Sunday, July 29, 2012

REVIEW: The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

Seventeen-year-old Campbell doesn't believe in miracles. She's spent the last five years in and out of hospitals, so she's pretty sceptical.
But Campbell's mum and sister won't give up. They've heard rumours of a place in Maine where magical things happen: fish raining from the sky, purple dandelions, everlasting sunsets. A place named Promise. Yes, really.
So they head to Promise for a holiday by the sea, where Cam meets mysterious neighbour Asher, a crazy donkey called James and a puppy who's a survivor. In Promise Cam learns to believe in true love, in herself and maybe even in miracles.

I honestly find it very difficult to put into words what I think about this book. But since this is a review, I'm going to have to! The Probability of Miracles is amazing. It made me laugh, and nearly even cry... It is moving and important and will certainly leave a lasting imprint on you long after you've read it.

Cam was awesome. There is no other word for her, she was just awesome. I found I could relate to her in some ways - we're both very cynical and sarcastic! But honestly, she felt so real! I actually find it hard to imagine that she's not a real person...The author wrote so truthfully and realistically that is almost seems like a biography of an actual person. Cam was brave and funny, and I loved her. The secondary characters in the book were fantastic too - Perry was hilarious, she was probably my favourite -  but she seemed a lot older than eleven! Cam's Mom was great too, as was her grandmother and even the vet woman was lovely! I'm a bit undecided about Asher - he was lovely and all, but he didn't seem as real to me as the rest of the characters did. I also didn't really like Lily, Cam's best friend - she should have trusted Cam more, and she just quite annoyed me. 

One thing that really bugged me about this book, was how it was told in third person. I didn't like that at all! I thought it would have worked so much better in first person! I'm very picky about little things in books, so this unfortunately did take away from my enjoyment for around the first half of the book...but after a while I sort of got used to it, but it still did annoy me a little bit!

I enjoyed reading about Cam doing the various things on her 'Flamingo List' (her bucket list of things to do before she died). I think the things on her list actually said a lot about her personality! One of my favourite scenes was at the Dollar Store, when she stole the plastic flamingo - it was just hilarious! Something I noticed, though, was that Cam had two things that she didn't complete on her list, and still said that she had completed her whole list. Admittedly, they were probably the least important things on the list, and I know his seems menial(and it probably is!) but like I said before I'm very picky about these little things!  

There wasn't many twists in this book, but there was one big one around the middle of the book, which I should have anticipated, but I admit that I was totally caught by surprise! It actually made me pretty sad for a few hours :( It was the same with the ending SPOILER ALERT HIGHLIGHT TO READ - well I suppose, I knew it was going to happen all along,  but I just really didn't want it to! It was so unbelievable - it was like losing a friend :( I suppose I was hoping for a miracle... SPOILER OVER

The Probability of Miracles wasn't really what I was expecting (no-one can expect Cam!). But I absolutely LOVED it. It's a fantastic book, and I would recommend it as a summer read. As well as being moving and all round amazing, it's also a lot of fun to read! It's difficult to put into words what this book is like - you just have to read it yourself and believe me, you won't regret it! I hope my review has convinced you, because this book should be read by everyone! At least, buy it for the gorgeous cover? ;) 

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Proof copy
Pages: 368
Age group: 12+
Official Publication Date: 5th July 2012
Publisher: Razorbill

Monday, July 23, 2012

Seraphina blog tour guest post: Rachel Hartman's dream film cast

Rachel Hartman
I'm delighted to welcome Rachel Hartman to Bookster Reviews today, to do a guest post on her dream film cast for Seraphina! Here it is:

 If Seraphina were to be made into a movie, I think the last thing anyone should do is let me cast it. I had a lot of fun compiling this list, but when I read it over I start laughing hysterically and thinking, “Oh dear, no one’s going to want to watch this!”

Ardmagar Comonot – I once described the Ardmagar Comonot to my editor as Shatneresque. That’s right. William Shatner, in all his old, paunchy glory, must play the Ardmagar Comonot. Who else has the requisite inexplicable charisma? Who else emotes in a way that seems almost human, but not quite? And you know that if Shatner’s in it, this is going to be a high quality production indeed.

