Monday, 29 August 2011

Review- Matched by Ally Condie


Title: Matched
Author:Ally Condie
Publisher:Dutton Juvenile
Release date: 30th November 2010
Genre: Young Adult/Speculative Fiction
Rating: 4/5


Synopsis:
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.



Ok i know i have read this book way too late but oh well

Matched is set in a Dystopian world, where everything is controlled by the government, a process known as matched decides which person you would end up with the rest of your life.
The main protagonist is called Cassia and the book starts off with her Matching ceremony, where she is matched with her long time best friend Xander.


But something is wrong when Cassia reads Xander's microchip, she see's another boy's face but it quickly disappears, she is shocked and confused as she knows this boy as well.


An official from the government makes her believe it is a mistake but is it?
As the dark secrets of the society they all believe in begins to unfold, Cassia wonders if anything is as it seems.
She finds herself falling for a boy that she cant be with, as things are slowly changing around her.
Can Cassia make the life changing decisions she is faced with or blindly follow the society rules.
Personally i loved this book, as Ally condie manages to really draw the reader in, there wasn't a single point where i was bored.
The story is about love and power, and has great characters.
I love all the main protagonists Cassia, Ky and Xander.
Both the male leads are appealing, i couldn't choose who i liked best as usually when i read a book with a love triangle i find myself rooting for a certain guy but this time i loved them both.
I cried near the end of the book, which is an achievement the last book that made me cry was Mockingjay.
If i had to point out any faults it would be that it lacks description, so i couldn't really envision some of the scenes in my head. 
But otherwise it is a brilliant read, if you are fans of Dystopian novels, this definitely worth reading and i would recommend it to anyone. Honestly cannot wait for crossed.


Click here to buy Matched

Upcoming Book Releases (UK)

Sister, Missing by Sophie Mckenzie
Release date: 15 September 2011


Hades by Alexandra Adornetto
Release date: 30th August 2011


 The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey - Book 3) by Julie Kagawa
Release date: 21st October 2011
  
Crossed by Ally Condie
Release date: 24th of November 2011
  
  Phantom: v. 8 (The Vampire Diaries) L.J Smith
    Release date: 3rd November 2011


Last Breath (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine
Release date: 1st November 2011
Lies (book 4) by Micheal Grant
Release date: 5th September 2011
Stealing Phoenix by Joss Stirling
Release date: 1st September 2011




Saturday, 27 August 2011

Interview with Samantha Sotto

Samantha Sotto is the author of Before Ever After. We got the opportunity to discuss her new book with her and her experiences being a writer. Check out more information on her website at: http://samanthasotto.com/  
Here ya go :D

1. Have you always wanted to be a writer? I read somewhere that you had'nt considered being a published author.

I stumbled upon writing when I found myself with three hours to kill at Starbucks while waiting to pick my son up from school.I didn't want to drive all the way back home and I didn't want to pay for WiFi. I needed to find a way to amuse myself without making my wallet groan.

2. How did you come up with the idea of Before Ever After?

Doctor Who Marathon + Sobbing over Henry De Tamble + One hour stuck in traffic = Ta-dah! Shiny new idea about a man who has a penchant for not dying, believes that he can get through anything if he has a chicken and runs an offbeat tour around Europe.

3. Which author insipires you the most?

Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman. Oh, and did I mention Neil Gaiman? :)

4. How would you describe the experience of getting published?

The pre-book deal part of the process was like watching polar ice melt. I was constantly waiting - waiting for  agents to respond, waiting for editors to respond, waiting for those pesky crickets to stop chirping in my inbox. Once the book sold, life shifted gears and "deadline" became my middle name. Now that the book is out, I'm convinced that someone pressed the universe's warp speed button. If you find out who that person is, please tell him that he can stop now. 

5. Any tips for new writers out there?

Show up for work even if inspiration decides to play hooky.

6. Describe Before ever after briefly?

Briefly? Um...ah...*runs away*
*Sneaks back in* Okay. How about this?
Before Ever After is a modern fairy tale about true love, happy endings, new beginnings, and everything in between.

7. Have you planned a series?

Before Ever After is a stand alone book. I like the way it ends: a period with a happy and hopeful smile on its face.

8. And finally what are your up coming projects?

I'm working on my second book now. And sleeping. Yeah. That would be good too.

Before Ever after is availible for preorder of Amazon here: Before Ever After: A Novel

Friday, 26 August 2011

Quick Interview with Tessa Gratton!

