Thursday 31 March 2011

Cover to Covet (11)

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

So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev

I haven't read this series yet but I love the covers - they are all absolutely gorgeous!  Check out the trailer for the second book in the series - Perchance to Dream:

And here's the synopsis for So Silver Bright:

From Goodreads: Things are never easy for Beatrice Shakespeare Smith. Something's happened to the Théâtre Illuminata, putting the only home she's ever known in limbo. Her mother's sanity is fraying under the strain, her father has vanished and an angry goddess is out for revenge. Bertie is caught between her duties and her dreams, just as her heart is torn between Ariel and Nate. But hope glimmers in a Distant Castle, and if Bertie can put on the performance of her life, maybe she can win the magical boon that may save them all.

It's published September 2011. You can check out the website for the series here.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

My Soul To Save by Rachel Vincent

For Review: Mira Ink. Published February 2011
"If she were going to die, I’d already be screaming. I’m a banshee. That’s what we do.”

The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls for a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld — a consequence they can’t possibly understand. Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk....

I'm really enjoying this series!  They are so much fun to read -  I love the characters and the world.

We catch up with Kaylee shortly after the events in My Soul To Take.  When the lead singer at a concert dies in front of Kaylee she doesn't understand why she doesn't start screaming.  It turns out teens are unwittingly selling their souls for fame and fortune.  When someone close to Tod appears on the reaper's list and he realises she is going to die without possession of her soul he begs Kaylee to help...

While I wasn't as invested Addy's story as much as I would have liked my investment in Tod, Kaylee and Nash meant it didn't particularly matter.  I liked the whole idea behind the storyline - 'starry-eyed teens trading their souls for fame and fortune' - and I am pleased that Kaylee has the compassion to need to help.  It's that side of her character that I really like.  But I just didn't quite connect with Addy's character, although I did think she completely redeemed herself in the end.

Kaylee and Nash still have amazing chemistry and I love their relationship.  I found it equally frustrating and amusing that they constantly got interrupted and hardly had any time alone together.  I'm really hoping that My Soul To Keep focuses more on their relationship and addresses some of Kaylee's insecurities about Nash's intentions.

I really liked Kaylee's dad too, and enjoyed their interactions.  I find their relationship really interesting and am looking forward to seeing it evolve.  I also need to mention Tod.  While I found him intriguing in the first book I am now starting to understand why many readers are hoping for a Kaylee/ Tod relationship.  There is something about him and I can't quite put my finger on it.  I loved that we got to see how desperate he was to save Addy - it showed a more caring side to him.  But he still comes across as slightly dangerous!  I just loved the ending!

I can't wait for more of this series and will be reading My Soul To Keep as soon as it hits the shelves. 

Monday 28 March 2011

I want to read that...

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

From Goodreads: Words are the most dangerous weapon of all.

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

This sounds soooo good and how ace is the cover? I love it! It's published November 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry.

Friday 25 March 2011

Trailer: Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Awesome trailer! I love the look of this series - I really need to get reading!

You can read an excerpt of Invincible here

From Goodreads: Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse...

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them...

Thursday 24 March 2011

Valentine's Day of the Undead by Stacey Jay

Q: What could be worse than spending Valentine's Day alone?
A: Spending it with evil zombies!!

Megan Berry is no stranger to heartbreak, but spending Valentine's Day serving other happy couples hot dogs while mourning the loss of her one true love is almost more than even a highly trained Zombie Settler can handle. So when her recently estranged boyfriend, Ethan, texts her asking her to be his Valentine, she ditches her bodyguard and rushes to his side.

But soon, Megan's dreams of chocolates, flowers, and lingering make-up kisses take a turn of the rotted-corpse-and-maggot variety, and Megan fears that her first Valentine's Day with Ethan may be her last.

I am a massive fan of the Megan Berry series so I was really excited to learn this novella was being written.  I literately could not wait to get my hands on it so I bought both the ebook and the paperback version!

When we catch up with Megan she is still coming to terms with how her involvement with Cliff has affected her relationship with Ethan,  so when she gets a text to meet up with Ethan on Valentine's day she jumps at the chance to make things right between them.  But is everything really what it seems...

