Thursday, 30 June 2011

Announcement: David by Mary Hoffman Blog Tour


To celebrate the release of her brilliant new historical novel David,  the author Mary Hoffman will be doing a blog tour from July 4th- August 4th, which will stop here on the 15th July. I've finished reading David and it really does bring the man behind Michaelangelo's work of art to life in a wonderful Italian setting filled with political intrigue, danger and romance.  I'd recommend you check out the tour and reviews that will be coming soon! I know I'm excited about having more of an insight into David through the tour posts =)

You can find out more about the tour and see a list of all the blog's it's stopping at by clicking HERE

Publisher description for David:


Michelangelo's statue of David is renowned all over the world. Thousands flock to Florence to admire the artistry behind this Renaissance masterpiece, and to admire the beauty of the human form captured in the marble. But the identity of the model for this statue that has been so revered for over five hundred years has been lost ...In this epic story Mary Hoffman uses her persuasive narrative skills to imagine the story of Gabriele, an eighteen-year-old who, by becoming Michelangelo's model, finds himself drawn into a world of spies, politicking, sabotage and murder. Set against the backdrop of Florence, this is a rich, colourful and thrilling tale.

Are you intrigued yet?....


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Velvet by Mary Hooper

Button courtesy of sheshines.net

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme held at Breaking The Spine in which book bloggers feature soon to be published books that they are eagerly anticipating.

Velvet

Velvet by Mary Hooper

Goodreads description:

Rose is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry is scalding, back-breaking work and Rose is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Rose is noticed by Madame X, a famed medium, who asks Rose to come to work for her. Rose is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But soon Rose realises that Madame X is not all that she says she is, and Rose's very life is in danger ...A romantic and thrillingly exciting new novel from an acclaimed and much-loved historical writer for teens

Why I want to read it:

I LOVE Mary Hooper's books and she was the author who led me to historical fiction so I'm grateful to that! I interviewed her in person when she came to my school and she's very lovely too. I've been waiting on Velvet for about the longest time I've ever waited for a book because I first heard about it when Mary had just begun writing it and mentioned the premise in her talk at her first visit to my school. I like the sound of the setting of a Victorian steam laundry because I haven't read about one before although I just read a book about a fraudulent medium (Haunting Violet), I'm interested to see Mary Hooper's take on it.

I'm not a big fan of the cover because there are so many YA historicals with beautiful dresses on their covers for example which would make them appeal to me more on first glance. It's nothing particularly special but I can't deny that it does look nice and the red swirls and lace work on the part of a bodice shown are pretty. I just wish it told more about what the book is about.

Velvet is being published by Bloombury UK on September 5th this year.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Book Review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey


Goodreads Description


Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.



Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?


My Review

I'm a huge fan of everything Victorian so when I heard that was the setting for Haunting Violet then it aroused my interest even though I usually avoid ghost and spirit stories because they're usually really not my thing. The Victorian setting is a perfect backdrop for the story of Violet Willoughby who is living the life of an upper class girl the daughter of a fraudelant medium because it gave it an intense and spooky gothic atmosphere. Apart from this, Harvey was able to use the fact that many people in the Victorian era were fascinated with the world of the supernatural and often those of the upper class became obsessed with it and it was clear that a lot of research had gone into the methods of mediums at the time. I think that the historical setting was meant as a backdrop so not everything was meant to be accurate but personally I would have enjoyed a bit more historical description of for example of Victorian London and I felt the dialogue seemed very modern.

The protagonist Violet was an easy character to sympathise with from the beginning because she has a tough life having to play her part in her mother's sham seances uncomfortably and she feels out of place in her fancy clothes and keeping rich company when her world could so easily be shattered from one small mistake in her mother's carefully planned deceptions. Despite the circumstances she finds herself in, Violet persevered and acted sensibly but she wasn't afraid to let her heart rule her mind when the time was right.  I also liked how she didn't seem out of place in the Victorian world whilst being easy for a modern reader to identify with but my favourite thing about her character is her relationship with her mother's assistant Collin whom she has been friends with all her childhood because they understood each other in a unique way. His Irish accent was so cute! Another of Violet's friends is Elizabeth, an upper class girl who was a loyal and funny friend.

