BOOK REVIEW :: crewel by gennifer albin

24 November 2012

Title: Crewel
Author: Gennifer Albin
Series: Crewel World #1
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Published: October 4th 2012
Pages:  360 
Book: For Review*
Format: Finished Copy
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, 
Summary: Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn't interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
-blurb from Goodreads
“Enter a world of secrets and intrigue where a girl with talent will thrive or be destroyed.” 
Adelice is a Spinster.
But only her parents know.
For some it is the life they have always wanted, to have a gift to weave time on an actual loom, but for Adelice, it means being separated from all her loved ones never to see them again.
For her, it is a curse.
Her parents taught her how to evade people’s suspicions on her test day by acting ‘’normal’’ and it worked...but she couldn’t hide it forever...and then they came for her.
*gapes in shock and amazement*
This book literally blew me away.
My expectations were high and when it came I dived straight into it and couldn't untangle myself from the threads binding me into Arras until I had read the last word. 
To be a Spinster is a coveted position but a dangerous one, do what you’re told and you’re set up for life, step out of line and you’ll wish you never existed.
Adelice was the perfect storyteller and I cannot praise enough the way with words that Gennifer Albin has, the way she describes events is spellbinding and really captures the moment, and she created the perfect main character. Adelice was so real. While all the other Spinsters around her were ‘oohing and aaahing’ over cosmetics and wardrobes all she could think about was her family, or rather - lack of. She was stubborn and a bit of a hot head, bold, witty and one heck of a strong, determined girl, but at the same time she is a naive, scared young girl under the hard outer shell she has created for herself and her flawed character made her even more likeable.
Gennifer Albin’s writing style is just amazing. With every sentence a whole new image springs into your head, dazzling and sparkling and you feel as if it is real. Arras felt like a home to me as I read this book, and when you start it, you don’t want to stop.
The ending was amazing. I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book. I like to think I can always predict book endings but this one completely blew my breath away, it was exciting, anticipating, breath taking.
I only really had one criticism – not even that really – it was to do with the love triangle. Yes, I hear you sigh, I did too, but that was before I read the book. To be honest it wasn't actually that bad. The characters were both individually different but I found that I didn't think there was any need for a love- triangle. If Albin had kept both of them in the story, but made only one of them Adelice’s love interest it would have worked fine. Adelice, the plot and the writing were enough to keep me satisfied!
Crewel was everything I had expected: the characters were strong in their own way, the plot was creative and the writing style was spellbinding. With unique, realistic characters, secrets hidden amongst a web of lies, and one talented but scared young girl about to plunge head first into a tangled mess of destruction, revelation and surprises, what’s to stop her whole world being torn into threads before her?
*thanks to Luisa Plaja for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

REVIEW: What's Left Of Me by Kat Zhang

10 November 2012

Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: September 27th 2012
Pages: 576
Book: For Review*
Format: Finished Copy
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery,

How I Live Now meets His Dark Materials in this stunningly written and intensely moving debut.
Imagine that you have two minds, sharing one body. You and your other self are closer than twins, better than friends. You have known each other forever.
Then imagine that people like you are hated and feared. That the government want to hunt you down and tear out your second soul, separating you from the person you love most in the world.
Now meet Eva and Addie.
They don't have to imagine.-via Goodreads

"Who would you give up to stay alive?" 

That is all I can say.
I have wanted this book ever since I first heard about it, and my expectations just got higher and higher as the weeks wore on where my own copy didn’t even seem possible; and I kept on reading more and more rave reviews about it and then out of nowhere...I got a chance to read and review it. I have to admit I nearly had a mini heart attack when I found out and when it came it looked even more amazing.
Don’t you think the cover is beautiful?
I had a little niggle of worry in the back of my mind at the time that I started it that it wouldn’t love up to my very high expectations but it didn’t.
It succeeded them and got even higher as I finished.

Eva and Addie are sisters - twins,
But they share the same body.
In Addie and Eva’s world everyone is born like them – two people sharing one body.  Although at ‘the settling age’ the dominant person takes over and their ‘other half’ dies.
But they are different.
They are hybrid.
Eva still resides in Addie’s body - the settling didn't work - but nobody knows. They have to keep it a secret. Hybrids are seen as a threat and a danger to everyone else and the government are constantly hunting them down to ‘’cure’’.
 The premise is amazing. Two girls born into the same body:
“Our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we even gasped our first breath.”
And Kat Zhang has created a terrifying world to go with the shocking life Addie and Eva live.
As hybrids they are never safe. No-one must know.
 The book is told in the Point Of View of Eva, who lives inside Addie’s head, inside her body. Once she used to be able to control what they did as well as Addie, but now she is powerless, helpless; trapped in a void between reality as she knows it, and endless darkness.
With such a different and hard character to be able to connect to my hat goes off to Kat Zhang for managing to relay both the girl’s feelings and emotions superbly well.
 The characters were so believable;
Eva, strong and determined, the more adventurous and brave of the two: the flickering flame that refuses to be doused. I think she was my favourite character, not because the story was told because
And Addie, the girl who has a power and control she sometimes doesn't want to embrace, the girl who has to risk her life every day for her sister.
These two girls were just so strong and it blew my mind how much stamina and determination they had to keep such a massive secret.
Although Jaime wasn't a main character as such, his story tugged at my heartstrings and
When Eva and Addie  talk to him about his other half I nearly started crying, just the way he talked about him, it was hardly any words but the emotion carried across with them were so powerful, making you feel every emotion he could possibly be feeling.
Which brings me onto the writing;
Kat Zhang has made the writing very easy to understand so almost anyone could read it but behind nearly every word is a meaning, behind nearly every sentence there are unspoken feelings, behind nearly every conversation there are deep emotion that hit us as we read them, and although this made me feel sad, happy, angry and disgusted at the government, I loved every bit of it.

