Saturday, 30 June 2012

I want to read that...

52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

From Goodreads:  Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

And if that doesn't convince you, check out the brilliant trailer below.  Sounds good, no?

52 Reasons to Hate My Father is published 3 July 2012

Friday, 29 June 2012

Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

From Goodreads: 24 meets the X Files in the biggest teen blockbuster of the summer…


Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.

And killed.

Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life…

Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time.

That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…

Excited much? Yes I was! And man it's good!

I was completely gripped from the get-go with this book. Janelle is a great character and I loved her voice. Everything is fast paced - so much happens in this book! But I'm going to have to be careful with this review because I really don't want to spoil it.

I guess the story could best be summarised as a sci-fi thriller? I don't know, but whatever it is I like it! The 24 and X Files comparisons are spot on and I think you could also argue similarities with Veronica Mars and perhaps Roswell. Either way it's very clever, engrossing and I fell in love with it just bit!

The Janelle/Ben relationship is well done. I really did feel invested in them. But I also loved her best friend Alex. Her dad too. I loved her dad. The storyline with her mother is interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out.

One other point I should mention is that Elizabeth Norris is not afraid to take risks. So many things happened that I really didn't think would. Those 'OMG! You did NOT just do that!' moments that really add to the story. Yes, some are really sad and are not necessarily what I wanted to happen, but I couldn't deny that they made a great story even better. And completely unpredictable.

I am counting the days (yes, yes I know...) for the next installment in this series. I can't wait to get my sticky mitts on it - I'm sure it will be a treat!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Night Sky in My Head Extract (Blog Tour)

From Goodreads: Step backwards. Witness the murder. Find the truth

Mikey Baxter isn't like other fourteen year old boys. Not since the accident.

The world sees him as damaged. But Mikey has a remarkable gift: the ability to go backwards in time and witness things that hide in the shadows.

Now he must uncover the terrifying truth behind his dad's disappearance. Before the past starts to repeat itself . . .

As part of the blog tour for the publication of The Night Sky in My Head by Sarah Hammond, Oxford Univeristy Press have been sharing extracts from the book.  Here is the final exclusive extract!

Night Sky Extract 4

The next stop on the tour is on 5th July over with Megan at The Book Addicted Girl where Sarah Hammond explains why she chose those extracts.

If you fancy checking out the other extracts, they can be found at the following links:

Susan K Mann
Serendipity Reviews

The Night Sky in My Head by Sarah Hammond is published by Oxford University Press on 5th July.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

For Review: Simon & Schuster
Published: 7 June 2012

From Goodreads: In this dramatic conclusion to the Shade trilogy, Aura and Zachary’s relationship sizzles as the secrets of the Shift are revealed.

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.

Having really enjoyed the first two books in this series I was really looking forward to finding out how it would all end. And I have to say I think the author did a brilliant job in concluding the story.

One thing I will say is Jeri Smith-Ready sure knows how to panic a reader! But despite causing my heart to stop during the first few chapters, I picked myself up off the floor, and really enjoyed the rest of the story. There was definitely a more serious tone to this one and I wasn't at all convinced there would be a happy ending for Zach and Aura.

I really did miss Logan in this one but at the same time I think it gave room for the relationship between Zach and Aura to really develop. I adore Zach, absolutely love him and the gentle way he treats Aura. I was really worried for him in this one too - he has some real demons to deal with this time!  Aura grows in this one too and becomes even stronger.  I loved the way she was really willing to fight for Zach, and how she was able to still love Logan, but also able to move on and let him go.

I also like the way things concluded! As much as I am saddened to leave Aura and Zach, the ending felt like a true resolution to the series. And a really good one too!

I can't wait to read Jeri Smith-Ready's next YA novel. In the meantime I might have to check out some of her adult novels.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Win a signed copy of Geekhood by Andy Robb

From Goodreads: If you haven't worked it out yet, girls don't do this. They don't come to the Hovel. They don't like goblins and dragons. They don't paint miniatures. They don't play role playing games or re-enact fictional battles. And they don't talk to Geeks like me especially if they're pretty. And this girl is pretty. What do you do if you're a fourteen-year-old Geek, and a Beautiful Girl has appeared in the midst of your geeky world? And she seems to like you... For Archie, the natural reaction would be to duck and cover ... run for the hills ... buy a new model elf... Anything but risk stepping into the Real World. But even Geeks have to put their heads above the parapet at some point. With his mum barely able to contain her excitement that her son is about to join the human race, and his step-father, Tony the Tosser, offering crass advice, it's time for Archie to embark on a daring Quest to win the Beautiful Girl's heart and shake off his Geekhood for good...

