Monday, 30 January 2012

I Wish I Was Lex Murphy by Luisa Plaja (Guest Post)

I am really pleased to present a guest post by Luisa Plaja - the author of Extreme Kissing, Split by a Kiss, Swapped by a Kiss and Kiss Date Love Hate.  I shall hand you over...

I Wish I Was Lex Murphy
guest post by Luisa Plaja, author of Kiss Date Love

The novel that's now Kiss Date Love Hate started its first-draft life many years ago with the title I Wish I Was Lex Murphy.

It wasn't exactly the book you'll be able to read now, but it also wasn't a million miles away. There was magic. There were game settings and adjustments to profiles that came true in real life and caused all kinds of relationship mayhem.

There was Lex, a girl who wished she could be someone else. (Anyone spotted a common theme in all my novels?!) And George, a kind and generous boy who was never seen as boyfriend material by anyone, much to his misery. There was Matt, the perfect ex that Lex dumped but never quite got over. And Drew: mysterious, misunderstood and always kind of smouldering. Gemma was an ex-friend. George fancied Jess and Jess didn’t notice. The cast were already, in Lex’s words, “all in a love chain made of broken links”.

Also present from the outset was the film theme. In fact, this is how Kiss Date Love Hate really started; not from the premise of a girl who controls her friends' lives and loves from the settings of a computer game, but from the idea of a film-loving girl who was named after a movie character, and who wished she could be more like that character - in Lex Murphy's case, a capable computer whizz who saves the day after people start meddling with the forces of nature. (In Kiss Date Love Hate, though, Lex is one of the people who does the meddling.)

Here are two film versions of Lex with quotes from Kiss Date Love Hate:

Lex Murphy as Lex Murphy from Jurassic Park (played by Ariana Richards) - how Lex wishes she was...

"I’ve always been into films. I’m named after a film character, after all. Mum was watching the dinosaur movie Jurassic Park when she went into labour, and she thought it was funny that the child characters had the same surname as us, so she gave me the same first name as the ‘clever blonde girl, Lex Murphy’. And she ended up with me: the Improver bald-patch girl, Lex Murphy. It says ‘Alexa’ on my birth certificate, though, because my nan thought it was a more sensible name and talked Mum into it. But I’ve always been Lex, except when I’m in trouble."

Lex Murphy as Arwen Evenstar from The Lord of the Rings (played by Liv Tyler) – Lex as seen by George (who wishes he was a film-star, too – ‘a very young George Clooney’)

I peer at the screen. It’s a skinny girl who looks like an elf with medium-length brown hair. And . . . a clumpy bald patch! Oh my God! ‘That’s me! Well, me crossed with that girl-elf from Lord of the Rings.’ I turn to face him.
‘You said I should try some other girls.’
‘Ugh! George! I didn’t mean me! That truly is pervy! You’ve made me look like one of your elf crushes.’
‘You do look a bit like Arwen Evenstar,’ he says nerdishly. ‘In real life, I mean. And I do not have elf crushes. Though you should say “elven” crushes, and Arwen is actually only half elven.’

Of course, Lex isn’t really anything like either of these characters. You can see her start to work out and accept who she really is in the course of Kiss Date Love Hate...
Thanks Luisa!

You can find Luisa on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith

For Review: Headline
Published: 5 January 2012

From Goodreads: Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Imagine if she hadn't forgotten the book. Or if there hadn't been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn't fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she'd run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else - the weather over the Atlantic or a fault with the plane?

Hadley isn't sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it's the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver...

Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

This is such a sweet story and it's guaranteed to make you smile!

When Hadley misses her flight by minutes she meets Oliver.  The two share an instant connection when they find themselves on the same flight to London. Is it fate that they meet? And is there such a thing as love at first sight?

I loved the connection between Hadley and Oliver. Even when the two parted ways at the airport it constantly played in the background - I kept wondering when they would see each other again..  And I really liked the fact the story has more to it than just the romance.   Don't get me wrong - I loved the romance - but both Hadley and Oliver had things going on in their lives which proved interesting to read about.  I particularly liked the storyline involving Hadley and her father - it was touching to see them try to sort out their troubles.  

I also really liked the way this all took place over a 24 hour period.  It makes it feel even more romantic and I can't stop myself from wondering what happens next.  I would definitely love to catch up with Hadley and Oliver! 

At just over 200 pages this is a quick read, but a very satisfying one!  I really did enjoy it and would recommend it to all those romantics out there. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

I want to read that...

Revived by Cat Patrick

From Goodreads: As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.

I loved Forgotten by Cat Patrick and am really looking forward to this one! And it sounds so good!

It's published May (US) and July (UK)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Saving Daisy by Phil Earle

For Review: Penguin
Published: 5 January 2012

From Goodreads:
Losing love, fighting guilt, seeking hope.

Daisy’s mum is gone. Her dad refuses to talk about it and as far as Daisy’s concerned, it’s all her fault…

Saving Daisy is a powerful and moving story that follows the life of Daisy Houghton who first featured in Phil Earle’s critically acclaimed debut, Being Billy.

As Daisy struggles with misplaced guilt over her mother’s death, she turns to extreme and violent measures and soon her life starts spiralling out of control. This leads to tragedy and suddenly Daisy finds herself left all alone. But sometimes the kindness of a stranger can turn things around. A stranger who desperately wants to save Daisy – if she’ll only let herself be saved.

