Wednesday, 30 December 2009

On My Wishlist #4

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City where we can share the books we desire, the ones which we are just dying to read...the ones we most covet......

This week's picks are both books by Sarah Dessen - an author I've just recently discovered....

First up is Along for the Ride....

Auden has always felt like the odd one out. Since her parents' divorce she's shied away, studying lots and staying out of the party scene. But now Auden's realized there must be something more and, just like that, she changes everything. Moving to her dad's house opens up a whole new world of beach parties, food fights - and simply having fun. As she gets to know herself - and a secretive boy with dark, brooding eyes - can Auden begin to let go and finally feel like she truly belongs?

Secondly is Lock and Key...

What happens when your past is not just past, but wiped clean entirely? How do you figure out where you're going when you can't even claim where you've been? These were the questions that inspired Lock and Key. It's the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even---and especially---when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there's a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself.

What I like about Sarah Dessen's books are that while they do follow the boy meets girl formula, they are told from the girl's perspective but the boy isn't the defining factor in the girls I'm really looking forward to reading these two books.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Movie Cast Mondays

Movie Cast Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by mindful musings

1) Create your own cast for an upcoming book-to-movie adaptation OR pick a book you'd like to see be turned into a movie and choose a cast.
2) Post the book title, author, and summary.
3) Try to pick at least 3 of the main characters to cast.

This week my cast is for Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick:

For Nora I don't know why but I automatically thought of Leighton Meester I think she is just the embodiment of the image of Nora my mind conjured up.   Leighton Meester just has that very girl next door look to her.

Patch....I had no idea who I would chose to play patch, I knew he had to be someone who looked mysterious, dark and a little bit dangerous and I couldn't really think of anyone until I was browsing the web and came across the actor Ben Barnes and it was like it clicked into place he is the perfect image of Patch.

For Elliot I decided on Tyler Hilton, I saw him in One Tree Hill and he was cocky, charming and I think he'd play the preppy and darker side of Elliot he's incredibly good looking which always helps......

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

On My Wishlist #3

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City where we can share the books we desire, the ones which we are just dying to read...the ones we most covet......

Intertwined by Gina Showalter...

There’s something about the new guy at Crossroads High…

Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:
One can time-travel.
One can raise the dead.
One can tell the future.
And one can possess another human.

With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends.  But now, they’re causing him all kinds of trouble.

Like, he’ll blink and suddenly he’s a younger Aden, reliving the past. One wrong move, and he’ll change the future. Or, he’ll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she’s going to die.

He’s so over it. All he wants is peace.

And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices.  Well, for as long as he’s with her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He’s a loner; she has friends. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she repels it.  For her sake, he should stay away.  But it’s too late. . .

Somehow, they share an inexplicable bond of friendship. A bond about to be tested by a werewolf shape-shifter who wants Mary Ann for his own and a vampire princess Aden can’t resist.  Two romances, both forbidden.  .  . doomed.  Still, the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger. . . but not everyone will come out alive. . .

This is one book I've been obsessed with finding for awhile now, the pursuit of this book has led me to many a Waterstones, WHSmith and Foyles store - my next exploration is going to involve trawling through ebay until I find it...I need to read this book.

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble...

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college—until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams…

I have always had a strange fascination with this particular part of Russian history and have always had a fascination with what really happened to Anastasia, did she perish with her family or did she as many believe actually survive?  So this story really resonates with me as it feeds and at the same time satisfies that fascination.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading

1) Grab your current read
2) Open to a random page
3) Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their to be read lists if they like your teasers

Here's my teaser:

"'Come on, you didn't think it was cute?'
'Did my trembling give it away?' Luce was already feeling a bit embarrassed by how childish she must have looked."
- page 151 of Fallen by Lauren Kate

Monday, 21 December 2009

Movie Cast Mondays

Movie Cast Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Mindful Musings - anyone can join in, the guidelines are:

1) Create your own cast for an upcoming book-to-movie adaptation OR pick a book you'd like to see be turned into a movie and choose a cast.
2) Post the book title, author, and summary.
3) Try to pick at least 3 of the main characters to cast.

This week is Evermore by Alyson Noel....

Ever is the girl who has lost everything...her whole family in one foul swoop.  She was popular at her old school until the fateful day when everything was taken from her.  She almost left this world along with her family but something pulled her back and ever since she's able to hear people's innermost thoughts.   My pick for who sould play Ever is Emma Roberts (Julia Roberts niece)......I just think she has the right look or else Taylor Swift, I'm not sure if she's an actress as well as a singer but she's just beautiful and she looks how I imagine Ever would.

Riley, the little sister who hasn't crossed over with the rest of the family instead haunts her older sister is stuck as a twelve year old girl desperately wanting to be a teen.  My choice for Riley would be Dakota Fanning, I've always thought she was a great little actress.....

Ah...the hunky boy who has been waiting for Ever forever.  He's a little bit dark and dangerous but that's what attracts to pick for Damen is Sean Faris.  Isn't he just dreamy?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Framing Friday #2

Framing Friday is a weekly meme hosted by me.  I had this idea of book covers as art and decided to share which book covers I'd like to frame and hang on my walls....

This week's book cover is Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr:

This cover is just beautiful; when I first saw this book cover I thought that the girl was either an angel or a fairy....I loved the purple tones which symbolise the tattooist's ink and the way the wings and tattoo are the main focus and the girl is looking over her shoulder.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

On My Wishlist #2

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by book chick city at whose blog I absolutely love. Anyway, On My Wishlist is where we can post our list of books which are on the list to be read, wishing we owned....books we covet.

First up this week is Blue Moon by Alyson Noel - Blue Moon is the second installment of her Immortals Series.

Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever's powers are increasing, Damen's are fading—stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life. 

Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, uncovering not only the secrets of Damen's past—the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden—but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day... 

I can't wait to purchase this book and delve into it, I really enjoyed Evermore and completely fell in love with Damen...

