Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Saltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar

Title:  Saltwater Vampires
Author:  Kirsty Eagar 
Genre:  Young Adult 
Publisher:  Penguin 
Publication Date:  30 August 2010 (Australia)
ISBN:  978-0-14-301146-0
Stand alone or series:  Stand Alone
Pages:  372
Book Received from:  Penguin Group (Penguin Books)
First Lines:  A fresh line of surf approached the wreck of the Batavia, swelling as it drew closer.

Synopsis

He looked to the sky, praying for rain, a downpour, some sign from the heavens that he should refuse the abomination contained in that flask. But all he saw was the bloated white face of the moon smiling down on him …
And the sky around it was cold and clear and black …
They made their circle of blood. And only the moon witnessed the slaughter that followed.

For Jamie Mackie, summer holidays in the coastal town of Rocky Head mean surfing, making money, and good times at the local music festival. But this year, vampires are on the festival's line-up … fulfilling a pact made on the wreck of the Batavia, four hundred years ago. If their plans succeed, nobody in Rocky Head will survive to see out the new year.


My Thoughts
Majority of the books I read are Young Adult books from Authors overseas.  I was stoked when I was sent Saltwater Vampires and found it was written by an Aussie Author.  It was an absolutely brilliant read.  Overseas seems to have majority of the Authors that publish in the Young Adult genre and I'm glad to see that Australian authors are finally getting a foot in there and beginning to make an impact.  We have a long way to go yet though. 

For those of you that like your vampires to be the traditional, evil beings that they are.  This ones for you.

The Prologue opens up with four characters shipwrecked on the Batavia.  We get to learn a little of the backstory here but not enough to give too much away.

Jumping forward to the present day we are introduced to Jamie a 15 year old surfing local of Rocky Head who earns cash with his mate Tanner through vending machines.  Surfing isn't quite the same since the night of the accident where his mate Dale is injured and no longer able to surf.  Dale and Jamie aren't on speaking terms anymore and it tears Jamie up knowing that he should have tried to do more for his friend.

While I found the prologue to be quite a bit longer than I'm used to, Saltwater Vampires is definitely action packed.  Within the first few pages of Chapter one I was getting that nervous feeling in my stomach for the characters.  Eagar has done a brilliant job in creating realistic and complex characters who I think we can all relate to in some form or another.

Another thing I noticed throughout the novel is the vivid descriptions of the Australian scenery.  It's quite beautiful and when you live here it's so easy to visualize the sun setting with the vast array of colours or the bush with the wallabies bouncing through.

Saltwater Vampires takes us on a journey of surfing, sun, rockin' music festivals and freaking scary vampires.  Well done Kirsty.  I'd love to see what you got for us next.  Your on my list of Authors to watch out for!

Dusk Til Dawn Read-A-Thon Wrap Up


So how did everyone do?  Me?? Not so hot.  I had big plans for this readathon but with unexpected situations popping up I managed to get one.. yes that's right JUST one book done.  Saltwater Vampires.  I did read a few pages of the Dead Politician Society but all in all.  FAIL!

I even had 10 books on that list hoping that it will give me incentive to really get in there and try.  But that's ok.  Because I plan on being ready for the next Read-A-Thon that catches my eye.

Congrats to those of you that reached your goal.  Totally jealous ;)

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

Title:  The Other Countess 
Author:  Eve Edwards
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Penguin Group (Imprint: Razorbill) 
Publication Date:  28 June 2010 (Australia
ISBN: 978-0-14-132730-3
Stand alone or series:  Series
Pages:  332
Book Received from:  Penguin 
First Lines:  The first time Ellie met William Lacey, she thought him terrifying.
Synopsis:
England, 1582
ELLIE – Lady Eleanor Rodriguez of San Jaime – is in possession of a gold-seeking father, a worthless title and a feisty spirit that captivates the elite of the Queen's court, and none other than the handsome new Earl of Dorset . . .
WILLIAM LACEY has inherited his father's title and his financial ruin. Now the Earl must seek a wealthy heiress and restore his family's fortune.
But Will's head has been turned by the gorgeous Ellie, yet their union can never be. Will is destined to marry a worthy Lady so the only question is – which one . . . ?

My Thoughts
I wasn't sure whether I was going to like The Other Countess.  The synopsis sounded interesting but I'm usually not one to read  historical fiction.  I was definitely surprised though once I started reading.