I absolutely loved it! Megan is such a great character and I adore Ethan, and the mythology behind the series is really, really good.  They are always such fun to read, with fast paced action and great character interaction, and this one is no exception.  I am always completely sucked into the story and don't want to put it down.  At around 80 pages, this can easily be read in one sitting and I enjoyed every minute!

This novella works really well in 'finishing' the story -  giving some closure - but at the same time leaving it open for more books in the series.   I really do love this series and I really hope sales for this are good.  If so, there is the possibility that we could get more and I do hope that is the case.  A great addition to an awesome series!

Wednesday 23 March 2011

I want to read that...

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

From Goodreads:  Sixteen-year-old Laurel's world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all, there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel's life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss, a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.

Fans of emotionally true and heartfelt stories, such as Sarah Dessen's THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER and IF I STAY by Gayle Forman, will fall in love with Jennifer Castle’s incandescent debut novel...a heart wrenching, surprisingly witty testament to how drastically life can change in the span of a single moment.

This sounds soooo good. I saw it featured on The Story Siren's IMM the other week  and it instantly caught my attention.

It's published September 2011 by HarperTeen.  Can't wait:)

Tuesday 22 March 2011

My So Called Phantom Love life by Tamsym Murray

For Review: Piccadilly.  Published 24 March 2011
From Goodreads: I knew the boy was different when I saw him walk on water…

When fourteen-year-old Skye Thackery meets Owen Wicks, it’s not exactly love at first sight. She’s getting over a broken heart and he’s – well – a ghost. But as Sky gets to know him, she can’t help wondering what it would be like to kiss him. Dating a ghost isn’t easy, and things get worse when Owen declares he’s found a way to stay with Skye forever. His plans make her uneasy – the shadowy organisation which claims to be able to help him is bad news, and it seems Nico, her ex, is involved too.

As Owen prepares to risk everything, Skye begins to wonder if she really has a future with him, or if his desire to be more than just a ghost will cost them everything.

I love this series!  They are so much fun to read.  I find myself picking them up and not putting them down until I've finished.

We catch up with Skye shortly after the events of My So Called Haunting.  When Skye and her friends have an accident on the lake and almost drown, it is a ghost that helps Skye save her best friend.  Befriending him, and finding herself very attracted to him she tries to help him sort out what is keeping him here so he can move on.  On top of that Nico seems determined to get back into Skye's life, but can she ever trust him again?

Skye is such an awesome character and I love spending time with her.  She so honest and sweet that I instantly like her and enjoy spending time with her. I also love how she interacts with Celestine and Jeremy - such a typical teenager in that respect.  And I adore Mary.  There is one scene involving her that almost made me choke it made me laugh so hard - it's the one where Skye asks her to speak English for once and ... well,  let's just say she hits the nail on the head so to speak!

I'm glad Nico's back.  I adored him in the last installment - at least until the scene in the cemetery and then I had no idea what to think of him.  Like Skye I was completely torn.  I was really glad to see him back and I really like the direction his story is taking.

I can't praise this series highly enough.  As I said they are such great fun to read and they always leave me wanting more.  I hope there are many more to come!  On a side note, can I just say that I love the new cover designs - they really capture the feel of the books.

Monday 21 March 2011

Cover to Covet (10)

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

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey  [Goodreads][Amazon]

This one really caught my eye.  It's so clever the way she looks likes she's been shattered but then you see the petals.  I love the colour of the 'dress' too.

Here's the synopsis:

From Goodreads:  Lenzi hears voices. She also sees visions--gravestones, floods, a gorgeous guy with steel gray eyes. She knows she must be going crazy, just like her dad did. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't do anything to help, and the voices just keep getting louder, the visions more intense. But when Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, everything makes sense.

Sort of.

He tells Lenzi that she's a reincarnated Speaker--someone who can talk to lost souls and help them move on--and that he has been her Protector for centuries. But instead of embracing her abilities, Lenzi struggles between her life as the girlfriend of a sexy musician and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. Yet time is running out; a malevolent spirit has been trying to destroy Lenzi for ages, and he will surely kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Her choices are clear: Destiny or normalcy. Alden or Zak. Life or death.