Seraphina – Our heroine, however, was difficult to cast. On the one hand, she’s tall and smart, which immediately brings Emma Watson to mind. But isEmma really our only go-to actress for brainy girls? She must be absolutely swamped. I think I’d rather go a slightly different angle and see whether Ellen Page can do it. She has a slightly quirkier edge to her. I know she’s short, but if they can make Elijah Wood a hobbit, surely they can make Ellen Page seem taller than she is.

Prince Lucian Kiggs – Here’s where I reveal that ninety percent of what I watch is historical dramas. I’m going to cast Max Pirkis, who was Midshipman Blakely in Master and Commander and Gaius Octavian in Rome. It was his Octavian that convinced me: he achieved just the right mix of aloof, earnest, and adorably nerdy. Of course, he hasn’t done any film or TV since then. Wikipedia says he’s at Cambridge reading Theology, which strikes me as hilariously apropos. We shall just have to pry him out of retirement.

Princess Glisselda – More historical drama residue, here. I’ve been watching The Borgias avidly and I can’t get past the idea of Holliday Grainger’s Lucrezia being Glisselda. She’s cherubic on the surface, but has way more going on inside her head than anyone gives her credit for.

Orma – My brain says this is ridiculous, but my heart says Hugh Laurie, and how can I not cast the unemotional dragon tutor with my heart? He has such an expressive face that the role might be a challenge, to say nothing of the temptation to take the easy way out and fall back into Dr. House mode, but see, he appears to relish a challenge. I think he can do it, and he looks damn fine with a beard.

Lars – I was totally stumped for Lars, but then I stumbled across Tom Hardy (Inception, Prometheus) and I said, “Y’know, that’ll do.” I found him on a list called “ugliest actors”, which is, uh, kind of incomprehensible. Especially if you picture him playing bagpipes. Bagpipes improve everything.

Dame Okra Carmine – Linda Hunt. Whaddaya mean, “Who’s Linda Hunt?” She was the Shadout Mapes in Dune. She’s small, she’s fierce, she’s perfect. She will smack you in the face with a book if you laugh.

Abdo – I’m only coming up with Jaden Smith, who I’m pretty sure is already too tall. I know I waived the height requirement for Ellen Page, but this is going to end up being the movie where we never see anyone’s feet if we’re not careful. Besides, the world needs more young minority actors. Let’s let Abdo be an opportunity for someone new to shine. Let’s find a lad with poise and presence and charisma, who’s able to be large and small at once, and loud even in his silences.

Thanks for that fab post Rachel! Have you read Serpahina? Do you agree with Sarah's choices? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

REVIEW:The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

September is a twelve-year-old girl, Somewhat Grown and Somewhat Heartless, and she longs for adventure. So when a Green Wind and a Leopard of Little Breezes invite her to Fairyland - well, of course, she accepts (mightn't you?). When she gets there, she finds a land crushed by the iron rule of a villainous Marquess - she soon discovers that she alone holds the key to restoring order. Having read enough books to know what a girl with a quest must do, September sets out to Fix Things. As September forges her way through Fairyland, with a book-loving dragon and a boy named Saturday by her side, she makes many friends and mistakes, losing her shadow, her shoes and her way. But she finds adventure, courage, a rather special Spoon, and a lot more besides . . .

I found Fairyland (I'm gonna call it that for the whole review cause it takes too long to type out the title!) really hard to get into at the beginning, and thought I wasn't going to like it. This continued for the first three chapters, and just when I was thinking of giving up, the story picked up and I began to like it better. It continued to improve, until I was absolutely hooked! It's a magical read, full of surprises. You never know what's going to happen next! Fairyland is a little like 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (by Lewis Carroll), it is set in a world where there are are kinds of strange, sometimes crazy things! However, Fairyland had a more solid storyline, and I liked it better then I did Alice in Wonderland.

September was a fantastic young girl, you couldn't have asked for a better main character! She was brave, strong, fierce and determined, and although she is supposedly 'heartless', towards the end she becomes a little less heartless... :) Saturday, a Marid boy, was lovely, but he didn't come into the book until fairly far in, and I felt we didn't get to know him very well. I liked him, but I wish he came into the book earlier. I wish we had got to know him better! Now, my favourite character, was the wonderful, loveable caring, book loving dragon Wyvern Wyverary, A-Through-L (or as September called him, Ell). I just loved him so much! He was funny and so  big hearted and kind! I thought the fact that he knew everything about anything that began with the letters from A through to L (hence his name!) was so creative! And it came in handy in a lot of situations too! 

