North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

North of Beautiful

North of Beautiful by Justina

North of Beautiful was an emotional roller coaster for me. The main character, Terra, has a Port Wine Stain birthmark on her face identical to the one my daughter has on hers. While I have come to terms with this and my beautiful daughter is so confident and bubbly that it is hardly ever noticed, I did go through heartache in her early years and this came back to me in a flood as I read this story.

Having said this, and taking all the emotion into consideration, I can still say this book is fantastic. Beautifully written, Terra’s journey negotiating difficult awful family circumstances while discovering acceptance, friendship, love, joy, adventure and ultimately herself was both engaging and inspirational.

Best of all, this book introduced me to my new hobby, geocaching, which, unlike reading, I can actually share with my family.5 Star

Recommended age: 13 +

North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Publication Date: 6 January 2009North of Beautiful
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Purchased

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It’s hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She’s tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably “flawed” face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob’s path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?  – Extract from

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity cropCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


Wow! An amazing book! I wish I could start at the beginning again…

Courage, despair, deviousness, courage, manipulation, treachery, betrayal, courage and did I say courage… unbelievable courage.

In the first half of the book we get to know the background story of the two main characters and their various paths that led to the fateful journey into Occupied France. At this stage of the story I was enjoying it, but not really feeling the ‘wow’ factor. It was during the second half of the book when an unexpected twist turns the story on its head and WOW, did the wow factor hit me hard! I LOVE this book.

I was struck by the extensive research Elizabeth Wein has done not only on the war, but on the lifestyle of the time, giving the story a sense of realism that allowed me to feel as though I was there, witnessing the events as they unfolded.

Code Name Verity has a unique plot that blew me away.

To those who start and feel let down – read on… it’s definitely worth it.5 Star

Recommended age: 14 +

Title: Code Name Verity 
Elizabeth Wein
Publication Date: 6 February 2012Code Name Verity
Publisher: Egmont Press
Source: Purchased

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I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort.  And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two. We are a sensational team.  — Extract from

Movie Trailer: If I Stay

If I Stay movieIf I Stay movie: The movie of If I Stay by Gayle Forman is due to be released on 22 August 2014.

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she’ll ever make. – Extract from

If you loved this book as much as I did you’ll going to want to see the trailer….


The Top Ten YA Book Covers I’d Frame as Art

The Top Ten YA Book Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art

Book covers I’d Fame… I’m a total sucker for beautiful covers and it’s no secret that I frequently choose books based on their cover. This was a tough choice and would probably change from year to year, but right now I love these covers…


Heart 1
The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle
The Edge of Falling
by Rebecca Serle

Amazon  Goodreads

Heart 2

Poisoned Apples
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
by Christine Heppermann

Amazon  Goodreads

Heart 3

The Jewel by Amy Ewing
The Jewel
 by Amy Ewing

Amazon  Goodreads

Heart 4

The Museum of Intangible Things
The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

Amazon  Goodreads

Heart 5

Shatter Me
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Amazon  Goodreads

heart 6

Splintered by A.G. Howard
Splintered by A.G. Howard

Amazon  Goodreads

heart 7

Across the Universe
Across the Universe
 by Beth Revis

Amazon  Goodreads

heart 8

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr Amazon  Goodreads

heart 9

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen 

Amazon  Goodreads

heart 10

Slated by Teri Terry

Amazon  Goodreads

Which book covers do you think are beautiful enough to frame?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish at

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Children’s Book Review

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

False prince crop

This brilliant book was captivating from the very first page. Despite being a little predictable the story flowed beautifully and I found I could not put it down.

This is a popular book in our school library!

4 Star

Recommended age 10 +

The False Prince
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy – Book 1
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publication Date: 1 April 2012False Prince
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Purchased

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In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a run-down orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together. –Extract from

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