Wednesday 27 June 2012


I wanted just to write a quick note and let everybody know that I'm still around. For the past couple of weeks I've been dealing with a pretty trying family crisis, so I haven't thought much about blogging or focusing on reading. Thankfully, though, things seem to be on the up at the moment so I'll be back to full speed before long. :)

Thanks to those that have beared with me! I really appreciate your patience.

As they say... c'est la vie!

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Guest Post: Elisabeth Wheatley, author of the Argetallam Series

Welcome to Elisabeth Wheatley! Elisabeth's the sixteen year old author of the Argetallam series, published by Chengalera Press, and she’s here to talk about her life as a young writer.

I’ve always had an active imagination. When I was little, my mother used to take me and my brother to our local library for “story time.” The library was then in an old brick building and there were cracks near the ceiling that had been badly patched and looked kind of like holes. One time, my mother told me that that was from where fairies came in and out of the library. I believed her for years.

When I was about six, I wrote (and proudly illustrated) a very short picture book about my dog and pet goat. I put it together with duct tape and since I couldn’t spell my goat’s name—Count—I wrote “123” instead. Not too long ago we found it again. My brother thought it hilarious.

I was about eleven when I created the world that would eventually be home to my Argetallam Saga. I jotted down unnumbered story beginnings on paper, but never finished a manuscript until after I got an old laptop for Christmas one year. Once I had my computer (which I affectionately christened “Sonya”), there was nothing stopping me from staying locked up in my room late at night while my fingers whirred over the keyboard.

There have been enough times where I didn’t get schoolwork done on time because my mind was far, far away in my imaginary world. My dear mother, otherwise so patient and encouraging, has had to take away my computer three times so that I would catch up on my math assignments (I kept count because I practically went into writing-withdrawal when it happened). Since we live in the middle of nowhere, with no internet connection to our house and all my friends miles away in the city, I got into the habit of getting up at 5:00 in the morning to get my work done so that I could spend the rest of the day writing.

I’ve found that the best way to balance writing and being a high school student is to make a schedule. I’ll formulate a schedule, keep it for a few weeks or months, get sick of it, and make a new one. (I easily suffer from schedule fatigue and get bored.) I rarely talk to my friends on the phone. I usually text or email them and they have learned not to take it as an insult when I don’t want to talk. They know I’m usually working out some scene, plot twist, or other story issue and they indulge me.

Besides, who really cares about some celebrity’s love life or school work when there’s a fight scene to be written? To be honest, I often daydream during class and start thinking about wizards, elves, mythology, and—my very own creations—Argetallams. How can grammar compete with that?

In short, I love writing. To me it’s as basic as breathing and I don’t intend to stop any time soon.


If you would like to find out more about the Argetallam series and purchase a copy, visit Elisabeth’s website here.

Monday 18 June 2012

Quote of the Week

“Never, never, never, never ever give up!”
- Winston Churchill

Happy Blog Birthday!

Whoopee! My blog turned one whole year old on the 16th! Okay, so the first post that there's an actual record of was made on the 20th, but that's only because for some rather silly reason I decided to delete the one that came before it ages ago.

Anyway, I just want to thank everyone who's visited my blog so far, who's followed, and who enjoys reading what I have to say. It's been a fantastic year and I'm looking forward to discovering and sharing some more amazing books for a long, long time.

Life Between Pages is, without doubt, my rock... my much needed catharsis.

Monday 11 June 2012

Quote of the Week

Wheat Field with Rising Sun -- 1889 -- Van Gogh

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
- Vincent Van Gogh

Sunday 10 June 2012

Review: Taste by Kate Evangelista

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.
When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud. (via Goodreads)

I've been looking forward to reading Taste ever since Kate announced that it would finally be published. I knew she’d been posting chapters of the book on her blog and had been going through the whole process of sending it to publishing houses, so I was incredibly excited when it finally became a reality for her. She's very eloquent on her blog; why expect anything else from Taste?

There’s always large risk involved when writing fantasy novels: how can you create an alluring species, intriguing alternative world, and captivating storyline without it being full of clichés and/or inconsistencies? A challenge, indeed, though it seems to have paid off for Kate. Don’t expect any vampires or warewolves here – they aren’t the ‘tasters’. Instead, there are Zhamvy. Stunning in appearance like those Twilight vamps we know so well, but they’re not undead and they don’t live amongst humans. The main plot involves a love triangle, nothing out-of-the-ordinary there either, but because Kate has created such stable surroundings for the characters the story blooms into its own, catering to reader’s needs with some awesome twists and turns.

