Thursday, 22 December 2011

Lolly Luck by Ellie Daines

Title: Lolly Luck
Author: Ellie Daines
Published by: Andersen Press
Publication date: 5th January 2012
Pages: 192
Genres: Children's/Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.

I'm Lolly Luck by name, lucky by nature.
I'm the luckiest person I know, and the luckiest person everyone else knows.

But Lolly's luck begins to turn.

When her dad loses his job and the family home, Lolly thinks things can't get any worse.

Then she overhears her parents arguing and learns a secret that will change her life for ever...

When Andersen Press offered this to me, I was really excited to read it. I've read tons of positive reviews about this book - in fact, I haven't seen a negative one!

I like the simple concept of how the book is basically about Lolly's luck changing practically over night. Even though some of the things that she goes through are seemingly 'unlucky' I believe that most of the time you make your own luck, and everything happens for a reason.

When Lolly heard the 'secret that would change her life for ever' (not saying what the secret is, you'll have to read the book yourself) I felt so, so, so sorry for her. To be honest, it was a bit like something dramatic that would happen in Eastenders! Lolly went through a lot and Mariella, the school bully, didn't help either.

There are twists and turns, ups and downs in this book! It's like a roller coaster ride. I really enjoyed it!
Is it just me, though, or does the cover look very similar to one of the newly-designed Cathy Cassidy books? Still love it though!

I think this book is for girls aged 8+ but I'm 13 and I really enjoyed it too. :) 5/5! This would make a perfect Christmas present.
Sunday, 4 December 2011

TMLB 2nd Birthday Celebrations LAST COMPETITION

This is international, and the closing date is 5th December 2011 at 3pm GMT. Today is the last competition in my series of giveaways. For the last five days I have been hosting a giveaway every day.  Good luck!


'Fallen Grace' by Mary Hooper Double-Sided poster
The Shadowing Hunted by Adam Slater
Trouble Twisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

To enter, fill in THIS form.

The winners from previous competitions will be announced on the 6th December.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

TMLB 2nd Birthday Celebrations 4/5

This is international, and the closing date is 4th December 2011 at 4pm GMT because todays' competition started late. If you've only just found this blog, I am hosting a five-day-giveaway, with a giveaway every day. Good luck!


'Haunting Violet' tote bag
'Dead Beautiful' by Yvonne Woon
'Angel' by L.A Weatherly

To enter, fill in THIS form.

The winners from previous competitions will be announced on the 6th December.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Someday Angeline by Louis Sachar

Title: Someday Angeline
Author: Louis Sachar
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 5th March 2007
Pages: 192
Genres: Children's/Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from WHSmith as part of their Christmas Campaign.

Someday, they will tell her, things will be better. But for a small genius with big troubles, someday can't come soon enough.

Angeline could read before she was old enough to turn the pages of a book, and she mastered the piano without a single lesson. But being so clever doesn't make life easy for Angeline. Mean kids at school call her a "genius freak", and her dad seems a bit worried about how to look after her.

It is not until she makes friends with a boy who tells the best jokes, and a teacher who loves tropical fish, that things start to get better in some surprising ways for Angeline.

This children's book has a really strong moral - that it's good to be clever and not to be ashamed of it. I think this is a good message for kids especially nowadays and I definitely recommend this book to children aged 8+.

It is like a roller coaster of emotions in Someday Angeline! There's ups and downs, sad bits and funny bits. It's very true to life - especially some of the things she and her Dad say. I started to really like the characters. Angeline and her father had a really good relationship together.

I had a lot of empathy for Angeline. This book is amazingly written and I think it's a story that quite a lot of kids will relate to.

The cover is cool - it doesn't stand out much but it ties in with the main plot of the story.  The problem is, the pink will probably put off a lot of boys. I think the story in general would appeal to boys and girls, but seeing as the cover is all pink, I don't think a boy would even give it a second glance which is a shame.

Overall I give this book 4/5 and recommend it to children aged 8+.

TMLB 2nd Birthday Celebrations 3/5

This is international, and the closing date is 3rd December 2011 at 3:30pm GMT. If you've only just found this blog, I am hosting a five-day-giveaway, with a giveaway every day. Good luck!


'Haunting Violet' tote bag
Double Sided 'Mary Hooper' poster
Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh

To enter, fill in THIS form.

The winners from previous competitions will be announced on the 6th December.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

TMLB 2nd Birthday Celebrations 2/5!

You know the drill. The details are on the last post. But if you've forgotten, The Mile Long Bookshelf is hosting a competition every day for five days! Today is the second day.

This competition is international. It closes tomorrow at 3:30pm GMT. Anyone can enter.


'Between' by Jessica Warman
'Fallen Grace' - Mary Hooper Double Sided Poster
'Haunting Violet' tote bag

To enter fill in THIS form.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

TMLB 2nd Birthday Celebrations!

The big day has finally's The Mile Long Bookshelfs' second blog birthday! :D To celebrate I am having a huge giveaway with prize donations from generous publishers such as Bloomsbury, Usborne and Egmont and also a few surprises from myself. ;)

The celebrations will run over the course of five days. Each day you will have the chance to win a different prize pack. Today, you have the chance to win...


'Fracture' by Megan Miranda
'Twilight - Breaking Dawn' Double Sided Poster
'Haunting Violet' tote bag

Today's competition is international - woo! The closing date is tomorrow at 3:30pm (GMT). Anyone can enter.

To enter, fill in THIS form.

Friday, 25 November 2011

This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT

I can’t decide what to do with your ashes. It’s been nearly a year now. Almost summer again. The urn is sitting in front of me on the desk, brown plastic with a ref. number, the date and your name scribbled on a sticky label:

Robert Julian Maguire.