What’s Left of Me is a beautifully crafted tale of two girls in a very difficult position to say the least. Woven into the story are secrets, lies, and a truck load of emotion that will make you smile, cry and feel angry.  With evil minded governments, hybrids and innocent, powerless young girls fighting for their lives, it’s a roller-coaster of a ride but I absolutely adored it.
 Poignant, powerful, perfect

What did you think of this book?

*Thanks to Harper Collins for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Interview with Author: Suzanne LaFleur.

07 November 2012

Please give a warm welcome to the amazing author of Love, Aubrey and Eight, Keys....
Suzanne LaFleur!

What gave you the inspiration to write Love, Aubrey?

I usually say I write on impulse rather than from inspiration or ideas. When I started writing Love, Aubrey, all I knew about the story was that Aubrey was alone and someone named Savannah was missing. I wrote from there to find out why. I thought the story came out of nowhere. When, a couple years later, I looked back on my life at the time, I realized that I was writing about things I was afraid of: primarily, losing loved ones.

Had you always wanted to be a writer?

I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was nine.

What did you eventually become, before becoming an author?

I became a published writer at 24 just before finishing grade school, so writing was actually my first full-time career. I've also been a teacher for a long time, though in most cases I taught part-time in addition to writing.

Who inspired you to write when you were a teen and who inspires you to carry on writing today?

When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher who really encouraged me to write and I know that helped me a lot. When I was a teenager, I did a lot less free-writing because I had a lot of homework, but I do remember putting together parodies and skits with my friends so I have to give credit where it's due simply to my friends for being fun and supportive. Today it's still my friends being eager for my new manuscripts that keeps me writing, and definitely all the kids who write to me saying they're waiting for my next book.

What is your usual routine for writing in a day and how much do you usually get done?

I tend to be a very flexible writer and write when I feel like it, but I've had a bit of a routine this summer...around ten in the morning I walk to my local library, warm up with some maths problems and computer games, and then write for an hour or two. I would say I usually write 3-8 new pages or get through many more pages of revisions. 

Are any of the characters you created based on your personality or someone else's?

I have to confess that Elise in Eight Keys turned out to be an awful lot like me, which family and friends will tell me after reading it. That wasn't intentional. It also wasn't at all intentional that her friend Franklin is a lot like a friend of mine. I make a point not to base characters on people I know, but fiction does come from the heart so it's not unusual to see echoes of personalities or relationships on the page.

Which book you have written has taken the longest to write and why?

Eight Keys took about three times as long to write as Love, Aubrey. I re-wrote it a lot of times.

Favourites/Shorter Questions:
Where is your favourite place to write? On the couch in my pyjamas.
What is your favourite writing snack/drink? Crackers and cheese (just like Aubrey!)...plain water for me.
What is your favourite YA book at the moment? Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Who was your favourite author when you were a teen? Lois Lowry

Weirdest place you have ever written? Sometimes I write at the gym. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but there are nice tables there that look onto the pool and I like water, even if it's inside.
Strangest moment when you have had a spark of inspiration? I'm not stories usually stew in my mind so long I can't pinpoint a particular moment.

Quick Fire Questions:
Inside or outside? Inside (sometimes)
Book or E-book? Book (always)
Laptop or Pen and paper? (can't decide)
Aubrey or Bridget? Aubrey (I saw through her eyes)
Books or films? BOOKS (no question)

Thanks so much for  answering my questions Suzanne!
Have you read any of her books? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments below.:)

REVIEW: Throne Of Glass by Sarah J Maas

03 November 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury**
Published: August 2nd 2012
Pages: 404
Book: For Review*
Format: Finished copy
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult (YA), Romance, Adventure, Mystery, Action.
Meet Celaena Sardothien.Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.
In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?


Waiting On Wednesday #1

31 October 2012

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking The Spine to share each week which upcoming release we are highly anticipating. 
This week I am waiting on...

Smuggler's Kiss by Marie Louise Jensen.

It's not a crime to steal a heart
Smugglers are cut-throat rascals. At least that's what Isabelle's always been told. But when she's rescued from drowning at sea by the crew of a notorious smuggling ship, her principles are thrown into confusion. Outwitting the king's men fills her with excitement, especially when she's with one mysterious smuggler in particular . . .

I have loved all of Marie Louise Jensen's books so far so I am absolutely thrilled to hear that she has written another book...
Although I'm not so thrilled to hear that it is out in March 2013. *sighs and settles down to wait with a good book.*

What are you waiting on this week?

Don't forget to link me up and I'll come and visit you!

