YA fiction

Reading in Winter

2016

On the coldest of winter days, there is nothing better than curling up, cocooned in blankets. With a cup of tea in one hand and a good book in the other, life couldn’t get much better than that. So, as January looms, here are my 5 favourite books to read when its cold outside.

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  1. Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy- 

I got this book for Christmas and was intrigued by the title. Yuri is a genius and he knows it,  but I didn’t at any point find him to be condescending. With humour, swearing and an asteroid hurtling towards LA, what’s not to love?

2. Inferno by Catherine Doyle-

This is hands down my favourite book ever. All about the Mafia and the complex roles of the families within it, and with a relatable heroine, I couldn’t put this down. I’ve waited a year for the sequel, Mafiosa, to be released and in four days nothing can stop me from finally reading it.

3.  And I Darken by Kiersten White

This book was dark in the best way. Lada is without fear and at times conscience, and I loved it! Set in the Ottoman Empire, it was hard not to be drawn into the scheming politics and life of the court.

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This books reached my expectations and then surpassed them. The world seen through Karou’ eyes was vibrant and the writing was beautiful. The humour in the book brought tears to my eyes, as did the moments of sadness and despair. I don’t think I’ll have any problems completing the rest of this series by the end of the month.

5. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson 

I haven’t read all that many graphic novels, but after reading Nimona I couldn’t help but wonder if I had been missing out. You’ll race through this book in no time at all but the characters will stay with you for much, much longer. This is definitely a graphic novel I would want to own.

So that’s my top 5 books, what are yours?

DNF Reads

20161201_162008To begin with I would like to apologise for not posting for a VERY long while. I realise that consistency is key and really there is no excuse for my slacker-ish behaviour. However, with school-work dominating almost all free time I have, I haven’t had a chance to read, and therefore review all that much.

While I find I fall in love with almost all of the books I read, there are a few that I cannot come to terms with. Recently I found that a lot of the novels I’ve started to read, I never got around to finishing (maybe I’m in some sort of reading slump?!?) for a variety of reasons. None of these books were bad, rather they just didn’t appeal to me. Even so, I still thought they would be worth writing a little about…

  1. Gemina by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff-

Illuminae was one of my favourite reads from last year and I was counting down the days until the sequel, Gemina, was released. Now though, after trying and trying again to finish the book, it just sits on my shelf, looking sad and unloved. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong for me. The plot and format, something I love from Illuminae, was once again unique and grabbed my attention. However, the characters, Nik in particular, were one of the reasons I stopped reading Gemina.  They did not seem realistic and were frankly quite annoying. Added to that, while I may be wrong,  I don’t think I’ll ever meet someone who says “feel me” quite as much as Nik does.

      2. Kids of Appetite by David Arnold-  

Thank you to Headline for sending me Kids of Appetite through Bookbridgr, in exchange for an honest review. While I haven’t yet read Mosquitoland, another novel written by David Arnold, I was compelled to request Kids of Appetite due to the high praise Mosquitoland got. Kids of Appetite is good. I liked the writing and I liked the characters, yet I still didn’t finish it. I want to finish it, but I haven’t. Maybe I’ll try it again in a few weeks?

      3. Alienated by Melissa Landers-

I got this book sometime Christmas last year and I still haven’t finished it, though not from lack of trying. The blurb caught my attention immediately. I haven’t read a book featuring any sort of aliens ever before and Alienated sounded like a good place to start. However now, I don’t think i’ll be reading any alien books for a while. To be honest, I fell like I’ve read this book before just with different characters, and as a result I couldn’t finish Alienated.

As of today, I am starting The Secret History by Donna Tartt and fingers crossed that I’ll  be able to finish it, too.

~ Kaavya xx

 

 

 

YA Shot: Character Interview with Sophia Bennett

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Welcome to my stop on the YA Shot Tour!

love-song-667x1024YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raises the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to careers in the Arts. The festival takes place on the 22nd of October this year. For more information about YA Shot, click here.

I have paired up with the wonderful Sophia Bennett to interview the characters of her newest novel, Love Song.

So without further ado, here we go…

The door is flung open, and four boys stroll in casually as if they own the place. They are  members of The Point; Jamie, Angus, Connor and Declan. They all take a seat, Angus slouching so low in his chair, it is uncertain whether he may just slide straight off. 
Connor discreetly checks himself out in a nearby mirror and pleased with what he sees, smiles smugly. 
 
The sound of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” fills the air, and Jamie whips out an iPad and proceeds to accept an invitation to video chat with George a former member of The Point, who is joining us for this interview over Skype. 
Once everyone is settled, the signal is given and the cameras start rolling. The interview begins.