Fairyland is one of the best-written books I have ever read. It was told in third person, but the narrator (the author) interacts with the readers, making them feel like they're part of the story. It's a brilliant and quite original technique, and the author definitely made it work. The writing is beautiful, the descriptions are exquisite! The quality of writing is top-class, I wouldn't be surprised if this book wins and award or two. It certainly deserves it anyway!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making surprised and delighted me. It's not a book that I usually would have picked up, but I really loved it - I'm glad I was offered it for review, or else I don't think I ever would have read it! I would recommend this book to anyone, it is ultimately aimed at the Middle Grade market, but I think it could be enjoyed by any age group. To be perfectly honest, I'm a little embarrassed to say even I didn't understand some of the words used! The author has an amazingly wide vocabulary :)

Overall, Fairyland is a enchanting, magical, and mesmerizing book. It's such a fun book, and if you're reading it - please don't be put off by the slow start, it gets much better, and it's certainly worth the wait! Fairyland is a wonderful book, one I'll definitely be recommending to everyone I know! And the ending certainly leaves me desperately wanting the next book! 

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Age group: 9+
Official Publication Date: 7th June 2012
Publisher: Corsair, an imprint of Constable and Robinson
Challenges: ABC Reading Challenge

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Letterbox Love #5

Letterbox Love is a new 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!

These are all the books I've got since the 11th June :) so it's a big LL! I didn't actually get any books this week, but I got tons before now, and never got round to doing an LL before I went on holidays, so I'm doing  a massive one now :) Here are all of my books!

For review:

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
I am reading this now for a blog tour and am quite enjoying it, expect a review soon :)

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder (Proof copy)
OMG thisbookissounbelievablyamazing. Review soon :) and LOOK at that cover guys :D

Velvet by Mary Hooper
As you all probably know by now, I'm not a big fan of historical fiction, but this sounds interesting, and I'm looking forward to starting it :)

Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 
I've heard this is good, but I'm a little scared to start reading looks quite creepy! I hope I like it anyway :)

The awesome Diane Messidoro, author of How To Keep a Boy As a Pet, sent me some signed book marks and postcards, cos she's so awesome :D I put one of the bookmarks into the photo :)


Brothers To The Death by Darren Shan
I've already read and loved this, it's a great end to a great series :)

Day One by Gill Partridge
I had never heard of this before I found it in the leave a book -take a book thing in the campsite I was staying in. It looks good I suppose :)

Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse
I've heard this author and this book is brilliant, and it was only two euro so I couldn't resist :)

Star Crossed Summer by Coleen Murtagh Paratore
This series is way more meaningful and deep than the covers suggest. I loved this book so much :) I would really recommend it!


Looking For Alaska by John Green
I was so happy to win this, I read and LOVED The Fault I Our Stars recently, and I have just wanted to read every John Green book since then :) Thank you so much Ria from The Beacoup Review for holding the giveaway I won his in!


Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks
It was my birthday recently and my family got me this book (along with some other stuff). I was so happy! I think this looks brilliant, I can't wait to read it!


The Poison Garden by Sarah Singleton
The Spooks Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
These books both look like fun MG fantasies and I'm looking forward to getting started :)


A friend of mine who's older than me gave me loads of her old books...yay!

Airhead by Meg Cabot
Already read and loved! A bit strange, but fantastic! I must read more of this series soon though, I'm dying to know what happens :)

Numbers by Rachel Ward 
Muddle Earth by Paul Stuart
Zelah Green, Queen of Clean by Vanessa Curtis 
Love Lessons by Jacqueline Wilson
These books all look fab, I can't wait to get started! I'm so excited for all of them :)

The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten
Third Time Lucky
Give Me Five
After Eight by Meg Cabot
I really like this series, I've read the first three, so I'll  have to get the others from the library soon!

Jinx by Meg Cabot
I just finished this today, it was brilliant! I love Meg Cabot :)

Phew! So that's all of my books!

What did you get in your letterbox?

