Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publisher: Quercus
Format: ARC
Published: 2nd February 2012
Book: For Review*
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Dark Romance, Science-Fiction, Action-Adventure, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Violence, Death, Mild Swearing
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Site: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every second day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl.  She goes to high school.  She argues with her father. 
She’s human.
But every other day… she’s not.
Though she’s not quite sure what she is on those days, Kali knows what she does – she hunts, traps, and kills demons, hellhounds, and other supernatural creature that threaten her world.  On those days, she is practically indestructible.
But when Kali notices a mark on a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these unworldly beings.  And she knows she has only twenty-four hours to save her.
There’s only one problem – it’s the wrong twenty-four hours.

Every second day, Kali D’Angelo is perfectly human.  And every other day.  Well, she isn’t.  She’s other. 
Kali has no idea what she is, if there are others like her.  But what she does know is what she can do.  She hunts down hellhounds, zombies and everything out there that goes bump in the night.  With her super-fast healing, lightning reflexes and affinity for weapons, she’s more-or-less indestructible.
But then she sees a mark on a girl’s back at school.  It’s a mark of death, and Kali only has 24 hours to save the girl, before the supernatural creature kills her.
The dilemma?  It’s the wrong 24 hours.  Kali is completely, utterly human.  That doesn’t mean she won’t do everything in her power to save the victim…
Those of you who have checked out my review list will probably be able to guess that I’m somewhat of a paranormal addict.  Therefore this one was right up my street!  With enough of that awesome wise-ass-ness – the likes of which Rose and Buffy have – and the awesome characters and world, I loved this one!  And seriously… need a sequel!
Kali D’Angelo, aged sixteen, was someone I liked from the word go.  She was so snarky and funny, with a really ironic, wry sense of humour.  Plus, some of her powers?  So cool, and unlike anything I’d read about before!  She had a total hero complex, was mildly bonkers and, well, freakin’ brilliant.  But beneath all the bravado and butt-kicking, she was really vulnerable, which made her feel more real to me.
Skylar Hayden, Kali’s new-found best friend, was perky, earnest, a fast talker and so hyper!  I fell in love with her madness: she was just so cute and funny!  Her enthusiasm and optimism were addictive, and I found myself grinning whenever she was in a scene.  She literally killed me, especially about how someone so sweet looking and cheerful can be such a brilliant evil mastermind!  She was my very favourite character, right from the beginning, and when I found out her secret I loved her even more. 
Bethany Davis, one of those girls, or so Kali thought.  To begin with Bethany was a classic mean girl, but she was really smart, ‘occasionally’ nice and always funny with her mean-snarkiness.  I just loved how she described herself: “shallow, not a sociopath”.  Beneath the “bitch shield” she was really sweet and brave, fragile and I loved the glimpses we got to see of the hidden Beth.
Most of the other, minor characters were brilliantly done – Kali’s dead being one of them.  I liked how as the book went on, my opinion of him changed.  Meanwhile Elliot Hayden, Skylark’s brother and Bethany’s boyfriend, although cute and kind, wasn’t really as 3-D as the others.  As for the mysterious Zev: I was desperate to know his secret all the way through.  (I didn’t guess it at all!)
And I just loved the twists Barnes put on all the supernatural lore!  It was all so cool and new.  She put her own spin on zombies, hellhounds, chupacabras, everything!  And as for how Barnes rewrote history… pure genius.  I am officially crazy-in-love with this world!  And I mean when-the-heck-can-I-move love.  Also lovin’ the new species Barnes created!  Human one day, kick-ass demon hunter then next?  Beyond awesome and wonderfully padded out! 
I adored the writing: it was snarky, witty and absolutely hilarious.  Plus, there were loads of paranormal things to fight and the heroine who was just kick butt awesome!  The writing felt totally teen and completely Kali.  I loved the pace and style, but even more addictive were the character relationships.  The ones between Skylark and her brothers were ever-amusing, with just the right balance of exasperation and love!  The one between Kali and her dad was intriguing: it was like they had their own language of evasion and white lies.  But my favourite duo by far was Skylark and Beth.  God, did those two kill me!  Their witty banter, Beth’s snarky comments and Skylark’s insistent perkiness made for some brilliantly hilarious scenes!
From the blurb, I thought the plot would be straight forward.  Y’know, see, kill, save.  How wrong I was!  There were more than enough turns to keep me completely absorbed in the story.  The pace was more or less non-stop: and you just gotta love supernatural fights!  Admittedly, I did guess some of the twists – they were rather obvious in my eyes.  Some I suspected – and hoped like crazy were not true.  Some completely threw me.  And overall?  Awesome plot!  And I liked that it was all about the girls, not a huge romantic thing – just the smallest bit of a highly unconventional romance…
A kick—butt hunter, a snarky cheerleader, a pixie-like optimist with a secret and a world full of demons and monsters, Every Other Day was an awesome paranormal book that had me laughing on the edge of my seat, and crying at one point.  Loved it!

