Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Wilding by Maria McCann

The Wilding by Maria McCann
First published by Faber and Faber in 2010 (this edition by Faber and Faber in 2010)









Description (from Goodreads)
Jonathan Dymond, a 26-year old cider-maker in post-Civil War England, has enjoyed a quiet, harmonious existence until a letter arrives from his uncle with a request to speak with his father. When his father returns from the visit the next day, all he can say is that Jonathan's uncle has died. Then Jonathan finds a fragment of the letter, with talk of inheritance and vengeance...


My thoughts
The Wilding is a rather odd book. Set in England in the 17th century, a few years after the Civil War, the story begins by introducing us to Jonathan Dymond, a young cider maker. Right at the beginning of the novel, Jonathan and his family find out that Jonathan's uncle Robin is not well, so his father hastens to his bedside. But, because of the fact that he chooses to go on foot, by the time he reaches the nearby village (where Robin and his wife live), it is already too late. Soon after that, Jonathan finds a fragment of a letter in one of his father's pockets, which perplexes him and makes him want to pursue the matter and find out exactly what is going on. So, he uses the cider-making as an excuse to stay at his aunt's house and find out what exactly has been going on.


The story features the practice of cider making as a means to developing the story, seeing as Jonathan uses it as an excuse to get into his aunt's household. Which I thought was a rather original idea. I have never read anything about cider (I haven't even tasted cider, which is really quite irrelevant here) and I found the information about cider-making rather fascinating (in a learning stuff kind-of way).


The characters in this book are very well developed. We come to understand the motives behind most of the character's actions and to sympathise (or not) with them. Jonathan is a very well thought out character and serves as an excellent main character, through whom we see the whole story develop.


As for the story, it was truly excellent. There were many points in the novel that completely surprised me. I wasn't sure what I was expecting to happen while I was reading the chapters, but then, suddenly, came a revelation which I just did not expect. It's one of the things I really like in books; not being able to guess what is going to happen in the next few pages.


All in all, The Wilding is an excellent historical fiction book. It's not a very heavy read (not at all heavy, in my opinion) and is very well thought out, if a little ''creepy'' (for want of a better word) at times. A book that is definitely worth reading!


Rating: 8/10


Author:
Maria McCann is an English novelist. She was born in Liverpool and has been working as a lecturer in English at Strode College in Somerset for many years. The Wilding is her second novel, the first being As Meat Loves Salt, which is set during the English Civil War.




Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon - Wrap-up Post


And - rather late - I remembered I must do this wrap up post for the Bout of Books read-a-thon! But, hey, I'm allowed! It's mah birthday!!

Anyways, just throwing that out there!

So, in total I managed to finish 4 books:

Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Fake Me A Match by Lauren Barnholdt
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Schultz

and I managed to read a few pages of Divergent by Veronica Roth!

So, up until the time I finished reading The Historian I had a total of 1343 pages!
On top of that, Spellbound is another 324 pages and I managed to read 90 pages of Divergent, which brings the final total up to

1757 pages!!!!

Oh wow! I did not expect to do so well!!! I hope everyone else had a successful read-a-thon!

Thanks again to Amanda from On A Book Bender for hosting the readathon! :)

Monday, 29 August 2011

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
First published by Simon Pulse in 2008 (this edition by Simon Pulse in 2009)









Description (from Goodreads)

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was.
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.



My thoughts
Just by reading the blurb, you can tell that this book does not deal with a light subject. As is pretty obvious, the main character in this book is called Alice. What is special about Alice is the fact that she was taken away by a man called Ray when she was ten. At the time of the narration, Alice is 15 and has been with Ray for five years.


In Living Dead Girl, we get to see the world though the eyes of an actual living dead girl. As Alice may be alive, but she might as well be dead. She just lives every day as it comes, waiting until the nightmare ends. The abuse in the book takes on many forms: psychological, sexual, physical. And, of course, Alice has to put up with it, because that is the only way she will be able to survive and ensure the survival of the ones she loves.


As a character, Ray seriously gave me the heebie-jeebies (if that is how you spell it). He is a very creepy character and you can't think of a reason why he would be doing all that he is doing to Alice. That is, until Elizabeth Scott masterfully adds in those little tidbits of information which lead you to think 'ahhh...'. He is obsessed with youth and weight-watching (not his own) and is rather dictatorial, stopping at nothing to get what he wants. He is mad, but you really must try and see him for what he is: a tormented soul. Not that that should be construed as an excuse.


