Waves by Sharon Dogar.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

“What really happened last summer?”

Rating: 4/5
Summary: Last summer Hal’s older sister Charley was in an accident in the waves, leaving her comatose, not dead, not alive.
On returning to the beach, Hal finds it difficult to shake Charley’s dominant presence. Thoughts of her fill his mind, pictures and places, even strong emotions crowd his busy mind and soon enough Hal realises that they’re not entirely his.
Hal is determined to find out what happened to Charley last summer in the waves, and as the summer goes along he gets closer and closer to finding out about what Charley really did last summer.

Review: This was a really fascinating story and I really enjoyed it.
A highly original story that had an excellent supernatural undertone. Wonderful plot, wonderful mystery. Awesome characters and some that were kind of disturbing. Dogar wrote the disturbing parts of her characters an enourmous amount of class.
There are two perspectives given in this novel. The most used is Hal’s, the younger brother, with him we go through his wonderfully written pain and anger about what’s happened to Charley. We’re able to watch him search for answers and put some of the pieces together and even fall in love. Even experience some of the emotion he is experiencing.

Then we have comatose Charley. Her perspective is very interesting, we get her now – as in, the Charley that’s lost in a coma – it’s very creative and vague and I enjoyed reading her parts so very much. Then we get Charley then, and we live her memories of last summer and get quite a few clues from there.
I think that this story takes a bit of getting in to, but it’s very much worth it when you finally do. The ending is beautiful. When all the pieces are put together and you finally see what happened that night things seem to make a lot more sense and we see why some people are the way they are.
Dogar is a lovely writer, who writes with such imagination and creativity it’s inspiring.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a mystery and putting pieces together, or even if you’re a supernatural addict, this could be a fix.

Four stars, this book was really enjoyable and so original, the characters were fun and mysterious, the views creative, I think that this story was a breathe of fresh air.

The Luxe by Anna Godberson

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

“If Elizabeth had looked down from that lovely perch one particular October morning on the proceeding of her own funeral, she would have been honoured to see that all of New York's best families had turned out to say goodbye.”

Summary: (from amazon.com) Elizabeth Holland, a prim and proper lady of old-money society, is betrothed to one man, though furtively loves another; Henry Schoonmaker, a debauched playboy who must marry Elizabeth or be disinherited; Diana Holland, Elizabeth’s younger sister who is in love with her fiancĂ©; and Penelope Hayes, a member of the nouveau riche who will stop at nothing to win Henry’s affections. As Elizabeth and Henry’s wedding approaches, the spectacle unfolds in a wondrously grandiose scene, making for a fun, though not entirely unexpected dĂ©nouement.

Review: First and foremost I want to compliment this book on its chapter size – yes, I do realise that is a weird thing to do, but the chapter sizes were perfect. Short and swift and straight to the point.
The Luxe is written in third person and with each chapter comes the perspective of one of the scandalised central characters. Making The Luxe is an addicting read that I had trouble putting down.
Character wise they were set up well and all had memorabile traits. One character I could not stand was Penelope. The thing that annoyed me the most about her was that she was constantly positioning herself so that the light was hitting her features in a perfect, alluring way. That said, I felt like Penelope was put in the novel to be disliked.
The romance was fantastic – especially Elizabeth and Will’s, probably my favourite in the novel as well. I love romances with higher and lower class people when reading novels set in a different time era like the 1800’s. Besides of course Will, Diana was my favourite character because she was mischievous and wasn’t bent on being perfect.

The beginning of this novel draws you in, giving a brief explanation of each pivotal character, naming situations that intrigue you and finally ending with a bang. Leaving me with so many questions that I had nothing left to do but turn the next page.
This is described as Gossip Girl set in the 1800’s, when I think of Gossip Girl I do think of confusing love triangles and society problems, but I do not think of The Luxe, even if the basics are the same. The difference between the Gossip Girl books and The Luxe – for me that is – is that I was able to finish The Luxe and the characters were so much better developed and realistic.
The cover is just beautiful as well. I would find it hard to walk past a novel with that pretty a cover, it's so intriguing.
The Luxe has me very much wanting to read the sequel Rumours and anything else that will come in the series.

