Tuesday 31 August 2010

Radiance by Alyson Noel

For Review: Square Fish. Published 31 August 2010
From Goodreads: Riley Bloom left her sister, Ever, in the world of the living and crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. Riley and her dog, Buttercup, have been reunited with her parents and are just settling into a nice, relaxing death when she's summoned before The Council. They let her in on a secret—the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure; Riley has to work. She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a curious boy she can't quite figure out.

Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup return to earth for her first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But he's never met Riley...

Riley was one of my favourite characters in Evermore so I was really pleased when I heard she would centre in this spin off series. Taking place after the events of Evermore we join Riley in the 'Here and Now' where she is made a Soul Catcher. Provided with a guide – Bodhi (aka Dorky Guy) – and joined by her dog buttercup, Riley returns to earth for her first assignment as a soul catcher.

I really enjoy Riley’s voice – she’s spirited, witty, feisty and very likeable. Bodhi is a very interesting character - I really liked him - and I am looking forward to learning more about him. I especially liked the scenes with him and Riley and thought they had some good chemistry. I kept laughing when she completely forgot he could read her thoughts. Bhodi has a story arc of his own too which I really enjoyed - I think it was possibly the best part of the book for me.

I also really enjoyed the story. There is plenty of action once the characters return to earth and I thought it was a great start to the series. It is a very quick read and although aimed at a younger audience I think older readers would enjoy it too. You don’t need to have read Noel’s Immortal series as this easily works as a standalone – but for those who have it’s great to catch up with Riley again.

I’m really looking forward to the next in the series – there was a sneek peek at the end of my ARC and it sounds completely brilliant. Can’t wait!

Sunday 29 August 2010

In My Mailbox (54)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

For Review:

Immortal Remains by Rook Hastings
Blood Ransom by Sophie Mckenzie
The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Monster High by Lisi Harrison
The Summer That Changed Everything by Ann Brashares
The Daykeeper's Grimoire (Prophecy of Days) by Christy Raedeke
Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan

Hope you've all had a great week:)

Friday 27 August 2010

I want to read that...

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

From Goodreads: Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

I LOVED Twenty Boy Summer (see my review here) so can't wait for this one. I really like the cover too:) It's published 15 December 2010

Thursday 26 August 2010

Guest Post: Cathy Brett

I'm really thrilled to present a guest post from Cathy Brett, the author of Ember Fury and Scarlett Dedd...

Hello. I’m Cathy Brett, author. Mmm. Author? No, it still doesn’t sound right. Exciting? Yes. Thrilling? Obviously. But, it still feels very new and rather absurd to be calling myself an author. An actual, published, professional author. Surely not. But, ‘Hello, I’m Cathy Brett, illustrator?’ That’s better. Well, not better exactly, but more familiar, because I’ve been an illustrator, an artist (or wanted to be one) for as long as I can remember - since I was able to chew the corners of my picture books and hold a crayon. Art is what I do and who I am. Of course, I’ve always loved books and was one of those kids who preferred reading to almost any other occupation - sometimes a book a day in the school holidays! But books with pictures were always my faves. In fact, I was devastated when I first opened a ‘grown-up’ book and saw that there weren’t any. How could this be? They were the best bits! Why would you take away the best bits? Poor adults, I thought, to be so deprived. I wanted to write to the publishers and tell them that ‘Catch 22’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Catcher in the Rye’ were pretty amazing but would be so much cooler if they had some gorgeous drawings in them of Elizabeth and Darcy and Yossarian and Holden.

So, although I entered young-adulthood still loving books, I started to love art more. And design. And movies. And the gorgeous glossy photographs in magazines. My fledgling career as an illustrator took me into the exciting worlds of fashion and advertising and retail. I travelled the world, attended glamorous parties and fashion shows, mixed with creatives and designers and image-makers. It never occurred to me that book publishing was where I’d eventually end up and where I’d finally find my niche as an ‘author’.

Actually, I’d almost forgotten that there were books with pictures, until my fashionable, creative friends started to get preggers and squeeze out rugrats. I began to visit the alien territory of the children’s department of bookshops and flick through page after page of what I now realised were the most brilliant illustration masterpieces. Why hadn’t I noticed them before, I wondered? A whole load of new artists entered my top ten fave list, like Oliver Jeffers, Dave McKean and Chris Riddell. These guys were miles better than those fancy-pants fashion illustrators. And I wanted to be one of them.

That’s when I realised that children’s book illustration meant drawing kids. I know you’re saying to yourself, ‘duh! course it means that, you twit!’ but, I wasn’t really into kids (found them a bit irritating, actually), so drawing them was much more difficult than I thought. But, I learned how, created a few cool characters and even had a go at writing some picture books myself - which were rubbish! Because, what I really wanted to write was the sort of thing I loved to read - teen fiction. You see, I get teenagers. I remember being one... vividly! It was the most intense, horrible, exhilarating, emotional and amazing time of my life. The problem was, although teen fiction was totally awesome, it didn’t have pictures. I wasn’t going to let that stop me!