There were, however, some parts that I would’ve changed. Though fundamentally well-written from the perspective of the main character, Phoenix, I thought that the story as a whole might've been more effective if it were written in the present instead of past tense. Present tense is more immediate, and with the fast pace of the story it could have provided better flow. Also, there were parts of the dialogue which didn’t seem ‘snappy’ enough, for example a character would occasionally communicate information that had already been implied by the narrative.

But you could argue that those are just technicalities. Altogether, Taste is a well-executed and highly imaginative young adult novel. If you’re into fantasy romances but are growing jaded of the same old species’, this fun and endearing tale might just be what you’re looking for.

Rating: 4 / 5

To learn more about Kate, visit her blog. You can also purchase a copy of Taste for your Kindle by clicking here.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Armchair BEA 2012: Day two – best of 2012

Today, I've chosen to share with you some of the books that I've enjoyed reading these last six months, and also a selection of intriguing titles being promoted at BEA which I hope to pick up in future. I might even request some from Edelweiss or NetGalley after this! There will never be a shortage of books to read will there? But, hey, I'm not complaining!

Favourite reads of 2012
It's funny going back through my reviews and finding which books I enjoyed and others which I didn't. Between February and April, I must've gone through a significant lull because hardly anything managed to get over 3.5 stars! That was until a particular trilogy ignited some kind of spark. And you can probably guess which one I'm talking about...

Stones for my Father by Trilby Kent
Reviewed on 9th January
This is a beautiful and heart-wrenching story about the life of a South African family during the Boer War, told from the perspective of a young girl. I also have an interview with the author here.

The Good Witch of the West by Noriko Ogiwara
Reviewed on 10 February
A very cute manga about a teenager who finds out she is an heir to not only a throne, but also some vast magical powers!

The Fifty Shades trilogy by E.L. James
Reviewed on 23rd April
The books that turned my world upside down! We all should pretty much know the basic premise by now: girl meets boy, boy seduces girl, girl gets big *cough* surprise...

A Good Year by Peter Mayle
Reviewed on 14th May
Washed up London businessman inherits his uncle's vineyard in the south of France and starts to plan a new life. Easy, artful escapism!

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Reviewed on 20th May
Sophie Kinsella's books are always such fun and this one's no different! Poppy Wyatt loses her engagement ring and mobile phone in one fell swoop. Then she finds another phone in a hotel lobby bin and, assuming the saying 'finders keepers' applies, claims it as her own...

Notable books promoted at BEA
Of course, I haven't had the time to browse the entire catalogue of BEA promoted books, but here are a few that have caught my attention. All the synopsis' are from the Edelweiss website.

Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd
From bestselling author Tracy Kidder and Atlantic editor Richard Todd comes an essential, elegant book about writing-an account of what good prose is, and how it is created, and an account of lessons learned by both writer and editor after forty years of working together.

The Barbarian Nurseries: A Novel by Héctor Tobar 
Scott and Maureen Torres-Thompson have always relied on others to run their Orange County home. But when bad investments crater their bank account, it all comes down to Araceli: their somewhat prickly Mexican maid. One night, an argument between the couple turns physical, and a misunderstanding leaves the Torres-Thompson children in Araceli’s care. Their parents unreachable, she takes them to central Los Angeles in the hopes of finding Scott’s estranged Mexican father—an earnest quest that soon becomes a colossal misadventure, with consequences that ripple through every strata of the sprawling city.

The Pigeon Pie Mystery: A Novel by Julia Stuart
When Indian Princess Alexandrina is left penniless by the sudden death of her father, the Maharaja of Brindor, Queen Victoria grants her a grace-and-favor home in Hampton Court Palace. Though rumored to be haunted, Alexandrina and her lady's maid, Pooki, have no choice but to take the Queen up on her offer. Aside from the ghost sightings, Hampton Court doesn't seem so bad. The princess is soon befriended by three eccentric widows who invite her to a picnic with all the palace's inhabitants, for which Pooki bakes a pigeon pie. But when General-Major Bagshot dies after eating said pie, and the coroner finds traces of arsenic in his body, Pooki becomes the #1 suspect in a murder investigation.

Monday 4 June 2012

Armchair BEA 2012: Day one – introductions

If you're a book blogger who can't attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention in New York this June (June 4 - 8, 2012), you don't have to miss all the fun - this virtual convention is the place to be!

Forgive me for being late to the game! I only found out about this event today and it seems like too good an opportunity to pass up. I'd love to attend conference in New York and really hope I can next year (if finances allow... fingers crossed!) But, for now, I'll just go ahead and take part in this awesome online version.

