Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Junk by Melvyn Burgess






Junk.


Heroin, H, smack, whatever. This book is about junk.


Bristol in the 1980's, and Gemma and Tar are fourteen. Tar is 24 hours away from running away from home, to get away from his abusive dad and alcoholic mum. Gemma, his girlfriend, is all for it- in her opinion, it's the best thing that he could do.


At home for Gemma, things aren't too good either, and after she has a fight with her parents, she decides to run away and join Tar in the city.


In the two weeks since he left, Tar has been introduced to Richard, an anarchist who sets up squats for homeless kids. He's living in an uninhabited building with Vonny, Jerry and Richard, and invited Gemma to come and live with them.


Gemma and Tar are living rough, and they're happy. But Vonny thinks that Gemma is bad for Tar and she wants her to leave. They decide that Gemma will have to find somewhere else to live after the housewarming party that Richard has dewcided to have.


At the party, Gemma meets Lily and Rob. Lily is mad, a completely free spirit, and Rob is her bloke. Gemma and Lily are instantly best friends, and she decides to drop Tar and go and live with them. But they soon get back together and the four of them are all living together, stealing food and belongings and pretty well anything so they can get money.


But the main thing is that Lily and Rob are both on junk, and soon Gemma and Tar are both on it as well. They try to give up, but Gemma is sure that she could stop when she wants to so none of them ever try particularly hard.


Lily and Gemma are both working in a brothel for money for the heroin, and life, in their opinion, is pretty good. They're free.


Soon, Gemma and Tar are seventeen, and Lily is pregnant. She decides that she's going to quit the junk for the sake of the baby, and they all go away to a house in the country. But Rob brings a little stash of junk with him, and two days later they're all back on.

When Lily's baby is born, it's full of smack, because it gets it through the milk. And then Gemma gets pregnant.


She's so horrified by watching Lily and her baby, Sunny, that she decides that she'll do anything to get off the heroin for her baby. She goes to hospital and the police raid their house and Tar goes to jail for drug possession, and Lily and Sunny and Rob are all sent to various rehab centres.


Months pass, and Tar gets out of jail, and Gemma has a baby girl called Oona. But she realises that she doesn't love Tar anymore, she just wants him to go away, and six months later they break up and he moves away, and he hardly sees his baby girl anymore.


They are only eighteen.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Paper Towns by John Green


I haven't posted a book review yet, and I just finished Paper Towns, so why not make it my first review?


Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Summary: Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Speiegleman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life-dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge-he follows.
After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues-and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew. (Summary from the inside flap of the dust jacket.)

I absolutely loved Paper Towns. It is definitely at the top of my "favorite books" list, along with Looking For Alaska.

Just like John's other books, Paper Towns is really funny. But the thing is, that can change really quick. The book would have me laughing on one page, it would nearly make me cry in another, and the next page would make me smile. But it all seems connected.

I don't like Paper Towns because I relate to any of the awesome characters in it, I like it because it made me think-really think.

But Paper Towns isn't one of those super-serious books Language Arts teachers would force you to read. It's actually really funny. It's one of the reasons why I love John's writing to it. He can make a book hilarious, but he can add a good message into the story.

Some of my favourite quotes from the beginning of the book:

May contain spoilers!

"IT'S NOT MY FAULT THAT THAT MY PARENTS OWN THE WORLDS LARGEST COLLECTION OF BLACK SANTAS!"

"You you just got to tell her, man. You just have to say 'Angela, I really like you, but there's something you need to know: when we go to my house and hook up, we'll be watched by the twenty-four hundred eyes of twelve hundred black Santas"

"HEY! Ninjas don't splash other ninjas!"
"The true ninja doesn't make a splash at all"
"Ooh, touché"

(after sucking out snake poison)
"How was making out with my leg?"
"Pretty good."

End of "spoilers"

There are a ton of funny quotes in Paper Towns, but I don't want to give them away. *insert evil
laugh here*

PAper Towns is an amazing book. I'd give it a 10000000/5 stars if i could. But I can only give it five stars, so it'll get five stars.

