Sunday 30 September 2012

My Month in Books: August

I decided rather than do a weekly IMM I wanted to create a monthly post that combines the books I receive with a look back on the month. A post to talk about everything that has happened book wise - so any books I receive for review or buy, any bookish events I attend, what I've read, reviewed and so on.

I'm still playing catchup with these posts so here is my Month in Books for August.

Read in August:

I am still on my Contemp kick (will it even end?)  So anyway, my highlights were:

52 Reasons to Hate my Father by Jessica Brody - so so good!  I'm really loving Jessica Brody's books! Also, a proof copy of Unremembered was sent to the bookshop I work in and I LOVED it. It's not out until March 2013 so a bit of a wait but definitely mark it on your wish list!

Easy by Tammara Webber - this was recommended to me by Kerrie @ Read and Repeat and I really loved it!  I'm pleased to hear that Penguin has picked it up and are publishing it in January 2013.

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar - I had heard so many great things about this book I started to wonder if it could ever live up to my expectations for it, but it really did.  A brilliant book!

You can see (if you so desire!) everything I read in August here.

Reviewed in August:

Blood Moon by Alyxandra Harvey
Love at Second Sight by Cathy Hopkins
Forbidden by Jana Oliver
Forgiven by Janna Oliver
Foretold by Jana Oliver
Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Debutantes by Cora Harrison
Losing Lila by Sarah Aldersen

No events for me this month! But I think I made up for it in books...:D Here are my books for August:  (again a few may be missing from the photos as a result of my major need for more space and having to box up some books:))

For Review:

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Endlessly by Kiersten White
Revived by Cat Patrick
When You Were Older by Catherine Hyde park
Runemark by Joanne Harris
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Shadows by Isla J Bick
The Citys Son by Tom Pollock
Unsticky by Sara Manning
Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
This is So Not Happening by Kieran Scott
Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer
The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable
Street Duty by Christopher Ould
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan
Rage Within by Jeyn Roberts
Wolf Pack by Melissa de la Cruz
Defiance by C J Redwine
Scramasax by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Missing Me by Sophie Mckenzie
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

A massive thanks to everyone who sent books for review:D


Wicked Jealousy by Robin Palmer
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
All You Desire by Kirsten Miller
My Invisible Boyfriend by Suise Day
The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne
Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (love the updated covers)
Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman
Survive by Alex Morrel
The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones by Suise Day
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
Welcome,  Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell (I read this a while back and really wanted a finished copy)
The List by Siobhan Vivian
Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Easy by Tammara Webber (Loved this!)
Bound to You by Christopher Pike
The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin (This was really good! I really want to read more by her)
Hav3n by Tom Easton (reading this right now and loving it!)
Girl Heart Boy by Ali Cronin
Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Biting Cold by Chloe Neill
Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock(I found this in a charity shop!)
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Sign Language by Amy Ackley
Unfed by Kirsty McKay
Deep Water by Jo Cotterill

... so another ridiculously large book buying month for me, and (worryingly) I fear September may be worse. I have loads of pre-orders (eek!)    Time to get reading I think...

Hope you all had a great month for books:D

My Month in Books: July

I decided rather than do a weekly IMM I wanted to create a monthly post that combines the books I receive with a look back on the month. A post to talk about everything that has happened book wise - so any books I receive for review or buy, any bookish events I attend, what I've read, reviewed and so on.

I've been a bit behind on getting these posted.  So in an attempt to catch up,  this is My Month in Books for July.

Read in July:

My highlights for the month include:

Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson.
I love Sarah Alderson's books and this was just awesome! 

Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent
How much do I love this series!  I can't wait for With All My Soul!!!!!!!!

Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols
It's Jennifer Echols - need I say more?

Size 12 and Ready To Rock by Meg Cabot
I freaking love this series so as soon as I saw this was being published in the US I knew I had to have it.  Great fun!

You can see (if you so desire) what I read in July  here.

Reviewed in July:

Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey [Review]
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson  [Review]
Shattered Dreams by Ellie James  [Review]
Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent  [Review]
Whisper by Chrissie Keighery [Review]
Adorkable by Sara Manning  [Review]
1.4 by Mike Lancaster  [Review]


Macmillan (4th July Party)

I was invited to attend a 4th July party to celebrate the release of Dreamless by Josephine Angelini.  We got to talk to her via skype and ask questions.  Great fun!

I also picked up these lovelies:

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Dreamless by Joesphine Angelini
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Fated by Alyson Noel
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty

Big thanks to Macmillan for a great evening:)

Simon & Schuster (Blogger's Summer Party)

I was also invited to the S&S offices to see the July-Dec 2012 highlights and meet Sarah Alderson, the author of Hunting Lila, Losing Lila and Fated. I am a really big fan of her books so it was really a treat to meet her.  We were also given a sample of her new book (called The Sound) that will be coming next year and it is awesome! I can't wait to get my grubby hands on it when it's released! And Simon and Schuster have an amazing line of titles!  I can't wait - I'm really looking forward to them all!!!

