Sunday, February 27, 2011

In which I take over the blog for a while

At least for this week I'll be taking over the blog due to a few things going on in New Zealand.  So that means that I'll be doing pretty much all the posts and contacting our contest winners which I'll be announcing on the first of March.  Thanks guys and I hope we have a fun week together!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Title: Anything but Typical

Author: Nora Raleigh Baskin

Published: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2009

Pages: 208

Summary: Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world.Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.
Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird - her name is Rebecca - could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he's terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca wil only see his autism and not who Jason really is.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Anything but Typical is a book about a boy named Jason who has autism.  I know a little bit about autism and I think that Nora Raleigh Baskin did an amazing job at providing the voice of a main character with autism.  It was interesting to see the world from Jason’s viewpoint and I thought it was really interesting and highly believable.

One thing I didn’t think was so very well done was the transition between past events and present events.  Whenever Jason would go into a flashback story I’d get a little confused because the transition wasn’t very smooth.

I felt bad for Jason and I could understand why people treated him the way they did but I thought it was sad that he couldn’t understand why.  But that is autism.

I don’t have very much to say about Anything but Typical.  I enjoyed reading it and I really enjoyed the ending.  It wrapped things up rather nicely.  I think that if you’re looking for a book about someone with autism this book would be a good one.  I would also recommend this one for fans of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the dog in the Night-time.

Source: Library

Friday, February 25, 2011

Things that Distract me from Reading

The 47 youtube channels I’m subscribed to – most of them are book review channels, authors channels, or just plain awesome and highly entertaining channels.  I am in love with youtube and I just keep finding more subscriptions to watch.

Goodreads – I can spend hours on goodreads just staring at books that look interesting or what books I’d like to read or just reading people’s reviews of books.  It is one of the most addictive websites I have been on.

All of my other books - I love just looking at my bookshelves and pulling out my books and reading the first page of most of them.  I can spend hours just looking at all the books on my shelf without actually reading anything much of them.

Television – Not a tv series or anything but just tv in general.  If the tv is on I have a tendency to just sit down and watch whatever is on.

Neopets - I can spend hours on neopets.  I love playing the games and restocking my shop.

So what distracts you from reading?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Rage

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Published: Harcourt Graphia, April 2011

Pages: 228

Series: Book 2, Horsemen of the Apocalypse

First Line: "The day Melissa Miller killed her cat, she met the Angel of Death."

Summary: Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.
That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: I really liked reading Hunger so I jumped at the chance to read Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler.  I thought that the starting line of Rage was interesting but I also wondered if this was really a book I wanted to read because I love cats.  I continued reading because I was hoping for more of an explanation and well I really should give it a chance.  I breezed through the book in no time.  When I was just over halfway through however, I started to feel disappointed.  Aside from the character and the Horse Rage was starting to feel like Hunger.  The rough idea of the book was exactly the same and it seemed like the story would end the same way as Rage.

As a whole I thought that Rage was quite good.  I did think that maybe it could’ve been more different to Hunger but the ending was different and I really enjoyed that.  There were a couple of things that were revealed right at the end that I had been expecting to find out about earlier but I still liked that they were resolved.

I felt that I could really see why Missy was so upset and so angry with life and everyone around her.  Jackie Morse Kessler did a really great job at portraying the hurt of Missy and I found Rage to be really believable in that sense.

There was one huge difference between Rage and Hunger that I won’t give away as that would spoil part of the story but it definitely will make the next book in the series interesting, unless it takes an entirely different spin on the next character.  In which case, I’ll be really excited.

I think that Rage is a good addition to the series as a whole.  The idea of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and how they relate to people in real life is a really good one and I’ll definitely be reading more of the series.

Source: NetGalley

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Leviathan

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Published: Simon and Schuster Children's, 2010

Pages: 440

First Line: "The Austrian horses glinted in the moonlight, their riders standing tall in the saddle, swords raised."

Summary: In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Scott Westerfeld is one of my all-time favourite authors.  That being said, I think that Leviathan is an utterly amazing read and it is now my second favourite book of his.  Scott Westerfeld just has this way with words that brings the story to life and makes it all that more intriguing.

