30 March 2014

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

893136Title- The Book Thief
Author- Markus Zusak
Genre- Young Adult, Historical Fiction, War
Format- Paperback
UK Publisher- Black Swan
Publication Date- September 8th 2007
Buy paperback- HERE

*I was sent the enhanced ebook from the publisher for review, thank you Random House Kids. This does not affect my thoughts in this review.*

It is 1939, Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbours during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.


Zusak's The Book Thief is an incredible, emotion-inducing book filled with happiness, despair and, most of all, hope. Told from the perspective of Death, it is unlike anything I have ever read.

When I started out reading this book, I wasn't too sure what to expect. The blurb is very mysterious and careful not to give away secrets. I had previously seen the movie trailer and heard so many people talking about it, naming it as a favourite (especially Catriona from LittleBookOwl). When I received an Amazon gift card for Christmas, I went on a book-buying spree and could not say no to this!

Bored on New Year's Eve, I began reading. That night, as hard as I tried, I only managed to get through the prologue. Whether that was because I was not yet used to the voice of Death or there were too many distractions, I do not know, however this did become a recurring theme. I read a chapter, did something else and then not read again for a few days. This is probably why it took me a month to read (well, that and the 554 pages which it holds).

Soon enough though, things started really picking up. I fell in love with the character of Liesel and her spirit. Even in these terribly hard times which she faced, this young girl was hopeful, wishing for a world like her ones she read about in her books, wishing to be invisible like the character who was imagined by H.G. Wells. Her adventures with Rudy were a delight to read and seeing them slowly fall in love made the ending hit ten times harder.

Speaking of the ending, I won't spoil it for you but, as you can expect from a war book, it wasn't pretty. I had tears pouring from my eyes, something which doesn't happen often (think Clockwork Princess sadness) and even though it was incredibly hard to read, I was happy with the ending. The prologue reminded me of a beautiful, under-rated line from chapter one; 'The journey continued like everything had happened.' Even though this young girl had been through so much in her short life, enough to last a lifetime, she kept going on the journey called life. 

Since reading the book, I was given the opportunity to see the enhanced ebook version by Random House Kids. It contains the original ebook and, dotted throughout, you can find clips from the movie which will mirror the scene which you have just read. I think this is a brilliant idea because this book can be difficult to visualize as we do not know a world like it. Also, there are two short featurettes on the actors who play Liesel and Hans (Sophie Nelisse and Geoffrey Rush) which show a behind the scenes glimpse of casting, directing and acting. Markus Zusak and the director, 
Brian Percival, give their thoughts on working with the actors and then they, themselves, gave thoughts on their characters. You can then find a six-and-a-half minute video where Zusak answered questions such as 'What inspired you to write this novel?' which is great for fans who are desperate to learn more. Finally, there is attached the trailer to encourage you to see the film. Overall, I really do like these added features and I think it really would be worth investing in!

You can get the enhanced ebook edition on iTunes HERE.

    


27 March 2014

Twelve Steps Book Bitz!


Twelve Steps
by Veronica Bartles
Release Date: 03/25/14

Book Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. There in Laina's shadow, Andi's only noticeable feature is her pretty awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina's perfect everything else.

When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina. After all, great hair must count for something.

Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks. OK, maybe that's two steps in one.

Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities besides great hair. There have got to be at least three good qualities, right?

Step 7: Demand attention for more than just her shortcomings, and break out of her shell. Easier said that done, but worth the effort in the long-run. 

When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi finds that her prince isn’t as charming as she'd hoped, and realizes she may need a new program--perhaps with less steps!

As cracks in Laina’s flawless fa├žade begin to show, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.




About the Author:
As the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. (She was sandwiched between the gorgeous-and- insanely-popular older sister and the too-adorable-for-words younger sister.) She uses this insight to write stories about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy.   When she isn’t writing or getting lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, Veronica enjoys knitting fabulous bags and jewelry out of recycled plastic bags and old VHS tapes, sky diving (though she hasn’t actually tried that yet), and inventing the world’s most delectable cookie recipes.  TWELVE STEPS is Veronica Bartles's first novel.

Author Links:
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Giveaway:
1 ebook of Twelve Steps & $10 Amazon gift card (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

14 March 2014

Falling From the Sky Book Blitz!


Falling From The Sky
Release Date: 02/21/14

Summary from Goodreads:
All stability in sixteen-year-old Ridge McCoy's life crashed and burned in the plane crash that killed his dad. This summer-long basketball camp is his chance to improve his skills and escape his problems back home. But his summer plans take a turn in an unexpected direction when he meets Micah Youngblood, the guy who runs the carousel at the local mall and has a reputation for devouring straight boys' heterosexuality for breakfast, alongside his chocolate chip pancakes.