The book deals with other issues other than straightforward abuse. There is paedophilia, there is rape and there is also murder. All three of them presented just as they are. There is no sugar-coating of these issues and rightly so. But what is even more disturbing than all those three issues put together, is what they can reduce a person to. Seeing as by the time we get to the middle of the story, Alice is fully prepared to help with the recruitment of another girl to take her place and, seemingly, rejoices at it.


Other than the simply wonderful prose, what made this book so easy to read, despite the fact that it deals with horrifying issues, was the fact that it is split into a fair number of rather short chapters, some even consisting of no more than 10 words. This, I believe, allowed the author to veer slightly of subject, even if it were only for a matter of a few sentences, just so she could interject with some piece of information to make the tale even more horrifying and gruesome than it already was.


Living Dead Girl is a book that will creep you out, but it will also make you think. Elizabeth Scott has a truly unique voice and is definitely one of the authors I will be keeping an eye out for.


Rating: 8/10


Author:
Elizabeth Scott was born in Virginia in 1972. She has a degree in European Studies and has held a variety of jobs over the years, including being an editor and an office manager. Now, she works full-time as an author of young adult novels, including:




You can find out more about Elizabeth Scott and her books from her official website.

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011



Sunday, 28 August 2011

In My Mailbox (16)


Hello everyone! In My Mailbox is a meme that is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, so we get the chance to share our new books for the week (bought, borrowed or won) with all the lovely bloggers out there!

The rest of the books I got from England arrived! Oh, and sorry for the semi-cut-off head!


Books I bought
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
Seizure by Erica Wagner

Books from swaps
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Books I won
Among Others by Jo Walton (from Judith of Leeswammes' Blog)

Books for review
String Bridge by Jessica Bell (a huge thank you to the author!)


So, what did you get in your mailbox/postbox this week?? 

Saturday, 27 August 2011

On My Wishlist (3)



On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where we list all the books we desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.


Anyway, on this week's wishlist we have:


Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break. 
PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape. 
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present. 

From what I've heard, Revolution is an excellent book, but the main reasons I want to read it are a) because it's historical fiction and b) because I've only read A Gathering Light by the same author and would love to read something else by her!

 Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?


This one just sounds very interesting. I've been wanting to read it ever since I saw a review of it (I cannot remember where that was, though) and I hope it's not to long before I do!


Friday, 26 August 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon - Day #5


Here is the update for Day #5! Again, I didn't do one yesterday, because I only read about 150 pages, so I thought I might as well skip the update.

But today, I have exciting news!!!
What you were all expecting (I am sure!)...

I finished The Historian!! Finally!!!

So, since my last update, I have read

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - 319 pages


Not very impressive, but I have been reading my conference articles, so I haven't had much free time.


So, the grand total right now is 1343 pages!

Ah, well. I'm going to go start Spellbound now! (I would have started with Divergent, but I can't face another big book right now.)

Bye!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon - Day #3


Here is the update for Day #3! I didn't do one yesterday, because I didn't manage to read as much as I would have liked to...

Anyway, today I decided to record a short video to update my progress, but then I completely forgot to mention the titles of the two ebooks I've read, which makes the video slightly pointless... :/


So, the books I have read since my last update are:

Fake Me A Match by Lauren Barnholdt - 284 pages
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - 248 pages

Bringing my grand total up to: 1024 pages


Just over a thousand pages in 3 days! Not bad!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpartick

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
First published by Simon & Schuster Children's Books in 2010 (this edition by Simon & Schuster Children's Books in 2010)


Book #2 in the Hush, Hush series
(My review of: Hush, Hush)




Description (from Goodreads)
Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn’t pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. But Patch has been acting anything but angelic lately. He’s more elusive than ever and, even worse, he’s started spending time with Nora’s arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.
Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who’s moved back to town, if Patch hadn’t been acting so distant. Even with Scott’s totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him – despite her lingering feeling that he’s hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her Nephilim bloodlines has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly dangerous situations as she searches for answers. But some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything – and everyone – she trusts.



My thoughts
Crescendo is the second book in the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick and continues with the same story which started in Hush, Hush, approximately 4 months after the events in the first book. For those of you who have read my review of Hush, Hush (there is a link up there, if you would like to check it out), you will know that Hush, Hush was one of those books that I had been avoiding, because of the fact that it seemed to me that it was just another fallen angel story. When I did get round to reading it (which was because I managed to get my hands on a cheap copy of it), I will admit to enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. So, when one of my friends lent it to me, I read it straight away! (Well, that and the fact that I couldn't choose which book to take with me on my holidays, so I just took that one).