Fourteen-year-old angry emo, ‘Ember Fury’, popped into one of my dreams and started setting fire to things, so, naturally, when I woke up I drew her. Then Ember’s adventures began to play like a movie in my head and her angsty, roller-coaster-ride-story became a novel, an illustrated novel... but with a difference. Because, not only did I want to create teen fiction with pictures, I also wanted to have fun with the type and the layout, just like in my favourite picture books. Every image and every choice of font had to enhance the story and intensify the emotional experience. I knew my books would have to compete with all the other sources of visual entertainment available to my readers.

I KNOW everyone says books are great because you make up your own pictures, but they used to say that about radio until the telly came along, didn’t they? And in today’s image-filled world where young adults are the most visually sophisticated young adults of all time (having access to awesome TV, movies, animation, computer games, blogs, apps and photo sites like Flicker) it’s simply bonkers not to give them illustrated fiction. And let’s not stop there. With the launch of ebooks and the iPad what’s to stop us having colour, sound, links, animation, videos, games and interactive narratives? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!

So, now that my second (illustrated teen) book, ‘Scarlett Dedd’, is being published and I’m working on my third and fourth, I suppose I’d better get used to being Cathy Brett, author. But add the word ‘illustrator’ as well, because that’s what I am and have always been.

Thanks Cathy! You can check out Cathy Brett's website here. My review of Scarlett Dedd is here - which includes a chance to win a copy of the book:)

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Review and Giveaway: Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett.

For review: Headline. Published 2 September 2010
From Goodreads: You're dead Scarlett...Previously a poor taste jibe from school frenemies, now a statement of fact. Scarlett is absolutely mortified (in more ways than one) to discover that she's accidentally killed herself while trying to get out of a school trip. Even worse, she's taken her entire family with her. Life as a ghost is pretty dull - if only some of her friends were dead too...

When Scarlett accidentally kills herself and her whole family in a botched attempt to make herself ill in order to avoid a week long school trip, she finds being dead is a bit lonely! Missing her friends so badly she starts to think it would be a great idea if she could arrange it so they can join her...

I liked how the story was written in third person. This worked well as it meant we get to hear from all the characters - I really liked the banter between her friends as well as Scarlett's interactions with her family. We also get the added bonus of Scarlett's blog - I loved these excerpts and her voice. The story itself was good fun and I loved all the ghostly shenanigans - all superbly brought to life by Brett's wonderful illustrations.

I really love the combination of text and illustrations and think it works extraordinarily well to create a book that is unique and appealing. There is definitely a quirkiness in the overall package, as well as in Cathy Brett's writing that makes this really fun to read. I must say I did get a few strange looks while I was reading pages 164 and 165 and had to turn the book around in circles to read it but I really enjoyed that aspect of it - it made the book feel interactive and a slightly different reading experience.

I'm hoping this might become a series as I would love to catch up with Scarlett again. In the meantime, I think I will have to get myself a copy of Ember Fury to enjoy!

Thanks to Headline I have an extra copy of Scarlett Dedd to giveaway. If you would like to win a copy please fill in the form below. Contest details are below:)

Contest is open to EVERYONE.
You don't need to be a follower of my blog to enter.
Deadline is 31 August 2010.
Prize will be sent out by me.

Good Luck:)


Tuesday 24 August 2010

Day of Deliverance: Review and Interview (Blog Tour)

For review: Templar Publishing. Published 1 June 2010
From Goodreads: The exciting second installment in the Jack Christie adventures.

Jack and Angus’s time travels are heating up again, and this time the boys must save Queen Elizabeth I from an early death. Meeting the playwright Marlowe and a young actor named William Shakespeare along the way, Jack and Angus will have to use all their bravery and skill to thwart their archenemy, Pendleshape, and his misguided notions of changing history.

As many of you will know, I love anything to do with time travel so I had a good idea I would enjoy this one. I think it's a really good series to introduce readers to history in a fun way - there are even added notes on the time period at the end which covers what details were accurate.

I really enjoyed the characters of Jack and Angus and there was some really funny banter between the two. I would have like to have seen more of it as it was really good. There is also plenty of action to keep readers entertained, and although I did find the pace drag a little in parts it soon picked up again and I found myself really excited by the turn of events.

I really liked the way the author incorporated the time travel aspect into the story. It's not just a device to move the story back in time but is a major part of the mythology. We have two sides of a debate - the Revisionists who believe we should change the past to improve the present, and VIGIL who are dedicated to protecting the past and preventing the Revisionists from making any changes. Add in the fact that Jack and his father are on opposing sides and you get a really interesting dynamic.

It's a great idea and a series that would definitely appeal to boys, as well as girls looking for books with adventure. I'm really looking forward to seeing what period in history Jack and Angus travel to next.

Johnny O'Brien also kindly took the time to answer a few of my questions...

How did you come up with the idea for Day of Deliverance?

I wanted to do something Elizabethan – because it is such a fantastic period of history. Not only have you got the great political and religious turmoil of the age but you have this incredible artistic renaissance – Shakespeare, Marlowe and much more besides. It was then a case of looking for a possible historical turning point during the period around which to build the plot and so I came to focus on the Armada – which of course is one of the great stories in European history.

The first book in the series is called Day of the Assassins. Can you tell us more about it?

