book review // tease & the one safe place

31 May 2014

Title: Tease
Author: Amanda Maciel
Publisher: Hachette Children's Books
Publication Date: May 1st 2014
Pages: 268
Source // Format: For Review, Finished Copy
Summary: A gripping, controversial debut about the nature of bullying.
Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault.
At least, that's what everyone seems to think when Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. But Sara is sure she hasn't done anything wrong, because Emma brought it on herself. Sara is adamant that she was the victim - not Emma.
TEASE is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt you long after the last page. -goodreads
I'm not going to rate this book because right now i can't sort my thoughts into boxes and label them 'positive' and 'negative'. There is no denying that Tease is an ambitious book. It explores a subject that people rarely like to talk about, a subject people prefer to hide away and forget, so in this respect: i absolutely loved Tease. How it made an impact on me however, was because something happened in the blogging world just as i was reading this book that put things into perspective and displayed how real this story was. Tease may be fiction, but it happens every day, and that is what made this book special. i was relatively impartial towards the main character and in some ways she irked me - Amanda Maciel never took sides, so the book was quite an objective novel to read. In one way i thought this was better for the type of subject the author tackled, but i would have liked to feel a little more while reading. I never really connected with the characters in a way that would have blown this book out of the water for me. The main thing that really really annoyed me was how unapologetic the main character was. the consequences of what she had done never really impacted her and it made me want to slap her.
Tease will make you question your own actions, simple things that happen in life that you think are fine - and will open your eyes to the world of bullying. Whether you are an observer, a victim or otherwise, this book will instill the need in your heart to become more aware of your actions and of those around you. It will illustrate the absolute need for not brushing things off that you believe are okay, and it will present you with an understanding of what could, and can, make someone tip over the edge for good.
huge thanks to the lovely Cait over at Hachette for sending me this book free of charge for review purposes. 
Title: The One Safe Place
Author: Tania Unsworth
Publisher: Orion Children's
Publication Date: January 2nd 2014
Pages: 256
Source // Format: For Review, Hardback, Finished Copy
Summary: Those who enter the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood only get to leave one way...
In the near future the gap between rich and poor has become insurmountable. Life as a street child in the big city is only made bearable by who, and what, you know. And by the rumour circulating of a haven for children, a place of true safety. This rumour appears to be nothing more than a fairy-tale until Devin, and his new friend Kit, meet someone who promises to take them there. But when Devin and Kit arrive they begin to understand the real price of safety...
A disconcerting vision and a beautifully imagined novel of suspense and adventure from debut author, Tania Unsworth. -goodreads
I'll admit, the cover drew me in; but then i started reading it and couldn't stop. The One Safe Place is probably one of the most versatile books i've read this year: anyone from the age of 8+ could read it because the themes it tackles are dealt with with such care, there is no romance - there is just friendship and it was so refreshing. the writing in this book, while simple was vibrant and effective in conjuring up images of scenes in my head and the characters were really easy to warm to. the world Devin lives in is so terrifyingly possible that part of me just wanted to put the book down and never finish it because i could see this happening so vividly in my mind. Tani Unsworth's debut novel is one for keeps: with enough action, friendship and smooth plots to keep the story flowing, you won't want to put the book down until you have reached the end. I think the thing that initially made me love The One Safe Place was the fact that it was so unique and different for a dystopia: it wasn't set in the US, the main character was not a teenager and does not end up saving the world, it was just an original, real novel that did not disappoint.
*thanks so much to the lovely nina from orion for sending me this free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. 