Since reading the fabulous Being Billy I have been looking forward to reading Daisy's story. Now that I have, Phil Earle has truly cemented himself as an author I will read simply because his name is on the cover. I absolutely loved it.

The events of Saving Daisy take place before Being Billy making this a prequel of sorts. I loved finding out all about Daisy and having the story told from her point of view - I adored her in Being Billy and loved her even more after reading this. One of the things I really liked about Being Billy was the authentic voice given to Billy and I have to say that he did it again with Daisy. She's so real you can't help but get swept up in her story and feel everything she felt.   I felt so bad for her and everything she goes through. She's so convinced that everything is her fault - that she deserves to be alone. Her reaction to her mother's death is understandable - it must be very hard to deal with - and I hated that someone used that to get close to her when he shouldn't. And, of course, the accident would be hard for anyone to deal with - add it all together and it's not surprising that she finds it hard to cope.

Again it's obvious that Phil Earle has experience working with kids - it shines through in his writing. He has such an understanding of what Daisy and kids like her are going through - the whole story is just spot on and feels completely realistic. Powerfully so. I so desperately wanted Daisy to stop blaming herself - to find a way to see that none of it was her fault.  And I loved Ade - her key worker - and how she manages to help Daisy see the truth.

I can't recommend this highly enough. I loved Being Billy but this managed to surpass all my expectations. An absolute must read!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

In My Mailbox (127)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kirsti @ The Story Siren


Pulse by Tricia Rayburn
Desert Angel by Charlie Price
Starters by Lissa Price
Model Behaviour by Jo Cotterill
Legend by Marie Lu
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
The Broken Road by B R Collins
Dragonskin Slippers by Jessica Day George
Dragon Flight by Jesscia Day George
Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie

Massive thanks to everyone who sent books for review:)


Other Words For Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
Pigeon English by Stephan Kelman
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Hope you all had a great week:)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Strange Chemistry: YA Launch Titles

I'm been very excited by the news of Angry Robot's new YA imprint - Strange Chemistry - and am now even more excited!  The first two titles on their list sound amazing!

Here's the press release with all the details:

Angry Robot Announces Strange Chemistry Launch Titles

Strange Chemistry - the YA imprint of award-winning indie genre fiction publisher Angry Robot - has announced two deals that will help launch the list into publishing super-stardom.

In a post on Strange Chemistry’s website – – imprint editor Amanda Rutter has revealed that Strange Chemistry’s first two titles will be…

Shift by Kim Curran

About The Book: When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, e learns he’s not quite so average after all. He’s a ‘Shifter’. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world quickly starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

About the Author: Kim Curran was born in Dublin and moved to London when she was seven. After studying Philosophy and Literature at Sussex University her plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts never quite paid off. She became an advertising copywriter instead, specialising in writing for video games. She lives in SW London with her husband, if they’re not both off travelling. When she’s not writing she fences and plays guitar, both very badly.

Visit Kim online at

Kim Curran says: “When I saw Angry Robot was launching a YA imprint I literally said I would kill to be published by those guys. So to have signed with Strange Chemistry is everything I could have wished for and then some. To say I’m excited is a massive understatement. I just hope I won’t be expected to actually kill anyone!”

Amanda Rutter says: “We’ve signed debut novelist Kim Curran for two books in a new YA SF thriller series. The first title – Shift – will be published in September of this year, with the second to follow in 2013. The deal, concluded with Sam Copeland, of Rogers, Coleridge and White Ltd, includes world English rights in physical and electronic formats.

“As soon as I read the first page of Shift, I absolutely knew I wanted Kim on board. The novel is fast-paced, exciting and a real page turner. I simply cannot wait to introduce the world of Scott and Aubrey to YA readers!”

Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings

About the Book: Julie is an apprentice witch – or so she believes. When a dark power comes stalking out of the past to haunt her and her mother, Julie learns that she is far more than just a witch. With the help of her best friend Marcus and a rather unusual Great Dane, Julie has to race against time to ensure she can defeat the bad guy, save her mother and avoid being grounded – again!

About the Author: Sean Cummings lives in Saskatoon, Canada. He’s a comic book geek, superhero junkie, zombie fan and a total nerd. His interests include science fiction, the borg, cats with extra toes, east Indian cuisine and quality sci-fi movies/television. Sean has been writing since 1978 (as a means of liberating his “inner nerd”) and his published works for adults include Shade Fright, Funeral Pallor and Unseen World, all published by Snowbooks. Poltergeeks is his first book for Young Adults.

Visit Sean online at and

Amanda Rutter says: “We have signed Sean for two novels in the Poltergeeks universe, the first to be published in October of this year with the second to follow in the summer of 2013. The deal, concluded with Jenny Savill and Ella Kahn of Andrew Nurnberg Associates International Ltd, includes world English rights in physical and electronic formats.

“Sean has written a wonderful book with a title that made the whole AR office sit up and take notice – who wouldn’t want to read a novel called Poltergeeks?! As you read further, you just become gripped by this sassy and sarcastic apprentice witch who has to face down the darkest of powers. It’s just a tremendous story, and I’m thrilled that Strange Chemistry is bringing it to you.”

Sean Cummings says: "I'm a huge fan of Angry Robot Books and when I heard they were starting a Young Adult imprint I just knew they'd be publishing some of the best in YA fiction. I'm thrilled that Poltergeeks has found a home with Strange Chemistry and I look forward to working with Amanda. (Did I mention that Angry Robot has fantastic cover art, too?)"


