Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #154

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!


Salt & Stone 
by Victoria Scott

Synopsis:
This is the second book in the Fire & Flood series. If you haven't read the first book, but intend to, don't read this synopsis, as it will contain spoilers.

What would you do to save someone you love?

In FIRE & FLOOD, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit--she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left--and only one can win.
So, I finished reading Fire & Flood the other day (still need to get round to that review! It's coming... I swear!), and despite having mixed feelings about it most of the way through, once I got to the final 50 pages, I was so hooked that I knew I would be adding the next book to my wishlist.
I don't want to say too much here (for fear of spoilers and because I want to save it for my review), but the ending was definitely worth it!

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, 3 September 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #153

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!


Complicit
by Nicci French

Synopsis:
Bonnie Graham is standing in a room belonging to a friend. At her feet is a corpse, straddled in a spreading pool of blood. The questions are numerous: who is responsible for the dead body on the floor? What does she, Bonnie, have to do with it? And what is her next course of action? This opening premise gives some idea of just how quickly (and comprehensively) Nicci French is able to transfix the reader. It is this combination of a shocking situation and the ill-advised, often self-destructive actions of the duo's protagonists which the authors pull off in book after book; we may disapprove of what French’s characters do in their extreme situations, but it's impossible not to identify with them. Bonnie is a music teacher, rehearsing through a sweltering summer in London with a band that is scheduled to play at a wedding. Any pleasure the experience might have afforded is to evaporate as bitter internecine divisions within the band make themselves felt, and sexual involvements move in particularly murderous directions. This is typical Nicci French fare -- and admirers will meet need no other recommendation.
I have recently been on a bit of a crime novel kick. One of the things I've challenged myself to this year (for myself and for my job as a bookseller) is to get better acquainted with a genre that I have previously been a bit useless with. And that genre would be crime.
I'm doing pretty well on this so far, having read Belinda Bauer's Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Award-winning novel, Rubbernecker, Tess Gerritsen's The Surgeon and now Mark Billingham's Scaredy Cat (all of which are very good). However, I still feel like I have a little while to go. The good thing about this is that I am discovering brand new authors all the time, which is amazing!
Nicci French is definitely on the list of authors I need to read. I've heard many great things about her books in the past, so I'm excited to add this one to the crime to-read pile and get going with it (once I get through the stockpiled Tess Gerritsen and Belinda Bauer novels!).

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, 27 August 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #152

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!


Exit Strategy
by Kelley Armstrong

Synopsis:
Nadia Stafford is an ex-cop - fired after she shot a child killer. She now works for one small mafia family: the way she sees it, no-one innocent is getting hurt. But then a serial killer starts murdering innocent people in the style of a hitman.
Recently, I've been challenging myself to get better acquainted with a genre that I don't usually read. The genre I chose was crime because, although I really love watching TV shows like The Mentalist, Castle and Bones, I don't tend to pick up crime novels. It is one of the only fiction genres at work (I'm a bookseller) that I am not as confident recommending to customers, and I wanted to change that.

Kelley Armstrong is already an author that I know I like, so this is a series that I'm really interested in. I read the synopsis for the third book in this series and it sounded so great that I added book one to my wishlist straight away.
I currently have it on order, so fingers crossed I will have it on my shelves very soon!

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, 17 August 2014

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell **Review**


Eleanor & Park
Series: None
Pages: 325
Publisher: Orion
Release date: February 1st 2013
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

Add to Goodreads

Goodreads synopsis:
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

I was very excited to get started on Eleanor & Park. After reading and loving Fangirl last year, I was sure that I would end up loving this one too. And although I think Eleanor & Park is quite different to Fangirl, I was absolutely right – I did really love it.

The first thing that really stands out about this book is just how real the characters are. I wasn't that far in when I realised that I was already thinking of both Eleanor and Park as real people and that I was already starting to care about them. I really wanted them to be together and I wanted them to be happy. I was laughing with them, worrying with them, feeling scared with them and falling in love with them.
Both Eleanor and Park have very distinct personalities and I found it very easy to get to know them because of that. I also found that I could picture them very easily – and I loved that they weren't your standard beautiful (but overly modest) teenagers, that they had their flaws, both physically and with the way that they acted, but were still just as loveable. They show that you don't have to be 'perfect' to fall in love, or be loved in return.
This is also true of many of the other characters, especially the two characters' families. Eleanor's mum and stepdad were easy to picture, which was sometimes quite uncomfortable, and I couldn't help but feel genuine hate towards her stepdad (another sign of a great, well-developed character, but I still hated him!). Parks parents were especially easy to picture, and I adored them (even with their flaws).

I think that another reason I got to know Eleanor and Park both so well and so quickly is that the point of view switched between them – sometimes several times a chapter – so I got to see both points of view during the same scene. This works incredibly well, not just at allowing the reader into both of their heads, but also in moving the plot along at a steady pace and keeping the reader firmly gripped. I didn't want to put it down.