mini-reviews // suite scarlett & scarlett fever by maureen johnson

30 May 2014

Series: Scarlett #1
Title: Suite Scarlett
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: November 7th 2013
Source // Format: For Review, Finished Copy
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Summary: If living in a famous art deco hotel minutes away from Central Park sounds like your idea of a pretty sweet deal - you should talk to Scarlett Martin. Having a hotel for a home really isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when you've got no guests, no money and no prospects for any fun thanks to your parents putting you to work all summer. Luckily for Scarlett, the Hopewell is about to be shaken to its foundations with the arrival of Mrs Amberson, a glamorous travelling socialite who's planning on putting down some roots for a while - and hiring Scarlett as her assistant. With a new job, new friends, and (maybe) a new boyfriend on the horizon, Scarlett's summer is beginning to look a lot more interesting...-goodreads
Before reading Suite Scarlett, I had never read any of Maureen Johnson's books before [discounting her *short* story in Let It Snow], so although I had heard all good things about her writing, I had never really experienced it first-hand. Well, now I have, and I have a new favourite author. Maureen Johnson writes with a light and humorous hand, she moulds her characters with humour and wit, honesty and passion; she creates her plots in a blender mixed with comedy, emotion, heart-break, love, friendship and a quirky, unique aura that emanates from every page: in short, her novels are a burst of sunshine on a dreary, cold winter day - and you should go and read them.
Spencer, oh Spencer. He was probably my favourite character of them all and i loved him to pieces, unicycle, injury stunts and all; the only character i had my reservations about? Eric, but then: I'm always against the popular, handsome boys in all books I read, mostly; I wave my pom-poms for the underdog, but he hasn't arrived yet so I'm just observing. 
Series: Scarlett #2
Title: Scarlett Fever
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: July 3rd 2014
Source / Format: For Review, Finished Copy
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Summary: Quite a bit has changed for Scarlett Martin over the last month. Mrs Amberson has moved down the street and opened the Amy Amberson Agency (AAA, frequently called by stranded motorists), and she's taken on Scarlett as her official assistant. Marlene seems to have had a personality transplant (she's being nice for once), Spencer has accidentally become public enemy #1 (his character murdered another very popular one on a hit show), and there is definitely something wrong with Lola. And as for Scarlett's love-life? Well... The less said about that the better.
That would be enough for anyone to deal with, but unfortunately two new figures are about to enter Scarlett's life: fifteen-year-old Broadway star Chelsea Biggs and her brother Max. Suddenly, drama appears to have spread over all of New York City. Gossip pages, boys standing in trashcans, an ill-fated cake, murder on the steps of a courthouse, flying doughnuts, topiary abuse, a dog named Murray who wees whenever he sees hats... and then an event that will change the Martin family forever. One thing is for sure. There's never a dull moment at the Hopewell Hotel. - goodreads
Scarlett Fever, why did you stop like that? WHY? I really need Book 3 soon, because I found my underdog, and I like him so so much better than Eric. As in, second favourite character like. Although I'm loving/hating Mrs Amberson more and more. She's so strange and relaxed and a weird mix of things I can't decide what to make of her. Maureen Johnson knows how to capture a reader's attention and interest. Her plot runs along so smoothly and Spencer, of course, makes everything that much more enjoyable. Also, I just wanted to add, for the firs time in a while I love the UK covers more than the US ones. Usually that's not the case but I'm not complaining! Overall, the Scarlett series is fast becoming one of my favourite series, it's easy to read, it's one I can pick up and put down without forgetting what's happening, and most of all - I enjoy the characters' companies. 
Thanks so much to Hot Key Books for sending me these books free of charge in exchange for an honest review

book review // geek girl: picture perfect by holly smale

28 May 2014

Series: Geek Girl #3
Title: Geek Girl: Picture Perfect
Author: Holly Smale:
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 5th June 2014
Source / Format: For review, Hardback
Find: Amazon || Goodreads || The Book Depository
Summary: "My name is Harriet Manners, and I'll always be a geek."
It's the hilarious third book in the No.1 bestselling, award winning GEEK GIRL series!
Harriet Manners knows more facts that most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is "Ever Upward". She knows that 28% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon.
But she knows nothing about modelling in the Big Apple, and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or how to "become a brand", as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren't coming from your boyfriend...
Does geek girl go too far this time?
The laugh out loud follow-up to award winning GEEK GIRL and MODEL MISFIT will have you in stitches.
Finally, I own this book: finally. I remember a couple of months ago thinking how long I had to wait until this book was even published, and time creeped by like a sloth. I hate sloths. They're so slow. Then when I got it I sat down and read the whole book in one sitting - yes I had revision to do, but, hello, priorities. And I loved it. That's it. End of review. 'It was awesome and I adored it'. Oh, you want more? Okay then. No, not okay. NOTHING IS EVER 'okay'. Seriously.
Geek Girl: Picture Perfect is the perfect example of a book series that just keeps on getting better. It doesn't dip and dive into the somewhat inevitable for series: I-am-dragging-this-plot-along-to-make-the-book-longer stage, nor do the characters ever become annoying, or stereotypical. However, saying that, Harriet did irk me a little, her attitude to some things was like the attitude of a small child when it doesn't get what it wants; Harriet Manners knows what the love chemicals are called, she laminates her lists - so technically, she shouldn't act like a young girl; but she does. But, and there is a but, she was meant to be a little annoying to the reader [I think]. Holly Smale is trying to show that while Harriet is intellectually smart and naturally intelligent [although we do see her struggling to work in this book (!!!)], she is still a teenager. A teenager who's life is constantly being turned upside down,; by parents, by siblings, by little men in strange clothes and teenage boys who smell like oranges. Who wouldn't have emotional breakdowns in cupboards every now and then?! [Harriet definitely has something that draws her to furniture when not thinking straight, definitely.]
Wilbur was just, there is no word to describe him. eccawetasky? [eccentric + awesome + fantastic + quirky] [ I can't believe they don't have that word in the dictionary by the way, it's better than half the words they're adding in right now.] I won a competition a while ago to create a Wilbur-ism that would go in the book and I spotted it - look out for 'bless my baby cabbages'; and Nick? Just - wait and see. The ending of Geek Girl: Picture Perfect is a killer, the whole book is a killer really, but it's funny, and fun, and light and exciting and all those good words. So read it. 
Thank you so much to Harper Collins for sending me this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review
postscript. i love how holly smale's author bio is steadily getting longer each book..