Interview with Emily from Emily's Chronicles!

28 October 2012

Today I have the lovely Emily, from Emily's Chronicles here to answer some questions. I hope you enjoy reading them! :)

How did you discover book blogging?
Well...I'm not technically a book blogger, as I blog about many things other than reviews, but the way I discovered blogging in general was through my good friend Rose. Check out her blog, Mad Roses And Oopsy Daises!

Rachel Harris - Guest Post + Giveaway (INT'L)

24 October 2012

 Rachel Harris, the author of the newly published My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century  an amazing book all about time travel and the sixteenth century has written a fantastic post all about the process of writing her debut novel, and has even kindly offered to let me host a giveaway so one of you lucky readers can win this post and then you can find out what you can win! ;)

 First off, I want to thank Hawwa for hosting me today, and generally being an all-around rock star. She’s one of my Flirt Squad girls, and we've shared many humorous emails back and forth over the past few months. She’s my girl =D (awwh thank you!)
Today, I’m here to talk about that mysterious, confusing, fun journey of writing your first book. The nuts and bolts of this magical undertaking—How I did it (although you should know going in that there are as MANY ways of doing this as there are authors), what I found to be the easiest and hardest parts of the whole crazy process, where I write, and what my daily/weekly word count goals are.
Sound fun? Well it certainly isn't boring!
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century wasn't actually my first book. My first book was a YA Contemporary Romance that I hope to be telling you all about soon, so my ‘debut’ novel is actually my second attempt, but really, my process has always been the same. And with each manuscript I write, I learn that it gets a little easier and my writing gets a little better. My first book took me just over three months to draft and edit, and My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century took me just over two months.
The reason I’m able to draft and revise so quickly is that I always take a month prior to writing to plan everything out. Y’all, I’m a total obsessive plotter girl. I interview my characters, find inspiration pictures, make story soundtracks, create posters, plot out every moment and character arc, and conduct tons of research. I create a huge story bible with all this info, and it is always with me. Always. I do all this in a month because, as I said, I’m kind of/okay, a ton obsessive. This is the fun part for me, the intensely creative, researching, learning phase, and I can’t start writing until I feel like I know exactly where this novel is going to go. Once I do, I type “Chapter One.”
And I can revise so quickly because I surround myself with authors who are made of awesome. All of us write as much as we can during the day, striving for a chapter or anywhere from 1,000-2,000 words, and then we send our latest pages to each other. We mark them up, making suggestions and laughing and swooning right there on the page, and then send them back. I rarely move onto my next chapter without having the previous ones ready to go, thanks to their amazing notes. When I type “The End,” it normally means I have one final read through to make sure it all works with my overall plot and nothing is missing, and then it is off to my agent and editor.
So, for me, I’d say the easiest part of writing is revising. I already have a road map for where I want to go, and with the insight my critique partners (and later agent and editor) give me, I knock these out really fast. The hardest for me would probably be time management. I was tempted to say plotting, because that is so involved, but honestly, it is the part I love the most. But what I suck at is balancing my day job of being a home-school mom, cleaning the house, being a good critique partner myself, and finding time to write. That’s why I strive for more of a weekly word count goal than a daily one.
Right now, I’m working on my YA Contemporary Thriller, Rearview Mirror, which is due to my editor at the end of December. I have an Excel spreadsheet that tracks the date, my new daily total, my daily word count, and where I should be to be on track for my goal. I mainly write Monday through Friday, with the occasional weekend in a hotel thanks to my fabulous husband, so my goal is roughly 900 words a day, or 4500 words a week. Considering that I edit as I write, that is a doable goal for me, and some days I’m able to write way over that day’s target.
As for where I write? Anywhere I can! I usually haunt my desk, outfitted with two monitors and a ton of reference material at my fingertips, but I’ve been known to write at Panera Bread, libraries, hotels, and McDonald’s play lands. I’m not a snob or particularly picky when it comes to where…just that it happens. =D
So that’s how I roll. Probably way more information than you ever could’ve wanted, but I always find it interesting to discover how different authors bring their books to life. And speaking of that, I’d LOVE to hear yours! Aspiring authors, bloggers, published authors, journal-writing aficionados, tell me YOUR writing tricks and secrets, and don't forget to enter to win a Super Sweet Swag Pack (yes, this is open internationally!)

Isn't she super cool!?!
What did you think of her book? Do you think it was worth all the hard work she put into it?...
Now onto the good stuff - although I'm not trying to say that her guest post wasn' was amazing..but..yeah..I've just dug myself a great big deep hole..I'm going to stop now but first..