I found the time period that the book is set in really interesting. The story begins in August 1986 and eventually spans well over a year. This of course means that there is no internet, no mobile phones, cassette players, tapes, old rock and punk music and people still wrote actual letters to each other.
I don't pretend to fully understand why Rainbow chose to set the book in this era, but I think it may have something to do with the romantic feeling that all of these things lend to the story. I mean, who doesn't find the idea of someone making you a music tape romantic? And even if you weren't born in the 1980s (which I wasn't ... I'm a 90s kid through and through) you can still feel a sense of warm nostalgia that pops up every time they talk about music (which is a lot). And then there are the classic comic books, which absolutely make me wish that I was born earlier so that I could have experienced the excitement of the next issue of Watchmen being released.

Eleanor & Park is an extremely compelling and incredibly moving novel. It moved me more than I think I have been by a book for a long time. I've laughed, worried, and felt all the injustice and the love that both characters experienced. I experienced everything along with them, and it was glorious.
This beautiful book that reminds us that you don't have to be 'perfect' to fall in love, and that although things may not go the way you want them to in life, you can always find hope and happiness, even if it's in small doses.

I cannot recommend this book more. If you haven't picked this, or any of Rainbow Rowell's other books up yet, you absolutely should. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Friday, 15 August 2014

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan **Review**


Every You, Every Me
Series: None
Pages: 256
Publisher: Ember
Release date: 21st September 2012
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

Add to Goodreads

Goodreads synopsis:
In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself. Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.


I am going to start by saying that I do absolutely love and adore David Levithan and everything that he writes. I need to get that out there before I say that although I did really love this book, it's actually very different from the rest of stuff, and is much harder to recommend because of this difference.

Unlike any of David's other collaborations, this one is done with a photographer. Photographs appear throughout the story and the book incorporates them really well, to tell a disturbing story about the narrator, Evan, and his best friend Ariel, and what happened in the woods one day that meant she was no longer around.
I did think that the photographs worked really well. They enhanced the story and made it just that little bit creepier than it would have been had the photos simply been described.
My one criticism (that has nothing to do with the writer) is that the book could definitely have been printed better by the publisher. Some of the photos in the paperback are not all that clear and it made it difficult to see what they were. However, when I looked at my friend's hardback version of the book, the photos were much crisper and easier to make out. I would definitely recommend getting hold of the hardback if you're interested in reading this!

Another thing that really sets this book apart from David's others is the stylistic writing style. David does often like to experiment with voice and style in his books, but I think this is one of the more interesting cases. Some of the text is crossed out, which gives the narrative a strange conscious thought vs subconscious thought feeling. This, in my opinion, made the book both fast-paced and fragmented, which really added to the voice and to the overall experience of the book. It was strange hearing both the words that Evan is actually saying to Ariel, and the words that he doesn't, or feels he can't. The words he can never really say.

The other thing about this book that sets it apart from the rest of David's books is the story itself. It's a lot more psychological, in some ways more abstract (this isn't quite the right word, but it's the closest I can think of that comes anywhere near describing how I think of it) and it definitely gets more into the mind of the narrator than any of his other books seem to. This could just be because the narrator is conflicted, and is also trying to deal with problems that no one else seems to understand, but he really does seem to have cracked into the very soul of his narrator and exposed every part of him.

Like I said at the beginning, this is a very difficult book to recommend. If you're already a fan of David Levithan, I would definitely say to give this a go, but be mindful that it has a very different texture to the rest of his books. If you're new to David, I would possibly say to try another of his books first – probably Every Day or Will Grayson, Will Grayson (written with John Green) – and then give this a go when you're ready for something a little bit different.
If your interest has been piqued by my review though, and you want to experience the uniqueness of this story for yourself, then I would urge you to go and get a copy right now (or if the shops are shut, tomorrow) and check it out for yourself. I'm really glad that I did.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #151

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!


Daughter of the Blood
by Anne Bishop

Synopsis:
The Darkness has had a Prince for a long, long time. Now the Queen is coming.

For years the realm of Terreille has been falling into corruption, as the powerful Queens who rule it have turned to cruelty.

But there is hope - a prophetic vision has revealed the coming of a Queen more powerful than any other. And once the foundations of her power - father, brother, lover - are in place, she will emerge from the darkness, bringing freedom.

For she is the living myth, dreams made flesh; not just any witch, but Witch.
One of my fellow booksellers (and writing buddy) Andi absolutely loves this book and she has recommended it to me so many times that I've genuinely lost count. The only thing that has so far stopped me from picking up a copy is the fact that I actually have no more shelf (or floor) space left in which to store it! I seriously need to get rid of some books! (That is a painful sentence!)
But this does look amazing, and I do love witches, so I will definitely be getting this very soon!

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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