The label has black borders and is beginning to peel at the corners. I smooth the wrinkled paper, trying to stick it back. It has been slapped on crooked by someone who didn’t care a whole lot about the contents. There are all kinds of urns you can have: brass, copper, pewter, ceramic; you can have a wooden casket with engraving on it, but those cost and someone would have to care enough to order one and buy it. I guess yours is the modern equivalent of the pauper’s grave

I went to the funerals. They held them one after another. I don’t think they meant them to be that way, but the
crematorium was busy that day. Yours was second. Not much like the first. No orations, no weeping school mates clutching single blossoms to put on the coffin, sobbing out rubbish verses that they’d written themselves. No inky hand-printed notes on the flowers: R.I.P., C U in Heaven, Gone but not forgotten. No flowers at all. Hardly anyone there, either. Only the bare minimum for decency. Police and immediate family. Some of your mates, but not many. Just Bryn and a few others, wearing uniform. 

The priest was sweating. He kept dabbing at his forehead with a big white handkerchief and stumbling over his words, scratching about to find something to say, stringing it out until the time came for the rollers to engage. You would have pissed yourself. Nobody sang the hymn, there was just this tinny recording. Nobody cried or even looked sad. The congregation seemed relieved to see your coffin going, as if it wasn’t a body on its way to the furnace but some dangerous bio hazard. They couldn’t wait to get out of there. 

I was the one who went back to collect your ashes. That’s how I’ve got them here. Mum doesn’t like it. She keeps nagging about ‘disposal’ and ‘closure’. Keeping you here is morbid and probably unhealthy. I don’t see it. The Morgans had their granddad on the mantelpiece for years and years. She wants rid, but what’s it to do with her? You were my brother. She doesn’t have to come in here. ‘It’s upsetting for your sister,’ she says. I know for a fact that Martha couldn’t give a monkey’s fat one. Anyway, she’s not even here, so what does she care? 

I can see Mum’s point of view. What you did was pretty disruptive. I had to move schools. I couldn’t go back there, could I? Mum wanted to move house. Move towns. After what happened, she wanted to make a fresh start. You’ve made the place toxic. But in the end, we didn’t do that. We’d have had to move Grandpa. Not that he’d notice. He’s still alive, just about, but Alzheimer’s doesn’t get better, does it? It wasn’t really that, either. What happened has changed her. At times, she blames herself. Somehow it must be her fault, that’s what she thinks. If she’d just done this thing, or that thing, then it wouldn’t have happened. She spends a lot of time sitting around thinking about that. She’s there but not there when she’s like that. She moves from that to being very, very angry. Mostly with you. 

Maybe getting rid of you would give us closure, as she puts it, but I don’t think so. The brown plastic kind of contains you. Without it, you’d be everywhere – like a genie. You don’t deserve to be liberated yet. I’ll decide the time and place. It could be tomorrow, it could be years from now, but until the day comes, you are staying right here, with me.

But this is not forgiveness. Don’t think that.
Friday, 14 October 2011

Sapphire Battersea by Jacqueline Wilson

Title: Sapphire Battersea
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Published by: Random House
Publication date: 29th August 2011
Pages: 416
Genres: Children's/Historic Fiction
Format: Hardback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Hetty Feather is a Foundling Hospital girl and was given her name when she was left there as a baby by her mother. But she always longed to be called Sapphire, after her sapphire-blue eyes. When she is reunited with her mother, she hopes her new name, Sapphire Battersea, will also mean a new life! But life doesn't always go as planned...

Follow the twists and turns of Hetty's adventure as she goes out to work as a maid for a wealthy man. She longs to be reunited with her childhood sweetheart Jem - but also finds a new sweetheart, Bertie the butcher's boy, who whisks her away from her household chores to experience the delights of the funfair!

But Hetty's life may also take a darker path. Can she cope with the trials ahead?

Hetty Feather (or as she prefers to be known, Sapphire Battersea) has returned. Fourteen years old and her last day at the Foundling Hospital. Soon to be pushed into the harsh, unknown, outside world, she becomes a servant for a sly old man. Hetty tries to be reunited with her mother, but things don't quite go to plan.

I found this book really depressing and it really upset me in places. I actually read another review of this book on Amazon, where a woman's nine-year-old daughter actually burst into tears whilst reading this because it was so sad, and I can almost relate to that. Happy moments in this book were non-existent.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this book a lot. It was really interesting, the characters were great and well-developed and the plot was gripping. Love the cover too! I was actually late for school one day because I couldn't put the book down! The only flaw is that I'd start reading the book happily and when I finished I was sad and miserable, and not because it was the end of the book.

Not a very light-hearted read and not entirely believable in places. Otherwise, though, this was quite a good book. Even though the age rating is 9+ I would recommend it to 11+. I recommend this book to fans of Jacqueline Wilson and fans of the Victorian-era. 3.5/5.
Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Marshmallow Skye by Cathy Cassidy

Title: Marshmallow Skye
Author: Cathy Cassidy
Published by: Puffin
Publication date: 1st September 2011
Pages: 304
Genres: Children's/Young Adult/Contemporary
Format: Hardback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Skye and Summer Tanberry are identical twins, and Skye loves her sister Summer more than anyone else in the world.

They do everything together, but lately Skye's been feeling like second-best - it's the story of her life.

And when her friend Alfie confesses he's fallen for Summer, not her, it hurts.

Skye wants to be her own person, but with an effortlessly cool twin, how can she?

Will Skye ever step out of Summer's shadow and find her own chance to shine?