The main character Ellie aka Lady Eleanor Rodriguez of San Jaime is the daughter of an Alchemist who is set in his ways trying to turn metals into gold.  Over the years, his obsession has cost both him and his daughter every cent they have and have to resort to sleeping in barns or staying with friends.  The only thing Ellie has left is her empty title and a very small collection of dresses.

I liked Ellie from the beginning and found her to be quite gentle and kind yet feisty when needed.  Surprisingly, though it seems that her and her father have switched roles in the responsibility department.  She stands by him in whatever decision he makes learning to help him lean towards certain choices when she feels they are the better option.  William Lacey was a character I completely despised at the beginning.  Quick to judge and quite cruel towards Ellie, it's not until around a third of the novel through that I begin warming up to him. 

I did find that sometimes the story was a bit slow at points but apart from that it was quite an interesting and enjoyable love story. There are maybe one or two things that weren't really tied up at the end but when I found out there was a second novel The Queen's Lady it is understandable why.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Edition to the Family.

Hi all.

As you have guessed, my birthday is today and I'm the big TWO SIX!  Since my cat went missing a few months ago I've been talking about getting another one.  I do have a Staffy cross, Mischief (pictured right), whose at my parents at the moment since we don't have the fencing done yet on the yard.

So, today being my birthday and my other half didn't buy me anything (Which I had told him a few days beforehand not to worry about it) he brings up the puppies we were looking at a few weeks ago.  Mind you, I couldn't sway him then that Mischief needed a friend. 

Anyways to cut a long story short.  We went to visit the people who had only two left, and I now have a second dog LOL. She's a bitzer.  Get this, the Mother is an Alaskan Malamute x Husky, Dad's a Staffy x Mastiff x Labrador (The Owner isn't entirely sure .. so this is more of a guess really) and here is the result:

She's only around 9 weeks old and was the runt of the litter!  She's fairly quiet and from what I've been told she's a climber.  Apparently she's climbed all the way up the top of the owners screen door. LOL.  Because she is getting her needles tomorrow I don't actually pick her up until tomorrow afternoon so I have all this time to actually think of a name.

Here is where I ask all of you bookaholics for some help.  For a change I'm looking for a character name from a book to name this cute little mut.  So far the only animal names that come to mind are Manchee (The Knife of Never Letting Go) Termagant (Master of the Books) and Chet (Dog On It)

If you have a name that you would like to suggest please PLEASE comment below.  I'm really hoping to find a good one but it doesn't have to be limited to just the animals in books, it could be any character names that you've thought 'that's awesome!'  If you could let me know which book you got it from that would be good too!

Or if you have a name to suggest that isn't in a book but you think is fitting.  Please feel free to suggest that too.

If you haven't noticed I tend to take a long time picking names for my pets since I'm after the perfect one lol. 

BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY!!

BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY!!

Hello everyone!

I've decided that since being my birthday I think we all need a giveaway!!!!!!

So here are the books up for grabs.



So here is how it goes.  I will be using Random.org to pick the winners and there will be 4.  So the first person drawn will be first winner and gets to pick first etc etc.

First Winner gets to pick the 4 books
Second Winner gets to pick 3 books  (out of what's left)
Third Winner gets to pick 2 books (out of what's left)
Fourth Winner gets to pick 1 book. (out of what's left)

RULES

You must fill out the form below ;)
This Giveaway is open INTERNATIONAL.
Closes 6th September 2010 10PM AEST
You DON'T have to be a follower to enter but it's appreciated

OPTIONAL EXTRA ENTRIES
Retweet this Competition - Pls make sure to use Meeka_21 for it to count
Blog posts/Sidebar post
Commenting on any Blog posts on Spellbound By Books (Max 3 times)

Thats it.
UPDATE: Just realised I have doubled up on The Other Countess by mistake.  Have taken it off.  Sorry guys.
CLOSED

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar Book Trailer

In My Mailbox (27)

In My Mailbox is a weekly post created by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!!

For Review:



 
 
 
Bought:
 
 
So thats what I got this week.  What did you get this week??
 