I liked both Deryn and Alek, I thought they were great main characters and I thought that Scott Westerfeld did a great job in creating the individual voices of both characters.

Leviathan is definitely a much more imaginative story than most I’ve read lately.  Every machine is described in great detail and the descriptions are magnificent.  I am a huge fan of descriptive writing and this book is really good for fans of descriptive writing.

Leviathan is an alternative history and so it features events and people from history related to World War I but I don’t really think you have to know much about World War I to enjoy Leviathan because I don’t and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The illustrations in the book are really great too.  They just add this whole extra layer to Leviathan that makes it one of those amazing reads.

Leviathan is one of the best books by Scott Westerfeld that I have read and I definitely recommend it.  Even if, you’re not much of a fan of steampunk, I still think that Leviathan is worth your time.

Source: Own Book

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blog Tour: The Big Show Stopper by Ken Dalton

Title: The Big Show Stopper

Author: Ken Dalton

Published: Different Drummer Press, 2010

Pages: 357

Summary: The Big Show Stopper opens in a packed concert arena with everyone waiting for the entrance of Brady Blackstone, the richest, and premier concert performer in America. But before Brady sets his foot on the stage, a tragic accident takes his life in front of Bear and a devastated Flo. However, it does not take Bear and Flo very long to question if the death was it an accident or murder? 
Once again, in the pursuit of a pile of money and a little justice, Pinky travels to an exotic site while Bear and Flo end up in one of the least desirable locations in California.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: The Big Show Stopper is a very interesting book.  I actually didn't know that this is the second book concerning the characters Bear, Pinky and Flo.  However, I didn't think it took away from the story too much not having read their first adventure.

It was an interesting mystery and from the beginning I was hooked into the story because I wanted to know more.  The Big Show Stopper was one of those books that it took me a while to pick up but then when I did and start reading it, I couldn't stop.

The characters weren't the kind of characters that I would normally care to read about but I found them to be quite interesting and refreshing in the end.

The whodunnit part was very well done.  I was kept guessing right up until the very end.

The Big Show Stopper is a good book for fans of the mystery genre, so if you enjoy mystery stories then this one may intrigue you.

Source: Tribute Books for review

About the Author: 

Ken Dalton was born in 1938. In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus found Ken. At the end of World War II, Ken's family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year where he learned how to live through snow blizzards, avoid walking through the large pile of coal in the basement, and how to survive life as an Army Officer's brat on a base called Fort Warren.

By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces, Ken's luck changed dramatically when he met the girl of his dreams at a party. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken, who worked as a technician for Pacific Bell, and his family left Southern California for the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home in Sebastopol surrounded with apple trees. A few years later, Ken and Arlene built a new home on three and a half acres. They raised cows, pigs, and learned how to build outstanding fences. While their children grew, they hosted two exchange students, Eva Reimers from Sweden, and Tanja Wuttke from Germany, both of whom are still loved members of the Dalton clan. Also during those years, Ken was promoted to management at Pacific Bell. He eventually ended up responsible for all the central offices, sixty-three, in an area that covered five counties.

In 1977, Ken, Arlene, Bob Wiltermood, and his wife Norma, designed, built, and operated a 2000 case winery named Pommeraie Vineyards. They produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, after Bob died, the winery was sold. Ken and Arlene moved to a hilltop in Healdsburg.

With the winery gone, and time on their hands, Ken and Arlene started to perform with the Camp Rose Players. Twenty years and forty productions later, both are still acting and singing.

Life was good. All Ken had to do was learn some lines and bow when the audience applauded.

Then, ten years ago, in a moment of madness, Ken started to write. His first article was published in 
Golf Illustrated in August 1996. More golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens.

After a two-year stint on the County Grand Jury, Ken felt the need to begin his first novel.

Now, after a decade of struggle to learn the craft of writing, Ken has become the publishing world's latest overnight sensation.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blog Tour: In the Storm by Karen Metcalf

Title: In the Storm

Author: Karen Metcalf

Published: Vagabondage Press, 2011

Pages: 88

First Line: "Most of this town - my town - consists of fields and woods and is deathly quiet."