On Saturday we had a signing with Andy Robb at the bookshop I work in.  It was a really fun day - massive thanks to Andy for coming and for being such brilliant company!  And thanks to Kerrie from Read and Repeat (who suggested the signing in the first place!), to Jess (The Library Mouse) and Caroline (Big Book Little Book) for coming and making the event so much fun.

 I've linked to their event reports for the day so if you want more info on how the signing went just click on the links:)

So...on to the giveaway!  For the chance to win a signed copy of Geekhood just fill in the form below.  The giveaway is open to everyone and the closing date is 7th July 2012.  Good luck :D

This giveaway is now closed.

Friday, 22 June 2012

I want to read that...

The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

From Goodreads: One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better

Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.

So I'm loving the whole 'summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies' angle!  And of course, I love the tornado in the jar on the cover.

It's published August 2012.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Priscilla The Great: The Time Traveling Bullet

For Review: Netgalley
Published: 29 April 2012

From Amazon:  How would you like it if you accidentally lost 25 years of your life? Well that is exactly what happened to me, Priscilla Maxine Sumner, a.k.a the hottest girl in River's Bend. I wake up one day and the world is in total chaos! My brothers have kids, my best friend is old, and the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series and I missed it. I totally missed it! My life might as well be over. And if Xi has anything to do with it, it will be.

Picking up moments after that cliffhanger ending in Bring The Pain, Priss finds herself in a slightly different River's Bend! Finding herself 25 years in the future Priss is in a race against time to change the past...

I think this is probably my favourite in the series! I love time travel so I really enjoyed this one. It was certainly entertaining to see the future: what happens with Josh and Tai, to meet Priscilla 2 (as Priss calls her) and I loved seeing future Kyle (even if I did feel a bit sad for him too!)

Again the story is action packed and full of revelations that I didn't see coming. Plus it's funny and definitely entertaining. I really do recommend this series and I'm seriously looking forward to more stories set in this world.

Priscilla The Great: Bring The Pain

From Goodreads: If you think getting beat up by super-villains hurts, try falling in love! I, Priscilla Sumner, am once again the hottest girl in River’s Bend. It’s good to be back, but things aren’t quite the same. My parents are getting divorced, my boyfriend is keeping secrets from me and Specimen Xi is asking me for relationship advice. Yeah, talk about crazy. And if that wasn’t bad enough, someone has been killing Specimens all around the world. So now it’s up to Tai, Kyle and me to stop them before they get to my family. Whoever it is better watch out, ‘cause we’re about to bring the pain.

This picks up from where we left off in Too Little Too Late. There are consequences from everything that has happened: Priss's parents decide to separate (Priss, Josh and the twins have to decided who to live with) and Priss still blames Josh for what happened to Marco (and yes, I am still in denial!). Deciding to live with her mother, Priss convinces her to return to River's Bend. Back with Tai and Kyle (who is acting rather strange) Priss finds herself facing trouble yet again...

It's nice to be back in River's Bend!. Plus I really missed Kyle in the previous book - I really do like the two of them together. And I liked the fact he get to be the hero for once in this one! I did feel sorry for Josh in this one though. His visions are obviously confusing him and although he tries to talk to Priss she is still mad at him and won't listen.

As for the ending - I loved it (despite being a cliffhanger!) and it really sets up the next book as a must read!

Priscilla The Great: Too Little Too Late

From Goodreads: Priscilla Sumner here with a little advice, be happy that your parents can’t read your mind any time they want or put you in a choke hold in less than two seconds flat. As much as my parents…or any parents…can get annoying, I still love them. So when my mom gets brainwashed and starts working for Colonel Selliwood, I know it’s up to me to save her. And this time I’m not alone. I’ve got some new friends and some even newer gadgets to help me out, but will it be too little too late?

The story picks up where we left it in Kiss of Life. Priss's father is recovering from his wounds after being stabbed and her mother is being controlled by Colonel Selliwood. This time Priscilla and co are fighting to save those they love.

These stories are so much fun. This one had a much darker tone but Priscilla's voice is always fun to read. I love all the action, adore her best friend Tai, we get some revelations (that I really didn't see coming!) and as for the ending? I am in denial! Complete and utter denial...