Next up is The Dark Divine by Bree Despain 

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.

This book sounds completely compelling and intriguing - it's definitely going on my to be read list....

If you would like to join in on the On My Wishlist meme please go to Book Chick City and check it out, all the details are there. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1) Grab your current read
2) Open to a random page
3) Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their to be read lists if they like your teasers

Here's my teaser sentences:

"It's not that she was a vegan princess, living off beans.  It's she's a vegan princess living off beans."
Dexter just looked at him, completely nonplussed, as if he'd just been given the weather report.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen 

Monday, 14 December 2009

Movie Cast Mondays

Movie Cast Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Mindful Musings - anyone can join in, the guidelines are:

1) Create your own cast for an upcoming book-to-movie adaptation OR pick a book you'd like to see be turned into a movie and choose a cast.
2) Post the book title, author, and summary.
3) Try to pick at least 3 of the main characters to cast.

My pick this week is:

The Bronze Horseman - Paullina Simons

I've been in love with this book for years and have always thought it should be made into a movie, so here's my pick of the cast:

I have two main options for Tatiana:  Amanda Seyfried and Emilie DeRavin.

They both just seem to embody my image of Tatiana; blonde, blue eyed, fraigle, vulnerable with a strength yet to be discovered.  While Emilie DeRavin may be slightly to old I think she'd play the part perfectly.  I think she'd play the conflicting emotions of Tatiana well - the undying loyalty to her sister and family and the irrevocable attraction and love she feels for Alexander.


Paullina Simons has created the character of Alexander in such a way that he is almost real.  He is a soldier in world war two Russia harbouring a secret which could get him and those close to him killed, he is loyal, fiercely protective and hugely flawed.  So my pick for an actor to play Alexander is Channing Tatum.  He fits the physical attributes of what I've imagined Alexander to be and I think he play the conflicted, brooding solider well.


Karl Urban - an actor from my homeland - New Zealand.  I think he is a brilliant actor but has that kind of slimy, sleazey look that I image of Dimitri.  Dimitri is the guy who is Alexander's best friend - the best friend who knows all of Alexander's secrets and could bring Alexander's tentatively held together reality crashing down.


Tatiana's older sister, Dasha, is the polar opposite of Tatiana.  She is dark while Tatiana is fair, Tatiana is shy and reserved while Dasha is outgoing and speaks her mind.  I also imagine Dasha to be beautiful in her own way.  To me, Eva Green fits the bill perfectly, she's dark and beautiful and has an exotic sense to her.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Framing Friday

So, I was in my local Waterstones (book shop) this morning when I caught a glimpse of a book cover which was so hauntingly beautiful.  I toddled over to this book and as it would happen the synopsis on the back cover did nothing to interest me so I didn't buy it but it did get me thinking about book covers which are so artistic that I wish I could take them off, frame them and hang them on my wall - that if I didn't so strongly object to defacing a book - anyway I've decided to do this weekly thing where I post a book with a cover that I want to frame and hang - hence Framing Friday.  Feel free to join in if you want just leave a comment and a link to your blog (if you have one) so that I can check out what book covers you would put on your wall....

My pick for this week is the cover to Fallen by Lauren Kate I just absolutely love this cover, it's so gorgeous.  The dark colours, the profile of the girl with her face in her hands, the ominious forest trees in the background which hint at something sinister.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

What I'm reading right now....

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Synopsis:  All Remy has to remember her father by is a song.  'This Lullaby', with the memorable line, 'I will let you down'.  Having seen her mother go through four failed marriages, she's pretty sure that's what most men do.  So she's determined to keep the men in her life at arms' length.

But when Dexter comes crashing into her world.  He's everything she hates: messy, disorganised, impulsive and worst of all, a musician like her father.  So why is it suddenly so hard for her to stick to her own rules?

I picked up this book when I was scouring the shelves of the book shop today it sounds quite intriguing.  I'm only a few pages into it but it seems interesting, Remy is in her late teens rather than being the standard sixteen or seventeen, she's left high school, is cynical and damaged and has lost her faith in men.  I'm interested in how this story is going to develop and what Dexter is going to be like....

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by book chick city at whose blog I absolutely love. Anyway, On My Wishlist is where we can post our list of books which are on the list to be read, wishing we owned....books we covet.

First on my wishlist is Immortal by Gillian Shields.

Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.
Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie's feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate

What draws me to this book is the synopsis and how it sounds eirily like Wuthering Heights, also I love the appeal of a dangerous boy. The cover art also appeals to me with it blue background and pendant.

Next up is Fallen by Lauren Kate:  This is a book I've been waiting for for weeks.  I've become sort of addicted to the whole angel/human love story....I'm hoping when I finally get my hands on this book it meets all of my expectations and lives up to all the hype...

What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours? 17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross ...only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart. Some angels are destined to fall...

Ooohh and the cover art is just absolutely stunning......dark, ominous, misty background, the profile of a girl whose face we can't make out, the white lettering which stands out against the dark blue colours it all just draws me in, calling me to read it.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Ink Exchange - Melissa Marr

Synopsis: After suffering a terrible trauma at the hands of her brother's dealer friends, Leslie becomes obsessed with the idea of getting a tattoo -- it's the one thing that will allow her to reclaim her body, renew her self-confidence. And when Rabbit, her local tattoo artist, shows her a secret book of his own designs, she finds one of them irresistible. Soon, her back is adorned with a pair of mysterious eyes, framed by black wings. Leslie feels good -- more than good. Nothing bad can touch her. But what she doesn't know is that her new tattoo binds her tightly to the faery whose symbol she chose: Irial, the exquisitely dangerous king of the Dark Court!

I had read many reviews for this book on the web and had high expectations of it, but unfortunately I personally didn't find it be all it was cracked up to be.  Leslie is a damaged, fractured girl who is portrayed as someone who wants to find something to heal her, who doesn't want to be under anyone's control.  The tattoo she gets puts her under Irial's control which makes her just as much a victim as her brother's friends did.

