Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review - Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. 

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed. 

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. 

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

This is the second book in the Heist Society series and I really enjoyed it. The writing was tight and filled with humour. I really loved Kat's journey. She is one independent chick and it was nice to see her FINALLY learning to rely on those around her.

Hale, is once again gorgeous and charming while the rest of the cast provide the well timed humour and tension in the story. I liked the growth in the relationship between Kat and Hale too. 

I also liked the villain this time, she was one clever lady and a great opponent for Kat. 

I don't want to give anything away, so I'm keeping the review brief, but if you're looking for an entertaining story that will keep you guessing, this is a great choice.

Oh - and you have to just LOVE the cover, don't you? It's GORGEOUS!!!

Happy reading :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Favourites ~ Point of View

Melissa and I were blessed with a few days away from our older kids and husbands this week. We spent the time hanging out, looking after our babies and writing. I LOVED it. Anyway with all the writing it got me thinking about point of view. (Definitions below)

First person - the story is narrated by a character, who reveals the plot through their eyes.
Second person (I don't actually remember having read one from this POV) - the narrator refers to one of the characters as 'you', making you feel part of the story.
Third person - the story is told basically by a God-like figure who can see everything and know what everyone is thinking!

Usually I'm a third person POV writer but I've been writing first person POV this week and it's so much fun getting into one characters head so thoroughly. When it comes to picking a favourite though, I struggle.

When I'm reading I really love being able to get into a characters head in first person POV, but if I don't actually like the protagonist, it can be suffocating being stuck in that characters head. Third person POV on the other hand is fun as you get to see what all the characters think but it doesn't hold much mystery.

What is your favourite to write and to read?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Girl Time

It's nearly time for school to start again. As a last hurrah, Brenda and I are escaping for a few days to write, read, chat and laugh as we watch our little babies play together.

So - we won't be posting as usual this Monday and I'm asking Brenda to do Friday Favourites this week as I will be away for a long weekend with my parents.

I hope everyone has a great week and we look forward to getting back to normal next Monday.

Take care :)


Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Favourites - Book Titles

Well Brenda and I have FINALLY come up with a title for our YA Action/Thriller/Romance. Look out for Forbidden Territory coming later in the year.

As we discussed different titles we had to think about what we liked. We needed something that would hint at the essence of the book, something that would look good on the cover and both of us like titles that are short and sharp. So Forbidden Territory was our final choice.

I thought it would be a good topic for this week's Friday Favourites.

Brenda likes Twilight and I understand why. There is a certain sense of mystery and elegance to it. It sounds great.

I like so many, but the first one that popped into my head was Uncommon Criminal. As soon as I heard it, it got me thinking. Who's the criminal? What makes them so uncommon? What kind of criminal is uncommon? What do they do to make them so special?
Two little words and it immediately evoked four questions. To me, that's a good title.

What are your favourite titles and what do you like about them?
Are there any books out there, that you've heard the title and just thought - I have to read that!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book & Movie Review - Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

Breaking Dawn (the book) ~ Stephanie Meyer (spoilers) 

I read a few (bad) reviews before I started on this... I guess some people think, that because these books have been made into movies they should be fault free? I don't expect perfection from a book, I just want an enjoyable tale, some romance and a story to get lost in for a while. To me Breaking Dawn delivered. Sure there is a lot of corn factor, but I love a bit of corn. 

I spent the first half of the book, thoroughly excited and reading as fast as I could to get to when Bella would become a vampire. It was fun to read through the 'I' POV what being a vampire was like. 

The end (although happy and quite corny) was perfect. I loved it. I loved Bella's special vampire powers and I loved the romance. The only part that I didn't entirely gel with was the pregnancy and having Reneesme, that was a little odd but not a deal breaker. 

I'd give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for anyone who likes a romance with a twist but isn't as concerned about how good the writing is. 

Breaking Dawn (the movie - part 1) ~ Stephanie Meyer (spoilers) 

Wow, what girl doesn't love a good wedding and honeymoon sequence. It is pretty hilarious though, how Bella tries to entice her husband into bed on their honeymoon in what is the most unique situation in fiction! 

