Thursday, 30 April 2009

US Vs. UK: The Truth About Forever Covers

US // UK

As much as I love the UK cover, I think I prefer the US one more. I like the simple image of the flower, and the light colours. The UK one is clever though, as it has a lot of little pictures and words within the heart, and all of them link to the story.

I think it's amazing how different covers can be, and these two couldn't be more opposite if they tried. Which would catch your eye?

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Author Interview: Christopher Golden - Buffy Extraordinaire (Part II)

Here's the second part of my interview with Christopher Golden, author of many TV tie-ins and YA novels. In the second half of this interview, he talks about comics, Ghosts of Albion, King Kong, and what's next for him. You can read part one here.

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Comics

You’ve written a lot of Buffy/Angel comics over the years. Which is your favourite to write: novels or comics?

CG: I’m not sure if you mean just Whedonverse novels and comics or in general, but either way, novels. I’m passionate about comics, but writing scripts is a totally different discipline from writing novels. In a novel I can paint the entire picture, explore the minds of characters, and take as many pages as I like.

When writing comics, do you have to put the text to the already completed artwork, or does the artist work on that after your initial script has been written?

CG: It depends entirely upon which artist or publisher you’re working with. Sometimes you write an outline, even page by page, and the artist works from that and then you add the dialogue and captions. Other times you write what’s called “full script,” which is certainly my preference.


Ghosts of Albion

Do you have any plans to write more Ghosts of Albion books with Buffy actress Amber Benson?

CG: Amber and I have many things we plan to write together eventually. Right now, there are no plans for more GHOSTS OF ALBION, but that’s up to the publisher, not us. If it was our choice, we certainly would be doing more novels in the series. I’m sure you’ll see something more of Tamara and William eventually.

How did you and Amber come up with the idea? Why did you choose to set it in Victorian England?

CG: I’d been toying with an idea for something else, though it was modern day. A friend of ours at the BBC contacted me, saying that his department (BBC interactive, their online group) was interested in us writing a Victorian-set supernatural animated series for them. They had read the Willow & Tara comics we had done together. Their ideas, however, were way too similar to Buffy and we weren’t interested in doing that. Amber and I talked and went back to them with a pitch for GHOSTS OF ALBION, which took the modern-day concept I’d been working on and mixed it with the Victorian setting the BBC wanted and a lot of mythological stuff Amber wanted to explore, and they went for it pretty much straight away.


Other

Prowlers is a series about werewolves. If you had to choose, would you go for vampires or werewolves?

CG: Define “go for.” :) Fortunately I don’t have to choose. I like them both.

Your YA novel Soulless is about mediums and spirits. What inspired this?

CG: I love zombie stories, but I’ve always been dissatisfied by the fact that so few of them have third acts. Comet goes by, zombies rise and eat people, the end. I wanted to set up a situation where a third act resolution was definitely possible, so I needed a different kind of trigger for the zombie uprising. I’ve always been fascinated by mediums. 99% of them I believe are full of shit, but I think the other 1%, while they may not actually be communicating with spirits, they BELIEVE they are. That’s pretty interesting to me. Self-delusion. That’s not what SOULLESS is about, of course, but it’s at the base of my interest in mediums.

You wrote the novelisation of Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong movie. Can you tell us a bit about the process of adapting a film script into a book?

CG: Gaaahhhh. Brain melt. Universal wouldn’t release the script. I had to fly to Los Angeles and go to the studio. For three days I would go and sit in an office and the script would be brought to me. I could not make a photocopy of it. I could not leave the office with it. I was ostensibly there to “take notes,” as if it would have been possible to write a novel based on nothing but notes. Instead, of course, I spent three days transcribing the entire 160 or so page screenplay. A totally absurd exercise, but a labor of love. Otherwise I really enjoyed it. The editor I worked with, Ed Schlesinger, is a great guy, and the licensing manager at Universal, Cindy Chang, was great. I had e-mail access to the producers so that I could clarify certain things. The original KONG was one of my all time favorite movies. I lobbied for the job and am really pleased I had the opportunity to do it.

You’ve also written books based in the Battlestar Galactica and X-Men worlds. Are you fans of both?

CG: When I’m offered media tie-in work, if I’m not a fan, I say no. So yes, of course.

What’s next for you?

CG: More novels, more comics, more scripts. Fans of my past YA work and of the Buffy novels I wrote will probably love THE WAKING, a trilogy I’m doing for Bloomsbury under the pseudonym Thomas Randall. The first book, DREAMS OF THE DEAD, hits stores in the US November 1st. 2010 will see a variety of things, including new projects (both comic and book) with Mike Mignola, a new dark fantasy YA novel, and more collaborations with Tim Lebbon. Follow along at www.ChristopherGolden.com.