Shattered Souls is published December 2011

Saturday 19 March 2011

In My Mailbox (83)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

Die For Me by Amy Plum
Squeeeee!  So want to read this!  Can't wait!

Vanished by Meg Cabot
I adore this series and really like the new cover designs for the books - they fit them much better than the old ones.  Looking forward to re-reading this:)

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
I really enjoyed the first book in the Darkest Powers series so I am really looking forward to this one.

The Ghoul Next Door (Monster High) by Lisi Harrison
If you haven't checked out the song/video for this series you really should.  Major awesome.  Still need to read the first but looking forward to them both:)

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Squeeeee!  I love the look of this one!  Can't wait to read it:)

Pretty Twisted by Gina Blaxill
This is compared to Sophie Mckenzie on the blurb so it should be good.

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon
I still haven't read the first book in this series but I think I am going to have to now.  They look awesome!

The Opposite of Amber by Gillian Philip
How much do I love the cover for this one!  It sounds great too.

Big thanks to Atom, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Bloomsbury for sending books for review:)

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
This is one of the books on the Contemps Challenge.  I heard really good things so far.

Valentine's Day of the Undead by Stacey Jay
I love the Megan Berry series and was really disappointed when I heard it wasn't being picked up for a third book.  But the author self published this novella to 'finish' the series as book two ended on a cliffhanger.  I've already devoured it and it's brill!  Review will be posted soon.

Flash Burnout by L M Madigan
I really liked the sound of this one.

Fat Cat by Robin Brande
I've been wanting to read this for ages.  I was waiting for the paperback but it was on offer so I gave in and got it.  It looks really good!

Hope everyone had a great week:)

Friday 18 March 2011

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Frankin and Brendan Halpin

For Review: Bloomsbury.  Published 7 March 2011
From Goodreads:  Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers—known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.

This one is really sweet and quick to read.  I loved the dual narration and it works really well having the two authors pair up to write a character each.  These two did a superb job in making the characters ring true when they were being perceived from the other's point of view.

I really liked the premise.  I have a slight obsession with TV shows and films so I really enjoyed these characters being actors on a popular TV show.  It also gives a fun insight into what really goes on behind the scenes and how much of what we see as an audience is just a 'brand'.

Jenna and Jonah aka Charlie and Fielding (Aaron) are great characters and I liked them both.  Fielding did have the tendency to be a bit of an ... well he wasn't always that nice to Charlie but I could understand why.  And Charlie seems too invested in fame at times but you can see that it's because she doesn't know different. I liked their banter and the way they seemed to press each other's buttons!

I have to say I did prefer the first 2 thirds of the book.  It takes a direction I was expecting in the last third and without giving anything away I think I would have preferred it to stay where it was.  This will probably make much more sense when you read the book!  I also would have like just a tad more romance between the two but the ending is incredibly sweet! *sighs*

Overall this was a great introduction  to a writing team that promises to be really, really good.  They have also written The Half-Life of Planets  and I will have to get myself a copy.  I hope they write many more books together and I will certainly be picking them up.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Giveaway: Rockoholic by C J Skuse

From Goodreads:  Jody loves Jackson Gatlin. At his only UK rock concert, she’s right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and carried back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It’s the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you’ve a rock-god in your garage who doesn’t want to leave? Jody’s stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place!

From the pen of C.J. Skuse, author of last year’s super cool debut Pretty Bad Things, comes a tale of rock star obsession gone nuts. Hilariously and sharply explores the fantasy and reality of celebrity obsession through a teenager’s eyes. C. J. Skuse has been billed as the new Nick Hornby for teens.

Thanks to the lovely team at Chicken House I have a copy of this to giveaway. I absolutely loved it!  My review is here.

