Thursday, 20 February 2014

From the Review Pile (87)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

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This week, I'm going to showcase Tape!
Tape hasn't been released for very long, but I am very excited to pick it up as the storyline makes it sound like a real page turner. I love coming of age books and I look forward to seeing what this delivers. 


Tape by Steven Camden
Paperback, 352 pages


Published 30th January 2014 by HarperCollins

Record a voice and it lasts forever…

In 1993, Ryan records a diary on an old tape. He talks about his mother’s death, about his dreams, about his love for a new girl at school who doesn’t even know he exists.

In 2013, Ameliah moves in with her grandmother after her parents die. There, she finds a tape in the spare room. A tape with a boy’s voice on it – a voice she can’t quite hear, but which seems to be speaking to her.

Ryan and Ameliah are connected by more than just a tape.

This is their story.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

When Mr Dog Bites

When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan
Hardback, 372 Pages

Published 16th January 2014 by Bloomsbury

Shelves: 
arc-or-review, books-i-own, if-i-were-a-boy, medical-conditions, read-in-2014, realistic-fiction, to-read, young-adult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:


Meet the a-mayonnaise-ing Dylan Mint. He's sixteen and he's got Tourette's. His life is a constant fight to keep the bad stuff in - the words that explode out of his mouth, the tics, the growling, howling dog that tries to escape whenever he gets stressed. Plus there's his mum, who buys him cheapo clothes from Primark and keeps crying. And his dad, who's away in the army and could get wiped out by a sniper any minute.

A routine visit to the hospital turns his life topsy-turvy. Dylan discovers that he's going to die next March. It's only August, but still - he has THINGS TO DO. So he makes a list - Cool Things To Do Before You Cack It - and sets out to make his wishes come true..
.


When Mr Dog Bites is a rather difficult book for me to review. I should start by saying that I didn't know all that much about this book before I started reading - I only read the blurb, and I haven't read anything by this author before. From that alone, I was excited to get started. I loved the sound of this contemporary YA read.

I love reading about real life issues, so reading about a teenager growing up with Tourette's was definitely something that appealed to me and I was interested in how well the subject would be portrayed. Our protagonist, Dylan, also believes he is going to die soon and so I was also interested in seeing what he found most important and what he had on his bucket list. Dylan soon takes action and attempts to win his best friend, Amir, a new pal, and hopes to seduce Michelle Malloy into having sex with him. Alongside that storyline, another issue which is explored throughout the book is Dylan's relationship with his parents, particularly with his father. I found the whole 'revelation' to be extremely predictable, but it did add another slightly more sensible issue to the book, which I thought was appropriate. 

When Mr Dog Bites is a strange book to review, because even days after reading it, I'm not sure how I feel about it and I think that it may divide readers. I think the book was okay, it was enjoyable, because I was laid back and relaxed about the issues and situations discussed. There is probably quite a lot of parts of this book that people will take offence to - mocking of disability, racist slurs for example, but  rather this is something that gives the story some authenticity, some realism and admittedly, it does add some humour. Conaghan certainly isn't shy in regards to approaching some of those more slightly controversial issues and casually throwing them out into the open. There is quite a lot of profanity in the book, and at points it sometimes unfortunately did feel quite forced, making reading a little tiresome. However, it can't be denied that these things are also what made the characters more real and in the end, more likeable. Despite not particularly liking Dylan's attitude or outlook at the beginning, I did feel like I really knew him by the end of the book and yes, I could understand him and his feelings more.

Overall, this is a book that I think that will be successful, as long as the potential readers are laid back and aren't going to over analyse it. It's not an ideal book to review, because I don't think it's some sort of masterpiece, nor is it trying to be. This book seems like an attempt to make readers open up towards some issues that probably shouldn't be so stigmatised in the first place, which can only be a good thing. 


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (84)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


 I received four books for review this week and, as usual, they all look really promising! I am particularly looking forward to reading the award winning book, The Shock of the Fall. I also was lucky enough to receive surprise copies of Fire & Flood and The Raven Queen and a requested copy of Dandelion Clocks.

I hope you've all had a great week!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

From The Review Pile (86)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

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This week, I'm going to showcase Love is a Thief!
As it's Valentine's Day tomorrow, I decided that I had to showcase something with a love-related title today! After randomly searching for the word 'Love' in my bookshelves, this one appeared, so here you go!



