina tells all their classmates that Sunita's dad is a fraudster on the run from the police!
Sunita has to prove that she's no criminal herself and tries to keep her head down.

But she can't hide her natural instinct for helping people and starts doing little favours for people without them knowing.

Will more secrets mean trouble for Sunita?

This book focused mainly on Sunita and Celina, who became enemies on Sunita's first day at Coppergate School, after Celina recognized Sunita from the news on TV and newspapers because Sunita's dad was on the run from the police. Sunita finally makes friends with Zara and Henry, and life seems to be much better for once. But then Sunita, Zara and Henry start doing secret good deeds for other people...but could that mean more trouble for them?

Sunita's Secret was written very well, and I loved the background of Sunita's life, which was carfeully weaved into the story without taking over the whole book. This book wasn't part of the Babes Series but the story was set in the same school and sometimes Sunita bumped into Amber, Geena or Jazz from the babes books. Sunita's Secret was very funny but also quite a serious story at the same time, which I felt was really good. The balance of funny and serious in this book was just right! I give this book 5/5 and if you've read the Babes Series then you will definitely love this!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray

Title: My So-Called Afterlife
Author: Tamsyn Murray
Published by: Piccadilly Press
Publication date: 26th January 2010
Pages: 176
Genres: Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.

"Aaargh!" Stumbling backwards, the man's face flooded with horrified embarrassment. "How long have you been there?" My mind fizzed furiously. He could see me. He could actually see me! I could have hugged him! Well, I couldn't, but you know what I mean...

Fifteen year old Lucy has been stuck in the men's loos since she was murdered there six months ago and Jeremy is the first person who's been able to see or hear her. Just her luck that he's a seriously uncool geography-teacher-type...but at least he's determined to help. Once he's found a way for her to leave the loos, she's soon meeting other ghosts, including the gorgeous Ryan. However, when Jeremy insists that she helps him track down her killer, she has to confront her greatest fear...

My So-Called Afterlife is probably the best book I've read this year! Seriously, I think it was more addictive than the Twilight series! It was such a funny, gripping book and Tamsyn got the sarcasm of a 15 year old girl just right. It made me laugh out loud in places - I was surprised to hear it's her first book! Most books make me lose interest half way through, but this book didn't, it was so brilliant I read it in a day! My favourite character is Lucy Shaw (the teenage ghost) because she was such a funny character, and her thoughts sometimes made me laugh. I was really sad when the book finished - the 184 pages flew by!

The ending was good too - all the ends were tied up, although it did leave you wanting more!! I have absolutely no complaints about this book! It was fabulous all the way through. Tamsyn, you should be proud!
And now, as promised, you get the chance to win a signed copy of My So-Called Afterlife! This is an already signed copy of the book, not an actual book signing. To enter, just fill in this form HERE. This competition finishes on the 10th March so you have plenty of time!

Monday, 15 February 2010

In My Mailbox #1


Limited Edition Proof Copy of The Spendour Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore which is out this month


Tapas and Tears by Chris Higgins


My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray (expect a competition soon where you can win a signed copy of it)


Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Chapter One of The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees

Chapter One

‘What country, friends, is this?’
London, 22nd April 1601

Have you seen a city under sack? Have you seen what happens there? Have you seen the blood, heard the screaming, smelt the smoke on the wind?

I stood on the battlements and watched them coming. Venetians and Uskok pirates, the scum of the sea, combined together to attack our fair city. I saw the red flash of the guns, the white smoke, felt walls shudder. I saw ships rammed; blown to splinters. I saw tall galleys spew fire that spread over the decks in a blazing carpet, turning men into torches and sails into ragged flags of flame. The burning ships ran on, setting fire to others until our fleet was nothing but smoking hulks set to spin in the powerful current like blackened walnut shells.

Still they came on. Platforms built on towers above the prows of the leading galleys brought the invaders level with us on the battlements. We kept up a hail of stones and arrows but the big ships came in a long line, each platform linked with its neighbour. You could run from one end of the fleet to the other. Those Venetians are clever. The ships rammed against the walls, grounding themselves on the rocks, bringing their forces eye to eye with ours. Men leaped off the platforms and on to the battlements, letting rope ladders down to be caught by those below. Soon men were crawling up the walls in black swarms.

From the landward side, balls of fire rained down on the city, destroying houses and churches. The roofs were obscured by rolling smoke; flames shot upwards and tiles fell in a dreadful scurrying clatter, muffling the screams of those caught inside to burn alive.

The city’s walls were breached. The gates lay open.
Enemy forces poured in, driving the people up the Stradun. The wide central thoroughfare was already jammed with all those trying to escape the ring of trampling booted feet, the swing and slash of the sword blade. The crowds were forced into the main piazza, caught like fish pursed up in a net. They would find no sanctuary in the cathedral. The great west door lay in splinters. Vestments were strewn about, defiled and discarded. Pages of sacred texts blew around and stuck in the crooked streams of blood that were trickling down the steps to pool on the white marble pavement. Once the piazza was full, the killing began. The separate wails of grief, sobbing and pleading became one constant scream.

