Lazy Saturday Review: She is Not Invisible

sini
Title: She is Not Invisible
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 240 pages
Publication Details: July 3rd 2014 by Indigo
Genre(s): YA; Contemporary
Disclosure? I borrowed it off Dora. Thanks Dora!

Goodreads
Purchase

Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers – a skill at which she’s remarkably talented.

Her secret: she is blind.

But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness.

She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.

I went into this book with a little trepidation because it’s a huge departure for Sedgwick, whose previous books I’ve loved.

All of the other Sedgwick books I’ve read have been dark and quirky gothic reads with an almost fairy-tale feel. So when I realised he’d ventured into the world Contemporary YA (something I don’t read enough of), I was intrigued but slightly concerned. If it’s not broke, why fix it, right?

But of course, I was wrong.

I realised straight away that SINI was going to be something special. I devoured it in two short sittings.

Protagonist Laureth is worried about her semi-famous father, author Jack Peak. He seems to have gone missing and his precious notebook has turned up in New York, where he wasn’t even supposed to be.

Laureth’s mother doesn’t seem to care one bit, but Laureth has had enough. With the help of her younger brother, who acts as her guide and her eyes, she sets off to find him, and things go from weird, to weirder.

I loved everything about this book. The way it looks at Laureth’s impairment was refreshing and often beautiful. The mystery surrounding Jack’s disappearance was exciting and just the right amount of bizarre, and I loved that it was almost a book within a book.

But most of all, I think I loved the duality between Sedgwick and his character, Jack. In the author’s notes, Sedgwick admits that he himself became obsessed with coincidence and had been trying to write a book about it for some time. An obsession with coincidence almost sends Jack to the brink of madness in the novel, and even before reading the notes at the back of the book, I was picturing Jack as Sedgwick.

Coincidence?

Jack is also constantly reminded that his old ‘funny’ books are great, with an underlying message that his latest ‘serious’ books are not, and I couldn’t help thinking that this new direction of Sedgwick’s is something that worries him too.

Don’t worry Marcus. You get all the unicorns!

unicorn rating

She is Not Invisible is available from Waterstones in hardback and paperback now.

Friday Feature: Great YA Father Figures

It’s my dad’s birthday today (happy birthday, Daddy Lipsy!), which got me thinking about my favourite dads or father figures in YA.

I actually tried to do this feature with mums on Mother’s Day but could hardly come up with any! I’m pleased to say I had more success with dads.

Jack Peak – She is Not Invisible

sini
This one is fresh in my mind because I finished the book earlier in the week (review will be up tomorrow). I absolutely love Marcus Sedgwick but I was worried about SINI because it’s such a departure for him. I needn’t have worried of course. Considering Jack isn’t actually in most of the book, due to being missing, he made a big impact. We get to know him through his daughter Laureth who decides to go and find him in New York.

There were so many things that I loved about Jack, but I think my favourite was that always treated his kids like equals, like adults. He never talked down them, or thought they were incapable, and he trusted them and valued their opinions.

He’s also slighty mad. I think all the best dads are!

BUY ME

Mo Folchart – Inkheart

Inkheart
It’s been a long time since I read Inkheart, but I always think of Mo and Meggie’s relationship as one of the the greatest father/daughter relationships in contemporary fiction.

Both characters are grieving over the disappearance of Meggie’s mum but it only seems to make them stronger.

And, in the words of Dianne Tanner: HE COULD READ CHARACTERS OUT OF BOOKS SO THEY ARE ALIVE IN REAL ACTUAL LIFE !!!!! BEST SUPER POWER

He also passed on his love of books to Meggie, even if he won’t read aloud to her anymore…
 
BUY ME

Shalom Singer – The Selection

15844362
Similar to SINI, Shalom doesn’t get a whole lot of page time in The Selection trilogy but through letters and the occasional visit it’s clear that America is the closest to her dad.

He’s the only one who didn’t push her into entering The Selection despite how much it could help their family.

He also turns out to be pretty badass.

BUY ME

Charlie Swan – Twilight

Twi
Oh Chief Swan. I had to go there didn’t I.

So yeah, he might be a bit overprotective as far as boyfriends go but who can blame him, his daughter is seeing a vampire with control issues. Compared to Edward he’s like the mellowist guy ever.