A few days ago we interviewed Tessa Gratton author of Blood Magic. I personally was very excited for this interview as I have read Blood Magic and enjoyed it immensely. Here you go!

1. How did you come up with the idea for Blood Magic?
I wanted to write about magic and family, with a bit of body-snatching thrown in, so very slowly over the course of weeks came up with this idea. The initial thought hit me while I was walking my dog!


2. Which author do you look towards for inspiration?
When I need to be inspired by a book, I reread anything by Robin McKinley.


3. What made you pursue writing?
I’ve always been writing! There’s no magical moment or special thing – it’s just something I’ve always done.


4. Why did you decide to write about the YA fiction genre?
I’ve never loved books as much as I did when I was a teen, and never needed them as much either. Teens feel things so deeply, and generally express those feelings more than adults, too.


5. Have you planned a sequel? Or a series maybe?
There’s a companion novel called THE BLOOD KEEPER coming out next May. It takes place 5 years later, and is about magic (of course), being a hero, and kissing.


6. Describe Blood magic briefly?
Two teens meet in a cemetery and discover they have a mutual family history with blood magic!


7. Finally what are your upcoming projects?
Unfortunately, at this point they’re all secrets! But I promise there will be plenty more stories from me in the next few years. With more adventure and kissing!


For more information go to http://tessagratton.com/ and stay tuned for a review of Blood Magic coming soon!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Book to Film Transistion

We have recently seen a mass uprising in what I like to call the book to film transition. Many popular books especially in the YA fantasy genre are being projected onto the big screen, this is becoming increasingly common. From the huge success of film adaptations of books such as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter many production houses are eager to snap up what they see as ‘the next big thing’.One of the most popular Young Adult book to be translated onto the Silver screen and become a worldwide phenomenon has to be the Twilight books, also with the rising popularity of Vampires this series is just the beginning to a whole range of young adult fantasy books that are just waiting to be made into a film.

One of the most prominent problem has to be the fan’s reaction towards the people being cast as their favourite book characters. This is because when you read a book, its very common that you mentally visualise the character in your brain. When casting is announced usually angry fans take to social networking sites to express their dismay. Not everyone can be happy, each fan has their own vision of the characters the films they feel threaten that.  Many book fans also believe that most of the times when films are made to suit the convenience of limited screen time, the directors miss out important points that the fans would have liked to see.But usually after initial complaints we find most people love watching the films, the actors really get into character and make it believable for the fans. An example of this is Twilight. Fans of the book were hysterical when they heard Robert Pattison was cast as their beloved Edward Cullen. Many people argued he just wasn't right for the role but after first pictures of him on set emerged fan girls went crazy.

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins is another YA book set in a dystopian world that has been snapped up by lionsgate to be made into a film, already much hype has been generated for this film and it seems it will be a sure success.Other upcoming films translated from YA fiction books are House of night novels and The Mortal Instrument series.  The YA fiction genre so far has been a huge success, while previously this specific genre didn’t exist; today it seems an elemental part of pop culture. The films are the chance for the fans to see their beloved characters come to life, and for non-fans to see for themselves what the hype is about.

Interview with Samantha C Ross

We recently Interviewed Samantha C Ross to talk about her upcoming novel The Emmerson Witches which will be availble in bookshops after Christmas.


1) What made you want to become a writer?


Words, language and expression. All my life, the library has been my church. Books have always carried me away to different worlds, and I've always loved the journey. Since I have an over-active imagination, and a keen adoration for novels, it was only fitting that I'd eventually develop into an author. It's a great privilege to create a place for readers to lose themselves in. Plus, I'm a lazy extrovert. I like being around other people when it suits me, but need plenty of alone time, so working from home (sometimes for days on end) is perfect for my somewhat languid personality. But writing isn't simply what I do, its what I have to do. Writing is a need that is fused to my soul. 


2) For those who don't know, describe The Emmerson Witches.



Americus Island, off the coast of Massachusetts, has always been a haven for unusual individuals with strange beliefs.
Chime, Angel and Evangeline Emmerson are three teenage sisters who attempt to live their life as normal, every day girls. But the sisters share a vast difference, they were born into a bloodline of witches. Along with their inherent knowledge of witchcraft, each possess extraordinary paranormal gifts in the form of telepathy and clairvoyance - the ability to speak with the dead. When a dark entity disrupts the household, our main character Chime suspects she is the sole target. She is proven right. Chime is unsure who is responsible for the terrifying spells and curses. Could it be the Raphael -  a striking and secretive stranger? Or a much deeper evil? However, Americus residents are familiar with black sorcery; the island's hidden past is shrouded in witchcraft, and they are not prepared to lose one of their own...