The Jack Christie books are action stories which have a time travel theme involving our modern heroes (Jack and Angus) in real historical events (like the assassination in Sarajevo in 1914, the defeat of France in 1940, Elizabethan England and the Armada in 1588).

Day of the Assassins is the first in the series and is based just before the First World War. I got the idea when clearing out a cupboard at my Dad’s home in Scotland. It contained all this memorabilia from the First World War - when my Grandfather fought in the Irish Guards. There was all sorts of stuff including uniforms, medals and even a citation from Winston Churchill. My Grandfather was injured in the war and this triggered the idea for the book. Basically, it got me thinking about the choices people make and the consequences that follow – even from quite trivial decisions. This made me think about the causes of the First World War – and the trigger point of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. I wondered what I would have done if I had been there – would I have stopped it and thereby perhaps prevented the war. It was a small jump from that to Jack and Angus – ordinary kids who go back in time and face exactly that choice.

Do you have a favourite character from the books? Or one you particularly enjoyed writing for?

There are loads of different characters in the books. One of my favourites is August Pinckard-Schnell – a mad German balloon pilot who Jack befriends. Here Jack meets the Professor for the first time:

“Jack peered down nervously – he couldn’t believe how far up they had already travelled. Maybe sixty yards, and the wind had already taken them way aft of Dreadnought, which already looked like a toy ship. He could make out the specks of the crew, and all the features of the ship – the guns still pointing starboard in the direction of the targets – and the wide white wake. The unfortunate seaman who had fallen from his tether pole was bobbing around in the water like a champagne cork. He had been thrown a lifebelt – but would have a job to swim to it. Jack slumped back down onto the bottom of the basket. He was panting, and reached into his pocket for his puffer. He glanced up at the balloon observer standing over him. He wore a full-length, weather-beaten, brown leather coat with a high collar. His neck was wrapped in a bright red scarf. The leather skullcap was placed on his head at a slight angle. He pushed up his aviator’s goggles onto his forehead and peered curiously at Jack with piercing blue eyes, as if examining some sort of botanical specimen. Then, he smiled warmly, thrust out his hand and, in a surprisingly high somewhat accented voice, said, “Professor August Pinckard-Schnell… delighted to meet you.”

And a favourite scene?

In ‘Assassins’, Jack, Angus and the Professor are escaping from an Austrian castle in a cable car being chased by baddies. They decide to use the escape hatch to lower themselves from the cable car:

“Suddenly, Jack noticed that the roof hatch in the opposite car had been flicked open. A VIGIL guard was crawling up onto the roof with a grappling iron. In a moment, he had tossed the device over to Jack’s car before crawling, monkey like, across the precipitous divide that separated them. There was a loud scraping on the roof hatch of Jack’s car, as the guard started to prise it open. Jack wasn’t about to find out what would happen next. Swallowing hard, he plunged out through the floor hatch, just as the others had done moments before. Initially, he closed the friction device too hard, so he barely moved on the rope. By gradually loosening it he gained speed. He glanced downwards. The professor and Angus had made it to the ground and both seemed to be safe. Suddenly the speed of the rope through the friction device accelerated. It didn’t feel right. Instinctively, Jack locked the device and waited, swaying in the light wind, suspended from the rope, the Austrian Alps all around. And then, slowly, he felt himself being pulled… up. There was no doubt about it… he was being pulled back towards the cable car. He felt a wave of panic as he realised what was happening. The guard above had started to yank the rope up… with Jack suspended on the end. He had to make a decision. Angus and the professor had made it to the upper bank of the river that meandered down the valley, but as the cable car had continued to move before finally coming to rest, Jack was now suspended directly over the river. It was quite wide and he could spot one or two black pools that might cushion a fall. But there were also rocks, and he had no idea how deep the water was. He felt another violent tug on the rope as he was dragged upwards. The adrenaline gave him a moment of clarity. It was all he needed. As the rope was tugged up once more, he took a deep breath and flicked open the friction device.”

I really enjoyed the historical notes at the end of the book. Did you need to do a lot of research for each book?

Yes – I wanted people to have a great read but also maybe learn something in the process about history, so the notes are to help that. It does take quite a lot of research and you find yourself asking yourself some pretty odd questions:

- Can a 14 year old boy fit in the barrel of a naval battleship gun?
- When was the first cable car built in the Alps?
- Do people really free climb up the Colleges of Cambridge?
- Did heads of state have body doubles in the sixteenth century?
- What kind of beer would you drink in a London pub in 1588?

Are there more books planned for the series?

Absolutely. Day of the Assassins and Day of Deliverance will be followed by Day of Vengeance which is all about the Battle of Britain, defeat of France in 1940, the visit of Hitler to Paris in 1940 (check out you tube for actual footage of this sinister historical event) and the German Vengeance programme. ‘Vengeance’ has just been submitted to the publisher and we have then got a fourth coming out after that – I would welcome ideas for the bit of history Jack and Angus should go to next – because I have no idea!

Who are some of your favourite authors? Are there any books you would recommend?

Apart from ‘How to avoid huge ships’ (1992 – Cornwall Maritime Press)...

Herge for the Tintin series – each one a masterpiece.