Brisbane Writer's Festival's on this week 1st - 5th September 2010.  Anyone out there going?
You can check out more info over at their website: Brisbane Writer's Festival

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dusk Til Dawn Read-A-Thon Update

I was meant to do an update last night but unfortunately my Mum was in an accident so I could only manage the Once Upon A Time post and that's it.  I was hoping to have finished Saltwater Vampires and Dead Politician Society but I'm a little behind.

So far I've read 64 pages of the 84 pages of Saltwater between 8pm and 8am the last two nights, and 8 pages of Dead Politician Society.  

That is quite sad for me lol.  I would usually have at least one and a half books read normally.  I manage to make up a bit of what I missed tonight hopefully

How is everyone else going with their reading?? 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Once Upon A Time Project G4 Week 3

Hello everyone!! We are up to Week 3 of G4 and only one week to go to get your stories in!!  I've been coming up with a few good ideas here and there for the very last giveaway for Once Upon A Time.  If you have any ideas on making this very last one of Once Upon A Time Project email me at melissa@spellboundbybooks.com.  I'd love to hear what you think.

So... This week I've decided to post up a couple of covers that have entered so far for the Cover & Title Contest.  They are absolutely fabulous and I'm so stoked to share these with you.  Please keep in mind that we won't actually be voting on them until the end of September when the contest closes.  But feel free to leave a comment letting everyone know what you think!!

So one entrant has included Front cover and Back cover in their entry.  Back Cover is optional though.  There was also the spine that was designed but blurb for some reason won't let me change it.


And.. here is our second entry so far.
Title: Spellbinding Stories

If you have entered these in feel free to put your hand up.  I wasn't sure to put names in or not so I have left them off for now.

How awesome are these designs???  They rock!

Okay well I hope everyone's writing is going really well! I've also decided to add one thing to the First Prize which may or may not rhyme with cook lol.  So I will reveal what that is on deadline time.

Thank you everyone for following this Project.  If you would like to read more about Once Upon A Time you can do so by clicking Once Upon a Time under labels in my sidebar or click here for G4 Rules and Prizes.  Keep the stories coming in people and remember this is INTERNATIONAL!!!  I'm sharing the love worldwide here as always :)

Also, for those of you have have either won or were runners up.  I will be contacting you soon to ask if you would like to do a little 250 words or less introduction.  It could be introducing yourself or it could be where your inspiration or ideas came from for that particular story.  So feel free to start brainstorming some ideas or whatever.



Cover to be in portrait (5"x8" or 13x20cm)
Type: JPG or PNG
(If using your camera, 3 megapixel or higher)
Deadline: 30 September 2010
The Theme/Design can be whatever you like.
Maximum of 3 covers & Titles per entrant.
Please consider the stories that have been posted so far when designing your cover.
Judging: Will be done by visitors of the blog. I will post the covers up (with their titles) and you will get a chance to decide. The person with the most votes will be chosen and the cover and title will be used on the book.
If using other people's images, you must have their permission before doing so.
The Winner of the Cover and Title Contest will receive a copy of the book when it's published.
If there are any questions please either use the contact form on here or email me at melissa@spellboundbybooks.com (Please Use Cover & Title Contest in subject line)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dusk Til Dawn Read-A-Thon

So this is the very first Read-A-Thon I've ever participated in.  I'm excited.  This one seemed to fit me best since I do ALOT of reading while my little one is catching Zzzz's.  So if you are interested, slip on over the the Book Crazy website or YA Addict website and sign up.  You can view the awesome Challenges there as well.  So from 8pm - 8am  25th August until the 29th is when From Dusk Til Dawn will run for.

My Ridiculous Reading List:










(Books won't necessarily be read in this order)
Before you say anything.  Impossible right?  Well I've been known to devour books so I figured I might need to put 10 books up here just in case.  While I doubt I will get through All 10 books by the 29th (Just remember it is pages read between 8pm - 8am that count)

So I will keep you updated with what I'm up to with each book.  How I feel about the book if I want to comment at all and maybe even a pic here and there of fave spots to read.

Thanks all and Happy Reading!!

Waiting on Wednesday (26)

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.  It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Because I've just read Tenth Grade Bleeds and Eleventh Grade Burns, my WOW first pick for this week has to be Twelfth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer.  Release date for Twelfth Grade Kills is 21st September 2010 and the 12th of October 2010 in Australia.