Summary: Abandoned by the world around her, Carly believes she is fated to a life of torment at the hands of her stepfather and is desperate for an escape. When she can bear the abuse no longer and gives in to a thunderous rage, she suddenly finds herself in an unfamiliar, yet beautiful, storm world. This limbo between dimensions appears to be her private sanctuary, but it may just be her purgatory. 

No one escapes fate without sacrifice, but is the price more than Carly is willing to pay? (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: In the Storm is a novella that while is short still contains a lot of information and is quite a heavy read.  In the Storm starts off in quite a sad way with Carly and her brother Mitchell being in a household with a horrible stepfather.  From there things move quite quickly and we are thrust into the main focus of the story.

In the Storm is a science fiction novella and it is the kind of science fiction that I really love.  It’s the kind where it talks about parallel universes and infinite possibilities and how everything you do affects everything else.  It’s really well written in this novella and I really enjoyed it.

I think that while In the Storm is a short read it is quite deep and thought-provoking.  It is a novella that I really enjoyed and will be talking about for quite a while.

If you have a spare half hour and you enjoy science fiction of this kind then definitely check out Karen Metcalf’s In the Storm.

Source: Ebook ARC for review from Karen Metcalf

Author Interview:  Today as part of the blog tour I have an interview with author Karen Metcalf about her book.  Read on for more!

What inspired you to write In the Storm?
I was living in South Carolina at the time, and we had the absolute best thunderstorms. The view from my apartment was phenomenal and I could sit on my balcony without getting wet and just watch it for hours. I have always loved thunderstorms, and used to watch them with dad, and spend hours talking out on the porch.  If it was up to me, it would storming all the time (and I mean, window shaking thunder) , so I thought about writing about a place like that.

Are you planning on writing any more books?
I definitely am. I have learned soo much about the process in these past few months. I think it will definitely put me at an advantage when I release a full-length piece, which is in the works.  I can’t say much right now, but it will be longer, and in the same genre.

When you're writing do you have any must-haves?
My top two vices are coffee and nicotine. I am working to cut down on both.  When I wrote IN THE STORM, I went through a pot of coffee a day, and half the time I didn’t even realize my cup was cold. *takes a sip now* I write best with music playing (either various 90’s rock, or Nine Inch Nails/Deftones), and sitting on a reclining sofa with my laptop in my lap.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up, and don’t let others read it too early (you will second guess yourself). You will never think your story is good enough. Know the market, and don’t turn your back on the digital books. They very well may be what gives you the chance to make it, and whether we like it or not, they are the future.  If you write anything remotely scary you will be referred to as Stephen King for the rest of your life, which is never ever a bad thing. ;)

Giveaway:  So now we have a giveaway.  Two winners will be given voucher codes for a free ebook copy of In The Storm with a huge thank you to Karen Metcalf.
Open internationally.
Winners will be announced on the 1st of March so entries close midnight February 28th GMT+12.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

This week is a huge in my mailbox because I have been away for the summer and now that I'm back I got all my mail that was sent here and not where I was during the summer.  So without further ado here is my in my mailbox post for this week.

For review:

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
Darkwater by Georgia Blain
Jade at the Champs by Amy Brown
Nina Questor by Ken Catran
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Liberty and the Dream Ride by Stacy Gregg
The Peco Incident by Des Hunt
Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Smiling Jack by Ken Catran
Legacy by Kate Kaynak

From Lenore:   

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe

With these ones I was chosen as part of Lenore at Presenting Lenore's book blogger mentor programme for November and I ended up getting these in the mail at the beginning of February, thats how slack the mail here is.


Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld


The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
Flash Burnout by L. K. Madigan
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Hexbound by Chloe Neill
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld


Phantom Evil by Heather Graham

And those are my books which I am really really excited about.  Can't wait to see what everyone else got.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Title: Blessed

Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Published: Candlewick Press, 2011

Pages: 480

Series: Book 3, Tantalize

Summary: Quincie P. Morris, teen restaurateuse and neophyte vampire, is in the fight of her life -- or undeath. Even as she adjusts to her new appetites, she must clear her best friend and true love, the hybrid werewolf Kieren, of murder charges; thwart the apocalyptic ambitions of Bradley Sanguini, the seductive vampire-chef who "blessed" her; and keep her dead parents’ restaurant up and running. She hires a more homespun chef and adds the preternaturally beautiful Zachary to her wait staff. But with hundreds of new vampires on the rise and Bradley off assuming the powers of Dracula Prime, Zachary soon reveals his true nature -- and a flaming sword -- and they hit the road to staunch the bloodshed before it’s too late. Even if they save the world, will there be time left to salvage Quincie’s soul? (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Blessed is the third and final book in the Tantalize series by Cynthia Leitich Smith.  It combines the previous two and ties up both Qunicie and Zachary's stories.

Having just read the other two books in the series I can say that this one had a couple of inconsistencies that confused me slightly.  Just because both books ended in a way that set up for this one and then at the end of this one some of the things just weren't tied up or explained.  I'm wondering whether we are supposed to make some assumptions at what happened later or if there is actually going to be another book in the series.

Kieren has to be my favourite character ever!  I just thought he was a fantastic character in both Blessed and Tantalize and I kind of wish that we had his perspective in the book because that would be fantastic.

I still didn't learn very much about Quincie.  I thought she came across as very emotionless at times in this book and I wonder if that was how she was supposed to be.

Either way, Blessed is a nice enough sequel to both Tantalize and Eternal.  I think that Blessed is a good addition to any vampire fans collection.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Title: Eternal

Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Published: Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2009

Pages: 307

Series: Book 2, Tantalize

Summary: When Miranda's guardian angel Zachary recklessly saves her from falling into an open grave and dying, the result is that she turns into a vampire and he is left to try to reinstate his reputation by finally doing the right thing.

Review:It doesn't matter whether you read this one or Tantalize first because they are companions so they have different characters and they actually both have entirely different concepts and story lines too.

So, I thought this one was average.  I'm still annoyed at the lack of character development because seriously, character development is very important.  I got through about half of the book before it was even mentioned that Miranda was part asian.  So, my whole idea of what she looked like was completely misconstrued because I had nothing to go by.

As for Zachary, I'm a tad confused about what he had been doing in the year he was missing.  He's supposed to be an angel and then he goes and strays from the path of righteousness but then later on basically says that he is not allowed to be bad.  Yet he was earlier.  I'm not sure if I missed something or what but it was pretty weird.

I thought the story itself was an interesting take.  It had some little newspaper articles that made it all that more interesting.  It just added another dimension to the book.

Eternal was quite interesting but it just didn't exactly appeal to me due to its confusing characters.  If you like vampires then I think you might just enjoy this one.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Title: Tantalize

Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Published: Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, 2007

Pages: 310

Series: Book 1, Tantalize

Summary: Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Tantalize was a very different book.  It wasn't something I'd usually read but I figured that hey, I would be adventurous and give it a go.  While I didn't absolutely adore Tantalize I didn't think it was too bad either.

I thought that Quincie was an interesting character but I didn't feel that she was as developed as she could have been.  There were only one or two details given about her at a time so it was hard to figure her out as a whole.

I think that Tantalize had a really interesting premise and was quite well written with little hints at what was to happen later on.  The hints are there so subtly that I didn't see them until the very end.  Then I had one of those ohhhhhhh right now I see moments.

Tantalize is one of those books that you just have to try and see if you like.  But I guarantee that fans of vampires and werewolves will love this one.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Passing on for Review

I wanted to do something different.  Every month on the fifteenth of the month I will have this feature where I give you the opportunity to read and review a book that I have in my possession and for one reason or another I would like to pass it on to you.  The only condition is that you must review the book.  Or pass it on to somebody else so they can review it.

When it comes to reviewing this book you don't have to have a blog, if you wish you can review it as a guest post here.

This month I have a copy of The Chosen Colossus of Evil by C. A. Woytowich to pass on.

Title: The Chosen Colossus of Evil
Author: C. A. Woytowich
Reason for passing it on: I couldn't finish it, there were too many errors in the text for me to be able to concentrate on the book properly.  Somebody else might be able to do a better job of reading through it.

I am willing to ship anywhere in the world and in return I ask that you give an honest review of this book. I will give a three month time limit from when you receive the book when it comes to reviewing it as I understand some people are quite busy.
The person will be selected on the 20th of February at 12 noon GMT+12 so that I can get the book sent out sooner rather than later. That gives you 5 days to fill in the form.