Saturday, May 24, 2014

Charli Reviews: Half Bad

Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.
You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.
You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.
You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.
All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

Easy.

Author: Sally Green
Publisher: Penguin
Date of Publication: March 2014
Pages: 394
Source: For review via Spinebreakers
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Spinebreakers in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. Thank you Spinebreakers and Penguin!

This review originally posted on Spinebreakers here.

I was gripped from the start. Green’s writing is captivating and mysterious, and I had questions I wanted immediately answered from page 4. The main theme, of witchcraft, is amazing, unique; don’t try and compare it to Harry Potter.

“The trick of not minding is key; it’s the only trick in town… 
It’s a one-trick cage.”

Green gives us so much character history about Nathan, and yet, there is so much mystery about him. He has so many side issues that it all just merges together and is just heart-shattering.

A part of the premise of this book is racism. Nathan is a half-code, so he was born from a Bad Witch and Good Witch. He is undermined, tested regularly and basically treated like a prisoner, an animal almost. There is so much depth to this book, and it’s beautiful.

" 'What’s the difference between a trampoline and a Half Code?’…  
’You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.' "

The action is carried through amazingly, and it’s so hard-hitting. I had about 10 different emotions running through me whilst I read it; ranging from shock to heart-break. It interested me that in his situation, you should feel sorry for Nathan; but you don’t… It’s just written in the way that you feel empathy and a million other emotions.

This book is just indescribable. I have a major book hangover about three weeks on, and I’m so annoyed that I have to wait a whole year for the next book! I had breaking the spines of books, and so it also annoys me that Green gripped me so much that I broke it TWICE… but that’s an okay annoyance, I guess.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Blog Tour: GLAZE: Author Spotlight with Kim Curran and Giveaway

Dublin-born Kim Curran is the award-nominated author of books for young adults, including Shift, Control and Delete. She studied Philosophy & Literature at university with the plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts. While that never quite worked out, she did land a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency a week after graduating. She’s worked in advertising ever since and is obsessed with the power of the media on young minds.
She is a mentor at the Ministry of Stories and for the WoMentoring Project and lives in London with her husband and too many books.

To find out more visit www.kimcurran.co.uk


Hi Kim! Welcome to To Another World! Can you tell us about yourself and your books?

Hey! Thanks for having me!

I’m a writer, obviously, who was born in Dublin and now lives in London. I’ve worked as a copywriter in advertising for over 15 years. And I’m married to the man I started dating 20 years ago. So I guess I’m good at sticking at things! I write books for teenagers

Now, I personally haven’t read any of your books yet, though I hope to read Glaze soon! What is different from the Shifter books to Glaze?

The Shifter series features a male protagonist who has the power to change his every decision and has a lot of action and stuff blowing up, along side some pretty deep ideas about quantum physics and parallel worlds. Glaze is a little more ‘realistic’ even though it’s set in the future. It’s a bit slower in pace and more emotionally tense. But both of them are really all about the consequences of our decisions.


I adore all the covers of all of your books. How did they come about being designed?

Thank you! The covers for the Shifter series were commissioned by my publisher Strange Chemistry who wanted to capture the filmic, action-orientated feeling of the books. The photographs were done by a very famous cover designer called Larry Rossant who does some of the best SF covers around! I think the cover for Control is probably my favourite. The cover for Glaze was designed by my great friend and partner in advertising, Regan Warner. I wanted something photographic so that it could sit along side my other books. But other than that, it was totally up to her. What she came back with was amazing!

Do you have any writing habits, such as certain places or times?

Not really. I can write almost anywhere. On the train or bus on my way to work. At my desk in my very messy office. Or at the Royal Festival Hall with some of my writer friends. I tend to write my first drafts by hand into notebooks, but even that isn’t always the case. The book I’ve just started writing is a series of letters, and for some reason I’m finding it easier to write straight to the computer.