book review // the geography of you and me by jennifer e. smith

25 May 2014

title: the geography of you and me
author: jennifer e. smith
publisher: headline
publication date: april 10th 2014
pages: 352
source // format: for review, paperback
summary: owen lives in the basement. lucy lives on the 24th floor. but when the power goes out in the midst of a new york heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. as they await help, they start talking...
the brief time they spend together leaves a mark. and as their lives take them to edinburgh and san francisco, to prague and to portland they can't shake the memory of the time they shared. postcards cross the globe when they themselves can't, as owen and lucy experience the joy - and pain - of first love.
and as they make their separate journeys in search of home, they discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world. -goodreads
The Geography of You and Me is probably my second favourite of jennifer e. smith's books; this is what happy looks like being my favourite. i think what drew me to this book was its freshness. it was written well, the characters made me love the book even more. the only thing that irked me slightly at one point was the repetition of "in [country], owen/lucy [verb]". one one level i thought it was clever, the way the author mirrored their lives and reduced them to action verbs to vivify their emptiness and make it feel more realistic. but the repetition also made me feel a little disgruntled at times as i felt like the chapters needed different beginnings otherwise there was the danger of them all blending into one.
overall however, i loved it. the whole idea behind the story, the characters, the quirky things they both did. [i really really want someone to send me postcards now. i loved them before but this book emphasized and highlighted my love for them]. something i would loved to have seen in this book would have been the postcards themselves. instead of text indicating the message, i think it would have added a little extra something to the book if the postcards they had sent each other had been replicated and dotted around the pages. if you don't mind reading fluffy books once in a while then jennifer e. smith's are the ones for you. because while the plot is interesting enough, the endings are always rather unrealistic . so if this type of book annoys you: a fairytale-esque story with a definite probability of a happy ever after - then i wouldn't advise you to pick up this book. however, once in a while it's nice to read something that doesn't involve blood and death and fighting for survival right?
in a gif i would describe this book like this. rating: 
many thanks to bookbridgr and headline for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.