Skye and Summer are twins. They have always been extremely close, but now as they grow older Skye can feel them growing apart. Skye - wears vintage style clothes, loves History, best friend is Millie. Summer - wears anything pink and anything cool, loves Ballet, best friend is Tia. They may look the same and occasionally think the same...but they couldn't be more different. When they find a dusty old trunk in the attic, with ancient love letters and musty velvet dresses inside, Skye and Summer grow apart just a little bit more...

I've always loved Cathy and her books, ever since my best friend lent me Scarlett when I was nine. I don't know how she does it but she always manages to create a realistic story, with a sense of magic included.

Marshmallow Skye starts off on Halloween, which was spooky. That was a nice change as Cathy hasn't written a horror story before. Marshmallow Skye isn't really a horror story anyway, but it's still a lot different from her other books. It's more of a mystery, I think.

Obviously I adored this book. Who wouldn't? I really wanted to save it, but I couldn't help reading it within an hour. One of the highlights of my year is always when Cathy launches a new book - and it's always just in time for my birthday!

I treasure this book - it's.... *deep breath* Amazfantasbrillgreatgoodexcelloveawesome! Yup. That new word perfectly describes ALL of Cathy's books.

Read this. Now. You need to, your life isn't complete until you read it...
Friday, 2 September 2011

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

Title: Words in the Dust
Author: Trent Reedy
Published by: Frances Lincoln
Publication date: 1st September 2011
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult/War
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Zulaikha hopes.

She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven out of power in Afghanistan.

She hopes for a better relationship with her hard stepmother. And she even hopes to go to school one day.

Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the poetry she once taught Zulaikha's mother.

And American troops come to the village, promising new opportunities and surgery to mend Zulaikha's face.

Can Zulaikha dare to hope these promises will come true?

Words in the Dust is...beautiful. It was written by an actual American Soldier, and from what I read, I think the story is actually true. The main person in the story is Zulaikha. She lives with her stepmother Malehkah, her father, her older sister Zeynab, her older brother Najibullah and her two younger brothers Khalid and Habib, with another baby on the way.

It taught me a lot about the culture of Afghanistan. I didn't really know anything about it before but now I know quite a bit.

Zulaikha was so brave, although sometimes she just gave up which was a little annoying. Other than that, though, she is my favourite character.

I don't really like the cover - it's a bit too dull for me but I suppose the cover art does go well with the story.  However, I give Words in the Dust 4/5! :) I recommend this to readers aged 11+.
Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Sticker Dolly Dressing: Around the World & Holiday by Emily Bone and Lucy Bowman

Around the World
Follow fashions across the globe with this fun and informative addition to the hit 'Sticker Dolly Dressing' series. Help dress the men and women in their traditional clothes from nations and cultures across the world. This title includes national costumes such as the kimonos of Japan, saris of India, bubas of Nigeria and the flamenco costumes of Spain.
'Around the World' is a sticker book, with  up to three people on each page from a different country to dress up. It took me a good three or four hours to complete and it was actually quite fun (you're never too old for stickers! Hehe.) It is quite educational when you think about it. It would be a perfect gift for any girl 5+.  The quality is great too, and if you make a mistake the stickers peel off easily without damaging. 10/10!

Girls everywhere will love dressing and accessorising these intrepid girls as they travel around the globe in this colourful and glamorous addition to the hit "Sticker Dolly Dressing" series. Help the girls dress for a variety of different holidays during their voyage around the globe from the pyramids of Egypt, across pristine white beaches, a trek through a tropical jungle and the colourful Venetian carnival. This title is filled with over 400 stickers to chose from to help the characters look their best.
I prefer this book to the Around the World one. The illustrations are more colourful and the stickers are less fiddly. Plus this book is more like a story and a sticker book - at the top of each page it has a little part of the story. The quality is brilliant and, again, girls from age 5+ will definitely enjoy this. 10/10!

Thank you very much to Usborne for sending me these. :o)
Friday, 26 August 2011

Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton

Title: Jessie Hearts NYC
Author: Keris Stainton
Published by: Orchard
Publication date: 7th July 2011
Pages: 272
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Jessie's just arrived in New York, hoping to forget about her awful ex.

New Yorker Finn is in love with his best friend's girlfriend.
They might be perfect together, but in a city of eight million people, will they ever find each other?

A mouthwatering novel of coincidences, love and New York glamour.

Ever since Keris announced she was writing this book, I've been desperate for it to be published so I could read it. I love New York and always have done - I've never been there (although I would love to!) but from what I've seen of it, it looks and sounds amazing. So when Jessie Hearts NYC was published, I was really excited and desperate to read it!

I love the story line. I liked how Jessie and Finn kept crossing paths but they weren't aware of it - i.e Finn would be stood looking up at the Empire State Building, he'd leave and then Jessie and Emma would turn up there too. The little twist about Finn and his best friend's girlfriend gave the story more depth, and I caught myself feeling sorry for Finn a lot.

Jessie's relationship with her Mum is complicated. Having moved to New York permanently before, leaving Jessie behind, Jessie feels that her Mum abandoned her. Little things add to this, and eventually it just gets too much. The relationship between Jessie and her Mum is almost exactly the same as someone else I know, so I could kind of see it from a different point of view.

Overall....Amber Hearts This Book!!! :) 10000000000000000000000000000 out of 10. Or, in more sensible terms, 5/5...
Sunday, 14 August 2011

Velvet by Mary Hooper

Title: Velvet
Author: Mary Hooper
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 5th September 2011
Pages: 336
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Velvet is an orphan.

She struggles to make ends meet by working in a steam laundry, where the work is back-breaking and exhausting.
So when she attracts the attention of the glamorous clairvoyant Madame Savoya, she cannot believe her good fortune.