#1 What is it like to be part of The Point? Did you ever see yourself becoming this successful?

 

Angus: It’s just messing around with my mate Jamie, really – when he’s not being an idiot with some woman. We’ve been doing it since we were 12. That’s how the music got made. As for the success, nobody ever sees themselves getting this successful. Nobody who cares about the music, anyway. This is crazy successful. This is ridiculous. It’s distracting. Sometimes I seriously wonder if it’s going to drive me mad. 

Connor: It’s incredible. The best feeling in the world. Being on the biggest stages in the world, meeting the celebrities, being on tour … Who wouldn’t want that? Ignore Angus, he’s an ungrateful idiot. I never thought we’d get this big, but we did it thanks to our fans.Thank you, Pointer Sisters! We love each and every one of you. Well, Angus obviously doesn’t, but I do.

Jamie: The Point is my family. My real family wasn’t so … Anyway. Angus is like the brother I never had, and Connor and George … and now Declan … when we play together we have this bond that’s magical. I love that the fans see that. Sometimes it’s scary being in the middle of this fame bubble. If it wasn’t for the other lads, I couldn’t take the craziness. They’re the only other people in the world who get what it’s really like – apart from Nina. Sometimes, when there’s yet another story about me online, I think I’m going to give it all up, but the music makes it worth it. That and the fans singing along to one of our songs, on a starlit evening in the desert. Yeah, not many people get to have an experience like that. Then I feel like the luckiest man in the world.

George: What was it like? It was like being in a rocket, going to Mars. It was like the wildest dream you ever had, going on and on and on. I don’t remember too much about it, because I was mostly out of it, but some of those memories were sooooo goooooood. And then there were times I was so lonely I cried myself to sleep. I miss it, but if I’d stayed in the band I’d be dead by now. So it’s like, thank you, but no thank you. You know what I mean? 

Declan: I only joined recently, so the other boys were already megastars by then. I’ll never be as famous as them, and that doesn’t matter. They write great songs, they play great music – that’s what I care about. And they’re a laugh, man. We laugh all the time. I’m just glad the fans have forgiven me for not being George. They seem OK with it, so that’s OK by me. 

#2 What were your initial impressions of Nina?

Jamie: She was special. Our eyes locked … Oh, OK – you want the truth? I hardly noticed her. First she was just someone’s sister. Then she was this crazy person who threw a blanket on my girlfriend and looked like she was trying to kill her. If the bodyguards hadn’t pulled her away, I would have. Then she was this annoying person Sigrid hired to follow us around, so I never got any privacy. It took me a long time to see her properly. I’m an idiot, I admit that. A total idiot. She knows that. 

Angus: Boring. Quiet. Shy. Obviously my enemy, because she was working for The Queen of Evil. You know what they say on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? ‘Mostly harmless’. Yeah, that. Then she read Thomas Hardy to me in my room at night and didn’t make a move on me. After that, I thought she was … interesting. More than interesting. If she wasn’t obviously goggle-eyed over Jamie, I might have tried something. Yeah, probably would have. OK, definitely would have. In fact, still might. Look out, Jamie. 

George: Sigrid was the worst thing to happen to The Point on tour, and Nina was one of the best. Everybody else saw rock stars. She saw right through us. She saw us, you know? She saw me, anyway. Saw that I was hurting. Tried to help me. Believe me, if I wasn’t so into Kelly, I’d have fallen at her feet. Probably drunk, but I’d have fallen, totally.

Connor: I really don’t remember. She was just one of the girls on tour. There were so many. Then, at the Hall, she was the first girl I’d met in years who didn’t try and impress us. She put Jamie and Angus in their place, which was a laugh. Yeah, the more I knew her, the more I liked her. Not my type, but still, if she’d shown any interest … However, Jamie was so obviously into her I wouldn’t have stood a chance. And I don’t say that very often.

Declan: I first met her at Heatherwick Hall. She looked scared, a bit how I felt, but gentle and kind. I liked her. Didn’t get why the other guys were so mean to her. I loved how she didn’t let it bother her, though. I think she’s a friend for life. Hope so, anyway.

#3 If you were able to bring anyone back to life, who would it be?

Angus: Elvis. There are so many questions I need to ask him. But maybe all the stories are true. Maybe he’s living on the moon, or working in a diner or something. Who knows? If not Elvis, then Edgar Allen Poe. He had a dark imagination, man. I would love to talk to him. 

Jamie: Janis Joplin. The most soulful singer I ever heard. Wish I could have sat at her feet and watched her. Wish I could talk to her now. She died at 27 – like the greats always do. What is it about 27? If I reach 28, I’m going to throw the biggest party in the world, man. 