book review // dreams of gods and monsters by laini taylor

21 May 2014

title: dreams of gods and monsters
author: laini taylor
publisher: hodder & stoughton
publication date: april 17th 2014
pages: 613
source // format: for review, hardback
originally posted on: the guardian website
summary: by way of a staggering deception, karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged eretz. -goodreads
this review is going to be speckled with references that will make no sense to someone who hasn't read the book yet. to which i say: good. at least nothing will be spoiled. so can we just talk about the freaking awesomeness of this book? laini has managed to go above and beyond the expectations i had [and i had many]. to those who think of this book as another of those which are the worst, the most downtrodden, of course it was bad it was the last in a series, all i ask is did you even read the book?
now. onto the cake. WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG FOR ME TO GET MY SLICE? i was starving by the time it arrived. seriously laini, get your priorities right. cake before the apocalypse. not after. next. onto the violin. mik you freaking genius can i have some of the spoils? some? i mean, you did break the three wish rule. i promise i won't. *maybe*. oh and can someone tell me whether zuzana ever made those t-shirts? I NEED ONE. onto zuzana. lots of zuzana. that eyebrow paragraph. was laini actually talking about me or talking about me? me. i thought so. zuze has skills in the -ehem- department. wait. what did you think of when i said ehem? i meant the shower stall. yeah. that. she's good. she's also good at the whole *decision-making* thing. I WANTED MORE OF THAT. honestly. two lines isn't enough. give me more of zuzana and mik [and karou and akiva obviously]. but just. more. [i feel like oliver twist right now but i didn't draw the short straw - i'm here of my own accord.] oh and zuze
and. ziri. liraz - and all that business. i shall leave you to remember. or stare clueless at the screen. either way i'm off. to cuddle my book. or wish for me. yeah mik i could do with a bruxis] also this is the first time i have written a review and used the author's first name only. i don't apologise for not being professional because feels. and laini is my friend [whether she knows it or not]. i need to put her in my pocket and hopefully she won't bite like my favourite rabid fairy.
in conclusion this book made me re-enact hundreds of my favourite gifs with vigour. think asdfghjkl paired with a drunk hyper jennifer lawrence and a lot of of inner cursing[ then add a stuttering heart, feels [thousands and thousands] ans bliss. finally, picture a teenage girl swimming in a sea of beautiful, vivid, breath-taking words: and wanting to jump in the book while simultaneously wanting to pull the characters out and just be friends. got it? yeah. me right now.
karou, with her blue hair, soft smile and an even softer heart. zuzana, the marionette-sized girl with enough quips to last a life time, with enough loyalty to win a war, with enough love to make the hardest hearted person thaw a little. it feels like i know the inside out and back to front: akiva, the angel who's life changed with a glimpse of a wishbone; mik and his blessed violin. liraz, ziri, thiago, issa, eliza everyone. they were my touchstones to a whole other world and who made me laugh, smile and cry; sometimes all at once. laini taylor is capable of capturing your heart in a bottle and tossing it on a storm swept sea of emotions that will whip through you like a tornado. she creates characters in such perfect dimensions that that soon stop being paper-thin and blossom into people. people who shared their sorrows, heart break and happiness with me.
it would be an understatement to say i am sad to leave them and their journey. dreams and gods of monsters will ensnare your heart, tear it into shreds; it will bandage it up, tear it to shreds once again. and then re-bandage it. it will keep you in a land of limbo: your desire to know what's going to happen next and your absolute need for it never to end will pull at you from all sides. laini taylor boundlessly crosses and matches and weaves her words of golden thread into a tapestry so thick with twists, turns and tenderness; so magnificent and majestic that it will captivate your gaze completely and utterly. this book should come with a warning, for while the skies may be bruised in eretz - your heart will suffer with it too.  [million] stars.
i read the whole book in one sitting. i deserve a cake medal. also a million thanks to the lovely emily from guardian books for sending me this for free. *dances*
postscript: the first review was written two minutes after finishing the book. the second a couple of days after.

book review // we were liars by e. lockhart

18 May 2014

title: we were liars
author: e. lockhart
publisher: hot key books
publication date: may 15th 2014
source // format: for review, paperback
 summary: we are the liars.
we are beautiful, privileged, and live a life of carefree luxury.
we are cracked and broken.
a story of love and romance.
a tale of tragedy.
which are lies?
which is truth?
you decide. -goodreads
what did i just read? we were liars is both the most confusing and most satisfying book i have read this year. e. lockhart's style of writing is so unique and fresh; pebbled beaches and ice cream. sometimes you will forget that this book is even set in the modern world. the island seems like a whole other dimension; but that is the point of the book and the crux of the action. throughout the whole book [and i read it in one sitting], i never once lifted my eyes from the page. it is true that i generally don't read this 'type' of book. but this book doesn't have a 'type'. it stands on a shelf of its own. the book seems simple enough on the outside: you read it, you make educated guesses - the story all seems to lead you to a couple of sound conclusions. but then when you get to the end, all your expectations are dispelled in a clean swipe, all you have left is shock and the dawning realization that the whole book was a lie - or truth. both? after all, they were called the liars. the book title tells you that. yes you don't make the connection until it is handed to you along with the skeletons of the past; of summer fifteen. so you will flip back pages, right to the beginning, maybe re-read a few chapters; try to see what you missed. even if you look out for it you won't find it until it wants to be found. e. lockhart is skillful at playing hide and seek with her writing. maybe we're just bad at looking, but she is undoubtedly very good at hiding.
*thank you to hot key books for sending me this book free of charge for review purposes.

a few changes [& survey]