I picked up these wonderful goodies:

Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Envy by Elizabeth Miles
Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame
Zom B by Darren Shan
Everwild by Neal Shusterman

Massive thanks to S&S for organising such a fun event:)

and the books for July:


Destined by P C & Kristen Cast
The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Party Disaster by Sue Limb
School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari
Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink
Rift by Andrea Cremer
Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel
Debutantes by Cora Harrison
Foretold by Jana Oliver
Twisted Symmetry by Benjamen J Myers
Envy by Elizabeth Miles (since I already have a copy I'll do a giveaway for this)
The Feathered Man by Jeremy De Quidt
A Midsummer Tights Dream by Louise Renninon
Maze Cheat by B R Collins
My Brother Simple by Marie-Aude Murail
Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto
Dark Eyes by William Richter

Massive thanks to everyone who sent books for review:D


One Moment by Kristina Mcbride
Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J Bick
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
Once by Anna Carey
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
52 Reasons to Hate my Father by Jessica Brody
The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt
Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
Ex-Mas by Kate Brian
The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander
Forsaken by Lisa Stasse
Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris
Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot
The Scorch Trials James Dashner
The Death Cure by James Dashner
Crimes of the Sarahs by Kristen Tracey
Private by Kate Brian

-  I've recently had a massive sort out and had to box up some books *cries* so since I am really behind on these posts it means there may be a few books missing from the pictures.  I also apologise for not providing links but this has already taken ages lol!

Hope you had a great month for books:)

Friday 28 September 2012

Cover Wars: Such Wicked Intent Blog Tour

Today we have Kenneth Oppel, who has stopped by to discuss the US and UK covers for his The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein Series.

What’s interesting about the US and UK covers for This Dark Endeavour and Such Wicked Intent is that they both use the same central photographic image of Victor and Elizabeth, but have very different backgrounds and typography.


The original US and UK hardcovers for Dark Endeavour were pretty much identical: Victor Frankenstein with his back to the viewer, as seen through a keyhole. I liked this cover a great deal, but my US publisher thought it a bit dark and not “epic” enough so they changed it for the paperback. They did a big photo shoot with two young models in an orchard in upstate New York and shot hundreds of poses. So the new Endeavour cover has a handsome Victor standing front and centre with some 18th century buildings behind him (if you look at the building on the right, you can see an electric street lamp, but shhh, don’t tell anyone).


In the UK they took this same image of Victor, cropped it closer and put an amazing spiral staircase and door behind him -- which I think is much more dynamic and hints at Victor’s inner turmoil, and the mystery of both Chateau Frankenstein and the storyline. I also prefer the bold, overexposed title lettering, and my name in red. It’s easier to read than the US cover.


Same deal with Such Wicked Intent. Same shot of Victor and Elizabeth, but the UK cover is altogether moodier and darker with its trees and church tower and hint of lightning. Again, I think it captures the mood better than the US cover, which looks more like a romance novel.

I think they’re all strong covers, but I do think the UK covers capture the tone and excitement of the books better.

Thanks Kenneth! I think the UK covers just beats the US for me too! I really love backgrounds used, and prefer the title placement. 

His Dark Endeavour and Such Wicked Intent are available to buy now.

You can find Kenneth on his Website and Blog

Thursday 27 September 2012

The Pack: Retribution (Blog Tour)

For Review: LM Preston
Published: 28th September 2012

From Goodreads: Revenge doesn't have a name, but has chosen a victim—Shamira. But she's never been the type to lie down and let someone hurt her family or her friends. In order to find the mastermind behind the threat to all she cares about, she must give up the one person who's found his way into her guarded heart, Valens. Valens refuses to back off easily, and neither will Shamira's friends. They join forces with her in order to deal with a new enemy who seeks to kill everyone in Shamira's life that dared save the missing kids on Mars.

I enjoyed the first book, The Pack, when I read it in 2010 and was really pleased to learn there was a sequel. I was keen to catch up with Shamira and Valens.

The story is set a year after the events of The Pack. Having spent that time training with her team, they about to take part in their last training mission when things don't go according to plan! Resolved to get to the bottom of what is going on Shamira starts to wonder if she is putting her teams, and new friends, at risk and is determined to keep them safe, even if it means letting them go...

This one definitely starts with a bang - we go straight into the action and I really enjoyed that. I got back into the world really quickly too and I really liked the setting. Set in the future and on Mars this has a futuristic feel but at the same time is grounded in reality - having read so much dystopian lately - this has a very similar feel.

As I said this one is actioned pack from the get go and it doesn't let up. LM Preston skillfully manages to combined this with quieter moments between the characters and both works incredibly well. It makes it exciting to read but also gives you the hook you need to stay invested in the story.