 3) How did you come up with the idea of The Emmerson Witches?


Strangely, I didn't. They came to me. I dreamt of three girls standing on a cliff in the midst of a storm. A Blond, brunette and a redhead. When I woke, the image haunted me, so I sprang from my bed, straight to the computer, and began their story. I pretty much stayed glued to my keyboard for the next two months, and The Emmerson Witches were born.
 
4) Have you planned a sequel? Or a series maybe?


Book two is already written, and offers many more ghosts, ghouls and supernatural problems for the sisters to endure. It's interesting for me to watch my characters leave behind adolescence and battle the every day problems of facing adulthood. Not easy when an abundance of the paranormal is thrown into the mix! This time around though, my love story deepens, as do the dark aspects that haunt the girls as they're forced to deal with problems beyond their maturity level!


5) What made you want to write for this particular genre?


I'm not entirely sure. Perhaps because I've always found the YA genre seems to delve deeper into the world of fantasy. There are no rules when it comes to creating a miraculous and mysterious tale. Whereas, a story created for an older audience has more demand to stay within the lines. Adult readers appear to look for something they can identify with, rather than a voyage that will take them to another realm.


7) Do you have any advice for an aspiring author?


Definitely. Don't stop writing, no matter what! Any words, sentences or stories you invent are a precious gift to the world, especially if they are fused with your heart and spirit. But develop a thick skin, because your writing will always go though a rejection process before it is accepted. Some criticism is good, and will help you hone your craft, while other critique is rude and unnecessary. During my search for representation, a particular agent sent me an e-mail, commenting on how she couldn't possibly see how a book about teenage witches would generate interest in the YA market (obviously, she'd never heard of Charmed). J.K Rowling was told the same about her school of wizards. My point is, getting your book published is a long, and often heart-breaking process. But have faith that some-one out there will eventually see your creation as important. Don't ever give up a dream...and don't ever forget how may bad books are out there that have been published!!!
 
6)Are their any authors who inspired you to write? Or any works you admire?


Of course, my number one is Stephen King. I think any supernatural writer would deem him our leader. Even as I child, I found his gift remarkable - he possesses the rare talent of drawing you into his eerie world. Then there are Stephenie Meyer, J.K Rowling and Charliane Harris. Thanks to Twilight, Harry Potter and True Blood, the supernatural has found a firm place in the family home. These writers have paved the way, and constructed a huge and welcoming market for YA authors

.

The Emmerson Witches sounds like an exciting read and we will definitely be reviewing it soon! For more information go to  www.theemmersonwitches.com 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Interview with Jo Treggiari

We had the exciting opportunity to speak with Jo Treggiari the author of Ashes,Ashes. We asked her a few questions on her novel and her own experiences becoming an author. Check it out below!

1. What inspired you to be an author?

Ever since I learned how to read, I've loved books. I was lucky enough to grow up in a house filled with bookshelves- my parents are teachers. There are countless photos of me at parties and family gatherings where you can't see my face because it's buried in a book. I would say that I am a voracious reader. And I started writing little stories when I was quite young, mostly to entertain my baby sister. I've just always loved the way words fit together and how there are so many to choose from.


2. How did you come up with the idea of Ashes,Ashes?

Basically I took a city I love- New York- and I imagined the worst possible thing that could happen to it- mass climactic change followed by a global pandemic- and then I plopped a 16-year old girl in the middle of all this turmoil and danger. I wanted to explore what bravery means, and the difficulty of making the right choice, and I wanted to write an adventure about a girl who is surviving on her own, and has achieved a certain kind of independence and strength without turning her into a super hero. It was important to me to keep it real.


3. Was it easy getting published?

Ashes, Ashes is actually my second book though my first YA. My 1st book (a middle-grade fantasy) was rejected a bunch of times and then was scooped out of the slush pile and published by a small Canadian publisher. Things were easier with AA because I had an agent and because Scholastic made an offer on it really quickly. It takes hard work to be published but luck is involved too. With AA I had definitely written the right book at the right time, given how dystopia and post-apocalyptic YA fiction have totally blown-up. I feel very lucky.


