Friday, 30 March 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

From Goodreads: In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

It has taken me FOREVER to read this book and now I have! I went to see the film on the day of release and I loved the film so I thought if I liked the film I am sure to enjoy reading the book. I was not wrong, I couldn't put the book down. There was something about this book that I really enjoyed and was not sure what it was. I relished the characters, especially Peeta and Katniss and I enjoyed reading how the relationship was building up, whether it was real or just for the cameras. 

After watching the film there were a lot of parts that were in the book but not in the film and some things had changed. I had seen lots of reviews for the book all over the Internet for years but I couldn't pick the book up as it was dystopian I thought I would of struggled with it, but now after reading it I can't wait to read the next two books. I hope that they are as fantastic as this one. In my head I was building up an image of Peeta and I just thought he was very handsome and I would love to have someone in my life like him. 

Overall, I am really pleased that I finally read this book as it was awesome and definitely well worth the read. I loved the concept of the Hunger Games and how it was a fight between 24 children to the death until only 1 survived. I thought the changes of the rules was really interesting and I would love to see what happens to Peeta in the next book. There are lots of questions that I have from the ending of the book that hopefully will tie up the questions that I have. I am looking forward to reading Catching Fire. 


Thursday, 29 March 2012

It's For Your Own Good by Jane Cuff

From Goodreads: Using comedy and mystery, Jane Cuff has produced a fast paced thriller, which takes Health and Safety to a whole new level. When Connor Wasp and his two friends secretly plan to escape their over-protected lives, things soon take a sinister turn. The moment the DHS (Department of Health and Safety) Home-Cam operator alerts her boss that Mr and Mrs Wasps twelve year old son is missing, Connor unwittingly places his and the life of his parents, at risk. Behind every action is a motive.

This is a brilliant novel by one of our local authors to the store that I work in, Jane Cuff knows how to tell a story to her audience. I really enjoyed how this was all based around the Department of Health and Safety, but this is no normal department this is a department gone wrong. Connor Wasp and his family live on an Island ruled by the DHS and they need to follow every rule that they make. 

The whole island is covered by House-cam and they watch them doing everything around their homes and their workplaces. Connor and his friends know there is more to life then living under the watchful eyes of the DHS so they want to escape. There are lots of things that the people from the island can't do because it is against the rules of the DHS, for example if there someone witnesses a accident they cannot help but they have to phone the DHS and then carry on their way. 

The way that Jane Cuff writes really draws you into the page and the way she describes the events that fall into place. I had a lot of fun reading this, it wasn't just a normal novel but a thriller because there were so many things that happened that I didn't think would happen. There were some things that the DHS did that I didn't think could be possible but they made it possible. 

This is Jane Cuff's second novel and it just shows you that if you have a great plot and determination you are able to make great novels. If anyone wants to read an amazing story and also wants to have a chuckle this is definitely one for you. Jane Cuff is an author to watch out for in the future. 


One to Watch

Endure by Carrie Jones
From Goodreads: It’s all-out war (and no-holds-barred romance) in the climactic conclusion to Carrie Jones’s bestselling series.

Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . .

Unexpected turns, surprising revelations, and one utterly satisfying romantic finale make Endure a thrilling end to this series of bestsellers.

I am so excited about this one being published, I can't wait to find out what happens to Zara and Nick. It is published 8th May 2012 by Bloomsbury.  

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Hollow Pike by James Dawson

From Goodreads: Something wicked this way comes... She thought she'd be safe in the country, but you can't escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she's being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn't believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn't believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you're alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps... Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps.

This was my book club's March choice of book to read and to start off I wasn't too keen on it because I am more of a contemporary girl rather then someone that reads paranormal, witch stories, I was wrong though because it was quite rather interesting. The beginning was a bit slow because I felt it was a lot like a book about bitchy schoolgirls. It got kind of annoying because I felt that the author was going over the top when describing the girls were at school. I carried on reading because I wanted to find out what was going on in Hollow Pike and wondering what the witch element was going to be. 

As soon I got to the last few pages of the first part, the pace really kicked in and I couldn't put the book down as I wanted to know what happened to Lis and her friends. The second part was interesting as I wanted to find out the reasons for all the things that were going on in Hollow Pike. There seemed to be a lot of weird things going on in the town and it all circled around Lis and her friends. Lis seemed to be very concern with her new boyfriend Danny, thinking that he might have something to do with what was happening to her. 