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Raised By Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Quercus in exchange for an honest review
Number of Pages: 352

Ladybird Classic Me Books App

Penguin is pleased to announce that its Number One hit, Ladybird Classic Me Books App, now has more books and an aweseom SAVE feature!  Described as: "an innovative picture book app that allows parents and children to interact with and personalize picture books in an entirely new way", it is available from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch for just £0.69.

Sir David Johnson, Adam Buxton and Josie Lawrence read stories, such as Rumplestiltskun, Cinderella and Nursery Rhymes.  Sir David himself says:
"The first time I clapped eyes on Me Books I was blown away. I knew these beautiful little Ladybird books very well, as we all do, but this new technology really brings something special to the table. It's storytelling with super powers. I thoroughly enjoyed narrating these stories and was so impressed by Me Books I've just bought an iPad for my family."

The features that make up this app?  Well, I'm quoting from the Penguin Press Release to expain everything it can do:
·       READ. Me Books brings the picture book app experience back to reading and telling stories. We’ve added nothing to the books themselves, just a new way to bottle the creativity and imagination they inspire.
·       LISTEN. Classic stories are brought to life with charming narration from well known voices along with enchanting sound effects. Simply touch the words and pictures to hear them.
·       RECORD. We all know you tell the best stories and do the best voices so Me Books lets you do just that. Add your very own narration and sound effects by drawing audio ‘hotspots’ anywhere on the page.
·       PLAY. Playing with books is a brilliant way for children to develop their creativity, language and literacy. Me Books allows them to express themselves which isn’t just important, it's a downright hoot.
·       SAVE. You can now save up to three versions of each book making it possible to cherish your favourite stories time and time again.

With all of these new features, it's easy to see why the app is so popular!  And why children and parents love it.  I want to check it out myself!

Illegal by Miriam Halahmy Guest Post: Where Did My Plot Come From?

I'm so excited to have Miriam Halahmy here today, author of Hidden - both of her books look absolutely amazing, and I can't wait to read them!  Now, I'll hand you over to Miriam, who is here to talk about her upcoming book, Illegal, which will be released in March, so keep your eyes peeled!  And now, over to you Miriam...
Illegal by Miriam Halahmy :  Meadowside fiction March 2012
Illegal is the second novel in my cycle of three novels set on Hayling Island opposite the Isle of Wight. Each novel is stand-alone but a minor character in the previous novel becomes the major character in the next. Illegal is Lindy’s story.
Lindy appeared in Hidden, the first book, as the bully who scared everyone away. But it was clear she had another side. In my second book I wanted to explore the different sides of this complex character and I was also interested in the rise of cannabis farms on the south coast of England.
A question popped into my head. What if someone set up a cannabis farm on quiet little Hayling, in one of the old houses down a sleepy back lane? And what if Lindy was paid to look after the farm?
Once the idea had entered my imagination it grew and grew and I knew that I had the beginning of my next plot. I am very much a discovery writer and as I began to write I discovered that fifteen year old Lindy was in deep trouble. 
The book opens at the end of the summer term. Lindy and the rest of her large and dysfunctional family have been rocked by the sudden death of her two year old sister a few months earlier. Her two eldest brothers are in prison; her little brother nags for food; Mum has lost her job and is drinking; Dad spends all his time down the bookies. 
Then Cousin Colin appears and Lindy, so vulnerable and lonely by this time, jumps at the chance to work for him – watering the plants in his cannabis farm. Her family are quite used to a life of crime. “Everyone smokes it,” Lindy tells herself. All the kids at school are always boasting about the weed at parties. She even persuades herself she is helping the environment.
“Think of it like a sort of greenhouse, Linds,” Colin explains.
Lots of people have greenhouses, thought Lindy. Maybe Im even helping to save the planet. Colin doesnt use chemicals on the plants, does he?
But Colin hasn’t actually explained all his plans to Lindy. Before she has time to think she finds herself drawn into the dangerous and shadowy world of international drugs dealing. Colin has been grooming her to deal in cocaine and suddenly Lindy finds herself trapped. More than anything else she is terrified she will end up in prison like her brothers. With no-one on her side, no-one she can turn to, she starts to self harm.
In school they are studying Hamlet. The teacher compares Hamlet to a spiritual refugee, isolated from his family and friends.
 "A spiritual refugee..." Lindy liked that. "Just like me, I've got no-one left at home either.'"