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Thank you very much, Christopher! If you've never read a book by him, I HIGHLY recommend them. They're all brilliant!

Waiting On Wednesday: Dido

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Dido by Adele Geras

* Published by: David Fickling Books
* Format: Hardcover (UK)
* Release Date:
May 7th, 2009 (UK),
* On Amazon: here.

Aeneas leaned forward a little and kissed her on the mouth. Just one swift, soft touch of his lips on hers and then he turned and walked away.

Love can be deadly. Especially when two young women fall for the same man – one a queen, the other her serving maid. Elissa knows she is playing with fire, but she can’t resist. Queen Dido suspects nothing, until one fateful night… Secrets are revealed, hearts are broken and as dawn breaks, a terrible tragedy unfolds.

A passionate tale of love, betrayal and revenge.

I'm really looking forward to this one. Love triangles, secrets, tragedy... it sounds like a great read! And I really like the cover too.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Author Interview: Christopher Golden - Buffy Extraordinaire (Part I)

I am very excited about this interview, as I've been a fan of Christopher Golden's for over ten years now. He has written numerous Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels, guides and comics, as well as the novelisation for Peter Jackson's King Kong movie, and YA books Soulless and Prowlers. He's the author of some of my favourite Buffy books (The Gatekeeper Trilogy, Immortal, Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row, Child of the Hunt), and has written too much stuff to mention. Basically, he juct rocks!

Anyway, here is part one of what is rather a long interview. I asked quite a lot of questions (ten years worth!), so part two will be up tomorrow.

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General

How did you get into writing TV and film novelisations and comics?

CG: They’re two different things, really. I’d always been interested in comics and started trying to break in to that even before I sold my first book. I honestly don’t remember the first comic book assignment I got, but it might well have been the adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s novel THE DRIVE-IN, which I did for Dark Horse. But then Lansdale and Dark Horse had a difference of opinion and the project was dead there. Years later it was published by another company. As for media tie-ins, it all started with a DAREDEVIL novel. I’d already had several books published and done a number of comics, and I’d been approached by a book packager who were going to be doing a whole series of Marvel comics novels. They wanted me to be an editorial consultant on the book series. A few weeks went by and they decided they were going to use in-house staff only, but as a consolation prize, they offered me my pick of the characters they had licensed, and I chose Daredevil. That’s a story in its own right. From there came the X-Men novels that I’d done, and that experience was helpful in scoring the Buffy gig and others that came after.

Do you prefer writing for a YA or adult audience?

CG: I don’t discriminate. They’re different voices for me, but I love writing for all audiences.

On average, how long does it take you to write a TV tie-in novel?

CG: An original tie-in novel, about two months. A novelization (which I’ve only done once, with KING KONG) is a little faster. Maybe six weeks.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Were you a Buffy fan from the beginning?

CG: I’d never seen the movie, but I watched the very first episode on the night it aired and fell in love instantly. I’d been talking to Nancy Holder about collaborating on something together, and we talked the day after the pilot aired and said “that’s it! That’s the thing! Quick, let’s find out who has the rights!”

You co-wrote a lot of Buffy books with fellow fan Nancy Holder. How did you go about this? Did you each agree to write a certain number of pages, or did you each take different storylines?

CG: Most of my collaborations follow the same basic pattern. You work on the prologue or first chapter, kick it back and forth a while until you find a voice that suits you both, and then you play tennis. Usually that means I take a chapter, then my collaborator takes a chapter, then me, etc. Sometimes it’s two chapters each. Sometimes just two scenes. I’ve never written anything where I took only certain characters’ storylines and my collaborator took others. I could be wrong, but I suspect that would be detrimental to the overall voice of the book.

What research did you have to do in order to write a Buffy novel?

CG: Umm…watch Buffy? [Jenny: I need a job like this!]

You’re my favourite Whedonverse author in terms of getting the character’s voices right. Did you find this difficult to do?

CG: Nah. I loved both Buffy and Angel because of the characters. At first I studied the scripts to get the vocal cadences of the various characters, to pick up the idiosyncrasies, but later just watching the episodes was enough.

Do you have a favourite Buffy/Angel episode or season?

CG: Favorite episodes of Buffy, of course. Passion. Hush. The Body. Those are all freakin’ great television. My favorite thing about Angel was ALWAYS Lorne. And Andy was such a sweet, sweet, and talented guy. His death was tragic.

I particularly like your Spike & Dru book, Pretty Maids All In a Row. Which were your favourite characters to write about?

CG: It depended on my mood, I suppose. I loved Spike and Dru, though I’m aware my interpretation of Spike was unpopular with certain segments of the fan base. I loved writing Xander in the books and Xander and Anya in the comics. I also always loved writing Willow and Tara as a couple, and when Sniegoski and I wrote MONSTER ISLAND, I loved showing the first encounter between Fred and Tara.

