Saturday 27 April 2013

Heroic Blog Tour (Cover Discussion)

As part of the Blog Tour for Phil Earle's new book, Heroic, I was asked to talk about the book cover designs (one of my favourite subjects!!!)

Here are all three of the books covers:

I really like the colours on these covers and the fonts used.  I love that the titles on Being Billy and Saving Daisy are big!  Plus they both have this kind of distressed look - with all these kind of scratches over the cover.  For some reason this really pleases me!  I have to admit I wasn't sure, at first, about the people on both of them but the more I looked the more I started to like it.  The boy on Being Billy creates energy - the idea that Billy doesn't like to stay still - whereas the girl on Saving Daisy looks sad and defensive - as if something bad has happened.  I think they help create a good sense of what the book is about.  Add in the brilliant tag line for each book and I really like both of the covers.

Heroic is my favourite of the three though.  It takes all the elements I liked from the other two (the big (ish) title font, a strong solid colour and an awesome tag line!) but amalgamates it better with the image. Like the previous covers I have a really good sense of what the story will be about and it definitely catches my eye!

I also like that all three covers tie in together.  Being Billy and Saving Daisy look very similar - which is good since they are set in the same world - and Heroic has a very similar feel as well, creating a nice theme across the covers.  Take the author's name off the cover and I would still think of Phil Earle which I can't help but think is a sign of a great cover!

What do you think? Do you agree?  Which is your favourite out of the three covers?  Let me know in the comments below!

Friday 26 April 2013

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

For Review: Simon & Schuster
Published: 28 March 2013

From Goodreads: An ambitious intern.
A perfectionist executive.
And a whole lot of name calling.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He's exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family's massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who'd been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he's never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe's so tempting he's willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they're willing to lose in order to win each other.

Originally only available online as The Office by tby789—and garnering over two million reads on fan fiction sites—Beautiful Bastard has been extensively updated for re-release.

Firstly, I should mention this is definitely an adult book.

Secondly, apparently I blush easily...

Still, I have to say I thought this book was great fun.  I enjoyed the love/hate relationship between Chloe and Bennett (sorry, should I say Miss Mills and Mr Ryan?) and there were quite a few occasions I laughed out loud. I'm not completely sure that the story was always intending to be funny but whatever, as long as you enjoy it right?

While I would have liked a little more characterisation (we don't really know much about Chloe or Bennett except their attraction to each other) I liked the way their relationship progressed.  I also loved the banter and the way they both gave as good as they got. Plus I really liked Bennett's family.

Overall, a good, quick read and I will be picking up Beautiful Stranger when it's published in paperback in June.

Thursday 25 April 2013

The 5th Wave is coming...

The 5th Wave is being published by Penguin in May and it looks epic!  I can't wait to read it.  Here is the synopsis:

From Goodreads: The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Check out the trailer:

And for those of you who can't wait - here is a sneak peek for you! Enjoy!

[You can also read the extract directly via the Scribd website by clicking here]

Wednesday 24 April 2013

With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent

For Review: Mira Ink
Published: 5 April 2013

From Goodreads: After spending the last year undead, Kaylee Cavanaugh has had enough of the paranormal creatures who have plagued her ever since she came into her banshee powers. Now she's ready to take her school back from the evil hellions, once and forever.

To protect her friends, Kaylee will need to find a way to turn the living incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another.

Yet when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realises she can't save everyone she loves without making some powerful sacrifices...

To say I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book is a massive understatement! But at the same time, knowing it was the last in the series, made me hesitant to read it. Not because I was worried I wouldn't like it - but because I didn't want the series to end! And what can I say? Rachel Vincent has outdone herself with this - it is such a brilliant end to one of my favourite series!

It's really hard to review this one as I really don't want to give out any spoilers. But lets just say that the stakes are raised event higher and I had no idea how Kaylee & co would get out of this one! One of the things I absolutely love about Rachel Vincent's books is not just how well they are written (and the awesome characters!) but how well plotted they are. Everything falls into place brilliantly -  but I never see any of it coming. She always manages to surprise me with details I had completely overlooked - it's one of the things that continues to amaze me with her books.

So does all end well for Kaylee and her friends? Well, you are just going to have to read it to find out!

I can't wait to see what Rachel Vincent writes next - and I know I'll be first in the queue to read it.

Monday 22 April 2013

Author Interview: Will Hill (World Book Day Virtual Tour)

From Goodreads
As part of this years World Book Day virtual tour, Will Hill kindly agreed to answer a few questions...

Can you tell us about your Department 19 series?

It’s a series about a secret branch of the government who police the supernatural, and try to keep the public safe. A teenage boy called Jamie Carpenter is thrown into their world when his father is killed and his mother is kidnapped, and finds himself in the middle of a conflict that has been gathering for centuries, aided and abetted by a wide array of characters, both good and bad. And in some cases, really, REALLY bad.