Ridge needs a way to avoid the guys at camp, whose only quest for the summer is to drown in beer and hook up with girls. So when Micah offers to explain how the ten unique horses on the carousel are significant to his tribe, Ridge takes him up on it. Still, Ridge can't decide if this is a bad thing or not. All he knows is that he hasn't felt this alive since his dad fell from the sky, and as the horse adventures come to an end, Ridge finds himself falling as well – for Micah.

Available from:

Excerpts:
He reaches an arm out from under the towel and grasps my forearm. He pulls me closer to him, and everything in my brain says to fight him off, but my body screams out for him to just hold me close to him and not let me go. His other hand brushes over my bare shoulder, and I glance toward the sky to avoid eye contact with him. I see the towel fall from his shoulder out of the corner of my eye, and I know he’s inches away from pulling his bare chest against mine.
In this second of almost touching, I realize that falling for Micah – or any guy for that matter – will be a thousand times worse than falling from the sky. I have a girlfriend, and never in my life have I been attracted to a guy. At least not before now. No one has ever gotten to me like Micah does. His hands run along my arms, and I take the chicken way out.
“Will you jump with me?” I spit the words out quicker than I process them in my head.
Micah pulls back and inhales deeply. He’s not smiling with excitement or dragging me to the top of the bridge. He just stares at me with those sad puppy dog eyes filled with disappointment. He almost had me, and he knows it. That’s the point of a toxic green elephant – everyone sees it, but no one talks about it. However, he’s not talking at all, and the hurt in his eyes actually hurts me in return.
I look back to the bridge so if those brown eyes of his start pouring, I won’t see the raindrops. His hands leave my arms, and he steps beside me. He’s in my peripherals, but I don’t dare turn my head. It looks like he’s staring at the bridge, which means he’s either debating jumping with me or he’s refusing to look at me for the same reasons I won’t look at him.
“You sure you’re brave enough?” he asks.
I nod, even if he isn’t looking. “Yeah. As long as I don’t have to jump alone,” I say.
“If you jump, I jump,” he replies.
I really wish this hadn’t made me laugh. “Did you like Titanic?”
He laughs too, and I feel a world better. “I admit, I did…except for when Jack died. I mean, I get that it kind of made the movie, but I prefer happy endings.”
Hopefully this falling from the sky experience will have a happy ending for me, as in not smashing my head against a rock or drowning or being eaten by an alligator. Now is a good time to let my “what if” scenarios play out, and it’s an even better time to talk myself out of this.
I look over at Micah to suggest my many wild reasons on why I shouldn’t jump, but he’s smiling. Damn it. Why does he have to smile and actually want to jump off a bridge?

Once we’re at the candy stand, Terrence places his order while I scope out the scenery. I keep a low profile until I see Micah. He leans against the edge of the carousel booth and motions someone over to him. It’s a guy. He’s shorter than me, about Micah’s height. Brunette. Thin but somewhat athletic. Then Micah hugs him.
“Uh oh,” Terrence says, following my gaze. “You better go squash that now or someone else will be playing your Xbox games.”
“Shut up,” I mumble. But he’s right. Micah is all too friendly with this guy.
It physically stings. What the fuck is wrong with me? There’s no way I’m jealous. I mean, yeah, if this dude showed up at his house and crashed an Xbox session, I’d be pissed. But Micah is free to talk to whomever he damn well pleases.
Except this guy.
I tell Terrence that I’ll be back and make a beeline for the carousel. I slow down once I’m a bit closer, shake my hair like an emo kid to look a little more natural, and stand tall – because you know, male dominance and all that. Whatever that other guy says is in one ear and out the other the moment Micah sees me.
“What are you doing here?” he asks. He smiles, though, so obviously this isn’t an awkward moment…unless he’s expecting an orgy.
“Terrence had to bring something to his cousin, so I just tagged along,” I say as nonchalantly as I can. “Busy night?”
Micah shakes his head. “Nah, dead actually,” he says. “Oh, this is Tyler, Emilia’s boyfriend. You remember my cousin Emilia, right? Pax’s sister?”
I swear, something inside of me literally crumbles like a broken statue. I don’t know if it’s my lungs or my heart or maybe my entire ribcage. I should have the words ‘fucking idiot’ permanently inked into my forehead, branded like a goddamn cow.
Tyler reaches out to shake my hand, mumbles something about Emilia wasting too much time looking at nail polish, and how he better get back and find her. I finally catch a bubble of oxygen about the time he walks away.
“So, Fourth of July? You coming?” Micah asks, completely oblivious to my male dominance and green glow of envy.
Terrence’s shadow closes in on us just as the question leaves Micah’s mouth.
“What’s happening on the Fourth?” he asks, looking at me instead of Micah. Terrence is damn good at playing dumb as shit.
“We’re having a cookout on the res, pretty huge,” Micah says. “And then we go down to our side of the river for the fireworks show. It’s epic. You should come too.”
“Hell yeah,” Terrence says, nodding along like this is such a freaking brilliant idea. “McCoy here can give me directions. I’ll definitely swing by.”
And then, as quickly as he popped over here to seal the deal for my weekend, Terrence makes some lame excuse about going to look for some Adidas shorts and that he’ll wait for me at the sports store but “no rush.”
When I finally break away from Micah fifteen minutes later, I take the walk of shame down the mall to find Terrence. I dread having to look him in the eye when I know, without a doubt, that he was right.
I want Micah to want me.