Raised to the status of lady's maid, Velvet is given elegant clothes to wear and is brought to live in a grand house in London. But the longer she works for Madame Savoya, the more she discovers about the mysterious world of a spiritual medium. Velvet soon realises that her employer is not quite what she seems and that this knowledge could put her very life in danger...

At first I was a bit hesitant to read Velvet because usually I don't enjoy reading Historical Fiction. However, Mary Hooper writes in such a way that you can't help but keep reading and I found that I actually really enjoyed it.

As the story went on, you were made aware of things that Velvet didn't yet know about. In that sense, you are kind of ahead when reading this so it feels like you are a character in the story yourself.

My favourite character, at the start, is George - Madame Savoya's personal assistant. But towards the end, I liked him less and less and my new favourite character became Velvet, because she was so loyal and kind. Then she was made to do lots of things she didn't feel right doing, but she coped.

The descriptive writing in this novel is pure genius, it really did feel like you were in the room with the characters. Usually I don't really like Historical Fiction, but Mary Hooper's HF books are an exception as they are so gripping and fantastically written.

I recommend this to everyone aged 11+. Even if you don't like Historical Fiction, give it a try because you will most-likely enjoy it! 4/5.
Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Title: Eight Keys
Author: Suzanne LaFleur
Published by: Puffin
Publication date: 11th August 2011
Pages: 224
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Mystery/Family
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Before I used it, the key had infinite possibilities.

Eleven-year-old Elise feels stuck. Her school locker-buddy squashes her lunch and laughs at her, every day. She doesn't want to go to school - and her best friend Franklin just makes things worse.

Now I was ready for something to be different. Anything, really.

One day Elise discovers an incredible secret. A secret that might just help her unlock her past, and take a chance on the future.

I decided that tomorrow I would see what that key opened up. It had my name on it, after all...

Eight Keys is a really interesting book. It starts on the first day of Sixth Grade which is the first year of High School (Year 7) I think. Elise makes an enemy whose aim is to make her life hell. Soon, though, Elise discovers a key and her past unravels into her very hands...

Eight Rooms. Eight Keys. All hidden in random places. Can Elise find them all before her patience runs thin?

This is a wonderful book. When I was asked to review it, I wasn't really sure what to expect but I accepted and when Eight Keys arrived in the post, I started reading it straight away. I didn't stop reading it until it was finished. :) This has quite a unique plot, and books that are different and unique always get good reviews from me.

The only thing I don't like about this book is the cover. It's a bit dull, and to me it doesn't portray the story inside it. The first time I looked at this cover, I thought it looked like a historical romance but actually it turned out to be a modern story of an orphaned girl who lives with her aunt and uncle and has a mystery to solve. I guess looks can be deceiving!

Overall, this book is fantastic and I really do recommend it to everyone. It has lots of different genres hidden inside it, so it suits everyone. This is probably suitable for 11+ readers. I adore this book and I'll probably re-read it again and again. :)
Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Young Writers 2011 Competition

A while ago Luisa Plaja (fab author) suggested I enter the Young Writers competition but I guess I procrastinated and forgot about it. Then a couple of months ago my English teacher said I should enter and he gave me the forms etc. But instead of a Young Writers Story Competition it was a Young Writers Poem Competition where a few people in every school in the country enter their own poem into the competition. If their poem is good enough to be selected, it gets published in a regional book. Anyway, the theme was 'Things That Matter To You' so I entered my poem 'How I See The World' into the Young Writers: Southern Counties competition.

Yesterday I received a letter from the company saying that my poem had made it through the selection process! This means my poem will be in Young Writers: The Southern Counties which will be published on October 31st 2011. I received a certificate for Talented Writing and a limited edition bookmark. I can't wait to see the book!  When the series of regional books are published they will be available in most libraries in the UK and also a copy will be kept in the British Library, which is an archive of books published going back hundreds of years. This means the book with my poem inside will be kept there long after I'm dead! :)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Interview with author Cat Patrick

Last week I got to interview lovely author Cat Patrick, debut writer of Forgotten.  Want to know more about her and her book? Read on...

Where did you get your inspiration for Forgotten?
I got the idea for Forgotten when my twins were about five months old. I was very tired as they weren't sleeping through the night, and one morning, I forgot what I was doing mid-activity. As I was trying to remember, I considered how awful it would be to have amnesia. But then I thought: But what if you could remember forward instead? Forgotten was born.

And, for people who haven't read the book, could you tell us more about it?
Forgotten is the story of a teen girl named London Lane who remembers the future instead of the past. She gets by with the help of reminder notes, her cell phone, her mom and her best friend, until she meets a guy who she wants to date...but who she doesn't remember. The book is about London's quest to navigate life with her condition, date a guy who shouldn't be in her future, and ultimately, solve the mystery of her past so that she can move forward with her life.

What was your journey to publication like?
I was very fortunate on my path to publication. It took me two and a half months to write the first draft of Forgotten. When I was nearly finished, I sent out one pitch letter to my dream agent and he wrote back in seven minutes, requesting the entire novel. Less than six months later, the book sold at auction in the US, and was subsequently purchased in 16 countries worldwide. I know that's rare, and I truly believe that I was lucky enough to have the right idea at the right time.

If you weren't an author, what do you think you would be doing instead?
I can't imagine not being an author! But if pressed, I'd probably take some classes and become an interior designer. I love looking for new items for my home on furniture sites and Etsy.

If you had to become one of your characters, who would you choose?
London! She's the type of strong, independent, mature teen I would have liked to have been.