I really wanted to like this book, I really did, I liked the concept but I just didn't like the way it took a damaged character and made her even more damaged, took away her right to choose even more.  I wished the relationship between Leslie and Niall would have been explored a little more as she was attracted to him even before the tattoo and he was drawn to her even though he was hazardous to mortals.   Personally, I found Niall more alluring than Irial, Niall knew how dangerous he was or could be, how bad he once was and struggled as best he could to be good.

The one thing that I did absolutely love about this book was the cover art.  The purple tones reflect the colour of tattooing ink.  The girl with her back to us looking slightly over her shoulder with the tattoo across her shoulders and the feathered wings coming out of the tattoo and curling up.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Evermore - Alyson Noel

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, Ever can see auras, hear people's thoughts, and know a person's entire life story by touch. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen.

Damen Auguste is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head—wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can see straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. She has no idea just who he really is—or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.

Once upon a time Ever was your stereotypical teenage girl, she was blonde, popular, beautiful and a cheerleader. But when her father swerved to miss a deer and the ensuing car crash killed her who family all that changed. In that accident Ever straddled the line between life and death until something pulled her back to life. After that moment she's developed the ability to hear the thoughts of those around her. Nothing silences the sound of the voices of the people's thoughts until the mysterious Damen shows up in one of her classes. Damen is mysterious, drop dead gorgeous and one touch from him quiets all the noise in Ever's head.

Ever, now just a shell of her former self, is reclusive, anti-social and an outcast blames herself for the death of her family and has a major case of survivor's guilt. She wants nothing more than to join her family on the other side adding to the yearning for her family is her regular visitations from her dead younger sister, Riley, who wants to live out her teenage years vicariously through Ever.

I really loved this book - I read it in one day. The characters were so well rounded and described to perfection, I could picture them perfectly. There were moments when I welled up with tears and moments which caused me to giggle. It was so easy to relate to Ever and feel every emotion she was going through, feel the gut wrenching heartache of being the sole survivor of a devastating car accident, the mixed emotion and indecision about Damen - this book was just so completely beautifully written, I will be quickly going back for another read of this one.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Synopsis: A sacred oath, a fallen angel, a forbidden love...This darkly romantic story features our heroine, Nora Grey, a seemingly normal teenage girl with her own shadowy connection to the Nephilim, and super-alluring bad boy, Patch, now her deskmate in biology class. Together they find themselves at the centre of a centuries-old feud between a fallen angel and a Nephilim...Forced to sit next to Patch in science class, Nora attempts to resist his flirting, though gradually falls for him against her better judgment. Meanwhile creepy things are going on with a mysterious stalker following her car, breaking into her house and attacking her best friend, Vi. Nora suspects Patch, but there are other suspects too - not least a new boy who has transferred from a different college after being wrongly accused of murdering his girlfriend. And he seems to have taken a shine to Nora...Love certainly is dangerous...and someone is going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice for it.

If I hadn't read the synopsis or other various online reviews of Hush,hush, I wouldn't have clock on at the start of the book that Patch was a fallen angel. He seemed cocky, arrogant and there was a hint of danger to him but he didn't appear to be bad guy to me. I did feel empathy with Nora as she felt on edge around him and something about him unnerved him but I also found her to be slightly neurotic and paranoid but in the end her instincts were correct. I noticed that while half the time the trouble Nora found herself in was because of Patch but the other half of the time when trouble found her or she was in trouble because of her friends; Patch was the one who came to her rescue and even when his intention was to hurt her he couldn't seem to stop saving her. He was just as drawn to her as she was to him.

I found the character of Patch to be quite irresistible; he was torn between being good and doing evil deeds to serve his own purpose. I think deep down to his core he is actually good but he just wanted something so badly that he was willing to do anything possible to get it. I enjoyed the whole cat and mouse relationship Patch and Nora had and found it entertaining how skirmish she was around him and how she was constantly ignoring the attraction she felt towards him. I think that's what made the book so alluring - that and the fact that Patch also felt a pull towards her and was conflicted between the two parts of himself.

What I'm reading right now

Here's the thing: I am a book addict, I have a serious problem, I can't walk past a book shop without going in. The books call to me, they whisper to me, flirt with me, wink at me and seduce me. This week I wandered into the lovely bookshop in the town I live in, it comes complete with three floors and a coffee shop, anyway, I toddled into the shop with a list of books I wanted; turned out they didn't have half the books on my list and I ended coming out with the list being twice as long. So, here's what I did pick up; Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris. It's part of the Sookie Stackhouse series - what the True Blood television series is based on. I've watched the tv show because it stars Anna Paquin - a fellow New Zealander, so it's all about patriotic loyalty. So I thought I'd give one of the books a shot....I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Air Kisses - Zoe Foster

When I still lived in New Zealand the Austrailian version of Cosmopolitan Magazine was my version of a bible, I particularily enjoyed the articles by beauty editor Zoe Foster so when I read on the net that she had written a novel I just knew I had to read it. To be honest it was slightly difficult for me to get my hands on a copy, I scoured the net, searched the shelves at the book shop meticulously and finally found a copy on ebay. There may have been a squeal of delight when I saw it on ebay but anyway I purchased it and waited in eager anticipation for it to come all wrapped and brand new through my mail slot.

Here's what the back cover says: Is love really more important than lip gloss? Hannah Atkins - the girl most likely to be sporting streaky fake tan and a wobbly trail of liquid eyeliner - has bluffed her way into the position of beauty editor at Gloss magazine. Just as she's carving a path into the gorgeous world of guerrilla air kisses, she reads about her boyfriend and another girl in the gossip pages of the local newspaper. Then she gets dumped. By text.