Today is the first day of the conference, and with that comes the blogger introduction interview. Check out my answers below.

  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
    Well. Er, hello! *waves awkwardly*
    I'm Sophie, my legal age is 26 years old, my mental age 18, and I'm from the UK. I've been blogging almost a year now, and I began doing so for a number of reasons.
    Firstly, being a literature student, I didn't think I was reading nearly as frequently as I ought to be. Writing my own reviews and posting them in a personal space, not just on Amazon, seemed like a very good motivator.
    Secondly, I was hoping that blogging would encourage a positive improvement in my writing. Like with reading, I hadn't written much outside of academia or my personal journals. A year on I definitely see more consistency in my style, though I know I have a long way to go.
    Lastly, and I won't beat around the bush when I say this, I want a career in publishing someday and I'm hoping that my blog may, somehow, contribute to this future.
  2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?
    Right now I'm reading Taste by my sister-in-arms Kate Evangelista. My favourite book(s) of the year so far have to be the Fifty Shades books! Yup, I know, I was only supposed to give one but there's no way I could choose between them!
  3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
    Last year, I cried really hard during the Royal Wedding. Oh, and I'm really random. But that's two things. Also, I tend to natter. That's three.
  4. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
    It's no masterpiece, but my short post about the demise of the bookstore has its moments. Also, I didn't really write anything (unless you count the questions I asked her), but I was pretty psyched when I got to take part in this Google Hangout with E L James back in April.
  5. Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?
    I think I've become much more open minded about what I read. Before I started blogging, I used to mostly stick to chick lit, classics, literary fiction, maybe the odd young adult novel and fantasy novel. Now I include crime, thrillers, romance, biography and I've begun reading non-fiction as well. Though, I must say, I can't ever see myself reading horror!

Quote of the Week

“I'm an introvert... I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky.”
- Audrey Hepburn

Sunday 3 June 2012

Review: Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment. (via Goodreads

Apart from the seemingly obvious, I don't know much about the paparazzi and, unless you count the gossip websites, magazines and newspapers they contribute to (I might've read... ahem... one or two in the past), I've certainly never read any books in which they feature. So when Shooting Stars appeared in my inbox, I couldn't resist the chance to add it to my reading list.

With that said, I’ve always had my hang-ups about the paparazzi. We’ve all got preconceived ideas about them, right? A lot of us think they’re scumbags who take unflattering, highly intrusive photos of famous people just to make some money off this fascination the world seems to have with celebrity. And, when I started reading Shooting Stars, these are some of the thoughts I brought with me.

So, you can imagine having this in mind, I wasn’t in the best position to enjoy it. But, as I read on, I found a whole bunch of layers which made it easy to capture my interest. There are many unexpected twists and turns and some excellent, yet subtle and non-preachy, moral points. The main message of the book seems to be accepting yourself for who you are, along with accepting others too. And, through the main character's lives, this is well achieved . I even found that with some of the perspective provided by Jo, my opinion of the paparazzi softened towards the end.

Though it was a little too lightweight for me personally, Shooting Stars is a fun and feisty read. If you’re looking for a good summer book within the young adult genre, I’d definitely recommend this.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

To learn more about Allison and her books, visit her website here. You can also buy your own copy at The Book Depository.

Saturday 2 June 2012

Ta da! MAY Month Giveaway Bonanza ~ the winners!

A huge thank you to everyone who entered my big ol' May giveaway! There were over 1,500 entries which is pretty damn awesome.

If you find your name on the following list, congratulations!

You should have also been sent an email from to confirm that you're one of the winners, so make sure to check both your inbox and junk mail folders.

When you've recieved the email, please reply in order to claim your prize. You've got ten days to do so before the prize is thrown back into the hat and another winner is selected!

And the winners are...

1 x US$10 towards any choice of books from The Book Depository –––– Janiera Eldridge
2 x paperback copies of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (one for each winner) –––– Terri Dion and Zyn Villanueva
1 x paperback copy of Complete Novels of Jane Austen –––– Fiery Na
1 x paperback copy of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien –––– Amy Lee Sanders
1 x eBook copy of Taste by Kate Evangelista –––– Brittany
2 x Glass bead bracelets (handmade by me!) and vintage postcards (one for each winner) –––– Petra and Amy Cartmell Ermie

So there you have it! Congratulations, guys! Apologies to those who missed out this time – I do honestly wish I could give prizes to all of you. I'm sure this won't be my last giveaway, though, so keep checking in! :)