Since Crescendo is the second book in the series, this review will definitely contain spoilers about the things which happened in Hush, Hush. So, only proceed to the next paragraph, if (a) you've read Hush, Hush or (b) you don't mind spoilers.


By the end of Hush, Hush, Patch and Nora were pretty much in a relationship. But only a few chapters into the story, everything goes downhill for very little reason. On top of the fact that Nora and Patch break up, Patch can more often than not be found with Marcie Millar, a girl Nora has never been friends with. On top of THAT, there is also the arrival of Scott, an old family, after many years away, who also acts as if he has something to hide. And to make matters even better, Nora is haunted by the image of her father, who was murdered nearly a year before the events in Hush, Hush.


All of that sounds as if it could make up a really good story. And it does, only not as good a one as Hush, Hush. I am going to be very shallow here and admit to not liking it as much because there wasn't as much interaction between Patch and Nora as I would have liked. Other than that the story was perfectly engaging. There were plenty of things going on in the book, especially including Patch, Marcie Millar and Scott (though not necessarily all at the same time) and they did make me want to read on and on, to find out what happened next, why it happened etc. And there was that ending! I did quite honestly not see that one coming. Up to a certain point in the novel, I was convinced of the worst, when suddenly BANG! Something happened that I could never had predicted! And I liked that.


All in all, Crescendo was a rather enjoyable book, marginally less so than Hush, Hush and I will definitely (definitely!) be reading Silence when it comes out. Plus, I have to get my hands on a copy of Crescendo for myself.


Rating: 7/10


Author:
You can find out more about Becca Fitzpatrick at the end of my review of Hush, Hush.




Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 2nd In A Series Challenge

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon - Day #1



Here is the update for Day #1! Which I believe has not gone too badly!
Seeing as I have already FINISHED one book! (Granted, I only finished it a few minutes ago, but anyway!).

Yep!

So, today, I managed to read:

Fury by Elizabeth Miles  -  346 pages
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova  -  146 pages

Bringing my total up to 492 pages!

Not bad for the 1st day! I don't think I'll do as well tomorrow (as I have quite a few things to do), but my first day more than makes up for it!

Going to read some more now!

Auf Wiedersehen! 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon


I've decided to participate in another readathon this summer, just because of the fact that this one is a no-pressure readathon. I am not going to try and read as many books as possible, but I will be keeping a track of all the pages I've read! And because it's fun participating in readathons! The first one I participated in turned out to be a lot of fun and I hope this one is too!

This one is called the 'Bout of Books Read-a-thon' and it is hosted by Amanda from On A Book Bender. Here are some details that might get you interested!


Quick Notes
  • If you haven’t signed up yet, do it now!   This link will bring you to the sign up form.
  • You must be signed up in order to enter any of the TEN super awesome giveaways.
  • The sign up form for the read-a-thon will be open through Saturday 8/27.
  • Find a list of everyone signed up to participate on my Bout of Books Master List page.  Please say hi to your fellow readathoners!  You may make new blogging friends.
  • I’ve got a list on Twitter of everyone who indicated they’d be updating on Twitter.  It includes everyone but me because apparently I can’t add myself to my own list.  I’d suggest using it for finding other Bout of Books Readathoners rather than staying updated on their progress.
  • If you do want to track everyone’s progress run a search for #boutofbooks (or click my link).  Just don’t forget to use #boutofbooks yourself!  It will be easier to keep track of everyone and cheer them on this way.



In this readathon, as I mentioned before, I am not going to strive to read as many books as possible. But there are some that I would really like to finish as part of it.

  • Fury by Elizabeth Miles
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  • Fake Me A Match by Lauren Barnholdt
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz
So, that's 7 books. I don't think I will manage to read that many, especially considering that The Historian is 700 pages long and Divergent is another 500, but I can still try, right? I am not sure when I will be doing the progress updates, but probably once a day, sometime in the evening.


Come on and sign up too! Just click on the links up there! 

In My Mailbox (15)


Hello everyone! In My Mailbox is a meme that is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, so we get the chance to share our new books for the week (bought, borrowed or won) with all the lovely bloggers out there!

Only just got back from my holidays in the UK and - of course - bought lots of books, even though I had kind-of promised my mum I wouldn't get too many. But there were so many great offers, I couldn't just ignore them...