If you could have a famous grandma (dead or alive) who would it be?
I was very close to both of my grandmothers: They were famous in my eyes. But if required to add to my family tree, I'd choose Betty White. She's smart as a whip and hilarious, and funniness is the best way to my heart.

What kind of snacks/drinks to you like to eat/drink when you're writing? 
I eat crunchy snacks like dry cereal a lot because they tend to keep me more alert. I'm always cold, so I usually have tea next to me, too.

Your favourite song?
Oh wow, that's tough. I love "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon, as it will always remind me of London and Luke (it played a lot on the radio while I was writing). "Intervention" by Arcade Fire is another fave (or really anything by that band). I also love “Everlong” by Foo Fighters and “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits.

Out of all the different covers that Forgotten has (UK, USA, Australian etc) which is your favourite?
That's like choosing which of my children I like best: I can't do it! I love them all for different reasons: the US version for its boldness (and the model's name is Cat, too!); the Australia version for its loveliness; the French version for being PURPLE! What I love about the UK version is the vibrant hair and the background, and the fact that the photographer is also the model.

Thanks, Cat!

Thank you Amber for interviewing me
Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Published by: Puffin
Publication date: 3rd June 2010
Pages: 288
Genres: Young Adult/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Every year Isabel spends a perfect summer at her family friends' house.

There's the swimming pool at night, the private stretch of beach - and the two boys.

Conrad - unavailable, aloof - who she's been in love with forever.

Jeremiah - friendly, relaxed - the only one who's ever really paid her any attention.

But this year something is different. They seem to have noticed her for the first time. It's going to be an amazing summer...and one she'll never forget.

This is such a sweet, summery book. The kind of book you would read by the pool in the sun with sunglasses and a smoothie. One girl. Two boys. And the summer that changed everything.

Every year, Belly and her family stay at a woman called Samantha's house for the summer. Samantha just so happens to have two sons the same age as Belly (Belly is short for Isobel). This summer, Belly turns up at the house for the summer and suddenly the boy's seem to be noticing her for the first time. It's the summer she turned pretty.

I really loved this. The characters and the situations were realistic, and it all just seemed perfect. It was beautifully written, with amazing descriptions and you felt like you were actually there, living your life along with the characters.

You know Team Edward/Team Jacob (off Twilight?) Well there's a similar thing going on with these books, too.  Everyone is saying whether they're on Team Conrad or Team Jeremiah....if you're wondering, I'm on Team Jeremiah :)

The main character, Belly, seemed like a character most people can probably relate to, as she was unsure and confused and dealt with first love in quite a realistic way. 

Everyone should read The Summer I Turned Pretty (and it's sequel, which I'll be reviewing soon). Fantastic. 5/5!
Sunday, 5 June 2011

Girl, 15 Charming But Insane by Sue Limb

Title: Girl, 15: Charming But Insane
Author: Sue Limb
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 5th January 2012
Pages: 304
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance/Comedy
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

The Jess Jordan story continues...with lonely hearts ads, bras and minestrone soup!

Jess wants to be devastatingly gorgeous, popular and intelligent. But her best friend Flora has beaten her to it.

Now Jess needs a new focus. Ben Jones seems the obvious choice. But can Ben focus on anything that takes longer than a free kick? Perhaps Fred, who's sweet and clever but really needs a haircut, will be able to help Jess through her teen-life crisis?

A brilliantly funny Sue Limb book featuring the crazy confessions of charming but insane Jess Jordan.

Jess Jordon is a charming but insane teenage girl with hilarious thoughts, soup-filled-bras and a murder-loving granny. Y'know....normal. It is the funniest, most hilarious book I have EVER read! It caused me to burst out laughing at random moments, receiving strange looks from my family.  The characters were so funny, and I just couldn't stop laughing!

My favourite character other than Jess was Fred. Fred is sweet, funny and clever...and he clearly likes Jess a bit more than a friend, but she doesn't even realise.

I really didn't want this book to end! This is definitely my favourite book of 2011 so far. Fabulous characters, hilarious plot, realistic and insanely amazing. Sue Limb did a wonderful job. Her writing is pure genius! I highly recommend this to'll laugh your socks off!

WOW. 5/5!
Thursday, 26 May 2011

Flawless by Lara Chapman

Title: Flawless
Author: Lara Chapman
Published by: Bloomsbury.
Publication date: 3rd May 2011
Pages: 272
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Sarah Burke's life is about to get complicated.

She's agreed to help her gorgeous best friend, Kirsten, catch the eye of the hot new guy at school, only to discover that he's actually perfect for her!

And to make matters worse, Sarah's convinced that the guy of her dreams won't be able to see past her unusually large nose.

Misguided matchmaking, hilarious escapades and genuine romance result in this sensational high school romcom.

This book was quite good. The characters were interesting and I wanted to keep reading as I needed to see what happened with new guy Rock, Kirsten and Sarah.

It had a few little twists too which was great! Maybe character chapters would've been good though, as then we would have gotten Rock's side of the story too.

I quite like the cover - it's unusual and simple, and gorgeous!

The only complaints I have about this book are the plot was a bit of a cliché, and to be honest, the book didn't seem to stand out from any other book I've read. Otherwise though, it's quite a cool book. :)

My rating for this is 3/5. I do recommend this, but only for readers who don't mind a bit of a cliché once in a while! :)
Thursday, 19 May 2011

Sequins, Stars and Spotlights by Sophia Bennett

Title: Sequins, Stars and Spotlights
Author: Sophia Bennett
Published by: Chicken House
Publication date: 7th February 2011
Pages: 336
Genres: Young Adult/Fashion/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Best friends Nonie, Jenny, Edie and Crow are so close to beginning glittering careers.