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

For Review: Netgalley
Published: 19 June 2012 (US) & 9 July 2012 (UK)

From Goodreads: It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.

To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.

But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

To say I was excited to read this would be a massive understatement.  I devoured it the moment it arrived on my ereader and I can honestly say it completely lived up to all my expectations for it.

As many of you have probably worked out I adore Courtney Summer's books.  I have been a huge fan of hers since I first read Cracked Up To Be and the minute I heard the synopsis for This Is Not A Test I knew, just knew, I would love it.  As a big horror fan, the idea of her writing a story based around zombies filled me with glee!  And I loved the way she approached it.

The story is narrated by Sloane Price, someone who has reached rock bottom and decided she no longer wishes to live.  Through her eyes we see the Apocalypse unfold, how she and others are forced to fight to survive, but in Sloane's case, with an internal battle raging inside of her.  She was ready to die.  She still is, but with everything going on she's forced to think of the people she is with.  And to fight, even if she thinks she doesn't want to...

Sloane was such a fascinating character.  I loved her.  She's so broken - with very valid reasons to be that way - and seeing the events unfold through her eyes was really interesting.  For someone convinced they no longer wanted to live she still seemed to have a lot of fight in her and still cared for those around her.  I also really loved Rhys.  From pretty early on you could feel a connection between him and Sloane and I really liked the way their relationship progressed.  Cary was also a very intriguing character - someone forced into making the hard decisions.

The setting in the school gave the story both a safe and claustrophobic atmosphere.  The idea of the all that banging and sounds coming from outside gave me the creeps, and of course,  the idea that they could break in at any minute was terrifying.  But at the same time it gave enough of a feeling of safety that the moments and arguments between the characters felt realistic - and it's interesting how in this kind of situation it becomes less about what is happening outside and more about the dynamics and dangers inside.

I loved the ending too.  I know for some it will be too ambiguous but for me it gave me the answer to Sloane's internal battle.  I felt a decision was made.  Of course, if Courtney Summers decided to write a sequel I would be first in queue - I loved this world and wouldn't hesitate to go back there.  It's the first book that has creeped me out so much in a long time (I'm embarrassed to admit I slept with the light on after finishing it!) and if I ever needed more evidence of Summers brilliance as a writer I found it here.  Seriously fantastic!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

BOYS: Hairstyle of the day (Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks Bog Tour)

As part of the blog tour for Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks, Ellie Philips has stopped by to talk about her (boys) hairstyle of the day...

BOYS: Hairstyle of the day:

This has to be a cute boy one: so how about this retro one - it's kind of Tony Cruz-esque too!

Ever had Total Boy Paralysis? That's what Sadie gets whenever Tony Cruz talks to her. She's tongue-tied, she blushes, she can't think what to say. Y'know what? Everyone gets it - but unless you're going to be a wallflower your whole life you've just got to get over it! Nobody is ever going to come and discover you - you have to make them know you're there. For some people this is soooooo hard. And for others (and it doesn't seem to matter what you look like) it's like falling off a log. There are girls who break up with boys and the next time you see them they have someone else in tow. Meanwhile there are others who can't even have a conversation with a boy they've known since pre-school without breaking out in hives. In Dads Geeks it's only when Sadie's angry with Tony - when she thinks she's lost him to her ex-best friend Shonna - that she says what she really means and then absolutely nothing can stop her.
Thanks Ellie!

Dad, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks was published on 4 June 2012.

Here's the synopsis:

From Goodreads:  Sadie Nathanson spends her life trying to survive the excruciating embarrassment of simply existing. It’s hard enough being a bit of a shrinking violet within a loud and outspoken extended family, but the unexpected card from ‘Dad’ on her 15th birthday is the last straw.

As ‘Dad’ was an Internet sperm-donor, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is a bad joke, probably set up by her ex-best-friend Shonna. But it starts Sadie wondering – just who was her father? Is he the cause of her worry crinkle and wonky bum? What would happen if she tracked him down?

So she decides to do just that. With help from her nerd cousin Billy, his friend Nodding Tony and a regular dose of ‘Haironomics’ (Sadie’s own hairstyle-related philosophy system), they uncover a lot more than they bargain for...

You can check out the next stop on the tour tomorrow over at Serendipity Reviews

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Calling All Geeks!

So... all of you who live near, or can travel to Alton in Hampshire will be pleased to hear Andy Robb will be signing copies of his novel Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind at Waterstones Alton.