Anyway, here goes:





Books I bought

Books I 'stole' from my Grandma

Books I won

Other books mentioned

Bloggers mentioned
Kate from That Book Blog
Hannah from Once Upon A Time

Good God, this post took ages to write! Thanks for watching!

So, what did you get in your mailbox/postbox this week?? 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash by Malinda Lo
First published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in 2009 (this edition by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in 2010)








Description (from Goodreads)

In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

My thoughts
Ash is a retelling of the story of Cinderella, with a very very important twist; the main character, instead of falling in love with some sort of prince, falls in love with the King's Huntress. And therein lies the problem, from what I've gathered. Lots of people on Goodreads seemed to have had a problem with 'Cinderella' being in a lesbian relationship. I will admit to thinking it is rather weird, but then again, Ash is a retelling. Which means that Malinda Lo has used a well known fairy tale (and some things that happen in it) as a backdrop in which to set her own story. In my opinion, the point of retellings is telling a well known story in a different way. If you just say the same things with different words, then it's not a different story. In this, the author has succeeded.


I'm not going to go into any details about the story, as we all know what happens to Cinderella in the original fairy tale. Ash follows approximately the same pattern. Ash's mother dies and her father remarries to a woman who already has two daughters. Then her father also dies and Ash is forced to become a servant for her stepmother and stepsisters. And the prince is also looking for a wife (and the stepsisters are vying for his attention). But there are some very important changes. First of all, the addition of the King's Huntress, Kaisa, a character who has a rather elevated position in the King's court. And secondly, the addition of actual fairies and quite a bit of fairy lore in the story.


The actual writing is very fairytale-like. There is a wonderful choice of words and a very atmospheric portrayal of both the world everything happens in, as well as the characters. The characters are well developed (though not extremely so) and the story flows very well. I just kept reading and reading, until, at some point, I realised I had read 100 pages or so. And one of the things that I liked the most (though it is rather superficial) was the play on the name of the main character. Ash is really short for Aisling, but I liked how it kind-of has the same meaning as Cinderella (as in ashes/cinders). That's just the way I saw it.


As for the main characters, Ash is a rather complicated character; she is timid at first, clinging onto everything she knows from her past in an attempt to keep going in her present circumstances, but, as the story progresses, grows into herself. Kaisa seemed a little distant at all times, but I couldn't really connect with her, though she was likeable enough. As for Sidhean (the fairy), he was rather creepy and possessive for the most part, but he really did help Ash when she needed him, which made him ok.


So, all in all, Ash is definitely a story worth reading. It is very enjoyable, very well written and rather different, which is also what makes it unique. And it really shouldn't be thought of as a lesbian Cinderella retelling, because it is much more than that; it is a story in its own right.

Rating: 7/10


Author:
Malinda Lo is a graduate of Harvard and Stanford Universities and is the former managing director of AfterEllen.com, an entertainment news site for lesbian and bisexual women. Ash was her debut novel, published in 2009, but since then, she has also published Huntress, the prequel to Ash.


You can find out more about Malinda Lo and her books on her official website.

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
First published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers in 2009 (this edition by Gollancz in 2010)


Book #1 in The Forest of Hands and Teeth series




Description (from Goodreads)
In Mary's world there are simple truths: 
The Sisterhood always knows best. 
The Guardians will protect and serve. 
The Unconsecrated will never relent. 
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. 
But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?


My thoughts
I know this book has been around blogs quite a bit as of late (though it is by no means a recent release), and I will admit to liking the cover and wanting to read it at some point or another. But the main reason I bought this book at the time I did was because of the fact that it was rather cheap by Greek standards (though I also found the same cover with the leafy thing on the black background and that cost more than 15euros - not worth it).


So, basically, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a book about zombies. Not that there is anything wrong with zombies as a theme for a book, just that a) I hadn't realised it before I got round to reading it that the Unconsecrated=Zombies and b) it was the first zombie book I have ever read. And I can say that it was rather interesting!


The main character is called Mary (which I don't think you find often in YA books - everyone seems to have some weird name or, at least, some weird spelling of a name) and she lives in a small village surrounded by a fence, which is there to protect the people who live in the village from the beings that reside in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, the Unconsecrated. The story starts off with an event that plays an important part throughout the book regarding the relationship between Mary and her brother, Jed. After that, Mary is sent to live with the Sisterhood, an sort-of organisation who run the village - meaning they're the authority figure. We also have the Guardians, a group of soldiers who patrol the fence daily to check for any breaks that could lead to the Unconsecrated infiltrating the village.