I’m giving this novel five out of five. Godberson writes a scandalous 1800’s novel filled with corsets and drama, forbidden love and money. A novel that I recommend to anyone in need of a guilty pleasure or who likes a scandal.

Girl Week.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Steph over at Reviewer X is hosting Girl Week. Girl Week is Steph and numerous authors way of getting us to celebrating feminism, female characters we should look up to and of course YA lit. With a collection of interviews, guest blogs (both with amazing authors) and lots of wonderful competitions.

I'm having a great time over at Girl Week. If you haven't heard about it, I advise you go quickly and get involved as much as you can!

Expect a review for The Luxe and Blue is for Nightmares up soon.


Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

“I don’t believe in life after death or diuretics or happy endings. I don’t believe anything good can come from this.”

Riley Rose doesn’t want to be at Spirit Ranch Holiday Camp. Riley wants to be partying with her best friend Chloe at the beautiful Ben Sebatini’s house. She has a plan to get away from the jumpsuit-wearing counsellors, the feel-good mantras, do-gooder campers and the monotonous schedule of team-building exercises and outdoor activities.
But Spirit Ranch is not what it appears. Secrets abound — a missing shroud, an abandoned house, a boy called Bird, and why the hell doesn’t anyone want to talk about the accident that landed the mysterious Dylan in a wheelchair last year?

When I think of words to describe this novel, two leap out at me. The first is weird and the second is touching.
I hadn't heard of Simmone Howell before I got this novel, so I obviously hadn't read any of her books. But, I am very interested after reading Everything Beautiful in reading her first novel Notes from the Teenage Underground.
I think that Everything Beautiful takes a little getting into, but when you are sucked into the story you really feel like you need to get a blanket, curl up into a ball and read this novel. It’s a cute read, not too heavy but the story isn’t meaningless.
Riley Rose is the rebellious main character, a little bigger then the socially acceptable weight is thses days and full of personality. I found her a great MC and wonderful person to hear the story from. Even if she was a little odd.

"Mum used to say that anyone who used your appearence as ammo was the worst kind of bully -- weak and unimaginative."

I think that this story had a lot to say about looks being deceiving, especially in sex god Craig’s case. Who you think will be the love interest of the novel -- buff, perfect smile -- does he not suit the stereotype? But you find that the love interest is instead Dylan, the sad looking boy in the wheelchair. Dylan is beautifully wounded and he was the kind of hurt person this book needed to make it not only interesting and memorable.
Everything Beautiful is written very well and set up into intelligently planned sections. The novel revolves around Riley being sent to a Christian camp for seven days and is broken into seven day sections -- get it? I understand that the main character being sent to a Christian camp may turn someone who’s not into novels about religion off this book. However, Howell does a wonderful job of slipping religion into the novel, but not letting it take over the whole thing. The way other minor characters act and feel about religion at the camp is very well put into the novel as well as realistic.

"Sometimes -- usually first thing when I wake up -- I forget. I go to get out of bed and it's like a blind down or a slap around the head."

Riley is very influenced by her best friend Chloe, a total and utter party girl. Throughout the novel we hear Riley speak and think of her best friend in a realistic way that you would a person you admire. How Riley grows without her wildly confident and experienced best friend makes me smile and gives me this odd sense of closure. Riley grows a lot through this novel and I love that, because it was time for her to do so.
Riley and Dylan’s relationship is the kind of cute that makes you smile warmly. I love the way they acted around one another, how completely random and comfortable they were.
Howell does a great job of writing a story that makes you laugh and think, it’s a novel that I would recommend to any teenager looking for a novel that is thought provoking, but gives you room to laugh.

I’m giving this novel four out of five (I’ve given a lot of novels this score recently haven’t I?) it was a good and quick read that was fun and thoughtful.

*Don't forget to email me your thoughts on the novel Just Listen, ASAP.

Just Listen Segment.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I’m really excited about starting the Just Listen segment and really want to start it. I’ve decided that the book we’ll start off will be Just Listen.

Anyone who has read Just Listen and is reading this post I need you to email me and tell me why you loved or hated this novel, tell me about your favourite character and why they were your favourite. And anything else you can think to tell me about it that may make someone interested in reading this novel really want to read it. Please remember to be insightful.