Vowing to claw back some dignity and make her ex regret what he's done, Hannah adopts some hard core rules - look fabulous, steer clear of unsuitable men. But as her resolution starts to slip away, she finds herself having to decide on more important things than the perfect mascara....

My preconceived notion of what this book would be like was that there would be a love interest come into Hannah's life, heal her broken heart and prove to her that love still exists and that her ex is a plonker. This did not happen. The story is focused on Hannah and her sorting her life out for her and finding ways to be happy that doesn't revolve around a man. It's about her finding where she fits in at her new job, carving her own little place in the world and discovering who she is for herself. I found this to be a refreshing approach (though I still secretly hoped for a hunky man to sweep Hannah off her feet) as so many novels have romances and have the love interest as the defining point in the heroine's life. At the start Hannah is a girl who is fumbling about in a job she's not sure she deserves or can do and has a boyfriend she discovers has been cheating on her, as book progresses we see her gain confidence within herself and realise that yes she can actually do the job and do it well.

Another little quirky point of difference which makes Air Kisses stand out is each chapter is headed up with a beauty tip which coincides with the title of the chapter and the theme running through it.

Overall, even though I was slightly hoping for a bit of a romance, I really enjoyed this book, it was quirky, sweet, intelligence and I really found myself rooting for Hannah and feeling all the emotions she rode on her own personal emotional roller coaster.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

What I'm reading right now.....

At the moment I have about three books on the go....

First is Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick and let me just say that I can see what all the hype is about. I think I'm a little bit in love with Patch. He's a great bad boy/rebel without a cause character but at the same time is as sweet as can be. I imagine him to be very similar to the character of Jess from Gilmore Girls just a bit more defined.

The second book I'm reading is The Anarchist's Angel by Gareth Thompson. I haven't got very far into this book yet so I don't really know the characters well enough to form an opinion but the premise is interesting, here's what the back cover says: Samson Ashburner always felt like an outsider - even before the farm accident that left his face scarred and confidence shattered. With taunts of local children and his mother ringing in his ears, samson malingers like a dark cloud over the Cumbrian landscape. His only refuge is an ancient charcoal-burning hut in the nearby woods. It is here that he first encounters Angel Obscura, a beautiful gypsy girl who teaches Samson that not everybody takes him at face value. But Angel may be hiding scars of her own and Samson is drawn into a web of deceit and shady dealings with an explosive outcome.

The third book I'm reading is by Zoe Foster who was the beauty editor for the Australian Cosmopolitan magazine, Air Kisses is her debut novel and it's light and girly and hilarious.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Synopsis: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

While I am a fan of the Twilight Saga (I have a secret, guilty infatuation with Edward) there was just something that made me click more with Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater than the Twilight books. Honestly, I find Bella to be self-depricating and to have a bit of a complex. While in Twilight the relationship between Bella and Edward is slightly unbalanced in my opinion, Bella holds Edward on a pedalstool and views him through rose coloured glasses, the relationship between Grace and Sam is more balanced; this could be because the book jumps between Grace's point of view and Sam's point of view but I think this gives us a more rounded picture of the story and a clearer view of each of the character's and the world they live in rather than just seeing it from a single character's perspective.

Grace knows what Sam is, accepts it, sees all his flaws and loves him inspite of it not because of it. Sam on the otherhand is full of insecurites about what he is and at the same time sees through Grace's bravado and sees her insecurites (sometimes ones she isn't even aware of herself), they lean on each other and support each other, it's a nicely balanced, equal relationship where they both give and take in equal measures.

While Shiver is based in the realm of the supernatural the book is more about the relationship between the two main characters (one of whom just happens to be a warewolf) which is what endeared me to the book it puts the character development and the romance before the supernatural.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Wild Party by Joseph Moncure March

This book is really a really long poem which was written in 1926 but wasn't published until 1928 because it was deemed too saucy. It was also a banned book in Boston. It was later published in 1968 but was a censored version until 1994 when it was re-published (again) but this time as the original with illustrations by Art Spiegelman - which is the one I read.

In a nut shell it is about a night of debauchery - a night in the life of Queenie and her man Burrs. It starts with a lover's quarrell between the two which then turns into a house party with the pre-requiste alcohol, lust, music and sex. Fights break out, Queenie indulges in a smutty little affair designed to get back at Burrs for calling her a slut, she inevitably gets caught in a moment of passion and somewhere along the way a murder is committed.

Brilliantly written, it is a poem written in narrative form or rather a novel written in the form of poetry - either way it is exquisite. The rhythm of the rhyming is almost like that found in a nursey rhyme but at the same time it has a kind of sensual flow to it. The lines are reduced to merely one word in parts to speed up the rhythm and to highlight the action.
My favourite passage is:

Some love is fire: some love is rust:
But the fiercest, cleanest love is lust.
And their lust was tremendous. It had the feel
Of hammers clanging; and stone; and steel

But the artwork is what really did it for me, black and white, completely devoid of colour and in an film noir style to reflect the period and tone and style of the poem, it adds an extra vibrancy and visual effect to the original poem.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

One-hit wonder - Lisa Jewell

Synopsis: Bee Bearhorn had a number-one-hit single in 1985 and was never heard of again. Fifteen years later she is found dead and nobody seems to care. Ana Wills has always daydreamed about the exotic half-sister she hasn't seen for years. When she comes to London to clear her flat, Ana begins to unravel Bee's life: her missing cat, her secret country cottage and her mysterious weekends away. So, instead of going back to Devon, Ana tracks down Bee's closest friends, mad Lol and strong, silent Flint and together they set out to discover exactly what happened to Bee.

This was a book which was given to me by one of the customers at the pub I work at and I decided to read it because I wanted something light and fluffy. Chick-lit. And this book had had good comments and feedback.