Here's the rafflecopter widget!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW: The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable

20 October 2012

Published: October 4th 2012
Publisher: Chicken House Publishing
Number Of Pages: 288
Book: For Review*
Format: Finished Copy
Genre:  Children's Books, Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery
Alone in the world, Sophie dreams of being someone special, but she could never have imagined this.
On a school trip to Russia, Sophie and her two friends find themselves on the wrong train. They are rescued by the beautiful Princess Anna Volkonskaya, who takes them to her winter palace and mesmerises them with stories of lost diamonds and a tragic past. But as night falls and wolves prowl, Sophie discovers more than dreams in the crumbling palace of secrets.
-from goodreads      
 "Why did real life have to be so dull? Why did boarding school seem so...beige?"
Sophie is an orphan.
Both her parents are dead and her guardian doesn't seem to really care about her.
She is almost invisible to everyone else in her poor, threadbare clothes and hardly ever stands out, unless it is for the wrong reasons. Her dream is to go to Russia; a dream which her two friends don't seem to understand. Why would she want to go to Russia?
What they don't know is that nearly every night Sophie has a dream. A dream where her father is alive, with her, and they are both in the icing covered, magical land where crystal snowflakes fill the air. Russia.
When a strange woman comes to the school, and picks her, selects her amongst all the other more sophisticated, rich girls, to go to St Petersburg to visit, Sophie is delighted. She feels wanted, and a spark of excitement zips round her body as she finally sees her dream coming alive...
"She knew where they were going. Always the same place - a place conjured from his stories, dreams and memories."
When the trip to Russia doesn't go to plan and Sophie and her two friends find themselves abandoned in the freezing snow on a deserted platform, the girls really don't know what to expect. What they get is Princess Anna Volkonskaya, a desperate women intent on only one thing - finding her family's long lost treasure - a rope of magnificent diamonds. A woman who believes Sophie might hold the key to its whereabouts...
I absolutely loved Sophie's character. She was quite, dreamy and forgetful and totally realistic and relatable. Even though she seemed so utterly normal and shy I didn't really doubt that she had such courage and bravery in the face of danger, even death. I know if I had been in her position I would probably have resigned myself to the fact that I was going to die young and burst out crying or something but Sophie is special. In a way that she doesn't realize, and throughout the book Sophie battles with princesses, befriends white wolves and finds herself; as a daughter, friend, and something really special...
The Wolf Princess was packed full of adventure, mystery and excitement. With old, crumbling castles, a mysterious, glamorous and secretive Princess, sleigh rides in the snow through magnificent forests, unexpected friends, and lies and secrets filling the decaying castle; this book will not disappoint. With a fairytale-esque feel to it all you need is to curl up on a sofa with a warm drink and you will be captivated. Jump on that train and steam through silent, snowy forests to this winter wonderland.
*Thank you to Chicken House Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Breathe Blog Tour Extract + Giveaway

17 October 2012

  Today I have the uber cool Breathe Blog Tour stopping over at Ebony Black Lines so I hope you enjoy reading all about it!

Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: October 11th 2012
Ages: 14+

When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate. Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die.
Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from? A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.
~Blurb from Goodreads.

Interview With Author Marie Louise Jensen.

14 October 2012

Today I am pleases to welcome the lovely Marie Louise Jensen author of, among others, The Lady In The Tower and The Girl In The Mask.

Hi! Welcome to Ebony Black Lines. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your books?

Hello and thank you for the invitation.
I’m a life-long reader, writer and book lover and I write historical adventures with romance. I’ve been writing for publication since 2005 and Oxford University Press are the lovely people who publish my books.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was very young. It took me a long time to get around to it! I’ve done lots of other interesting things along the way though, such as learning a number of languages, teaching and living and working in different countries.

Was your journey to becoming a published author a long and/or hard one? How did it come about?

I was incredibly lucky. I wrote my first book in nine very concentrated, dedicated months and finding an agent and a publisher took only around five months. But there was then a two-year wait for publication. I used it to write lots.

How long does it take you to write a book and what do you have to do to finish it? (choosing a cover, editing etc.) 

I do plan. Not every detail, but I like to know where I’m going and a few of the points along the way. A lot of the planning is done through the months I spend researching. You certainly waste less time that way. My imagination fills in the rest as I go along. 
Writing the first draft is a huge task, but there is plenty more to do afterwards. I usually rewrite at least once before the book goes into my editor and once after. Plus I do endless reading through and adjustments. The copy-editing process can also involve rewriting sections and checking research. And then the proof pages need careful checking too. It’s a long-painstaking process. The publisher does the cover design.

What is your daily routine for writing?

I don’t have any kind of routine. I’m a single mum and very busy. I write whenever and wherever I get the chance. At my desk, in my bed, in libraries, in cafes, in the car even.

Top five tips for budding writers?

1) READ!
2) Practice writing very regularly – poems, scenes, short stories, diaries etc.
3) Read some more. Try new genres, authors you don’t know: challenge yourself.
4) Look at the books you enjoy and think about how the writer has constructed the scenes you loved and think about how you might apply that to your own writing. Think about what elements make you like the story.
5) Read lots more and keep reading. Reading widely and regularly is key.

Your books are all historical. How do you find it when you start a book and you have to do lots of research? How do you do the research?

Beginning a new book in a new era is always daunting and exciting in equal measure. It is so much work! I research for at least two months before I begin writing. How I research varies. With Between Two Seas and my Viking books, I did a lot of visiting locations and museums as well as reading. For The Lady in the Tower and The Girl in the Mask, I spend hundreds of hours reading, often in the library. You can’t set a book convincingly in a time-period without knowing an awful lot about it. 

What do you think of the phrase, "always write what you know"?  