We ask all the authors who come to TAW this question… If you were taken to a desert island, what three items would you take? (Nothing that can get you off the island – we know you creative types!)

A knife that’s big enough to kill things to eat and chop down trees in order to make myself a lovely tree house to live in. My husband, because I would be lonely without him. And my Kindle (and solar panel charger)– maybe if I’m stranded there for enough time I’d actually finish all the books I have loaded up.

Favourite book?

Argh, I hate this question as I can never answer it. So I’ll chicken out by saying favourite book I read this year, which is Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.

Favourite animal?

Tibetan Terrier, because I want to get one.

Favourite colour?

Turquoise.

This or That!

Coke or Lemonade?

Coke. Only caffeine free!

Pen/Paper or Computer?

Pen and Paper

Chocolate or Sweets?

Chocolate

Giveaway!

Hardback copy of GLAZE signed by the author and cover designer, Signed copies of Shift & Control, Glaze Bookmarks, Glaze badges, Meet with Kim Curran or Skype chat if not able to come to London.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 19, 2014

Discussion: Judging Books by Their Covers

Today, Tori is at my house, so we thought we'd do a discussion where we're actually talking not just a paragraph.

Charli: So... I'm mildly guilty with this.

Tori: I'm majorly guilty with this. I wasn't going to read The Infernal Devices due to the cover, but it's one of my favourite series.

Charli: I only do it a little bit. I try not to but have to on NetGalley because you can't go through every one reading the synopsis. I think I most do this in the school library because there are a lot of older books and I automatically discount these for their covers looking kinda oldish.

Tori: Yep. I do that as well... I prefer bright, eye-catchy covers but yet I'm not keen on them being tacky.

Charli: Ironically I'm not keen on covers with girls on looking all pretty in dystopia/fantasy/war situations, it's not natural. Even though I have lots of books I have adored with covers like these...

Tori: I don't like covers with people on them because you can't imagine them as well and just imagine them as they are on the cover.

Charli: I'm the same. Though sometimes it works really well. I really like the cover of Trouble, even though we wouldn't take it out of the house, it's simple but effective.

Tori: I also like the cover of Trouble. It's cool but there's that whole thing that it had to stay at home. And David Levithan's are amazing *AHHHH*

Charli: I loveeee them too asdfghjkl and John Green's ahhh not just TFiOS with the clouds but all of them with the same fonts and everything and asdfghjkl

So that was our completely normal, average discussion there. Comment what you think on this topic!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Charli Reviews: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Pocket Books
Date of Publication: Feb 2009 (this edition)
Pages: 232
Source: Borrowed from Tori
Goodreads | Amazon

I had wanted to read this for about two years before Tori got it for her birthday. I asked to borrow it, but we forgot till last week. I hadn't intended to review it; I started it the minute she passed it to me in the school dining hall, because I didn't need to get home and pick up some sticky notes. I read 72 pages in the half-hour before school; even with all the distractions around me.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is even more beautiful than I thought it might be. I knew it was going to be gorgeously written; but this is... indescribable. Chbosky has made me see the good side of being a tad odd; and made me see that naivety isn't always a bad thing, as it normally annoys me when I see people who are my age so naive.

It took me a little while to get used to this naivety; I admit. I kept lifting my eyes from the book and asking Tori (who had, naturally, already read it in the previous month) if he was actually that naive. But, once I got past it and realised who Charlie was; it became an essential part to the story.

And that's the thing about The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It doesn't have a particularly amazing plotline; there's no suspense or action. But the events that occur and the character formation make it one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. A lot of people have put it next to The Fault in Our Stars, and I think I definitely do too.

I think another thing is the length. For what it is, it was the perfect length; there are a lot of authors out there who would totally drag it out. The problems dealt with; growing up, rape, abuse and first love... All in those 232 pages, is just perfect.

This has turned into a really long review, considering I made no notes; and that's purely because of the beauty, the premise... Everything. And I think, if you haven't read it already, you should.

We accept the love we think we deserve.