The series is inspired by Dracula and Frankenstein, and features some of their characters in new ways, along with a number of real people who populated the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It’s a tribute to the classic gothic horrors – several chapters are set in the past – while being full of modern weapons and equipment, and spanning the globe. It’s action and adventure and horror, and it features vampires who definitely do not sparkle…

You have contributed to this years WBD App. Can you tell us more about that?

It was a great opportunity to be involved in World Book Day, and to write a Department 19 short story. I’ve always liked writing shorter fiction, and I had been keeping intentionally vague the backstory of Larissa, the vampire teenage girl who is one of the most popular characters in the series, so it seemed like the perfect time to shed a little bit of light on it. It’s what hopefully seems at first like a simple story, of Larissa talking to a teenage girl who has been through a terrible ordeal, that changes into something that is hopefully quite unexpected…

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

I usually write in the British Library, which is not too far from where I live in London – you can’t take food or drink, or even pens, in there, so any must-haves would have to be left outside!

So – a typical day will see me getting up when my girlfriend (who has a proper job!) leaves for work, and heading into the Library for not long after it opens. I’ll grab a seat in the Rare Books & Music room (I’m very much a creature of habit) and answer some emails, catch up on anything I need to do, then make notes and plan until lunchtime. After lunch I normally start writing, and work until about seven. I try not to work when I get home, but that doesn’t always happen, especially if I’m getting towards the end of a book.

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

My favourite part is luckily what I get to spend most of my time doing – making things up and writing them down, to quote Neil Gaiman. It’s genuinely exciting when a new idea presents itself and I realise it might be a good one, or when I write a scene and read it through and realise it has done what I wanted it to do. The most challenging is when I get towards the end of a book and realise that if it doesn’t all fit together, if it doesn’t work, that I’m going to have a pretty big problem on my hands.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

I do, but nothing that will see the light of day until the Department 19 series is finished – there are two more books to come, so my first non-D19 book probably won’t be out until 2016. What it will be, I’m not exactly sure just yet – I’ve got an SF horror that I’m really excited about and have started doing some of the planning for, as well as a story about a religious cult that keeps coming back to me time and again…

Thanks Will!

You can check out Will's Blog here.  And the Department 19 series has it's own website here.

For more information about World Book Day and the YA App check out the official website here

Sunday 21 April 2013

Heroic/Phil Earle Blog Tour!

The Heroic Blog Tour Kicks off this week with the first stop at Spinebreakers on Monday - and I will be hosting a stop on Saturday! For more infomation on the schedule see the banner below.  But first check out the trailer:

Saturday 20 April 2013

I want to read that...

Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

From Goodreads: A young adult novel about bucket lists and boys, death and destiny.

Rebecca "Rebel" Blue, a loner rebel and budding artist, reluctantly completes the bucket list of Kennedy Green, an over-committed do-gooder classmate who dies in a car accident following a stint in detention where both girls were forced to consider their morality and write bucket lists. In this hilarious and life-changing journey, Rebel meets up with a nice boy, a gimpy dolphin, and a past she's tried to forget as this bad girl tries to do good.

I really enjoyed Shelley Coriell's previous book - Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe - and can't wait to get my hands on this one!

It is published October 2013 by Amulet books.

Friday 19 April 2013

Author Interview: Megan Shepherd

Kristi Hedberg Photography
Megan Shepherd is the author of The Madman's Daughter. [You can read my review here] She has kindly stopped by to answer a few questions...

The Madman’s Daughter is a retelling /re-imagining of HG Wells Island of Dr Moreau. What inspired you to write it?

When I was a teenager, I loved the classics, especially Gothic ones. They’re so full of adventure and romance and mystery. I’ve also always been intrigued by mysterious islands and loved the TV show LOST. My interest in both of those things combined to remind me of The Island of Dr Moreau, and I re-read it for pleasure. As I was reading I was impressed with how relevant the science still was today, and I realized there are no major female characters, so I decided it might be interesting to retell it from a new character’s perspective.

Did you need to do a lot of research?

Unfortunately I’m not well read in history or science, the two topics that required the most research. I had several doctor friends read the manuscript to make sure the medical science sounded accurate (naturally it’s science fiction, so it’s not actual science!). The historical research was fascinating: how corsets worked, the professions available to young single women, sailing schedules, popular piano music at the time. I certainly know a lot more about Victorians and their quirks now!

It’s safe to say the story is rather dark in places! Did you manage to creep yourself out when writing it?

Oh, yes. Absolutely. Most acquaintances know me as a rather optimistic, sweet person. I think they were shocked to read my book! I’m a true animal lover, and I have two cats I adore, so the animal surgery scenes were an enormous emotional challenge. Writing those scenes meant prodding at my greatest fears, but I believe that in order to scare my readers, I have to scare myself, too.