More information can be found at and

Angry Robot is a genre publisher that brings readers the best in new SF, F and WTF?! Strange Chemistry is Angry Robot’s YA imprint. All titles are released as paperbacks and in all major eBook formats. Distribution is through Random House (North America) and GBS (UK). Angry Robot is part of the Osprey Group.

Friday, 20 January 2012

I want to read that...

Survive by Alex Morel

From Goodreads: Jane runs away from Life House, a facility for kids with mental health disorders and addictions. She boards a plane to Montclair, New Jersey, though her destination does not matter—she doesn’t plan to be alive when the plane lands. Jane has planned the perfect suicide: she’ll fall asleep on the plane and never wake up. As she’s reaching for her pills in the cabin’s bathroom, the plane hits turbulence. Another jolt, and the engine’s down. The plane crashes into the mountains of Montana, and Jane and a boy named Paul are the only two survivors.

What starts out as a death mission quickly becomes a fight for life.

This sounds very interesting! I really like the idea of someone who was ready to give up on life being forced to fight to survive.

It's published August 2012.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

For Review: Egmont
Published: 2 January 2012

From Goodreads: For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Described by Richelle Mead as “utterly captivating,” Unearthly received outstanding reviews, garnered accolades from New York Times bestselling authors, and was named an Indie Next Pick. In this heart-wrenching sequel, Cynthia Hand expertly captures the all-consuming joy of first love—and the agony of loss. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike.

 I still can't believe it took me so long to read Unearthly but I didn't make the same mistake with this one - I read it as soon as I had it in my possession. And it is good. Seriously good! In fact I would go as far as to say I loved it even more than Unearthly.

The story pretty much picks up where we left off. Still trying to make sense of her purpose and the aftermath of the fires, Clara finds her life get even more complicated when she gets a new vision - that someone close to her will die. Desperate to prevent this from happening Clara discovers that there is more at stake than she first thought...

I loved Clara in the first instalment and I loved her even more in this one. She has a goodness about her that pulls you in - you can't help but love her. I also still adore Tucker (how I love that boy!) but I got my wish - Cynthia Hand really made me like Christian. He plays a much bigger role this time around and there is a quiet intensity about him that I found compelling. He's there for Clara if she needs him but he also knows when to pull away. Well...almost always.

Jeffrey still has me worried. There is something going on with him - and I have the feeling it's not good. Plus we get a lot of revelations in this one and I'm embarrassed to say I saw none of them coming! I honestly cannot wait to see how this all plays out!  And, of course, I'm still holding onto my hopes for Clara and Tucker. And I'm definitely going to have my tantrum if they don't end up together - and this is why:  It's Tucker who sees Clara for her. Who she is - angel and human. Christian didn't see her at all until he knew who (and what) she was. Sure he was polite and nice but he just didn't seem interested.  That doesn't mean I don't think Christian cares - I do - I just love the fact that Tucker noticed her straight away.  And despite that awful red hair...

So I can't wait to get my hands on the next book - and have no idea how I'm going to wait until 2013!  It's complete torture!  I can't wait to get back into this world.  Really -  if you haven't picked up this series yet - please do. It's fantastic!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Fated by Sarah Alderson

For Review: Simon & Schuster
Published: 5 January 2012

From Goodreads: What happens when you discover you aren't who you thought you were? And that the person you love is the person who will betray you? If your fate is already determined, can you fight it?

When Evie Tremain discovers that she’s the last in a long line of Demon slayers and that she’s being hunted by an elite band of assassins –Shapeshifters, Vampires and Mixen demons amongst them – she knows she can’t run. They’ll find her wherever she goes. Instead she must learn to stand and fight.

But when the half-human, half-Shadow Warrior Lucas Gray - is sent to spy on Evie and then ordered to kill her before she can fulfil a dangerous prophecy, their fates become inextricably linked. The war that has raged for one thousand years between humans and demons is about to reach a devastating and inevitable conclusion. Either one or both of them will die before this war ends.

If your life becomes bound to another’s, what will it take to sever it?

I picked this one up with very high expectations - I absolutely loved Alderson's previous novel Hunting Lila - and I am very please to say it lived up to them all.  The story has a very different feel to Hunting Lila but I think if you enjoyed Hunting Lila you will love this too.

The story follows Evie Tremain as she discovers she is actually the last in a family tree of Demon Hunters.  Of course, she only learns the truth because a band of assassins  - consisting of every monster you could (but may not) wish to think of - comes to kill her.  One of them being Lucas Gray - a half human, half-Shadow Warrior.  But when he is sent to spy on her and kill her before she can fulfil her destiny he starts to question everything he has ever known...

I officially love Sarah Alderson.  I don't know how she does it but she manages to create a world and characters I find myself completely invested in.  I loved Evie - she strong and likeable and is just someone who is very easy to relate to.  Lucas - who we could have really disliked - actually became someone I was really rooting for.  And I loved the two of them together - great chemistry!  Really great chemistry!

The story is full of action and is obviously very well thought out - I loved all the different demons and their histories - and both back stories for Lucas and Evie -  I'm really hoping this is going to be a series!  But having said that if that doesn't turn out to be the case there is enough of a finish to this one.  I just want more Evie and Lucas!