Angus: You’re so death-obsessed. Stop taking yourself so seriously!

Jamie: This from the guy who sleeps in black satin sheets and travels everywhere with a skull
Angus: It’s my good luck charm!
Jamie: I rest my case. 

#4 Who would your ideal band comprise of?

Jamie: Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on bass, John Bonham from Led Zeppelin on drums, Prince on keyboards, guitar and whatever other instruments he wanted to play, Mozart on keyboards too. Seriously. If he’d been around in the era of rock and roll, he’d have been the greatest. Me and Angus on guitar. Jimi Hendrix for the occasional solo. Stevie Nicks, maybe. OK, not so much a band, more a historical travelling circus. 

# 5 What was the most embarrassing moment on your life?

Connor: Yacht in the Med. Skinny dipping with some friends. Paparazzi with long lenses. My mum on the phone for, like, an hour, telling me how all her friends had seen my … 

 

Angus: Yeah, and how unimpressive it was. They only needed to pixelate this tiny, tiny, space …

Jamie: Didn’t she say they needed a magnifying glass? 
Declan: Stop lying, Connor. You loved those pics, because that yacht was huge. Anyway, nothing beats Windy telling you guys I was joining the band and watching your reactions. 
Angus: We loved you!
Declan: You hated me! You called me ‘some session musician’. You threatened to walk out if I stayed. So did Jamie.
Jamie: Did we? Sorry, mate. 
Declan: You didn’t speak to me for days. 
Angus: And how many million records have you sold since you joined us? Stop whingeing, man. Seriously, some people can be so ungrateful. Anyway, ask us some more questions …

#6 If you could live anywhere you wanted, in any time period, where would you live?

Declan: In Venice, in the eighteenth century. I’d travel around on my gondola, with my cloak and mask on, doing lots of really really bad stuff and getting away with it. 
Jamie: Hogwarts, the year Harry Potter joined. But having read the books, so, like, I knew what was going to happen. I could be constantly going along to his dormitory and telling him useful info to defeat Voldemort. 
Angus: Jamie, you are a sad, sad individual. I pity you. 
Jamie: Thank you, Casanova. I pity you if you fell in the canal. You can’t even swim. 

#7 If you were a superhero, what would you be called, what would your power be and what would you do to help others (or maybe you would be the villain?)

Angus: I’d be the Diamond Skull, and I’d be able to make people do anything I wanted with just a touch from my guitar. Kind of like now. 
Jamie: Somebody sit on him, please. 
Connor: I’d be Egg Man, and I’d be able to create decent plates of scrambled eggs wherever we were in the world, even in places where they don’t seem to have heard of them and they taste totally disgusting. 
Angus: Egg Man? Are you serious? 
Connor: This from ‘The Diamond Skull’? Have you listened to yourself recently? Also, when was the last time you had decent scrambled eggs? 
Angus: Let me think. In Heatherwick Hall, when Orli was cooking for us. 
Jamie: That’s it! My superpower would be to conjure up Orli at a moment’s notice, to cook for us anywhere. 
Angus: Oh, those parallelogram sandwiches … 
Connor: And she could tell us how good we sounded while we were rehearsing. 
Angus: Yeah. The Make-Orli-Happen superpower. That’s it. My mate’s a genius, man. 
Oliver: Sorry to butt in. Sound check in five, guys. 
Jamie: Looks like that’s it. Bye then. Nice talking to you. 

The interview is over! I hope you guys enjoyed that, I certainly did. Thank you to Sophia for taking the time to put this together!

But wait… there’s more…

 A GIVEAWAY!

Chicken House are kindly giving away a copy of Love Song by Sophia Bennett as well as a signed postcard by the author herself. To enter, just follow @sophiabennett and @chickenhsebooks as well as leave your name and twitter handle in the comments. 

The competition runs from today (2nd Sep) to the 9th September.  Winners will be chosen at random and notified the day after the competition closes. Winners will then have 48 hours to reply with their  mailing address, which will be handed to the publishers who will send out the prize.

 

 AUTHOR INFORMATION:unnamed
I write books. YA ones. About being creative and changing the world and finding out who you really are. I think the best writing right now is on American TV, which may be why I watch too many shows. Everything else you need to know about me and the books is on my website: sophiabennett.com

 

Thank you for reading!