“You really think I can explain all of that to you in a few minutes?” he asks.
I glance at my cell phone. Curfew is in two hours. “I have time,” I say.
He laughs and shakes his head. “I need more time than what you have tonight. It’d seriously take all day just to tell you about one horse, much less ten. You know, I could just show you instead,” he says.
“What are you suggesting?” I ask.
“Give me ten days this summer,” he says.
“I don’t know if I can. It’s going to be a busy summer,” I say.
Really, I just don’t know if I can handle Micah for ten days of the summer. He talks too damn much, and I don’t want him latching on to me like I’m his best friend.
He doesn’t buy my excuse. “You practice when, Monday through Friday? Do you plan on going home every weekend? Where are you from anyway?”
Yeah. Already getting on my nerves.
“Yes. Maybe. Markham,” I answer.
Weekends on campus will get boring. I don’t plan on going out with the guys at camp and getting drunk. Terrence won’t be around much. And I’m sure as hell not going home on the weekends to deal with Mom’s crying, Jordan’s complaining, and Samantha’s attempt to fake a relationship with me.
But Micah doesn’t need to know that.
“I can work my schedule around yours,” he offers. He scribbles his phone number down on the back of a mall pamphlet. “Just in case you change your mind or get bored.”
He pulls the lever again, and the horses stop spinning. The girls climb down from their mounts and run back over to us. I have to get out of here before they disappear, and he traps me with more Xbox conversation. I glance down at the mall pamphlet in my hand.
“We’ll see,” I say. “I’ve gotta head back, so I’ll see you around.”
I don’t give him a chance to persuade me any more than he’s already tried to.
Room eleven is still silent when I get back. Terrence won’t be back until morning. I don’t mind the silence, though. I’d rather be alone. When I’m alone, I don’t get fake sympathy and “it’ll get better” speeches. I don’t get asked stupid questions about how I’m holding up or if I need to talk. It’s probably written all over my face that I’m alone and need pity, even here, away from annoying brothers, grieving moms, distant girlfriends, and rainforests that eat planes. That’s probably why Micah wants to be my friend this summer. I probably sweat tragedies the way my summer teammates will sweat alcohol.
I empty my pockets and crumple up the mall pamphlet. Micah’s phone number falls from the sky and crash-lands in the metal garbage bin by the door. I flip off the light.
I’d rather be alone all summer.

About the Author:
Nikki Godwin is a Young Adult author from the southern USA. She is a city girl who can't live without Mountain Dew, black eyeliner, Hawthorne Heights, and candles from Bath & Body Works. When not writing, she's not-so-secretly internet-stalking her favourite bands. She is slightly obsessed with rock stars and surfers. She no longer hides her love for One Direction.

Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:
2 ebook copies of Falling from the Sky (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organised by:

11 March 2014

The Book Blogger's TMI Tag

Hello! Sorry I've been so absent recently, my end of high school exams are coming up in the next months so revision and homework are becoming rather chaotic at the minute and blogging is taking a little back seat. Also, I have to work out what I will be doing when I leave school and as of yet, I really don't know what to do! Anyway, here's the questions to my first tag post.

How old are you?
I am 15 years old.

18138917What books are you reading?
I'm almost finished with Angelfall by Susan Ee but I've put that aside for a while to read Trouble by Non Pratt seen as though it comes out on the 6th of March in the UK. I'm also a VIP for the book which is cool!

What are you wearing?
Right now? Christmas pyjamas... Yeah, they have reindeers on them!

16068905OTP?
Oh damn, good question! I love Cath and Levi from Fangirl, Tessa and Will from The Infernal Devices and Juliette and Warner from the Shatter Me series. But if I had to pick just one couple, that would have to be Cath and Levi, their relationship is so real and SO cute!


Blogger or Wordpress?
I started my blog on Blogger and have never though of changing. I love it here, things are simple and easy to use yet they have some really great features!

Going outside, being active or staying in?
Staying in 100%. I have my TV, laptop, life library and food inside so I really see no point in leaving (expect in a fire maybe, I probably would not want to stay inside then...)

15777621What is the last book you read?
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. It was amazing. I will definitely be posting a review when I manage to get around to it. (I still have to write two for The Book Thief and Ignite Me first!)