I started Haunting Violet very wary of the ghost element of  it but I found it didn't bother me quite as much as I thought it would and it was chilly but not exactly scary. I enjoyed the suspense created by the murder mystery plot the setting of the large and haunted country manor house filled with the upper class gentry made it all the more mysterious. Harvey did a good job at keeping me guessing as to who the murderer was for at least part of the book because there were lots of twists and turns and this held my interest well. So if you love all things supernatural or are a murder mystery fan, then you'll be pleased to hear that this book will capture your imagination this way.

There's a dose of romance included too and I appreciated how there was no insta-love for once in a paranormal type book and the romance developed more slowly and won my approval because I felt it was justified and not just thrown in there for the sake of it. It was rather predictable which love interest Violet would eventually pick so it wasn't really a love triangle but I didn't mind this at all. I hear that Harvey has written a sequel waiting for publishing confirmation so I'd like to see more of the romance in the sequel because I'm a romantic at heart!

This is the first Alyxandra Harvey book I've read and I was happy to find that she has a lovely writing style because it's clean and precise without reams of description but there was some beautiful descriptive phrases and imagery used that really made this book work overall for me. Also, everything was so fast paced that when I finished I found it hard to believe that so much had been packed into it.

Verdict: Haunting Violet has an wonderfully eerie gothic atmosphere packed with suspense, drama and a smidgen of romance. I enjoyed Harvey's writing and the romance and would recommend it to paranormal and fantasy fans for something different from your typical shape-shifter plot. 

Rating: 4stars 

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Haunting Violet is released in the UK on the 9th July!


This review is part of Review Appreciation Day
at The Cait Files.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Commenting problem solved!



Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know that the problems I was experiencing with problems have now been fixed after I installed Google Chrome, as kindly suggested by some other bloggers. So I can now comment on your blogs =)

And as a bonus, I love Google Chrome! It actually shows my blog header as centre when I thought I was doing something wrong with the hmtl under the tutorial to do this and I discovered the little pink crown favicon that I put on ages ago and didn't show up in Internet Explorer. So if you're having problems commenting on some blogs then I recommend you download it!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

In My Mailbox 26/6/11- 2 weeks


In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren and is where bloggers share all the books that have made it into their houses each week!

I didn't take part in IMM last week so here's all the books I got in the past fortnight:


Pegasus by Robin McKilney
(many thanks to Penguin for sending me a review copy)



I've heard really mixed things about this book but I couldn't resist that gorgeous cover and the fairy tale fantasy sounding plot. In truth, that cover looks even more beautiful in real life. I can't wait to see what I think of it =)

Sorceress by Celia Rees 
(library)


This is the sequel to Witch Child by Celia Rees, which I have yet to start but I've now got both books out of my school library for the summer. That's the awesome thing about school library books over the summer- you don't have to worry about taking them back for six weeks! I'll probably be taking lots more out before the end of term. I've read The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees and I hope I like this series as much as that.

Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman
(library)


Malorie Blackman is visiting my school this Autumn ( YAY!) and since I haven't read any of her books yet even though I've been recommended them so much, I thought I'd start with this one. I read the first chapter on Friday and it was a great start.

Have you read any of these books- what did you think of them? What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Summer Reading Places and photos of me reading!




I really enjoyed talking about reading places in my discussion about where you read and it's officially summer now (YAY!) so I found some photos of reading places/photos that are my dream summery reading places, some of which I could read in if I wanted to. Enjoy!

In the fields surrounded by nature



Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice reading outside.

In a hammock


That hammock seats looks a bit warm for summer but oh well....


On the beach or by the pool



"It's cool, as long as I've got a good book I don't
mind being buried in sand!"



This looks like fun but it would probably result in the ruin of the book if I tried it....

In a tree/tree house

What I would do to have a tree house to read
in like this one!




Clear blue skies and white sand at my feet... yes please :)


A great suitcase for a desert island...


Me reading in the park

I was in the park with my mum and she took a photo of me when I was reading on a bench (I was too engrossed in my book to notice) and then I got the idea of taking a few other photos to try and design a new header or button for this blog. Here they are:





Where are your dream summer reading places?



Friday, 24 June 2011

Book Blogger Hop! 24/6/11

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Crazy For Books and is an event for book bloggers to connect and share the love of the written word whilst hopping around to find some awesome new blogs and say hi to old blogging friends.