To me the characters seemed quite cliched: the ex-pop star who met a tragic end and was on paper - a bitch but was actually an incredibly nice person, the sister who didn't realise just how beautiful she really is and all it took to discover this was a nifty makeover. Then there was the gorgeous, strong silent man-whore who upon meeting the sister saw the error of his ways.

While I found the writing quite witty for the most part, I found myself skimming through pages, it just didn't seem to hold my attention. I expected the secret and mystery surrounding Bee's death to be an exciting scandal but it was more a case of it being exactly what it appeared to be. The concept was an intriguing one to me; a mystery about a one hit wonder but unfortunately the book just didn't do it for me.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Pact - Jodi Picoult

Synopsis: The Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other for eighteen years. They have shared everything. Chris and Emily are joined at the hip so it's no surprise to anyone when their close bond becomes a romance - after all it's what their parents have been hoping for. But everything is shattered when a midnight call comes from the hospital, Emily is seventeen and dead from a gunshot wound which Chris is responsible. Chris says the plan was for them both to die - it was a suicide pact, he says the second bullet was meant for him.

The Pact is intricately written and is ultimately the story of how far you'd be willing to go for the love of your life. It begs the question: Would you kill for them? Or rather, would you kill them if they asked you to? At the same time it is also the story of how far a parent would go to protect their child.

Throughout the book I got a sense of Chris being more in love with Emily than she was with him, sure she loved him but even she wasn't sure it was the same kind of love. From her side I felt a sense or need to please everyone and to live up to this lifelong expectation. I found myself to be sympathetic towards Chris, he loved Emily and would do just about anything for her but perhaps wasn't willing to die for her and his sense of guilt throughout the book is overwhelming.

Jodi Picoult's books are always very enlightening - they tackle moral and legal issues which are not always so black and white which I find very realistic because in life there are shades of grey and Jodi Picoult manages to portray all angles.

In The Pact, she portrays the blurred perception of what reasonable doubt really is and how quickly love can change and turn into something else, how there really is a fine line between love and hate. I think in The Pact it is really up to the individual reader to decide if Chris is guilty of murder or not, it is a personal opinion because of the way it has been written which is what I found intriguing and endearing about the book and why it is an absolutely wonderful read, one of my new favourites.

Before I Die - Jenny Downham

Tessa is a sixteen year old girl who has been fighting off cancer for the past four years and now the end is nigh, there is nothing more they can do for her. Apparently the world is done with her...but she's not done with the world. There's still so much she wants to do. She wants her parent's back together, she wishes to be famous...but most of all she yearns for someone to love.

This is a unique book, narrated by Tessa, not yet a ghost but not completely living shut up in the solitude of her room scrawling her list on her wall. Jenny Downham takes the reader through the stages of grief through not only Tessa who grieves for the life she'll never have but also through the other characters who have taken the journey of terminal illness with Tessa but who can not hold her hand and accompany her into the next world. There's her heartbroken, loving father who is all about the denial, he needs to believe their is still hope, he needs to believe that he can save his baby girl. There's Cal, Tessa's little brother who appears flippant about the fact his older sister is dying but deep down can't deal with the reality of Tessa not existing. There's a sweet boy next door, Adam who when he first meets Tessa is ignorant of her illness and looks at her as if she is just an ordinary girl, not a girl who could very well collapse at any moment. As the story progresses, Adam gives her the gift she's so desperately been wanting: love. Zoey, Tessa's best friend goes through highs and lows of cheerfully helping Tessa achieve her list's goals and then being angry with her for being absorbed with her own problems. Tessa herself goes through periods of not wanting pity, being violently angry, rebelling and self-pity.

I found Tessa's story to be poignantly realistic, the emotions heartbreaking. I couldn't stop crying throughout this book, there is no moments of contrieved statements by Tessa about accepting her fate it is just beautifully honest about a life cut short too soon.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

Synopsis: Clare and Henry met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future.

I had mixed feelings about this book, I'd heard all the hype about both the book and the recently released movie. At times I found certain parts difficult to follow, when in some chapters there are two Henry's - one present day, one from the future or past it is at times difficult to dissern which Henry is speaking or which one Clare is talking to.

Throughout the book, Henry is a tortured soul while for most of the book Clare is skipping happily along in life with versions of Henry and when we get to the point where Clare is sick of all the time travel and being alone while her husband keeps disappearing against his will I found it difficult to feel sympathy towards her as she had sought out the present day Henry, the Henry who at that time didn't know her yet, she could have walked away and never chosen to be with him. I felt perhaps she'd chosen her own fate and swayed more towards feeling sympathy for Henry, who had tried to steer her away from seeking him out. In one particular chapter where Henry is both twenty-eight and thirty three and Clare is twenty, Clare realises that while she met a version of Henry when she was six and has her whole life to fall in love with him, the twenty eight year old version of Henry has only just met her...."I didn't know you existed. I was unhappily dating Ingrid. I met you. I broke up with Ingrid. I mean infidelity isn't retroactive, you know?...very few people meet their soulmates at age six...." "...I see that he (Henry) doesn't recognize anything...the knife of realization sinks in deeper: all the little tokens and souvenirs in this museum of our past are as love letters to an illiterate."

I'm not usually a fan of time travel stories particularly those involving romances, purely because scenes involving an adult interacting with the child version of their love tend to come off as me as being slightly creepy but Audrey Niffenegger manages to pull it off in a way which is sweet and tender almost as if during Clare's early years Henry is an imaginary friend. Henry is portrayed as maintaining a certain amount of distance until Clare comes of age while at the same time having a sweet relationship with the child version of Clare. Once we are taken to the point in time when Clare and Henry finally meet up in the same time period, Henry is this struggling, damaged man searching for something he doesn't quite recognise until Clare comes along and the pieces suddenly seem to come together and fit perfectly.