Details are below:

A shameless plug (since I work there!)   Please feel free to tweet or blog about it and it would be really, really awesome to see you there!

For more information on any upcoming signings at Waterstones check out their Event Page.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pop Blog Tour: The on-off love affair between reality TV and the novel.

Today we have the lovely Catherine Bruton, who has stopped by as part of the blog tour for the release of her new book, POP, to talk about reality TV and the novel...

The on-off love affair between reality TV and the novel

I’ve decided that my new novel ‘Pop!’ is in fact the secret love child of George Orwell and Jessie J! Or maybe Suzanne Collins and Simon Cowell...crikey! what a thought!

Because ‘Pop! is perhaps only the latest chapter in the on-off, will-they-won’t-they love saga between reality TV and literature that’s been going on for decades.

After all, it was a character from Orwell’s dystopian ‘1984’ that spawned ‘Big Brother’ – the ‘big brother of all reality TV concepts’ – and now ‘Surveillance-TV’ is inspiring a new generation of novelists (myself included). Meanwhile, the boundaries are getting blurred: with reality TV stars turning novelist (and vice versa) and the editors of Reality TV melding fiction with reality in their heavily scripted ‘docu-soaps’.

For today’s young people the twin cults of celebrity and surveillance are a ubiquitous feature of the world they are growing up in. So perhaps it’s not surprising to find reality TV becoming an increasingly prevalent feature in children’s books. From dystopian fiction to satire, tweenie novels to spin-off chick-lit, the ‘Reality TV Novel’ is perhaps the ultimate 21st century hybrid!

Probably the best example is ‘The Hunger Games’ – which presents a dystopian future vision of a reality TV contest taken to a horrifying new level. And what makes it so brilliant (apart from the love triangle and the gruesome killing and unputdownable story line, that is!) is that the conventions it draws on are all so recognisable. The chat show style host and diary room-esque moments: it’s all just a small distortion away from Saturday night staple TV fare.

But it’s not only dystopian fiction that has been influenced by reality TV. The TV Talent contest has been a feature of some of the most interesting contemporary fiction to emerge over the last few years. Annabel Pitcher’s ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece’ melds terrorism with televised talent contests; Joanna Nadin’s ‘The Money, Stan, Big Lauren and Me’ is like ‘The Treasure Seekers’ for the ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ generation; and my own latest novel ‘Pop!’ is a mash-up of ‘Billy Elliot’, ‘Shameless’ and ‘The X Factor’.

What’s interesting about all these novels is that they confront complex contemporary issues - recession, strikes, terrorism - and in each the child protagonists see reality TV as a viable solution to their problems. And no wonder. Growing up under the shadow of recession, no wonder today’s young people are drawn to the rag-to-riches tales scripted by the editors of Saturday night TV. In bleak times, Talent TV seems offers the fairy-tale endings we crave – with Simon Cowell as the ultimate Fairy God-mother (or perhaps David Walliams will fight him for that particular tiara)!

My own forthcoming novel ‘Pop!’ sees a group of kids pursuing the Talent TV dream in the recession hit North West. In a community divided by strikes, winning ‘Pop to the Top!’ seems to offer these kids a chance to escape from broken homes, bankruptcy and bailiffs.

And Talent TV loves nothing more than a tragic ‘back story’, as my main character Elfie observes: ‘It might be a battle with cancer or drugs, or a dead dad/dog/goldfish who told you to ‘follow that dream’ or a crippling stutter or stage fright or just chronic ugliness ... it doesn’t matter: if you want to win you need a healthy dose of misery in your back catalogue.’

And the folks in Talent TV-land are the ultimate story-tellers: from the heart-rending back stories; to the will- they won’t they moments; the rollercoaster rides; the butterfly-from-the-cocoon makeovers; the nail-biting cliff-hangers; the tear-jerking goodbyes and the edge-of-your-seat grand finales. The bods in the editing suites at ‘The X Factor’ and ‘BGT’ are some of the best story-tellers around today!

No wonder that they are starting to jump ship, going from from production houses to publishing deals! ‘Strictly Shimmer’ (described as ‘A 100% official Strictly Come Dancing novel, featuring the dancers, stars and judges you love!’) is written by Amanda Roberts, a production runner on the set of Strictly! And the ‘L.A. Candy’ series – a story of some girls being plucked from obscurity for a reality TV version of ‘Sex and the City’ - was actually written by Lauren Conrad, one of the stars of the hit US reality TV show ‘The Hills’.