For me personally, it helps to have a certain knowledge base as a starting point. I knew the scenery and the history I used in Between Two Seas rather well before I began, and my research built on that. Having studied the Icelandic Sagas at university gave me a starting point (as well as the idea) for the Viking books. I still needed to spend many weeks in Iceland before I felt confident about writing them though. 
I knew very little about the Tudor era before I started work on The Lady in the Tower (although I used a local story and location) so that was a huge amount of work.
For my next book Smuggler’s Kiss (publishing March 2013) I walked a large section of the Purbeck coast in Dorset last January. A wonderful way to research!

Do you think it's important for young people to start writing early?

I don’t know. I imagine it depends on the person. I’ve certainly written from a very young age.

When you look back on your novels, do you come across things you'd want to rewrite?  

Oh yes! You find little errors of research, clichés or clumsy sentences. Rereading your own work is a painful thing to do.

Which of your characters do you think is most like you?

All my characters are much braver than me. Marianne (Between Two Seas) and Sigrun (Sigrun’s Secret) have the most of me in them.

Could you give us a first line or title that we could turn into a story?

Here is the first sentence of the book I’m working on at the moment (due for publication 2014).  It doesn’t have a title yet, and I’ve only written nine chapters:

"I knew there was something wrong as soon as I saw the door was ajar. "

What are the best and worst things about writing?

The best thing is the sheer pleasure it gives me to create and work on stories. I love every stage of the process. And it gives me the freedom I need to work around my children. The worst thing is probably the lack of financial security.

Quick fire questions:
Cheese or chocolate?  Chocolate! Especially when working.Laptop or desktop? I’m a laptop girl – need my work to be portable.Kid or adult? Kids every time. Reading or Writing? BOTH!Quiet or loud? Quiet. Although I can work anywhere.

Sorry about the amount of questions i got a bit too excited! ;-)

Absolutely no problem! 

Hope you enjoyed reading!
Don't Forget To Smile!! :D

What's Left Of Me GIVEAWAY

08 October 2012

Yes, you heard right.
I am doing a giveaway for the book I have been swooning over with Zoe ever since we first heard about it! Drooling and screaming and generally just going mad over it, this book is already legendary in our eyes!
Thanks to the lovely lovely lovely lovely lovely lovely  LOVELY people over at Harper Collins, you amazing followers have a chance to win a copy of What's Left Of Me by Kat Zhang!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am terribly sorry but this is for UK people only, publishers orders! If I could, I would make it an International giveaway, but I am not the one in charge so I am very very sorry...Never fear though...I have two other awesome giveaways going on at the moment, both of them International and another International one scheduled so I haven't completely forgotten about you! Look underneath my header for the links or just go to my giveaway page...I may have updated it I can't

REVIEW: The Weight Of Water by Sarah Crossan

04 October 2012

Published: January 5th 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Number Of Pages: 228
Book: For Review*
Format: Finished Copy
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Poetry, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction.
Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bad filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother leave Poland and head for the UK to find her father. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother's heart is breaking and at school Kasienka finds it impossible to make new friends. While the search continues, Kasienka is kept afloat by William, a boy she meets at the local pool who understands what it means to lose someone and who swims with Kasienka towards her new life.
“When I am in the water
My body moves like a wave: There is a violence to it; And a beauty.”
Kasienka is moving.
Her father has disappeared and her mother is anxious to find him. Not caring that she has no idea where in England he lives, they come to the UK, but Kasienka's mother is unhappy and her desperation to find her husband increases with every passing day; and Kasienka is finding it none the easier either as school is tough and making friends is harder than she imagined....
When I heard this was written in verse I was immediately excited to see what it would be like having not read anything like it before and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. 
The main character, Kasienka, was so adorable and sweet and strong. She was unhappy and lonely and insecure but she was strong within herself when she needed to be. She was a heroine. Tirelessly trying to help her mother fit her life back together piece by piece, keeping true to herself and trying not to be overwhelmed by her school bullies. Kasienka was unique in her own special way but the school bully, Claire, didn't see it that way and teased and tormented her for being too white, having too short hair, for having the wrong kind of bag, but essentially for being different. But through this she learnt to be happy with who she was and realised that no matter how hard you try, someone will always find fault with you, you just have to know what's best for you and stick with it, and nearly always, you'll find someone just like you, who may not be perfect, but will treat you just the way you want to be treated and will make you feel happy inside, like liquid gold.
I loved William too. He made Kasienka feel brave and wanted. At home her mother was too distracted to realise the problems she was going through and had no idea how to help her either, but William? He was popular and kind with it. He wasn't arrogant and cocky lie you think most popular people would be. He helped Kasienka forget about all her troubles and shared his with her too, which is the best way to get someone to feel closer to you. I only had one tiny problem with him. He smoked. But then like I said, not everyone is perfect! And I was so so proud of Kasienka when he offered her one and she refused. She could have just taken it to make out that she was ''cool'' but she didn't, and she influenced Will by doing that too, he put the cigarettes away and they played on the swings instead...
My favourite character other than Kasienka was Kanoro, the resident next door to them. 

"Kanoro lives in our building,
In the next room.
He shares a bathroom with mama and me,
But he is not a nasty person:
            He is beautiful
He is blacker than anyone I have ever met,
                                         Skin like
                                         Wet ink
And he scares me,
Until he smiles:
             All gums
A smile that makes his eyes twinkle."