14 May 2014

hashtag unnecessary photos

this is just going to be a quick post to tell you about a few changes that are going to happen over the next month or so. if you didn't already know, i want to switch around the priorities of blog posts on my blog. i want to do more creative posts while still reviewing. i feel like my blog has been taken over by my reviews and while i like writing them, i want my blog to be a place of variety. so. the changes:
a. i will be requesting less books for review so my blog doesn't get *clogged* up by my reviews. i will still be reviewing. never fear. xD this is a book blog after all. i'm just going to be reviewing less books because i will have been sent less. time to get picky..
b. i will be posting more creative, visual, personal posts. i'm so excited for this!!!
c. new blog design. i mentioned it in my april wrap up post, but *soon* hopefully. i will have a new blog design! more on that later though..
d. from now until 6th June i will be posting all my reviews that i have already written and scheduled. this does not mean i just want to get *rid* of them. some of them i am very very proud of and some of them are books HIGH on my books-i-love list. i am just posting them one after the other so i can start *fresh* once i come back from reviewing. which brings me onto my final point.
e. i am going to be taking a sort of hiatus from my blog until i have finished my exams so i have no excuse for procrastination [!!]. as i have said: i have scheduled quite a few reviews but i just won't be commenting on any blogs and replying to any comments i receive, so don't think i'm ignoring you!
18th may // we were liars by e. lockhart [rather proud of this one]
21st may // dreams of gods and monsters by laini taylor [and this. OBVIOUSLY]
25th may // the geography of you and me by jennifer e. smith
29th may // tease by amanda maciel and the one safe place by tania unsworth
2nd june // siege and storm by leigh bardugo [and this]
6th june // raging star by moira young [and this, basically, all of them]
i hope you all do read them because i'm super proud of all of them and good luck to everyone taking exams. *flails*

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middle grade blog tour // movie star cast

13 May 2014

 JANE HARDSTAFF author of The Executioner’s Daughter
MOSSShe’s too old now but Saoirse Ronan is the right mix of brave, thoughtful and rabbit-quick, with a fierce sense of right and wrong. It’s got to be someone who can do na├»ve without being too childlike. Tudor London is a tough world. To survive, Moss must draw on qualities she never knew she had.
SALTER – I’m going for a 12 year old James McAvoy. He’d be perfect – cheeky and reckless – an orphan boy prepared to do whatever it takes to stay alive. But vulnerable too.
PA – Big, gruff, protective Pa, the Tower of London’s Executioner, is a man doing the best he can in an impossible situation, I choose Sean Bean – Boromir himself – powerful player of men who struggle with the demons of their past.
THE RIVERWITCH Helena Bonham Carter would be my tattered, gothic Riverwitch. Ethereal and restless, she haunts the rivers, looking for children to snatch. There’s a fleeting tenderness underneath all malevolence and I think HBC would be brilliant at handling this contradiction.
THE RAGGED MAN – Well, I thought about Peter Capaldi, who would be excellent at harbouring a lifelong bitterness that turns him bad. But my first choice would be Tom Hiddleston – layer upon layer of hurt, cruelty and a chink of pity. Ok, he would need a lot of makeup.
ANNE BOLEYNRuth Wilson. Spirited, mischievous, sharp and ultimately compelling. The sort of woman you might fall in love with, without knowing why.
HENRY VIII  – I see Henry as a cross between Prince Harry, Alan Sugar and Elvis Presley – charismatic, ruthless and a bit rock & roll. For me, that’s basically Sean Penn. In a codpiece.
JAMIE BUXTON author of Temple Boys
Obviously I never sit around dreaming about my book being made into a film with massive stars and wall-to-wall CGI and ... No, I never do that.
But just suppose I did...
FLEA – My hero. Skinny. Small. Insane yet determined ... a young Colin Morgan (Merlin on TV)  - but madder.
THE RESULTS MAN – Villain. Utterly horrible Roman spy. Terrence Hardiman (The Demon Headmaster... Google him)
TESHA – My heroine. Independent. Brave. Wicked sense of humour. Like Jenna Coleman (Clara in Dr Who).
YESHUA – Very important character. Also known as the Magician, the Chosen One. It could only be ... drum roll ...  Daniel Radcliffe. (Harry Potter himself)
JUDEInteresting, troubled guy. Key to the story. Benedict Cumberbatch. Why not?
SOPHIA MCDOUGALL author of Mars Evacuees
There’s still time for Quvenzhane Wallis to learn a British accent and play JOSEPHINE! I think she’d be perfect.
As for the others, it’s rather difficult to think of child actors who I’m familiar with who are the right age now. For instance, Georgie Henley (who played Lucy in the most recent Narnia films) would be a great ALICE … in  around 2006.)
Similarly I haven’t seen any dramas featuring Australian-Filipino boy actors, but going by looks, JB Agustin, a Filipino child actor would make a lovely NOEL and CARL… well, maybe Sam Concepcion around ten years ago.