The giveaway is open to everyone and you do not have to be a follower of my blog to enter. The closing date is 24 March 2011

Just fill in the form below.  Good Luck:)

This giveaway is now closed.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Forsaken: The demon Trappers by Jana Oliver

For Review: Macmillan.  Published February 2011
From Goodreads: Riley has always wanted to be a Demon Trapper like her father, and she's already following in his footsteps as one of the best. But it's tough being the only girl in an all-guy world, especially when three of those guys start making her life more complicated: Simon, the angelic apprentice who has heaven on his side; Beck, the tough trapper who thinks he's God's gift, and Ori, the strikingly sexy stranger who keeps turning up to save her ass. One thing's for sure - if she doesn't keep her wits about her there'll be hell to pay...

I really enjoyed this one!  Set in 2018, it follows Riley, who like her father, is a Demon Trapper.  When a relatively easy trapping doesn't go the way it should Riley finds herself in a bit of trouble.  But it looks as if something else is going on here, and Riley is right in the middle of it...

I really liked Riley. She is a great lead character - strong willed, stubborn, but likeable and relatable.  I LOVED Beck - and although I could have done without all the "ya's" in his dialogue as it was mildly irritating - he really is an awesome character and there are some great scenes between him and Riley.  I will say that he does comes across as much older than 22 years old - but that's explained in the book by his history and it made perfect sense.  I loved the alternating viewpoints between these two - I think it really adds to the story and it made me much more invested in both characters - and we get the added bonus of seeing all the other characters from both Beck and Riley's point of view which I loved.

I also liked Simon - he's incredibly sweet and nice - but unfortunately I didn't particularly feel a spark between him and Riley.  It could have just been me though!  On the other hand, Ori is very intriguing!  I can't wait to find out how he fits into all this. And I adored Riley's dad.

I really, really loved the mythology for this one.   This book is definitely a world builder  - a lot of work must have gone into creating the world and I thought it worked really well in setting everything up. It explains all the demon mythology - all the different level demons, plus it gives us the distinction between trackers and hunters.  Events went in a direction early on that I really wasn't expecting and it completely took me by surprise. I loved that I found it unpredictable - I had no idea what was going to happen next!  I really have to credit Jana Oliver's writing ability in not only writing really good action scenes but the more emotional ones as well.  In addition to all this there is also something big happening and Riley seems to be right in the middle of it.  I'm really looking forward to finding out exactly what is going on and can't wait to get my hands on Forbidden when it is released later this year!

Monday 14 March 2011

Cover Wars: Uneartly by Cythina Hand

US / Australian

Well...they are both rather gorgeous I think!  I love them both and am not sure I can choose between them.  I love the red of the Australian cover but it also has a similarity to Fallen (or that could just be me?)  I really like the swirly font on the US one and is it foiled?  In the vlog's I've scene it looks very shiny.

Which do you prefer?  I think I'd quite like both lol:)

Saturday 12 March 2011

In My Mailbox (81) & (82)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren


The Autumn Place by Ebony Mckenna
I really enjoyed the first book in this series (see review) so I'm really looking forward to this.

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
Although I have the books I haven't started this series yet.  They look really good and I've heard great things.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Squeeee!  I'm really excited about this one!

Twilight Robbery by by Frances Hardinge
I haven't read the first in this series but it looks really good.  Anyone know if I can start with this one?

Chime by by Franny Billingsley
Love the cover and it sounds great!

The Fallen: Volume 2 by Thomas E. Sniegoski
I really like the look of these (although I may be slightly influenced by the covers...ahem!)

My So Called Phantom Love Life by Tamsym Murray
I did a happy dance when this arrived!  LOVE these books!  (see reviews)  Am nearly finished this one and I love it:)

Cronosphere: Time Out of Time by Alex Woolf
This sounds really different and I love things about time travel - this looks like it takes that to a completely different level.  Very intrigued!

S&S Galley Grab:
The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
Finished it and it's great.  I'll be posting my review nearer the release date:)

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott
Love the sound of this and with it being by Elizabeth Scott I have very high expectations.

Fourth Grade Fairy by Eileen Cook
This looks soooo cute and I loved What Would Emma Do?

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Looks soooo good.  Can't wait to read it.

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
I recently read a brilliant review for this - I can't remember which blog:(  - but it convinced me I should give this a read.