 Welcome to Books Are A Girl's Best Friend if you're a first time visitor! I haven't taken part in the Hop for ages now and I miss finding new blogs so I decided to join in this week  =) 

This week's question is:

“When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?”


This is such a great question. The simple truth is that I don't remember when I realised reading was my passion because I've loved books ever since I can remember. My mum read to me before I could understand all of what was said so I've pretty much grown up surrounded by books. My reading really took off when I started to read independently and I had a huge obsession with Enid Blyton. I would go to the local second hand bookshop and come back with a bag full of mostly Enid Blyton books and some other classic children's stories too. Except, I've never questioned reading being part of my life and it was only when I began book blogging that I finally realised just how important books are to me. I'm looking forward to reading every one's answers.......

Feel free to take a look around the blog and leave a comment so I can come and visit you back. I'm also holding an international one year blogoversary give-away until Sunday, so if you want to find out more or enter, click here or on the button below.



Thank you for visiting and happy hopping!


post signature

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Coverlicious: Delirium by Lauren Oliver new covers!



Coverlicious is a feature that I hold here talking about anything to do with covers from newly revealed covers to cover lookalikes!

You may remember that I read Delirium by Lauren Oliver a few months ago and loved it. Only I wasn't a big fan of the original cover so I was excited to hear about the new covers that had been designed for it that Lauren Oliver recently announced on her blog Deliriously Falling  here. Here are the new designs and my thoughts on them :

The UK Paperback


I was  disappointed by this UK paperback design because it's just  plain compared to all the beautiful YA covers out there at the moment and because Delirium is such an amazing book, it deserves an equally stunning cover. This one just doesn't do it for me and wouldn't entice me to read it if I saw it in a book shop. The girl's large blue eyes are pretty, show a lot of expression and  match the background colours but it just strikes me as somewhat old fashioned and I've never really liked close up faces on covers.

The Special Edition 




I love this one SO much more! I first spotted it in a post over at Daisy Chain Book Reviews and I knew that I would just have to buy this edition because I don't have a copy of Delirium yet. It's not one of the most beautiful covers I've seen but I just love the soft pastel colours used and the green sparkle around the title  gorgeous. It  has a very earthy feel and contrast well with the model's pale skin and peachy lips! Again, the expression in the girl's eyes tells a lot  and the intense emotion displayed in them would  have me intrigued if I hadn't read it yet. However, the design doesn't really give away much about what the story is about. This cover design wins for me!

Full spread =)

What do you think of these new cover designs for Delirium? 
 Which is your favourite? Do you like them more than the original Delirium covers?





Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Book Review: Waterfall by Lisa T Bergren

Waterfall (River of Time, #1)
Goodreads description

Lisa Tawn Bergren's new YA series, River of Time, is romantic, historical fiction in which the plucky heroine doesn't have to fear a vampire's bite but must still fight for her life.

In Waterfall, American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidently finds herself in Fourteenth-Century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds... until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the Fourteenth Century and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.

My review

When I picked up Waterfall I was really hoping that I would enjoy it as much as some of the other bloggers whose reviews I’ve read but by the time I’d finished, I wanted to announce to the world that everyone should go out and buy it immediately and I couldn’t wait to start recommending it! It has everything that a perfect medieval time travel should have: sword fights, hot Knights, a feisty heroine, castles, pretty dresses,  danger, humour and of course…. a good dose of romance! If you haven’t already guessed, I fell head over heels in love with it and it has earned its place on my favourite’s shelf. I actually put off writing this review for quite a while because I wasn’t sure quite how I could begin to explain what I thought about it…..

The heroine and main character Gabi, who narrates the book is a bold and strong girl who is also kind hearted and fiercely loyal whilst having believable human weaknesses too. Most of the time she has lots of common sense but she also has an impetuous nature so instead of steering away from the danger she faces, she wants to jump right into the action to wield her sword along with the men whilst feeling like a nervous wreck inside. She is the kind of girl who refuses to ride sidesaddle on a horse and is prepared to scale a high castle wall to rescue her sister. This makes the plot a whole lot more adventurous but leads Gabi into a lot of trouble too. Yet even when times got tough, she stuck them out resiliently and was determined to find her sister Lia. I loved having her as narrator because her inner monologue is witty at times and gave a good insight into how she felt travelling unexpectedly back in time.