4. Which author do you look to for inspiration?

Even though I worked in the music business for over twenty years, I have never fan-girled over musicians I met (except maybe David Bowie), but writers are a different story. I have so many crushes! I'd say my recent inspirations are A.S. King, Melina Marchetta, Kelly Barnhill and Rick Yancey. And I'll read anything Kate Atkinson (an adult writer) writes.

5. Any tips for new writer's out there?

Perseverance and hard work are key. There's no easy way, no secret trick. You have to sit down (every day if possible) and write. The great thing is that the more you work at it the better you get. And read. Read as much and as widely as you can. That'll give you an innate understanding of how words fit together and how plots are constructed. You'll be learning the craft of writing without studying it. And really, the most important thing is to do it because you love it, not because you want to be published or a best-seller. I try to be grateful every day because I know how lucky I am.

6. For those who haven't read Ashes,Ashes please describe the book briefly.

Smallpox epidemics, floods, droughts-- for sixteen-year old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park, hunting and foraging for food. But the Sweepers are looking for her and they've laid a trap. There's something special about Lucy and the Sweepers will stop at nothing to have her in their clutches.


7. Why did you decide to write for YA?

YA is mostly what I read and love these days. There are so many different genres and such diversity and great voices. And I think there's a freedom to writing for young adults which I didn't feel when I was trying to write for adults.


8. Finally do have any other upcoming projects?

I just finished an urban fantasy that combines Celtic mythology with coming of age and great white sharks, and right now I'm working on a neo-gothic horror. And of course I would love to write more stories about Lucy in the Ashes, Ashes world.




For all those who love The Hunger Games trilogy I highly recommend reading Ashes, Ashes. For more information go to http://jotreggiari.com/



Review- Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Title: Stolen
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date:04/05/2009
Genre: YA
Rating: 5/5

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.

Stolen is one of those few books you read and you are instantly taken on an emotional roller coaster. I really felt like I was in Gemma's shoes when she is taken away from everything she knows, her family, her friends and her home to the middle of nowhere with a strange but beautiful man. Stolen played on my mind for many days after reading and It is definitely one of my favourite books of all time.


Stolen really made me question the boundaries on right and wrong. I say this because picking up the book I never would have thought I would start sympathizing with the "villain" of the book. The kidnapper is called Ty and he was such a sad and tragic character. We learn about his background and how he doesn't mean anyone harm. I admit there were times when I hated him for taking Gemma against her will, but as the story progressed and we got to know Ty more I couldn’t help but fall in love with him along side Gemma.

Towards the end of the book Gemma is told that she has Stockholm Syndrome. Lucy Christopher the author also makes you, the reader, experience Stockholm syndrome so that by the end you're as conflicted as Gemma. She makes you consider Stockholm syndrome from the inside which is just mad in my opinion. This book has definitely made me feel intense emotions.

I’m finding it hard to describe this book in a way it gives it justice. It was scary and beautiful at the same time. Definitely a book I will remember for a long time.

Buy Stolen here: Stolen

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Top YA Cliches



I love young adult fiction. By far its my fave genre. But sometimes when I'm reading a new book for the first time it seems kinda familiar. Then I casually glance over to my book shelf and remember why. So many things have been ridiculously over done in ya fiction that it has now become a cliché. I suppose its what makes the book sell and don’t get me wrong I love some of these clichés just as much as the next person but here are some of the clichés I have noticed come up most frequently.

1. Love Triangles- Almost every YA fiction story has a love triangle. Truthfully I adore love triangles but I feel like I need to point this one out. One girl and two boys fighting for her affections usually one is a bad boy type whilst the other is an angelic human being. Seen this soooo many times, but what i don’t get is why is there always 2 boys and 1 girl, why not the other way around, has anyone read a book where there are 2 girls and one guy?
The appeal I believe lies in the idea of these really hot dudes (who most of the time happen to have a secret or are not human) dark and mysterious, and the girl being the centre of attention of two guys. It is unbelievably frustrating when the girl cant make her mind up, its not hard I am sure, and you cant really be in love with two people at once right? And there's ALWAYS this thing going on like 'I'm team Edward who’s team are you on' and the other girl would reply 'Team Jacob”.
Yeah you see what I mean. But I have to admit I often find myself rooting strongly for one guy (usually the bad one) *in a whisper*. So yes number 1 cliché the infamous love triangles, if only they were so common in real life :)

2. Vampires- Everyone knows how big this phenomenon was. I am not saying Vampires them selves are clichéd (they are slightly) but the way the vampires are always portrayed in YA books. Usually it’s a good “vegetarian” vampire who doesn’t drink human blood who falls in love with a mortal girl. So basically not about real vampires we all have heard off. Also vampires have to be super hot. What is it with people finding Vampires sexy? they drink human blood for goodness sake, personally I don’t really see the turn on.