The characters are my favourite aspect of the story though and I was pleased to catch up with Shamira and Valens, as well as the rest of the characters we met in the first book. I was please to see Shamira and Valens still together, even if she was still finding it hard to open up to him. I really adore their relationship - it's sweet and he is incredibly caring towards her. I really loved it. The other characters are well fleshed out too - I loved seeing her interact with her family - especially Taren and her father (I love him!)

Definitely worth checking out - the setting makes this one stand out from other books I'm reading at the moment and I really liked the characters.

You can check out my review for the first book, The Pack, by clicking here

There are load of exciting things happening during the Blog Tour! Check them out!

Friday, 9/28 at 7pm-9pm EST, use the hashtag #ThePackRetributionParty and @LM_Preston prizes include $10 Amazon Gift cards for 3 winners & books, swag prizes

FACEBOOK PARTY:!/events/337549946331607/
Starring eight other authors and blog hosts, tons of prizes and fun.

and LM Preston has a grand prize for you all to enter:

RaffleCopter Grand Prize:
You can win a:

$20 Amazon Gift Card,
1 Ink Pen,
The Pack Series (Book 1 & 2 in print),
Flutter Of Luv ebook copy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also check out the whole blog Tour - see below for details:

9/23/2012 – The Paperback Princesses-
9/23/2012 – Black Words White Pages -
9/24/2012 – Eva’s Sanctuary -
9/24/2012 – My Home Away From Home -
9/25/2012 – Writer’s Ally -
9/25/2012 – Mpax Author –
9/25/2012 – My Four Monkeys -
9/25/2012 – Insatiable Readers -
9/25/2012 – The Magic Reads –
9/25/2012 – The Curiosity Key -
9/26/2012 – PanDragon Dan -
9/26/2012 – Reviewer Rachel -
9/26/2012 – Escape Through The Pages -
9/27/2012 – I Want to Read That
9/28/2012 – YA Book Central –
9/29/2012 – Comfort Books -
9/29/2012 – A Little Bit Of Reviews – 

You can find LM Preston at her:


Monday 24 September 2012

I want to read that...

Also Known As by Robin Benway

From Goodreads: ALSO KNOWN AS is the story of Maggie, a gifted teenage safecracker, who works alongside her parents as a spy for the mysterious entity known as the Collective. When she's assigned to infiltrate a private Manhattan high school, she's forced to make friends, investigate the mysterious Jesse, and solve the case, all without blowing her cover.

I am really loving the sound of this one - a bit teen Alias-esq! Plus I adored Audrey, Wait so I am extra excited!

It's published February 2013

Thursday 20 September 2012

Five Things I’ve Learned About Writing (Neptune's Tears Blog Tour)

As part of the blog tour for her novel Neptune's Tears, Susan Waggoner has kindly stopped by to tell us about the five things she has learned about writing...

Five Things I’ve Learned About Writing

I wanted to write before I could read. From the minute I understood that the black squiggles below the pictures were telling the story, I wanted to be the person in charge of the squiggles. If you’ve ever felt the same way, here are five things I’ve learned about writing between that day and this,

1. Don’t wait, write.
Writers, especially new writers, often wait for brilliance to strike before putting a single sentence on paper. They believe at the right moment, the story will flow perfectly onto the page. But writing is more of a skill than a talent. Just like ballet dancers, no writer gets on her toes the first time round, but puts in long hours at the practice bar. If you wait for brilliance to strike, writing will become more and more intimidating, and you will you never acquire the skills you need. So grab it, do it, and face the blank page every day.

2. Don’t be afraid of dead ends.
Although some people have an idea for a story that they love, they are often reluctant to write it down, as they are afraid that it won’t work out. Then they will have used up their idea and wasted a lot of time. First of all, an idea is never “used up.” You can always come back to it later, or change it to make it better. If you try to put it on paper and it doesn’t work out, you may have exposed a flaw in the story that needs to be corrected. This isn’t a failure. There are certain features in any story that you only notice when you start writing it. Many times, in the middle of a project, I’ve thought “Gosh, why did I decide to put this in? It just doesn’t fit!” or decided, when I was finished, “Well, I’m certainly not going to do that again.” You may lose interest in your idea or discover that it doesn’t have the potential you thought it did, or you may set it aside and come back to it when you have more experience. Whatever it is, you’ve moved forward as a writer.

3. Ignore people who tell you to “write what you know.”
This is the worst advice I’ve ever heard. If everyone followed it, there’d be no Alice in Wonderland, no Narnia or The Time Traveller’s Wife. Who would want to live in such a world? Who would want to write only about things they already know? Everything can be researched, so if your story takes place in a different world altogether, prepare to put some study time in. Beyond that, though, it’s your imagination and your ability to enter that distant world that will make your story a success.