James Dawson tackles a few issues throughout the book one being a gay relationship, which he portrayed really well. He didn't go into lots of details but told a great story of how Kitty and Deliah's relationship built up. After the first part of the book I really enjoyed the rest and I didn't expect what was going to happen and what did happen to Lis and her friends. Overall it was an interesting concept and I like the characters especially Jack. I liked how he really became his own person throughout the book and from the beginning you wouldn't of thought he could of helped in the way that he did. If you like witches and the paranormal this is definitely a book for you. 


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Carol Marinelli Interview

Carol Marinelli, author of Putting Alice Back Together took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions. 

From Goodreads: There's only so much sex, Valium and red wine you can take to paper over the cracks...

Alice Lydia Jameson is the friend you wish you had. The girl who makes a party more fun, pulls a funny face to make you feel better, drinks wine out of a mug and makes you laugh while you're crying over an ex. Alice is totally happy, everything is amazing, and there is nothing at all to worry about... except, well: Her job was really great 10 years ago; The sexiest guy alive doesn't want her...because he's gay; Her credit card bills are mounting up... But maybe the biggest problem for Alice is that she has a secret. A secret so big she can't tell anyone...but how do you keep a secret like that when everything is starting to fall apart? And once it's out there, how do you ever begin to put yourself back together again?

1. Did you always want to be an author? If not, what did you want to be?

I have always wanted to be an author, a policewoman (in uniform but I also want to be a detective) a psychologist, a midwife, a person who wears a gorgeous suit and carries files under her arms as she dashes to court, a concierge or customer relations person at a really posh hotel... the list goes on luckily, being a writer, I get to have a go at all of the above. 

2. Which authors inspire you? 

So many - Jackie Collins, Jilly Cooper, Marian Keyes, Lucilla Andrews, Stan Barstow, Napoleon Hill, Yasmin Boland, Lynda La Plante, Anne Gracie, Sarah Morgan, Bryce Courtney, Fiona McArhthur, Gok Wan, Ian Rankin - I could go on for pages - every diet book every published, every self help book ever published, every book ever published really - I love them. 

3. When you were younger who were your favourite authors? 

Enid Blyton I wanted to be Darrel , Roald Dahl and I could read The Princess and the Pea every day and not get tired of it. I do remember finding a Harold Robbins book when I was tidying the garage and then a Jackie Collins - I was hooked from there on.

4. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline? 

 I have just handed in the follow up to Putting Alice Back Together (very raw, first draft) and I am just taking a few days to sort out the major backlog etc. Today I am going to lunch with some writing friends and really looking forward to being able to talk without a story racing around in my head. I'll listen about one of their stories - I owe them. 5. Do you enjoy reading the criticism about your book, whether it is positive or negative? I try to avoid it - I can only write what I can write and I know it won't be to everyone's taste. 

6. What was your process of getting published?

A long and slow one. I wrote and submitted regularly to Mills and Boon and finally I think I wore them down with my constant stories. They have always encouraged me to try different things, which is why I started Putting Alice Back Together. 

7. If you could recommend any book for people to read, what would it be and why? 

 The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It's not just for if you want to write, it can be for any project you want to tackle. It motivates me a lot. 

Thank you Carol for answering my questions. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

From Goodreads: I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

This is a beautifully written novel about August, who is a 10 year old boy who has a facial deformity who has been home schooled until now and his parents are sending him to middle school. He has always had the same friend from when he was younger until Christopher had to move out of state with his family. Since that happen Auggie has kept himself to himself and only really spends time with his parents and sister, Via and also his dog Daisy. 

I loved how Auggie was narrating it and how his words just leapt from page. There were some parts of the novel were I was close to tears and then at some parts I was sobbing my heart out. Auggie has had a lot to deal with his whole life and his has dealt with it so well, I know that if I had a facial deformity I wouldn't of been able to cope with people stopping and staring at me. Auggie coped with this amazingly and he just wanted to be treated like a normal person. 

When Auggie starts at school he is helped along by 3 people, Charlotte, Jack and Julian. All of them seem very shocked at who they are helping around the school. They all have different opinions of who Auggie is and why he looks different from everyone else. There are so many names that are thrown around, orc, zombie and elephant man but Auggie doesn't react to any of those names and just carries on his life as normal. 

Auggie meets Summer on the first day of school at lunch time when she comes and sits on the same table as him and suggests that they should be friends as their names are both from the same season. When I read this I thought that it was really sweet of Summer. I did though have a deep thought that she was only doing this for a dare but I learnt further in the book that Summer like Auggie for his humour and personality and not just cause she could of been told to be friends with him. 