3) Ok so the girl and guy eventually confess their feelings for one another and claim they are bound together for all of eternity. Most of the time these characters are about 16 years old. 16 years old and they just made one of the biggest decision of their lives. Seriously. This is another cliché ridiculously over done. How do they know they will be together forever? Most relationships if not all at such a young age don’t last very long but it seems these characters in fantasy books are much more mature than your average 16 year old and once they fall in love they will never love another human again. Very unrealistic but romantic in a way..

4) Another cliché is the main female protagonist living with a single parent. I don’t know why this is so popular I guess it makes readers sympathise more with the character. I don’t really have a problem with this one as it usually doesn’t affect the story line too much.

5) Some names in ya fiction are ridiculously over done. Like the name Gabriel. I have read about 6 books with the name Gabriel. Caleb is another one. As much as I think these names sound sexy time to be more original guys!

6) The popular hot guy is always attracted to the shy pretty girl. Another common one. I guess this one is designed to make all girls out there more confident within themselves that if this was a real life situation they would have a chance with a super hot guy.

If you have any more please leave a comment! :)

Monday, 22 August 2011

Most annoying literary characters


You know when you are reading a book, and every once in a while you get a character who annoys the hell out of you. You are always mentally abusing them in your head (Omg, why the hell would she say that the dumb b****).
Yeah you get what i mean right.
Soooo... I thought it would be rather interesting to abuse those characters that get on our nerves If I have missed any favourites out please feel free to comment. In no particular order...


1. Bella Swan- ohh god! Her name is enough to annoy me, seriously the worst female protagonist ever! What was Stephenie Meyer thinking. Isabella Swan, the most famous girlfriend of our beloved vampire Edward Cullen. Seriously what the hell does he see in her, she's a miserable old bat. Never bloody happy with anything. Just reading about her makes me want to fall asleep, I would understand if she was portrayed as this kind, caring girl but she's so bland arghh it frustrates me. She thinks that she’s the only person who’s struggling in the world. Get a life gurl. There are people dying out there out of starvation, and just because Edward is not looking at you, you’re depressed WHAT? clearly the definition of depression in the dictionary is wrong, or she just made up her own form of what she thinks being depressed it. Personally I despise this character,many would disagree but really i would tell them read Twilight AGAIN! And then let me know! I am so glad Stephenie Meyer is not writing another Twilight book.

2. Rita Skeeter- She annoyed even the main protagonists in the book, this hawk like, annoying, cruel reporter who we first get introduced to in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Shes constantly writing lies about Harry and his friends and every time she popped up in the book i felt like punching her pretentious face. Not to forget in the last book when she writes about Dumbledore.That was the last straw for me. Making Harry doubt Dumbledore IMAGINE! So frustrating , she should have died in that battle, death by quill. I like the sound of that.


3. Cecily from Wither by Lauren Destefano. She is so irritating. From her possessive childish behaviour to Linden, and for the need to be entertained all the time. And lets not forget her epic betrayal of Rhine and Gabriel. Nothing she can do can redeem herself in my eyes. Just a silly little girl.

4) Edmund from Narnia. For all those who haven't read/watched Narnia, Edmund betrayed his siblings to go join the White Witch for some Turkish Delight. I am not even lying. Words cannot describe. Just a fail. Since then I've never been a huge fan of Edmund in the series.

5) Proffesor Dolores Umbridge. Another annoying Harry Potter character. I hated everything from her annoying "ahems" to the dastardly shocking pink clothes she wore. She got what she deserved in the Order of the Phoenix, wahayy go Team Centaurs.

6) Daisy Buchanan- For those who know me The Great Gatsby is probably the worst book I have ever read in my life. One of the reasons was the characters in the book. They ALL annoyed me. But the worst character has to be Daisy. Daisy was a superficial golddigger only interested in men for their money. From her indecisiveness between Jay Gatsby her first "love" (who she dumped because he wasn't rich enough) to her husband Tom Buchanan, who she cheats on with her Gatsby once he becomes rich. Just die.


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