But like all good plots, the hero needs someone who will go on the journey with her and help her to find the way out. Karl, also fifteen and a fellow misfit, appears. Karl has his own problematic home life and as a result he has become mute. He communicates largely through his T-shirt slogans – The rules don’t apply to me and Do not resuscitate.  But Karl is an intelligent and resourceful ally. He also has wheels!  Karl rides a motorbike although he is also only fifteen. There are a lot of Illegal things in this book. Together Lindy and Karl embark on a desperate plan to ensure Lindy’s freedom.

This has been probably the most complex plot in the cycle to write, rather like writing a thriller. My characters race round on motorbikes and motorboats, avoiding police, teachers and each other until the final thrilling climax.

Illegal is the story of a teenage girl driven to take desperate measures when all other choices are taken away from her. It is a novel about growing up and gaining independence against the odds.

Miriam Halahmy
January 2012

Thank you for the brilliant guest post, Miriam!  I can't wait to read Illegal, and I am so in love with the cover!
Check out Miriam's Website, Twitter and Facebook for more information on Illegal and Hidden!

Teaser Tuesday (#28)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Here are the rules:
  • Open your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers!
  • Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser!
One wonderfully bonkers quote for you today, from an equally bonkers and brilliant book.  Enjoy!

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe,
Chapter One, Page 14
"We need to dust the hams with bread raspings if we're going to boil them.  And we should dress the knuckle bone with a frill of white paper."
"A frill of white paper?  What kind of pirate are you?  Rah!"

The Pirates! I n an Adventure with Scientists (The Pirates!, Book One) by Gideon Defoe
Synopsis From Goodreads:
Not since Moby-Dick...No, not since Treasure Island...Actually, not since Jonah and the Whale has there been a sea saga to rival The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, featuring the greatest sea-faring hero of all time, the immortal Pirate Captain, who, although he lives for months at a time at sea, somehow manages to keep his beard silky and in good condition.
Worried that his pirates are growing bored with a life of winking at pretty native ladies and trying to stick enough jellyfish together to make a bouncy castle, the Pirate Captain decides it's high time to spearhead an adventure.
While searching for some major pirate booty, he mistakenly attacks the young Charles Darwin's Beagle and then leads his ragtag crew from the exotic Galapagos Islands to the fog-filled streets of Victorian London. There they encounter grisly murder, vanishing ladies, radioactive elephants, and the Holy Ghost himself. And that's not even the half of it.

Well this is my teaser!  Hope you liked it!

What's your teaser this week? :)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists: Movie Trailer

Listen up, me hearties!  (First and last time I will EVER be saying that, promise!)  Aardman Animation, creators of Wallace and Gromit, will be releasing an adaptation of the hilarious novel by Gideon Defoe - The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

Now, you landlubbers!  (Couldn't help it!)  I have been sent by the Pirate Captain of The Pirates! and Bloomsbury to ask...

If you are of a truly piratical nature, be sure to check out the brilliantly bonkers book, and go to see the trailer of the film on The Pirates- Movie

Now, that is all, this swashbuckling blogger out!

The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists by Gideon Defoe

Synopsis From Goodreads:
Not since Moby-Dick...No, not since Treasure Island...Actually, not since Jonah and the Whale has there been a sea saga to rival The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, featuring the greatest sea-faring hero of all time, the immortal Pirate Captain, who, although he lives for months at a time at sea, somehow manages to keep his beard silky and in good condition.
Worried that his pirates are growing bored with a life of winking at pretty native ladies and trying to stick enough jellyfish together to make a bouncy castle, the Pirate Captain decides it's high time to spearhead an adventure.
While searching for some major pirate booty, he mistakenly attacks the young Charles Darwin's Beagle and then leads his ragtag crew from the exotic Galapagos Islands to the fog-filled streets of Victorian London. There they encounter grisly murder, vanishing ladies, radioactive elephants, and the Holy Ghost himself. And that's not even the half of it.

In My Mailbox (#43)

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a perfect way to see who's reading and review what.  Awesome! 

Well.  This week I only bought four books!  For me, that's pretty darn good! ;)  But, well, I um.  I sort of requested loads on NetGalley.  All completely by accident of course.  Anyhoo, this is what I got...