~Melody

P.S. I had to re-post it. I messed up the first one in a pathetic attempt at coding.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Heavy Metal and You by Christopher Krovatin


So here's the story:

Boy listens to lots of loud music and hangs with friends
Boy meets girl
Boy falls dippy-happy-scared-as-hell in love with girl
Friends meet girl- and aren't impressed
Girl meets friends- and isn't impressed
Boy meets big dilemma
Boy plays music even louder
Big dilemma meets big, complicated resolution.


I read this book last night and I thought it was fantastic. I got about two pages in and straightaway thought that it was way too short.
To summarise: Sam, metalhead, meets Melissa, preppy straightedge goddess. Sam is into getting stoned, wasted and moshing with his best mates, Brent and Irish. Melissa is into Greek mythology, not drinking, and hanging out with the in crowd.

The way these kids talk, is almost exactly how me and my mates talk. Well, not exactly. But the "yo mama" jokes and constant swearing certainly rings a bell. What I'm trying to say- it sounds real. The author has picked up a little slice of metalhead culture and written it down in a fantastic book about love, loss, and Slayer.

Sam and Melissa's relationship is really lovely to read about, but you can see the cracks appearing, along with Sam, and the end of the book is almost a relief when all the little niggling and things reach a conclusion.

Sam is fun, funny and a great protaganist, and when he goes out with Melissa and her friends you know exactly how he feels and you feel so sorry for him.

When I was reading it half of the scenes between Sam and Melissa made me think of me and Keiran, and nearly all of the scenes between Sam, Brent and Irish reminded me of me, Dean and the Sex God. The characters, storyline, dialogue -just everything, in fact- ring so true, and I for one could easily identify with it.

I think this is a seriously fantastic book. I don't know if we're rating them, but if we are I give it 3.5 stars.
Apologies for the shit quality of the picture, by the way :']

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Eight by Katherine Neville

“Chess is Life” – Bobby Fischer

the eight

I just finished this book a few days ago and have been gradually compiling a “review.” In my reviews I may or may not include my opinions on the book, and pictures, and character profiles, and my soundtrack for the book, and quotes, and whatever other crap I end up posting. :D But anyway. I don’t want to give too too much away but I DO want to ramble about stuff from the book so I’ll do my rambling and warn you before hand if I do end up telling you something you may not want to know if you plan to read the book in the future.

I was completely enthralled by The Eight. I have to say I was totally fascinated, and, most of the time, confused. It’s one of those books that just has so much happening and so much information is being shoved down your throat at times it’s well . . . very hard to swallow! It’s one of those books I could read like a dozen times consecutively and just obsess over it and analyse everything and figure everything out in detail. I have to, sadly, return this book to the library in like three days which will hardly give me enough time to do so. I’ll have to purchase this one! But as I was saying, I would love to map everything out on a piece of paper and write out whom everyone is and who they are related or “related” to. Moving on.

Here’s the review from Amazon.com -
Katherine Neville's debut novel is a postmodern thriller set in 1972 ... and 1790. In the 20th century, Catherine Velis is a computer expert with a flair for music, painting, and chess who, on her way to Algeria at the behest of the accounting firm where she is employed, is invited to take a mysterious moonlighting assignment: recover the pieces of an old chess set missing for centuries.
In the midst of the French Revolution, a young novice discovers that her abbey is the hiding place of a chess set, once owned by the great Charlemagne, which allows those who play it to tap into incredible powers beyond the imagination. She eventually comes into contact with the major historical figures of the day, from Robespierre to Napoleon, each of whom has an agenda.
The Eight is a non-stop ride that recalls the swashbuckling adventures of Indiana Jones as well as the historical puzzles of Umberto Eco which, since its first publication in 1988, has gone on to acquire a substantial cult following.