So why do their challenges suddenly seem so overwhelming?

The girls have choices to make.

Who will wait for fame and success?

Who will emerge an outright star?

Who will fall in love?

And who will turn her back on her dreams?

Yay! It's finally here! I've been waiting for this book to be published since about this time last year! Maybe even longer.

Sequins, Stars and Spotlights is all about....well, sequins stars and spotlights! This novel seemed to mainly focus on Nonie and Jenny. The girls are all moving on with their careers....except Nonie. Nonie feels stuck. She's working temprorarily at Miss Teen but all she's doing is making the tea for the 'important people.' Suddenly, she doesn't know what to do with her life. But all of that is put on hold when her friends start having problems that need to be solved. Jenny admits to something very serious (an amazing and surprising twist.) which almost causes a fall-out between them all. Edie becomes very tired with everything (running her blog, applying for universities, running campaignes, helping her friends, studying, trying to save the world....the usual.) Everything's happening at once. Will the girls stay friends and manage their lives at the same time?

AMAZING. The twists in this book, the new characters, the cover, the's all amazing. I actually have no complaints about this book, it was fabulous in every way. :) Something extra special about this book is that the (gorgeous) dress on the cover was designed by Sophia Bennett's competition winner Jewel. I think the dress Jewel designed is fabulous, she did a great job. :)

This novel is everything I expected and more. It was great! I definitely recommend it for fashion-lovers world wide. I LOVE IT!!! :) 1000000/10! (Or, in more sensible terms, 5/5. xD)
Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne

Title: The Truth About Celia Frost
Author: Paula Rawsthorne
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 1st August 2011
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Celia Frost’s life is ruled by fear – fear of a rare disorder that means she could bleed to death from the slightest cut.

But when a knife attack on Celia has unexpected consequences, her mum reacts strangely.

Suddenly they’re on the run, and Celia has no idea why. All she wants is the truth…but the truth is more horrifying than she could ever imagine, and it’s closing in fast.

A buried secret; a gripping manhunt;

A dangerous deceit…

What is the truth about Celia Frost?

This novel is really compelling – you keep reading and reading and reading; even if you have better things to do, you keep reading the story because you just have to know what happens to the characters.

‘The Truth About Celia Frost’ is amazing, the plot is so unique and every emotion is contained in this story. Happiness, love, fright, heartbreak, anger, freedom; it’s all in there.

‘The Truth About Celia Frost’ is about a girl with a very frightening secret. Her Mum has brought her up to believe that Celia has a terrible illness where she can’t get cut or have open wounds…if she loses ANY blood, she will die instantly. Celia thinks this is all true – it must be! Her Mum wouldn’t have told her she had the illness if it wasn’t true….would she?

Celia stops believing eventually though, when she is the victim of a vicious knife attack. She starts bleeding, but everything’s fine. She’s not dying. This is when she starts to get very suspicious…

I cannot tell you how brilliant this novel is. Celia Frost is so brave and so loyal. The story concludes with lots of action, and the writer has written it so well that you feel like you’re in the story yourself.

I recommend this to everyone – it is FABULOUS. 5/5.
Saturday, 14 May 2011

Boys for Beginners by Lil Chase

Title: Boys for Beginners
Author: Lil Chase
Published by: Quercus Books
Publication date: 4th August 2011
Pages: 224
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Why are boys so stupid?!

I mean it's great playing football and having a laugh but as soon as they fancy a girl they act like idiots.

Well, that's what I thought until Charlie started at school. He is the hottest thing to hit year ten and now the game has changed. I'm going to ditch the t-shirts and football boots and make him fall for me.

I just have to get some of the girlie girls to help me.

No problem. Right?

Gwynnie x

I. Love. This. Book. Look at the cover, isn't it amazing? I love the cover just as much as I love the story inside it. This cover reminds me of the Lottie Biggs books (by Hayley Long) as it's chaotic, fun, bright and intriguing!

This is about a tomboy called Gwynnie....she has plenty of friends who are boys, and all of the boys like her, except they don't seem to see her as a girl - they count her as one of the guys. As time goes on, this starts to bother Gwynnie and she takes dramatic steps to become the stereotypical girl - lip gloss, boy bands, shopping sprees....bye-bye football, pizza-eating contests and scruffy trainers!

This is a really enjoyable novel and I think quite a few girls will relate to it. It is also really funny, and the characters are genius and true to life, while there are lots of sub-plots to keep you interested.

Even if you don't enjoy this book (you will, though) you'll find that you keep reading just to see how the whole story concludes.

I loved this, and I give it 5/5! There are some parts in the book that may not be suitable for younger kids, so I give it an age rating of 10+.
Sunday, 1 May 2011

Stormbreaker (The Graphic Novel) by Anthony Horowitz

Title: Stormbreaker (Graphic Novel)
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Published by: Walker Books
Publication date: 3rd July 2006
Pages: 144
Genres: Young Adult/Graphic novel/Adventure
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Forcibly recruited into MI6 after the mysterious death of his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is sent to infiltrate the organization of sinister billionaire Darrius Sayle.

Within days he's gone from schoolboy to superspy - but it looks like his first assignment may be his last...

The official graphic novel adaption of 2006's hottest movie blockbuster, Stormbreaker.

Alex's Uncle works for the 'bank'. Well, that's what he tells his nephew. Little does Alex know, he actually works for MI6 and every day when he leaves for work, he's most-likely jetting off to another country to track people down and have a car chase....maybe he'll even kill someone if he has to. This massive secret is found out though, when eventually Alex's Uncle dies on one of his missions. At the funeral, Alex is approached by someone and that's when the story really starts to happen.

