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31 October 2016

Review: The Vanished by Celia Rees

The dark stuff sent to Fraser and Cassie's student newspaper is disturbing.

Old tales are being rewritten. Tales of plague graves, and forbidden woods where children vanish. Hidden steps leading to a decaying underworld. Old songs used to ensnare the innocent.

But they're just horror stories - aren't they?

Then the first child is taken...

Source: Library | Purchase

5 Words: School, mystery, disappearance, horror, family.

I've pretty much lost count of how many times I've read this book. I still remember the first time I read it. I was twelve years old, in maths, and we were doing a statistics exercise about word count and letter count in books. I picked this one.

This is a great little horror, and as much as there is such a fantastical ending, it feels very much grounded in realism. It's quite a chilling read, and even now (well over ten years since my first read) I feel a little nervous when I'm underground or walking past the culvert.

I also liked how this story explored family dynamics and the complications of friendship and teenage attraction. I liked the way the narrative focused on different characters, so that we got a broader view of what was happening.

This is an oldie, but I absolutely love it. It's out of print and you can't get it in e-book format, but there are used copies floating around everywhere.

28 October 2016

Book Beginnings #23

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am currently reading The Vanished by Celia Rees.
Tunnels and culverts, storm drains and mine workings, caves and quarries, underground entrances of every kind, opening like jaws. One after another he pinned the photographs on to the board.

I still remember the exact moment I first read this book. I was in my Year 8 Maths class, and we had to take the first 100 words of a book and do a statistics exercise based on the length of the words and the letters used in the sample. I was going through one of my earlier rebel stages and picked this book purely because of the creepy cover, but I absolutely loved it and read the whole thing twice through.

It's almost 15 years later and I'm reading it again. I know exactly what to expect from Celia Rees.

25 October 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #73

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Halloween and Autumn Books.

Yaaaay for seasonal reads!

Cora's List
  • Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud
  • Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
  • Say Her Name by Juno Dawson
  • Hunger by Melvin Burgess
  • Darkmere by Helen Maslin
  • Shades of London by Maureen Johnson
  • Saxon's Bane by Geoffrey Gudgeion
  • Possessing Rayne by Kate Cann
  • The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow
  • Stoker & Holmes by Colleen Gleason

Steph's List
  • Every book by Diana Wynne Jones ever
  • Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud
  • Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan
  • Than Vanished by Celia Rees
  • Old Kingdom by Garth Nix
  • Vampire Academy by Rachel Mead
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
  • Shadowmancer by GP Taylor
  • Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

11 October 2016

Bookish Event Tips

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Bookish Event Tips.

YES I'm hijacking this meme for my own purposes AGAIN. But I'm just so excited about YA Shot that I couldn't not! I'm writing this drawing on my own (terrifying!) experience at YALC earlier this year, various author events, and UKYACX.

  • Research the event
    Every event is different, so make sure you find out a bit about it. Is it a relaxed event? Is it more formal and structured? Are there any talks/workshops/panels you really want to go to? WHERE IS IT? HOW WILL YOU GET THERE? WILL THERE BE CAKE?
  • Book early
    Mostly so you know you can definitely go! The last thing you want is for it to be sold out. For YA Shot I booked as far ahead as I could because it meant I got the best rates for travel/accommodation. With YALC it was very spur-of-the-moment and last minute but I managed to get my train tickets in the sale so all was not lost.
  • Bring money
    Actually, bring more money than you'll think you'll need. Just in case. Because books. (And also food but mostly books). I actually ended up spending less than I thought at YALC but it was good to know that I had extra if I needed it. At UKYACX I went waaaay overboard, but because I took more than I thought I'd need it was OK and I had the freedom to do so.
  • Dress comfortably
    OK so a lot of people at Comic Con will be dressed up, but you're going to be on your feet A LOT do you really need heels? Have layers you can put on/take off because temperatures will vary. Also, that vintage tea dress with the huge petticoat looks amazing but how crumpled will it get on the train/bus/tube?
  • Bring sugar
    Or just snacks, but I find sugar filled snacks work best. I tend to be too anxious to eat much so a few Haribo Star Mix (my favourite BTW) shoved in my gob every so often keeps me on my feet. Also, you can share them with the fellow bookworms you meet.
  • Bring water
    As big a bottle as you can manage. Then when it's empty you can toss it in the bin and the space in your bag can be filled with books. Plus you'll be hydrated which is nice and healthy. Balances out the Haribo.
    Find the place that's selling tea because that is obviously the second most important things at these events (after books) and the place with tea usually has other useful things like sandwiches and CAKE and toilets nearby. Also, tea is amazing.
  • Ask before touching
    The thing I liked most about YALC is that book bloggers TOTALLY UNDERSTAND that it'ts not OK to just touch people. "Can we hug?" Is a lot nicer than just glomping someone, and a lot less likely to get you smacked across the head with a bag of books (not that us bookworms would really risk damaging our books) but just respect that people have boundaries and want their personal space to stay theirs.
  • Talk to people
    This one can be hard, but just take the plunge and say "Hi!" because the worst that can happen is that they don't hear you and you walk away slightly embarrassed. Bookish people are the best people. If an author is signing a book, chat with them a little because can you imagine anything worse than an endless line of sullen, silent people shuffling forward for a signature? Also, authors seem to like to talk about their baby book.
  • Take time out
    Don't be afraid to find a quiet corner and just sit and chill. Get your breath back. Relax. Reflect on what you've done so far and decide if there's anything you still want to do. Give your legs a break too, because if you've been on your feet all day your poor tootsies will need a rest even if you're in your comfiest shoes.