Fast paced and totally addictive - I can't wait for more by this author.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Cover to Covet (22)

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

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

I'm sure many of you have already seen this but I had to post it as I LOVE this cover!  I really like the colour and how golden it is.  I also like how it fits the story but how it's different from other dystopian novel covers being released at the moment..  And I love the tag line.

Pandemonium is published 1 March 2012 (UK) but I can tell you now that it is AWESOME!  I'll have my review up nearer the publication date.

What do you think of the cover?  Love it?  Hate it? 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

In My Mailbox (126)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren


If I Die by Rachel Vincent
Kiss, Date, Love, Hate by Luisa Plaja
Poison Heart by S B Hayes
Under Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Sword of Light by Katherine Roberts
Stones For My Father by Trilby Kent

Big thanks to everyone who sent books for review:)


Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft
Winter's Kiss by Catherine Hapka and Jennifer Echols
Haven by Kristi Cook
Real life Boyfriends by E Lockhart
Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes
Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber
The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook
Unravelling Isobel by Eileen Cook
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Kitty Kitty by Michelle Jaffe
Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Hope you all had a great week:)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

C J Daugherty: My Best, Worst and Oddest Writing Experiences (Night School Blog Tour)

As part of the Blog Tour for her new novel Night School, C J Daugherty has stopped by to talk about her best, worst and oddest writing experiences...

My Writing Life: The Good, The Bad and The Weird

My best writing job

Aside from writing Night School (that would be too obvious), my best writing was my first ever proper journalism job at a medium-sized daily newspaper in the US.

I worked the evening shift, from 4pm to midnight with a brilliant crime photographer.
We used police scanners to keep up with the crimes the local force was dealing with. I taped a list of police codes to my computer. I still remember some of them. A signal 14 (one-four in police parlance) was a shooting. We heard that one a lot.

Every night we dashed from one crime scene to another – a shooting here, a robbery there – to get the basic facts from detectives and witnesses. Then we’d rush back to the newsroom to file photos and stories.

It was intense and scary and fascinating. I loved it.

The worst writing job

Well, this is a very competitive category. I’ve stormed out of more than a few jobs. Gritted my teeth and finished many more.

The only one that still rankles was a freelance job writing for a famous international magazine’s website (I’ll name no names). Looking back it’s kind of tragic. I was so excited about it when I first got the assignment. It seemed like a dream job.

Unfortunately, the editor was such a wanker that it turned into my worst nightmare. Pardon my language but there is no better word to describe this man. He kept changing his mind about what he wanted, and each time he’d write me an awful patronising message. These were passed on to me through a really nice assistant who felt very sorry for me and kept apologising.

At first I was nice. Then I was wounded. But after a couple of months of this torture, I’d had enough. And I decided I didn’t want this job anymore. So I wrote him a flaming barn-burner of a response. I’ve still got it on my computer. And it still makes me laugh. He’d asked me to write a sidebar on US/UK language differences, then made fun of my suggestions. So wrote ‘How about this instead?” Then I compiled a list of every obscene British insult I could think of. And after each one I wrote his name.

Strangely, that was the last time I heard from him.

The weirdest writing job.

For a while in the 1990s I worked for a private university in the US researching wealthy students and writing reports about them. I was like an education private detective.

It worked like this. Using public records I’d find out everything about these students and their families. How many spouses their parents had been through, every job their parents had ever worked. How many houses they owned. Where they went on holiday. Every charitable or political donation they ever made. Then these would be compiled in to reports.

The fund raising office would then use these to try and convince the parents to donate to the university. I always imagined they’d get letters that said things like, “If you like Broadway and travel in the Bahamas, you should give to our university for its awesome Travel Theatre Group.”

Anyway, the job was super creepy. But I’m a natural snoop so I can’t say I didn’t kind of like it.
Thanks C J!  I had to laugh at what you did to that editor - classic!

You can find C J Daugherty on her website , on facebook and on twitter.

And you can read my review for Night School here.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Fifteen Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins

For Review: OUP
Published: 5 January 2012

From Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Laurence Roach just wants a normal life, but it's not easy when your mum is a depressed alcoholic, and your six-year-old brother thinks he's a dog. When Mum fails to come home one night, Laurence tells nobody, terrified he and his brother will be taken into care if anyone finds out. Instead, he attempts to keep up the pretence that Mum is still around: dressing up in her clothes to trick the neighbours and spinning an increasingly complicated tangle of lies. After two weeks on their own, running out of food and money, and with suspicious adults closing in, Laurence finally discovers what happened to his mother. And that's when the trouble really starts . . .

A compelling thriller filled with some hilarious and surreal moments. Fifteen Days Without a Head is a tender, honest story about family, forgiveness and hope.

I've had the feeling I would really enjoy this one ever since hearing the author read an excerpt at an event last year.  It's a fantastic debut - humorous and poignant - I loved every minute.

The story follows Laurence and his brother Jay when their mother doesn't come home from work.  Scared that they will be separated again, Laurence does everything in his power to hide his mother's absence from the authorities.  But with an incredibly nosey neighbour and money running out will Laurence find his mother before it's too late?

I loved the characters in this - Cousins really managed to bring them all to life.  Laurence was someone I invested in straight away - he's kind, considerate and is amazing with his younger brother.  Jay is absolutely adorable - I loved how he constantly pretended to be a dog!  And I even felt for their mother.  I loved how she was a three dimensional character too - someone I rooted for as much as Laurence and Jay.  I wanted her to get better - to be able to be there for her family.

