Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A Little Bit Of Me

Hi everyone! I was thinking the other day, maybe all you readers (if I have any :P) want to know a little bit about me, because all you're getting is reviews, interviews and guest posts, and you don't really know me. *cue the violins.* So, here is the person sat behind the laptop:


I am 13, 5ft tall (I seem to be stuck at this height which sucks -.-) and I enjoy reading (bet you didn't see that one coming..), music, and being creative. :) I also have a tendency to overuse smilies when I'm writing. :P Favourite bands/singers? Ummm...Linkin Park, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora, Avicii....and a lot more - too many to list.

I really like playing guitar - I have an acoustic, an electric and a ukulele. I'm also getting quite good at playing keyboards.

I'm good at art - I like drawing portraits best but I am also happy to splash paint around and make a mess just for fun!

I like going to new places and exploring - forests, museums, SHOPS, art galleries, parks, SHOPS, the cinema, out with my friends...did I mention I like going to shops?

I can be a bit of a tomboy, but I'm also a girlie-girl who likes fashion, make-up and trying out new hairstyles. Well, I'm a teenager so that's normal, lol.

I'm taller than my Great Grandma and almost as tall as my Mum.  She is dreading me getting taller than her :)

I have a step-dad who is a musician like me, he has lots of guitars too so we jam together sometimes which is fun, and he was the one who taught me how to play.

I like to play Wii-Sports and thrash my mum - she thinks she's really good but I'm better!!

I really like photography and people say I'm good at it. I got a cool camera last year and I really enjoy taking close-up macro shots from strange angles.

...hopefully you feel like you know me a bit better now? :) Is there anything else you'd like to know about me? I'm thinking of doing some personal posts more often, and perhaps a few vlogs. What do you all think?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

League of Strays by L.B Schulman

Title: League of Strays
Author: L.B Schulman
Published by: Amulet Books
Publication date: 1st October 2012
Pages: 288
Genres: Young Adult/Paranormal
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

When a mysterious note appears in Charlotte’s mailbox inviting her to join the League of Strays, she’s hopeful it will lead to making friends. What she discovers is a motley crew of loners and an alluring, manipulative ringleader named Kade. Kade convinces the group that they need one another both for friendship and to get back at the classmates and teachers who have betrayed them. But Kade has a bigger agenda. In addition to vandalizing their school and causing fights between other students, Kade’s real intention is a dangerous plot that will threaten lives and force Charlotte to choose between her loyalty to the League and her own conscience.

Charlotte has just moved to Kennedy High. No one bothers to make friends with her - why would they?. She keeps to herself and lives her life by following her parents suggestions and orders. She follows their dreams and not her own. One day, she gets a note telling her to join the League of Strays - a group of loners led by Kade, the boy with a troubling and dangerous past. The thing is...none of them know he is a stalker, a sociopath...a murderer. What kind of danger have they all gotten themselves into?

My favourite character was Zoe, because she was down to earth, kind and looked after her alcoholic mother. She tries to act tough, but sometimes you would catch a glimpse of her more vulnerable side. Zoe was a good friend for Charlotte, and not just because they were both part of the League. I also liked Richie, Kade's best friend and member of the League. He was funny, and got bullied for being gay but he wasn't afraid to be different.

My least favourite character was Nora. In the beginning she seemed nice and sweet, but towards the end of the book I began to dislike her. She wasn't loyal to Charlotte or the rest of the group - I think she was driven by jealousy (I would explain why but that would be a spoiler!). Also I didn't like how she was a straight A+ student, and then as soon as she joins the League she drops everything and lets her grades slip without a second thought.

I like the cover because it gives us an insight into what the characters Charlotte and Kade might look like. However, my edition is just a proof so I'm not sure if the cover might change when it's published in October.

I really enjoyed this book and read it all in one sitting. It's a mild thriller with a sprinkle of romance. I recommend it to readers aged 13+ and give it a rating of 3.5/5.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

In My Mailbox #15

Sorry guys, I missed last weeks' In My Mailbox as I had to go to my Great Grandads' funeral up in Yorkshire. This post includes books I received then - I didn't get many but they all look great.


League of Strays by L.B Schulman (ARC)
Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto (ARC)
A Midsummer Tights Dream by Louise Rennison

Thanks to Abram Books, Atom and HarperCollins.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 5th January 2009
Pages: 464
Genres: Young Adult/Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

But Katniss has been close to death before-and survival, for her, is second nature.

The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.

Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

Kill, or be killed.

This novel is really enthralling and captivating – you keep reading and reading and reading; even if you have better things to do! ‘The Hunger Games’ is fantastic, the plot is so unique and every emotion is contained in this story. Death, love, fright, heartbreak, anger, poverty, freedom; it’s all in there.

North America has been completely wrecked and is now run by the powerful Capitol and is divided into 12 districts, with district 13 having been destroyed due to a rebellion. In district 12 is sixteen-year-old hunter Katniss Everdeen, who, thanks to her excellent hunting skills and the fact that she is good at haggling prices, carves a meagre life for herself, her little sister Prim and their poor widowed mother. In order to keep the 12 districts aware of who runs the country, the Capitol arranges an annual game of death and survival in an elaborate, technologically advanced arena. Each district holds a drawing of one boy and one girl to go as Tributes. When her sister is picked to play, Katniss volunteers instead. Along with Katniss goes Peeta, the baker’s son, who grew up with her.

My favourite character was Katniss because she was strong and brave, and skilled when it came to survival. She had a good sense of humour and I liked how she looked after her family, by going out to hunt every morning for food and earning money for her mother.

I was surprised at how long the book was – it was about 400 pages – so it took a while to read, but I don’t think the story would have been as good if it had been shorter.

The cover of the book is mysterious and makes you want to pick it up to read, and you learn later that the burning mockingjay pin on the cover has great significance to the story.