Also, when you email me at justlistenbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com and tell me all about why or why not Just Listen is a book worth reading tell me what book you think will be a good choice for next time. You have two weeks to get your opinion in, so be quick!

In Ecstasy by Kate McCaffrey.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ecstasy. I’d always thought I might try it one day. I’d heard kids at school talking about getting wasted on the weekends. They made it sound awesome. I pictured the roughly made tablets with their tiny butterflies. An amazing experience inside a tiny pill.”

Rating: 4/5.

Summary:Mia and Sophie have been best friends forever — but that’s all about to change. Experimenting with drinking, boys and drugs, their friendship is tested to its limits, and they soon find out just how very bad things can be.

Review: This novel was hard hitting, from the very first time Sophie and Mia took ecstasy you knew that things were going to get bad, though, I didn't think that they'd get that bad.

Something about the way Kate McCaffrey wrote this book kept me wanting to turn the next page. There was also something about the way she described things that made them so real, so real that I often felt like I was reading someones biography or their memoirs from their drug crazed days.

The novel is from two perspectives, I found Sophie's more enjoyable at the start, her problems more developed and the way that it was written was more intriguing. Mia's story, just beginning seemed to grab my attention but whenever I hit Sophie's perspective my first thought was: yay. At the end of the novel, I felt differently. Sophie's problems in some ways ending and other just beginning made her perspective less interesting and Mia's problems sky rocketing made her perspective even more interesting. McCaffrey did a very good job at keeping me hooked.

The novel, as you would have already assumed from the title revolves around drugs or more specifically ecstasy. It was very intense and frightening to watch what happened when the girls were under the influence. And I found the process of reading this novel, not only enjoyable, but educational. Reading a novel about this sort of stuff goes into much more depth and teaches you a little more then your health teachers and parents ever could.

That morning I figured life couldn’t get any better. How could something that made you feel like that be bad for you?”

I found Mia and Sophie very easy to relate to, as the novel progressed, I was in tune with how Sophie was feeling and found her easier to relate to, her reactions to Mia's problem made me think of myself and how I would probably handle the situation the same. The way they thought about themselves and one another was very real.

As terrible as it sounds I love stories about the rising and falling of people in the 'in' crowd. In Ecstasy did a wonderful job of showing how the person on the rise in the group feels and reacts, and how the people already in the group react. How the friendships sour and the opinion of the person on the rise goes from good to bad.

The ending, once again, I got a perfect one. It gave me a little hope for the girls and left a lot up to my own imagination, and actually made me laugh, which was great.

I'm going to give this novel four out of five. It was so real and Kate McCaffrey is a wonderful and inspirational writer and I will be looking out for her other novel Destroying Avalon. I would recommend this novel to anyone, it's one of those books that teenagers should read so that they can understand the dangers of drugs and how easily you can get caught up in them.


And The Winners Are....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finally! I've been excited about today for a while now.

Mum and I sat down and got all the entries together and then put them in the most adorable Santa bowl and then she drew out the following people:

The first prize pack which contained:

ARC of Finnkin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.


Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

(Both signed)

To Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag!

And the second prize pack which contained:

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.


Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.

(Both signed)

Went to Kelsey from Reading Keeps you Sane!

I've emailed both of you already and need you to reply in the next 72hours or else I will be forced to choose another winner(s).

Thank-you to all of you who entered!

Allie's Amazing Week in Mail!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So, this would have to be my biggest week in books ever, so I thought that I'd take this oppurtunity to do an In My Mailbox post.

Last Monday I received:

Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell.
The Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marrilier.
Surf Sisters by Laurine Croasdale.

And the following Monday I received:

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Rumours by Anna Godbersen
The Museum of Mary Child by Cassandra Golds.
Savvy by Ingrid Law.
Something In The World Called Love by Sue Saliba.
The Boat by Nam Le.
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen.
The Push by Julia Lawrinson

Lots of reviews to come and a competition some time in the next month or two. And on the subject of competitions, remember, the Melina Marchetta competition is closing tomorrow and the winners will also be announced. If you have haven’t entered click here and leave me a comment, if you’ve entered and are looking for extra entries sign up and introduce yourself on the Sane Reading Boards here.