Half way through the movie, it changes to a very gory portrayal of a human/vampire pregnancy. With the added factor of werewolves planning to kill the baby/creature that is inside Bella. Although I didn't love watching Bella get skinnier and frail (amazing graphics though) the movie didn't hover too long on this and quickly moved to the birth and ended awesomely with Bella opening her bright red eyes. 

Book versus Movie 

I think the movie definitely captured the essence of the book with the added bonus of computer effects! Books always contain more detail but I feel the movie did a really great job of showing enough detail to make the story make sense. I loved the movie (part 1) and can't wait to see how they portray Bella the vampire and her 'super powers'! 

What did you guys think of the movie compared to the book?


Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Favourites - Characters

Brenda Howson and I are getting together in a few days to have a big chat about our co-authored book. I'm SUPER excited. We are getting it ready for release later in the year and have some final edits and tweaks to do. We are so close to finishing!

I LOVE the characters in this book. I write the character of Mica and Brenda writes as Lexy. As we've worked on this project (between babies and life in general), I have totally fallen in love with these two girls. When it comes to personality, they are polar opposites, yet best friends. They share everything together and have lived through many ups and downs... but their biggest challenge is yet to come.

I can't wait for everyone to meet them.

All my excitement has got me thinking...

Which characters have you fallen in love with over the years? Which characters have you read or watched on screen and been so taken with that you almost think they're real? If you're a writer, have you ever written a character that you know will stay with you forever?

Would LOVE to hear your thoughts!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Friday :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Introducing... Zealous Girl!!

Sounds like a superhero, right? Well she totally is!

I'm very excited to announce that the world's best friend, Brenda Howson (aka Zealous Girl) is joining this YAlicious blog. She will be helping me do reviews, write posts and just all round add to the awesomeness that is this blog :)

Brenda is the closest thing I have to a sister and it is through our passion for all things YA that we have managed to come together and work on a series about Mica and Lexy, two kiwi girls who just can't help getting themselves caught up in all kinds of trouble.

The first adventure has the two girls caught in the bush with their two major crushes, Eli & Tom. What was supposed to be a fun geo-caching trip goes bad and the four are soon lost in the bush and on the run from some pretty pissed off drug dealers.

This book, still to be titled (I know, I know - we're working on it!) is due out later this year.

It's so super cool to have you join me, Brenda. You are most welcome :)

Keep an eye out for her first review next week. She's comparing Breaking Dawn - the book and the movie. Can't wait!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Review - Screwing Up Time by C. M. Keller

Mark Montgomery is a slacker content with his life. He’s a senior at New Haven Prep, has a great friend, and after graduation he’ll get a brand new sports car from his parents, assuming he stays out of trouble. Then, she comes into his life—Miranda with her I-just-escaped-from-a-Renaissance-Fair clothing. Only, she hasn’t. She has come from Bodiam Castle in the Middle Ages and demands a secret ingredient and a book of recipes for traveling through the treacherous colors of time. Although Mark has never even heard of either before, he must find them, or Miranda will die. To save her, Mark must break into a psych hospital to visit his grandfather who once tried to kill him, pass through the colors of time, take on a medieval alchemist, prevent Miranda’s marriage to a two-timing baron, and keep it all hidden from his parents. The sports car is definitely in trouble.

This book captured me from the first chapter. I warmed to Mark immediately. He was a well rounded character with flaws and a typical laziness that can only be attributed to teenage boys who aren't quite sure where they're headed. I loved it. I found him endearing and incredibly human. I also liked Mark's best friend, Brian. Every person in the world needs a friend like this - someone who refuses to give up on you. In my opinion, Mark's character is made better by Brian's influence and I loved the friendship between them.

Miranda took a while to grow on me, but I loved her tenacity. I look forward to seeing more of her in the coming sequel.

Aside from the magic of time travel, this book was incredibly real. What I mean is... the family situations for Mark and Brian, the tension between different characters, and the unspoken secrets from the past touched on very real human emotion. C. M. Keller captured these emotions with raw beauty.

The story was written with intelligence and style. The mystery carried me through, along with the constant surprises that popped out of the pages. Each chapter ending made you want to keep reading.

This is a well-written story with great pacing, real characters and an enticing mystery. I can highly recommend this book.

You can purchase a copy of this book at Amazon.

And you can check out more about this gorgeous author on her blog.

I hope you enjoy the book :)