This book, and the other two in the trilogy, are definitely my favourite books ever. I give it 5/5!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

An American Family by Peter Lefcourt: Guest Post

Scripts vs. Novels: Peter Lefcourt’s Take on the Similarities and Differences

The similarity pretty much begins and ends with the fact that both careers involve writing. But that’s about as far as it goes. As many other writers, I came to Los Angeles with the intention of making enough money to finance my lifestyle as a novelist. As it turned out, I found that television writing was not only lucrative but a good apprenticeship in the art of story-telling. You learn how to tell a story economically, which is an invaluable skill in fiction writing. And you learn how to write to a deadline. On the other hand, you soon learn that in Hollywood the writer is a fungible element in filmmaking, summarily replaced by another writer when he/she offers resistance to all the “creative” input from directors, studio execs, producers, and actors. You are, essentially, a hired gun, at the beck and call of others – a well-paid hired gun perhaps, to be sure, but one with very little control over the product.
                         
Moreover, there is very little “voice” in screenwriting. In books it is often the way you tell a story and not the story itself that compels readers. I am drawn to language and voice; and with the possible exception of a facility for dialogue (a skill that is almost impossible to teach: I learned how people talk driving a cab in New York in the sixties – an education worth more, in my opinion, than a PHD in Creative Writing) -- these elements are not valued in screenwriting.
Nevertheless, Hollywood has allowed me the wherewithal to travel a great deal, to perfect the craft of story telling and, ultimately, to reinvent myself as a novelist and have both careers mutually reinforce each other. I’m not sure I would have succeeded in one without the other.

Thanks Peter! You can buy his novel, An American Family, HERE.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

In My Mailbox #14

I've decided to start over with In My Mailbox because I used to participate but I kept forgetting to blog about it. So welcome to my IMM! :)

Click image to make it bigger.
Ally's World: Rainbows, Rowan and True True Romance by Karen McCombie

Big thanks to Bloomsbury, Atom and Harper Collins. :)

What did you get in your mailbox?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

5 Books I've Read This Year That I Think You Should Read

1. Shattered Dreams by Ellie James

Trinity has never known who she really is. Strange dreams haunt her nights, and she has always been able to sense things that others can't. When Jessica, the most popular girl at school, disappears, Trinity realises she will have to draw on her secret abilities to help find her. Soon, Trinity is subject to visions that terrify her and make the police sceptical. As her dreams grow darker and the visions more frightening, Trinity realises she must risk her reputation and her sanity to save a girl who hates her.

2. The Rock Stars' Daughter by Caitlyn Duffy

At the age of 15, Taylor Beauforte has only met her father twice in person. After all, he is the lead singer of a world-famous rock band, constantly on the cover of music magazines and giving interviews on MTV. He pays for Taylor to attend the Treadwell Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts, and provides her mother with monthly checks to cover her basic needs, but has never made much of an effort to play an active part in Taylor’s life. Taylor's mom Dawn is the only family she has ever really known, and because of Dawn's hard-partying Hollywood lifestyle, studious Taylor is happiest on the other side of the country in Massachusetts with her nose buried in a book.
When Taylor 's mom unexpectedly dies the summer before Taylor starts her junior year, she receives a crash course in fame. She has no choice but to join her father and his new family on their summer concert tour before she has even had a chance to mourn the loss of her mother. Life as the daughter of a rock star seems like it would be enviable, but Taylor can't figure her dad out. He seems like a supportive authority figure (even if he's kind of a fashion tragedy) , but she is collecting a growing pile of evidence that he's a liar and a cheat. Her stepmother, Jill, can’t seem to decide if she wants to treat Taylor like a girlfriend or a nuisance. Having had no time to grieve and say goodbye to her childhood before being thrust into the limelight, Taylor is suddenly finding herself in situations she could have never imagined before this summer.
With no one else to turn to, Taylor falls head over heels in love with Jake, the teenage son of one of the band's touring groupies. Taylor has growing concerns about Jake's background and the suspicious relationship between his mom and her own father, but is desperate for something real in her life onto which she can build a future. When Jake offers Taylor an opportunity to join him on a whirlwind adventure and leave her problems with her father far behind, Taylor has to decide – should she carve out her own way in the world, or try to repair the relationship she has with her only living parent?
Over the course of the summer with the band, Taylor learns the depths of her own strength, the difficulty of overcoming loss, and that the definition of family means much more than shared bloodlines.

3. Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot

Meet Kate MacKenzie…idealistic office worker, reluctant deliverer of termination notices and queen of instant messaging. As sweet as sugar. Meet Mitch Hertzog…ever-smiling corporate lawyer, defender of the downtrodden and king of aborted dinner dates. Good enough to eat. Meet Ida Lopez…cake, cookie and pastry-maker extraordinaire, purveyor of the dessert trolley and goddess of all things mouth-wateringly yummy. As nice as pie. Together they must battle tyrants and despots to find truth, justice and the perfect double fudge pudding.

4. Clockwise by Elle Strauss

Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this --she's accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Awkward. Protocol pressures her to tell their 1860 hosts that he is her brother and when Casey finds she has a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just "brotherly" protectiveness? When they return to the present, things go back to the way they were before: Casey parked on the bottom of the rung of the social ladder and Nate perched high on the very the top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her younger brother gets escorted home by the police. The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again. Which of course, she does.

5. A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler

If you could see into the future - would you look? Jenni Green doesn't have a choice. On her way to visit her best friend, Autumn, Jenni suddenly finds she's been transported exactly one year forward in time. Now she discovers that in the year that's gone by, tragedy has struck and her friendship with Autum will never be the same again. But what caused the tragedy? How did Jenni skip a year? And can she find her way back to the past to try to change what lies ahead?