Thanks to all the publishers who have provided books for review:)


Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
This sounded completely different to anything I previously read so I'm very intrigued.  I've read the first few chapters and it promises to be really good.

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
This sounds amazing|!

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
I've heard so many people rave about this!

Pretty Bad Things by C J Skuse
I loved Rockoholic (see review) so this was a must buy!  Can't wait to read it:)

Clarity by Kim Harrington 
I have been looking forward to this one for what feels like forever!  And the cover is ace!

Hope you all had a great week:)

Friday 11 March 2011

Rockoholic by C J Skuse

For Review: Chicken House.  Published 7 March 2011
From Goodreads: Jody loves Jackson Gatlin. At his only UK rock concert, she’s right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and carried back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It’s the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you’ve a rock-god in your garage who doesn’t want to leave? Jody’s stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place!

From the pen of C.J. Skuse, author of last year’s super cool debut Pretty Bad Things, comes a tale of rock star obsession gone nuts. Hilariously and sharply explores the fantasy and reality of celebrity obsession through a teenager’s eyes. C. J. Skuse has been billed as the new Nick Hornby for teens.

Oh Man - I loved this book!  I really liked the look of it when I first heard about it but I wasn't expecting it to be that good!

The story follows Jody and Mac.  Jody is completely obsessed with a band called The Regulators and their lead singer Jackson Gatlin.  Mac is her best friend and when Jody goes to see The Regulators preform she manages to accidentally kidnap Jackson, making Mac an accomplice in the process.  But will Jackson be everything Jody thinks he will be?

Jody really is an awesome character.  She so funny and gets herself into so many ridiculous situations but at the same time she can say and do just the right thing - what you wish you had the guts to do if you were in her situation.  Mac is absolutely adorable and I liked him from the get-go.  I loved the relationship between the two - they obviously care for each other - and they have such great banter. And of course I have to mention Mac's sister Cree who is too cute for words!  Utterly adorable!

Jackson was presented really well.  At the beginning he is the famous rock star and everything you pretty much expect that to be - but underneath that you start to see him as a human being.  With faults, but also a good heart.  I came to really like him and there are a couple of really great scenes between him and Jody.  I also found the whole 'dealing with fame' really interesting - both from Jody and Mac's perspective and from Jackson's as well.

The book is definitely quirky, but in a really relatable way.  It had me laughing out loud and I really didn't want it to end.   I really can't think of anything negative to say - I just loved it!  I have already purchased a copy of C J Skuse's other book Pretty Bad Things and I can't wait to read it.  Superb!

Thursday 10 March 2011

I want to read that...

Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

From Goodreads: My life seriously couldn’t get any worse.

First, my rightful designation of dragon slayer is STOLEN right out from under me by Curtis Green. Sure, he’s really cute, but that doesn’t give him an excuse.

On top of that, I am assigned to slay fairies. I know what you’re thinking—how hard could it be, right? Wrong! These menacing beasts with their tiny hipster clothes and mocking sarcasm love taunting me. And they won’t STOP!

But the thing that tops my list of stuff to ruin my day? That would be the GIANT KILLER FAIRY that I have to hunt down and slay because I am the only one who can see it. There is someone who can help me. Unfortunately…it’s Curtis.

It’s going to be a fairy bad day.

I loved Zombie Queen at Newbury High so I really can't wait for this - it sounds like sooooo much fun!   It's published June 9th 2011 by Speak.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Raising Demons by Rachel Hawkins

For Review: Simon & Schuster.  Published 3 March 2011
From Goodreads:  Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

I loved Hex Hall so I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this one.  I am pleased to say it lived up to all those expectations.

When catch up with Sophie she is still determined to go through with the Removal - convinced that her powers are dangerous.  Her father convinces her to think about it and takes her to England so they can spend some time together.  Joined by Jenna and Cal, Sophie and her father go to stay at Thorne Abbey with a few other guests.  Two of which have more in common with Sophie than she first realises.  Of course, things for Sophie are never simple and on top of someone using powerful magic to raise demons, Archer is also in England...