He helps them in the best way possible, by making them laugh and smile, and helping them to remember to be happy, and never give up. He is always there for Kasienka, and she pours her heart out to him when she feels she cannot speak to her mother. She plays chess with him and watches television and plays with him outside in winter; their first experience of 'English' snow.
Outside of home and school, swimming is Kasienka's solace and it's when she's in the water that she feels powerful, sleek and self-assured and she can momentarily forget all the troubles that have been weighing her down every day. 

"Mrs Warren asks, "Do you speak English dear?"
Crouching down,
                         Resting her hands on her knees,
As though summoning a spaniel."

"In lessons I have to
Hide my face
With a book
So teachers
Don't see my tonsils,
when I yawn

I don't read well
In English
That is all I can't do

So they put me in with eleven-year-olds."

The Weight Of Water teaches us to be accepting of people from different cultures and to not make snap judgments about others. It is about immigration and alienation and trying to fit in with people who judge you on appearance without getting to know the real you and the person inside. Kasienka has to deal with peoples' prejudices, even those of the adults around her. Her teacher automatically assumes she is dumb and incapable of outing her in the same year as people her age and immediately thinks she needs educational help just because she is from abroad so puts her with eleven-year-old. Her class mates do the same, they talk to her as if she has mental difficulties and label her the immature polish girl, the one who doesn't know how to dress or speak or act or even have friends. As Cathy Cassidy says, it was "Poignant, powerful, just perfect." A stunning début novel.
*This book was provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Book Haul/Fortnightly Round-up

30 September 2012

For Review:

Dance Of Shadows by Yelena Black (ARC) : I've already read this...I got it on Wednesday and finished it the same day...I loved it so much but you're going to have to wait a long time for my review I'm afraid as it's requested I review it nearer the time it gets published....sorry!
Slated by Teri Terry : This book looks amazing! I had a little peek at it when I got it and I can't wait to read it so thank you to Teri Terry for sending it to me!
What's Left Of Me by Kat Zhang (The Hybrid Chronicles #1) : Squueeeee! I went crazy when I pulled this out the package and saw the lovely finished copy just waiting to be read! I have wanted to read this every since I first heard about it so when I got the chance to review it I literally jumped over the moon in happiness!! OMG ZOE I GOT WHAT'S LEFT OF ME!!!!!! *goes to squeal over it again*.
Crewel by Gennifer Albin (Crewel World ##1) : And another long awaited book that my hands have been itching to turn the pages of! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Luisa for sending this for me to review for Chicklish!
Blink Once by Cylin Busby : I've not heard much about this so I'm pretty excited to read this and don't you just love the cover?!

Belated 6 Month Blogversary + Surprise GIVEAWAY!

28 September 2012

You're probably wondering why on earth I am talking about my six month Blogversary now, when it is passed six months...but to be only just occurred to me!
A seed was planted when Gena Showalter's lovely assistant offered to give me a copy of one of her books for me to have a giveaway for all you lovely people. I immediately accepted...who doesn't?!...and then sat thinking about when I was going to host it.
I thought it should be for a special occasion and I was hoping to collect books to give away for my 1 year blogversary but I didn't want to keep you all waiting (see how kind I am?!) and decided to hold a six month blogversary giveaway instead!
So here I am, rambling on about how this giveaway came about and I can tell you're all sat on the edge of your seats, willing me to get on with it and tell you all what you'll be winning..well..I won't keep you waiting any longer!

You lucky people are going to have a chance of winning...

Interview With Hanifah From DoodleRainbow.

25 September 2012

Today, I have the lovely Hanifah from Doodle Rainbow to answer some questions I have given her.
"I'm Hanifah, a teenage girl from the UK ^^
I'm an artist, bookworm, writer, baker, nerd, dreamer and all round weirdo. Oh, and I love rainbows c:"
How did you discover book blogging?
I don’t know, it just happened! I only really found out about it after I started my blog, as it isn’t just a book blog, but a kind of random weird stuff I do type blog x3

 Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog.
Well; I’m Hanifah and I’m 15 going on 16 years old. I love reading, writing, drawing, painting, baking and dreaming, and my blog is pretty much all of those things rolled into one. I post things I’ve baked, drawn, written and sometimes little musings of mine. ^^

Who inspired you to start blogging?
No one in particular. I’ve wanted to start a blog ever since I was about 10, but I never really did it. I think the thing that pushed me to actually starting a blog was breaking up with my best friend. I was feeling lonely and rubbish and I guess I wanted to shout out to the world, share my feelings with someone.

How did you think of the name for your blog?
I love doodling and I love rainbows! Magic. ^^

What's your favourite and least favourite thing about blogging?
My favourite thing is that I get to post or write anything I like and pour my soul out without the real life shyness that holds me back from doing so in real life. The worst thing is getting what I want to say into written word.

Do you think you are like any fictional characters?
Um… none come to mind. One day, I’ll write a book with a character just like me me so I can say there is. ^^

Do you like to read or daydream?
I absolutely love doing both <3 p="p">

 If you wrote a book someday, what do you think it would be about?
I have so so many ideas, but the main character would definitely be a girl. It would probably be set in either Victorian or medieval times. It would have lots of adventure and would quite possibly be a fantasy or fairytale.