JASON ROHAN author of The Sword of Kuromori
I’m a movie buff. When I was a kid, my father would read the opening credits of a film and declare whether or not it would be any good based on who the director was. I’m not at that level, but I do watch most of the Hollywood blockbusters that come out each year and I know my key grip from my best boy.
Having said that, much as I would love to see The Sword of Kuromori made into a film, the casting would not be easy, as most of the talent would have to be Japanese, for obvious reasons.
The main boy character is KENNY BLACKWOOD, aged fifteen, and in Japan for the first time. As he’s a fair-haired, slightly awkward English teenager, I picture him as a younger Alex Pettyfer.
KIYOMI HARASHIMA is the female lead, a fourteen year old Japanese girl who is handy with a sword and isn’t afraid to kick ass and take names. This would have to be a breakout role for an unknown actress, but I reckon someone like a younger Jessica Jung would fit the part. She’s an American born Korean pop star who is fluent in English and can handle the physical aspects of the role.
To round out the cast, Hiroyuki Sanada would play KIYOMI'S FATHER, Colin Firth would be KENNY'S DAD and the former sumo legend Akebono would be OYAMA, the manservant.
If I can be greedy, I’d have Gareth Evans in the director’s chair and Guillermo del Toro as executive producer. I’ll do the script, thank you very much!
Thanks for stopping by everyone! If i had to choose a *favourite* dream cast i think i would pick...Jamie Buxton's because..well, Daniel Radcliff and Jenna Coleman and Benedict Cumberbatch? SOLD.

day ten || #ukyagames - farewell and a huge [INT'L] giveaway

10 May 2014

I just want to thank everyone for agreeing to participate in this and even if you had to pull out half way I'm still extremely grateful for even saying yes in the first place, it means a huge amount to me. Amber was saying that I should do this every year and make it a regular thing like The Hunger Games, with new tributes each time and then repeats of old tributes etc.. What do you guys think? Finally, onto the bit I'm sure you all have been waiting for - the giveaway. I am giving away a copy of each of the latest/debut novels the author participants have written, some are signed, some are hardback, and there is an extra pick I have chosen to give away which brings all the goodies to 13 books. WHO IS EXCITED? There will be four winners, each winning four books, the 'extra' book will go to the *first* winner, who gets to choose their first three books. The second winner will get to choose three books from the rest etc. and the *last* winner will receive the remaining three books. So without further ado:
terms and conditions
// Fill in the Rafflecopter below 
// Please don't leave personal details in the comments section (for your own safety)
// This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
// You must be 13 or older to enter.
// I am not responsible for books lost or damaged in the post
 // There will be FOUR DIFFERENT winners.
// Giveaway ends on 11th June 2014 at 12am.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

day nine || #ukyagames - my top ten ukya picks

09 May 2014

THE ELITES by natasha ngan // as you all know i really really liked this book. and for those of you haven't read this book: think superpowers aka. flying people, action, suspense and rommmaanncee. not to mention evil people [of course].
THE GOOSE GIRL by shannon hale // this book has officially been one of my favourite's ever since i first read it [i have read it many times since]. before i read it, whenever i got asked the question of what was my favourite book i'd be like nope. CRIME. CRIME CRIME. but now i at least have a quick answer...before i say that. ;)
ROSE UNDER FIRE by elizabeth wein - i'm a big big fan of historical fiction and this book is really powerful and poignant and READ IT. apparently code name verity is even better. i've not read it yet just because i'm a mood reader and right now i'm in a dystopia/sci-fi mood. however i will read it soon and i'm psyched for elizabeth wein's next book black dove, white raven.
CROSS MY HEART by carmen reid - yep, another historical! and WHY NOT. this one is thrilling and evocative and gah. another favourite. obviously. it's in this list...
SHADOW AND BONE [series] by leigh bardugo - ONE OF MY FAVOURITE SERIES IN ALL TIME. seriously. if you've not read this then why [i'm looking at you amber...]
THE YEAR OF THE RAT by clare furniss - i know that's not in the pile [and zenn scarlett is - oops. if you've not realized. *whispers* don't look] but i picked up the wrong book and after taking over twenty photos, I'M NOT TAKING ANY MORE. deal with it. anyway. me love this book. read my review to see why. #shamelessplug #whyamihashtagging
STOLEN by lucy christopher - i went into the book with huge expectations and given all the hype, i was slightly dubious as to whether it would be as good as everyone said. but it was. it was so good. it was creepy and i read it at night and why did i do that to myself?
SOULMATES by holly bourne - SOULMATES OMG DON'T GET ME STARTED. i had panic attacks during and after this book and my heart *clutches chest* whyyy do yoouu doo thiss too mmee. i think the book has a invisible dagger hidden inside that will stab you as you read because that's what it felt like. i can't deal with this book. [in a good way!]. *keyboard smash*
GEEK GIRL [series] by holly smale - yep. it comes on pretty much every type of list i write but it's good! i will say it's not the type of book if you're looking for flowery descriptions etc. BUT. it's fun and hilarious and if you're looking for something relaxing to read then this book's perfect.
BLOOD RED ROAD [series] by moira young - i hadn't actually heard much about this book before i read it. i had heard good things but it never captured my attention. at one point i found the second book in a shop but there wasn't the first so i left it. then i saw the first book in my library and got it and read it and LOVED it.
what are your favourite ukya books? have you read any of my picks?