This series is so much fun - I can't help but really enjoy it.  It's very addictive!  Sophie is a great character and I really enjoy spending time with her.  Archer Cross is ...well Archer Cross (meaning hot, hot, HOT!)  I loved every scene he was in and the two definitely have great chemistry.  Interestingly, Cal has a bigger role in this one and I really found myself taking to him.  But Archer is still my favourite!

I really enjoyed the move of location to England  - Sophie getting to spend time with her dad was interesting to watch and I found myself really liking him (although I have to admit I wasn't sure if I should entirely trust him). The banter between him and Sophie is fantastic and had me laughing out loud!

All the twists and turns as Sophie discovers (part) of what was going on was really exciting - and makes this a really fast read.  Yes it ends with a cliffhanger - quite a big one too I thought - but for some reason I really liked it!  Usually I moan about it (perhaps I'm growing to like them?) but on this occasion I was expecting it and I found it exciting.  I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series - I have to know what happens! 

Monday 7 March 2011

Cover to Covet (9)

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

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough   [Goodreads][Amazon]

I love how atmospheric this one looks. I've heard such great things about this book and I think the cover is really eye catching.  There is something creepy, yet beautiful about it. 

Here's the synopsis:

From Goodreads: A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss ...When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room ...A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ...A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church ...Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

Long Lankin is published April 2011

Saturday 5 March 2011

Review, Interview & Giveaway: The 10pm Question by Kate de Goldi (Blog Tour)

From Goodreads: Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons is a talented kid with a quirky family, a best friend named Gigs, and a voice of anxiety constantly nibbling in his head: Could that kidney-shaped spot on his chest be a galloping cancer? Are the smoke alarm batteries flat? Has his cat, The Fat Controller, given them all worms? Only Ma, who never leaves home, takes Frankie’s worries seriously. But then, it is Ma who is the cause of the most troubling question of all, the one Frankie can never bring himself to ask. When a new girl arrives at school--a daring free spirit with unavoidable questions of her own--Frankie’s carefully guarded world begins to unravel, leading him to a painful confrontation with the ultimate 10 p.m. question. Deftly told with humor, poignancy, and an endearing cast of characters, THE 10 P.M. QUESTION will touch everyone who has ever felt set apart.

Worry-prone Frankie keeps his family secret under control--until a bold, inquisitive girl enters his life--in this warm, witty, and captivating YA novel.

This is a little gem of a novel.  It is really unique and quirky,  but at the same time I found it incredible accessibly and charming.

The story follows Frankie, who constantly worries.  At 10pm every night it all gets too much and he has to go down the hall and ask his Ma a question - Does he have food poisoning?  Is the rash on his chest cancer?  Have they replaced the batteries in the smoke alarm?  She is the only one who seems to take his worries seriously.  When a new girl starts at his school, a girl who has her own constant stream of questions for Frankie, he starts to wonder if he's been asking the right question...

Frankie is such a great character.  He's charming, genuine, funny - and I completely adored him. I loved all the other characters too.  Frankie's family is awesome - Louie and  Gordana are both rather lovable in their own ways - and always provide amusement.   Uncle George is also very funny and I loved the interaction between Frankie and his Ma.  There really is a strong sense of family in this book and I loved it for that.  And, of course,  you can't forget Ray Davis - sooo cute!

Gigs and Sydney were the kind of friends I could really picture Frankie having.  Gigs actually reminded me a bit of Louie and Syndey seems to be very much like The Aunts - who Frankie spent a lot of his childhood with.  Both are very confident and I think this is a strong attraction for Frankie.

The story itself is very character driven - very much an introspection for Frankie - leading to him finally asking the question that has always been left unasked in his family.  It deals with some serious issues in an very accessible way - it all felt very genuine and I very much enjoyed all the idiosyncrasies of Frankie's character.  A great book!. 

As part of her UK Blog Tour, Kate kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions...

What was the inspiration behind The 10pm Question?