Stormbreaker was the first graphic novel that I ever read, and it really made a great first impression on me. The beginning of the book seemed like the middle of the story, and it was full of mystery which really made me want to read more.

The drawings in this book are really cool. Sometimes the scene has no need for words, as the picture alone is expressive enough. They're really impressive!

I think this graphic novel gets a 5/5. I can't see anything wrong with this at all - great for a beginner or a short-story for a more experienced reader.
Monday, 4 April 2011

My So-Called Phantom Love Life by Tamsyn Murray

Title: My So-Called Phantom Lovelife
Author: Tamsyn Murray
Published by: Piccadilly Press
Publication date: 18th February 2011
Pages: 224
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Boyfriend trouble? Try dating a ghost!

I knew the boy was different when I saw him walk on water.
When fourteen-year-old Skye Thackery meets Owen Wicks, it's not exactly love at first sight. She's getting over a broken heart and he's, well, a ghost.

But as Skye gets to know him, she can't help wondering what it would be like to kiss him. Dating a ghost isn't easy, and things get worse when Owen declares he's found a way to stay with Skye forever.

As Owen prepares to risk everything, Skye wonders if his desire to be more than just a ghost will cost them everything.

Tamsyn Murray is an author that I will probably always remember throughout my life. She's one of the most talented authors I know of and her way of writing is brilliant. Her writing is humorous and fun, and is even better when she's writing as a teenage girl. She seems to get inside the head of a teenager so well, and you find you can't put her book down!

The story begins very dramatically. Main character Skye is with her friends messing about on a boat in the local river. They're having fun, but then Skye catches sight of ghost Owen, standing on the water, watching them. Skye is the only one out of her friends that can see ghosts. Her aunt is psychic and can see ghosts and auras. Suddenly the boat tips over and that's when everything starts happening...

Eventually Skye and Owen become very, very good friends. But Owen has a mysterious, hidden past that we don't really get to know about until later in the book. Also past characters from other books in the series play big parts in this book too which is great.

The cover is absolutely gorgeous. The black and glimpses of pink look really good together. I also like how all of the books in the series kind of match. :)

I really love this book! It's full of humour, drama, ghosts and scary's perfect! 5/5!
Thursday, 10 March 2011

Dear Dumb Diary, Let's Pretend This NEVER Happened by Jim Benton

Title: Dear Dumn Diary, Let's Pretend This NEVER Happened
Author: Jim Benton
Published by: Puffin
Publication date: 3rd March 2011
Pages: 128
Genres: Children's fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Dear whoever is reading my dumb diary,
Are you sure you're supposed to be reading someone else's diary? Maybe I told you that you could, so that's ok. But if you are Angeline, I did NOT give you permission, so stop it.
Dear Dumb Diary, school was ok today. Angeline got her hair tangled up in one of the jillion things she has dangling from her backpack, and the school nurse - who is now one of my main heroes - snipped two feet of silky blonde hair from the left side of her head, so now Angeline only looks like the prettiest girl in the world if you're standing on her right.

I knew this would be a funny book right from when I first looked at it when it arrived through my letterbox.  I'm not sure how I knew it would be funny...maybe because real-life diaries are usually funny ( diary entries usually are anyway!!) or it could have been  the cover.  Maybe it was the fact that the blurb involved a girl called Angeline getting her long silky blonde hair tangled in something so the school nurse had to cut it all off. Not that funny really, but if you read the book you will hate Angeline for many reasons. Could've been because the cover reminded me of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and I know that's a funny book (review coming soon.)

The cover is really cool. It feels matte but there are shiny embossed bits which make you just want to pick it up and read. I also like the random doodles around the edge...they kind of remind me of my own diaries from when I was younger.

My favourite character is Jamie Kelly. She's funny, she's goofy, she likes messing around, she wishes she was popular....she is just the coolest character in the book. I know I can't really say that, seeing as she's the main character in the book, but she's my favourite!

I only have one complaint about this book. Wait, actually two. One is that I don't feel there was enough conversation going on. I know it's a diary, but a bit more actual speaking would make it more interesting. My second complaint is that it definitely wasn't long enough! I was sad when I finished the book. This book is for younger children though so I suppose it can't be too long.

This book would be great as a short read for yourself, or a perfect story for someone younger. The age recommendation on the back of the book is 9+ but I think it could do with being a bit younger...maybe around 7 or 8+. I did really like this book though so I give it a 4/5. :)
Thursday, 10 February 2011

Lily Alone by Jacqueline Wilson

Title: Lily Alone
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Published by: Random House
Publication date: 3rd February 2011
Pages: 320
Genres: Children's/Family
Format: Hardback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

How to look after my brother and sisters

1. Make sure they eat three meals a day - and not just ice cream!
2. Keep clothes not too mucky!
3. Everyone must go to bed before midnight, especially Pixie!
4. Don't let them go to school in case they give away our secret.
5. Keep everyone safe till Mum comes back...

Lily isn't home ALONE - but she sort of wishes she was; looking after her three younger siblings is a lot of responsibility.

When Mum goes off on holiday with her new boyfriend and her stepdad fails to show up, Lily is determined to keep the family together and show they can cope without any grown-ups. But taking care of 6-year-old twins, her 3-year-old sister and the family's flat feels overwhelming and Lily is worried that school or social services might discover their situation and break up the family. What could be better than to take all the little ones for a camping adventure in the park? Plenty of space to run about, no carpet to vacuum, and surely no chance anyone will guess they're there . . .

