Waiting on Wednesday #47

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

A moving new middle-grade novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES.

When Lucy’s family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera’s lens, as her father has taught her — he’s a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he’s judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special — or only good enough.

As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn’t want to see: his grandmother’s memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own.

Half a Chance looks like a fun summer book. And about photography too! Sold.         

Due to be released by Scholastic in February 2014.

 What are you looking forward to this week?  Please share your WoW in the comments!

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Book Review: The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of ThirdsThe Rule of Thirds

by Chantel Guertin

Published: October 2013 by ECW Press

Version: Ebook from publisher and Netgalley (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

Sixteen-year-old Pippa Greene never goes anywhere without her camera. She and her best friend/supermodel-in-training Dace long ago mapped out their life plan: Pippa will be the noted fashion photographer, and Dace the cover girl. But ever since last spring, things have changed for Pippa—and her junior year at Spalding High proves to have its own set of challenges. Not only is Vantage Point, the statewide photography competition, in three short weeks, but her mandatory volunteering placement lands her at St. Christopher’s Hospital, a place Pippa never wanted to set foot in again. With humor and pluck, she navigates her new role as a candy striper (watch out for Code Yellows), her changing relationship with her best friend (goodbye, Honesty Pact), and—perhaps most stressful of all—her new love interests (yes, love interests plural). Will Pippa make it to Vantage Point without having a panic attack? Will either one of the guys prove less sketchy than her last boyfriend? Can she and Dace figure out a way to dream big and be best friends? One thing is certain: real life is a lot more complicated than a photograph.

I would love to be good at photography. I did have an SLR camera at one point, but I was too lazy to carry it anywhere (it was massive). My digital camera suits me just fine, but after a year I still have no idea how to use most of its features, and I use it way less than I would like to. So straight away I relate to Pippa, who has the confidence to photograph pretty much anything, and quite often has a camera slung round her neck.

Overall I quite liked Pippa. She had a lot of emotions to deal with, and I think it gave her character depth. I didn’t really have any preference for any of the side characters though- her best friend or the love interests. So it did kinda turn into a one man show for me. That being said, the hospital and photography elements really made the story unique from other contemporaries. 

I felt that the book could’ve done with a sequel or a suitable epilogue. There was a character that never really got any punishment or bad karma for their wrongdoing, and I would’ve liked to see that happen. I also felt that there were more adventures in store for Pippa, but that also shows how much I liked her as a character.

A fun contemporary that also contains heartbreak and sadness, I really enjoyed A Rule of Thirds. The photography element is what really made it special for me. 4 sofas!

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Letterbox Love #37

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

I was good this week and didn’t buy any books 🙂 

Received for Review:     

Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

Thanks to Harper 360 for sending over this gorgeous hardback!

Gifted: 

The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

When I said that I had never read a Sarah Rees Brennan novel, my lovely friend Caitlin offered to buy me one. So thanks very much to Caitlin for this!  

What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Book Review: Pirouette

PirouettePirouette

by Robyn Bavati

Published: 8 November 2013 by Flux

Version: Ebook from publisher and Netgalley (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 3 sofas

Adopted as babies by two different families, Simone and Hannah have never known they are identical twins. Simone has been raised as a dancer, but she hates performing. Hannah loves nothing more than dance, but her parents see it as just a hobby. When the two girls meet for the first time at the age of fifteen, they decide to swap places to change the role dance plays in their lives. Yet fooling their friends and family is more challenging than either girl expected, and they’re both burdened by the weight of their lies.

How long can Hannah and Simone keep pretending? What will happen when the truth is revealed?

I selected this book to read because it looked like a fun middle grade. I enjoy books and films about dancing, so this certainly sounded like a book for me.

From the blurb alone it is obvious the similarities between this and the well known film The Parent Trap (and the lesser known It Takes Two). Basically where twins are separated at birth, meet at some sort of summer camp and decide to swap lives. As a side note, I never really understood how summer camps work and how children get sent away from the parents for basically the whole summer?! Is this just an American thing? Or just something they like to emphasise in books and films? 