This year I have read:

Engleby – Sebastian Faulkes
Two Caravans – Marina Lewycka.
Captain Correlli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
Empire – Niall Ferguson


Thanks Johnny! I'm looking forward to reading more of Angus and Jack's adventures:)

If you want to check out the rest of the tour the links are included below:

August 16th Bookbabblers
August 17th Magic Bean Review
August 18th Marjoelein Bookblog
August 19th The Book Mogul
August 23rd Rhiana Reads
August 25th Teenlibrarian

Monday 23 August 2010

Cover Wars: Hold Still

This is definitely one of those occasions when it is really hard to choose. I love the hardback and it ties in great with the book and the illustrations inside, but I also love the paperback and think it has a very 'adult' look. It certainly wouldn't look out of place in the adult fiction section!

So...nope! I can't choose!


What do you think?

Sunday 22 August 2010

In My Mailbox (53)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

For Review:

Finding Sky by Joss Stirling


...I've given up trying not to buy books!

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin
Immortal by Gillian Shields
Dark Life by Kat Falls

Hope you all had a great week:)

Friday 20 August 2010

TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow

For review: Puffin. Published February 4th 2010
From Goodreads: Liam O'Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2029. Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, 'Take my hand ...' But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren't rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose - to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That's why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world...

I loved the premise behind this book! There is scope for so many different adventures it feels limitless. Of course, I love anything to do with time travel so it comes as no surprise to me that I really enjoyed this one.

I thought Scarrow's style of writing really made this book stand out. He delivers short snappy chapters that succeed in infusing the book with a great deal of energy. It made it a must read - completely capturing my attention - and once I was half way through - unputdownable. I just loved it!

The characters were great and I'm looking forward to seeing them develop even more in future installments. It was very interesting having them come from different time periods -especially Liam who was being thrust into the future even when he went back into the past. They all had reasons for being selected for the team and it was interesting seeing this pan out and their abilities used to make it all work.

I must admit I did prefer the parts set in 2001 more than those set in the past but I can't identify why except that the 2001 scenes were superbly creepy towards the end! I am also still none the wiser as to why they travel back in time with water but come back dry. Perhaps I missed the explanation? It seems that as much as I love the idea of time travel if I think about it too hard it just makes my head spin!

I can't wait to catch up with these characters again and am really looking forward to reading more installments. Next stop dinosaurs? Yep! I'm so there!

Thursday 19 August 2010

Out For Blood Sample Chapter

From Goodreads: Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, she sees the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends—or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra . . . help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?

I don't know about you but I can't wait for Out For Blood by Alyxandra Harvey to be released in November. For all of you dying for a sneek peek you can read the first chapter below.

Out for Blood

Thanks to Bloomsbury for providing the chapter:)

I want to read that...

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

From Goodreads:
Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

This one sounds sooooo good! I'm really looking forward to it. It's published November 2nd 2010 (US)

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Reading 101: Dystopian Fiction by I Was a Teenage Book Geek

There are so many books I have read and loved since I began I Want To Read That that I never would have even picked up before I began blogging. Instead of asking people for individual recommendations for similar themed books I decided to invite a guest to do a post for me on a particular genre or type of book. Hence Reading 101 was born.

So I will pass you over to Lauren from I Was A Teenage Book Geek...

When Sammee asked me to write a guest post on dystopian fiction for her Reading 101 feature, I figured it would be easy.

After all, dystopia is my favourite. When I’m in need of some serious escapism, I like nothing better than picking up a book that will take me out of my safe, somewhat dull early-21st century existence and into a world that’s... well, EVEN worse than this one.

Now, considering that I love dystopian fiction so much, you’d think that I could knock together a snappy definition that would tell you exactly what the genre is. You would, right?

Well, you would be wrong. Turns out, this genre is way more slippery than I realised all those times I was escaping into it. (Or I’m just not that smart. Whichever.)

But luckily, in my experience, you’ll know a dystopia when you see one. And it’ll go something like this....

1) It’s the future. Or maybe it isn’t. (But usually, it is.)
2) Assuming it is the future, something has happened between now and then to make this far-off world different to the one we know. Think nuclear holocaust, environmental disaster, economic crisis or major political changes. Whatever: it’s different. But the focus won’t usually be on the change that’s taken place: it’ll be on the society that has evolved as a result of it. Usually.
3) At first glance, this vision of the future may well look like the perfect society. The citizens may live a life free of disease or poverty. They may all be beautiful. But scratch the surface, and you mark my words, there’ll be something sinister going on underneath. Of course, sometimes it may be completely obvious that this new world is a sinister one. (Like, if the government are demanding that teenagers fight each other to the death for sport: that’s pretty much frowned upon in most utopian societies.)
4) That main character you meet, going about their (probably) futuristic business? They will be kick-a**. Although not necessarily physically. They may be mentally kick-a**, instead. Or emotionally. That’s just as good.
5) Because that sinister thing going on beneath the surface? It’s control. And it’s terrifying. And our heroine (or possibly hero) will need every ounce of their kick-a**ness to escape its clutches.
6) Prepare for AWESOME.