day eight || #ukya games - clare furniss's top 5 ukya books

08 May 2014

The Year of the Rat features in my Top Ten UKYA books which will be posted tomorrow so I feel very honoured to have her on my blog. But without further ado: her top five picks:
It’s so hard to choose because there are just SO MANY amazing UKYA books out there. I’ve gone for my all time Top Five, the books that inspired me to write myself. So here we go  (in no particular order - I love them all!):
i]  I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith
Written in 1949, this is UKYA before YA was even invented. Written from the point of view of brilliantly eccentric would-be writer Cassandra Mortmain, it tells the story of a teenager living with her eccentric, bohemian family in a ramshackle castle in the middle of nowhere. It has romance and unrequited love, it has sibling rivalry, but most of all it has the most memorable cast of characters. This book shows how powerful a strong narrative voice can be. You love Cassandra, she’s funny, quirky, funny, naive and wise all at once.
ii]  HOW I LIVE NOW by Meg Rosoff
It’s the voice of spiky, vulnerable, funny Daisy that makes this book so instantly appealing and memorable but there’s much more to it than that. It’s an adventure set against the background of an imagined war in the near future, which disrupts the idyllic, adult-free life that New Yorker Daisy has found with her English cousins. Rosoff uncompromisingly shows the devastating and brutal effects of war. But at its heart it’s a love story, the story of Daisy and Edmund, how their love sustains them. It’s full of energy and humour and life and emotion, and for me personally it was reading this book that made me want to go off and write a book of my own.
This was one of those books that I picked up and instantly got lost in, completely forgetting where I was, what time it was, and that I was supposed to be picking my son up from nursery (oops!) It’s a breathless adventure, a brilliantly clever concept, has a main character Todd you love straight away and best of all, it has a talking dog, Manchee. But as well as being a fantastically inventive story it explores darker themes too in an accessible but thought-provoking way.
iv]  NOUGHTS AND CROSSES by Malorie Blackman
This is a standout classic of UKYA, it’s a masterclass in how to address huge, serious issues through a gripping love story. It’s a simple concept: racism, with the roles reversed. The dark-skinned Crosses are dominant and powerful in a segregated society, the pale-skinned Noughts, previously slaves, are still the underclass. Sephy is a Cross, Calum is a Nought. Their heart-breaking love story is told brilliantly, and will make you think again about what prejudice and injustice can drive people to.
v]  JUNK by Melvin Burgess
Melvin Burgess is the ‘Godfather’ of UKYA and Junk typifies why. It was incredibly controversial when it first came out. Why? Because it did what Melvin’s books so often do: it dealt honestly and openly with a difficult issue, in this case drug abuse. And it doesn’t preach, it trusts the reader to make their own mind up. But although it’s an ‘issue’ book, it’s also a fantastic story - a love story. This book changed the landscape of UKYA forever.
Clare Furniss's debut novel The Year of the Rat hit the shelves on April 24th and already has had rave reviews. Summary: I always thought you'd know, somehow, if something terrible was going to happen. I thought you'd sense it, like when the air goes damp and heavy before a storm and you know you'd better hide yourself away somewhere safe until it all blows over.
But it turns out it's not like that at all. There's no scary music playing in the background like in films. No warning signs. Not even a lonely magpie. One for sorrow, Mum used to say. Quick, look for another.
The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother's death, Pearl's story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mum, but also the fact that her sister - The Rat - is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…- goodreads
Thank you so much for being here Clare! Have you read her debut novel yet? What did you think? What are your Top Five UKYA novels?

