Monday, 28 February 2011

Weekly Wanted: Wishlist Wonders #3

You may or may not remember but I used to take part in a meme every week, Weekly Wanted: Wishlist Wonders, remember? Well I sort of stopped on like the second week which was terrible because I am one of the hosts (the other host being Amber)! I would, however, like to shout out to Zoe from Bookhi because she has kept it up for 8 whole weeks! GO ZOE!

Rules
1. Post up 3 books that you can't wait to read or wish for.
2. Post up the synopsis/blurb.
3. Post up a picture of the front cover.

**We would appreciate it if you would put our names (Amber and Rachel) and our blog links in you Weekly Wanted: Wishlist Wonders post. You will find Amber's blog on my blog list, The Mile Long Bookshelf. Weekly Wanted button made by Jean, feel free to put it on your blog. Any questions feel free to email or comment. Anyone can take part so why don't you start now!**

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school—that is, if every school teaches advanced martial arts in PE, chemistry always consists of the latest in chemical warfare, and everyone breaks CIA codes for extra credit in computer class. So in truth, while the Gallagher Academy might say it's a school for geniuses what they really mean is spies. But what happens when a Gallagher Girl falls for a boy who doesn't have a code name?
Cammie Morgan may be fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (three of which involve a piece of uncooked spaghetti), but the Gallagher Academy hasn't prepared her for what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without him ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her? Cammie may be an elite spy in training, but in her sophomore year, she's doing something riskier than ever—she's falling in love.

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight.

Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

Zahra, Kali, and Syd would never have met if their parents' marriages hadn't fallen apart. But when the three girls collide in group counseling, they discover they have something else in common: they've each been triple-timed by the same nefarious charmer, Eric, aka Rico, aka Rick. Talk about eye-opening therapy.Cheerful, diplomatic Zahra is devastated. Rico had been her rock and sole confidant. How could she have missed the signs? Folksy, flirtatious Kali feels almost as bad. She and Rick had only been on a few dates, but they'd felt so promising. Hardened vintage-vixen Syd is beyond tears. She and Eric had real history... Or so she'd thought. Now all three girls have one mission: to show that cheater the folly of his ways.Project Payback is such a success, the girls soon have clients lining up for their consulting services. Is your boyfriend acting shady? Dying to know if your crush is into you? Need match-making expertise? Look no further than Love, Inc.

Rachel xx :)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

7 Facts Award + Teaser Tuesday

Thanks to Kero from Kero's Book Blog, Booktastic Reviews has now got its second award! Thank you so much, Kero! :o)

Rules:
- Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog.
- Post seven random facts about yourself.
- Pass on the award to 15 other worthy bloggers.

I know this is very similar (well exactly the same really) to the Stylish Blogger Award I received not that long ago so I am going to try to give you 7 other facts about myself and pass on the award to another lot of 15 bloggers that I never gave it to last time.

7 Facts:
- I like being unusual and different.
- I like tigers and tapias.
- I was in the newspaper team.
- I like running - I know, sad!
- I usually start writing a story but never finish it.
- I am against any sort of animal cruelty.
- I would like a horse named Milo.

The 15 Bloggers:
- Brittany at Brittany's Fantasy :)
- Aleetha at It's all about books :)
- Leanne at Magic of Reading :)
- Michelle at Michelle's Bookshelf :)
- Crazy Bookworm at The Crazy Bookworm :)
- Story Siren at The Story Siren :)
- Lucy at Nice Reads by Lucy :)
- Kate at Literary Explorations :)
- Megan at The Book Addicted Girl :)
- Amber at Books of Amber :)
- Britney and Farrah at I. Eat. Words. :)
- Emma at The Thirteenth Chime :)
- Falcata Times and LadyEleanor at Falcata Times :)
- Sybil at Writer's Lounge :)
- Angela at My Game, My Rules :)
_____________________________________________________

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at Should Be Reading.

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share 2 “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter: "Instead, we stood there until we heard the screen door behind us screech and slam. A minute later a helicopter appeared on the horizon and dipped, its whirling blades sending ripples across the quiet lake before landing somewhere in the forest."

Rachel xx :)

Monday, 21 February 2011

Interview with Author Judy Dearborn Nill

Please welcome Judy Nill, author of The Rise and Fall of Bibi Karstad to Booktastic Reviews. She very kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions:

Have you always wanted to be an author?
If always means a long time, yes. I think I was about 10 when I first became aware of how much I liked to write. I used to "rewrite" my favorite books and comic books--create new characters, write and illustrate stories for them.