Feel like escaping into some dystopian goodness yourself? Check out these genre favourites from my bookshelf:

The Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins
It’s the future. America is now Panem: twelve districts subject to the Capitol’s oppressive rule. We don’t know exactly how things got this way, but what we do know is the districts attempted to stage an uprising and failed. The annual Hunger Games are their cruel and unusual punishment. Each year, the Capitol randomly selects one boy and one girl from each district, puts all twenty-four in a huge arena with assorted weapons, and commands them to fight to the death in a televised battle. Only one can survive.

The Hunger Games is probably my favourite YA book ever, and definitely my favourite dystopia. It has everything you could want in a book of this genre: amazing world-building, nail-biting action, and the most kick-ass teenage heroine OF ALL TIME in Katniss Everdeen. There’s also a love triangle, but it’s a love triangle of the non-lame variety. I promise. And the best news? It’s a trilogy. See also: Catching Fire. And soon: Mockingjay.

The Declaration – Gemma Malley
It’s the future, and we’re in England. Yay! In an over-populated world, miracle drug Longevity makes it possible for human beings to live indefinitely – but only if they sign a declaration stating that they won’t have children. Anna is a Surplus: an illegal child raised by the state, told that she’s a burden to Legal society and must work as a servant to atone for her existence. While Anna’s always accepted her fate, when she meets Surplus Peter she finds that maybe some things are worth fighting for after all.

The first in a trilogy, The Declaration is one of those dystopian novels that really makes you think about the way our society is headed and how we treat people. Its strength is in its ideas, and the sequel – The Resistance – is even better.

Restoring Harmony – Joelle Anthony
It’s the future. 2041, to be precise. On an island in British Columbia, Molly has grown up far away from the problems big cities have faced since the Collapse of '31: corruption, crime, shortages of essential supplies. But when Molly's mother becomes worried about her father down in Oregon, she asks Molly to venture out into post-collapse America to rescue him. Hint: in a dangerous world like this one, that’s not going to be easy.

While it’s common for dystopias to initially look like the perfect society, Restoring Harmony gives us something a little different: a future vision of the world that in many ways seems terrible, but might wind up not being that bad after all. It’s an uplifting dystopia. It has heart. It has a beautiful romance. And the kind of protagonist that kicks a** with a violin.

Genesis – Bernard Beckett
It’s the future. Of course it is! The world as we know it is over, but The Republic survives on a small group of islands called Aotearoa. Fourteen year old Anaximander is undertaking her entrance exam to The Academy. Her specialist subject is a man named Adam Forde, who once changed the course of The Republic’s history forever. It takes us a while to find out how exactly, or what this means to Anax, but when we do it’ll BLOW YOUR MIND.

Genesis rocks because it reads like it was written in the future. It’s a little alien at first, and very hard to summarise without giving its secrets away. Which I would NEVER do, because I want you to read and love this book for yourself. If the prospect of reading an entire book about an academic entrance interview doesn’t fill you with excitement, then this should be one of those occasions when you ignore your gut instincts and just read it anyway. You won’t regret it.

Feed – M.T. Anderson
It’s the future. Duh. In a world where teens have the internet ‘fed’ right into their brains, creativity and independent thought has been exchanged for school™ and obsessive consumerism. As a result, Titus and his friends are jaded, shallow and in some ways stupid. But on a recreational trip to the Moon, Titus’s view of the world is challenged when he meets Violet, the daughter of an academic, and their group suffers a viral attack on their feeds.

Narrated in exactly the way you’d expect a boy like Titus to tell his story, at first Feed doesn’t feel like the deepest book you’ve ever read. At times, I’ll be honest, Titus is downright annoying. But when the story takes a tragic turn, the superficial tone to his voice makes what happens all the more poignant. Though it will seem impossible at the start, there’s a strong chance you will cry reading this book.

Go. Read dystopia. Enjoy.


Thanks Lauren! They all sound fabulous! I now really want a copy of Restoring Harmony - it sounds ace!

Tuesday 17 August 2010

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

For review: Puffin (Razorbill). Published 19 August 2010
From Goodreads: What if love refused to die?

Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again

I had heard so many great things about this one, yet I still managed to go into it not really knowing much about it beyond the fact it's about reincarnation. I think I was expecting an epic romance but what I got was so much better!

The story centers around Haven, who has had visions since she was a young child of places she has never visited and of people she has not met. When Haven sees a famous actor on a news broadcast, and recognises him as the boy she constantly sees in her visions, she realises she has to go to New York and find out what her visions really mean. What unfolds is a fabulous mystery that had me completely hooked from the very first chapter.

I loved Haven. Granted, at times she was incredible frustrating - almost running in circles, not knowing who she should trust and often, I thought, being rather too trusting. But she has a great voice - she's strong, independent and just very easy to like. Her friend Beau is probably one of my favourite characters ever - I loved their banter and his confidence and knowledge of who is really is. Especially given the flak he has to take for it.

Once the story moves to New York and Haven meets Iain Morrow it became a roller coaster ride for me. I did not want to put the book down until I had finished it. Bleary eyed, and at 4am in the morning, I reached what I can only describe as the best ending ever. Although I had worked out some parts of the mystery, I just loved how it still managed to completely take me by surprise at the end and I can't wait to see how this story continues.