For Review:

Stolen Away

Street Fighter (Gladiator, Book Two) by Simon Scarrow (Goodreads | Amazon)
Enslaved By Empire, He Will Rise A Hero...
I haven't read the first in the series yet, but it looks amazing and from what I've heard it is amazing, so I can't wait to read the two of the books in this series!  :)
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (The Pirate!, Book One) by Gideon Defoe (Goodreads | Amazon)
Oh my god, I saw an advert for this, 'cause it's being made into a movie by the same people who do Wallace and Gromit, and thought it looked completely bonkers and absolutely hilarious.  The book?  Pretty much the exact same reaction from what I've read!  Can't wait to read it all!
Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey (Goodreads | Amazon)
I have read and loved every singe book Alyxandra Harvey has written, so I can't wait to read this!
Thank you Bloomsbury & Penguin!

The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine, #1)InkheartInkspell
The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine, Book One) by Bree Despain (Goodreads | Amazon)
I've been wanting to read this one for ages now, so when I saw it for super-cheap I couldn't help myself!
Inkheart (Inkheart, Book One) by Cornelia Funke (Goodreads | Amazon)
Inkspell (Inkheart, Book Two) by Cornelia Funke (Goodreads | Amazon)
Inkdeath (Inkheart, Book Three) by Cornelia Funke (Goodreads | Amazon) 
I read the first in this series ages ago, and bought the set 'cause it cost less than one normal book to buy all three.  Bargain!  Plus I love the covers - especially of the 2nd and 3rd book!

From NetGalley:
Someone Else's LifeStartersHollyweird
I Am (Not) the WalrusRipper

Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Are Some Secrets Best Left Secret?
I've been wanting to read this since... forever!  It looks SO GOOD!  IS so good, from what I've read of it!  (40 pages in a matter of minutes!)
Starters by Lissa Price (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Your Body.  Rented Out.  Used To Murder.
I started this the other day - AMAZING!
Hollyweird by Terri Clark (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
Angels, Demons, Celebs, Oh my!  Well, that's what I thought when I read the blurb, anyways.  Looks awesome and lovin' the cover!
I Am (Not) The Walrus by Ed Briant (Goodreads | Amazon | NetGalley)
This Looks awesome - and again: love the cover!
Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves (Goodreads | Amazon | Netgalley)
I think I really have caught Rippermania - this is the second Jack-the-Ripper book I've picked up in three weeks.  Should that concern me?

Well, that's me.  I may have gone slightly OTT on NetGalley...  Meh.  Oh well.

What was in your mailbox this week? :)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees: Extract and Book Trailer

If you've ever read anything by Celia Rees, you will know why I'm so excited to read this!  And boy does This Is Not Forgiveness sound absolutely amazing!  I am talking supreme awesomeness!  Don't believe me?  Well, perhaps this may convince you...  Check out the trailer...

 Now do you see why I'm so excited!?  Anway, This Is Not Forgiveness will be having a blog tour from 30th  January to 10th February.  It's out 2nd February, 'though the eBook is available now!  For more information of the tour and book, check out Celia's Site, Official Facebook Page, The Tour Info Page at Bloomsbury and SERIOUSLY go to Bloomsbury to read the awesome extract from This Is Not Forgiveness!
This is the tour scheduele:

Monday 30th January
Tuesday 31st January
Wednesday 1st February
Thursday 2nd February
Friday 3rd February
Monday 6th February
Tuesday 7th February
Wednesday 8th February
Thursday 9th February
Friday 10th February

This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees
Synopsis From Goodreads:
Everyone says that Caro is bad ...but Jamie can't help himself. He thinks of her night and day and can't believe that she wants to be his girlfriend. Gorgeous, impulsive and unconventional, she is totally different to all the other girls he knows. His sister, Martha, hates her. Jamie doesn't know why, but there's no way he's going to take any notice of her warnings to stay away from Caro. But as Jamie falls deeper and deeper under her spell, he realises there is more to Caro - much more. There are the times when she disappears and doesn't get in touch, the small scars on her wrists, her talk about revolutions and taking action, not to mention the rumours he hears about the other men in her life. And then always in the background there is Rob, Jamie's older brother, back from Afghanistan and traumatised after having his leg smashed to bits there. Jamie wants to help him, but Rob seems to be living in a world of his own and is increasingly difficult to reach. With Caro, the summer should have been perfect ...but that isn't how things work out in real life, and Jamie is going to find out the hard way. This taut psychological drama is the brilliant new novel from acclaimed Celia Rees.