I also really enjoyed the budding friendship Laurence develops with Mina.  She's great - fun and sassy - plus she is there when Laurence really needs her.  I also loved the way she is with Jay.  And the way she fits into their 'Scooby gang' as Velma.  I really loved all the Scooby references - they way it made Laurence and Jay a team - and how they used it to try and solve where there mother had gone.

I did find it interesting that in reading this book from an adult perspective I felt uncomfortable that they could hide what was happening for so long.  I think it's interesting that the people who are supposed to be those that can help are actually the ones these kids fear - the idea of being separated from each other fuels their need to hide what is happening from the authorities - even at a risk to themselves.  But at the same time I was rooting for them and for their mother to sort herself out.  You can see through Laurence's memories that she is a caring person - but that she has her own demons to face - and essentially that she needs help.  It doesn't excuse what she does - has done - but it made her someone I really felt for.

This is a gem of a book - funny, realistic - I didn't want to put it down.  I'm super excited to see what Dave Cousins writes next.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Sue Limb's Fave Funny Books & Giveaway (Blog Tour)

I'm really pleased to be part of the blog tour for Chocolate SOS by Sue Limb. It's such a fun series!   I'll hand you over so she can tell you about her fave funny books...

Several books have made me laugh out loud recently. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson, an American’s walking tour of our green and pleasant land, was a runaway success from the moment it hit the bookshops. I can still remember laughing until I got a life-threatening coughing fit when I read the bit where he goes into a bar in Glasgow and attempts to communicate with the locals: ‘”Hae ya nae hook ma dook?” he said. “I’m sorry?” I replied. &c, &c… ’

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison introduced Georgia Nicholson to a fascinated world. I read it on the train home from London, and it made me want to write comedy for teenagers, too. The idea that a boy could give snogging lessons at his home, in a brisk no-nonsense businesslike way a bit like a piano teacher dispensing his services and collecting payment, will enchant me forever.

I know it’s a classic, but Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice still makes me smile even though I have read it loads of times. I love the moment when Mr Bennett says to his daughter Lizzie: ‘An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. - Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins, and I shall never see you again if you do.’ Mr Collins is so wonderfully dry and droll that your heart beats a little faster every time he comes into the room, and you can’t wait to hear his latest acid asides.

Character is the best source of comedy, and diaries reveal their writers’ personalities in the most direct way possible, so of course I love those 20th century icons Bridget Jones and Adrian Mole. What fun it would be if they ever met, stuck in a lift or something! Hey, that’s a great exercise for a creative writing class – feel free, help yourself, just as long as I get a credit.

One of my enduring favourites is Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M.Delafield. It was written nearly a hundred years ago but the trials of family life remain the same, and blokes are every bit as infuriating: ‘Robert, this morning, complains of insufficient breakfast. Cannot feel that porridge, scrambled eggs, toast, marmalade, scones, brown bread and coffee give adequate grounds for this, but admit that porridge was burnt.’ This makes me wish that E.M. Delafield (alive and wise-cracking from1890-1943) was my best friend, but the joy of reading means that, in a funny kind of way, she is.
Thanks Sue!

Below is a video interview with Sue Limb taking about Jess Jordan and a sneak peek at the first chapter of Chocolate SOS:

Chocolate SOS (First Chapter)

Don't forget to check out the Jess Jordan website by clicking here.

And - thanks to the lovely team at Bloomsbury - I have three copies of Chocolate SOS to giveaway.  The giveaway is open to UK only - just fill in the form below to enter.  Closing date is 18 January 2012. Good Luck:)

This Giveaway is now closed.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

For Review: HarperCollins
Published:  5 January 2012

From Goodreads: Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

So much for normal.

I really like this series.  I love the characters and the world and I was really excited to catch up with them all.

Evie is now living her dream - a normal life.  But despite her love for her locker (!) - not everything is quite how she imagined.  She doesn't feel as if she fit's in and with Lend away at college she doesn't see him as much as she thought.  The only thing keeping her going is getting into the same college as Lend.  But things take an unexpected turn and she is given the chance of working for the IPCA again.  Of course, this means lying to the people around her...

I love Evie, but in this instalment we get to see a different side to her.  She's kind of lost her sass and I really missed it.  On the other hand, I did enjoy seeing her trying to adjust to the 'real' world - she makes some really stupid decisions - but I think by the end she learns from her mistakes.  And I'm glad she is finally completely honest with Lend.

I adore Lend.  He's just so sweet and kind and really there for Evie.  Even when she lies to him and kind of treats him badly.  And I enjoy the two of them together - how they really compliment each other.  She sees him for who he really is - his true self - and Lend helps Evie feel whole.  She seems content when she is with him.

Jack on the other hand is a character I just didn't warm to - perhaps because he kept taking Evie away from Lend.  And there just wasn't enough Reth for my liking!  I really hope we get to see more of him in the next instalment.  And Arianna  is a character I am liking more and more.

The mythology - Evie's history and who she is - is proving very interesting and I can't wait to see how this all ends.  I'll certainly be picking up Endlessly as soon as it's published.

Monday, 9 January 2012

I want to read that...

One Moment by Kristina McBride

From Goodreads:  This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it's the one she'd do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below – dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

The latest novel from the author of The Tension of Opposites, One Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.