There is so much that I can say about this book, but it would give away too much of the plot. All I can say is that it is the most amazing book that I have read for the year or so. The way it is written is with lots of thought and understanding of how a person would feel and be like with a deformity of any kind. R.J Palacio has a fantastic way with words and makes you feel like you are there with Auggie everyday going through what he is going through. If there is one book that you should pick up this year, make sure it is Wonder as it is truly a remarkable novel and I haven't read anything like it since Jenny Downham brought Before I Die to the publishing world. 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Putting Alice Back Together by Carol Marinelli

From Goodreads: There's only so much sex, Valium and red wine you can take to paper over the cracks...

Alice Lydia Jameson is the friend you wish you had. The girl who makes a party more fun, pulls a funny face to make you feel better, drinks wine out of a mug and makes you laugh while you're crying over an ex. Alice is totally happy, everything is amazing, and there is nothing at all to worry about... except, well: Her job was really great 10 years ago; The sexiest guy alive doesn't want her...because he's gay; Her credit card bills are mounting up... But maybe the biggest problem for Alice is that she has a secret. A secret so big she can't tell anyone...but how do you keep a secret like that when everything is starting to fall apart? And once it's out there, how do you ever begin to put yourself back together again?

This is a really interesting book, I loved the the story went from Alice in the past when she was 17 and Alice now. There is a lot of things that Alice is dealing with that happened when she was 17, she takes on a lot of excess baggage and doesn't want to involve anyone else and tell them want happen, expect for her sister new husband. This novel is a bit like the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella with the problem in the novel being money worries, especially for Alice because she is always spending money that she doesn't have. 

I really liked reading about Alice when she was 17 and what she was going through with her Mum being so overprotective of her and the way she wanted to escape the tight grasps of her Mum and become her own person. The way that Alice went from a child to adult in the space of seconds was really interesting to read. I loved reading how Alice was growing into a young woman and planned to emigrate to Australia. 

I really liked all the characters in the book especially Ros because of the interesting path she was taking through life. She was in the process of getting divorced as she had worked out that she was gay and loved another person. She was struggling to get along with her daughter as she doesn't agree with her Mum being gay and leaving her Dad. I liked Hugh as well, the relationship that he developed with Alice was really quick and I felt like it was going to fast and something bad was going to happen. Even Alice's counsellor even said that it was a bit fast and something would happen but Alice knew it was perfect and nothing could harm it. Apart from Gemma, Hugh's not so ex girlfriend was always in the picture. 

This is a great book and really interesting read and I didn't want it to end. I was crying at some parts because I was really sad when Hugh left Alice and then when their paths crossed again when Alice went to the UK for the wedding of the century. I loved how Alice went through counselling and relived her old life when things went from good to bad in the matter of moments. I really hope that Carol writes a follow up to this as I want to find out what happens to Alice and all of her friends.  

Friday, 2 March 2012

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

From Goodreads: Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle- aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.

But it’s the phone call from a Dr. Nash, a neurologist who claims to be working with Christine without her husband’s knowledge, that directs her to her journal, hidden in the back of her closet. For the past few weeks, Christine has been recording her daily activities—tearful mornings with Ben, sessions with Dr. Nash, flashes of scenes from her former life—and rereading past entries, relearning the facts of her life as retold by the husband she is completely dependent upon. As the entries build up, Christine asks many questions. What was life like before the accident? Why did she and Ben never have a child? What has happened to Christine’s best friend? And what exactly was the horrific accident that caused such a profound loss of memory?

Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more un- believable it seems.

Have you ever wanted to read a book were there is a massive plot twist at the end? I love reading books where the plot dramatically changes at the end and I wasn't expecting what I read at the end. I absolutely loved this book and was so glad that I read and understood why everyone in the World has been raving about how ingenious this novel was. This is definitely a terrific debut novel from UK author. 

The book has so much pace and it keeps you wondering what actually happened to Christine in the years after her accident and who the different people in her life are and why they are helping her. There is so much that had happened in her life previous to her accident that she only remembers. The ending of the book is completely unexpected because you never get any clue as to what is happening to Christine and the people that are involved. I was in shock to find out who was behind all the incident at the end. Christine doesn't remember anything that has happened, the only person that knows a lot about her life is her Doctor who phones her every day to remind her about the journal that she keeps. 

This is such a fantastic debut novel and is definitely worth the read. It is well written and has an amazing plot. After reading this I now know well millions of people have read this and are still reading it today. This is the new bestseller of the 21st Century. If you haven't read this book then you have to find it and read it as you will not be disappointed.