Stones For My Father by Trilby Kent

Stones for My FatherPublisher: Alma
Format: Paperback
Published: 19th January 2012
Number of Pages: 300
Book: For Review*
Genre: Historical, Realistic-Fiction, Suspense, Coming-Of-Age, YA, YA-Child Crossover, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Mild Violence, Death, Swearing
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Site: Tribly Kent

A powerful story about a forgotten war, a family divided and a child’s fight for survival.
Corlie Roux’s farm life in South Africa is not easy: the Transvaal is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that even raindrops sizzle.  When her beloved father dies, she is left with a mother who is as devoted to her sons as she is cruel to her daughter.  Despite this, Corlie finds comfort in her friend Sipho, in Africa itself and the stories she creates for her brothers.  But Corlie’s world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boer families like hers from their farms.  Some escape into the bush to fight the enemy.  The unlucky ones are rounded up and sent to internment camps.
Will Corlie’s strength and devotion to her country sustain her through the suffering and misery she finds in the camp at Kroonstad?  That may depend on a soldier from faraway Canada and on inner resources Corlie never dreamt she had…

Stones for My Father                                                                   Review:
Twelve-year-old Corlie Roux lives in South Africa, a beautiful but dangerous place.  Her father is dead and her mother is horrible to her, but she loves her brothers, best friend Sipho and the African bush. 
But everything is changing, falling apart.  The British are attacking, destroying Boer’s farms and homes.  Some of the men have made it into the bush to fight, and some families have been able to escape.  The unlucky ones have been taken to internment camps.
When everything she knew is changing, and the ones she loves are lost, can Corlie’s strength and love for her country be enough to get her through the raging war?  Or will she rely more on a kind soldier from Canada…?
I love, love, love historical fiction, but I must admit I’ve never read anything about the Boer War.  After Stones From My Father, I’m desperate to read more, and to read anything else by the author.  I fell totally in love with Corlie, with Africa.  I cried, laughed and loved – and I adored every single moment.
Corlie was amazing!  She loved inventing stories for her brothers, had the most amazing imagination.  And she was just so strong!  If my mother was as mean to me as Corlie’s was to her I wouldn’t half as brave as Corlie.  She was even brave enough to be optimistic, curious and always tried to help.  I completely fell in love with Corlie, who was so loyal and loving to her family – mother included – and so in touch with Africa.  She was just brilliant: I especially loved it when she was crafty!
The supporting characters were equally amazing.  Gert Roux, Corlie’s eight-year-old brother, was brilliant; I loved him!  He was smart, the “big man”, clever and sneaky.  He really loved Corlie, and she adored him back.  ‘Ma’, on the other hand, I did not love.   She doted on her sons, and was constantly cruel to Corlie.  But as much as I hated Ma from the word go for being so horrid to Corlie, I couldn’t help being impressed by her strength.  The question that bothered me throughout?  Why does she hate Corlie so much?  The answer explained everything, but didn’t really redeem her in my eyes, though I did feel sorry for her.  Finally, Corporal Malachi Byrne, who was a Canadian soldier, who was really nice to Corlie.  He was also one of my favourite characters.  He was so lovely, and it was interesting seeing him talk: he wasn’t sure why he was fighting, as he had never even been to England.  He was wonderful: cheerful and patient.
As I mentioned before, I really don’t know much about the Boer War: somehow, it’s managed to escape me.  Therefore I loved to see it through Corlie’s eyes.  It was terrible, obviously as all wars are, but it was just amazing seeing it through a child’s point-of-view.  To begin with it was one-sided (obviously, as it was written by the daughter of a Boer soldier!), but by the end Corlie started to see everything, and the individual Tommies soldiers were shown in almost as a light as the Boers.  Of course, she wasn’t a fan of the British as a whole, but I liked seeing the balanced view.
The writing was amazing – emotional, beautiful, strong.  Plus it was so Corlie!  It made me laugh, cry and fear.  The descriptions were just amazing: so vivid and real, as if I were there.  I saw Africa as I read; saw Corlie and Gert, saw everything.  And when I started, I didn’t really think this would be a twisty book, but boy was I wrong!  There were some I suspected, and some that completely shocked me.  As you’ve probably guessed from my rambling, I adored every moment of my time in Africa, even if I was crying a lot of the time! 
As for the characters, well, they were wonderfully done – they all felt so real to me!  They were three dimensional –just jumped right off of the page and into my head.  Some I loved with all my heart, some I didn’t, some I pitied, some I grieved.  I loved (most of) them so much!
A strong girl, a country crippled by war and a family caught in the middle, Stone For My Father was a powerful, emotional, moving, beautiful story I won’t forget in any kind of a hurry.  Corlie, Byrne, Gert and the soldiers on both sides will stay with me for a long time.  I’ve already informed my mother, aunt and cousin that they have to read this. Therefore: most certainly recommended (I only shove good books on the relatives)!

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Medina Hill by Trilby Kent
 In The Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Alma in exchange for an honest review