Thursday, October 18, 2012

REVIEW: The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones by Susie Day

On her thirteenth birthday, Blue makes a desperate wish. To be transformed into a cool, confident teenager. Enter Red, appearing from nowhere like a wacky fairy godmother. She's only visible to Blue - in fact, she IS Blue, but a year older. With Red by her side to guide her, Blue can avoid all the gruesome embarrassments! But her future self causes a heap of crazy trouble - and there are dark secrets she's not telling...

The Twice Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones is a short book and it didn't take me long to read it - but it certainly made an impact on me! I loved everything about the book. The characters, the writing, the storyline, and the ENDING! 

Bluebell was a lovely character. She was kind and quite insecure, and very likeable as a main character and narrator. Red was...a strange character. I didn't think she should have kept so many things from Bluebell, but I suppose for the sake of the story it had to be done! There was a brilliant cast of supporting characters - I loved Bluebell's friend Fozzie, Bluebell's fantastic sister Tiger, and of course, the mysterious Merlin!

I liked the idea of Bluebell's 14-year-old self coming back to guide her - I've always loved time-travel in books, and I liked Susie Day's take on it. Although it wasn't actually as it seemed... 

The Twice Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones seems like a light-hearted read, but it's much more than that - there is real depth in it. The themes of family, friendship, and gaining confidence in yourself are important in this book, and Susie Day portrays them skillfully and subtly. I also liked the themes of music and photography - I love when a character is passionate about one or two things in particular in a novel, especially when they are also interests of my own as well.

I finished this book reading late into the night, because honestly, I couldn't stop reading! The book is so enjoyable to read, and also, I dying to see what happened in the end! The ending totally threw me - I was NOT expecting it. At all! After I had finished, I just sat there for about five minutes with my mouth open, thinking about the amazing book I had just read. I wish I could say more about it, but I can't (because it's a massive spoiler obviously!). You'll just have to read it for yourself!

The Twice Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones is much more than it seems from looking at the cover. It is a wonderful novel, and will break your heart!

                                             Rating: 4.5/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 177
Age group: 9+
Official Publication Date: 2nd August 2012
Publisher: Marion Llyod books (an imprint of Scholastic)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Letterbox Love # 9

Letterbox Love is a weekly meme, hosted by Narratively Speaking. It's a great way of sharing what books you receive every week, and I'm delighted to be taking part!  

This is my Letterbox for the past I don't know how long! I haven't had a chance to do a LL in ages so this is all the books I've received in (as I said before) I don't know how long! So here they are:

For review:

Double Cross by Malorie Blackman

This is the Fourth book in the fab Noughts and Crosses series - the series has been newly released with new covers, which are fab! I can't wait to read this - thanks Random House!

Falling To Ash by Karen Mahoney

Reading this now and struggling to finish it - I'm not sure about this one to be honest!

A Reckless Magick by Stephanie Burgis

I've only read the first in his series, but I can't wait to read the second one then this one - and look at that fab cover!

The Pendragon Legacy: Lance of Truth by Katherine Roberts

I read the first book in this series last year, and it wasn't my cup of tea - I'm not sure if I'll be reading this one!

Winterling by Sarah Prineas
I hadn't heard about this one before it arrived, but it sounds really brilliant and mystical! Thanks Quercus!

Me, Suzy P by Karen Saunders (proof)

This looks like a fantastic book, I'm really excited to start reading it! Thanks to Templar publishing for this and the above two books :)

Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School by Charles Gilman

This books looks like fun - and it has a really cool cover. You know the way you get some cards and things and when you turn them from side to side they have two different pictures? (sorry, terrible explanation) Well, it''s like that - it's so cool! :D Thanks Quirk Publishing for this.