So basically, throughout the entire book it switches back and forth between Mireille’s story in the 1790s and Cat’s in 1970. You get to go with Mireille on her adventure concerning the Montglane Service, the chess service from the legend of Charlemagne, which had been buried for so long in the Montglane Abbey before having to be removed. And then you also follow Cat’s story as she get’s pulled into The Game and meet’s the mysterious Alexander Solarin and various other characters. You discover with her the Formula (I’m not sure if I should tell you what the formula is for) and make an important decision concerning it and the rest of her and her friends’ lives, just as Mireille did almost two hundred years previously. I love how the whole book is a chess game. It’s like a whole huge extended metaphor. Like...majorly extended.

I can’t say how surprised I was at Sascha and Slava’s reunion. (I know it seems like I totally gave something away but I didn’t :P) It’s really amazing how things just sort of fell together at the end. How The Game and The Montglane Service and The Formula and The Knight’s Tour and everything were all so linked together.
Anywho...

My Soundtrack for the Book would definitely include I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab For Cutie (that song is just so perfect, seriously) and Someday We’ll Know by Mandy Moore and Jonathan Freeman, Trust Me by the Fray, No Cars Go by Arcade Fire (This song cracks me up now because I think of Cat and Lily in the desert...you gotta read it to understand,) Vienna by the Fray (not sure why...it just fits) and Fall Away by the Fray (wow....most of these songs are by the Fray, but seriously, I could add a couple more them...seriously, so many of their songs are PERFECT for this book, I think anyway)

But really. Just read the book, and then we can obsess over it together because I don’t want to tell you all about it before you read it because it’s just that awesome. Knowing the end to this mystery would totally ruin it I think.

So Imma shut up now, and you should go read this book.

Over and Out,
-LTC (latuacantante)

Friday, 17 October 2008

The Declaration by Gemma Malley

Spoiler warning: as in, this review will have some.


Well, I decided I was going to do a book review, and I figured since I'd just finished reading The Resistance that I should review its prequel - The Declaration.


The summary (that I got from Times online!)
The Declaration is set in a world in which resources are running out, longevity drugs have been found so that nobody needs to die, and having a child is permitted only to those who have opted out of immortality. Any children born to parents who did not “Opt Out” at the age of 16 are “Surpluses”, and are snatched from their parents and trained to serve the “Legals”, while using as few resources as possible, on the grounds that their existence is theft from the immortal childless population.

Anna, a teenage Surplus, abides by the rules of the cruel institution she inhabits, hating her parents – as she has been taught to do – for illegally giving her life. Then, one day, a rebel boy arrives who offers her kindness and revelations about her own history that change everything. Anna’s conversion from the beliefs with which she has been indoctrinated is persuasively recorded in a novel that, along with characters to care about, considers the virtue of mortality and projects a credible, nightmarish extension of beliefs we are already inclined to hold.
-----------

Though it takes a while for things to kick in, by the first few chapters I was hooked. The mystery that surrounds the new Surplus Peter is almost terrifying- how does he know what he does? Is what he says true, or just a ruse to ruin Surplus Anna's chance at being a Valuable Asset?

The first thing that I adored about this book is how real it is. Longevity drugs are a product of Stem Cell research. First they cured Cancer, HIV, and finally, ageing. The power to be immortal is what most people wish for - not to have their bones weaken, their skin to sag and their lives to end. It is possible, in the future, that this could happen; that we could all be immortal, and with it, lose the chance to have children.

The second thing that struck me is how sure Anna is of everything. She is Surplus. She does not have the right to live forever. She does not have the right to own any possessions. Her parents are evil beings, only intent on breaking rules. She has no other purpose in life than to be a Valuable Asset. Then, the third thing strikes like a snake - Peter changes her. Everything she thinks, everything she does, it's for the better.

Surplus Anna drags you along with her - you walk through the corridors of Grange Hall with her... you crawl through the escape tunnel with her, you see her brother for the first time with her, you feel the terror of the Catchers approaching, the desperation when Ben will not be quiet. And finally, you watch her parents die with her.