I loved Kirsten Miller's writing - she has the ability of creating a mystery that will have you guessing and trying to piece all the pieces of the puzzle together. The Eternal Ones is a fantastic beginning to what I believe promises to be a brilliant series.

Monday 16 August 2010

Trailer - It's a Book by Lane Smith

I love this trailer! Sooo cute!


From Goodreads: Playful and lighthearted with a subversive twist that is signature Lane Smith, IT’S A BOOK is a delightful manifesto on behalf of print in the digital age. This satisfying, perfectly executed picture book has something to say to readers of all stripes and all ages.

It's published by Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan US) August 3rd 2010. You can check out the author's website here

Saturday 14 August 2010

In My Mailbox (52)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

For Review:

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (Simon & Schuster, 14 October 2010) I wasn't expecting this so I did a strange kind gasp/scream/squeal when I saw what it was! Massive thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending a copy:)

Young Samurai: The Ring of Earth by Chris Bradford (Puffin, 5 August 2010) It looks really good! Big thanks to Puffin:)

Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett (Headline, 2 September 2010) I'm really looking forward to this one and I love the illustrations! Big thanks to Headline:)


Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl . I LOVE the cover for this and it sounds ace!.

Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa.

Hope you all had a great week:)

Friday 13 August 2010

I want to read that...

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

From Goodreads:

Annaleah and Brian had something special -- Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn't need anyone else. It didn't matter that it was secret. All that mattered was what they shared.

And then, out of nowhere, Brian is killed in an accident. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living on the outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss no one will let you have?

It sounds really good and I think it's written in verse. It's published October 2010 by Scholastic (US).

You can check out the author's blog here

Thursday 12 August 2010

Upcoming Bloomsbury Author Signings (UK)

There are some great Bloomsbury author signings scheduled for the next couple of months. Check out the details below:

John Green, author of Paper Towns has already sold out his event at Waterstone’s Piccadilly and his event at Edinburgh Festival. Due to popular demand we have added another event to John’s all too brief visit to the UK . If you would like to see John and the amazing Sons of Admirals you can catch them for one night only at Ice Father Nation, 33-35 Commercial Road , London E1 1LN on Saturday 14th August. Doors open at 6:30pm and the main event starts at 7:30pm. Tickets are available on the door priced £7.

For the latest from John take a look at http://www.johngreenbooks.com/ or see the man himself in action at www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers

Mary Hoffman, author of numerous YA novels including the hugely successful Stravaganza series will be at Edinburgh Festival on Saturday 21st August at 1pm. To book your tickets call 0845 373 5888 or visit the website http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/

Cathy MacPhail, author of Underworld, Roxy’s Baby and a whole host of other action-packed titles will be at Edinburgh Festival on Monday 23rd August at 10am. To book your tickets call 0845 373 5888 or visit the website http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/

Simmone Howell is making a rare visit from her native Australia for two appearances at Edinburgh Festival. The author of Notes from the Teenage Underground and Everything Beautiful will be running a workshop on Tuesday 24th August at 6pm and talking about her writing on Wednesday 25th August at 10am. To book your tickets call 0845 373 5888 or visit the website http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/

Ian Beck (Pastworld) will be joining Philip Reeve at Edinburgh Festival on Wednesday 25th August at 5pm to talk steampunk and much more. To book your tickets call 0845 373 5888 or visit the website http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/

Gemma Malley (The Declaration, The Resistance, The Returners and The Legacy) and Sophie Mackenzie will be appearing at Edinbugh Festival on Thursday 26th August at 6:30pm. To book your tickets call 0845 373 5888 or visit the website http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/

Lucy Jago will be at Montacute House, the National Trust property that inspire her book of the same name, on Saturday 28th August at 2pm. She will be signing copies of her book. If you can’t make it, but would like to reserve a signed copy call 01935 823 289

Jim Carrington (Inside My Head) will be on a panel alongside Alex Diaz and C.J. Skuse, chaired by Julia Green (Drawing with Light) at the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature on Thursday 30th September at 8:30pm. To book your tickets call 01225 463 362 or visit the website http://www.bathkidslitfest.co.uk/

Mary Hooper (Fallen Grace) and Celia Rees (Witch Child and The Fool’s Girl) will be talking all things historical at Cheltenham Festival on Saturday 16th October at 6pm. To book your tickets call 0844 576 7979 or visit the website http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/

Celia Rees will be running a workshop on writing for teenagers at Cheltenham Festival on Sunday 17th October at 10am. Place are limited. To book your tickets call 0844 576 7979 or visit the website http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/

Thanks to Emma @ Bloomsbury for providing details:)

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy by Ally Carter

For Review: Orchard Books. Published 5 August 2010
From Goodreads: After staking out, obtaining, and then being forced to give up her first boyfriend, Josh, all Cammie Morgan wants is a peaceful semester. But that's easier said than done when you're a CIA legacy and go to the premier school in the world... for spies.

Cammie Morgan may have a genius IQ and attend the best school in the country, but as she starts the spring semester of her sophomore year there are a lot of things she doesn't know. Like will her ex-boyfriend even remember she exists? And how much trouble did she really get in last semester? And, most of all, exactly why is her mother acting so strangely?