day seven || #ukyagames - tribute winner interview & fave ukya

07 May 2014

The Mile Long Bookshelf] for winning the #UKYAgames 2014 and without further ado:
How does it feel to have beat both book bloggers and authors to the coveted UKYA crown?
I seriously did not expect to win as I haven't actually read much UKYA, so I'm pleasantly surprised! Do I get an actual crown? Please send me a crown. Preferably made of pizza or something. [*hands over crown made of pizza and a pringle medal*. You are now the UKYA Queen.]
Were you calm under pressure the whole time? Explain your training process -if any? Or were you confident that you would win?
 As I said, I didn't expect to win and I definitely wasn't confident at all. Training for such a prestigious event required eating a lot of macarons -a lot - and a few scrolls through the Goodreads UKYA in 2013 list... Oh, and I might have re-read The Hunger Games. Just to steal some tips from Katniss. [erm. where's my macarons?]
Are there any books you are now interested to read? Or have you read them all?
There was a question based on Shadow and Bone in the final challenge, which reminded me that I still have a copy of that on my bookshelf, unread. [WHAT AMBER?!!?!] There are two other books which I've wanted since way before this challenge, but the UKYA Games made me want them even more, which I hadn't realised was possible. The books I'm talking about are ACID by Emma Pass, and Cruel Summer by James Dawson. It seems like they have been on my wishlist for eternity. [I have read ACID and I really enjoyed it and speaking of CRUEL SUMMER, it's on my wishlist too and has been for ages and ages and ages and ages and you get the message.]
And finally - what are your two all time favourite UKYA/MG books? 
My favourite UKMG book has to be A Boy Called Hope by the wonderful Lara Williamson. It's such a beautiful book and, if you're reading this post and you haven't read A Boy Called Hope, you really should! My favourite hyped UKYA book is City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, and my favourite less-known UKYA book is The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss. I also love Pizza, Macarons and Pringles, a novel by Amber Kirk-Ford. *cough* [I think you forgot How to Have a Rapier Wit, Raise One Eyebrow and Other Coveted Talents by Hawwa aka. Zuzana]
A BOY CALLED HOPE review // Amber | Me THE YEAR OF THE RAT review // Amber | Me

day six || #ukyagames - snakes and ladders p.02

06 May 2014

  • Rolled 6.
  • Landed on 6.
  • Correctly. Which is freaky because I have no idea what book that is from. TELL MEH.
  • A library. 
  • Rolled 4.
  • Landed on 10.
  • Correctly.
  • Dylan's nan.
  • Rolled 2.
  • Landed on 12.
  • Incorrectly.
  • Didn't know the answer, so stayed on 12.
  • Rolled 1.
  • Landed on 13.
  • Incorrectly.
  • Didn't know the answer, so stayed on 13. Your questions are annoying me.
  • Rolled 5.
  • Landed on 18.
  • Incorrectly. jfc.
  • Didn't know the FUDGING ANSWER. Stayed on 18.
  • Rolled 6.
  • Landed on 24. Omg finally. OMG A QUESTION ABOUT FREAKS YES I LOVE.
  • Correctly. 
  • The yellow scarf. FEELS.
  • Rolled 5
  • Answer: pizza and macarons 
  • Incorrect
  • Miss a go.
  • Rolled 4
  • Answer: her identity
  • Incorrect again D:
  • Miss a go
  • Rolled 3
  • Answer: In the centre of town 
  • Incorrect -_-
  • Miss a go
  • Rolled 3
  • Answer: 4
  • Rolled 6
  • Answer: "the pizza tastes like..." ["like burning newspaper"? what a rubbish takeaway..:P]
  • Incorrect
  • Miss a go.
  • Rolled 1
  • Answer: Starkov
  • Correct
  • Rolled 4
  • Landed on 24.
  • Rolls 1 : JUST MY LUCK D:
  • Square 1 Pathetic much?
  • CORRECTLY : Breathe!
  • He misses the security camera: HA I REREAD THE BEGINNING EARLIER TODAY :))))
  • Rolls 2 : AM I A LOW NUMBER MAGNET OR SOMETHING?! Ladder tho so yay
  • Square 3 : Yay?
  • CORRECTLY : Gah good job my friend forced me to read this one ;P
  • Taking photos : Yay!
ROUND THREE: (now on square 9 cos I moved up a ladder)
  • Rolls 3 : I'm improving!! :)
  • CORRECTLY : Just finished this yesssss (I am never this lucky normally)
  • Block 32 : B)
ROUND FOUR: (now on square 13 cos I went up ze ladder):
  • Rolls 3 : *sigh* will I ever get higher than 3?
  • Square 16 : YAH LADDER (I'm now a ladder magnet too)
  • INCORRECTLY : Well this is going downhill all of a sudden…
  • ???
  • MISS
  • Rolls 5 : Omg high number yessss I'M IMPROVING AGAIN ;)
  • Square 21
  • CORRECTLY : I remember that line very vividly because it confused me A LOT :)
  • The sky was yellow… : This book..
  • Rolls 2: Well, there goes that improvement :'(
  • Square 23: SO CLOSE :D
  • I said Steve: always the chance, eh?
  • MISS
  • Rolls 2 
  • Square 24: B)
  • INCORRECTLY: I want to cry
  • ???
  • MISS
and the winner is..*drumroll* AMBER @ THE MILE LONG BOOKSHELF. it was a close call. if RUBY hadn't answered her final question wrong she would have won but *sigh* it's all about reading the right books isn't it. xD
did you do the snakes and ladders game? would you have won?