This unique story is thought provoking and terrifying, and it leads onto on of the best books I have read so far: The Resistance.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Hello!

Just a warning, towards the end there will be some spoilers, so don't read there if you haven't read it. I'll warn you when there's about to be spoilers, though.

Okay.

Some Information On The Book:

Title: And Then There Were None. (It was also published as Ten Little Indians, though)
Author: Agatha Christie.
Basically the summary would be:

Ten different people get notified that they've been invited to Soldier Island, by an unreliable source. Once they get there, one by one they all drop like flies...

Genre: Murder-Mystery.

I recommend the book. The first chapter is kind of hard to get through, but I loved the rest of it. :D

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

What I loved most about the book was the poem, and I would post it here, but I don't own the book. :( Anyways, I loved how the poem and the little soldier statues tangled into each other. How each person was killed accordingly, depending on how many were left and by what happened in the poem. And as each person died, one statue would dissapear.

A lot of people who read the book think it's Vera Claythorne who is the homicidal killer, because she wasn't murdered, she commited suicide, and then she was the last one to die.

But, the fact is, that a person would have had to hung the tied loose and placed the chair in her room.

My favorite character was Vera Claythorne, because I related to her the most.

Agatha Christie is famous for writing murder-mysteries, and this is the first of her collection that I've read.

I'm an avid reader, so you can beat I'll be posting book reviews a LOT.

[I'm currectly reading the Maximum Ride series, I'm on book three. :D]

Until next [book] review,

signed,
Mari,
Hollywood Reporter.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

About Us

Julie:

I'm currently 20 and entering my senior year of college. I'm somewhat homeless right now due to lots of traveling and moving, but I'm essentially based in the proximity of New York City.

I've been reading since I was 5. My mom would read to me at night and one night I got sick of waiting for her to finish setting up the coffee pot and everything else mom's do to get ready for the next day, and began reading my Dr. Seuss book to myself. I then began reading on my own and continued to read with my mom until I was 8 and she was pregnant with my brother. She was too tired to read, but we got through the first 4 Harry Potters together. We now own 2 copies of the last 3 Harry Potter books because we both had to read it right away at our own pace.

I kind of fell out of reading after my brother was born and didn't get really back into it until the summer of 2007. I was about to start 8th grade and my brother was staying home with me that summer. To keep myself occupied while watching him, I would read. I ended up reading about a book a day and going to the bookstore every weekend. I read through the Clique series, one Gossip Girl book and countless others. Then I continued on my reading rampage when school started, beginning with Twilight. I read Twilight three times in one week to tide me over until the next weekend when I bought New Moon and the newly released Eclipse.

From there I went to vampires, then paranormal, which caused me to find A Great and Terrible Beauty and then opened me onto historical fiction. I read a lot from then on, a mix of adult and YA. Since beginning blogging, I now read mostly YA books, with a smattering of romance, non-fiction, and literary fiction.

I've held three publishing internships, worked for several authors, and currently have a freelance editing business, True Blue Editorial. I also semi-(un)officially work at a few bookstores because I have worked at one/look like someone who does work at all of them and unofficially intern for some friends when in need. I also founded #quietYA and helped create #AtMyBookstore.

Lanna and I have never met (fun fact for you all) and we pretty much only talk on Skype.