All Cammie wants is a nice, normal semester, but she's about to learn her greatest lesson yet—that when you go to a school for spies, nothing is ever as it seems.

I officially love this series! The first book, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You felt like a guilty pleasure - a book I really enjoyed but felt I shouldn't. After reading this one I no longer feel guilty! I positively enjoyed it and can't wait for more.

Cam is back and exactly the same as before. I really like her and her witty observations. Her friends are ace as well - I love Bex and Macey's attitude, and Liz's clumsiness. She really makes me laugh! And of course I love all the spy stuff! I love the whole concept of a spy school and think it's a superb basis for a series of books.

There were some great actions scenes and the whole book felt exciting - with a mystery to solve and a romance. I enjoyed watching Cam and her friends try to work it all out - how they think they have the answers but just end up with more questions! I must admit I did twig what was going on but it didn't spoil my enjoyment one bit. I also liked the romance and felt there was some great chemistry this time. I guess sometimes 'bad boys' really are more appealing! I really hope we get to see much more of Zach.

There was also really good continuation here from the first book. We get more snippets about Cam's father and it is implied there is more to the story than she realises. I'm hoping this will be something we find out more about in future books. I also liked the way events in the previous book were alluded to and that it had a impact on events in this book. I was glad we got to see Josh again and Cam's reaction to it.

This is just such a fun, light read and I recommend it wholeheartedly. I hope the series continues to go from strength to strength and am really looking forward to Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover when it's released in the UK.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Cover to Covet (4)...and I REALLY want to read that!

I LOVE book covers. Love, love love them. So I decided to make it a regular post - each post featuring a cover I love.

Entangled by Cat Clarke

How much do I LOVE this cover? I love the model and how she catches your eye! I love her hair colour and how it matches the title! I love the font they used for the title and the pattern in the corner. Such an awesome cover and I just love, love, love it! I also CAN'T WAIT to read it - it sounds completely awesome!

From Goodreads: Grace meets enigmatic Ethan the night she's planning to kill herself. The next morning she wakes up in a strange room with a table, chair, pens and paper. There's nothing to do but write, and as she writes, Grace remembers the things she's tried so hard to forget.

The hazy memories lead Grace into a dark place where friendship, heartbreak and betrayal tangle together...

Entangled is published in the UK in Jan 2011, and you can check out the author's Website and Blog by clicking the links.

There is also a Arc tour for this over at UK Blog Tours for any UK reviewers that are interested in signing up:)

Monday 9 August 2010

The Midnight Charter by David Whitley

For Review: Puffin. Published August 6th 2009
From Amazon: In the city of Agora, anything can be bought and sold. Even children are possessions until their twelfth birthday. Mark has been sold by his father, and Lily, an orphan from birth, has bartered for her life. Thrown together by chance, in the ancient tower of Count Stelli, they face an existence of poverty and servitude, unless they can find a way to break free. But, unbeknown to Mark and Lily, they are being watched by the ruler of the city. Can they survive the traps and treachery that await them and discover the dark secret that binds them together? Their lives depend on this question: what is the Midnight Charter?

This is one of books I am really glad I was offered to review. Although very different from what I usually read I found myself completely charmed by it.

Although technically fantasy it didn’t feel it and I think this is due to David Whitley’s writing style. He had me hooked from the first chapter with his eloquent narrative and I found myself completely engrossed. It took me a while to read this but I wanted to read every word on the page and just savour it.

Whitley has created a very interesting world here. I thought it felt kind of Dickensian – I could really picture it as a BBC Adaptation – with the dialogue and descriptions of Agora really making it feel as if it were set in the past. The concept of everything being something you can trade – including your emotions or even your own child – is a scary one. But it had me completely intrigued. How did this come to be? Why? And why did Mark and Lilly seem so important?

I loved Lilly from the start. She has strength and determination – but she is also very caring. Mark seemed slightly naive – and had a weakness about him that made me not warm to him as much as Lilly. I found both of their stories appealing but must admit I preferred Lilly’s story to Mark’s. I think this is due to there being more characters present in Lilly’s life – Theo, Ben, Laud and Gloria were great characters in their own right.

The story does move at a slow pace, being more of a saunter than a rollercoaster ride, but I really enjoyed the gentle way it lead me to the end. All the pieces of the puzzle cleverly came together, and although you do get answers they do create more questions. And yes, there is a cliff-hanger ending. I must say I am really looking forward to The Children of the Lost and finding out what will happen next.

Saturday 7 August 2010

In My Mailbox (51)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

For Review:

City of Thieves by Ellen Renner
Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie
Girl Missing by Sophie McKenzie
The Legacy by Gemma Malley
A Trick of the Dark by B. R. Collins

A big thanks to Bloomsbury, Hodder, Orchard, Puffin, and Simon & Schuster for sending review copies:)


... and yes I bought too many again. I must be seriously lacking in willpower lately. I have promised myself I will not buy any more for at least a couple of weeks!

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber
Candor by Pam Bachorz
Bad Faith by by Gillian Philip
Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
Room by Emma Donoghue
Theodore Boone by John Grisham
You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
The Cupcake Queen by by Heather Hepler
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel



Thanks Rhiana!