4. Keep a notebook.
I don’t mean a writer’s notebook, I mean a reader’s notebook. In mine, I write down the title and author of every book I read and jot down my feelings and reactions as I go. What did the writer do that made me want to keep reading? Were certain writing challenges handled in a way I can learn from? I keep notes on books I don’t like as well. What irritated me or made me want to set the book aside? If there are magic moments in a book, I go back over the passage and try to figure out how the writer turned words into images and made them seem like real life. Leafing though my notebook, I find a map of where I’ve been as a reader as well as a writer. But the looking back is mostly for fun. The real value lies in the process of observing myself as a reader, then thinking about what I’ve read and pinpointing why some books work and some don’t.

5. Develop other interests and friends.
There is nothing more boring than a book about a writer writing about writing, so make sure you develop other interests and talents. What would you be if you didn’t want to write? Veterinarian? Tennis pro? Interior designer? Don’t leave these interests behind! Pursue them through volunteer work, part time jobs, or any way you can. It’s also important to have friends whose dreams are different from your own. You will learn things from them your own life cannot teach you, and be able to share experiences you would not otherwise have. Having a range of people in your life and developing as many of your own interests as possible will keep you open to the world and fill you with ideas and insights that will keep your creative spark burning far into the future.
Thanks Susan!

You can check out the next stop on the tour tomorrow over with the Bookbabblers.

Neptune's Tears is published now.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Girl Heart Boy: Vlog #11 and #12

I've got a bit behind with posting these - so here are vlogs #11 and #12:

As always, you can get involved and comment over on the Girl Heart Boy You Tube Channel.

Girl Heart Boy: No Such Thing As Forever is available to buy now.

Monday 17 September 2012

Cover Wars: Hysteria


I have to admit I'm not sure about the US cover - I want to like it but there is just something about it that I  can't quite put my finger on.  However, I love the UK cover!  I love the girl's eyes (creepy and beautiful!) and I like the tag line too.

What do you think?

Sunday 16 September 2012

I want to read that...

Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

From Goodreads: The road to heartbreak takes a lot of turns.

Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t.

Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind.

Neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

I am so excited for this one! I loved Two Way Street so can't wait for this companion novel! Let's hope for some great updates on Courtney and Jordan!

For more info check out the author's website here.

It's published July 2013.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Book Trailer: Crusher by Niall Leonard

Looks fantastic, doesn't it!

Here's the synopsis from goodreads: The day Finn Maguire discovers his father bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood, his dreary life is turned upside down. Prime suspect in the murder, Finn must race against time to clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him.

Trawling the sordid, brutal London underworld for answers, Finn exposes dark family secrets and faces danger at every turn. But he's about to learn that it's the people you trust who can hit you the hardest...

Crusher is available to buy now.

Friday 14 September 2012

The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs

For Review: HarperCollins
Published: 13 September 2012(ebook), 25 October 2012 (Paperback)

From Goodreads: The sexiest romance you’ll read this year…

One moment can change your life forever…

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape… no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price…

I have to admit this one grabbed me from the first chapter and didn't let me go until I'd finished it! Clocking in at over 500 pages, I'd say that is definitely a testament to how addictive the story is! I really, really enjoyed it!

I loved the setting - the opening scene in London and then Violet being held at the Varn's mansion. I also really loved the characters, especially Violet and Kasper. She got that 'sass' I just love - she really does say what she thinks and she goes through a lot in this story - I felt her reactions and emotions grounded the story. Kasper was just... I don't know how to describe him. He is exactly what he says he is - he's a predator and a killer and he doesn't apologise for that - but at the same time I couldn't help but be intrigued by him and love each scene he was in. He does have a softer side too and I think Violet helps to bring that side of him out. I also think having a few of the chapters narrated from his point of view really adds to the story and gives a much better insight into his character.

I really liked Lyla and Fabian initially but have to admit they really disappointed me. However, I did love Cain, and really enjoyed meeting Fallon and Autumn towards the end. Both were really intriguing characters. And I really liked Eaglen too!

The world building in this is really good too. Everything worked so well - some things I admit I predicted - but watching it unfold was more enjoyable than being blindsided by it. And I loved all the ideas behind it and how the author managed to create a world where vampires are dangerous and scary, but at the same time made sure I was rooting for them. Plus I loved the way she managed to make me laugh out loud one minute (honestly, some of the things Violet and Kasper say to each other!) and then I'd find myself holding my breath the next, desperate to find out what was going to happen.

I'm guessing this will have a sequel? I'm pretty sure I have read that it does (so break it to me gently if it doesn't) so I like the way this one ended. It's not a major cliffhanger (thankfully!) but I will definitely be first in the queue to read more. And I have to say I think Abigail Gibbs is going to be an author to watch - I can't believe she is just 17!

Really, really good! Romance, action and an impossibly sexy (yet possibly deadly) male character! Do I need to say more?

Thursday 13 September 2012

Interview: C J Redwine (Defiance Blog Tour)

As part of the blog tour for the release of her wonderful debut Defiance, C J Redwine has kindly stopped by to answer a few questions...

What inspired the idea for Defiance?

