Glee Goodie Bag Giveaway!

Win a Glee goodie bag containing Glee: The Beginning: An Original Novel and Glee: Road to Sectionals on DVD. Giveaway is International.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Scarred by Julia Hoban


Seven months ago on a rainy March night, Willow's parents drank too much wine at dinner and asked her to drive them home. But they never made it - Willow lost control of the car, and both of her parents were killed. Now seventeen, Willow is living with her older brother, who can barely speak to her. She has left behind her old home, friends, and school. But Willow has found a way to survive, to numb the new reality of her life: She is secretly cutting herself. And then she meets Guy, a boy as sensitive and complicated as she is. When Guy discovers Willow's secret, he pulls her out of the solitary world she's created for herself, and into a difficult, intense, and potentially life-changing relationship.


I loved this book. I thought the characterisation was amazing- Willow was a very realistic character, understandably sensitive and fragile with a severe addiction to cutting. At first I was wary about reading the book, because I thought it would be a clichéd emo-tale about an orphan who started cutting because she was depressed. However, the reason Willow gave for cutting was explained so fully, and so genuinely, that I could see where she was coming from. I didn’t agree, yes, but I could comprehend what made her do those terrible things to herself: to erase the emotional pain, the overwhelming grief, she focused on physical pain instead. As I’m sure many of you know, emotional pain can be extremely distressing and harmful. By cutting, Willow was anaesthetising these emotions, letting the physical pain flood herself instead.

Guy was an extremely likeable character. I loved all scenes between him and Willow, his unusual (for a guy) fondness for anthropology and classics, his exceptional kindness, and his determination. They really did fit together perfectly, two halves of a circle, to use a cliché. Their similarities made them a realistic teenage couple, with that added element of maturity and understanding.

Some other characters were fleshed out as well: David, Willow’s brother in just his twenties, put under the burden of supporting his wife, his baby and now his seventeen-year-old sister, while also having to cope with the grief of losing his parents; each person in the small group of friends introduced to Willow, although having relatively small parts, had a distinct personality, examples being Lottie, Chloe and Andy. There wasn't enough of Adrian to form a clear portrait in my mind. Furthermore, Cathy, David’s wife, seemed sweet and kind but her appearances were brief so she was just a sketch of a character. However, less Cathy-time meant more scenes between Willow and Guy so I’m not really complaining.

The prose was fluid- I especially liked the use of third-person present tense. It was very effective, because Willow’s emotions were heightened by the use of present tense, and third-person meant that the prose was more poetic and there was more showing than telling, which suited the plot. The reasons as to why Willow cut were revealed bit by bit, rather than in huge chunks which would have spoiled the narrative and made the book less intriguing. Stark imagery was used which heightened the sensation of cutting, and the bleakness surrounding it.

Ah yes, one complaint: over-use of the word 'convulsively.' However, that is a very small, very inane criticism and I probably just noticed it because I read the book in one sitting.

I wouldn't describe Scarred as a book about cutting. I would describe this as a book about a determined boy and a fragile girl, and how love, friendship and family can provide the strength to get through even the most difficult of hardships, in this case, Willow being unable to forgive herself for something that was never her fault. Overall, a beautifully written story with well-developed characters.

Rating: 5/5

In my Mailbox (Ocho)

In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. It is hosted by The Story Siren. Go HERE to participate.

I forgot to do this last week, so the books I received then will also be included in this post.

For review

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure and Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman (thanks to Earthshaker Books for these!)

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell (thanks to HarperCollins for this- so excited to read it!)


Scarred by Julia Hoban

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa


Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.


I loved this book so much. I thought I'd read enough YA novels about faeries to last me a lifetime (well, really, I'd just read like two but they weren't that captivating which put me off books about faeries) then I read some of the reviews it's received so I decided to get it- best decision ever.

It does have typical elements to a faerie book: a Seelie/Summer court, an Unseelie/Winter court, a love triangle, a protagonist who discovers near the beginning of the book that she is part faerie, but there is so much more to the Iron King that doesn't make it cliched. For example: the Iron King himself. It was such an awesome, creative twist on faerie mythology and also sort of a warning that too much technology isn't always good. I also loved the idea the faeries lives were essentially based on humans' beliefs in them- I'm not sure whether it's a new idea or not, but it was genius! The characters actually acknowledged Shakespeare etc which made it a lot more believable.