Synopsis
It all comes down to this.
Vlad’s running out of time. The Elysian Council has given him weeks to live, and that’s if the Slayer Society doesn’t kill him – along with all the citizens of Bathory – first. Then there’s the issue of Vlad’s father, who may or may not still be alive after all these years, and oh yeah, that tiny little detail in the Pravus prophecy about Vlad enslaving Vampirekind and the human race. So much for college applications.
In this epic finale to Heather Brewer’s heart-stopping Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, dark secrets will be revealed, old friends will become enemies, and warm blood will run cold. Just be careful it isn’t yours.



And my second WOW pick for this week is Defiance by Lili St.Crow.  I seen this on another person's blog and didn't realise the cover was out yet.  Defiance will be released in April 2011.  It seems so far away right now but I really can't wait!



Synopsis
I wasn't able to find anything on this just yet.  But doesn't this cover look awesome.  I didn't like the cover of Jealousy and I don't really know whether it was the pose the 'pretend' Dru was doing or what.  But this is awesome!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer

Title:  Eleventh Grade Burns
Author:  Heather Brewer
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin Aus
Publication Date: 30th August 2010 (Australia)
ISBN:  978-0-14-320517-3
Stand alone or series:  Series
Pages:  320
Book Received from:  Penguin Group (Penguin Books Aus) 
First Lines:  The vampire spun around, a wild, unhinged look in his eye. 

Possible spoilers if you haven't read the previous books!!

Synopsis:
It's another awful year at Bathory High for Vladimir Tod.  Joss, a professional vampire slayer and Vlad's former friend, has moved back to town.  The powerful vampire Dorian has an overwhelming desire to drink Vlad's blood.  And his archenemy, D'Ablo, has brought Vlad's Uncle Otis to trial for crimes against vampires.  When the tables turn on Vlad, he has just enough time to return to Bathory for his final goodbyes.
My Thoughts
I've just finished reading this and I'm just blown away.  Yet another totally awesome read from Heather Brewer.

If you think things couldn't get any worse for Vladimir Tod.  Think again.  Vladimir Tod starts off at an all time low.  Dwelling in his misery over the actions he had to take to protect the love of his life.  He finds out from Henry that Joss is moving back to Bathory.  Which can only mean one thing.  He's come to finish what he started. Vlad is torn between his lost friendship to Joss, and the fact that they may always be enemies. 

Otis is now living in Vladimir Tod's parents house, and after a meeting of sorts Vlad finds out that his uncle has been put to trial for crimes against vampires.  After only havings Otis around for such a short time, it looks like Vlad may have to make the most of what time he has left with him.

With every installment of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, it just keeps getting better and better.  Vladimir has so many obstacles to deal with, his evergrowing appetite, his secret he is keeping from everyone he knows, not to mention the annoying pest a.k.a Eddie and now Joss who is determined to send Vlad to his grave.  D'Ablo is still haunting him and now there is new threat by the name of Dorian.  It doesn't seem like Vladimir will ever get a break. 

I found the action comes fast and frequent throughout and I'm amazed at how well Brewer brings it all together, to finish with an awesome cliffhanger.  There is so much at stake for each of these characters and I was definitely sitting on edge the whole time. 

The story takes on a darker and more mature tone than the previous three.  The consequences for doing wrong in the vampire world are delved into more deeply and we get to find a little more history of both Vlad's backstory as well as a few other characters and I found it helped to understand certain motivations and traits that show through.

Heather Brewer can now officially count me as another fan to her writing.  I especially loved the Exclusive bit at the back of Eleventh Grade Burns.   

There is only one more book left in the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Twelfth Grade Kills and I CANNOT wait to see what will become of Vladimir Tod.

A Must Read Series!

Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer

Title:  Tenth Grade Bleeds
Author:  Heather Brewer
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Penguin
Publication Date:  30 August 2010
ISBN:  9780143205166
Stand alone or series:  Series
Pages:  304
Book Received from:  Penguin Group (Penguin Books Aus)
First Lines:  Ignatius drew the curved blade along the whetstone slowly, the gritty sound filling his ears. 

Possible spoilers if you haven't read the previous books!!

Synopsis:
It’s another awful year at Bathory High for Vladimir Tod. The evil vampire D’Ablo is hunting for a ritual that could steal Vlad’s powers. His best friend, Henry, doesn’t want to be his drudge anymore. And it’s getting harder for Vlad to resist feeding on the people around him. With the threat of D’Ablo looming closer and nightmares haunting him each night, Vlad realizes that having a normal high school year is the least of his concerns. He needs to act fast, and even his Pravus powers won’t save him this time.

My Thoughts
Tenth Grade Bleeds is the third book in The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. 

Another year in the life of the half human half vampire teen Vlad.  Things seem to be looking up for Vladimir.  He now has a girlfriend and is getting to spend more time with his uncle.  But Otis is still a fugitive in the vampire world and leaves to protect both Vladimir and Nelly.  He is thrown even more when Henry stops hanging around him, not to mention the ever persistant Eddie determined to prove to the world that Vladimir is different.  It makes it even harder for him when his appetite appears to be increasing and humans are beginning to look more tasty.

Vladimir has definitely grown up a bit since the very first book and although he seems to be being pulled into the vampire world even more, he is still kind and caring, regardless of the attitude of those around him.  We are also introduced to more characters in this book, vampire and human, and I really enjoy each characters personality.  Good and Bad.

Heather Brewer has done a fantastic job in writing the Vladimir Tod series.  If your after something a little different to the usual Vampire books out there.  Give this a try.  I definitely recommend it. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sticky Beak (25)


Sticky Beak is all about sharing.  Sometimes we can't all get around to every single blog and website available so that's where Sticky Beak comes in.  By word of mouth (well you get what I mean) we are more likely to get to those blogs that we wouldn't have normally seen without someone pointing them out to us.

The links could be to your own post, a favourite blog post you would love to share, an authors blog/website, book/writing contests, reviews you really enjoyed, tour info or anything you would love to share with others.  This week I've decided to use the Mister Linky for anyone who would like to add a link of their own.  Just put the name of the website (and if it is a link to .. say for instance a review put review in brackets etc)
Thanks

Here's Mine:

For Writers:
Omnific Publishing: How to write a query letter.
The Bodacious Pen: Investing in Your Writing Career

Authors to Check Out:
Udita Plaha:  Author of Magicus Catonium. (This is one of my review books to read)
Tonya Plank: Author of Swallow.  (Swallow is one of my review books to read)
Scott Nicholson: Author of many books including Speed Dating for the Dead. (Also one of my review books to read)
Robin Spano: Author of Dead Politicians Society.  Another review book I have to read.

Interesting Stuff To Check Out:
Shelf Awareness: Daily Enlightenment for the book trade.
Obsessed:  Looking for Reviewers of Awesomeness!
The O.W.L: Sunday Shelves- Book Covee Mug.
WORD for Teens: Interview with Allan Richard Shichman, author for the Prehistoric Adventures
AussieCon4: 68th World Science Fiction Convention program.  2nd - 6th Sept.  Melbourne Australia

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In My Mailbox (26)

In My Mailbox is a weekly post created by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!!

For Review

Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer (#3 in The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod) Review up soon!
Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer (#4 in The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)
(Thank you to The Penguin Group for sending these to me)


(Thank you Scott for sending me the e-book)

Manifest by Artist Arthur (eGalley)
Cruzito's Mailbox
Empty this week.

So that's my massively huge stash for this week.  I have definitely got plenty of reading to do :)
What did you get this week?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen

Title:  Runaway 
Author:  Wendelin Von Draanen
Genre:  Young Adult 
Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date:  September 2006 
ISBN:  0-375-83522-9 
Stand alone or series:  Stand Alone
Pages:  245 
Book Received from:  Bought 
First Lines:  It's cold.  It's late.  I'm trapped in here, trying to sleep under this sorry excuse for a blanket, and I've just got to tell you - you don't know squat.

Synopsis:
Holly's run away before, but this time she actually gets away—and what feels like an escape at first soon becomes a daily struggle for survival. She is smart and resourceful, and she manages to make it all the way across the country on her own. But how long can this go on? It's getting harder and harder to avoid the truth of it all—Holly is now homeless.
RUNAWAY is a riveting portrait of a girl just young and stubborn and naive enough to hold out hope for finding a better place in the world to be.
 
My Thoughts
This cover caught my eye while I was shopping online, and a quick read had me interested so I bought it.
 
Runaway is the story of Holly a 12 year old girl who runs away from her fosterhome and is told through her journal entries to her teacher.
 
Even though at the beginning I thought Holly was a bit of a whinger I was still captivated by what was going on and wanted to find out where this is headed.  The further along in the story I got, the more I liked Holly and felt sorry for her.  The vulnerability of the character showed through in Draanen's writing and made this easy to imagine a 12 year old girl going through.
 
Great Read!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tomorrow, When the War Began Movie Trailer

I'm yet to read this book, but whoa!!  Doesn't this movie look awesome. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Once Upon A Time Project G4 Week 2

Hey, How is everyone??  Well I nearly forgot to blog tonight since I've been having issues trying to activate my MMS for my iPhone.  It still hasn't happened but I managed to wipe all my music on it though when I upgraded.  (BTW I'm totally NOT happy about that!)

Anyhow, how is the writing going??  I've had a couple of entries so far for the Cover Contest and they are really cool, so thank you for entering in.  I did notice that one person actually included front, back AND spine!!  While I think the spine is not able to be changed I would like to add to anyone who has entered, if you would like to add the back cover to your entry you are more than welcome.

I have been tossing up on whether to post these covers up weekly for everyone to see or wait until the end.  How do you all feel about this?  If you have entered yours already what do you think?

I was planning on making this post longer, but since I've just wiped my iPhone numbers, music and pictures I'm cutting it short. 
Have a good one all


Here's the Rules
Cover to be in portrait (5"x8" or 13x20cm)
Optional: You can also include a back cover of the same size.
Type: JPG or PNG
(If using your camera, 3 megapixel or higher)
Deadline: 30 September 2010
The Theme/Design can be whatever you like.
Maximum of 3 covers & Titles per entrant.
Please consider the stories that have been posted so far when designing your cover.

Judging: Will be done by visitors of the blog. I will post the covers up (with their titles) and you will get a chance to decide. The person with the most votes will be chosen and the cover and title will be used on the book.
If using other people's images, you must have their permission before doing so.
The Winner of the Cover and Title Contest will receive a copy of the book when it's published.

If there are any questions please either use the contact form on here or email me at melissa@spellboundbybooks.com (Please Use Cover & Title Contest in subject line)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!


This week I've chosen Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.  This will be released November 11 2010.
 
Synopsis
THE CHALLENGE: Piper has one month to get a paying gig for Dumb—the hottest new rock band in school.
THE DEAL: If she does it, she'll become manager of the band and get her share of the profits, which she desperately needs since her parents raided her college fund.
THE CATCH: Managing one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl who is ready to beat her up. And doing it all when she's deaf. With growing self-confidence, an unexpected romance, and a new understanding of her family's decision to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, Piper just may discover her own inner rock star.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nicholas Dane by Melvin Burgess

Title:  Nicholas Dane 
Author:  Melvin Burgess 
Genre:  Young Adult)
Publisher:  Penguin Group (Imprint: Puffin) 
Publication Date:  13th July 2010 (Australia) 
ISBN:  978-0-141-31633-8 
Stand alone or series:  Stand Alone 
Pages:  416  
Book Received from:  Penguin Group (Penguin Books) 
First Lines:  Nick Dane lifted his head and stared blearily at the doorway.

Synopsis:
When Nicholas's mum overdoses on heroin, the fourteen-year-old is suddenly lost, grieving and alone.  Sent away to a boys home, Nick finds order is kept by intimidation and violence.

After countless fights and punishments, Nick thinks life can't get any worse.  But the deputy head, Mr Tony Creal, has other ideas.

The shame Nick experiences at the hands of Mr Creal can never quite be forgotten and, when Nick discovers he wasn't the only one to suffer, the old hatred later resurfaces.

Can revenge lay Nick's ghosts to rest - or will he never be free of them?

My Thoughts
I always read the synopsis on the back of books but for some reason when I began reading this I thought well it seems like the usual single parent family, but once I hit page 7 whammo!!  I knew this was coming but it still took me by surprise.

Nicholas Dane is a typical 14 year old bad boy, skipping school and smoking while his mother studies to better herself.  When Muriel dies unexpectedly Nick is left with absolutely no family whatsoever and is forced into a boys home.  Before I say anything more, the year is 1984 when Nick goes into the home.  The adults at Meadow Hill are strict and brutal while the boys each take turns in causing fights, which ends Nick in more trouble for standing up for himself.  The story does take a darker turn when more incidents occur and I was quite shocked at the events that take place within the pages.