As it is the first book in a planned trilogy can you give us any hints for what to expect in the following books?

The second and third books continue Juliet Moreau’s tale (and some other characters might just return as well…) in London and in Scotland, respectively. The second book is inspired by the science and themes in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and the third book is inspired by the legacy of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I only started writing about five years ago. Growing up, my family owned a bookstore, so I’ve always been surrounded by books. Looking back, it seems quite natural that I’d go into writing. But for the longest time I wanted to work overseas with the foreign service. I still love traveling and languages and cultures, but writing is exactly the right job for me.

What has the publication process been like for you?

I wrote three full manuscripts before The Madman’s Daughter, and started another dozen or so. I didn’t query them widely because I knew they weren’t good enough. It wasn’t until I wrote The Madman’s Daughter that I felt confident enough to seek literary representation. Luckily, I got an offer from my agent two days after I queried him! The book sold in the US a few weeks later, and then started selling overseas, and then was optioned for film. It’s been wonderful working with my editor to bring the book into print.

Do you have a typical writing day? Any ‘must haves’ before you can sit down to write?

I like to ease into the writing day. I usually go to the gym in the morning, then have a cup of tea and check email/twitter/social media for a half hour or so, and then dig into writing. I’ll write until six or seven in the evening. Sometimes after that I’ll do some of the business and marketing of the job. The only thing I must have is tea—lots of it!

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

They are one in the same, I think. I love most the ability to spend my time creating something. My job gives me the freedom to think deeply and dream big, but at the same time, it’s terrifying to stare at an empty page with all my hopes and expectations resting on my shoulders. It’s incredibly challenging to translate the ideas in my head into words on a page.
Thanks Megan!

You can check out Megan's website here.

Thursday 18 April 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

For Review: Harper Voyager
Published: 11 April 2013

From Goodreads: London, 1894. Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself-working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumours about her father′s gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true.

Juliet is accompanied by the doctor′s handsome young assistant and an enigmatic castaway, who both attract Juliet for very different reasons. They travel to the island only to discover the depths of her father′s madness: he has created animals that have been vivisected to resemble, speak, and behave as humans. Worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island′s inhabitants. Juliet knows she must end her father′s dangerous experiments and escape the island, even though her horror is mixed with her own scientific curiosity. As the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father′s genius-and madness-in her own blood.

This was a really gripping story. I found myself quickly immersed in the darkly delicious (and rather creepy!) story. I have to admit I have not read (nor was I familiar) with H G Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau on which this is based - but I can tell you it definitely held my interest (and I just might have to check out the original classic!)

I really loved Megan Shepherd's style of writing - it still has a modern feel yet I also felt transported to a different time. And I loved the voice she gives Juliet. Getting into her head and seeing all the dark and grisly happenings from her point of view really made this story for me.

I loved Montgomery - I really like the history he has with Juliet and the way it's obviously from their first meeting that all the old feelings are still there. Edward was intriguing - I didn't liked him as much as Montgomery but I have to admit there is definitely something about him that holds your interest.

The island - and its inhabitants - give the story a very claustrophobic feel. And the science, although very much science fiction, is presented in a way that makes it very believable and real. The story is also very much a mystery - with Juliet trying to find out the truth -  I loved it.

I can't wait to find out how the story will proceed!

Make sure to stop by tomorrow - I have an interview with Megan Shepherd!

Sunday 14 April 2013

Crash Extract (Month of Men Blog Tour)

I'm really pleased to be part of Simon & Schuster's Month of Men Blog Tour - a month long tour featuring the hottest voices in New Adult Fiction!  For more info click the above banner.

Simon & Schuster will be publishing Nicole Williams' Crash and Clash in June, with Crush to follow in July!  For those who can't wait that long,  I have a sneak peek of Crash for you guys!

Here is more information about the first book:

From Goodreads: Southpointe High is the last place Lucy wanted to wind up her senior year of school. Right up until she stumbles into Jude Ryder, a guy whose name has become its own verb, and synonymous with trouble. He's got a rap sheet that runs longer than a senior thesis, has had his name sighed, shouted, and cursed by more women than Lucy dares to ask, and lives at the local boys home where disturbed seems to be the status quo for the residents. Lucy had a stable at best, quirky at worst, upbringing. She lives for wearing the satin down on her ballet shoes, has her sights set on Juilliard, and has been careful to keep trouble out of her life. Up until now.

Jude's everything she needs to stay away from if she wants to separate her past from her future. Staying away, she's about to find out, is the only thing she's incapable of.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love's about to become the thing that tears them apart.

Sounds great, right? Check out the extract below:

[Please click here to read the extract via the Scridb webstie]

Make sure you check out the rest of the Month of Men Blog Tour! Details can be found here.


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