One Mum's Enough - Book 1 (Families in a Step-Chain)

Little Miss Perfect - Book 4 (Families in a Step-Chain) both by Ann Bryant

I won these two of the Girl Heart Books website and there was a mix-up in which book I was meant to be sent, so I ended up with two - not that I'm complaining! Hehe :)

What did you get in your letterbox?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

REVIEW: Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham

A first crush.
An unexpected friendship.
A dream come true.
Dear Dylan! 
Thanks so much for your email and I'm sorry about my last one when I said I love you. I hope you don't think I'm a weirdo mentalist?!!! It's just that I was watching Oprah yesterday and she said we should all say we love each other a whole lot more. Not to everyone of course. There's no way I'd tell my scummy step-dad that I love him because that would be lying. But the thing is, sometimes when I watch you on TV, I feel as if you're talking just to me and it makes me feel less alone. I know you probably get loads and loads of fan mail but I wanted to ask you - could we be e-mates? 
Yours hopefully, Georgie xxx.

I've been dying to read Dear Dylan for ages - all I had read were glowing reviews of the book. And, well, this is going to be another glowing review! 

I loved everything about this book. The characters, the format, the storyline, the writing - this author can do no wrong in my eyes! I loved Georgie  - she was such a brilliant main character  She was kind and brave, and I thought Curham portrayed her as a teenager perfectly. I think I'm quite like her - I felt I could relate to her and some of the issues she had - that's probably one of the main reasons I loved her character so much!

There was another character who was my joint favourite with Georgie - I just couldn't pick between them, they were both too fantastic! I'm not going to say who the character was, because it's actually a a spoiler - but if you've read the book you'll know who I'm talking about. This character was so wonderful. They were kind, thoughtful, helpful and caring. 

Dear Dylan also had a very realistic and well thought-out set of secondary characters; I didn't like Jamie at first, but once we got to know him he really grew on me!  He was great for Georgie and was just all-round lovely. I hated Tone-Deaf (Georgie's step-dad), with a passion - he is definitely one of my top 5 most hated characters of all time! I also really disliked Jessica, Georgie's 'best friend' she was so horrible and mean and a really bad friend to Georgie, especially when Georgie  need her most. I wasn't sure about Georgie's mum - she was quite selfish, and didn't appear to care about Georgie's feelings  but she showed she was brave in the end, and I began to - sort of - like her better.

I really liked the e-mail format. I thought it was a fun and different way to read a book. I liked the way some things could be included that wouldn't really be included in first person narrative, because Georgie and the other character were talking to each other - it's difficult to pinpoint what exactly, but it was just things that would seem strange if they were included in a first person book - but they fitted in this book, since the two characters were talking to each other. It was a really clever way of writing a book too - the (mostly) short enough e-mails made it very difficult to put the book down, and I flew through it!

The dual narrative was fantastic - it was interesting to get to see things from both characters point of view, I loved that element. And I just LOVE Siobhan Curham! She's such a fab writer - she makes the reader not want to stop reading, she makes the characters come alive on the page and feel so real - and she writes beautifully! 

Dear Dylan is heartbreaking, heartwarming, funny, and original. It deals with real life issues such as domestic abuse and bullying, and it will move you!  It is one of the best books I've read this year, and one of my favourite books of all time! Siobhan Curham is an amazing author and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.  If you're looking for a good book to read - don't hesitate to read Dear Dylan. Trust me - you won't regret it!

 Rating 5/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

Format: Paperback
Pages: 288 
Age group: 11+
Official Publication Date: 2nd April 2012
Publisher: Electric Monkey

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Reckless Magick by Stephanie Burgis release day!

Kat's back for her third adventure, and as per usual, social disaster is following in her wake - When the Stephenson family travel to a grand country house on the Devon coast for Kat's sister Angeline's wedding, Kat is stalked by a dangerous magical enemy and finds everything she thought she knew about her late mother called into question. With smugglers, sabotage, tangled romance and plenty of magic activity at work, it's the job of Regency England's feistiest twelve year old to protect herself and her family from impending ruin.

Happy book birthday to A Reckless Magick! This is a brilliant series - make sure you get your hands on this soon!

Check out Stephanie Burgis's website: