Saturday 30 June 2012

On My Bookshelf (4)

Same disclaimer - probably someone's idea before mine, similar to IMM, etc. A lot of books, I'm not gonna put them all up, partly because some of them I still haven't read from previous OMB, and partly because I'm not at home and can't remember what they all are! 

Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham
A first crush. An unexpected friendship. A dream come true. Dear Dylan! Thanks so much for your email and I'm sorry about my last one when I said I love you. I hope you don't think I'm a weirdo mentalist?!!! It's just that I was watching Oprah yesterday and she said we should all say we love each other a whole lot more. Not to everyone of course. There's no way I'd tell my scummy step-dad that I love him because that would be lying. But the thing is, sometimes when I watch you on TV, I feel as if you're talking just to me and it makes me feel less alone. I know you probably get loads and loads of fan mail but I wanted to ask you - could we be e-mates? Yours hopefully, Georgie xxx.

My first book direct from the author! Thank you so much Siobhan!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace's small town becomes a place of fear and suspicion. But Grace can't help being fascinated by the pack, and by one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. There's something about him - something almost human. Then she meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away...

Another present from Sophie; I also bought the next two instalments of the trilogy, Linger and Forever - the covers are so pretty!

Prom Nights From Hell (anthology)
In this exciting collection, bestselling authors Meg Cabot ("How to Be Popular"), Kim Harrison ("A Fistful of Charms"), Michele Jaffe ("Bad Kitty"), Stephenie Meyer ("Twilight"), and Lauren Myracle ("ttyl") take bad prom nights to a whole new level--a paranormally bad level. Wardrobe malfunctions and two left feet don't hold a candle to discovering your date is the Grim Reaper--and he isn't here to tell you how hot you look. From angels fighting demons to a creepy take on getting what you wish for, these five stories will entertain better than any DJ in a bad tux. No corsage or limo rental necessary. Just good, scary fun.

Ah, what would I do without 3 books for a fiver? This looks so good, and I'll be honest, I bought it for Meg Cabot.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Published: 2nd December 2010
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 372
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

Quite simply made of awesome. I literally do not know how to review this book, it is too amazing.

Ok, first things first. The cover? It's ok and all but... eek! While we're on this, the title kinda sucks. But let us not allow this to distract from the awesome that is the love story between Anna and St. Clair. I don't normally do contemporary but I cannot resist a good romance and this book was it, plain and simple. Not even the seemingly mundane acts of ordering breakfast (albeit, in French) did not bore me in this book.

The main perk of this book, and partly the reason it was so easy to read, were the characters. Of course, Anna was a neat freak and kind of shy; St. Clair was sweet and short and witty; Mer is lovely, football mad, but lovely; Rashmi and Josh were perfectly developed, even though they weren't the main feature. It is, as avid readers are aware, common to find secondary characters under-developed, which personally annoys me to hell. But not the case here! Stephanie Perkins' greatly written dialogue matched the descriptions, each sentence chosen to mean something, to build up (or down) a character. 

God! Nothing I write is doing this book justice. All I can say now is that I fell in love and I cannot wait for Lola and the Boy Next Door.

Friday 22 June 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 1st May 2012
Pages: 525
War looms in sixteen-year-old Tris’s dark dystopian world as disputes between the factions grow. Tris must now fight against all odds to discover the truth that can save her and the people she loves. Sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge – and the choices she makes will have devastating and unexpected consequences.

You have no idea how much I was looking forward to this book! While still an amazing book and incredibly well-written, the story was just that little bit too ... I think the word is political. You know? The whole story this time is secrets and what's behind the fence and what is this special information that's worth killing over. Definitely thrilling but sometimes a little confusing.

I adore Tris as a heroine, she was perfectly flawed in Divergent. But this time round, Tris annoyed me quite a lot, for no apparent reason. Which is unfair, I know, and I honestly don't know what it was but with everything going on, her grief and guilt, and her almost purposefully sabotaging her relationship with Tobias, she simply did not do what I wanted her to! Her emotional roller-coaster ride was heartbreaking. And Tobias was brilliant as usual. A little distant from everyone, especially Tris, but what with all she's dealing with I'm not all that surprised.

In the sequel, we learn more about the factions and what their role is in their society. I admit, it took me ages to remember what Amity's trait was but it was still interesting to see different factions mixing more than usual. Dauntless in Amity was obviously stifling for our action-based heroes, and Candor was just plain heartless - we experience first hand the truth serum humiliation.

Not quite as much as Divergent, still amazing and I really, really cannot wait for the next book - must know what is beyond the fence!

Tuesday 5 June 2012

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd.
Published: 27th March 2007
Pages: 448
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . 

I am so glad Sophie finally made me buy this book. I've been looking at for so long, literally years I believe, without buying it and I cannot believe it took me this long!

Urban fantasy at its best, Clare successfully twists the mystical and magical into the real world we recognise, writing great characters, and even though there have been some comments about her writing style, I didn't even notice because her world was so brilliant!

It was both the world and the characters that made this book so easy to fall into reading. Clary made an amazing protagonist, not stupidly brave but not completely useless either, showing how the typical teenage girl can protect herself and her friends. Jace, the sexy hero, with his witty and annoying one-liners should have made him seem more abrasive with his strong armour against the rest of the world but the glimpses we got of him without it just made him even more real.

Onto the side characters, which for some reason I sometimes loved more than the hero and heroine. I kind of wanted to hate Isabelle, the gorgeous and perfect creature that she is but thankfully Clare made her real and bad-ass. And Alec? I'll admit, it took me a while to take a shine to him but he is so beautifully flawed and jealous and in love with an idiot. Who else? Simon was adorable and I loved how he was just there for Clary. Magnus was just plain awesome, with his glitter and magic powers.

I don't want to give to much away, especially as there are very mixed feelings about this series. But I was instantly hooked on the story and the heart-breaking twist at the end made me cry. Just warning you. But speaking of the horrible twist: why? Dear god, why? To be honest, it just makes me uncomfortable!

By the way, I met Cassie Clare in Bath's Waterstones last week and if you are interested, here is a link to my personal blog where I talk about it, among other things.