Who is your favourite character out of The Rise and Fall of Bibi Karstad and why?
Besides Bibi, I'd say Bibi's mom Sally (and of course Sally's 25,000-year-old "wheeze bag" spirit guide), because Bibi thinks they're both weird whereas readers may just find them funny.

What is your favourite type of genre?
I like YA and cozy mystery. I also like some literary. I read a lot of memoir, biography and nonfiction as well.

What was your favourite book as a child?
Snowbound in Hidden Valley by Holly Wilson. I read and reread that book so many times, I wore it out. Have two copies of it now so that I'll always have it to reread. It's the story of a big blizzard (woo-hoo! one of my favorite concepts as a kid, because where I grew up it seldom snowed) that traps the main character among people her family are suspicious of.

Are you working on a new book right now?
I was until I got my three YAs up on Kindle, and then I got a contract for a picture book (first reader) which is to be titled Samuel and Sophia: A Tale of Two Teddies. Online promotion of books takes way more time than I imagined. The book I was working on could eventually be my first novel for adults.

Where did you get your inspiration for The Rise and Fall of Bibi Karstad?
I woke up from a dream about levitating to the ceiling that was so real I actually stood in the middle of the room and tried to float upwards! Later I got to thinking how fun it would be to write a novel about a girl who can fly but who has no control over it.

Did you do any other jobs before publishing your first book?
Yes, I've worked in several fields, including as a newspaper reporter, a college journalism instructor, and a therapist. I now work out of my home office as a mental health and couples counselor.

What does it feel like to know you have your own book out?
Depends on which day I'm doing the feeling! Some days it's great. I especially enjoyed getting the first paperback copies of my books (I put three out at the same time; the other two are Just for Kicks about a girl who loves horses and martial arts and Simple Twists of Faith about a girl in love with her married pastor). Other days I think publication isn't all it's cracked up to be. The work doesn't end when the stories are in print. It just goes on....

Quick Fire Questions:

Favourite author?
Madeleine L'Engle. I've read everything she wrote, many books several times over. My favorite single book is An Acceptable Time followed by A Swiftly Tilting Planet and A Ring of Endless Light.

Favourite Animal?
That's hard. I love cute, cuddly animals of all sorts. Love stuffed animals, too. But probably dophins because they're so playful, bright, and helpful to people. It's disturbing that some are trained to do dangerous and destructive work for the military.

Favourite song?
Hmm. Also hard. Depends on the kind of music. I love certain songs from Les Mis, Phantom and Superstar. I love classical choral music such as Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus" and Allegri's "Miserere." In a more popular vein, a current favorite is Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" sung by Susan Boyle. However, she doesn't use all the lyrics, and that's too bad, because they're amazing.

Favourite TV show?
Right now it's BBC's Doc Martin. I used to love Joan of Arcadia and mourned when it went off the air.

Rachel xx :)

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Rise and Fall of Bibi Karstad by Judy Dearborn Nill

"Fourteen-year-old Bibi Karstad hits the ceiling way too often. Recently transplanted to a small Oregon town by her channeler mother, Bibi hates living away from her father in Seattle. She also hates her mother's spirit guide, Prancing Bear, whom she calls Panting Bore. He scares her, as does a growing suspicion that she's more like Mom than she wants to admit. On Halloween night, alone in her mother's New Age bookstore doing research to discredit mediums, Bibi accidentally discovers a talent for levitating out of control. Now she must keep her ability secret long enough to win the newspaper contest that will return her to Seattle."

Author: Judy Dearborn Nill
Genre: YA/Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Rating: 4/5

This story definitely scores points for originality. Never before have I heard of the ideas that are in this book! When Judy contacted me requesting a review I wasn't sure if I was going to like this but when I started reading I realised that I should have had higher expectations.

The main character, Bibi Karstad is very easy to relate to and is very likable. You don't really find out anything about her past until the end which is quite a teasing quality. She doesn't let people walk all over her, she stands up for what she believes in and is also quite down to earth.

Unfortunately I found this book a bit confusing but I did start to get some answers towards the end. I am putting this down to the fact that I had to quit reading it for a little while because of a school project.

I recommend this novel to older readers because there is some use of mild language (but not much!). I will happily tell you to read this because it is quite a good book all-in-all.