He doesn’t lurk, or pry, and he’s always off fishing. Party Time!

He’s also totally hot, right? RIGHT?

BUY ME

Skulduggery Pleasant


This series is full of great father figures, from Stephanie’s actual father, to her late grandfather Gordon who still manages to help her out when she’s in a pickle, and then of course there’s Skulduggery.

I love how Skulduggery and Stephanie’s relationship develops through the series. They’ll literally do anything for each other.

Plus, who wouldn’t want a sarcastic skeleton detective as a father figure!?

He’s also not happy about Stephanie/Valkyrie dating a vampire. Note to self: Dads are not a fan of vampire boyfriends.

BUY ME

You’ll Do Too…

Shout-outs also have to go to Luke in The Mortal Instruments (Werewolf Dad), and Jeb in The Host (bad-ass free-thinking Dad).

Who did I miss?

WWW Wednesday 27.08.2014

www_wednesdays4

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Happy Wednesday, Everyone! I feel like I’m on a good book roll at the moment – let’s hope it continues.

www1

Currently Reading:
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. Nothing to report on this one yet, but I’m looking forward to my first foray into the so-called Grimdark world.

Recently Finished:
This week I finished Endgame by James Frey which was batshit – in good way – click the link for the review I posted yesterday, and She is not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick which I also loved. Yay! Good book week :) Review for the latter will be up soon.

Up Next:
As always, I’m not entirely sure but it will probably be Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead (I know I keep saying that!) or How I live Now by Meg Rosoff.

This is Endgame!

Endgame
Title: Endgame: The Calling
Author: James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton
Series: Endgame #1
Edition: ARC, 464 pages
Expected Publication: October 7th 2014 by HarperCollins
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Not really. I received a copy from the publisher/author but I was not obligated to write a review.

Goodreads
Pre-Order

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.
Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.

Play.
Survive.
Solve.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.

Let’s face it, James Frey likes to fuck with people.

First there was A Million Little Pieces, a harrowing memoir of a self-destructive alcoholic going through rehab which turned out to be more fiction than fact, and then came The Final Testament of the Holy Bible in which The Messiah sleeps his way around New York with men and women, collecting followers along the way, and damning religion as he goes.

And now…well, now There’s Endgame.

I’ve already ranted about the barrage of shit people have been spouting about the book on Goodreads based solely on the synopsis (OMG it’s like SO Hunger Games… how dare he…etc), and their personal opinions of Frey – and the best thing is that it turns out that Endgame isn’t really very THG at all, he’s just fucking with you.

JOKE’S ON YOU.

In all seriousness, I can’t see any other reason why Frey and Johnson-Shelton decided there had to be twelve ancient lines, with one player chosen from each, or why protagonist Sarah Alopay had to have her hair in a braid… things pretty synonymous with The Hunger Games these days, but look at the bigger picture (or y’know, just read the book) and you may find something other than a passing resemblance to the popular dystopian franchise.

Endgame: The Calling is like nothing I’ve ever read before. As the 12 players of Endgame search across the globe for the first key to the puzzle, we too are given clues of our own to solve.

I absolutely love this concept. When I first heard about the Masquerade phenomenon of the 70s I was jealous I never got to experience it. I also used to really love those ‘choose your own path’ books, and Endgame felt a bit like those, but on a far bigger, more sophisticated scale.

As far as the story itself is concerned, I couldn’t put it down but I did feel like something was missing. I liked that it wasn’t a last-one-standing kind of deal, which was another element that set it aside from the likes of The Hunger Games and Battle Royale.

Instead, each player is playing for the survival of their lineage, so basically everyone they know and love. A clue is implanted into their heads by Kepler 22b, the ancient alien-being overseeing Endgame. This gives the players the chance to form unlikely alliances and work together to solve the clues and find the keys. Only one can win, but the objective isn’t simply to maim each other.

I thought that idea could be a great base for some intense character relationships and drama but it never really amounted to enough of a climax for me. I liked the alliance and growing romance between Sarah and aloof Jago, especially when Sarah’s non-player boyfriend Christopher is thrown into the mix, but I didn’t get very emotionally invested in any of them. Perhaps there’s just too many players to care about at this point, or maybe it’s that most of them were too focused and came across as cold.

I did like a lot of things about the book though. As with most of Frey’s work to date, Endgame is about more than it first appears. There’s a sense of a greater power at work, something ancient and spiritual which I look forward to exploring further in the series.

However, the thing I liked most of all is that every reader’s experience of Endgame will be different. I enjoyed looking up all the links and clues provided even if the whole thing hasn’t gone live yet (publication day, guys). Having to flick to the end of the book each chapter to get the link was a bit of an effort at first (I imagine this won’t be as much as an issue with digital editions), but I thought it was totally worth it in the end. Links to YouTube Videos, Wikipedia pages and google images, consisting of everything from Mongolian Warrior music, to watching a sunset changes the way you read and think about the story as you go along.

Overall, I thought Endgame was a fast-paced, fun, read, but not one that completely blew me away. What Frey and Johnson-Shelton have created here is a unique reading experience, and even if you have doubts about the synopsis (Yes Goodreads’ trolls I’m looking at you) you have to appreciate the innovation and scope of it.

Endgame will begin if the human race has shown that it doesn’t deserve to be human. That it has wasted the enlightenment They gave to us.”

unicorn rating 4

Endgame: The Calling is available to Pre-Order now.

Friday Feature: Search Term LOLZ

It’s been a while since I did a post on the weird and wonderful search terms that have brought people to my blog. It’s definitely one of my favourite WP features.

I don't know

There’s been a nice mix of the amusing, damn-right-confusing, and just-plain-worrying in the last six months. Here are some of the best!

1. ‘i hate divergent movie’

Hate is such a strong word, but yeah kinda. It was pretty terrible, right? The searcher (searchee?) probably wasn’t very satisfied with my extremely brief Divergent Rant, but I hope they have come to terms with their disappointment.

2. ‘dorian throne of glass groin’

Well I guess this one sort of speaks for itself, but I wonder what exactly they wanted to know about Prince Dorian’s groin? I reviewed Throne of Glass here.

3. ‘are there more team zombies or team unicorns’

Obviously, I’m Team Unicorn, so I would like to think that there are more people on the side of the magical beings than the slobbering undead, but who knows. I reviewed Holly Black et al’s Zombies Vs Unicorns here.

4. ‘poor lulu’

This is the first one to completely stump me. Who’s Lulu? And why are we feeling sorry for her? On further investigation it looks like it’s the catchphrase from a Harry Enfield sketch. How the hell that brought them here, I have no idea – but thanks for visiting, sketchshow fan.

5. ‘scooby gang bram stoker’

Hmm I like what they did there. Maybe they were looking for the equivalent of Buffy’s scooby gang in Dracula? Or maybe they were just really confused. Who Knows!? Hopefully my Vampire Guide helped clear things up.

6. ‘what happened to alex o’loughlin’

This happened, obviously.
Alex-O-Loughlin-hottest-actors-33565633-500-609

I mean, it’s no Moonlight, but (the ‘new’) Hawaii 5-0 is actually pretty good, and that’s basically what happened to Alex O’Loughlin. Hawaii happened. I hope the person who was trying to find him, found and enjoyed my Moonlight fangirling in 5 Reasons Vampire Show Moonlight was Ahead of its Time. Well, that’s assuming that they’ve seen Moonlight. If not, what a treat they’re in for.

7. ‘good breath teen girl’

The only thing I can think of that this would have led to is Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort book Take Your Last Breath. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. I hope the searcher wasn’t suffering from halitosis and in need of medical advice. I’m not equipped for that, soz.

8. ‘gay cannibal art’

Wow. I’m pretty proud that that term led someone to this blog. Job well done. I hope they went on to find some nice art for their living room. I’m guessing that the Hannibal shoutouts in my Bookish (and not so Bookish) posts might have had something to do with that one, or the book made out of human skin perhaps.

Until next time!

Incoming: Best Book Week!

Seeing as I don’t have a review for you today I thought I would just share my recent book joy.

I had the BEST book luck last week!

I won two books in Goodreads giveaways, was sent Endgame by James Frey, and won a new book of unseen David Bowie photos in a raffle.

bk

Maybe I should play the Lottery this week?

Goodreads Giveaways

daughterHow well do you really know those you love?

Jenny loves her three teenage children and her husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon. She loves the way that, as a family, they always know each other’s problems and don’t keep secrets from each other.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play and a nationwide search for her begins, secrets previously kept from Jenny are revealed.

Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother desperately searching for answers. But the traces Naomi’s left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she’d raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets.

How well does she really know her sons, her husband? How well did she know Naomi? If Jenny is going to find her, she’ll have to first uncover the truth about the daughter she thought told her everything.

Daughter was published August 14th 2014 by Penguin

gbyesThe house was silent. No sound of her parents getting ready for work, or her brother late for school. Were they punishing her for last night? She’d been out on a date when she should have been studying, and had a huge fight with her father. So where was everyone now? Why had her family disappeared?

Twenty-five years later the mystery is no nearer to being solved and Cynthia is still haunted by unanswered questions. Were her family murdered? Abducted? If so, why was she spared? And if they’re alive, why did they abandon her?

Then a letter arrives, a letter which makes no sense. Soon Cynthia begins to realise that stirring up the past could be the worst mistake she has ever made…

No Time for Goodbye was published in 2008 by Orion Books. Barclay’s new book, No Safe House is out now.

WWW Wednesday 20/08/2014

www_wednesdays4

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday!

www1

Currently Reading:
I’m at the business end of Endgame: The Calling by James Frey & Nils Johnson Shelton. It’s a high-concept, interactive book that I’m loving even if it’s making me feel a bit stupid. WHAT DO THESE CLUES MEAN?

Recently Finished:
Ever Near by Melissa MacVicar. I really enjoyed this YA modern ghost story with a bit of romance thrown in. Let’s call it the #HotStepBrother factor.

Up Next:
Getting my hands on Endgame was a surprise so it’s thrown me off track slightly. Therefore my next one will still either be Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence or She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick. I also really need to start Of Scars and Stardust for an ARC deadline. I requested it for the title alone.

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommended books (that I still haven’t read).

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read!

tcoll1

Harry Potter: Everyone assumes I’m a Harry Potter fan because I love YA and most things fantasy/magical. When I tell them I’ve never read them or even got into the films they don’t hesitate to tell me that I should, once they’ve picked their jaws up off the floor that is.

Rainbow Rowell: I’ve been recommended all of Rainbow Rowell’s books at one time or another. I know I really should pick them up, and I will at some point. I really hate some of the covers though.

The Fault in Our Stars: I have this book and will read it, I just haven’t got round to it yet so you can all stop nagging me! ;)

Middlesex: This was recommended to me by a friend many years ago and I still haven’t read it despite having owned it for over five years. It’s at the top of my TBR pile…well, almost at the top.

Tiger Lily: I love anything Peter Pan and have heard great things about this book. I just need to buy a copy.

tcoll2

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…: I haven’t personally been recommended this book but I’ve seen it on so many blogs which have nothing but good things to say about it. It looks right up my alley.

Magician: A good friend of mine lent me this book so long ago, and like a bad friend I still haven’t read it.

Shadow and Bone: This one has been on my radar for some time, and the lovely ChrissiReads thinks I’ll like it. It’s at the top of my wishlist!

The Rosie Project & Finnikin of the Rock: Both of these are books that have been highly recommended by blogs that I follow and trust. I’d give you a shout out, but it’s probably most of you tbh! I’ll definitely get hold of them at some point.

Ever Near by Melissa MacVicar

ever
Title: Ever Near
Author: Melissa MacVicar
Series: Secret Affinity #1
Edition: Paperback, 200 pages
Published: September 2013 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Genre(s): YA; Supernatural; Romance
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Purchase

Love is ever near. But trouble is never far.

Nantucket Island is haunted, but only sixteen-year-old Jade Irving knows it. Ignoring the disturbing spirits isn’t an option, because one dwells in the enormous historic home she shares with her newly blended family. Jade is finding it more and more difficult to explain away Lacey’s ghostly, anguished tantrums, especially with Charlie, her gorgeous, almost step-brother, living right across the hall.