There were three different things that propelled the story into being: Firstly, my son Jack, went through a prolonged period of anxiety – between about 11 and 14 years. He would have intermittent but intense bouts of worry about all manner of things. It was awful for him – and us: the worry would peak just after he turned the light off at night and he’d come into our room with anxious questions about say, food poisoning, the possibility of fire, insect infestation, disease etc. My job was to reassure him. I felt for him because I’d had intensely anxious periods myself (often about health – I’m a terrible hypochondriac)...but, it was also quite funny at times...Some of his anxieties were so favourite was when he said: ‘What if I’m not intelligent when I’m older?’ Eventually, Jack himself got completely sick of his own pathology and would mock himself most entertainingly whenever he came in and asked an anxious question. One night – and by this time I was well on the way to developing the novel, but didn’t have a title – something I like to have before I really get going – he came into the bedroom rolling his eyes and sighing and said: ‘it’s the 10pm question. Bang! The story took off from there...But there were a couple of other elements in the mix by then, too: 1. Years before I’d read an article in a magazine about a woman who suffered from agoraphobia and hadn’t left her house for many years. 2. I was tutoring a 13 year old girl – a talented, impressive young woman – who led a very nomadic life (her mother was an adventurous spirit). She longed to spend a decent amount of time in one school. I was fascinated by both the agoraphobic woman and the girl who wanted to stay put, and that all married up with the idea of an anxious boy...

How did you come up with Frankie’s character?

Like all characters (or, mine at least), Frankie is an amalgam of a couple of personalities, with habits and conversational style and interests borrowed from further people still. He’s also got a little bit of me (mostly the phobic stuff – I too hate swimming pools). I particularly wanted Frankie to be a pre-adolescent....around 11, 12 years. I really enjoy that age – pre-adolescents are incredibly sophisticated, knowledgeable and funny – and they still basically like their parents! They haven’t yet tipped into the more ego-centred teenage years (I don’t mean to condemn those years – they’re a crucial and rich developmental time, but they’re, by definition, a more closed-down time). I wanted to write about the slightly more straightforward, open period before adolescence. I say slightly, because that period does have its own complexities...Around 11, 12 years, one is suddenly aware for the first time of profound existential matters like the essential aloneness of the human person, like the myriad dangers and potential sadnesses facing one in life...that dawning awareness demands a big personal adjustment – and things are even more complex if one has family difficulties (and who, after all, doesn’t, to one degree or another?). I wanted to write about a funny, sweet, thoughtful, smart young man in that period of his life.

What was the hardest/easiest part of writing The 10pm Question?

I always find the first quarter of a book the hardest to write. That’s the time when the rubber hits the road, so to speak – when you’re testing properly the glorious idea you’ve had swilling around in your head for some months. The idea in your head is always a work of genius, but as soon as you commit it to paper (or screen) its imperfections – and one’s own as a writer – become horrible apparent. I usually write the first quarter of my books over and over, testing the narrative voice, living with the characters, finding my way through the geography of the story, generally exploring. It’s an equally exciting and tense part of the writing because you know it might not come off...That bit can take me months...the next three quarters moves along much more speedily – a beneficiary of the earlier work. There was a dreary few months when I simply couldn’t get Frankie and Gigs off the bus in the first chapter...They just kept talking and talking...but in a funny way, I knew this was how I’d find my way out of the problem – letting them chat...dialogue is a great way to get to the next place you need to be in a novel (you can get rid of lots of it later...). As a general rule I would say that if the front part of a novel is well sorted the rest plays itself out with a kind of nice inevitability...I always know what the ending of my story is (the emotional ending, if not the concrete details)...I just don’t usually know how I’m going to get there, but working and working on the first few chapters reveals the ultimate trajectory...

Is there a scene in the book which really stands out for you?

Hard to the writer you’re over aware of how it all fits together, so it’s oddly hard to separate scenes out. I rather enjoyed writing the scene where the family are playing cards with the aunts – on Louie’s birthday. It’s a relatively light-hearted scene, but I enjoyed the demands of belaying dialogue, shifting from one character to another, moving from Frankie’s interior thoughts to the exterior action. I like the scene between Frankie and Gordana – in Gordana’s bedroom. It’s quite a crucial exchange in their relationship and in the development of the story and it’s rather sad. I suppose dramatically speaking, the scene between Frankie and Alma is the cathartic one – and I was very aware of wanting to control it carefully, stay as close as possible to an emotional ‘truth’. I had an acutely clear visual of that scene – I mean it’s all invented, but I could see it incredibly clearly, and all the sensory details...