I still need to read Mcbride's previous novel The Tension Of Opposites but this one sounds seriously good!

It's published June 2012 by Egmont USA

Saturday, 7 January 2012

In My Mailbox (122) & (123) & (124) & (125)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

I haven't done an IMM in a while so this is 4 weeks worth of books. I think it might be less scary doing IMM once a week lol


Saving Daisy by Phil Earle
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk by Curtis Jobling
Statistical Probility of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith
BZRK by Michael Grant
Killables by Gemma Malley
Monster Blood Tattoo 3: Factortum by D M Cornish
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
The Book Of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
Chocolate SOS by Sue Limb
Switched by Amanda Hocking
Oliver Twisted by JD Sharp and Charles Dickens
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Advent by James Treadwell
The Iron Knight by Julia Kagawa

Massive thanks to all the publishers who sent books for review:)


Bloodborn by Karen Kincy
Grace by Elizabeth Scott
Struck by Rhona Stapleton
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
Venus Rocks by Fiona Dunbar
Sweep Vol 5 by Cate Tiernan
Pictures of Lily by Paige Toon
Dart Parties by Sara Grant
Still Walters by Emma Carlson Berne
Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith
Harry Potter 1-6 (Signature edition) by J K Rowling
Vesper by Jeff Sampson
Working Stiff by Rachel Caine
Clorkwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels by Casandra Clare
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

Hope you all had a great week :D

Friday, 6 January 2012

Night School by C.J. Daugherty

For Review: Atom
Published: 5 January 2012

Sometimes school is murder.

Allie Sheridan's world is falling apart. She hates her school. Her brother has run away from home. And she's just been arrested.


This time her parents have finally had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to a boarding school for problem teenagers.

But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Its rules are strangely archaic. It allows no computers or phones. Its students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged. And then there's the secretive Night School, whose activities other students are forbidden even to watch.

When Allie is attacked one night the incident sets off a chain of events leading to the violent death of a girl at the summer ball. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, Allie must learn who she can trust. And what's really going on at Cimmeria Academy.

I've been looking forward to reading this since I first heard about it last year - so I was very excited to receive a copy for review.  I loved the idea that it wasn't paranormal - there's a mysterious school, strange things are happening and we don't know who to trust - it was all very intriguing and appealing - and the fact that it's not paranormal makes it fresh and different.  Don't get me wrong - I love paranormal stories - but I absolutely adored the fact that this one wasn't.

The whole story kept me guessing.  It was completely unpredictable and Daugherty managed to surprise me on many occasions.  I didn't know what to expect - and I loved how characters you thought you knew became completely different people.  I really enjoyed the whole mystery element - I spent so much time trying to work out what was going on (but failed miserably) - and I loved how it all turned out.  And I like how we have many questions that still need to be answered - I can't wait to get those answers.  Plus the story is set near to where I live so that is a nice added bonus.

I adored Allie.  I loved how she grew in the story - she's a much stronger character by the end of the novel.  And Carter West is officially my new YA crush!  The two of them together is just brilliant - the way they fight but also have a connection is really sweet.  Plus that scene in the lake where he helps her?  Loved it!

All the characters in this are fleshed out and play important roles in the story.  I really liked Jo and Rachel, plus Lucas and Lisa.  Sylvain annoyed me but may have redeemed himself at the end.  And I really liked the headmistress Isabelle.

While I prefer first person narrative - and can't help thinking I would have loved the story to have been written that way - I soon found myself lost in it.  We get the story mostly from Allie's perspective anyway and there is a very accessible quality to Daugherty's writing that made this a joy to read.  There are some fantastic action scenes - the hold your breath kind - but these are balanced with some tender moments too.  I'm certainly looking forward to more - and definitely more Carter West!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Wereworld “7 Realms, 7 Beasts” Blog Tour: Ignus, The Lizardlord of Scoria

I'm excited to be part of the Wereworld *7 Realms 7 Beasts* Blog Tour - I love the series!  I shall now hand you over to it's author - Curtis Jobling - who is going to talk about Ignus, The Lizardlord. of Scoria...


The volcanic island of Scoria is the home to the Lizardlord, Ignus, and his three brothers. In his eighth decade, Ignus’s body has been ravaged after a lifetime of overindulgence. Bald headed, with bulbous, honey-coloured eyes, he cuts a grotesque figure. His reed-thin lips run like a jagged gash across his jaw, impossibly wide, hiding within a host of needle-sharp teeth. Ignus’ neck is overlong and distended, while his oiled, hairless body shimmers with unnatural shades of colour, his therian side rippling beneath the surface, ever present.

Holding gladiatorial games within the Furnace, his fiery arena, the Werelizard will buy anyone for any price to fight for his entertainment, be they human or therianthrope. His relationship with Count Kesslar means that over his long years he has been able to take his pick of the Werelords of Lyssia the Goatlord has stolen from their homelands, each of them meeting the same terrible fate in the Furnace. The prize gladiator for Ignus would be a therian lord of great note, a warrior whose death in the arena would appease the volcanic island his palace sits atop, guaranteeing him a place amongst the gods. What price to pay for the last Grey Wolf of Westland ?