And when it starts working the other way – with children’s writer David Walliams appearing on the judging panel of a Talent TV show (no doubt he’ll be writing a novel about it next!) – it all just gets too much to get your brain around!

Meanwhile, the new generation of Reality TV shows are also starting to play with their own fictionality. ‘Docu-soaps’ like ‘Desperate Scousewives’ ‘The Only Way is Essex’ and – my own particular fave – ‘Made in Chelsea’ warn us that, whilst, ‘these people are real, some scenes may have been staged for your viewing entertainment’. And when the producer turns ‘actor’ in his own show (a la Hugo from ‘MIC’) half the fascination of watching comes from trying to work out who’s playing who? Are the producers like puppet masters pulling the strings or are the ‘actors’ (characters? contestants?) now writing their own scripts, manipulating the conventions of the genre to their own ends?

So, the shelves are stacked with ‘Reality TV Fiction’ but, if you ask me, the best of the genre sets out to explore what our national obsession with reality TV tells us about contemporary society. But what next: a TV Talent show for novelists? A televised version of a Talent TV novel? Who knows, but reality TV and fiction have got serious romantic history so I look forward to reading the next chapter in their tempestuous love affair!
Thanks Catherine!

The next stop on the tour is tomorrow over with Book Angel Booktopia and you can check out the whole schedule to the right on my sidebar.

You can find Catherine at her Website and on Twitter

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Cover to Covet (27)

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

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

I've been super excited to read this since I first heard about it. More so since I had been a regular visitor to Lenore's blog! But now I have seen the cover - WOW! I really love it! It's bright, has a bit of a sci-fi vibe and is just really eye catching. Plus I love the way the title and author goes vertically down the book. I'd definitely pick it up to see what it's about (if I didn't already know...).

Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow prisoners, Felicia passes the endless hours downloading memories and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and the boy she loved, Neil.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber disappears, and nobody but Felicia seems to recall she existed in the first place. Something is obviously very wrong. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, she learns the truth: a rebellion is brewing to overthrow the Morati, the guardians of Level 2.

Felicia is reluctant to trust Julian, but then he promises what she wants the most—to be with Neil again—if only she’ll join the rebels. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself in the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Saving June by Hannah Harrington (Review & Interview: Blog Tour)

From Goodreads:  ‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going, California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again.

I really loved this one.  I thought it was a beautiful story, brilliantly written and I adored the characters.

I loved Harper's voice and it really made the book for me.  Hannah Harrington's writing is really beautiful and it gives Harper a great voice as she narrates the story.  I instantly liked her and could feel everything she was going through.  I really thought the story was a realistic portrayal of grief - there was confusion, anger, sadness - it just felt very realistic.  I couldn't help but be invested in it. 

I also really liked her best friend Laney (and her storyline too) and loved Jake.  I also loved him straight away and really enjoyed the way the relationship between him and Harper gently develops (despite not being quite sure about his relationship with June...)  I loved all the music references too - and the way it has such an important role in the story and in their relationship.

Plus road trip!  I don't know why but I love road trip stories.  Maybe because the characters are forced to stay together for long periods of time - I'm not sure - but it definitely works here.

I am honestly super excited to read Hannah Harrington's next novel when it is published.  Saving June has certainly left me with high expectations for it!

As part of the blog tour for Saving June, Hannah Harrington kindly answered a few of my questions...

What inspired you to write Saving June?

I first had the idea for Saving June while I was in high school. When I was seventeen, I'd lost a relative of mine to suicide and the "splitting the ashes" thing was something that actually happened. The summer after I graduated, I was living out of my car and working as a pizza cook. The radio would always be on in the kitchen, so I was spending a lot of time listening to music and kicking the idea around in my head. A few years later I found some of the bits and pieces I'd written back then, and decided to sit down and write out a full first draft. So some of it comes from my personal experiences, and of course some of it is inspired by music I love. It all ended up tying together!

I loved Harper’s voice. Was she an easy character to write?

I was pretty comfortable writing Harper’s voice. She is sort of similar to how I was at that age, though I don’t think I was ever quite as bitter or brash as she could be during the story. I have a natural tendency toward sarcasm so having her utilize that a lot wasn’t too difficult for me to write. The hardest part with her character was figuring out a way to get her to come out of her shell and really connect with people—especially Jake—without it feeling too forced.