But where’s a leading lady without her handsome hero? Cue the handsome and chivalrous Knights by her side that are willing to die to protect her. The romance was so adorable and I was cheering for Gabi and her chosen man all the way despite the challenges because they were just born for each other. If there’s any love that can transcend through time, than it’s definitely the one to be found in this book.

There was also whole cast of well written and memorable secondary characters such as Marcello’s flirtatious and easy going cousin Luca, Gabi’s sister Lia who has great talent with a bow and arrow and Marcello’s back stabbing prospective fiancĂ©e Lady Rossi. Their convincing characteristics and differing complex personalities were part of what made the book really come alive for me because I truly cared about what happened to them. I particularly loved the main male characters because they were all such genuinely honest, kind and chivalrous gentlemen who put men of our century to shame.

The plot swept me in with adventure, political intrigue, passion and page turning excitement. I liked how other plot elements weren’t sacrificed because the pages were filled with both suspenseful and heart stopping action as well as great character development and interactions, which is often hard to find together in YA. It was amusing to read how Gabi slowly tried to adjust to being in the fourteen century at the beginning with lots of embarrassing mistakes and enthralling to watch epic fight-to-the-death battles play out in my mind later on.  With so many elements of the plot, it might sound chaotic but it all slots together smoothly and everything comes together really well. 

I’m unsure how accurate the historical detail in the book is, but to me it was a convincing setting and I wouldn’t care if it wasn’t based on truth at all!I’ve loved Italy since my visit there last year, it was really interesting to read about how it might have been centuries ago from Tuscany and Castle Forelli to the political warfare.

Whilst it is classified as Christian fiction, I don’t think this will bother anyone who is not a fan of this genre because the Christian content is minimal and involves Gabi starting to wonder about God and some other short prayers by the people of the time. Don’t let the genre label put you off because it’s hardly noticeable in a historical setting where religion would have played an important part for the people then anyway. For me as a Christian, it was nice to see these elements included but I would have enjoyed Waterfall just as much if they hadn't been there.

Verdict: Waterfall is the kind of book that you can completely lose yourself in and it reminded me of why I love historical fiction so much. It’s the best YA debut I’ve read and I can't wait to get started on the newly released Cascade and the third in the series Torrent when it is released later in the year. I would especially recommend it to fans of historical romance but I think it’s one of those books that fans of every genre will be able to enjoy. Give it a try but be prepared to become addicted!

Rating: 5 stars

Monday, 20 June 2011

UPDATE: Extending my blogoversary giveaway for a week!


Hey everyone! This is a quick update to let you know that I have decided to extend my blogoversary giveaway until next Sunday (26/6) so if you haven't yet entered, this is your chance to do so. It's international if you live in a country that the Book Depository deliver to and there are 10 fabulous books that the winner can choose from. 

To find out more and to see the books the winner can choose from, visit the giveaway post HERE! Thank you to everyone who has already entered and to those who have helped by spreading the word- I really appreciate it  =)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors Trailer


Publisher description for Mad Love:

As the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life for sixteen-year-old Alice Amorous should be pretty good. But ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness, Alice has been forced to maintain a brave front--lying to her new crush, Tony, answering fan letters, forging her mother's signature, telling the publisher that all is well. Now time is running out and so is their money. The next book is overdue and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs to deliver a new novel for her mother--and she needs to come up with one fast. That's when she meets Errol, a strange guy claiming to be Cupid, who insists that Alice must write about his tragic romance with Psyche--the greatest love story of all time. Only, Alice doesn't believe in Cupid....

I found this trailer for Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors on You Tube and although I don't always like book trailers, this one seemed to fit with the book quite well! The only thing I'm not so sure about is girl's voice because it's a bit expressionless but I'd recommend watching it to all those who are interested in reading the book. Enjoy =)


I also found a video of Suzanne Selfors reading an extract from Mad Love and it's one of my favourite extracts from the book so it's also worth a watch!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Book Review: Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors

Amazon description:

When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother-and she needs one fast.


That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth-that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.

Review

Alice Amarous the only daughter of a famous romance novel author is left to deal with her mother’s affairs when she is taken into a mental illness hospital because of her bipolar disorder, which leads to bouts of depression. The problem is no one apart from a few close friends know where her mother is, including the loyal fans of her books so Alice is forced to spin a web of lies in an attempt to keep the secret hidden including signing her mum’s books and even planning to write her next book that the publishes are demanding. If this isn’t enough stress to deal with, she meets a guy called Errol who thinks he’s Cupid and wants her to write the story of his life....