For years, I’d had the idea of a Leviathon-like creature living underground with the capability to destroy our world if anyone accidentally released him. Then one day I saw a picture of a fortress and it reminded me of a city-state. I said “What if we lived in city-states again? Why would we do that?” One idea collided with another, and Defiance was born.

I loved getting the story from both Rachel and Logan’s POV! What made you decide to write the story this way? And was one character easier to write for than the other?

I’d written half of the story from Rachel’s POV when I realized that Logan’s stake in the story was equal to hers. Plus, he does some REALLY cool things while apart from her, and I wanted the reader to see that. Rachel’s POV was easier to write because Logan is so logical and scientific, and I am so … not.

Do you have a favourite scene in the story you can share?

I don’t know if I have one favourite, but I do love the scene when they finally get their first kiss. They earned that! (Also, first kiss awkwardness for the win!)

Defiance is the first book in a trilogy. Can you give us any hints for what’s next in store for the characters?

Hmm … *looks to see if publisher is watching* I can tell you that things are going to get worse before they get better, there are multiple enemies hunting them now, and that readers will get to know the secondary characters much more in book 2.:)

What was the publication process like for you?

The process itself has been wonderful. I really connect with my editor and with her help, I turned Defiance into the story I always meant to write in the first place. The process leading up to getting published was a long, bumpy road full of rejections (as it is for many!), and I’m grateful for it because it taught me not to take a single part of my career for granted. I’ve been blessed.

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

Yes! Probably too many to name, but I’ll choose a few of the biggest influencers. C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia was the first fantasy series I read. I was in the second grade, and it just opened my world up. It was like someone shone this huge spotlight on all these possibilities, and I dove headfirst into fantasy and storytelling, and I’ve never looked back. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is like studying a master’s class in plotting, world building, and character development. Plus, who doesn’t want to believe in magic? Reading her books (again and again and again) taught me that the only limits to a writer’s imagination are the ones we place on ourselves. And finally, my friend Myra McEntire who writes a fabulous time-travel series (Hourglass, Timepiece) really knows how to capture the awkward loveliness of first love and first kisses. I was struggling to hit the right notes in Defiance and just started asking myself “What would Myra do?” and suddenly all the romantic scenes just worked.

What is a typical writing day like for you? Do you have any ‘must-haves’ before you can sit down and write?

The only must-have I need for writing is my playlist. I build one specific to each story, and as soon as those particular songs start playing in that particular order, I’m immediately immersed in the story. I have a toddler home with me, so my writing day is wedged in during her nap and then after she and my school-age boys go to bed at night.

What is your favourite aspect of being a writer? And the most challenging?

My favourite aspect is the joy of discovering a new story. I love the adventure of not knowing what will happen next until it comes out onto the page! The most challenging for me is writing the beginnings. I invariably end up revising 5 or 6 times before I nail it.:)
Thanks C J!  I can't wait to find out what is next in store for Logan and Rachel!!!

The next stop on the blog tour is over at  Totally Bookalicious tomorrow.

You can find C J at her blog and on twitter.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

For Review:  Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
Published: 13 September 2012

From Goodreads: In Abby’s world, magic isn’t anything special: it’s a part of everyday life. So when Abby learns that she has zero magical abilities, she’s branded an “Ord”—ordinary, bad luck, and quite possibly a danger to society.

The outlook for kids like Abby isn’t bright. Many are cast out by their families, while others are sold to treasure hunters (ordinary kids are impervious to spells and enchantments). Luckily for Abby, her family enrolls her in a school that teaches ordinary kids how to get around in a magical world. But with treasure-hunting kidnappers and carnivorous goblins lurking around every corner, Abby’s biggest problem may not be learning how to be ordinary—it’s whether or not she’s going to survive the school year!

Oh wow! I really enjoyed this one! It's full of adventure and brilliant characters and I had such a fun time reading it! I really did not want it to end.
Abby lives in a world were everyday magic is the norm, only to find herself an Ord - someone with absolutely no magic abilities. Ords are a commodity in this world and to keep Abby safe she is enrolled in a school for Ords. And it's here that the adventure really starts!

The writing is brilliant and Abby's voice is spot on! I loved her little observations, she's kind and really, really likeable. I also loved her family - such a fun bunch who obviously adore each other. And her friends at her new school are great too: Fred, Fran and Peter (I loved him!). Even the teachers have great personalities - I loved Becky and Dimitrios.

This is going to be a series, right? I really, really hope so. Caitlen Rubino-Bradway has created a wonderful world and I'd love the opportunity to return to it time and time again. Flying carpets, Minotaurs, Magic as an everyday occurrence, Evil goblins, Treasure seeking baddies? I mean, what more do you need? Well, you can also add a lovely main character, who you can't help but root for, and this really is a little gem of a book.

Ordinary Magic Blog Tour

As part of a blog tour for the release of her novel, Ordinary Magic, Caitlen Rubino-Bradway has stopped by today to talk about world building...

