Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Review of Roof Toppers

Title: Roof Toppers
Author: Katherine Rundell
Blurb:
WANTED: A mother. 
Everyone tells Sophie that she was orphaned in a shipwreck. But Sophie is convinced her mother also survived. When no one believes her, Sophie sets out to prove them wrong.
On the run from the authorities, Sophie finds Matteo - a boy who walks tightropes and lives in the sky. In a race across the rooftops of Paris, will they be able to find her mother, before it's too late?






My Review:

This is another of the Carnegie books. I've read countless rave reviews on this book so was incredibly excited to read it.

The story follows Sophie, who has hair the 'colour of lightning'. She was found by Charles Maxim floating on a cello case. They were both travelling on the ship the Queen Mary, which sank and Sophie was saved by Charles. 

Charles decides to raise Sophie up and brings her up in London. Charles is incredibly eccentric and raises Sophie to be as eccentric as him. When inspectors from the National Childcare Agency come to inspect they inform Charles that Sophie is not being looked after properly and needs to be taken to an orphanage.  

Sophie is insistent that her mother is still alive and that she was a cello player on the ship, hence why she was found in a cello case. She refuses to believe that her mother is still alive so she sets up a mission to find her.

This leads Sophie and Charles to embark on a trip to Paris, whilst there Sophie meets Matteo, a French rooftopper. 

They set forth on an adventure across the rooftops of Paris...

This is narrated in third person which I don't tend to like in a book, however, I didn't mind this one. The story was told well and it worked well with the plot of the book.

I will say, although I liked the book, not a lot really happened until the last 30 or so pages. It sort of felt like you were reading but nothing was really happening. Some of the time I would skim the pages as I was bored. I would say give it a read but, for me, it didn't live up to the rave reviews. I did like it, just not as much as I expected to.

X X X (and a half)

Friday, 25 April 2014

FF (12)

Want to join Follow Friday? Check it out at Parajunkee or Alison Can Read!

This weeks question is....

Have any pets? Tell us or show us

In short, no, I don't have any pets. When I was younger I always had a pet. We had a cat called Twinkle who we gave to my uncle as my mum became allergic to cats. I don't remember her incredibly well, but she followed me round when I had hurt my wrist. It was quite spooky because she knew that I'd hurt it, it was like she could sense it. I don't remember much else about her but she's still with my uncle now. I the got a rabbit called Dexter who did nothing and then sadly died. Then I had another rabbit who I named, Dolly, I loved her - she had so much personality. You could play tig with her and she was so comical. But sadly, she got ill and died. :(

I also had 3 hamsters. I can only remember 2 of their names, Bubble and Squeak. They were brothers and they were violent - I don't think they liked each other very much! I came home day to find that one of them had bitten off the other's ear!

Those are all the pets that I have had. Have you had any pets?

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Review: The Bunker Diary

Title: The Bunker Diary
Author: Kevin Brooks
Blurb:
I can't believe I fell for it. It was still dark when I woke up this morning. As soon as my eyes opened I knew where I was.
A low-ceilinged rectangular building made entirely of white washed concrete. There are six little rooms along the main corridor.
There are no windows. No doors. The lift is the only way in or out. What's he going to do to me? What am I going to do?
My Review:
This is part of the Carnegie Shadowing shortlist which I am currently taking part in. I really liked this book even though it is quite horrific and not one for the faint hearted. It tells us the story of Linus who is living rough on the streets. One day he sees a blind man struggling and he goes to help, but that's how he got him. This is Linus' diary and he writes his experiences in it most days. 

He wakes in a bunker where there are 6 of everything, so you do suspect that more people are going to come. And soon enough 5 more people come to join him in the bunker. 

Their captor tortures them in various different ways, mentally, physically and slowly they turn against each other as they fear each other's insanity and their longing for freedom. It's all like a game to their captor, he loves to mess with their minds. 

The book is fantastic yet also quite spine-chilling; it certainly makes you wary of strangers. I think is quie similar to Anne Franks diary in the way that it just stops at the end. There is no official ending but you can make inferences as to how it ends. 

I really enjoyed this book, it's not for younger readers as the ideas and themes running through it are not suitable. I would never have looked at this book had it not been for the Carnegie Shadowing, but I am glad I've read it. I would definitely recommend it to those who are 13+. 
X X X X
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Friday, 18 April 2014

FF (11)

Want to join Follow Friday? Check it out at Parajunkee or Alison Can Read!

This weeks question is...

Spring Break. Where would be your favorite destination spot if you could join the Spring Break festivities?