I loved the world of Neverever that Kagawa created. I could visualise Meghan's surroundings at all times so the descriptions were perfect: beautiful to read, but not overwhelming at all. I really enjoyed reading about Meghan's experience at the Summer Court so I can't wait for the Iron Daughter when we will hopefully be able to read about the Winter Court. Furthermore, the world was an abode of an ample amount of all types of faeries: goblins, elves, satyrs, trolls, etc, which made the world and the story more enjoyable.

The characters were extremely likeable and well-crafted especially Puck, Meghan's best friend who turns out to be (as you can guess from the name) the prankster from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Grimalkin, the cat, very reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, who acts as Meghan's guide, and of course, the swoon-worthy Winter Prince who shares a lot of chemistry with Meghan- what's particularly interesting about him, and what makes him different from similar characters in YA fiction, is that he wants to kill her, regardless of his feelings for her (or so it seems). Meghan is also a likeable character because of her determination to rescue her brother, although at the beginning I thought she was accepting everything a bit too quickly (although when the evidence is staring at you in the face, I guess it's hard not to accept it).

I would recommend this book to all lovers of faery books, those who have been hesitant to read books about faeries in the past, and anyone who appreciates a good book. It is that amazing.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 10 April 2010


Thanks to Books Are A Garden for the awards!

For the Honest Scrap Award, I'm supposed to write ten things about myself. So...(these aren't going to be very interesting by the way)

1. I'm currently writing a YA fantasy novel and I think I might actually finish it by September!
2. I am a picky eater. I always leave/pick out vegetables, regardless of whether they're actually tasty or not.
3. I'm getting a dog once my exams end! Hopefully a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, like Lady in Lady and the Tramp. I can't wait!
4. I hate bananas which is ironic because my username for many websites is YellowBanana. This is because...
5. Yellow is my favourite colour. Always has been, ever since I was four.
6. I possess around three hundred books. I know it isn't that much compared to some people, but I'm still proud of my collection and when I'm older, I want to have a library in my house.
7. Recently, I started to write poetry. It is extremely embarrassing to read.
8. I love travelling. Probably the most fascinating place I have visited is China.
9. My favourite dessert is cheesecake.
10. Right now, my favourite TV programmme is Scrubs- Dr Cox is one of the funniest characters on TV.

Blogs I'd like to pass this award onto: (This was extremely hard because there are so many amazing blogs out there!)

Smitten With Books
The Bookette
Maria the Bookworm
The Book Cellar
Books Out of the Bookshelves
The Book Bug: Books for Teens and Tweens
Book Journal
The Compulsive Reader
i swim for oceans
I was a teenage book geek

In my Mailbox (siete)

In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. It is hosted by The Story Siren. Go HERE to participate.

This week, I bought:

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles and The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

I've read both of them and they were both so amazing. Review for the Iron King should be up soon- tomorrow, hopefully (although I really should be revising). And then Perfect Chemistry in some time when I can't be bothered to work again.

The Iron King was like the perfect book; fairies, a strong heroine, hot guys (<3 Ash, an awesome, imaginative concept about the existence of fairies and a witty, feline sidekick!

Perfect Chemistry was also a great book. I loved the main characters, their chemistry, their problems, the supporting cast- namely Alex's friends- and I can't wait for the sequel to come out. I'm so lending this to all my friends, it's like the perfect YA romance.

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

The Glass Demon by Helen Grant (May 2010)

The first death: Seventeen-year-old Lin Fox finds a body in an orchard. As she backs away in horror, she steps on broken glass. The second death: Then blood appears on her doorstep – blood, and broken glass. The third death: Something terrible is found in the cemetery. Shards of broken glass lie by a grave. Who will be next? As the attacks become more sinister, Lin doesn’t know who to trust. She’s getting closer to the truth behind these chilling discoveries, but with each move the danger deepens. Because someone wants Lin gone – and won’t give up until he’s got rid of her and her family. Forever.

The cover is so pretty! And the synopsis is really intriguing as well; gotta love a murder mystery.