Blog for A Backwards Story — World building

Hello everyone! I first want to thank Sammee for hosting me, and letting me talk a bit about my book, Ordinary Magic. It’s the story of Abby Hale, a 12yo girl who lives in a world were magic is simply an everyday thing. But not for her, because Abby soon learns that she’s an ord — one of a small sect of the population that can’t do magic, and that are looked down upon by the people who can. As you can probably guess, this causes her problems.

Have you ever heard the quote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”? I’d heard it long before I placed it, but it’s by Arthur C. Clarke, and it was in the back of my mind all while I was writing Ordinary Magic. He probably didn’t mean it this way, but I kept thinking about it in reverse — that if advanced technology was indistinguishable from magic, then magic could be indistinguishable from technology. That you could have a fantasy world that ran on magic, and felt very much like our contemporary world.

The reason it kept jostling around my head was because of Abby. Abby Hale is twelve years old, the youngest of five, and a recently discovered ord. Abby is the one telling the story; it’s first person pov, so we see everything through her eyes, hear it through her voice. And Abby’s voice is not that of a ye-old-fantasy child. Her voice is that of a modern girl, someone who lives in a world very much like ours.

Fortunately, Patricia Wrede was there for me. I don’t think I’ve ever thanked her properly. It probably would be kind of weird, seeing as I don’t know her personally, though I do adore Dealing with Dragons. But I would not have been able to handle all the world building in Ordinary Magic — juggling with what I knew about Abby with what I wanted for her world — if it wasn’t for Wrede’s fantastic and exhaustive questions on the SFWA website. ( Without those questions forcing me to think about (more or less) every aspect of Abby’s world, the writing probably would’ve gone a lot rougher and Abby’s world would make even less sense than it does now.

I discovered Wrede’s questions pretty early on, while I was still toying with the idea of writing Ordinary Magic. So when I decided to take the leap, one of the very first things I did was sit down with every single one of those questions (or at least, every one that applied) and tried to fill them out in as much detail as possible. Trade routes, tidal changes, religious influences. It took me several days, but it was absolutely worth it. If anyone’s considering writing fantasy, I’d urge you to at least take a look. It helped me to get everything settled in my head, even if it didn’t end up making it into the book.

Which, to be honest, a lot didn’t. Because of Abby. I totally blame her. I mean, I love her, but I blame her. I’m just imagining this world — Abby actually lives there, and while she has many fine qualities and I adore her, she has a tendency to take things for granted. A lot of things. Especially when they’re things that she deals with in her everyday life, which caused trouble because the story is from Abby’s pov. Case in point, Abby’s Dad. He has a small shop on the back of their house where he weaves magic carpets, which took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out. Abby didn’t mention it, because to her that was just something her dad did. It was obvious, so why should she mention it? To be honest, prying things out of Abby was the most difficult part of the world building. Especially when she caused me problems with my editor, who called me on not explaining enough about the world Abby lived in.

Having gone through this, I’d have to say that world building has to be one of the trickiest things about writing fantasy, at least for me. How much do you show? How much do you need to show? How much can you ask your audience to accept, and how do you know when it’s too much? How do you make it feel real even if everyone’s flying around on magic carpets and taking classes with minotaurs? Why is it some authors can make it look effortless, and how to I get to be more like them? It’s been my first go at this, so I can’t say how well it worked out — that’s for my readers to judge for themselves. But I am happy how it turned out.

Thanks again to Sammee, and please check out Ordinary Magic, in UK bookstores tomorrow.
Thanks Caitlen!

You can find Caitlen on Facebook and Twiiter.

Ordinary Magic is published 13 September 2012.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Missing Me by Sophie McKenzie

For Review: Simon & Schuster
Published: 13 September 2012

From Goodreads: Six years have passed since the end of Sister, Missing and Madison is now a teenager. During a visit to her older sister Lauren, Madison learns that their biological father was an anonymous sperm donor and sets out to track him down. Her search bears fruit sooner than she expects, but is the father she discovers all he seems? As Madison gets drawn into a mysterious investigation involving missing girls and secret hideaways, she finds herself in more and more danger. A tense and thrilling end to the bestselling series, not to be missed!

Having really enjoyed both Girl Missing and Sister Missing I couldn't wait to see how Sophie McKenzie would conclude the series. Add to that the fact it's set 6 years later and narrated by Madison - well I was seriously excited to read this one! And I have to say Sophie Mckenzie absolutely blew me away - it was really good!

The decision to make Madison narrate the story is a stroke of genius! Madison has enough similarities in narrative voice to Lauren making the switch in narrative seamless, but there is also enough of a difference (she comes across as much softer) that is doesn't feel like just more of the same. And Madison's drive to seek out her biological father felt real and believable. I imagine that Annie would not be a easy parent to deal with at times!