Alice is a very strong character and responsible with a fighting instinct because I’m sure many young girls facing the tough situations she was going through wouldn’t have been able to cope on their own as she did. Whilst being mature and independent might make her sound like a boring character, she also has a fun loving nature and a sense of humour that shines through. She seemed a realistic teenage girl with problems that she has to deal with and a real loyalty to her family so I was able to sympathise with her easily. I loved her relationship with  her crush Tony, the hot and adorable guy that she watches skate past her window every morning and their slowly budding romance uplifted the story by making it lighter hearted. There isn't much focus on this and I wish there had been more scenes including Alice and Tony featuring him as a more prominent character but Alice has a lot going on in her life so I understand why there wasn't.

There are several well written secondary characters in the story such as her friendly neighbours Mrs Bbot, Reverend Ruttles and Archibald who are always looking out for Alice’s well being and trying to help her in any way possible. Each of them bought something different to the story. Errol (Cupid) plays a big part in the book and his story is sad although I found his character very weird and creepy when I think he was meant to be portrayed as a bit of a mysterious sexy bad boy. The granddaughter of her neighbour Mrs Bobot called Realm was a particularly interesting character because she had a lot of self esteem issues and felt that she wasn't accepted or loved by her parents. She wasn't a very likable character but I'm glad she was a part of the story all the same.

Considering the bright pink cover adorned in hearts, you would have to be forgiven for thinking Mad Love is just a fluffy and cute romance. Whilst it does have elements of this, it surprised me that it has a much darker and deeper side to it too because it deals with mental illness and more specifically bipolar disorder. I thought that the author handled this really well because it was dealt with sensitively and formed a major part of the plot without weighing it down too much because it's still a fun book despite this. I know someone with bipolar disorder so it was interesting to find out more about the condition and I think others fascinated by mental illness and depression will like this aspect of the book.

This is the first Suzanne Selfor's book I've read and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised about her writing and humour! The book grew on me the more I read of it and although I didn't know that much about the myth of Cupid and Physche before, I enjoyed learning about it and liked the different take on Cupid from the chubby cherub baby with the bow and arrow we all picture him as.

Verdict: Mad Love takes the classic mythological God Cupid and spins a unique and cute story around it that deals sensitively with issues such as bipolar disorder whilst remaining humorous and fun at the same time.  I really enjoyed it and it a great book to add to your summer reading list!

Rating: 3.5

To  find out more about Suzanne Selfors, visit her website here!

Suzanne Selfors

Thank you to Bloomsbury for providing me with a review copy of Mad Love in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Crossed by Allie Condie


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme held at Breaking The Spine where bloggers feature books they are eagerly anticipating!

My pick this week is:


Crossed by Allie Condie

Goodreads description

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Why I want to read it:

I read and enjoyed the first book in this dystpian series Matched last year so I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next in the story even if it isn't my favourite dystopian book. I'm hoping that Cassia and Kai's relationship will develop and they'll be less 'love-triangling' as she goes in search of him across the border.

I love how they've designed the cover similarly to Matched but with the girl breaking out of the sphere because it represents her character development. Such a clever idea!

Crossed will be released on November 11th this year so still quite a long time to wait!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Book Review: Precious Norman Honour by A.L Stumo

Publisher: Kathmirrid Press
Release Date: April 2011
Rating: 2 stars- okay
Source: Review copy from author (thank you)

Goodreads description:
Maud has always found that running errands and being helpful lets her go wherever the action is happening and wins the approval of her parents. But now that the castle is under siege by their own king, all that she knew is mixed up.


She cannot go run errands outside, she cannot even see outside, and her parents only want her to sit still and be safe. Maud longs to see the army outside and make this siege come to a happy end so that her life with her friends and family can return to normal. But can her life ever be normal again? Will she even be alive after this siege?Based on an actual siege in 12th century England, "Precious Norman Honor" is Maud's tale of conflicted loyalties, climbing attempts, and confinement.