Nick is such a strong character throughout the story, dealing with what life and others throw at him and still pulling through and surviving.  While I didn't agree with alot of Nick's choices throughout, it is understandable to see how he is pushed into those decisions as a coping mechanism.  As the point of view is in third person omniscient,  Burgess gives us the chance to glimpse into the other characters thoughts, feelings and actions and it really does help when dealing with such dark subjects.

There were a few things I disliked about the story though.  (Slight Spoiler)When Nick and Davey escape Meadow Hill, the past events seems to take a backseat and are forgotten about until closer to the end where it's brought out again.  The ending lacked a satisfying finish.  I found the writing to be slightly rushed and I was disappointed since alot of the novel was such strong writing.  I do think, as it is aimed at a younger audience, that the ending could have had more time spent on it though.

Nicholas Dane is a dark and disturbing novel filled with sexual abuse, drugs and violence, as well as strength and perseverence.  Burgess has done a good job in conveying his characters in a believable and realistic manner.  I do want to say one thing, I think Melvin Burgess is a brave author to write about subjects as these and while I think there are people out there that would be horrified, I do think that these subjects shouldn't be just swept under the rug because they are too hard-to write about.
The age group for this novel has from 12 years and up but I do think from 14 years and up would be more suitable and even then it should all depend on their emotional maturity level. 

Not for the faint hearted or easily upset.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sticky Beak (24)

Sticky Beak is all about sharing. Sometimes we can't all get around to every single blog and website available so that's where Sticky Beak comes in. By word of mouth (well you get what I mean) we are more likely to get to those blogs that we wouldn't have normally seen without someone pointing them out to us.
The links could be to your own post, a favourite blog post you would love to share, an authors blog/website, book/writing contests, reviews you really enjoyed, tour info or anything you would love to share with others. Just use the comment section to post up your own links!!
Heres mine:

Interesting Stuff to Check Out:
La Femme Readers:  Tantalizing Future YA Releases
Good Golly Miss Holly: Daily Doses. Another collection of very cool inspiring photos.
Alpha Reader:  Great review of Stacia Kane's Chess Putnam/Downside Series 
Between The Pages: New Blogger.

Giveaways:
YzhaBella's Bookshelf: Interview and Giveaway of Suza Kates' Whisper of a Witch
 
For Writers:
YS Princess's Ideas, Resources, and Reviews: Daily Dose of Inspiration.  Very Cool!
Between The Lines: Anyone heading to the Melbourne Writer's Festival?
Inkpop: Twitter Story ..  Cool idea
Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent: Do You Suffer From One of These Writing Maladies?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In My Mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox is a weekly post created by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!!

E-Books Bought:


Cruzito's Mailbox
Empty this week.

That's all from me. What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Once Upon A Time Project G4 Week 1


Hey everyone.  Hows the writing going?  So this is the second last Giveaway for the Once Upon A Time Project and I've been thinking about a few things.  For instance, for the G5 giveaway I'd like to do something special marking the end of total awesomeness!  But you know what?  I've come up blank for creativity.  A big fat nothing!  While I know there is still a fair bit of time before I need to be worrying about this I'd love to be a little more organized.  So I'm asking all of you.  What would you like to see for the last giveaway? 

You can send any questions about the Once Upon a Time Project to melissa@spellboundbybooks.com or use the contact link to the right.

Before I go, I thought I'd share an almost embarrasing moment that had to do with my writing.  Yesterday afternoon I left work and picked up the little Munchkin before heading home.  The whole way, something niggled in the back of my mind.  I could have sworn I was forgetting something.  It wasn't until about 11 last night that I decided to pull out my idea/random scribbling notebook to do some writing that I realised what that niggling feeling was.  I'd left it at work.  The worst thing was that yesterday I was working at someone elses desk for the day and left it on there.  Horrifying thought right?  Absolutely!