 Can you tell us the funniest story you have relating to your blog?
It really isn’t that funny, but: When somebody from blogger tagged me and asked me to tag some other people back, and I did, they didn’t respond, and I realised you can’t tag people on wordpress x3

 If you had one day to live, what would you do?
I would write letters to everyone I knew. I would write to friends and family telling them what they meant to me and how much I loved them, and I would write to people I had wronged asking them to forgive me. Then, I would just say my prayers and prepare to die… there isn’t much you can do in a day :(

What are your top 5 favourite books?
Even choosing just five is so hard! So, I just had to do six because I couldn’t choose one to remove.  Here goes (in no particular order):
-       Private Peaceful (by Micheal Morpurgo)
-       Coraline (by Neil Gaiman)
-       Shadow of the Minotaur (by Alan Gibbons)
-       The 13 Treasures (by Michelle Harrison)
-       The Goose Girl (by Shannon Hale)
-       The Sisters Grimm series (by Micheal Buckley)

 If there was a sudden alien invasion, which book would you save and why?
War of the worlds (by H.G.Wells) because it tells us they’ll all die from human infections ;)

Favorite book characters? 
Ani from The Goose Girl (by Shannon Hale), Katy from What Katy Did (Susan Coolidge) , Coraline from the book of the same name (by Neil Gaiman), Puck from The Sisters Grimm Series... plus loads more XD

What are some of your favorite blogs to visit?
Yours (hehe), Emily's Chronicles, Sunday's Breeze and Totally Neevie

Which movie that has been based on a book is your favourite?
Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Just pure awesome.

If you could meet any fictional character for a day, who would it be?
Piper from The Girl Who Could Fly (Victoria Forrester) so she could teach me to fly.

You read books, but do you write them?
Yessir, yes I do!

What are your hobbies aside from reading and blogging?
Baking, drawing, painting, dreaming and talking. ^^

Who Would Play You In A Movie Of Your Life? 
Emma Watson :D

Quick Questions:Ebook, audiobook or print? Good old print
Dogs or cats? Cats!
Inside or Outside? Outside
Romance or thriller? Thriller for sure!
Favourite book cover? The 13 Curses by Michelle Harrison 

REVIEW: The Girl In The Mask by Marie Louise Jensen.

16 September 2012

Publisher: Oxford University Press.
Published: 1st March 2012
Number Of Pages: 311
Book: For Review*
Format: Finished Copy.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Romance, 18th Century.

Sophie's duty is clear: look pretty, behave well, and find a husband as soon as possible. But Sophia hates the social whirl of balls and masquerades - so under the cover of darkness, she secretly swaps her ball gowns for breeches and turns to highway robbery.When one man begins to take a keen interest in her, Sophia must keep her distance - or risk him unmasking her secret life...~From back of book.

 "Stand and Deliver! Hand over your valuables if you value your life!"

Set in Georgian England, fifteen-year-old Sophia is trapped by the limitations of living in a man's world. Forced by her father to give up everything she loves, Sophia is ordered to make a new life in Bath. By day, she is trapped in the social whirl of balls and masquerades. By night, she secretly swaps her ball gowns for breeches, and turns to highway robbery to get her revenge . . . When one man begins to take a keen interest in her, Sophia must keep her distance, or risk unmasking her secret life..~From Goodreads.

I was ecstatic when this book came and landed on my doorstep..well, inside my porch..I had recently read and reviewed a Marie Louise Jensen book before after I had bought it and had loved it, (You can find my review in the ''Review Archive'') so I was curious to see if her most recent book lived up to my expectations.
I warmed to Sophia immediately. She was so likeable and...just like me! She loved to read and we see her passion for reading from the first page. Her care-free life was enviable; read, mess around with her favourite cousin, horse-back rising and pistol shooting, but the unannounced arrival of her father from the West Indies, a stern, harsh man, shatters her perfect world around her.
To punish them, Sophia's father sends Jack to the army, and drags Sophia off to Bath, to teach her how to act 'like a proper, lady'. I despised Sophia's father from the moment he first arrived. He was mean and horrible and he whipped Sophia..just because of her 'un-ladylike conduct' while he was away. My fury threatened to boil over when he burnt her books,poetry and plays, he burnt her precious books!! To me, that is the highest form of evil (!!) and I can just imagine what I would do if someone burnt all my books!..He was so stuck up and sure of himself, determined to believe that by burning her books and taking away her freedom she would eventually bow down to his ideas of a young woman's life. He wasn't proud of his daughter, or happy at all that she showed great potential as a student and was a promising learner. He put her down instead, telling her that her time studying mathematics, Latin and Greek was a time that had been wasted, targeting her as to why she hadn't done any embroidery, or watercolours; and reminding her that her job in life was to be a wife, nothing more and nothing less. All in all..he made me furious!I loved the way Marie Louise Jensen evoked her characters and I also thought the setting was written very powerfully, I could almost smell the rotten water of the Bath springs and the whiff of eggs in the stale air and the scene set before Sophia seemed to come alive before my eyes. Houses of all shapes and sizes jumbled around in a maze of bustle and activity. Little shops and well dressed, refined ladies sampling syllabub's and jellies and men and women frolicking in dirty baths. Bath blossomed before me and stayed like that, vivid and graphic until the last page was turned.