10 October 2016

Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something... and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction - to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world - and a romance - she never imagined... but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all - yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Source: NetGalley Request

I got to read the first five chapters of this courtesy of Epic Reads First 5 (it's awesome, sign up!) and I was instantly sucked right in to the story and desperate for more. So, now that I have my hands on a copy, shall we see how it goes..?

5 Words: Friendship, family, secrets, lies, sci-fi.

There are a lot of comparisons to Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars out there for this book - and I'd definitely say fair game, it's very similar. But I absolutely enjoyed this more. Until the end.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book, I can't decide myself whether it's ultimately good or bad, so list time!

The Good

  • Poor Little Rich Girl. Sometimes you need your fix.
  • The world. I mean, yes it confusing, but as far as sci-fi goes it hit a lot of well done tropes, did them well, and kinda made sense.
  • Pure enjoyment. It was easily to suspend disbelief and just go with it.
  • The diversity. I loved the mix of rich and poor, and how it was totally normal and completely OK for characters to have same-sex relationships.
  • Family dynamics. I love me a complicated family, and the families in this were so messed up.

The Bad

  • Poor Little Rich Girl. Sometimes there are too many in one story.
  • All of the characters. It took me until about half way through to book to be able to tell the characters apart.
  • All of the stories. There were so many things going on that it was difficult to keep track.
  • Incest. That's just icky and unnecessary. I don't care that they're "not related" they've been raised as brother and sister.
  • Cheating. I'm not a fan of it in any way, shape or form, but it is pretty standard in this type of book and The Thousandth Floor was no different.

Right, so... I'm still undecided. I think my feelings on this will very much depend on my mood.

06 October 2016

Blog Tour: Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd

Jeanie has been married for thirty years, but her husband George has become so cold and distant she may as well be alone. Surely, at just sixty, a loveless marriage can't be the only thing left on the horizon? Then, one Thursday in autumn, Jeanie meets Ray in the park, and a chance meeting blossoms into a friendship.

They talk, laugh, share hopes and secrets and heartbreaks.

They offer each other a second chance at life and love.

But will they have the courage to take it?

Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration | NetGalley Request

5 Words: Secrets, family, love, life, relationships.

This was a perfect read for when the evenings are drawing in.

I loved Jeanie, and how despite her age she still had dreams and aspirations, she wasn't content to be old and do old-people-things. She kept her character, she kept who she was, despite a husband trying very hard to stop her for so much of her life. So many older characters in books seem content to be old and I loved reading Jeanie's joie de vivre.

This is definitely not a super-slow, relaxing read. Despite the languorous (and quite sad) beginning, it goes on to pack a surprising punch with its pace and its wit and is thoroughly enjoyable. I couldn't put it down!

Don't let the age of the protagonist put you off - I'm in my mid twenties and found this book refreshing and delightful.

04 October 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #71

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Reasons You Should Come to YA Shot (and gift a ticket if you can't).

YES I'm hijacking this meme for my own purposes. But you absolutely should come to YA Shot if you can, and if you can't (and can afford a ticket) you should totally buy a gift ticket so that someone local who cannot afford to can go.

  • Over 70 marvelously amazing authors will all be in one place
  • ALL* OF THE BOOKWORMS WILL BE THERE and everyone knows bookworms are the best
  • It's for an excellent cause and one everyone should be supporting
  • You can get your books signed - I'm taking a suitcase full
  • You can buy books and get them signed - I will be buying an additional suitcase to take them back
  • Writing workshops where published authors share their hallowed secrets
  • Your ticket has YEAR LONG repercussions so you can feel all warm and fuzzy and charitable until you buy another ticket next year
  • Everyone should have access to books and authors and that's what it's all about
  • The whole UKYA community is amazing and lovely and inclusive and all coming together for bookish fun
So that's it really. Head on over to the YA Shot website where you can buy tickets for yourself or gift a ticket for a young person who can't afford it.