Have you always wanted to become a writer?

Probably. Even if I never quite admitted it to myself the desire was always there. It just revealed itself in roundabout ways. I was a manaical, obsessive reader. I wrote and produced plays all through school and scribbled away at home in a very undirected way (I spent years writing the first few chapters of a book about King Arthur returning to...Christchurch in New Zealand! I love Arthurian literature). I made my sisters record taped dramatic versions of my favourite children’s novels. But, I was shy about properly declaring the desire to be a seemed kind of I did other things that were kind of substitutes...I worked in libraries, studied English literature at university – even married a poet! Then, when I was 28 and had had my first child, Luciana, I suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to write a story about my grandmother (I’m sure birth and ‘birth’ of a first fully realised story – especially one about a grandmother - are not unconnected). That story became part of my first book, like you really (which was published under a pseudonym, Kate Flannery – because I still wasn’t quite admitting that I wanted to be a writer...). I finally ‘came out’ properly with my first YA novel, Sanctuary, published under my real name.

Are there any authors that have been a strong influence on you?

Dozens. Many of the great post-war writers for children have been seminal influences on me: William Mayne, Jane Gardam, Barbara Willard, KM Peyton, Jan Mark, Elizabeth Enright, EL Konigsburg, Russell Hoban, Richard Peck...that’s by no means exhaustive. Currently, there are a number of writers I admire enormously: David Almond, Paul Fleishman, MT Anderson, Margo Lanagan, Ursula Dubosarsky, Jack Lasenby – and Geraldine McCaughrean, who is, I think, a genius. But that’s just writers for young people. I have been very influenced by writers for adults, too: Alice Munro, Louise Erdrich, Ethan Canin, Elizabeth Knox, Lorrie Moore (maybe my favourite), and non-fiction writers like: Martin Edmond, Annie Dillard, Simon Schama...I could go on for a very long time...

What is a typical writing day like for you? Are there any ‘must haves’ you need before you can sit down to write?

It depends. If I’m teaching or doing ‘paid’ work it could be quite varied and would probably involve some travel around the country. If I’m writing, a typical day involves firstly some elaborate avoidance (housework, emails, correspondence) until I get down to it...I like to have a run before I sit at the gets the blood to the brain, or something. I’m a bit OCD, so I like the house to be tidy too before I start writing (dishes, laundry, etc. done)...I can’t usually write for more than four or five hours (and I get up and down a great deal while I’m doing it). My writing desk is on wheels so I can roll it round the house and chase the sun. Sun is pretty important to a good writing space. I spend a lot of time reading each day (I have several reviewing jobs). I write a lot of letters (on actual paper)...I talk on the phone quite a bit...I probably need to get out more...

What is next for you?

I’m working on several things at the moment...My biggest project is a non-fiction work about a children’s library built by a New Zealand bibliophile and philanthropist, Susan Price – this is a fascinating project that gives me the opportunity to write about both children’s literature and a magnificently unusual person. I’m also working on a novel (it’s at the writing/re-writing the first quarter stage). I’ve nearly finished a small children’s book. I’m at this minute writing a speech about the influence of place on writing. There’s always something new coming up...

Thanks Kate!  I also loved the scene between Gordana and Frankie!  And I really loved the one with Louie and Frankie when they were trying to decide who would be what bird - subtle but also really powerful.
Thanks to the lovely team at Templer I have 3 copies to giveaway!

The giveaway is open to UK entrants only.
You do not need to be a follower to enter.
I will need to forward the winner's details onto my contact at Templer - so please only enter if you are happy for me to do so:)
To enter just fill in the form below - good luck:)

This giveaway is now closed. The winners will be notified shortly.

Friday 4 March 2011

Book Trailer of The Month: March

Milo and The Restart Button by Alan Silberberg

Ahhh - this is soooo cute! I love it! I Can't wait to get reading as it sounds awesome!

Milo and The Restart Button was published 3 March by Simon & Schuster.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...