For me, this was a difficult book to delve into because of me preconcieved notions about science fiction but once I got into it I found it to be charming, sweet, endearing and at it's very core a story about a couple very much in love and the time travel was just something that couldn't be helped. I would definately recommend this book to anyone and am looking forward to delving into Niffenegger's new book.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The Other Half Lives - Sophie Hannah

What would you do if your boyfriend told you he'd killed someone? That he'd killed a woman years ago? This is the premise for Sophie Hannah's The Other Half Lives. Ruth Bussey knows the meaning of heartache and pain, she's felt the kind that rips a person apart and nearly destroys you. She's left everything she's ever known, relocated and met and fallen in love with a man: Aidan Seed, a man whose love she feels she doesn't deserve. Aiden, haunted by a past he's never quite able to escape confides in Ruth telling her of a woman he killed years ago: Mary Trelease, the name of a woman Ruth knows to be very much alive.

What struck me about The Other Half Lives is the way it jumps perspective from each of the main characters. Each of the characters has a secret buried within their past and are each so emotionally damaged and stunted by these secrets that they now inform and define their characters. Each of the characters and their secrets are intricately intertwined with each other that as the plot unfolds each chapter is like pieces of a puzzle coming together and finding its place.

The plot itself is full of deception and misdirection so that the path the reader thinks it is on is actually being weaved in the opposite direction, also just when the reader thinks they have it all figured it out a hurdle is thrown in.

The plot in this story is mainly pushed along by the female leads. When we first meet Ruth Bussey is a woman about to tell a story so crazy that it couldn't possibly have been imagined: her boyfriend is convinced he killed a woman - a woman who is very much alive and kicking. As the story moves along Ruth desperately tries to convince the police of Aidan's sanity and at the same time convince Aidan of his innocence - a task not easily done. Charlotte (Charlie) is a policewoman who after a terribly bad and trumatic judgement call has been demoted and is now pushing paper. Charlie is also newly engaged to a detective with whom her relationship lacks intimate contact and with whom everyone is convinced she is making a mistake marrying.

What I thought: I've never really been one for thrillers, I've always found them heavy on the action and violence and found it hard to identify with the characters but The Other Half Lives was a pleasant surprise. It is intelligently written with a plot that moves along at an exciting pace and kept me engaged and contained well rounded (if not a slightly damaged) characters which were identifiable but which I also found myself caring about and rooting for. There were moments of sweetness and tenderness between the characters, perfectly portrayed moment of awkwardness and moments that sent a shiver of fear down my spine. The writing was witty which at times took out the bite of some of the more fearsome moments. Overall a book I would highly recommend. I would give it five out of five stars.

Shakespeare, William

Recently I read a book written by Bill Bryson about William Shakespeare. I am naturally a fan of Shakespeare in fact there may have been a small amount of squealing when I got a confirmation email about a tour I'd planned to Shakespeare country (but that's another post altogether). My favourite sonnet by the Barb would be Shall I compare thee...while my favourite play is Romeo and Juliet. I didn't always favour Shakespeare's tragedy of the two star-crossed lovers. When I read it for an English class at high school I did not have favourable opinions about it, while the writing is superb I was of the opinion that Romeo was fickle and Juliet was young and stupid.

When I sat down to read Bryson's biography I asked myself a question: How much do I really know about William Shakespeare? I know the plays and some of the sonnets, I know he was from Stratford-upon-Avon. I know he was married to Anne Hathaway. After that I couldn't come up with anything else. So, I was expecting Bryson's biography to unveil some new information or exciting tidbit but to my disappointment it was mainly made up of assumptions mixed in with the few legitamate facts the world actually have. This book while a slight disappoint in terms of new information is wittily written. Perhaps Shakespeare is going to remain somewhat of a mystery but that doesn't deter from the brilliance of what he was: one of the greatest writers of all time.

The Bronze horseman - Paullina Simons

This is one of my all time favourite books. My copy of it is worn with deep creases etched into the spine and the pages dog earred, the pages which were once pure white are now coloured. In my opinion, this is a modern day Romeo and Juliet story - except possibly more relatible - it contains the same restrained passion, the love that can never be.

Set in World War Two Russia The Bronze Horseman tells the story of Tatiana Metanova, a seventeen year old girl who meets the handsome soldier Alexander on the first day of war. There is an attraction between them which is ignited from their first meeting. There's just one problem: Alexander is already entangled with Tatiana's older sister Dasha. Mix in Dimitri, Alexander's weasely best friend who sets his sights on Tatiana. Add to this the violence of the waging war and their love seems impossible.

Their relationship is an intense push/pull situation with Alexander trying to do the right thing and the noble thing and protect Tatiana and her family and Tatiana's unwavering loyalty to Dasha. Add to their already strained relationship the secret Alexander is harbouring; a secret he's endeavoured to share with Tatiana (and Dimitri, who uses it as blackmail material). It's hard enough to keep romance alive without the added burden of just trying to survive, to just stay alive.

Paullina Simons has written a story which is just the right mix of historical fact and description, drama, action and romance. The prose is so well written and the descriptions are so clear and rich that it seems as though you are right there in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) with Tatiana and Alexander, that you are right there witnessing their every argument, every rushed, secret kiss, their hushed discussions and their every sly look and touch.

The Ambulance Chaser by Richard Beasley

The Ambulance Chaser is a story about being at the lowest point in life but finding a cause worth fighting for. Which I’m sure we can all relate to.

Lawyer Christopher Blake has hit rock bottom. He was recently dis-barred and declared bankrupt. He has no money, no driver’s license, is a sometimes drunk and uses sarcasm and dry humour as a defense mechanism to get through everyday life. And just when he thinks things can’t get any worse, his girlfriend walks out on him.

In a bid to keep some connection to his old life, Chris continues to work at a legal centre giving advice to everyone from an illegal immigrant to a man who wants to sue a cat.

It is at the legal centre where Chris meets the latest love of his life, Gabrielle Sheperd, who unfortunately for Chris, is gay.