I'd love to go to Australia! I'd spend most of my time on the beach and enjoying the sunshine. It seems like such a beautiful country and it's a dream of mine to go there! It looks amazing!!
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Review of Junk

Title: Junk
Author: Melvin Burgess
Blurb:
JUNK=HEROIN=BLISS=DESPAIR= A LOVE AFFAIR YOU'LL NEVER FORGET. 
Gemma wants to fly. But no one can fly forever. One day, somehow, finally, you have to come down.
My Review:
This book is set in the 1980's yet it still feels quite contemporary. It deals with very real issues and many that most teenagers face today; the desire to get away from your parents, wanting to be independent and to have a good time. 
Tar really likes Gemma, but Gemma only likes Tar. Tar has had a tough live at home. His mum is an alcoholic and his dad beats him up. Gemma just wants to escape from her parents over protective grasps.
They decide to run away and start a life in Bristol. To start off with they live with Vonny and Jerry who were nice enough, but Gemma found them slightly boring. It all changed one night though, when Gemma met Lily. She was instantly drawn to her and they had a connection. Very quickly their friendship grew and eventually Tar and Gemma moved in with Lily and her boyfriend Rob. This, however, is where things start to go downhill for all the characters when drugs are involved... Not just any drugs, heroin.
As they spiral into drug induced hopelessness, questions arise - are they just junkies waiting for the next hit? Surely not, they're not addicted.
No matter how many times they try and get off it, they can't: heroin is just too good. However, throw in the police and a baby and things reach a whole new level.
I did really enjoy the book however, I must admit, the ending is lame. It just stops, you really enjoy the book and then you get this rubbish ending - it really spoils it. 
I would say give this book a go if you enjoy this kind of book, but the ending is rather disappointing.

X X X X
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Sunday, 13 April 2014

100 FOLLOWERS!!!

WOO HOO!!!!!

 Today I reached 100 followers on my blog via Bloglovin'! I'm so happy. I never imagined anyone would read my blog; I just made it as my own little space to ramble about books. I never thought for 1 second that it would be read by anyone!
Thank you so much for reading my blog! I appreciate it so much! I love doing my blog and I'm  honestly so happy that I've reached 100 followers!

Thank you!!
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Friday, 11 April 2014

FF (10)

Want to join Follow Friday? Check it out at Parajunkee or Alison Can Read!

This weeks question is.......

 Tell us about a book that you didn’t like and why we shouldn’t read it (as nicely and respectfully as possible)

I haven't had many books that I haven't liked, but one book that I absolutely hated was Code Name Verity. I think it was one of last years Carnegie books. Gosh, it was awful. I liked the time period it was set in, I liked the idea of the story but when I actually started reading it, it was just endless pages of waffle. I got to about page 60 and didn't have a clue what was going on. I had to stop reading it as I didn't understand and just generally hated the book. 

I definitely wouldn't say read it; it's probably the worst book I've ever read, or have attempted to read. 
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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Review of Million Dollar Mates: Superstar

Title: Superstar
Author: Cathy Hopkins
Series: Million Dollar Mate (5)


Blurb:

It's finally the summer holidays, and Jess can't wait to spend time with all her friends, especially JJ now that they're officially dating. But then JJ has to return to the states, the other boys head-off on holiday together and her dad decides that she should get a job over the break, and suddenly a fun summer seems like a distant dream. So when Stephanie Harper, a famous astrologer, asks Jess to go on tour with her, she jumps at the chance. And with JJ away and a new boy on the scene, Jess wonders if this summer could be full of excitement after all…




My Review:

I've followed this series since it first started and have enjoyed it immensely. I really like Cathy Hopkins' writing style and have never read a book from her that I haven't liked.

This is the 5th in the Million Dollar Mates series, which follows Jess. This time it's the summer holidays and Jess is looking forward to spending some time with JJ. However, things don't quite go according to plan and JJ has to jet off to America leaving Jess on her own.
She thinks that her summer will be really boring until she meets Stephanie Harper - a very famous astrologist who is staying at Porchester Park. When they meet they click instantly and soon Jess is working for her. She starts to think that maybe her summmer won't be so boring after all...

Overall, I've really enjoyed this series and would recommend you give it a try. The books are not especially challenging, however, if you are looking for a girly, pick me up read I'd highly recommend them.

X X X X



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Friday, 4 April 2014

FF (9)

Want to join Follow Friday? Check it out at Parajunkee or Alison Can Read!

This weeks question is.......

Late April Fools. What was the best prank you’ve played or had played on you? Share!

