Saturday, 31 May 2014

Giveaway: Geek Girl by Holly Smale!

Hey everyone! I'm back from uni for the summer (well...until August, since I'm convinced I have some exam retakes coming up) and so the blog is going to be a lot more active! To celebrate, I'm doing a giveaway of a book I really enjoyed this year, which is Geek Girl by Holly Smale (info below). This book was so fun and hilarious and would be a perfect summer read. But if you've already read Geek Girl, you can enter instead to win its sequel, Model Misfit, just in time for the release of book three, Picture Perfect, which is out June 5th!

Geek Girl (Geek Girl#1) by Holly Smale
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Released: February 28th 2013
Find it on Goodreads

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?
(from Goodreads)

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the form below (yeah I know, I still haven't switched to Rafflecopter. I probably never will). Giveaway open until midnight June 7th 2014 (UK time). Must be 18+ to enter, or have parental permission if you are 13 or over. Open internationally (wherever Book Depository ships). Winners will be picked using Random.org.

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

Good luck to everyone who enters! Feel free to share the giveaway if you like.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Review: Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings

Poltergeeks (Poltergeeks #1) by Sean Cummings
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Released: October 2nd 2012
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn't all it's cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it's pretty obvious to Julie there's a supernatural connection.

In fact, there's a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie's high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it's a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won't just lose her mother's soul, she'll lose her mother's life.
(from Goodreads)

Poltergeeks was a lot of fun, and definitely an enjoyable read. It was a bit cheesy and cliché at times but it was pretty funny overall, and I'll probably pick up the next book at some point.

Julie, our main character, was a witch in training, and she was eager to learn more magic and stop her mother from being so overprotective. When a poltergeist attacked her neighbour and best friend Marcus, she was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. For a witch with magic powers, Julie seemed to be like a regular teenager, and alongside all the supernatural stuff, she had your every day teen concerns too, like whether or not Marcus was in love with her and how would she feel if he were and whether her friend Marla might actually like Marcus too. She was a bit reckless at times, and sort of charged into situations without really thinking, but I liked the way she was desperate to save her mother and was willing to do anything to get her back. It was nice to see that kind of mother-daughter relationship, which doesn’t appear too often in YA.

Marcus, Julie’s best friend, was into science (physics especially), and so the fact Julie could do magic pretty much blew his mind (though he remained convinced that there must be some kind of scientific explanation for it all). He helped Julie out with the supernatural happenings and had practically been in love with her for years, though Julie had no idea at the start of the book. I think the relationship between Marcus and Julie was the aspect I found quite cheesy – some of the things they said to each other were just a bit cringey, and the letter that Marcus wrote, while sweet was a bit...well, I don’t know if anyone would write that kind of letter nowadays. Plus it was just ahh! I feel like it was supposed to be much more romantic and cool than it actually was, and I had this feeling a lot throughout the book. There was one time Julie was trying to explain that she preferred being a geeky witch to being beautiful and popular, but the way it came out was like she just resented the beautiful popular people because she wasn’t one of them, and so undermined her whole “geeks rule” argument. I mean, I wanted to empathise, I’m pretty much the geekiest person I know, but ehh. It didn’t feel right. And there was this scene at the end where Marcus stood up to some guy who had been picking on him, and it was just so cringey. I mean, it was like what Marcus said was supposed to sound really cool and wow-worthy, and probably did in his head, but to me, it was just a mixture of all the cliché teen movies you’ve ever seen and I don’t think what he said would have actually made that bully back off in the way that he did.

I think the plot was pretty clever and there were quite a few things I didn’t see coming. The way it ended was surprising and I really liked that the theories the characters had come up with at first to explain the reasons behind the mysterious events were completely wrong and that the real reason for everything was something they’d probably never have guessed at the start. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the characters next, especially since Julie has now discovered more about her past. I’m also curious as to what role Betty, Julie’s spirit guardian, will play in the next book – I’m wondering if she’ll be in it as much – I hope so!

Overall, Poltergeeks was a witchy, magic-filled read that I think may really appeal to younger teens. If you’ve seen as many teen movies and read as many teen romances as I have, though, you may find this book a bit of a cheese-fest, but I’d still recommend it.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Review: Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon

Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon
Publisher: Stripes
Released: May 5th 2014
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Lottie is on a mission to protect her biggest secret, and it’ll take every lie and every baking trick she can muster. Since her dad died, life hasn’t been the same for Lottie. When the school suggests she joins Bake Club to get her back on track, Lottie reluctantly agrees. The alternative – the school paying her mum a home visit – is not an option. But Lottie’s uncertainty about Bake Club melts away as she rekindles her love of baking and gets caught up with Mac, school rebel and another unwilling Bake Club member. As the end-of-year Bake Off approaches, the tension rises. Can Lottie keep up the façade of her perfect life? And can her bubbling romance with Mac survive the pressure? (from Goodreads)

I absolutely adored Love, Lies and Lemon Pies. It was everything you could ever want from a contemp, and I already know that I'll be picking up whatever Katy Cannon writes next.

I loved the main character, Lottie. Her dad died a year ago, and a result, she had stopped talking to her friends, stopped participating in school...generally just stopped doing anything. The staff at her school were worried about her and wanted to talk with her mum, but Lottie's mum wasn't exactly dealing with her grief very well, and to stop anyone investigating any further, Lottie joined the Bake Club at school. And little by little, even though she really only joined as a distraction, Lottie started making friends again, met Jasper and Ella and Mac, took part in competitions...I loved watching her character grow. She really cared about her new friends (and I have to say, I loved her friendship with Jasper in particular, he really made me laugh) and was starting to realise that no-one was without their own problems - even Grace, the girl she thought had a perfect life. It was easy to relate to Lottie; it can be really hard to try at things when there's nothing to motivate you. So reading about her finding things worth trying for and seeing her character develop was just so great. She also had a fab sense of humour and I remember laughing at a lot of her internal thoughts.

Mac was a character with his own issues, hiding his own secrets, and I liked how we slowly got to know him more throughout the course of the book. His relationship with Lottie was interesting because he seemed to be able to get through to her in a way that no-one else could, and even though they fought about stuff, and were rivals when it came to baking, they were so great together. Mac was more than just the rumours about him, in the same way Lottie was more than "the girl whose dad died" and they both had their problems but eventually were able to start to work them out together.

The book was mainly about Lottie trying to keep everyone from finding out her secret, while also trying to fit in at Bake Club and think more seriously about a future in baking. I liked how every Bake Club character sort of got their own mini storyline about the problems in their lives, and how Lottie recognised with each one that nobody's life was perfect. Lottie kept feeling guilty for continuing to lie to everyone even as they had gotten a lot closer, and when her secret finally came out, I really liked the way everyone reacted (especially Jasper) and how things worked out in the end. The whole baking idea as well was just fantastic, and as I do enjoy baking, I will definitely be trying out some of the recipes included in the book! The way baking tied in with everything was awesome and it was nice to see Lottie remember how much she loved baking, before when she used to bake with her dad, and get back into it again.

Overall, Love, Lies and Lemon Pies was a really lovely contemp and touched on a range of issues whilst being funny and cute. Recommended.