Even though Chris’ motto in life is that “Politicians and insurance companies can not be trusted”, he takes a job at South Pacific Group insurance. Chris soon discovers a terrifying trend within the insurance company, a trend of injured plaintiffs dying at an unusual and alarming rate.

With his motto in mind and his suspicions about what is really happening, Chirs enlists Gabrielle to help him start his own investigation into the deaths.

The Ambulance Chaser is a fast paced book and though at first glance the story can appear to be quite depressing and full of legal jargon, it is a surprisingly funny, witty story narrated by a man who while dis-barred and bankrupt is actually an honest lawyer trying to put his life back together.

Rubdown - Leigh Redhead

With ‘Rubdown’, author Leigh Redhead gives the reader a uniquely thrilling crime novel with something for everyone; sex, drugs, car chases and shoot outs, all of which are connected to an intelligent and headstrong leading lady, who just happens to have once been a stripper.

Simone Kirsch, stripper turned private investigator has an uncanny ability of getting entangled with all the wrong people and attracting trouble. Simone has made a deal with her Private investigator boss that she will go straight, which means no stripping, no sex, drugs, sex industry behaviour, danger and above all no trouble of any kind. But when she is asked to investigate sex worker, Tamara Wade’s supposed suicide and tangles with the brothel’s sleazy owner, her no danger, no trouble policy goes flying out the window especially when she meets someone who will go to any lengths necessary to stop her investigation, even if it means killing her.

To complete the tangled web she weaves, Simone is caught up in an intriguing love quadrangle with three police officers, two of whom are attracted to her and want to keep her safe and one who also happens to be a female.

Although Rubdown is a stand alone book, in parts in can be slightly confusing and reading Leigh Redhead’s first book, ‘Peepshow’ would clear up any confusion. Some readers may find the actual cover of the book a bit off putting but once past the front cover, the book reveals itself as an intriguing, funny and thrilling read which keeps the reader engaged right up until the last page.

Twilight - Stephenie Meyer

It’s the usual scenario. Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Boy can’t possibly have girl. Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with a father who in the last few years has only seen for two or so weeks in the year. Edward Cullen is the quiet brooding, intimidating, pale skinned, beautiful boy who seemingly takes an instant dislike to Bella. And lets not forget the small fact that he’s a vampire. A vampire who doesn’t snack on humans.

Bella, seventeen, never expected to like Forks, in fact she was determined to hate it. It was the opposite of Pheonix, a place she loved. It rained frequently and the town was under a constant sky of cloud. Eventually, vampire and human strike up an unlikely friendship, with Bella forming both a bond and an attraction to the young vampire posing as a human. Edward and his surrogate family of vampires manage to hide their true identity from Bella and the town they’ve called home for the past two years…that is until Bella, while on a beach trip with friends comes across a boy who explains to her the local legend of ‘the cold ones’, a group of vampires or ‘blood drinkers’ who have sworn off human blood and hunt only animals. Armed with the legend and a little book research, Bella comes to the conclusion that Edward is in fact one of those vampires. This fact would scare some people but for Bella, it means nothing. It changes nothing. She’s already in love with Edward, it’s too late to go back now.

For Edward, Bella’s lack of fear is frustrating but at the same time it delights him as well. Bella is the first person he’s loved since he was turned into a vampire at the end of the first world war. Though he loves her, being so close to her is his own type of torture. He can never get too close, he has to be so careful, treat he like the delicate human she is because one wrong move could harm her. Her scent and her blood is also almost too tempting for Edward to resist.
The love story between Edward and Bella has themes of Romeo and Juliet weaving through it. It’s a doomed love story, two people who should be natural enemies yet still want each other but may never be able to have each other. It’s also a push pull type romance with Edward desperately trying to do the right thing and keep Bella away from him but being so drawn to her that he just can’t stay away from her.

Twilight is written in the first person, narrated by Bellas, so every piece of information the reader receives is from Bella’s point of view. Bella’s view of Edward is very romanticized, we see him as she sees him, this beautiful, dangerous hero. The character of Bella is beautifully and realistically written from her shy, clumsiness to her sarcastic inner thoughts. The vampire mythology is uniquely written, destroying the old predictable cliches we are usually given.
Beautifully written, touching and compelling and at times heartbreakingly sad, Twilight is a sweet story of star-crossed love which can be read time and time again and never gets old.

Size 12 is not Fat - Meg Cabot

After To Kill a Mockingbird, I wanted to read something a bit lighter. As a teen I had read Meg Cabot’s Mediator series and had really enjoyed her style of writing even though I’m not a huge fan of the supernatural.

Heather Wells was a teen pop sensation with everything to lose. And then she did lose it. She’s hit rock bottom, sick of singing songs written by others, her record label dumps her. Her fiance cheats on her. Heather ends up living in her fiance’s brother’s (Cooper) attic apartment, finds a job in a New York college dorm and finally thinks her life is turning around. Until….girls start turning up dead at the bottom of elevator shafts. Apparently, elevator surfing is a favourite past time for college students. The official line is that these girl’s deaths are accidents…tragic…but still accidents. Except Heather has other ideas. She knows teenage girls…she was a teenage girl and teenage girls don’t elevator surf, especially girls afraid of heights. Heather decides there’s something suspicious about these deaths and makes it her mission to get to the bottom of them….enlisting a reluctant Cooper’s help, Cooper who just happens to be a private detective. Little does Heather know that not only is she fighting for justice for these girls but also for her life.

Written in the first person from Heather’s perspective, Size 12 is not Fat, is a light - if not at times fluffy - read about a girl who is trying to piece her destroyed life back together, find what other talents she has besides singing and trying to find her place in the world. There is a fairytale, sweet quality about Meg Cabot’s writing which makes it a delightful read - perhaps not a piece of literary genius but still an enchanting tale worth a look.