Friday 6 August 2010

My Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald

For Review: Amulet Books (Abrams) Published September 1st 2010

From Goodreads: Twelve-year-old Lucy Desberg is a natural problem solver. After the local homecoming queen shows up at her family’s struggling drugstore with a beauty disaster that Lucy helps to fix, Lucy has a long line of makeover customers for every school dance and bat mitzvah. But all the makeup tips in the world won’t help save the pharmacy. If only she could find a way to make the pharmacy the center of town again—a place where people want to spend time, like in the old days. Lucy dreams up a solution that could resuscitate the family business and help the environment, too. But will Lucy’s family stop fighting long enough to listen to a seventh-grader? This book is a funny and sweet debut featuring an unforgettable narrator who knows what she wants, whether it’s great makeup, a killer business plan, or a better world.

This is such a cute and enjoyable book. Straight away I found myself rooting for Lucy - she is such a sweet a character and found myself easily swept up in her story. She has such a great spirit and is very likable as a result.

There are many thinks going on in the book. Lucy is made aware that the pharmacy her family own - a place she thinks of as a second home - is struggling and may close. She desperately doesn't want this to happen so she comes up with various ideas to help. Add to this friend issues, an after school green club and a couple of boy crushes and we have a very enjoyable story.

I loved Lucy's family and really enjoyed their dynamic. Her mother is somewhat scatty but in a funny way. Her Gran is caring but obviously under a great deal of pressure. I also loved how close Lucy is to her sister Claudia - and that she still played a large part in the story even though she was away at college.

I also really enjoyed the focus on green issues. I thought it was a great way to bring it to people's attention without being too preachy. It's something Lucy becomes passionate about and as a reader I found myself interested too.

Although this is aimed more at tweens than teens I think older readers would enjoy it too. Lucy comes across as older than her depicted age and many of the storylines would appeal just as much to older readers as they would to younger ones. I really enjoyed reading about Sunny and Lucy's first crushes. Who doesn't remember their first crush? Both storylines were dealt with in a really honest and gentle way and I couldn't help but love it.

I'm really looking forward to reading Greenwald's next book 'Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes' when it's published in November.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Book Trailer of the Month (August)

Okay, so I'm cheating as this is really a film trailer but it certainly sells the book too. I love this series by John Marsden (check out my review) and DESPERATELY want to see this film! Please, please. please be released in the UK.

The books are not currently published in the UK but are available online. And they are sooo good! After watching this I just want to re-read them all!

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Cover to Covet (3)

I LOVE book covers. Love, love love them. So I decided to make it a regular post - each post featuring a cover I love.

Clarity by kim Harrington

I love how intense this cover is - there is just something about her eyes! I really believe she can see my secrets - which, by the way, is a fantastic (and very intriguing) tag line!

From Goodreads:
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch an object and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case — but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother — who has supernatural gifts of his own — becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Loving Spirit by Linda Chapman

For Review: Puffin. Published 5 August 2010
From Puffin: Now Ellie's found him, she'll never let go...

Elli has lost her parents, her home in New Zealand and everything she knows. Now she must live in England with family who are more like strangers.

Life on her Uncle Len's horse farm seems so lonely - until Ellie meets Spirit. She's never seen the grey horse before, but she has the strangest feeling they've always known each other.

Like Ellie, Spirit is alone in the world, and they form an intense bond. And as the weeks go by, Spirit helps Ellie to discover an incredible talent that changes both their lives forever..

I have never read a 'horse' book before so I was dying to give this one a go. I was also very intrigued by the fact this is Linda Chapman's first book for 9-12 year olds after writing many books for a younger audience. And I have to say it completely took me my surprise. In a very good way!

I picked this one up just meaning to read the first couple a chapters, but a few hours later I had finished the whole book! It was very easy to read and I found myself really engrossed in the story. I have to say this is not just a book for horse lovers - the character relationships really made the story work for me - especially the relationship between Ellie and Joe.

We meet Ellie just after her parents have been killed in a car accident and she is force to move to England to stay with her Uncle. He is very stern and strict - but Ellie stands up to him when she first arrives. She also bonds with her cousin Joe after an incident involving some kittens. Now I have to say I could have REALLY done without that part of the story but it does provide a great basis for her relationship with Joe and her distrust of Luke and her Uncle Len.

Once we meet Spirit I loved the direction the story took. I don't want to say too much because it was a surprise for me and I love that the book's synopsis hints at a connection between Ellie and Spirit but leaves the best for you to discover as you read the book.

I'm glad this is part of a series. I am looking forward to the next one to see what happens next. I want to see if Uncle Len is a 'bad' as he initially seems or whether Ellie's presence will mellow him. Luke promises to be an interesting character I think so I am intrigued by how he will progress and I can't wait to see what happens next between Ellie and Joe. They have such a great friendship that I'm excited to see what direction Chapman decides to take it.

Monday 2 August 2010

I want to read that...

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

From Goodreads:

See Jane run. See Jane die.

Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit and run.

Everyone thinks it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane's boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface--not just from the party, but from deeper in her past...including the night her best friend Bonnie died.

With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she is forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller.

I'm loving the sound of this one! It's published in December 2010 (US) and March 2011 (UK)


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