Author’s note: I blame the 80’s TV show, V, for the inclusion of the Werelizards: I remember freaking out as a kid when the aliens in said-seminal-sci-fi whipped off their rubber masks and revealed their reptilian faces beneath. Ignus is a great villain to write for, his preoccupation with death and its myriad combinations making him the most bloodthirsty of bad guys. He’s the first ‘exotic’ Werelord to appear in the pages of SHADOW OF THE HAWK, his arena providing many more to challenge and provoke our hero, Drew Ferran. There’s a connection between the Lizardlords and the other great were-reptile from RISE OF THE WOLF, Vala the Wereserpent, that makes them fun to describe in Drew’s eyes; they’re so much more alien to a boy from the Cold Coast could ever expect to meet, and tap into a deep, primal fear for our main character. It’s worth bearing in mind that although Ignus might be a touch out of shape as Werelords go – a lifetime of excess seeing to that – there’s plenty of bite left in this old reptilianthrope. If Drew’s gets his chance to take down Ignus, he’d better make no mistake. The last thing anyone needs is an enraged, psychotic Lizardlord on their tail...

Curtis, December 13th 2011

Follow Curtis on Twitter: @CurtisJobling

Thanks Curtis!

The next stop on the tour is tomorrow over at The Book Zone (For Boys) . And make sure you check out the Spinebreakers website throughout the week were you can enter their ‘Friday 13th’ ‘Wereworld lucky for some’ competition!

The third book in the series - Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk - is published 5 January 2012

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Fracture by Megan Miranda

For Review: Bloomsbury
Published: 5 January 2012

From Goodreads:  By the time Delaney Maxwell was pulled from a Maine lake’s icy waters by her best friend, Decker Phillips, her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead.

But somehow Delaney survived—despite the brain scans that show irreparable damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be fine, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney now finds herself drawn to the dying, and when she meets Troy Varga, a boy who recently emerged from a coma with the same abilities, she is relieved to share this strange new existence. Unsure if her altered brain is predicting death or causing it, Delaney must figure out if their gift is a miracle, a freak of nature—or something else much more frightening….

I seriously, seriously enjoyed this book. There is something really compelling about it - I was so engrossed in Delaney and her story that I couldn't stop reading.

I loved the idea behind the story. It has a paranormal aspect to it but reads as if it is a contemporary - and I really liked that. The repercussions of surviving something she really shouldn't have - and what that means - not just to her but those around her - was a story I found myself completely addicted to. I loved how it was written too - I really felt as if I was in Delaney's head - feeling what she felt.

As for Decker - I fell in love with him the moment he came running into Delaney's hospital room and collapsed sobbing on the bed. He is just utterly adorable and I loved the two of them together - as friends - and as maybe more. The two of them seriously have chemistry but it's more than that - I could see how close they had been in the past  - how close they are now - and how good they could be together. And I loved the way they met as kids - with him claiming "Tomorrow I'll make you smile."

Troy Varga on the other hand is a very complex character - he's interesting and intriguing - but I can't say I liked him. He, to me at least, just came across as creepy. But he plays an integral part in the story and is a  kind of balance for Delaney - he represents what she could be perhaps? And definitely makes you root for her to take a very different path.

As I said before this has a paranormal edge to it - but even if you take that away you are left with a completely absorbing read. I loved how Delaney struggles to come to terms with what has happened to her - and what is happening to her. The way it affects her relationship with her parents - her mother in particular - and how it brings memories to the surface for her mother. I also loved the impact it has on her relationship with Decker and her friends - how it forces them to make changes.

My only quibble is that I didn't get enough closure at the end. I wanted more - I wanted to know what the consequences were to the final scenes with Troy. What the last scene meant for Delaney and Decker. And what happened with their circle of friends? I know I can make my own decisions - and have - but I still would have like to have those questions answered.

Overall though this is a stunning debut - I am definitely going to check out whatever Megan Miranda writes next!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Cover Wars: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting


I really can't choose! I really like the US one - I'm still a fan of dark covers and I love the model they use and the way her face is almost hidden by her hood.  The only thing I don't like about it is the arm - I would have preferred it to be all black.  I also really like the UK one - it's different and something I would definitely pick up to see what it's about - there is something really haunting and intriguing about it.

What do you think?  Do you have a strong preference?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Don't Call Me Ishmael Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway

Michael Gerard Bauer is the author of Don’t Call Me Ishamel and he kindly stopped by to talk about the inspiration for the book. I shall now hand you over...

The inspiration for my book Don’t Call Me Ishmael is a little weird but it shows that stories can come from anywhere and begin with the tiniest of thoughts. I’ve had stories come from childhood memories, from watching TV, from just a name, and in Ishmael’s case, from a picture. What I’ve discovered is that stories tend to find me, rather than the other way around.

The idea for Don’t Call Me Ishmael started one day when I was writing another story in my study. At one point I stopped and looked at the big notice board beside my desk. One of the many things pinned to it was a still image from the original film version of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. It showed Captain Ahab (Gregory Peck) with a harpoon in his hand, clinging to the side of the Great White Whale and desperately trying to seek revenge against it for having torn off his leg in a past encounter.

I’d pinned that picture there years before because I thought it was a powerful and dramatic image and because I’d studied Moby Dick at University and really enjoyed it. (Yes, I could be in the minority here!) Anyway, since I knew the novel well, I was aware of the opening line which is often listed as the most famous opening line in English Literature. As I stared at the picture that opening line came into my head:

“Call me Ishmael.”