17315134What book are you going to read next?
Dawn O'Porter's Paper Aeroplanes shortly followed by the sequel Goose! Hot Key Books were offering out review copies of Goose on their Twitter and I managed to snatch one up so I can finally marathon them like I've been waiting to do!

E-books - yes or no?
Yes. I never thought I would but yes. I got a NookHD for my birthday last year and it is so convenient! Books are often cheaper and there are sales of greater quality than those of paperback. I also seem to fly through ebooks quicker.


Where do you prefer to read?
I almost always read sat in my bed, cuddling up with a book under my cover to keep nice and warm. Recently though, I've found myself sitting and reading by the natural light in the living room so I can't wait for the summer sun to arrive.

Which blog did you look at last?
I think that would be Georgia (my name twin) from The Biblomaniac because I saw her tweet promising a huge haul today and she did not disappoint! You can see it HERE.

Who is your favourite blogger?
I honestly do not have one. I love different blogs for different reasons: Ruby @ Feed Me Books Now is great for classics and graphics, Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews is great for her thorough reviews, Stephanie @ These Paper Hearts is great for little design tips, I really could go on.

Who is your favourite booktuber?
Christine! PolandbananasBOOKS was the channel which introduced me to booktube, something I didn't know existed until I watched her videos. I think one of the first videos of hers that I watched was the Clockwork Princess booktalk, you can see it yourself HERE if you're interested.

What do you think when someone says they think reading is boring?
Try to find a book for them, everyone has a gateway book, they probably just have not found theirs yet.

Who is the last author you spoke to?
Non Pratt, I tweeted her congratulating her on Trouble's release then wished her a good time at her release party, only to realise that it wasn't till next week and I had mixed up may dates so I tweeted her back to explain.

11870085Who is your all time favourite book character?
Good question, very good question. It's hard to pick just one, I really admire quite a few characters. Gus from The Fault in Our Stars is obviously incredible. He realises how awful life is but tries so do something about it so the people he loves don't have to experience the crappiness he does. Isaac on the other hand doesn't have that strength and for that, I love him. He's so human it hurts to see him upset.

UKYA or USYA?
A great book is great for it's content, not it's writer's nationality.

What is your preferred drink whilst reading?
LEMONADE. That's my preferred drink full stop.

If you hated reading, what would you be doing?
Raiding the archives of NetFlix to work my way through each and every movie and TV series on there.

How many bookshelves do you have?
One bookshelf with fourteen books on it, all of which are series. I also have a hole under my bed which houses quite a few books (around 20 and then some non-fiction) and all the rest of my books are stacked in four piles on my desk. I tried to order a new bookcase at Christmas but the one I want still hasn't come into stock yet!

If you had the chance to meet all your favourite bloggers or all your favourite authors, which would you pick?
Authors. I've very much like Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars on that one, I need answers.

Insta-love - yes or no?
Insta-love is a big no for me but and instant connection between two characters which develops into a love story is totally cool.

Favourite author?
John Green is amazing, Rainbow Rowell has such a real tone to her work that I adore and Cassandra Clare could write anything and I would read it. Although I've only read one book by him so far, I think Markus Zusak is incredible and I really must read more of his.

8755785What is the number one book on your wishlist?
This new project which John Green is working on is very exciting but I really cannot wait for City of Heavenly Fire!

Do you prefer books with male or female protagonists?
I do not mind either, Looking for Alaska, one of my favourite books, is written from a male perspective however I read a lot more female protagonists as I think they are more relate-able for me, being a girl you know.

13121501Which is your favourite book to film adaptation?
That would have to be The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I actually prefer it to the book! I dragged my sister to the cinema with me just so that we could get to see it on release day.

Which do you enjoy reading more - positive or negative reviews?
Positive, I love it when people spread the love for a book I love too. Negative reviews put me off books which I am excited for (I'm looking at you Secret Diamond Sisters.)

And that is it! Thank you to Amber from The Mile Long Bookshelf who created this lovely set of questions and Ella from Everything About Ella who tagged me! I won't tag anyone else because I think everyone who wants to has already done this but feel free to try it yourself if not!


8 March 2014

YA Choice of March 2014

With the Young Adult genre becoming more and more popular, each month I will be bringing you my choice of the newly released books which I must share with you all! This month's choice is...

18138917

Trouble by Non Pratt
Released March 6th 2014
You can buy it now HERE.

A boy. A girl. A bump. Trouble.
Hannah’s smart and funny ... she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby? 
Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.

I was lucky enough to become a VIP for this book which meant that me and a friend were sent an early copy of the book each! I've started reading this and I must tell you, those reviewers don't lie! (It currently holds a 4.55 star rating on Goodreads.) Also, how AMAZING is this cover? Whoever designed it is incredible, something so simple makes a huge impact!


Have you read Ignite Me since I recommended it last month? Let me know what you think in the comments!