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

There are two major issues in this world which I cannot stand. Number One: Sexism. You’d better not tell me I can’t do something and do it well just because I lack a penis. And it is not acceptable for anyone to say or imply that because of that lack of a penis I am inferior in any way. Yes, I admit because I lack that particular appendage there are certain things I can’t do: produce sperm or pee standing up. But at the same time just because I have ovaries and can push a human being through a very small part of my body does not make me superior to any man. We are equal (or at least we should be), we can both do some pretty, equally amazing things. That’s enough for that particular rant - time to move on to the next stage of my rant.
I’m on holiday from work at the moment and I’ve been spending quality time having a Grey’s Anatomy marathon. I’m up to season four. I’ve just watched the episode in which Dr. Bailey, Christina and George must treat a white supremist with a huge swastika tattooed on his stomach. The storyline was beautifully portrayed; with Christina quitely stating her stepfathers parents were killed in auschwitz and Dr. Bailey telling her that they were going to rise above it and be the better people. They were going to treat this man because if they didn’t it would make them no better than he was. Now, me, I would be inclined to let him die and rot in the firey pits of hell - but that’s just me. Racism. Can’t stand it. Most importantly, I don’t understand it.

I don’t understand how anyone can hate another person based on the colour of that person’s skin or think that a person is inferior because of the way they look. We’re all the same on the inside. At least that’s what I was raised to believe: I am no better nor any lesser than anyone else based on skin colour. Which leads me to the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Firstly, I knew nothing about this book. Zilch. Zero. Zippo. So, I googled it. And I found out that Harper Lee is a woman, is still alive and was best friend’s with Truman Capote who wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s - all of which make her incredibly cool in my eyes.

Anyway, To Kill a Mockingbird tells the story of a man, a lawyer, who is defending a black man accused of raping a white girl. The book is set in the 1930s and is told in the first person by the lawyer’s six year old daughter. I thought this was an interesting way to tell an incredibly, sad, intriguing story of society in this time, but then sometimes the truth can only be seen through the eyes of children: through the eyes of the innocent. Portraying a time in history when racial discrimination was still at a peak, the book shows how Scout (the daughter) and her brother are, at times picked on because of their father’s defence of the man, and also their perceptions of what they believe the situation to be. One part of the book that really stood out for me was when one of Scout’s teachers was teaching about Hitler and the persecutions of Jewish people and was stressing the point of how wrong this is and then later Scout overhears this teacher saying that black people should remain segregated and in general just being discriminatory. Scout, in her innocence, tells her father that she doesn’t believe this is right.

All in all I enjoyed this book, although it did take awhile to get into and for it to get to the part of the actual crime and to explain it to the reader, but over all it was an intelligently written exploration of the way we, as humans treat each other.

The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks tells the story of Logan Thibault an ex-marine returned from serving in Iraq. Thibault is embarking on a walk from Colorado with only the company of his faithful German Shepard. He’s searching for the woman in the photograph he found in Iraq, the photograph he’s sure kept him alive while serving. The photograph he considers his lucky charm. He does indeed find the girl. They embark on a tentative - and at times slightly lacking in trust relationship. It’s a kind of love at first sight story with just a touch of harmless stalker voyeurism thrown in for good measure but even so it’s a tender, sweet love story.

I’ve read quite a few of Nicholas Sparks novels and they are, if I’m honest my guilty pleasure. They are, to me, the literary version of a chick flick. The model for the majority of Sparks’ novels are basically the same: tortured, damaged boy meets girl, falls for girl, manages to royally mess things up, loses girl, gets girl back. They’re great for a hopeless romantic like myself. But with in saying that I felt that the characters in The Lucky One were quite one deminsional and predictible: there’s the tortured, quiet, handsome, slightly dangerous looking, chivalrous solider, the beautifully jaded single mother with the ever so slightly perverted physcho ex. But despite all of this, I found this to be a light fluffy, romantic (if not unrealistic) read that called to the hopeless romantic in me.

The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

I’ve been trying to convince myself to read this book for a while now. I’d walk into a book shop and hold it in my hands, flip through the pages. I’d heard so many rave reviews about it but I was still hesitant. It was the subject matter that made me cautious - see the story is told by a 14 year old girl, who in 1973 is raped, murdered and dismembered by one of her neighbours. Once her spirit leaves her body she narrates the story from heaven, watching as her family fumble apart trying to get on with their lives. I can sit through cheesy horror movies with blood and guts hanging out everywhere and not be overly fazed but rape and murder terrifies me. It scares me like nothing else and rape of a child? I can’t cope with that. So, hence when I finally made the decision that I was going to buy that book and stood staring at it, I decided I’d read the first chapter right there and then in my local Waterstones. I put that book right back on that shelf. The first chapter was wonderfully written and I have a very good imagination. Those two combined and I knew every feeling Susie Salmon had as her neighbor, George Harvey violated her, as she pleaded for her life and he finally stole it from her. I walked away from the book.

A few weeks later someone from the pub I work in gave me a book as a gift. Guess which book it was: The Lovely Bones. I couldn’t say no to a gift of a book. I took it home and put it on the bookshelf which I’d recently bought and from there it stared at me, telling me to read it. I finally did. I couldn’t have a book on my shelf which had never been read, it wasn’t right. I pushed past my fears and delved in and once I got into it, The Lovely Bones was a beautifully written, heartwrenching tale of a girl with so much hope for life only to have that hope ripped away.
Susie Salmon watched from her perch in the gazebo of her own personal heaven as her beloved sister grew into a woman, struggling to break free of the shadow of her dead sister and at the same time honour her sister’s memory by helping her father find Susie’s killer. She watched as her parents grew further and further away from each other, as her father became obsessed with finding her killer, as her baby brother grew into a polite, sweet teenager who, as a child saw her as his imaginary friend.

I would highly recommend this book but would advise anyone looking to start reading it to have a box of tissues handy. This book is heartbreaking, tear inspiring, beautiful and happy all at once - definitely one of my new favourites.