Review:

The Medieval castle that eleven year old Maud lives in is under siege and instead of being able to run errands or play outside the castle, she must stay within the confinements of the castle walls to wait in safety. On the hill outside the castle, the King's army is gathering but Maud's father has been ordered by the Earl to keep the gates closed until he arrives with a larger army. The problem is that Maud wants to be in the centre of the action but she cannot even climb the watch tower to see the army that is trapping them because of fears of danger.......

Maud is the narrator throughout the book and it is through her eyes that the unfolding story is told as she begins to fear for her safety, question her father's judgement, despairs at being cooped up and longs to catch a glimpse of the King's army gathered outside. The author captured the thoughts of an eleven year old well and a middle grade audience will be able to relate to her character easily and see that despite Maud living in the 12th century she still has the same feelings and emotions as any child growing into a young women today.  The problem that I found with having Maud as the narrator is that because she is a girl she cannot see what is going on outside and is kept in a routine of helping with chores around the castle such as weaving, weeding and chopping vegetables in the kitchen. Whilst this is probably accurate of the life of a young girl at the time, it became dull and repetitive after a time. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if their had been a male leading role too such as a dual narration or a close friend of Maud's because a boy would know what was going on outside the castle and be able to see the King's army.

I was excited to hear that this book is based on a real 12th century siege in Bridgnorth because I hadn't read a book about a siege before so I was looking forward to finding out more about what happened in them. The history included in the story bought life in a Medieval castle to life and I found the laws of a siege and the loyalties between different people fascinating.

The anxious and frantic emotions of the inhabitants of the castle was expressed well in the writing and there was some clever imagery used in the book but I would have liked to have seen more description so I could imagine the castle and main characters in my head better.

Whilst the history was interesting and the premise very promising, halfway through the book I found myself gradually losing interest in the story because there wasn't enough action in the plot to satisfy me. I wished for a devastating and heart pounding battle that would really grip me and turn the page to find out what happens next page. Instead the main plot drive was Maud and her best friend Rowena's constant attempts to climb the castle watch tower's ladder in order to see the King's army. The first ladder climbing antics of the girls were amusing but after a while they became boring and annoying when nothing else significant was happening. The things that kept me reading was the threat of the castle running out of food and clean water, fears of sickness and wanting to find out how the siege would end.

Verdict: Precious Norman Honor captures the thoughts and feelings of a nine girl old girl trapped in a besieged castle fantastically and life in a Medieval castle was painted well through the main character's eyes but the rather bland plot let the book down. I think middle grade readers who like history will enjoy this book the most but if you are looking for an action packed story then this isn't the book for you.

If you're interested in reading Precious Norman Honor then make sure you check out the book's website here, where you can find out more information on the characters, setting and read an extract. You can also enter a Goodreads giveaway for the book here.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The commenting problem continues and (amended) please help solve!




Hey everyone! I just want to let you that my Blogger commenting problem still hasn't been fixed even though the Blogger help page says the commenting blip has been solved. I know I'm not the only one battling with Blogger probelms too.  So if I'm usually a regular commenter on your blog but I haven't posted it recently or don't visit back in a meme post then that's the reason why- I apologise. I am still reading your posts! It's very annoying :(

I have figured out a way that I can comment on blogs without being signed in but only if a blog has the name/url commenting setting turned on. The only problem is that you can't turn that setting on separately from allowing anonymous commenters too, which could possibly mean spam. If you are willing to turn this option on (Blogger's spam catcher catches all my spam comments) in your blog settings then I- and other people experiencing the problem- would be very grateful but I totally understand if not. didn't have this setting turned on before this problem either in case of spam! However to do this, go to the settings panel in your Blogger dashboard and check the 'anyone can comment' box.

For the meantime please bear with me while I try to find a solution and I'll let you know if it gets fixed. If anyone else experienced the same problem and got it fixed, I'd be grateful to hear!




 
Thank you to some brilliant advice from Joanne at Slice Of Life , I've now found a solution to the problem- thank you very much Joanne! This is where my plea comes in.



 I can comment on blogs that have 'full page' or 'pop up' commenting enabled in the comment settings in the settings tab of the Blogger dashboard. So I -and I'm sure all the other people experiencing the same problem- would be extremely grateful if other bloggers enabled this option on their blog in order that everyone can comment until the problem is fixed. Thank you so much if you do decide to this or spread the word- I really appreciate it!

Stephanie <3