When a power-hungry ghost hunter tracks down Jade and blackmails her, Jade’s secret teeters on the edge of exposure, and her entire future hangs in the balance. If anyone finds out Jade can talk to ghosts, her life will be forever changed.

Can she save herself, free Lacey, and hang on to her tenuous connection with Charlie? Or will everything she ever wanted slip through her fingers?

I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this book as I’ve always found ghost stories a bit hit or miss. Done well and they can be chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, but done badly and they can be completely clichéd and cheesy.

Thankfully, Ever Near fell into the former category, and hit the mark for me.

Protagonist Jade is your regular 16 year-old girl who is having to adjust to separation from her father and her mum’s forthcoming second marriage, resulting in Jade and her mum moving into old mansion Fair Ever, with her soon-to-be step-father and brother.

Considering everything she’s had to adjust to, Jade gets on with her new family just fine – a little too well where her hot step-brother is concerned – but it’s the house that’s the problem. For years, Jade has tried to hide the fact that she sees ghosts, but at Fair Ever there is one very pissed off ghost that’s making it impossible for Jade to keep her secret.

There were a lot of things I liked about Ever Near. I thought MacVicar really nailed the tone throughout the book and Jade felt like a very ‘real’ character making her instantly likeable. I also thought it was written well and the short, sharp chapters really pulled me in and hooked me into the story.

Step-brother Charlie was just the right amount of swoon and I liked the dynamic between the two characters, but I wished they didn’t get together so quickly. One minute Jade was dead against the idea, because ‘it’s wrong’ and the next they were sucking face, but let’s put it down to teenage hormones, yeah?

Initially, I was a bit dubious of Jade’s paranoia about her secret getting out and wondered why she didn’t at least confide in her best friend, but the more this was explored the more I realised that it summed up adolescence pretty well; that need for self-assurance, acceptance and the fear that people might see you as different.

Overall I really enjoyed Ever Near. It is a super-quick, entertaining read with a nice balance of action from the violent ghosts, romance between Jade and Charlie, and coming-of-age issues that everyone can relate to.

unicorn rating 4

Ever Near is available now in paperback and e-book, as is book #2, Ever Lost

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #7

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

Highlights and notable findings of the last few weeks have included…

1. A Day by the Seaside: I went to Brighton and marched with some mermaids, ate the best fresh mackerel I’ve ever had and found an amazing antique bookshop. Bliss.
brighton

2. Wedding Bells: My friend’s wedding last weekend was amazing, and the reception at Brocket Hall was stunning. Way too much wine was consumed, and definitely too much dancing like an idiot happened, but that’s what it’s all about right? Also, what did people do at weddings before the photobooth craze? So brilliant!
wedding

3. Blogging Perks: When one of your favourite authors emails you…mind blown. I got an email from James Frey after he saw my rant about the Goodreads Trolls slagging off his new book before they’ve even read it. Insert fangirling here. I’m stunned that he saw my blog in the first place never mind caring so much to get in touch with me, and saying nice things, AND sending me the book. :)

4. Filmage: I’ve seen two awesome but very different films at the cinema so far this month. The Purge Anarchy was ridiculous and violently epic – just how I like it, and Guardians of the Galaxy was hilarious and unexpectedly my film of the year so far. When did Chris Pratt get ALL THE BITS?
chris-pratt

5. The Cutest Thing Ever: I can't draw at all. But maybe this will help? I need to find the time to sit down and perfect my own unicorn, for if there’s one thing I should be able to draw, it should be a unicorn.

1 SRC

6. Book Slump: OK so being in a book slump isn’t a highlight but it does mean I’ve been watching more TV than usual. I watched both series of Hannibal in the space of two weekends. Oh man, it’s so good. I’m totally in love with Will Graham, obviously. He’s unhinged and hot – lethal combination.

hannibal

7. Twitter Lolz: Inigo Montoya started toying with me on Twitter. Inconceivable!

8. To Prologue or Not to Prologue: I really enjoyed this article on prologues. I’ve always hated prologues and been told that publishers hate them too, but this article explores when it’s OK to use a prologue, as well as when it’s not.

9. Sloth Cam: I’m kind of obsessed with this. Having it open on my computer at work makes me happy. Not productive, but happy.

10. Join In!