This (amazing) novel is about an eleven year old girl called Lily. Her Mum seems to have depression, so Lily has to look after her younger siblings Bliss, Baxter and Pixie quite a lot. Lily feels very alone, but sometimes she prefers that.

Lily Alone really moved me. It was so emotional and when Lily and her brother and sisters went through all the troubles and trauma, you could just tell that the words had been well thought of, and the whole story in general just fitted together really well. It definitely isn't the most original novel Jacqueline has written, but it was definitely the best. And I know that whenever I review her books, I say 'it's the best' but this time I'm telling the absolute truth; Jacqueline's books just get better and better every time.

My favourite character was Bliss, Lily's sister. She was so sweet and cute, and she was very caring. My least favourite character was Mr Abbott, Lily's teacher. Lily says she loves him, but to me he just seems like a horrible man who has nothing better to do than poke around in other peoples lives!

I recommend this fabulous novel to readers aged 9-16, and give it 5/5. This really is an incredibly moving story that stays with the reader long after the final page is turned. 

Monday, 7 February 2011

Sequins, Stars and Spotlights Blog Tour: Guest post by Sophia Bennett

Hellooo my wonderful readers! I've got a big treat for you today...Sophia Bennett has written a guest post for the blog as part of her Sequins, Stars and Spotlights blog tour!! Yay! This is the 5th stop on her blog tour, and guess what? Today is also the day that Sequins, Stars and Spotlights comes out in the shops, so get over to your local bookshop now and buy a copy! Pleeease? You won't regret it! :) Meanwhile, though, Sophia Bennett has written an awesome guest post on her favourite scenes from her fabulous books...


My top 5 favourite scenes across the series 

These are some of my favourite scenes. I couldn’t possibly include them all. But I hope they give a flavour of what I enjoy writing … 

Edie and Jenny argue about fashion vs saving the world 

I love it when my characters argue. I know it sounds mean, but their grumpiness always highlights what’s sweet about them, as well as their weaknesses and flaws. In Threads, Jenny loves her new-found fame, and ability to do good by visiting children’s hospital wards in Louboutins. It makes Edie sick. Especially when her blog posts about Jenny’s shoes get more hits than her posts about raising awareness for African issues. Poor Edie. But although she doesn’t know it yet, the seeds of what she’s going to do to make the catwalk show so special are here. I love it when my characters don’t know what’s really happening either! 

The catwalk show at the end of Threads 

This is an obvious one to choose, and it still makes me cry. I was shocked when I first heard it had made someone else cry, though – especially when that person was the head of my publishers in America. Now I’m slightly disappointed if it doesn’t have that effect. I can’t tell you how hard I worked, or how many drafts it took to set it up that way.  

I love the way this scene includes lots of my favourite themes – doing something together, creating a show, making something magical happen by sheer hard work and talent, and yes, at the end, saving the world. Just one little, tiny piece of it, but a very precious piece. This is when Crow finally shows what she’s made of, and just how emotional she can be when it really matters. Which is very! 

The cricket match in Beads, Boys and Bangles 

I love the cricket scene because it’s where the girls from England (and boy) meet the children from India they’ve come to save. It’s based around a cricket match because my brother played exactly such a match with street kids in Mumbai and suggested the idea to me. I even copied the packing-tape ball. 

Sanjay, with his close friendship with Walt Disney, is a favourite character of mine. And Nonie gradually discovers that she can protect someone. Normally, she feels very vulnerable, but here she turns into a mummy tiger. 

The Miss Teen negotiations in Beads, Boys and Bangles 

There are two big boardroom scenes in the second book – one early on, when Edie’s blog becomes a problem for the bigwigs at Miss Teen, and one near the end, when the girls decide to do whatever they can to stop child exploitation for the sake of fashion.  

In the first scene, I knew that Nonie was going to get into trouble, but not how she was going to get out of it. When Crow took charge, I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with her. I love it when my characters surprise me.  

In the second scene, Crow’s willing to give up the use of her own name on the clothes she designs, if that’s what it takes. My characters have girl power and really do change the world by sticking up for each other and doing what they believe in. Consider them frilly or fluffy at your peril. 

I was shocked when I read about two famous designers – Jimmy Choo and Roland Mouret – who lost the right to their own names. It happens in fashion. Of course, this scene ends slightly differently …  

Jenny’s first night party in Sequins, Stars and Spotlights 

In the new book, there are so many scenes to choose from. The Dior show; the meeting with Joan Burstein, who founded Browns boutique; the day Nonie comes face to face with Liam in Starbucks while wearing a fringed tablecloth and a bicycle belt (see the sneak peek on this blog tour); the trip to New York; Nonie explaining the reason she’s never been very self-confident; the final scene when THAT GIRL ends up with her head on THAT BOY’s shoulder …  

But the scene I’ve chosen is actually very short. It’s Nonie describing Jenny’s first night party after her new musical opens in Chicago. Nonie wasn’t there, and she’s very worried about Jenny – because things have gone wrong for Jenny in the past and she always worries. This time, when she reads about the party on the Internet. she’s more stunned than ever. 

It was very a enjoyable scene to write, and features guest appearances by Elton John and Alicia Keys. Or, as Nonie would put it ELTON JOHN and ALICIA KEYS. I was listening to ‘Empire State of Mind’ as I wrote and I had a wonderful time with this one.  

Yet again, the girls aren’t really listening to each other. From that point of view, I base them on myself and … anyone who tries to have a conversation with me while I’m thinking about a book. My poor children. Oh dear.

Thanks, Sophia!! :) I hope you enjoyed that everyone. The next stop on the blog tour is at Writing From the Tub tomorrow, where there will be an interview with Sophia. Enjoy!