The Girl In The Mask was a poignant, exciting read that kept me hooked from page one. Filled with drama and mystery and packed with secrets, lies, uprisings and highway robberies this book is a definite page turner!!greeing to give me this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Favourite Middle Grade Book: Guest Post By Cliona

13 September 2012

Today I have the lovely Cliona from The Bookster Reviews to fill us in on her favourite middle grade books. Click on the link to go to her blog but before you do this awesome post!

My favourite middle grade books

I LOVE Middle Grade books. I can't choose between MG and YA because that's much too hard! - but I think that Middle Grade books have a quality that YA books just don't have. I don't know what it is, but it's there! So I'm here today on the fantastic Ebony Black Lines to talk about a few of my favourite midde grade books and series!

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
This is one of my favourite ever series - it's funny, intriguing and the characters are awesome! I love Greek mythology and one of the reasons why I love reading these books is learning all about Greek gods and monsters - it's fascinating!

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
This is an odd (but brilliant) book. It's a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, but it's told in short stories that all sort of run into one book. It's really fun to read, and I loved it!

Wonder by R.J. Palacio ( Oh I adored this book too! Read my review HERE )
This book is absolutely amazing! It's about a 10 year old boy with a facial deformity and his life, and it's wonderful! It's one of the best books I've read this year (and indeed ever!) and I'd really recommend it for all age groups!

A Year Without Autumn ( Yes! This book rocks! )
This is a great and original time-travel book. It's fantastic! It's not at all what I was expecting, it's quite heartfelt and is really enjoyable.

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
This is such a cute little book, with wonderful illustrations. Lauren Oliver is an amazing author and it's written beautifully! 

A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis
A fantastic book, with an awesome main character! Kat is feisty and funny, and I love reading about her adventures. 

Thanks so much for the lovely post Cliona!
What are your favourite middle grade books?
Don't Forget To Smile!! :D 

Showcase Sunday #1 - 'The I Requested Too Many Books Edition'.

09 September 2012

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky over at Books, Biscuits And Tea.

As this is my first ever Showcase Sunday I am going to do the last two weeks of a great opening! LOL. I got a ton of books that I am now banning myself from reading until I have reviewed the books I have already read but unfortunately, I have library books too which I can't keep my hands off...
Due to the amount of books, I am just going to list them and write a word or two next to them, and then link them back to Goodreads...So..without further ado! *drum roll*

Sent For Review:

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland ; This book looks amazing and the cover is beautiful don't you think? I got a picture of the cover on the postcard Jane Eagland sent me too. :)
Whisper My Name by Jane Eagland ; I love historical novels so thank you Jane Eagland for sending me two of your books!
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine ; Thank you so much to the lovely Kathryn for sending me her début novel! I have already read it but..I haven't reviewed it yet *blushes* sorry! I will do it as soon as I can I know you're all dying to read some more of my amazing reviews! ;)
The Weight Of Water by Sarah Crossan ; This book is written entirely in verse...yes I know, fabulishious! I have read this one already but I promise you I am working on it...inside my head at the moment.. *.*
Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas ; I've read many different, controversial reviews about this book so it'll be interesting to see what it's like, but I have to admit I squeed when I saw it had come in the post - I think I've been attacked by the Throne Of Glass hype disease so thank you lovely lady over at Bloomsbury! :D

200 Follower Appreciation Giveaway (INT)

30 August 2012

Words cannot describe how grateful I am right now to have all of you amazing people. When I started blogging, I could never have imagined that I would have built so many relationships, that I would have so many people supporting me and helping me, and I never imagined I would even be be able to talk to any authors..LOL. When I started Ebony Black Lines, I was just praying that I would get one comment on a post and at least one follower, and now I have 200!! You guys are all amazing and I have so many people to thank for not letting me give up on my blog when I didn't have any readers or followers! 200 followers may not be a lot to other people with a thousand followers for example *cough* Eileen *cough* but to me it's amazing!
So, to celebrate all the amazing followers I have, the lovely Suzanne LaFleur has offered to give me her book Eight, Keys to giveaway to you all...and get this..It's signed! (please read the rules at the bottom for more information.)

Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise's parents died when she was too young to remember them. There's always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor.
When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish. Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn..

Good Luck To Everybody!

  • One winner will receive a signed copy of Eight, Keys by Suzanne LaFleur.
  • This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway.
  • Ebony Black Lines is not responsible for any books that are lost in the mail
  • You must be 13 years or older unless you have a parent/guardian's permission
  • This will last for 2 months (Lasting from August 30th (NOW!) to October 31st)
  • Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter. Only being a GFC follower counts, as this is a follower appreciation giveaway, but the other entries are optional. However, the more entries you enter with, the more likely you will win the giveaway.
  • I have the ability to alter the giveaway at any time under circumstances that I will specify should the need come.
  • Only ONE entrant per household
  • Make sure you link back to my blog on my blog button and link back to the giveaway page on my giveaway button.
  • THANK YOU! :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't Forget To Smile!! :D