I loved catching up with Jam and Lauren six years later - and adored the fact they are still very much together. I love Jam and think he is a great balance for Lauren - plus the idea that they could still be together after meeting so young definitely makes the romantic in me smile.

There are new characters in this one.  Wolf really stands out, and I really liked  the budding relationship between him and Madison.  The 'baddy' was rather scary in this one too!  Again there are many twists and turns, all expertly done. I found reading this one really exciting and enjoyable - I steamed through it! And I loved the danger - I felt the stakes were even higher in this one!

If you enjoyed the others in the series you are going to love this one!

Sister Missing by Sophie McKenzie

For Review: Simon & Schuster
Published: August 2011

From Goodreads: Fighting back my rising panic, I stopped and took a deep breath. Think. Where could she have gone? I turned right around, looking in every direction, trying to spot the familiar silhouette of my sister. But there was no sign of her...

It's two years after the events of Girl, Missing and life is not getting any easier for sixteen-year-old Lauren, as exam pressure and a recent family tragedy take their toll. Lauren's birth mother takes Lauren and her two sisters on holiday in the hope that some time together will help, but a few days into the holiday one of the sisters disappears, under circumstances very similar to those in which Lauren was taken years before. Can Lauren save her sister, and stop the nightmare happening all over again?

I really enjoyed Girl Missing so was excited to find it was going to become a series. I relished the opportunity to catch up with Lauren, Jam and Madison!

It's been two years since we last saw these characters and it was great spending time with them. Lauren is exactly how I remembered her - strong, fiercely independent, a tad selfish at times but really, really kind once you dig that little bit deeper. And how much do I love Jam? He is just full of complete awesome.

The story was really exciting with all the different twist and turns I have come to expect from a Sophie Mckenzie novel. I LOVED the scenes towards the end - I was really worried for Lauren, Jam and Madison! There were a few things that I saw coming - but I have to say the ending completely blindsided me!

Really, really good.! I can't wait to read Missing Me - and I'm really looking forward to having the story narrated by Madison.

Names and Place (Missing Me Blog Tour)

I'm really excited to have Sophie McKenzie stop by today to talk about the names and places featured in her Missing series...
Names and Places

Where do the names of the characters in the Missing series come from?

Lauren is simply a girls name that I didn’t associate with anyone I knew – and that I really liked. Jam is short for James. I’d read a lot of books with that name for the male main character and I wanted to find a fresh twist on what is a very popular choice for boys.

When it came to naming Madison and Shelby I looked to the United States, where both sisters grew up. My criteria was simple. Madison needed a name I liked. Shelby needed a name I didn’t!

For the new people introduced in Missing Me, I picked names that hopefully reflect the character’s backgrounds. Esme and Wolf were chosen because they are elegant, upper-class names (at least in my mind!) Wolf’s first names are Wolfgang, William… after Mozart and Shakespeare, as he explains to Madison in the book. His father has given him a lot to live up to with those names – as is shown in the relationship between the two.

What made you pick the locations you used for Missing Me?

Lauren’s home was always north London, so it made sense that when Annie brings Madison to live in England after the events of Sister, Missing she would choose to live nearby. I set the original Missing books in north London because that’s where I live, so all the references were on my door step!

The action of Missing Me takes place in various locations in London. I used the Houses of Parliament because I knew it was a venue where security would be high, which I needed for the story. I have visited a number of large houses in Hampstead, so was easily able to imagine Declan Baxter’s mansion.

When it came to the locations outside London, I sent Madison to Cambridgeshire because I was there on an author visit while I was planning the book! As for the cliff top finale. This wasn’t based on any specific part of the coastline, but I love the sea and I’m always happy when I can set a dramatic scene beside the ocean.
Thanks Sophie!

You can read my review for the first book in the series, Girl Missing here. I'll have reviews for both Sister Missing and Missing Me up later today!

Missing Me is published 13 September 2012.

Saturday 8 September 2012

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

From Goodreads: Three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful Gorgon maligned in myth, must reunite and embrace their fates.

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it's also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters. . . .

I am a fan of Tera Lynn Childs' Fins series so I was excited to read this. Add the fact it's based around Greek Mythology and Medusa and I was sure I would enjoy it. Just as I expected, it's a brilliantly light and fun read.

The story is narrated by each of the sisters, with all being given a very distinct voice. I'm a massive fan of this narrative style and it works so well here, both because it gives us the chance to get to know the sisters really well, but also because it infuses energy into the story.

Gretchen, Grace and Greer are brilliant characters. I loved Gretchen and her sassy, rough around the edges character. In contrast, Grace is just so incredibly sweet it is impossible not to love her. And Greer, who is only introduced towards the end of the story, is obviously blindsided by the news of who she is.  I'm looking forward to getting to know her better in the next instalment.

The male characters are also ace! While I didn't warm quite so much to Nick I am very intrigued by him (and I think anyone who wishes to catch Gretchen's attention would have to be very persistent!). Both Thane and Milo were really easy to like - the budding relationship between Milo and Grace is really sweet. And Thane obviously has some secrets and I'm very excited to find out what they are.