All night I dreaded the thought of someone else reading it.  Reading those private thoughts and ideas, the raw emotion, the notes I'd left myself in there to do.  I think at one stage I had some nightmare about it as well.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind people reading stuff that I've written, as long as I get to pick what it is.  My Writer's notebooks are... NO GO ZONE!! lol There are things I've written in there that have been actions/emotions I've either felt/done/witnessed, but expanded and added to,  that I could use maybe later on down the track. 
So back to the story, I rushed into work this morning (which in the end I was late since a certain little someone *ahem* Cruzito decided to dig out my lipgloss and spread it everywhere) and found it sitting where I'd left it the day before.  Still closed.  That little knot of dread actually loosened once I picked it up and slipped it into my bag.  I'm not sure if it had been read or what but I'm glad I got it back. Phew!
(note: to anyone who knows me well, Don't go looking for it, you won't find it!! BUT just remember it is FICTION STUFF... mostly!) 

How many of you actually keep a notebook for your ideas and writing random bits  ... or even a diary/journal?  How would you feel if someone picked this up and read it?  What would you say if you seen someone reading it??

I'd love to hear your thoughts!!  Feel free to share!
 

Below I've added links for both inspiration and ideas to use for creating your Cover.  The butterfly below comes from the Occult/paranormal website.  As far as I can tell from the disclaimer, these pics are free to use for whatever you like :)
butterfly vector graphics nature waterfall birds trees landscapes
Free Photos Vector Graphics Landscapes Nature Myspace Orkut Photos Glitter Graphics
http://www.occult-paranormal-psychic-yoga.blogspot.com
 Mystics Daily Muse: Some beautiful pictures here of fantasy etc.  Worth Checking out.
YS Princess's Ideas, Resources, and Reviews has got a weekly post called Daily Dose: Weekly Inspiration where bloggers have a chance to post up images they've found inspiring.  It's fantastic post for generating ideas!


 

Here's the Rules

Cover to be in portrait (5"x8" or 13x20cm)
Type: JPG or PNG
(If using your camera, 3 megapixel or higher)
Deadline: 30 September 2010
The Theme/Design can be whatever you like.
Maximum of 3 covers & Titles per entrant.
Please consider the stories that have been posted so far when designing your cover.

Judging: Will be done by visitors of the blog. I will post the covers up (with their titles) and you will get a chance to decide. The person with the most votes will be chosen and the cover and title will be used on the book.

If using other people's images, you must have their permission before doing so.

The Winner of the Cover and Title Contest will receive a copy of the book when it's published.
If there are any questions please either use the contact form on here or email me at melissa@spellboundbybooks.com (Please Use Cover & Title Contest in subject line)

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner

Title:  A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend 
Author:  Emily Horner 
Genre:  Young Adult 
Publisher:  Penguin Group (Penguin Books)
Publication Date:  28th June 2010 (Australia)
ISBN:  978-0-14-320431-2 
Stand alone or series:  Stand Alone
Pages: 264
Book Received from:  Penguin Group 
First Lines:  Dear Julia, I'm writing this because I still turn around when I hear your name, and I just turned around. 
Synopsis
Cass and her drama-crazy best friend, Julia, were planning a road trip to California.  When Julia is killed in a car accident, Cass decides to follow the original plan anyway.  Even if she has a bicycle instead of a driver's licence, and even if Julia's ashes are coming in Tupperware.

This is a story about friendship.  About love.  About travelling a thousand miles just to find yourself.  And it's a story about the kookiest high school musical one quiet suburb has ever seen.

My Thoughts
I've had this on my TBR list for quite some time and when I got the chance to get a hold of it I was pretty happy.  I wasn't sure really what to expect of this book though, I loved the cover.

I was kind of thrown at the beginning with the characters.  I couldn't really tell any of Cass's friends apart and I found I had to flick back once or twice to remember who was who.  After about page 48, it got easier and the story seemed to flow better for me.  The story is told from Cass's point of view flicking back and forth between 'Now' and 'Then'.  I like the way that Emily has done this because we get to learn more about what is going on as the story progresses instead of being bombarded with so much back story.  It works out well.

Cass is a likable character and determined to reach her destination and fulfil that one plan that her and Julia talked about.  Her journey is more a learning curve for Cass where she reminices over her friend.  Ollie, Amy, Heather, Lissa and Jon are a great cast of characters and really make the story worthwhile. (Once you work out who's who)

But the thing I loved the most out of this novel was "The Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad" play that Julia had written.  Creative and fun, I would have loved to see this play in real life!!

Overall, A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend was a great story of self discovery, friendship and love, and an absolutely sweet Ninja play! 

Some may find the pace slow at times, but while this is not a perfect novel it was still a quite enjoyable read!

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