Love Is A Thief by Claire Garber
Paperback, 416 pages


Published 5th July 2013 by Mira Books

Join the quest to take back what love stole! 

Kate Winters is an ordinary girl, with a not-so-ordinary mission: take back what love stole! 

Kate Winters might just be ‘that’ girl. You know the one. The girl who, for no particular reason, doesn’t get the guy, doesn’t have children, doesn’t get the romantic happy ever after. So she needs a plan. What does she like doing? What didn’t she get to do because she fell in love? What would she be happy spending the rest of her life doing if love never showed up again? 

This is one girl’s journey to take back what love stole and maybe find love again along the way Feel-good, witty and addictive; Love is a Thief is the book everyone’s talking about. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (83)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I received four books for review this week, most of which I didn't expect but was more than happy to see! I was elated to receive a copy of Amy and Matthew which I am surely going to cry at, but love at the same time. I received two other young adult books, The Glass Bird Girl and Where The Rock Splits The Sky as well as an adult book, Deeper.


Though I do try and ration my book purchases, I couldn't help but pick up these three adult/women's fiction books. They are No Child of Mine, Black Boxes and The Husband's Secret.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

From The Review Pile (85)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

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This week, I'm going to showcase Grasshopper Jungle!
Whilst I've been drawn towards slightly older, adult fiction lately, this upcoming young adult book has really captured my attention. This sounds like it'll be a humorous, contemporary story and I look forward to reading it. 


Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Paperback, 480 pages

Expected Publication: 27th February 2014 by Electric Monkey

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Gretel and the Dark

Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville
Hardback, 368 Pages

Expected Publication 6th February 2014 by Penguin Books UK

Shelves: 
adult-fiction, arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, fairy-tales, historical, read, read-in-2014, really-good, title-appeal, ww2
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:


Gretel and the Dark is Eliza Granville's dazzling novel of darkness, evil - and hope.Vienna, 1899. 

Josef Breuer - celebrated psychoanalyst - is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings - to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.

Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta's Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the 'animal people', so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the real world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds that her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed . . .

Eliza Granville was born in Worcestershire and currently lives in Bath. She has had a life-long fascination with the enduring quality of fairytales and their symbolism, and the idea for Gretel and the Dark was sparked when she became interested in the emphasis placed on these stories during the Third Reich. Gretel and the Dark is her first novel to be published by a major publisher.


Gretel and the Dark was a book that I was excited about reading, but it was also a book that I had slight reservations with as it seemed to cross over several genres and themes. After reading, I realise that I shouldn't have had any of those reservations because although there was quite a fantastic complexity to the book, it was handled in the most incredible way, a way that has really left me in awe.

This is truly a book that you need to experience for yourself, rather than just read about. It's very difficult to review as I can't really say anything about the storyline without giving anything away - I found the complexity of it to be awesome, I would hold my breath at points, whilst still being desperate to turn the page to find out what would unfurl next. The writing was beautiful and though it took me a small while to adjust to, once I got into it, I was fully immersed into this book. I was sucked into the deep, dark setting, completely blocking out the reality around me.

The story is perhaps not one for those who are easily upset, as it's one which is certainly disturbing, unsurprisingly due to the  but in my opinion, rightly so - though it's not pleasant to read some of the situations or conditions in the story, it has the desired effect on the reader. Embracing the emotions of this book is important and it certainly does have an impact on you. The characters are all very individual and play their own firm roles in the book. The story reveals more and more about the characters as the book progresses, and it only astounded me more as I read on.

Overall, Gretel and the Dark is perhaps one of the most unusual, yet definitely one of the most cleverly, well written books that I have read. It is a treat to become lost in the world of a book, and that is definitely what happened for me in this one. This is a story that really 'wow'ed me and one that I would recommend again and again for historical story lovers, fairytale lovers, or just fiction lovers in general. Pick this up, get quickly lost inside and let this book astound you.  


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (82)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I received four books for review this week, three young adult books and one adult, general fiction. The three YA books which I received were Into The Still Blue, Tape and The Worst Girlfriend In The World. The book which I'm most excited about is The Amber Fury that looks like a very exciting psychological read!

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