Music plays a large part in Saving June, especially in terms of Harper and Jake’s relationship. Is music something that is important to you?

Absolutely, and especially when I was a teenager. I think some of the music I listened to played a part in shaping my own identity, and it definitely forged some friendships I had back then with other people who either introduced me to music or bonded with me over bands I already loved.

If you could cast Saving June for a movie who would be your ideal cast? And what would you choose as the movie's theme song?

This is a hard one! I think I’d go with “This Time Tomorrow” by the Kinks. It seems to be the most fitting, both lyrically and melodically. I always pictured Johnny Pacar as Jake. I could see someone like Kat Dennings as Harper and Amanda Seyfriend as Laney.

What’s next for you? Are you working on something at the moment?

My next book, SPEECHLESS, will be published by Harlequin Teen at the end of August. It’s the story of a girl named Chelsea Knot, who takes a voluntary oath of silence after her gossip-mongering ways get her in big trouble.
Thanks Hannah!

You can find Hannah on her Goodreads and Twitter.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

I want to read that...

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

From Goodreads: How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

Advance Praise for WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:

"I absolutely devoured this book, and found myself reading the final pages more and more slowly, trying to put off seeing it end. I haven't been this in love with a set of characters in maybe forever." --Jennifer Brown, author of HATE LIST

"Real teenagers. Real issues. Real writing. I read "What Happens Next" in one big swoop. Heartbreaking, but still filled with hope and promise, author Colleen Clayton knows that the past can't be rewritten, but you can ruin the future by not learning from it." -- Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of I'LL BE THERE

"Sad, funny, and true. This book hits all the right notes." --Miranda Kenneally, author of CATCHING JORDAN

Sounds great right? Plus I love that it's recommended by Jennifer Brown and Miranda Kenneally!

It's published by Poppy in October 2012

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Shift Blog Tour (Guest Post)

As part of the blog tour for Shift, Em Bailey stopped by to talk about using an unreliable narrator...

The central character of Shift – Olive Corbett – is a deeply flawed character in many ways. What are the advantages and limitations of using an unreliable narrator?

It could probably be argued that all narrators are unreliable. After all, if we only hear the story from a single perspective how can we be sure that their personal biases aren’t shaping and skewing the details? It's easy to forget this when we read a novel though – the narrative voice has such authority that it’s tempting to believe everything it tells us. As an author it’s fun to play with this trust - because it can create such a surprising and unsettling effect when its revealed that the narrator is either lying or not telling the whole story. The danger of doing this of course is that you end up annoying the audience and turning it against the narrator. It's a fine balance.

The narrator of Shift – Olive Corbett – is pretty upfront about being a hit-and-miss witness of the things going on around her. She’s so battered by recent events in her life that she no longer trusts her instincts. This is why her friendship with Ami is so important. Ami acts as a sounding-board for Olive's thoughts and concerns – helping her distinguish what is true from what is pure paranoia. It's Ami, for instance, who insists that hot-guy Lachlan genuinely likes Olive when Olive suspects that his attentions are just a cruel joke. And it's Ami who finally persuades Olive that she should trust her gut about the creepy new girl, Miranda. That as crazy as it seems, Miranda is a parasitic shape-shifter who latches onto then drains the life from one victim after another. Ami's support of Olive's perspective lends weight to Olive's viewpoint. But when Ami's own credibility dissolves we're left doubting the veracity of anything Olive says or thinks.

The idea for Olive's character came after I overheard a woman telling a friend that at high school she was an 'alternative princess'. I liked the mental image this phrase conjured up – I imagined a sort of ‘anti-queen’ - and it made me wonder what such a character would be like and how she might have become this way. Olive – who is my take on an 'alternative princess' was a lot peppier in early drafts – probably because of my familiarity with writing for younger readers. As I redrafted however, she grew darker. She developed more depth, became more nuanced… and more unreliable. I was initially concerned that Olive might end up being an unlikeable character – especially when what she's been holding back is revealed – but I think (hope!) that her ability to laugh at herself makes her someone the audience can empathise with. By the end of Shift Olive starts to trust herself again and therefore hopefully regain the readers’ trust too.
Thanks Em! I loved having Olive narrate the story, and while I wasn't sure whether to believe her at times, I believed that she believed what she was telling us.  And that made for very interesting reading!

The next stop on the blog tour is tomorrow over at Pen To Paper.


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