Of all the Buffy books you wrote, which is your personal favourite? (Mine’s The Gatekeeper Trilogy!)

CG: Definitely PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW. I had so much fun writing that book, especially the submarine sequences.

The Lost Slayer series sees you writing about an alternate future Season Four timeline, in which Giles is a vampire. Was it fun to write his character as an evil, powerful vampire king?

CG: Totally. I love Giles as a character, and Tony Head is a funny, charming guy. Even when Giles wasn’t Ripper, you could see the old Ripper-ness trying to get out. As brilliant as he is, and as knowledgable about magic and slayers, and as ruthless as Ripper had been, I don’t think there would be a more deadly adversary for Buffy than Giles as a vampire. In fact, though I had to write it with her being victorious, I absolutely think that if Buffy went up against vampire Giles, vampire Giles would kill her.


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Check back tomorrow for questions about comics, Ghosts of Albion, Soulless, King Kong and lots more!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Vamped by Lucienne Diver

From the author's website: Hey, all, it's me… Gina Covello, fashionista of the damned. Yeah, I know, I managed to get almost all the way through high school without cracking a book and now here I am immortalized in one. Well, actually, the immortalization process might have started a bit earlier, like in the broom closet at the after-prom-party, somewhere around the time Bobby-freakin'-Delvecchio started gnawing on my neck. Anyway, this is one book I'd maybe even phone a friend about, since it covers all my adventures going from chic to eek.

Vamped starts with our heroine, Gina, waking up dead - literally - and in a horrible dress to boot. With only her love interest, Bobby, to help her with life as a vampire, she quickly learns that being part of the fang gang has some perks after all.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Cordelia Chase got turned into a vampire? If you have, look no further than Vamped for the answer. It's like Mean Girls with fangs, with witty dialogue and more pop culture references than you can keep up with.

All of the characters are full of humour and sarcasm, even the ridiculously named Mellisande, who turns out to be an arch-nemesis of hilarious proportions. With enough action to satisfy Buffy fans, and a lighthearted romance sure to make you smile, Vamped is a fun, fast-talking addition to the undead genre. It's similar to Amanda Ashby's Zombie Queen of Newbury High, and if you liked that, I think you'll love this.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, and I hope it'll be just as fun as this one. If anything, I now know that being bitten doesn't have to ruin your social life!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

In My Mailbox #14: New Books This Week


In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all descriptions from Amazon/author sites.


I got a great mix of books this week, from Amazon, publishers and lovely friends. I can't wait to read them all!

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Devil's Kiss
by Sarwat Chadda
(for review. I've heard really good things about this one!)

Fifteen-year-old Billi SanGreal never meant to make history. Dragged at the age of ten into the modern-day Knights Templar by her father, the Grandmaster, Billi's the first girl ever to be a Templar warrior. Her life is a rigorous and brutal round of weapons' practice, demon killing and occult lore – and a lot of bruises. But then temptation is placed in Billi's path – an alternative to her isolated life. But temptation brings consequences. In this case – the tenth plague – the death of all first borns and so Billi must choose her destiny. And as she soon discovers, death isn't even the worst . . .



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Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson
. (I can't wait to read this book. Thanks to Steph for sending me a copy!)

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens.






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The New Kid by Temple Mathews (This one sounds cool!)

Will Hunter is used to being the New Kid; Harrisburg High School is his fifth new school in less than three years. By now, he knows not to be fooled by the bright pep rallies, the wholesome jocks, the innocent cheerleaders. He knows the evil lurking underneath. It's the same evil that took his dad eight years ago; the same evil he battles every day.

Natalie Holand's life fell apart the night her sister Emily disappeared. No one believes her when she tells them what she saw: yellow eyes, glowing beneath the surface of the water in which Emily supposedly drowned. And Emily isn't the only person to go missing in Harrisburg lately. The town is changing, not for the better, and Natalie doesn't know why. What she does know is that, whatever's happening, it's bad, and the New Kid is right in the middle of it.

Because Will's got a secret even bigger than Harrisburg's . . . and there's more to it than even he knows.


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Jumping to Confusions
by Liz Rettig
(for review. I'm looking forward to this - Liz Rettig's books are hilarious!).

Cat is fat and boring - or so she thinks. Her mum is a stick insect and so is her twin sister Tessa - a bit of a spoilt brat who can get any boy she wants. There's a new arrival in their town from the USA - Josh, the son of their dad's boss. He's gorgeous so Tessa is keen and Cat knows she doesn't have a chance...But Josh seems strangely uninterested in Tess. Cat thinks there must be more to the situation...She and Josh become friends and eventually she thinks she's got to the bottom of the mystery...maybe Josh just isn't into girls at all...Now she has a new best gay friend, cat's life is much happier, and she and Josh get on wonderfully. If only things could stay that simple...