Rachel xx :)

Saturday, 19 February 2011

100 Books in a Year Reading Challenge 2011

I have decided to participate in a challenge. The 100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge to be precise. This challenge just caught my eye so I am deciding to give it a go. It does seem tricky but I will try to read 100 books. That sounds a lot, wow! I hope you join, click HERE to go to Book Chick City (the one and only host!) for more details :) I think I am going to make a new page to keep track of the books I am going to read...

Rachel xx :)

PS: Review of Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter will be up soon!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lily Alone by Jacqueline Wilson

"Lily isn't home ALONE - but she wishes she was. Looking after her three younger siblings is a lot of responsibility.

When Mum goes off on holiday with her new boyfriend and leaves Lily, six year old twins Bliss and Baxter, and little sister Pixie on their own, Lily is determined to keep the family together and show they can cope without any grown-ups. But when she fears their secret is going to be discovered, she decides they need a safer hiding place. What could be better than to take all the little ones for a camping adventure in the park? Plenty of space to run about, no flat to tidy, and surely no chance anyone will guess they're there...

LILY'S THINGS TO REMEMBER!

HOW TO LOOK AFTER MY BROTHER AND SISTERS

1. Make sure they eat three meals a day - and not just ice cream.

2. Keep clothes not too mucky.

3. Everyone must go to bed before midnight, especially Pixie.

4. Don't let them go to school in case they give away our secret...

5. Keep everyone safe till Mum comes back..."

Genre: Family relationships
Pages: 307
Cover Rating: 4/5
Recommended Age: 11+
Publisher: Random House
Rating: 5/5

Jacqueline Wilson is one of my favourite authors and when I heard of this book I instantly wanted it. Of course it did not disappoint, not one tiny bit. I knew I was reading a best seller as soon as I opened it.

Lily Alone follows the story of eleven year old, Lily Green who is left with her siblings when her Mum goes off on holiday with her new boyfriend, Gordon. I admire Lily for many reasons, one of them being the lengths she takes to feed her family. Another character who I like - I actually like all of her siblings - is Bliss. She is really shy and obedient and helps Lily out a lot.

I found this book a very emotional read, one which made me appreciate just how much I had. It isn't all sad though, you will find some funny parts in it - especially if Baxter is there! I can't describe how much I loved this book, it was FANTASTIC!!!

Rachel xx :)

PS: Please look down to the post before this one and comment :D

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Debating Wednesdays #1 - JOIN NOW :)

I have a great idea! Every Wednesday I will be holding a debate, e.g. Which genre do you prefer, Romance or Adventure? I think it will be fun, what will happen is I will post up two different opinions/sides and you have to pick the one you want to support. You then debate in the comments and try and get other people on your favoured side. Convince people why your side is the best, give them reasons! Please state in your comment which side your on so I know for sure. Then the next day (in this case tomorrow) I will announce the winning side! Anybody can join in! Without further a do here is the debate for today...

Jacqueline Wilson or J.K Rowling?

I am pretty sure that the majority of you will know both of these authors and I also know that this will probably be a hard decision. You can spread the word if you want to recruit more members on to your team by posting about this or commenting on other blogs (remember that they will need to state their side on THIS blog or it will not count, you are not allowed to enter for them). The team with the most members by 8:00pm tomorrow are the WINNERS. I am only the host so I will not be taking part. I hope you all join! Now it's time to DEBATE!

Rachel xx :)

PS: Feel free to put the Debating Wednesdays button on your blog ;) If you would prefer to keep your vote a secret then instead of commenting you can email me a booktasticreviews(at)gmail(dot)com :D

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at Should Be Reading.

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share 2 “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
-Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Rise and Fall of Bibi Karstad by Judy Dearborn Nill: "Funny how I never really appreciated the place where I grew up until I had to leave it. Then I did nothing but appreciate it and long for it and remember how great it had been."

Rachel xx :)

Monday, 14 February 2011

Love Stories for Valentines Day

Well it is Valentines Day today so I thought I would give you a couple of novels that have a splash of romance in them...

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

"Avalon High, Ellie's new school, is pretty much what she'd expected. There's Lance, the hunky footballer; Jennifer, the cute cheerleader; Marco, the trouble maker. But the big surprise is Will - the most gorgeous guy Ellie's ever met.

When Will says he thinks he's known Ellie before, things start getting weird. A feeling that grows as Ellie discovers dark secrets that bind Lance, Jennifer, Marco, Will - and herself. Can she stop the horrific chain of events that threatens to engulf them all?"