If I'm honest, I've never had a prank played on me or me play a prank on someone else - I'm just too nice! But, I do have quite a funny prank that my mum played on someone who she didn't like working with.

Basically, she cut up yellow postage notes and placed them in his cheese sandwiches so when he bit into them he got a mouthful of postage note...

Another time was when she taped the phone down with double sided tape so when he got a call, the whole phone came with him when he picked it up.  
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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Author Interview: Karen Saunders

Today I have a very exciting interview with the lovely Karen Saunders! 

Enjoy! 

   Kindle or Paperback?

I don’t have a Kindle, I have a Nook. I love my e-reader (perfect for reading time in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep and I'm not allowed to turn the light on in case I wake my husband!) but I love paperbacks too, they’re not as expensive to replace when I drop them in the bath (one of my favourite reading places), plus I love visiting libraries. So I can’t choose between them, I'm afraid. I'm picking both!

   What genre of books do you like to read?

I read all sorts, and pretty widely. I read books for teens and adults. I like things that are based in real life best of all, particularly historical fiction, thrillers, contemporary and rom-coms.

   Do you have a place where you go to write?

Yes, my study, where my PC is. It had a lovely view out of the window. I can stare out of it and pretend I’m deep in thought about plot and characters, when really I'm usually wondering what to have for tea (don’t tell my editor).

  Are any of your characters inspired by people you've met?

Characters – no. Actually, that’s a lie. Murphy, Millie’s huge dog, is inspired by the dog of my brother’s childhood friend. But that’s it. However the events that happen to the characters are often based on things that have happened in real life to either me, or my mates. I’m a complete disaster area like Suzy is, so a lot of her is based on my life. But I nick embarrassing things that have happened to my friends, too. One of my mates got stuck in a top overnight, which inspired the opening scene of book two, and one of my other friends told me an embarrassing story which inspired the opening scenes of Suzy three. I have another friend who, when I met her, used to eat an awful lot of jelly babies, just like Millie does. So I borrow bits of their lives. They’re not as forthcoming with their embarrassing stories as they used to be, for some reason…

   How do you come up with book titles?

My editors help a lot with this. The working title for Me, Suzy P changed several times and it was the team at the publishing house that eventually came up with Me, Suzy P, which I love – it’s so short and snappy. They came up with Suzy P and the Trouble With Three too. I’m hoping they’re going to work their magic and come up with something for the third Suzy novel (out next year) as well, I'm drawing a complete blank right now!

    What books have influenced you most in life?

I've always adored reading, but I’d say rather than books I've been more influenced by authors, particularly Enid Blyton and Judy Blume. Enid Blyton wrote the first books I remember that first fired that magic and excitement a good book can, and I still go back and re-read some of them every now and then. And Judy Blume was, at the time, ground-breaking in teenage fiction and the subjects she covered.

    If you could have an author superpower, what would it be?

The power to stop procrastinating, meet my deadlines on time and to summon up new, original and best-selling ideas at will.


  Why did you decide to pursue writing as a career?

I’d always loved English, and books, and reading, so after I graduated from university I tried to pick jobs that would use these skills. I changed job quite a lot, because I couldn't find anything that really ‘fit’. Then I heard about the MA in Writing For Young People at Bath Spa University, got a place, and never looked back. I did a lot of commissioned writing, which I really enjoyed, before I got the book deal for Suzy P with Templar, so I've been writing for about 10 years now, although not everything I've written had my name on, so you might not have known it was me!

  What's the hardest thing about writing a book?

For me, it’s getting the story out of your head and onto the paper! Actually sitting down and focusing and getting it out can take such a long time. Plus, I don’t write full time any more since I had my son, so I can find it difficult to keep everything straight in my head as I don’t write every day any more, so I lose my thread easily.

Tips for aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Read everything you can get your hands on. And write. You can’t be a writer if you don’t actually write anything! Start writing. Power through the horrible hard middle part. Get to the end. Revise, revise, revise. Get someone to critique it honestly for you. Revise some more. And keep persevering… overnight success doesn't happen for most people. It took me years before Suzy got picked up by a publisher!

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Tash! And just before you go, Suzy P and the Trouble with Three, and Me, Suzy P are both available to buy online and from all good bookshops. If you’d like to find out more about them, do visit me online at www.karensaunders.co.uk, ‘like’ me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karensaunderswriter or follow me on Twitter @writingkaren. There are tweets from Suzy Puttock @suzyputtock, so do follow her too!

Looking forward to seeing you around!



Click here to see my review of Me Suzy P

Click here to see my review of Me Suzy P and the Trouble with Three



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