I took her. I dragged her from the battlements. She wanted to stay, to fight to the end, but her father the Duke ordered her away. He knew that there would be no mercy. He did not want to see his daughter raped in front of him until they put out his eyes. He sent his page, young Guido, with us, not wanting to see the
same thing happen to him.

We went down into the cellars. From there I hoped to take one of the tunnels that led out to the ramparts, but from the direction of the walls came the rumble of rolling barrels. The vermin were already down there.

Sappers, busy with gunpowder, getting ready to blast their way up into the tower.
I led them up into air thick with the smell of burning flesh and ash falling like snow. The fight had moved on, the streets were deserted, but they were not empty, if you get my meaning, and there was no way for me to shield her. She’s seen sights that no girl of her age should ever have to see. There’s a madness takes men over. No one had been spared. Men cut down where they stood, women raped and left for
dead, children and babies chopped and butchered.

Only the animals were still roaming about, and the less said about that . . .

We couldn’t get out of the city. We were trapped like rats in a granary. Ever seen terriers sent in to clear them? They kill until they are staggering, then they kill
some more. In the east, a woman’s high keening stopped abruptly. In the west, the sky glowed with more than the sunset. The Duke’s palace on fire. There were still shouts and screams, but they were becoming scattered and sounded distant. There was a lull while the Venetians and pirates got busy looting or broke open barrels in the inns and taverns, but the looting would finish when there was nothing left to steal, and then they would be out on the street again, this time drunk, and the slaughter would go on until there was nothing left to kill.

We went through the narrow twists of the streets and up crooked flights of steps slippery with blood.

We went to find Marijita, but she was dead with all her birds about her. She had been weaving her own shroud.

How did this come about? To understand that, I have to take you back to the very beginning . . .

You can become a fan of Celia Rees on Facebook HERE. 

This book comes out in the UK on the 5th April 2010. I can't wait to read it! What do you all think of the first chapter? Please comment with your opinion and I'll send them on to Celia Rees herself!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Desperate Measures by Laura Summers

Title: Desperate Measures
Author: Laura Summers
Published by: Piccadilly Press
Publication date: 2nd December 2009
Pages: 220
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Vicky and Rhianna are twins but they couldn't be more different.

For their fourteenth Birthday, Vicky wants a card from the hottest boy in school. Rhianna, brain-damaged at birth, wants a Furby. Instead, they get a nasty shock. Their foster parents can't cope and it looks as if Vicky and Rhianna and their younger brother Jamie will have to be split up.

How can they stay together? Desperate times call for desperate measures...

Desperate Measures is all about Vicky and Rhianna who are twins, and their 10 year old brother, Jamie. All three of them live with foster parents Sarah and Paul. It's the twin's fourteenth Birthday, which is meant to be an exciting day. Except it isn't, because something terrible happens. Paul and Sarah can't really cope with them all. The twins and Jamie don't want to go to another foster family. They want to stay, and Jamie has a plan...

I think this was a really good book. It's not really the kind of book I would pick up in a book shop and think instantly, 'Oooh I'll have that!', but I actually really enjoyed it. The author has written it really well, so well that the story kind of... grabs you and pulls you in. It's like you're watching everything happen as if you're there, with the characters. The cover is gorgeous too!

I give this book... 5/5! I really recommend you buy it if you're looking for a different, adventurous read.

Monday, 8 February 2010

WIN a signed copy of Split By a Kiss!

Here is your chance to win a signed copy of Split By a Kiss, written by Luisa Plaja! You can see a review of it here, and an interview with Luisa here. All you have to do to win is complete this form HERE. This competition closes on March 1st 2010. :-) Good luck!



Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Split By A Kiss by Luisa Plaja

Title: Split by a Kiss
Author: Luisa Plaja
Published by: Random House
Publication date: 6th March 2008
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.

Jo has never been one of the popular kids...until she moves to the USA.

Suddenly the coolest girls at her new high school adopt her, and the hottest boy, Jake Matthews, notices her. But when Jake picks her as his partner in the kissing game Seven Minutes in Heaven, it's not half as heavenly as she imagined!

Jo has a choice: should she carry on with Jake for guaranteed popularity - or should she tell him where to get off and risk losing her new friends...?

At this moment - Jo splits. She's Josie the Cool - girlfriend of Jake, member of the in-crowd. But she's also Jo the Nerd - rejected by the It girls, single...ordinary.

Will her two halves ever come together again?

Split By A Kiss is a brilliant book about a girl called Jo who's Mum gets an offer for a better job in the USA. Jo goes to live with her Mum in America and finds she is much more liked/popular there than in England! The cool girls invite her to a party, and that's where the trouble begins...she splits.

This book is definitely one of my favourite books ever! It was well written, funny and I loved the way one chapter would be Jo the Nerd and the next Josie the Cool. If you haven't already, you should definitely read this! And if you haven't read it yet, look out for a competition to win a SIGNED COPY OF SPLIT BY A KISS soon! :-)