Sundae Girl by Cathy Cassidy

"Jude's family are crazy, quirky, bizarre... her mum brings her plenty of problems and her dad thinks he's Elvis! All she wants is a hassle-free life - but it's not easy when she's chasing a trail of broken promises.

Nothing seems to be going her way, until she realizes the floppy-haired boy from school could be her knight on shining rollerblades. And that sometimes, when everything turns sour, only something sweet can make it OK..."

Rachel xx :)

PS: To see my latest review, Debugging Tori Redding by Jason Ancona please scroll down. Thanks :D

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Debugging Tori Redding by Jason Ancona

Tori Redding is not in a rush to grow up. Not at all, so she decides to start a club. The Not So Fast club, a club which dedicates its time to helping teenagers make the right choices. But before long Tori realises that everyone just thinks of them as snitches - determined to stop them having fun. Then when a trip to the dentist results in Tori having super memory she could not be more happy. Homework done quickly and the ability to memorise everybodys name in the school - helpful for giving out cards! When someone disappears Tori uses her special ability to figure out what happened but can she figure it out before her memory goes into overdrive?

Author: Jason Ancona
Genre: Mystery
Publication Year: 2010
Recommended Age: 13+
Rating: 4/5

Jason Ancona is a new name for me and he certainly gave a good first impression. I loved this novel! I found it a unique read - in a good way, different than your usual mystery novels. Some parts of the story refer to real life situations so it made the whole book seem real.
Tori Redding is a character full of attitude and I found it comical at her opinion of certain things. She is quite stubborn and sometimes that affects the people around her. Another quality that we see in her throughout the book is determination. She is determined to make her Not So Fast club successful (even though everyone in the school hates it) so when she discovers she has super memory she uses it at her advantage like giving out violation cards. Another character I feel I need to talk about is Alex. He is the only member of the NSF club (Tori and her best friend, Geo are co captains) and he has a little crush on Tori. It is quite sweet but Tori always manages to hurt his feelings (without meaning too). There was one thing that put me off him a little and that was his laugh. I know he is fictional but I honestly felt like I could hear his laugh and I hated it.
Ancona has the ability to mix real life situations in with a little fiction and I think that is a good quality in an author.

Rachel xx :)

Friday, 11 February 2011

Press Release: In the Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda

"The extraordinary and heartbreaking true story of a 10 year old boy's 10,000 mile journey from Afghanistan to safety."

This book definitely sounds like an emotional read. If you want to read an extract of this story then please click HERE :) I have already read it and I can tell that it is going to be sad. Go on, read it!

Publishing 7th July 2011

About the Author:
Born in Turin in 1972, Fabio Geda is an Italian novelist who works with children in difficulties. He writes for several Italian magazines and newspapers, and teaches creative writing in the most famous Italian school of storytelling (Scuola Holden, in Turin). This is his first book to be translated into English.

The story is based on a young boy called Enaiatollah Akbari who was left alone in Pakistan at the age of ten. He managed to claim political asylum when he arrived in Italy - at the age of fifteen! - after his five year long journey. Geda quickly befriended him. This novel follows his story...

Details from Random House.

Rachel xx :)

PS: It is officially the holidays! Woohoo!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Hazel Wetherby & The Elixir of Love by Bill Defelis

Hazel Wetherby is thirteen years old and has a mad family. Two scientists for parents, a brother convinced he is an alien and a baby sister called Nut. She would like to have a normal stress free life but that is proved difficult when her parents suddenly go missing. With no suspects and no police to help her, Hazel takes on the challenge of finding them herself. But before long she begins to realize that other people are involved in the same ordeal and are on the hunt for something else, and they will not stop for anything or anyone until they have it. And that something else might just be the key to this mystery...

Author: Bill Defelis
Genre: Fantasy/Mystery/Science Fiction
Publication Year: 2010
Recommended Age: 12+
Rating: 4/5

"Nancy Drew meets Men in Black" Bill Defelis.