Love the action too - it's great to see the girls really hold their own! I can't wait to read the next book in the series - the ending is a killer! I will definitely be picking up Sweet Shadows as soon as it's published.

Friday 7 September 2012

Why I Write About Greek Mythology by Tera Lynn Childs

To celebrate the release of Tera Lynn Childs' new novel, Sweet Venom, PPR publicity kindly gave me the following feature from Tera Lynn Childs on why she likes to write about Greek mythology..

Why I Write About Greek Mythology by Tera Lynn Childs

There isn't a time I can remember when I didn't love Greek mythology. I have always been fascinated by ancient cultures—Roman, Egyptian, Mayan, Incan—but ancient Greece was my obsession. I can't point to a specific book or story or event that started it all. It might have something to do with my family. My father was a scenic and lighting designer and I grew up in and around the theatre. Greek drama marks the origins of the Western theatre tradition, and I have known and loved plays like Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and Agamemnon since I was a little girl. Like theatre itself, these stories involving flawed, powerful gods and beautiful, vengeful goddesses are in my blood.

It's no wonder, then, that as a writer I look to ancient Greece as an unlimited resource for inspiration. Whether it's borrowing from iconic plots, like fighting your fate or valuing duty above self, or drawing on the archetypal characters of the gods, from the beautiful seductress Aphrodite to the disfigured beast Hephaestus, Greek mythology is a treasure trove for the writer. These stories and characters are embedded in our cultural heritage, and weaving them into modern fiction draws on the very core of storytelling.

My specific inspiration for the Sweet Venom trilogy came from an unexpected source: a magazine spread about snake-themed accessories. Even though I dislike snakes, I was attracted to the display of golden serpent arm bands and snakeskin shoes. I tore it out and put it in a file, not yet certain how I could use that in a novel. Some time later, as I went back through that file, I was again drawn to the snakes and serpents. Setting the other inspirations aside, I sat down and tried to find the story hiding on that page.

By that time, I had already written my first two novels for teens, about a young girl who wound up at a private school for the descendants of the Greek gods. Greek mythology, and its manifestation in the modern world, were already ingrained in my writing. As I stared at the page of items inspired by beautiful but dangerous reptiles, those two themes entwined. Greek mythology and serpents. The first thing that entered my mind was Medusa. Everything clicked and soon I had the beginnings of an idea in which her descendants protected the city streets from monsters that have escaped their home realm.

Part of what attracted me to the story was the challenge of turning the Medusa legend inside out and telling my own version of her tale. There is a popular concept in writing that every villain is the hero of their own story, which simply means that bad guys think they're doing things for the right reason. In order to make Medusa's descendants sympathetic and heroic, I wanted to take that idea even further. In the world of Sweet Venom, Medusa was not only the hero of her own story, she was a hero pure and simple.

But the challenge was only part of the attraction. Medusa and the rest of Greek mythology are a part of me, of my childhood, and of our collective cultural history. I write about gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters because they are both familiar and fantastic. We recognize them in our friends and family. We see them in ourselves. When it comes down to it, these are the same stories we have been telling for millennia; I'm just taking my turn at the interpretation.
Thanks Tera! Thanks PPR Publicity:)

Sweet Venom was published 1 September.  Check back tomorrow for my review:)

Thursday 6 September 2012

Rage Within Blog Tour (Giveaway)

From Goodreads: The Road meets 28 Days Later in this heart-stopping, page-turning saga of rage, hope and survival.

Moments after several huge earthquakes shake every continent on Earth, something strange starts happening to people. Michael can only watch in horror as an incidence of road rage so extreme it ends in two deaths unfolds before his eyes; Clementine finds herself being hunted through the small town she has lived in all her life, by people she has known since childhood; and Mason is attacked with a baseball bat by a random stranger. An inner rage has been released and some people cannot fight it. For those who can, life becomes an ongoing battle to survive - at any cost!

Looks fantastic, right? I've finished Dark Inside and can testify that it is seriously good!!! I'm now reading Rage Within and LOVING it. I'll have reviews up for each soon:)

In the meantime, as part of the UK blog tour for Rage Within by Jeyn Roberts,  I have a copy of both Dark Inside (a signed copy) and Rage Within to giveaway to one winner!

The giveaway is open to UK only and the closing date is 10 September 2012.

Just fill in the form below - Good luck:D

This giveaway is now closed.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Sneak Peek: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

From Goodreads: When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate. Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die. Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from? A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

Sounds awesome, right?  It's published in October 2012, but for those of you who can't wait below is a sneak peek at the first chapter!

Breathe - Chapter One

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Girl Heart Boy: Vlog #10

As always, you can get involved and comment over on the Girl Heart Boy You Tube Channel.

Girl Heart Boy: No Such Thing As Forever is available to buy now.


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