Friday, July 13, 2012

REVIEW: My Scorching Summer Diary by Liz Rettig

Seventeen-year-old Kelly Ann leaves behind her boyfriend, family and friends in Glasgow to live and work in a London hotel for the summer. But losing her luggage and fending off tube gropers on her first day isn't a good start. Almost being arrested for stealing men's underwear on her second isn't any better. However she does manages to make friends, even though, to impress her new pals, she pretends to be older and more sophisticated than she is, with a doctor boyfriend. London life is fun, even though she has to work in a steaming hot kitchen all day. But her made-up life starts to get very complicated, and she has rely on old friends to save the day.

My Scorching Summer Diary is perfect, hilarious summer reading. I absolutely loved it! Kelly-Ann is a fantastic, cool heroine, and is very likeable and funny despite all her little 'white lies'...The situations she gets herself into are unbelievably cringeworthy, but so fun to read about! 

Kelly Ann is a brilliant character, and an entertaining narrator, I really liked her. I LOVED Mark, the boy she met in London. He was so kind and gentlemanly, and was lovely to Kelly Ann. I understood why she liked him! We didn't get to see a huge amount of Chris, Kelly-Ann's boyfriend back home in Glasgow, but when we did he seemed to be quite nice. But I found myself rooting for Mark and Kelly-Ann to get together...Mark was definitely my favourite! I liked Kelly Ann's new friends Suzie and Theresa. At the beginning of the book, I wasn't too sure about them, but as the story progressed they began to grow on me :) Liz and Stephanie (Kelly-Ann's friends from Glasgow) seemed like they would be great characters, were they in it more. I enjoyed reading their e-mails to Kelly-Ann - they were quite amusing :)

Possibly my favourite part of the book was when Kelly Ann's mum came to visit - the stories she told about Kelly Ann's past were absolutely hilarious - I was laughing out loud, bot just at these, but most of the way through the book as well! Another great part was when Kelly Ann woke up after her night out (of many) in London, and saw the drunken text she wrote. The thought of everyone on her contact list receiving a text like that had me in fits of laughter! 

Liz Rettig is a fantastic, and very creative writer! I was hooked the whole way through, and honestly, I didn't want it to end! I wish the book had been longer - I 'd read about Kelly Ann and her adventures in London all day if I could!

Kelly Ann told a lot of lies about her life to her London friends, and in the end they all caught up with her and it wasn't pretty. I felt sorry for Kelly-Ann, but I suppose it just goes to show that the truth always gets out! I  understood why she lied about all these things though, and I know even the best of us have told a few lies to impress others at some point or another! But as this book points out, there's no point trying to be somebody you're not.

I'm not sure if I liked the ending or not. *SPOILER ALERT HIGHLIGHT TO READ* It wasn't so much that Kelly Ann stayed with Chris instead of Mark (but I was pretty bummed about that :/ ) but that she was pretty much giving up her dancing dreams to go to uni when she wasn't that interested in it, all just for Chris. I am quite mad at Chris for holding her back :/ *SPOILER OVER* I hope there is another book, because although it was a well closed up ending, I would like to see if anything changes in the future.

My Scorching Summer Diary is one of favourite chick lit reads of the year. It's funny and entertaining, with likeable characters and a great story. I can't wait to read more of this series. I would really recommend it - great for a day at the beach, by the pool, or just a lazy summers day at home!

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: 314 
Age group: 12+
Official Publication Date: 29th March 2012
Publisher:  Corgi, an imprint of Random House
Challenges:  British Books Challenge

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Hi evreyone! I am back from my holidays (I had a great time by the way :) ) and here I am with a very exciting post telling you all at last who the winners of my two latest giveaways are! So without further ado, here they are! :D

1 of 10 copies of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Cathyrenne M. Valente

 Zarah Robinson
 Rachel Sh.
Kristian Snooks
Hilda Wright
Karen Barret
Sangita Tamang
Melissa Gazi
Ria @The Beacoup Review

Congratulations all! You all should have received an e-mail by now and if you could send me your mailing addresses in the next few days that would be great :) Thank you everyone, winners and non-winners, for entering anyway!

My other giveaway was to win one of three sets of The Vampire Blog Trilogy by Pete Johnson. Here are the lucky winners for that:

Lynn Blakeman
Lisa Wilkinson
Claire Hooper

Congratulations to the three of you, and again, thank you everyone who entered!

I hope everybody enjoys their books, and if you weren't lucky enough to win a book in these giveaways, keep an eye out for upcoming giveaways one the blog!