I could not have summed that up better for you. This novel is a mixture of Nancy Drew and Men in Black no doubt! Crammed full of mystery with a splash of science fiction on top. Bill Defelis has certainly got a good imagination!
Characterisation is a very good factor in this book and one worth mentioning. Hazel is probably my favourite character. I really admire Hazel for her bravery, determination and loyalty to her friends and family. I also like Mrs Schnuffler. She is one of Hazel's neighbours and was very helpful when Hazel needed her. She has the reputation of the nasty, lonely woman that no one ever sees but when Hazel builds up the courage to talk to her she realizes that she is very kind hearted and brave. There is a lot of characters in this book though and sometimes I found myself asking who was who and what were they there for.
I love the fact that this novel was a mixture of genres. I don't want to give to much away though so I will not go into detail. I feel that it is a very good quality in a book when it has more than one type of genre because then it can entertain different types of audiences. I really think you should check this book out. If you are a fan of science fiction and mystery that might help.

Want to buy your own copy of this book? Then click HERE :D

Rachel xx :)

PS: If I do not put the synopsis in italics or qoute marks then that means that I have thought it up myself ;)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Stylish Blogger Award + Teaser Tuesday

It is official, Booktastic Reviews has just got its first award! Thanks to Brittany at Brittany's Fantasy!

Rules:
Thank the awesome person who gave you the award.
Post 7 random things about yourself.
Give the award to 15 other blogs.
Contact the blogger and let them know they have won!

7 Random Facts:
I have a couple of published poems.
I have two dogs, Taz and Otto and a goldfish, Bubbles.
I love rock climbing.
I would like to write my own book some day.
I love Cadbury Dairy Milk's chocolate dessert.
I hate animal cruelty.
I am a vegetarian.

The 15 Bloggers:
Zoe at Bookhi :) ☼
Cliona at Bookster Reviews :) ☼
Amber at The Mile Long Bookshelf :) ☼
Michelle at Michelle's Bookshelf :) ☼
Sammee at I Want To Read That :) ☼
Midnight Bloom at Midnight Bloom Reads :) ☼
Lena at Addicted 2 Novels :) ☼
Luisa and co. at Chicklish :) ☼
Ria at The Beaucoup Review :) ☼
Jean at Magic Bean Review :) ☼
Cat at The Life Of Cat - A Teenage Daydreamer :)
Mizz Ali at Random Gorgeouznezz :)
Mahalia at Told By Me :)
Lucy at my chocolatey life! :)
Zoe at Zoe's Book Reviews :) ☼

☼ = Book reviewing blogs :D

__________________________________________________

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at Should Be Reading.

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share 2 “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
-Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Hazel Wetherby & The Elixir of Love by Bill Defelis:
“Of course it will be. I have no doubt.”

Rachel xx :)

PS: If you are one of the bloggers that have won then you do the same :D

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman

"Your waiting for the postman - he's bringing your exam results. University, a career as a journalist... a glittering future lies ahead. But when the doorbell rings, it's your old girlfriend; and she's carrying a baby, your baby.

She's had enough and now it's your turn.

What would you do?"

Author: Malorie Blackman
Pages: 302
Cover Rating: 5/5
Recommended Age: 13+
Rating: 5/5

Wow! Just wow! What a great book! I was not sure if I would find this book boring but it was filled with surprising twists. Loved it!
I looked up to Dante, the main character, the most. When he finds out he has a daughter, Emma he is stunned - and scared! He is only seventeen and at the start of the book does not know what to do with Emma. What should he do? I admire Dante for sticking by Emma, even though he is young and does not have a clue about how to be a father. But as he starts to bond with Emma he is rewarded with experiences he will never forget.
I think this book would go under family relationships because of how family love plays an important role in this novel. I do recommend this to older readers and I think you know why, but I really hope you will read this because it is a great read!
I want to mention how much I love the cover of this book. The casual boy clothes with the bottle and the dummy, great idea!

Rachel xx :)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Fever by Amy Meredith

A strange illness has hit town. And a serious one at that. Eve would like to think that it will pass and that it isn't something dangerous... again! But then people start to go missing and Eve realises that it is more than likely. Can Jess, Luke and herself - and her powers - defeat it?

Genre: Supernatural/Horror
Recommended Age: 12 +
Rating: 5/5

What a great and horrendous read! Filled to the brim with horrific events and mystery I did not put this book down! It was a light read but that did not affect how much I enjoyed it.
Expectantly, none of the three main characters disappointed me, but in this book unlike in the previous novels in the Dark Touch series I found Jess as one of my favourite characters. I am not sure why but I found her a brave, considerate character and she just shone through in this book. Oh and yes, Eve and Luke finally had moments and I can not wait to see what happens between them!
Surprisingly I have enjoyed all of these books and can not wait to get my hands on the next book coming out, Betrayal.

Rachel xx :)