Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #166

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

So what do you need to do to join in?
  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Please consider adding the blog hop button to your blog somewhere, so others can find it easily and join in too! Help spread the word! The code will be at the bottom of the post under the linky.
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.
  • Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of this post.
  • Put a link back to pen to paper (http://www.pentopaperblog.com) somewhere in your post, and a note saying that Pen to Paper is the host of the meme.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!


The Girl at Midnight
by Melissa Grey

Synopsis:
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
I heard about this book at the beginning of the week and it looks seriously awesome. I'm all for unique fantasy worlds, and that's exactly what this sounds like. And I already love the sound of the main character, Echo ... and that's without having met her!
Plus, who can resist that cover?

This looks like a seriously good book, and it's the beginning of a series, so there will be even more awesome to follow.
This is released in the UK in April by ATOM, so I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for it on the release date!

What's on your wishlist this week? Let us know in the comments below, or link to your own Wishlist Wednesday post in the Linky :) 








Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #165

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

So what do you need to do to join in?
  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Please consider adding the blog hop button to your blog somewhere, so others can find it easily and join in too! Help spread the word! The code will be at the bottom of the post under the linky.
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.
  • Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of this post.
  • Put a link back to pen to paper (http://www.pentopaperblog.com) somewhere in your post, and a note saying that Pen to Paper is the host of the meme.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!


The Sky is Everywhere
by Jandy Nelson

Synopsis:
For fans of John Green, David Levithan and Rainbow Rowell: a beautiful, funny and heartfelt novel about love and forgiveness. Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to centre stage of her own life - and suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two boys. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow; the other comforts her in it. But the two can't collide without Lennie's world exploding...
I actually got the second book in this series as a review book not too long ago, but I didn't realise at the time that it was actually a second book. Then I went to pick it up to read and discovered it was a sequel. This edition (with a sparkly new cover) is coming out in the UK on 5th February, so I'm definitely going to wait until I get this cover.
These books sound fantastic, and they have loads of 5 star reviews, so I'm really looking forward to getting hold of a copy and seeing if I agree with the masses!

What's on your wishlist this week? Let us know in the comments below, or link to your own Wishlist Wednesday post in the Linky :) 








Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pen to Paper's Best of 2014

I think it's fair to say that a lot of really awesome books were released in 2014! I think it's pretty clear that YA is continuing to go from strength to strength.
Of course, I won't just be choosing books that were released in 2014, because there were some awesome, slightly older books that I read in 2014 that I would love to share with you too.
I wanted to get to this much sooner, but it was hard work deciding which books to put on this list – I did so well choosing the books that I read in the last year that there weren't many that I didn't enjoy. But I have to pick the best of the bunch, so I've chosen my top ten books that I read in 2014 (in no particular order, because, let's face it, it was hard enough picking them in the first place).


Echo Boy by Matt Haig
Series: Maybe?
Pages: 400
Publisher: Bodley Head
Release date: February 6th 2014

My review
Add to Goodreads

Goodreads synopsis:
Audrey's father taught her that to stay human in the modern world, she had to build a moat around herself; a moat of books and music, philosophy and dreams. A moat that makes Audrey different from the echoes: sophisticated, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters. Daniel is an echo - but he's not like the others. He feels a connection with Audrey; a feeling Daniel knows he was never designed to have, and cannot explain. And when Audrey is placed in terrible danger, he's determined to save her. The Echo Boy is a powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #164

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

So what do you need to do to join in?
  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Please consider adding the blog hop button to your blog somewhere, so others can find it easily and join in too! Help spread the word! The code will be at the bottom of the post under the linky.
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.
  • Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of this post.
  • Put a link back to pen to paper (http://www.pentopaperblog.com) somewhere in your post, and a note saying that Pen to Paper is the host of the meme.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!


The Program
by Suzanne Young

Synopsis:
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
This book keeps popping up at the moment. I hadn't heard of it at all until a friend of mine posted their review to Facebook, and then after that it was everywhere I looked. And mostly, the reviews seem to be positive.
It sounds a little bit like a mixture of the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver and the Slated trilogy by Teri Terry. Delirium because emotions are forbidden and Slated because if they do something 'wrong' their minds are wiped clean. But I'm hoping that this will offer a unique twist on the genre. From the reviews, I have high (but realistic) hopes.

What's on your wishlist this week? Let us know in the comments below, or link to your own Wishlist Wednesday post in the Linky :) 








Monday, 12 January 2015

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley **Review**


Where Things Come Back
Series: None
Pages: 228
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 2012
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Add to Goodreads

Goodreads synopsis:
In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter's senior year of high school, everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town vanishes. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and, most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.