Anyway, what did everyone else get this week/last week?

Sane Reading = Extra Entries.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A little while ago, a great friend of mine, Kelsey from Reading Keeps You Sane started the Sane Reading Boards. Sadly though, no one really goes on there anymore. It's a huge shame because the boards were going to be fun and there was going to be a book club on there. Yes, a book club.

The idea, the boards, they're too great to go waste, so, I'm asking you to go and join up. And, just to motivate some people a little more. If you sign up for the boards and introduce yourself in the introduction section, I'll give you five extra entries into my contest where you have the chance to win some of Melina Marchetta's books!

Link to the boards: Sane Reading Boards.

The contest ends in two days, so sign up ASAP. In order to get those five extra entries though, you must introduce yourself on the boards and then comment me here (click here).

Have fun, post like crazy on those boards and expect an In My Mailbox post and my review for In Ecstasy (I mean it this time).

An Idea.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Recently I have been trying to come up with the most amazingly brilliant idea that I possibly can to make my blog a little more fun. Sticking to the name of my blog I thought of a little idea that I’m not sure is amazingly brilliant, but it will be fun to see how it goes, and I’ll need your help to pull it off.

Every fortnight I’m going to name a YA book and then I’m going to ask people who have read the novel why others should read it or why they shouldn’t, I’m going to ask people who haven’t read the novel why they would pick this novel up. For this, I won’t need a huge review, I want short comments about what you thought of the book, but when I say short I don’t want: I thought this book was good. I want insight!

When that two week block is over I’ll post up as many of your comments about the chosen book as I can and we’ll see whether the book is wonderful or not. The name is still under consideration, so help in that department would be marvellous, though I want the name to stay in tune with Just Listen as that is the name of the blog.

The thing about this is that I really need your help and contributions to get this off the ground. If you want to help me in anyway email me at the address under authors and publishers or leave a comment. I would love to hear your own ideas about this. Also, I want you to nominate the books, so email/comment me with your choices of what books would be best!


I Love Your Blog Award

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Today at school was pretty funny, but at the same time, very embarrassing, I had a door crash on my arm (XD) carried a wood work table home with my friend and had to do this thing in front of the whole school...but, after all that, three very awesome bloggers have made my embarrassment (and pain) so much better!

Amanda from That Teen Can Blog.
Laina from Laina Has Too Much Time.
And Just Blinded Book Reviews.

Everyone, go and comment and tell each of these girls how awesome they are!

I'm very excited to get this award because I've only been blogging for a little over a month and it really makes me happy that there are people out there that love my blog.


After receiving the award you are supposed to pay it forward:

1) Add the logo of your award to your blog.

2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.

3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.

4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.

5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Okay, well, time for me to nominate. Of course there's:

Kelsey from Reading Keeps You Sane.

Hope from Hope's Bookself.

Emily from That One Girl Emily.

Rachel from The Book Muncher.

Liv from Liv's Book Reviews.

Ashley from Ashley's Bookshelf.

Sarah from Sarah's Random Musings.

Have fun!!


Monday, December 1, 2008

It's been a long stressful wonderful month and I really want to know how everyone who participated went!

How did I go...?
I finished! Can you believe it? I couldn't. I've got 50,000 words of crap, but the thought that's comforting me now is that I can always edit and rewrite. I am very excited, I have my little certificate printed off and hanging on the wall.

I can not wait until next year and I can't wait until I have the time to get back into the story and edit, my inner editor is crying at the moment and there is so much to be fixed in the story it's quite mortifying.

So, participants who are reading this, comment! Tell me all about your Nano experience, what you could have done better, what you loved and hated about the month, why you love your story and anything else you want to share with us!

Remember to enter the contest I'm running, you have the wonderful chance to win signed copies of Melina's Marchetta's wonderfully amazing books. Oh and how's this, Nano participants, whether you won or lost, three extra entry's into my contest!! Isn't it wonderful that I'm feeling so generous?

Expect a review for In Ecstasy by Kate McCafferty in the next day or so.