These three words are spoken by the narrator of the novel, a sailor called Ishmael. For some reason that day I imagined someone - a boy about 14 - saying the opposite, “Don’t call me Ishmael.” So the story really started just with what ended up being the four words in the title.

The reason that one little thought grew in to a story was because it made me curious and it threw up a lot of questions. Things like, “Why doesn’t this kid Ishmael like his name?” “Why did he parents give him that name in the first place?” “Who is he and what is he really like?”

In answer to that last question, I decided to make Ishmael a bit like I was when I was his age. (It does help to write about what you know.) That’s why, just like me when I was young, he’s terrified about speaking, or even just being, in front of an audience.

Just to give you an example, when I was about 10 I was an altar boy for our local church. But when I first started I was so nervous about being in front of the congregation, I used to faint every Sunday. This wasn’t much fun for me, but the parish priest was happy because a heap of people started coming to church, just to watch me pass out. I was even told that there were two old guys in the back row who used to place bets with each other on how long I would survive every Sunday!

I guess that’s why I gave Ishmael his own very embarrassing and bizarre fainting episode involving a debate, an all girls’ debating team, and a clothes-peg featuring the head of Ringo from the Beatles.

So there you have it. If it wasn’t for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick there would never have been a Don’t Call Me Ishmael.

I owe you one Herman!

Thanks Michael! I loved hearing about the inspiration behind the book - it always amazes me how it can all start with a few words or an idea and just grow from there!

You can find Michael on his Facebook page and on his Blog by clicking the links:)  And don't forget to check out the next stop on the tour tomorrow at Nayu's Reading Corner

AND... *drum roll*

Thanks to the lovely team at Templar I have one copy to giveaway. The giveaway is open to UK ONLY and the CLOSING DATE is 7 January 2012. Good luck :D

This Giveaway is now closed.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

British Books Challenge 2012

I signed up for this last year when it was hosted by Becky @ The Bookette and while I managed to read enough to complete the challenge I failed to reach my goal of 50 books - I didn't event succeed in getting anywhere close to 50 books:(  So I am signing up again this year - it's now being hosted by Kirsty @ The Overflowing Library - and I am determined to reach those 50 books.  Since I've also challenged myself to read 200 books this year (...eek!) I shouldn't have a problem reading 50 British books, right?

Anyway - here are some possible books I'd like to read for the challenge:

  1. When I Was Joe by Keren David
  2. Almost True by Keren David
  3. The Declaration by Gemma Malley
  4. The Resistance by Gemma Malley
  5. The Legacy by Gemma Malley
  6. The Thirteen Curses by Michelle Harrison
  7. The Thirteen Secrets by Michelle Harrison
  8. Six Steps to a Girl by Sophie McKenzie
  9. Three's a Crowd by Sophie McKenzie
  10. TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow
  11. TimeRIders: The Doomsday Code by Alex Scarrow
  12. TimeRiders:  The Eternal War by Alex Scarrow
  13. Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
  14. White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick
  15. Tyme's End by BR Collins
  16. Being by Kevin Brooks
  17. Lucas by Kevin Brooks
  18. Bad Faith by Gillian Philip
  19. Crossing the Line by Gillian Philip
  20. Troubadour by Mary Hoffman
  21. From Where I Stand by Tabitha Suzuma
  22. Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy
  23. Nobody's Girl by Sarra Manning
  24. Let's Get Lost by Sarra Manning
  25. Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd
  26. The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
  27. Dead Gorgeous by Malorie Blackman
  28. Scarlet by Cathy Cassidy
  29. Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy
  30. Indigo Blue by Cathy Cassidy
  31. Marshmallow Skye by Cathy Cassidy
  32. Angel by Cliff McNish
  33. Breathing Underwater by Julia Green
  34. Out of the Depths by Cathy Macphail
  35. The Enemy by Charlie Higson
  36. Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
  37. The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper (Book 1)
  38. The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper (Book 2)
  39. The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper (Book 3)
  40. The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper (Book 4)
  41. The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper (Book 5)
  42. A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler
  43. Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling
  44. Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk by Curtis Jobling
  45. Torn by Cat Clark
  46. Sister Missing by Sophie Mckenzie
  47. Kiss, Date, Love, Hate by Luisa Plaja
  48. 15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins
  49. It's For Your Own Good by Jane Cuff
  50. Pretty Bad Things by C J Skuse

I'm sure these will change and I'll discover some great titles along the way!  I'll keep you posted with how I'm getting on below.
Books read for the challenge:

1: Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling
2: Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk by Curtis Jobling
3: Sister Missing by Sophie McKenzie
4: Missing Me by Sophie Mckenzie
5: 15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins
6: Bloodmix by Jane Cuff
7: Pretty Bad Things by C J Skuse
8: Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja
9: Saving Daisy by Phil Earle
10: Lolly Luck by Ellie Daines
11: Ice Dreams by Jo Cotterill
12: 0.4 by Mike Lancaster
13: 1.4 by Mike Lancaster
14: Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie
15: Hollow Pike by James Dawson
16: Geekhood by Andy Robb
17: Seeking Crystal by Joss Stirling
18: Adorkable by Sarra Manning
19: Love at Second Sight by Cathy Hopkins
20: Hav3n by Tom Easton
21: The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs
22: Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson
23: The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney
24: Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James
25: Fifty Shades Darker by E L James
26: Fifty Shades Freed by E L James
27: Unrest by Michelle Harrison


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