While she is with the Sisterhood, she gets to see things from a different perspective and realises that things are not how everyone thinks they are: the Sisterhood hides a lot of information from the villagers. Armed with that knowledge and because of a frightful event that occurs in her village, Mary decides to look for the ocean, a place she knows about only from her mother's stories.


As I said before, this is a book with zombies. The Unconsecrated came to be after a major event sometime in the past that infected people with a virus (??) and which caused them to not die, but rather, continue their existence as Unconsecrated. As a result, if you get scratched (or is it bitten?? - it has been ages since I read this book), you become infected and after a few hours/days become Unconsecrated yourself.


The actual story is very good. As I also mentioned before, this is the first book I have ever read that features zombies (and now I won't be avoiding them, as I had been in the past), but I did have a bit of a problem with Mary and some of the other main characters. Mary was a little boring, to put it mildly. She was always going on and on about the ocean (which I suppose is good, to have some hope), but she wanted everyone to follow her blindly on this mission, when even she had no idea where she was going or what she was going to encounter there. Then, there is the matter of the love interest. Early on in the book, we find out that Mary's love-of-her-life is Trevor. And that Trevor might also have feelings for her. But Trevor is going to become bound (engaged) to her best friend Cass. And then, we have Harry, who offers to marry her and also loves her, but Mary doesn't really, because she is full of love for Trevor. Oh my good God... I know it sounds as if it could make a good ''love square'', but I just couldn't see the attraction between Trevor and Mary. On the other hand, there was way more chemistry between Harry and her. Plus, Harry came off as a much nicer to me than Trevor. And to end this paragraph, I must say that Jed was an absolute ass. Well and truly. I can't even begin to think about what was going through his head when he cut off his sister just like that. To be fair, though, he does get a little better later on in the book.


As for the ending, it was actually rather good. I think I liked it more than most of the book, because it was something completely new and different. All in all, though the book was not one of my favourites, I will definitely be reading the next book in the series, The Dead-Tossed Waves, to see what that one is like.


Rating: 6/10


Author:
Carrie Ryan was born and raised in Greenville and holds a degree in Law Studies. She used to work as a litigator, but gave it up to work as a full-time writer. The Forest of Hands and Teeth was her first novel, followed by The Dead-Tossed Waves (Book #2) and The Dark and Hollow Places (Book #3).



You can find out more about Carrie Ryan and her books from her official website.

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 1st In A Series Challenge

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
First published by Doubleday in 2010 (this edition by Anchor Books in 2011)








Description (from Goodreads)
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice. To her horror, she finds that her cheerful mother tastes of despair. Soon, she’s  privy to the secret knowledge that most families keep hidden: her father’s detachment, her mother’s transgression, her brother’s increasing retreat from the world. But there are some family secrets that even her cursed taste buds can’t discern.


My thoughts
I was browsing through the internet one day, looking for books to order from the Book Depository, when I suddenly came upon The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. For some reason or another, the title appealed to me and I went on to read the blurb and finally, buy the book. So it was really a random buy. Although I do thing the cover is pretty!!


The premise of this book is actually quite interesting. The main character, Rose, discovers quite suddenly, on the eve of her 9th birthday, that she can taste her mother's emotions in her lemon cake. As the days go buy, she discovers things about her mother that she wouldn't really have wanted to know, just by tasting the food she has been preparing. With the help of one of her brother's friends, she experiments a little and realises that she can taste whatever emotion the maker of the food had while he/she was actually in the process of making it.


The book started off quite well. It was rather interesting and engaging, and I found the writing to be very good. The chapters are also rather small, and they help the story flow. What I was a little surprised by, though, was the fact that the weird things that were happening to Rose with her tasting buds, were proven to be rather mild compared to the weird things that were happening to certain other people in the book. (I won't say names, as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who decides to read it) I can quite honestly say that, even now, nearly two weeks after I finished reading it (and have had time to think about it), I have no idea what was going on with said person.


I did enjoy reading it, though not as much towards the end (as I wasn't sure about what was going on), but I do know one thing: Aimee Bender has a rather distinctive (and very enjoyable) way of writing, so I think I might try another one of her books sometime in the future.


Rating: 6/10 (purely because of my BIG question marks)


Author:
Aimee Bender is an American author. She lives in Los Angeles and currently teaches creative writing at USC. Other than The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (which is her latest novel), she has written another three books:




You can find out more about Aimee Bender from her official website.


Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011


Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Time Will Come (2)


The Time Will Come is a great meme hosted by Jodie over at Books For Company. The point of this meme is to list a book that has been sitting on our bookshelves unread for too long and we have been meaning to get round to for ages!

This week's pick is:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins, "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them." His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

We had this one on the bookshelf for nearly a year now and I still haven't got round to reading it! I always seem to be picking something else up and not that one. I've heard good things and bad things about it and I really want to get round to reading it, so that I can see what I think of it! 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

UK & EU Summer Hop Winners


Exciting stuff, right??? Sooooooo, the winners of my stop on this Giveaway Hop are:


Rebecca from rebgeo.net

and



Both winners have been contacted and have replied and their books will be on their way as soon as I get back from my holidays!

A HUGE thanks goes to both Jodie and Donna for organising this Summer Hop!

And if you haven't entered my other giveaway for a pack of trading cards for Solstice by P.J. Hoover, head over to THIS POST to find out more!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Underrated Books


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.

I haven't done one of these lists in ages.... Ooops... They were just really hard ones for me to come up with enough to write to justify a top ten post, so I just didn't do them... Anyway, I'm back now, with this week's top ten post being about the top ten books we believe are underrated. I don't know if I'll make it to ten, but I'll try!

So, in no particular order,



1. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I don't know if this one actually is underrated or not, but I, for one, haven't really heard that much about it. I think it has been lost a little because of the fact that Meyer also wrote the extremely popular Twilight books. I can go as far as saying that, even though I had been avoiding The Host for nearly two years, when I finally did read it, I enjoyed it a lot more than the Twilight books. (My review HERE)



2. Sabriel by Garth Nix
I read this book many, many years ago. I actually own a hardback copy of it for some reason or another (and it's one of the very few that I own). Since I started blogging and looking through people's ''read'' lists, I don't think I've seen it a lot. And I think it's a pity. Sabriel was one of the first fantasy books I ever read and I really enjoyed it. And I've never read anything like it since then. I have been wanting to get my hands on the next two books in the series, Lirael and Abhorsen, for years, but I still haven't.



3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I only read this book this year, even though I had had it sitting on my bookshelf for at least a year before that. And I can say that it is one of my favourite books ever. Diane Setterfield's writing is just amazing and the whole story just kept me wanting to read on and on and on, until quite late into the night. (My review HERE)



4. Any book by Scarlett Thomas
To be fair, I have only read The End of Mr Y and PopCo by her (but not our Tragic Universe), but she writes too well for you to miss out on her books. Plus, you'll learn a lot of weird metaphysical and logic stuff at the end. (My review of PopCo HERE)



5. Tyme's End by B.R. Collins
I won this book as part of a prize pack and when I finally got round to reading it, I was very pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure what I expected, but it was so much better than that. It's a children's book, but the writing is very good and the story is engaging. It leaves you guessing at the end of every chapter and you just want to keep reading. (My review HERE)



6. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
I happened to find this book, when I was looking for her other book (Sharp Objects). Though I had only heard of Sharp Objects before (mainly through my brother, whose friends had read it), after I had read both, I realised that I preferred Dark Places just a teeny bit more. To be honest, I don't think I've heard it being mentioned anywhere even after having read it. Shame, because it really is a good book. I know crime novels/thrillers aren't for everyone, but it is a brilliantly written story. (My review HERE)



7. Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier
I have only read two books by Tracy Chevalier and they don't include Girl With A Pearl Earring, the book she is most well known for. Burning Bright is one of them (the other being Remarkable Creatures) and I've loved them both. I think Remarkable Creatures is a little more well known, but I don't think I know anyone who has read Burning Bright. I loved the two main characters in it, as well as the story, and I do recommend giving it a try! (My review HERE)

I think that's it... But yay! I made it to 7! To be honest, I didn't think I was going to make it that far!

Which books do you think are underrated?? Books that you have enjoyed but not really heard much about elsewhere??

Saturday, 6 August 2011

On My Wishlist (2)


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where we list all the books we desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.


I seem to have been participating in a large array of memes, but never really keeping up with one... I decided today, that, as I don't have a review to post, I will do another On My Wishlist post, just to keep my blog from going silent! 


The first book is one I have been wanting to read for quite some time and now that everybody seems to have (and I don't) I'm feeling rather left out...


The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

The next one is another book I have seen quite a lot of all on various places on the internet, and I have been wanting to buy it for quite some time. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive, so I am probably going to have to wait a little for the price to drop before I can get my hands on it.

 The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots. 
But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it. 
For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town. 
Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.
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