Lanna: Okay, I completely fail at about me sections, so I'll just give you a random list of things about me...
  • I'm 25.
  • I love books, obviously.
  • I ramble a lot, but I'm actually really shy in person.
  • I'm an introvert. I'm not very good at - people? Yes, that works. I'm bad at people.
  • I write (not very well, but I love it and if someday I ever write something I don't totally hate, I'd like to get published).
  • I live in Scotland.
  • My real name is actually Alana (I spell it with 2 N's), which I hate.
  • I have a bunch of nicknames, I answer to any of them: Lanna (obviously), Lanny/Lanni/Lannie, Allie/Alli, Pigeon, Pidge...
  • I have two best friends: Batman (a girl) and Roo (guy). Most of the nicknames are their fault.
  • If I judge people, I tend to give them a chance to prove me wrong.
  • But if you're racist or homophobic, we'll have issues.
  • I'm argumentative -- don't take that to mean that I like picking fights and throwing insults, I just love debating with people and if you can hold your own in a debate with me then you'll probably earn my respect.
  • I'm Agnostic (leaning on more towards Agnostic Atheism)
  • I don't like being preached to. I'm fine with people believing whatever they want to believe, but don't try to force those beliefs on others.
  • Books I think everyone should read: anything by Melina Marchetta or John Green, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
  • I am terribly indecisive.
  • I have the attention span of a flea.
  • I have a tendency to say things and forget what I said by the time people reply, or I'll ask the time and forget to listen to the answer (Julie has had to put up with the e-version of my epic memory fails).
  • I'm very easily amused.
  • I often laugh when I should cry, it's just the more fun option. Like that time I somehow managed to trip over a table, badly bruising my legs and cutting them on the sharp corners (it was quite impressive--I was holding a bowl of food and managed not to spill it), I laughed so hard my sides hurt too.
  • The wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz terrifies me (just the original movie, Wicked is wonderful).
  • Phobias: spiders, needles butterflies, and chalk (I've been really excited about certain books before then had to give them away because the pages were made of that chalky paper).
  • I have never had a piercing, not even my ears.
  • I can't imagine life without music. I like everything from classical to indie to pop to rap to country to metal to punk to... I think you get the point.
  • I really like lists. I don't go a single day without making a list of some sort.
I'll stop there... I guess that's enough about me.

Later.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Contact Us

Authors/Publishers:
If you are an author or publisher and would like Blogger Heart Books to review your book, host a contest or are interested in arranging a guest blog or interview, just send an email to:

bloggers-heart-books@hotmail.co.uk (this email is run by Lanna, who is in the UK)

UPDATE: Julie isn't book blogging anymore, but she does still write for YA Interrobang as well as running the Quiet YA tumblr and the #quietYA stuff on Twitter so if you'd like to contact her about any of those you can reach her here:

breakingdownslowly@gmail.com (to specifically contact Julie, who is in the US)

You can view our review policy here.

Readers:
If you want to contact both/one of us then feel free to use the above email addresses too, or you can contact us via Twitter or Tumblr or Goodreads (links in the sidebar, under the "follow us elsewhere"), even if you just want to chat about books or ask a blog related question.


Friday, 8 February 2008

Book Secrets Submission Guidelines

Book Secrets

So this is inspired by Post Secrets, only your secrets have to be book/reading related (anything at all, so long as it’s fits that theme - it can be funny/weird/cringe-worthy, whatever).


Example of our first Book Secrets post:

http://bloggers-heart-books.blogspot.com/2010/07/book-secrets-1.html 


How to Submit/Rules:
(and you can submit as many as you want, the more the better)

1. You can submit a secret in text form or on an image (like the examples in the post). 


Note one: if it’s submitted as text and I have time, I might put it onto an image for you but it’d be awesome if you submitted it as an image (if you don’t have photoshop/don’t like paint, you could use this: http://www.blibs.com/editor/)

Note two: if you’re submitting your secret on an image, please don’t steal other peoples art. Use stock images/book covers/your own pictures/drawings/TV or movie stills etc. Hell, you can even just make the picture on paint (coloured background and handwrite the secret on paint/whatever). I notice a lot of art stealing happens in the recreate a cover contests and it’s annoying. Just make sure you're using images that it's okay for you to use.

Note three: if you use stock images and need to give credit, then put the links in the email and I’ll include them in the post.

2. When you submit a secret, if you want credit for your secret then include the name/link you want it credited to. If you don’t include that, then I’ll assume you want to submit anonymously (which is more fun anyway).


I think that’s pretty much it, email your book secrets to: bloggers-heart-books@hotmail.co.uk (either upload it somewhere and put the link in the email or just attach the image file, I don’t mind which)

-Lanna

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