As Cullen navigates a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young, disillusioned missionary in Africa searches for meaning wherever he can find it. And when those two stories collide, a surprising and harrowing climax emerges that is tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, and above all, hope.

When I went into this, I went into it almost entirely blind. I suppose I must have read the synopsis on the back at some point, but I didn't remember it. The only impression I had of the book was from a recent video review that I'd seen, where the reviewer had raved about the book and its characters.

I'm going to go straight in with the negative, so that I can get it out of the way early and focus on the positive for the rest of the review, because overall this book was a fantastic read. My only major problem I had with it – and maybe it's just me – is that I didn't realise that the alternating chapters were set at different times. I usually assume, unless it's stated in the chapter title or something, that although the chapters are alternating between different characters and storylines, they are happening simultaneously. I was quite a way through the book before I realised that this was not the case – and I only then did I realize because a fairly significant plot twist occurred. I found this quite disorientating and frustrating because I had to think over that whole storyline again and realign it with the other chapters.
But once I was over that, it was back to the good stuff.

The thing that really strikes me about this book is its abundance of fantastically life-like characters. Despite the main character having a strange name (Cullen – which, I have to admit, I quite like), they all came across as very real. I could believe in them, sympathise them, and fall for them very easily – some especially so. Cullen's brother, Gabriel, and his best friend Lucas are two examples.
I was so involved with the characters' lives, and that quickly, that when the first big plot twist happened at around page 80, I was dumbstruck. Actually, genuinely shocked. And this happened over and over again. This book has many surprises hidden within it's small volume of pages!

Not only was the plot littered with surprises, it is also unique. I suppose that looking at the main storyline, it would not be considered so different at first glance, so I suppose it's the way it's put together that makes it so special. It's all in the details! The mysterious Lazarus Woodpecker (with associated burger, motel and haircut), the failed teenage missionary and philosopher-turned-religious-fanatic roommate (also with silly names), the obscure Ethiopian bible. Add all that to the characters and you have a recipe for a wonderful read.

I really enjoyed Where Things Come Back. It pulled at my heartstrings on more than one occasion and in more than one way. It even made me nervous about the ending, because I didn't think it was going to end in a way that I'd like – and I needed it to end that way. It was an easy, but thoughtful and beautiful read, and one that I would love to read again.
Although it's a short book, what it lacks in length it most definitely makes up for in punch. Where Things Come Back should be read by every fan of contemporary YA fiction.


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #163

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

So what do you need to do to join in?
  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Please consider adding the blog hop button to your blog somewhere, so others can find it easily and join in too! Help spread the word! The code will be at the bottom of the post under the linky.
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.
  • Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of this post.
  • Put a link back to pen to paper (http://www.pentopaperblog.com) somewhere in your post, and a note saying that Pen to Paper is the host of the meme.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!


Burned
by Ellen Hopkins

Synopsis:
I do know things really began to spin out of control after my first sex dream.

It all started with a dream. Nothing exceptional, just a typical fantasy about a boy, the kind of dream that most teen girls experience. But Pattyn Von Stratten is not like most teen girls. Raised in a religious -- yet abusive -- family, a simple dream may not be exactly a sin, but it could be the first step toward hell and eternal damnation.

This dream is a first step for Pattyn. But is it to hell or to a better life? For the first time Pattyn starts asking questions. Questions seemingly without answers -- about God, a woman's role, sex, love -- mostly love. What is it? Where is it? Will she ever experience it? Is she deserving of it?

It's with a real boy that Pattyn gets into real trouble. After Pattyn's father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control until Pattyn ends up suspended from school and sent to live with an aunt she doesn't know.

Pattyn is supposed to find salvation and redemption during her exile to the wilds of rural Nevada. Yet what she finds instead is love and acceptance. And for the first time she feels worthy of both -- until she realizes her old demons will not let her go. Pattyn begins down a path that will lead her to a hell -- a hell that may not be the one she learned about in sacrament meetings, but it is hell all the same.

In this riveting and masterful novel told in verse, Ellen Hopkins takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride. From the highs of true love to the lows of abuse, Pattyn's story will have readers engrossed until the very last word.
Ellen Hopkins is an author that you see quite a lot in the book blogging and vlogging world. It seems everyone has read her, and they either hate or love her. But I don't think it can be denied that she is both controversial and unique. Her books are written in verse, which is unusual for a novel (the only novel in prose I've read was The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan – which is amazing, if you get the chance to pick up a copy).
I keep meaning to get hold of one her books – and initially I had thought that I would start with Crank – but after watching a video on JessetheReader's YouTube channel where he talks about the Burned duology, I think it may end up being these books first. I may just have to put them on my birthday wishlist!

What's on your wishlist this week? Let us know in the comments below, or link to your own Wishlist Wednesday post in the Linky :) 








 
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