In an ironic way, Simone has rich parents who enroll her in a special dancing academy and push her to dance at every opportunity, but she doesn’t enjoy it. Hannah’s parents would rather she focus on her studies, but her heart is in dancing. Unfortunately she is restricted to dancing as a hobby; only after school and weekends. 

By some stroke of luck they both end up at a dancing summer camp. After conspiring they decide that Hannah should pretend to be Simone so she can join advanced classes, and tell the camp that Hannah is no longer coming so that Simone can have some time off from dancing. Both characters are equally likeable, with Hannah growing in confidence as a performer and someone with natural talent. Simone, on the other hand, is a little spoilt, and instead finds her feet in happiness away from dancing. 

However, it becomes complicated when they decide to continue their switch back home, so Hannah can attend the dancing academy and Simone can spend her time reading. But how will they adjust to life away from their family? And it becomes even more complicated when boys become involved….

Pirouette was a fun read that I sped through. It was predictable but it really showed how we take things for granted sometimes, and what it would be like to live someone else’s life. Definitely recommended for younger dancing fans; 3 sofas! 

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Waiting on Wednesday #46

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Threatened

Into the jungle. Into the wild. Into harm’s way.

When he was a boy, Luc’s mother would warn him about the “mock men” living in the trees by their home — chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night.

Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn’t mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job.

Together, Luc and Prof head into the rough, dangerous jungle in order to study the elusive chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family — and must act when that family comes under attack.

As he did in his acclaimed novel Endangered, a finalist for the National Book Award, Eliot Schrefer takes us somewhere fiction rarely goes, introducing us to characters we rarely get to meet. The unforgettable result is the story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all. 

MONKEYS! I bought one of Eliot’s books earlier in the year and STILL haven’t read it, but I hope to rectify that soon. Anything involving apes immediately goes on my TBR, and Threatened is no different.        

Due to be released by Scholastic in February 2014.

 What are you looking forward to this week?  Please share your WoW in the comments!

Book Review: Speechless

SpeechlessSpeechless

by Hannah Harrington

Published: September 2012 by Mira Ink

Version: Ebook from publisher and Netgalley (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4.5 sofas

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

I was excited to read this as I have heard nothing but good things about it. The idea seemed pretty simple; a loudmouth girl whose outbursts had serious consequences decides to take a vow of silence.

However, the story runs much deeper than that. It explores as teenagers (and adults) how easy it is to give into peer pressure. And how we convince ourselves that things we say or do aren’t really *that* bad. This book turns that all on a head, and shows that actually the little things can have dire results. And even if we might not remember it, something we say or do can have a profound effect on someone else, and therefore we should really think before we act.

The idea of taking a vow of silence baffles me. Obviously it would be totally impractical in a working day, but it is such a powerful notion in this book. It really highlights how much we rely on our voice, and different ways of expressing it. 

Although this book focusses on silence, ironically, it is also about speaking out. Chelsea is an easy target because she can’t really fight back. But does this allow her to be bullied?

Ultimately Speechless is about Chelsea’s journey of self discovery. Learning that being cool or popular doesn’t always equate with being happy. You should never have to be horrible to someone or hide your true self in order to gain friends. Asha is the personification of this; she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. And if that means she is ignored or bullied by the ‘popular’ group, then thats okay because she is true to herself.

I fell in love with Speechless. I adore issue books and this one certainly did not disappoint. It hit me a lot deeper than I expected, with the writing both emotional and beautiful. Perfect for any teenagers, it highlights the importance of standing up for yourself and not following the crowd. Highly recommended; 4.5 sofas!  

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Letterbox Love #36

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

I have a sole book this week so no vlog to show you. The book deserves a post though!  

P1060919      

Bought:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Eee! This is a signed copy purchased through Waterstones. Such an emotional book, I needed my own copy. 

P1060921

What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile?  I’d love to hear from you!