My Favourite Book Ever + Giveaway

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I love books. It’s no secret. I have many favourite books, but the book that really made me  want to just read and read and read, was Vendetta by Catherine Doyle. I first picked this up in a library and I whizzed through it in a matter of hours. Afterwards I immediately wanted to know what happened next, but I had to wait until January this year for the sequel, Inferno, to be released. I was blown away. I thought that nothing could beat Vendetta but I was wrong. Inferno was something else. I could not get enough and all I would talk  about for the next few days was my love for the book. I now own many copies of both Vendetta and Inferno, and I am so excited for January to finally come so I can read Mafiosa, the third and final instalment in the Blood for Blood series.

3 Reasons You Should Also Read This Series:

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  1. IT WILL KEEP YOU HOOKED FROM THE START                                                            There is nothing like a  good book that can keep your interest from the beginning to the end, and this series was it for me. It was fact-paced and edgy, keeping me on my toes, wondering what would happen next. I could not put it down, not that I tried.
  2.  A FEMALE FRIENDSHIP TO BE ENVIOUS OF                                                                                                                  Our main character, Sophie, would be dead without the support of her truly awesome best friend: Millie. She is the ultimate friend and I look forward to her rants and hilarious comments in the third book. I want a Millie 🙂
  3. ITALIAN BROTHERS                                                                                                                    The Falcones are 5 brothers who play main roles in the books. Without giving away too much, I can say that they are ones too watch carefully. As Sophie gets tangled further up in their business we see a unique view of the mafia and family structures within it. Although they might be similar in looks, the brothers couldn’t be more different in personality and you will be sure to fall for at least one of them.   

 

                                                               


GIVEAWAY TIME:

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To enter to win a copy of Vendetta by Catherine Doyle and various other bookish goodies from YALC, just follow this blog and leave your name and twitter handle in the comments. The competition runs from today (August 27th) to 3rd of September.

Thank you for visiting my blog and may the odds be ever in your favour!

 

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is about the Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR List) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet.

I honestly have so many book on my TBR list that I can’t they would probably fill to houses. Even before I started blogging (which wasn’t that long ago) I still kept lists of book that I wanted to read, although I am ashamed to say that I never got around to actually reading over half of these books.                                                                                                                               However, if I had to chose ten of those books that I want to get around to reading soon (meaning in the next month or so), these would be it:

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  • The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Junk by Melvin Burgess
  • Anna and the french kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Adorkable by Sarra Manning
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The summer I turned pretty by Jenny Han
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  • Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Which books are still on your TBR after all these years?

ARCS

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I haven’t been blogging for that long, and I only just picked up my first few ARCS at YALC this past month. I won one in a lucky dip, but I also got some from publishers stalls. I plan to read and review all of them and I am especially looking forward to reading The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, which is the sequel to Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares.

The ARCS I got at YALC were:

  • The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (released 18th October 2016)
  • Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige (released 20th September 2016)
  • Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick (released 6th October 2016)
  • Girl Detached by Manuela Salvi (released 15th September 2016)
  • The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín (released August 30th 2016)

Which was the best ARC you ever got? Have you got any new ones this month?

 

 

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

dash-lilys-book-of-dares-rachel-cohn-david-levithanDash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Published October 26th 2010 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 240                                                                                                                                                  

Format: Paperback                                                                                                                                  

Source: Library                                                                                                                                                  

Links: AmazonGoodreadsBook Depository

 

This is a book that needs to be read. Christmas is a time for celebration for Lily but with her parents abroad and her brother busy, she must find other ways and people to spend time with. So, she writes a set of instructions in a red moleskin diary and leaves it in the local bookstore, The Strand. And so sets of a chain of events that sees both Lily and the recipient of her red notebook, Dash, running around Manhattan, getting into trouble and meeting each of the others’ friends and family along the way.

I was hesitant to pick up this book at first, only because I thought I had read something like this before. I needn’t have worried. I found Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares to be highly original and entertaining.

Lily was very much your friendly and goodnatured yet slightly shy girl, full of Christmas Spirit. Whereas, on the other hand, Dash was your extremely cynical, not to mention pretentious boy, desperately lacking in Christmas spirit. How could they not be perfect for each other?

We don’t see a lot of Dash’s parents, but we understand that his snarly-ness (is that a word?) comes from the fact that his parents are divorced and cannot stand each other in the slightest. To add to that Dash’s father is a very cold, distant figure who never shows any interest or love towards his only son.  This contrasts hugely between that of Lily’s family who are all extremely close to each other.

Our main characters first impressions of each other were far from positive (Lily was somewhat drunk and even though it was a once time thing, Dash did not know that). However, they do finally, get over their initial apprehension of each other, though not before a badly aimed snowball angers a horde of over-protective mothers ending in the both of them being escorted to prison. After all there is nothing more romantic then spending a little time behind bars together…

In short, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares did not disappoint, and I cannot wait to start the sequel.

Rating: 4/5