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City of Glass
by Cassandra Clare,
+ promo poster & bookmarks. (I won all this in a contest over at YA Reads (thanks guys!). The book also has a signed bookplate inside, and is a lovely Australian paperback version. Review here).

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together?




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Vamped by Lucienne Diver (Vampire fun!).

Top Five Perks of the Vamp Life

1. Eternal youth and beauty rocks!
2. Free clothes. Hey, might as well embrace the dark side.
3. Going vamp turns geeks, like my new boyfriend Bobby, into studs.
4. No need to breathe, except when a dramatic sigh or a heaving chest is called for.
5. Superhuman powers, like I can totally spot a hot Versace skirt a mile away—literally!

Top Five Drags of Vamping Out

1. No reflection! Oh well, I'll just have to sire my own entourage to confirm my hotness.
2. An all-liquid diet and no tanning options.
3. This vampy queen Mellisande who's taken an interest in my boyfriend.
4. Pointy-stick phobia.
5. Getting locked up by skanky Mellisande, who's transforming the entire high school into her own personal vampire army. The nerve!


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If I Stay
by Gayle Forman
(A lovely finished hardcover copy... woohoo! You can read my review from a couple of months ago here).

Everybody has to make choices. Some might break you. For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they're all about a future full of music and love, a future that's brimming with hope. But life can change in an instant. A cold February morning ...a snowy road ...and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills

From Amazon: Alex thought she’d be spending the summer focused on her family’s rafting business, burying the memories of her father’s death last year, and leaving behind all the messes she made in its wake. But when Sean returns to town, she is forced to reckon with her mixed-up crushy feelings for him—more powerful than ever before. It takes another tragedy to make Alex realize Sean has loved her, and forgiven her, all along.

Its been a couple of days since I finished this book, and I still have mixed feelings about it. I really liked the story and the writing, but I had a problem with the characters.

I never felt like I really got to know Alex, which made it difficult for me to identify with her. I understood that she had these deep feelings for Sean, but I never found out why. Why did she love him so much? How had their feelings reached this level? It felt like something was missing, and I think it was the lack of relationship development.

On saying that, I liked all the secondary characters, especially Tommy. He had his flaws, but he was a fun, British guy just flirting his way through life. Mala was also interesting to read, though I didn't understand why Alex regarded her so highly. They seemed polar opposites: the kind that are too different to be friends.

One aspect of the book that I really did love was the inclusion and descriptions of Grayton River. It became almost like a character in itself, and was a huge part of the story. I never fully understood how one place or landmark could have such an impact on someone's life, but I do now.

Heartbreak River is a satisfying read, with an unexpected ending that hits you head on. It's about loss, longing and forgiveness, and shows us that all relationships are possible to rebuild. It's a nice addition to the YA romance genre, and I look forward to whatever Tricia comes up with next.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

From the author's site: Gemma, a British city-living teenager, is kidnapped while on holiday with her parents. Her kidnapper, Ty, takes her to the wild land of outback Australia. To Gemma’s city-eyes, the landscape is harsh and unforgiving and there are no other signs of human life for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. Here, there is no escape. Gemma must learn to deal with her predicament, or die trying to fight it.

I've been excited about this book ever since I first heard about it - which was a couple of months ago now - and I'm glad to say it lived up to my expectations. The style of the narrative is unlike anything I've read before, and is innovative and compelling. It's an original and clever story, and is one that I absolutely could not put down.

I never thought I'd come away from this book with a liking for the kidnapper, Ty, but wow was I mistaken. Lucy Christopher really messes with everything you've grown up knowing, and successfully blurs the lines between right and wrong.

Ty is a complex character, and is one I had a hard time understanding at first. He's nothing like you'd expect a captor to behave; he's not violent or abusive, and is unexpectedly humane. His feelings for Gemma are real yet misguided, and his interest in her undoubtedly steps into the realm of obsession. It's fascinating to read Gemma's reactions to him, especially her initial thoughts upon finding she's been kidnapped.

I love the location of the Australian outback, and the sheer volume of nothing. A large expanse of sand is a horrifying setting, and makes Gemma's ordeal that much worse. Add a whole range of poisonous snakes and spiders to the mix, and you're faced with a nightmare scenario. Everything is described in great detail, from the wildlife to the horizon, and if you're not well versed in Australian land, you soon will be.

How could I possibly sympathise with someone that has the ability to ruin someone's life, and take them away from everything they know? It's a question I don't have the answer to, and it's one I'm sure every reader will be asking themselves. Stockholm syndrome could well be the answer, but after reading this book, you'll question even that. I really hope Stolen gets a US release at some point - it's a must-read, and is far too good to stay only in the UK.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

GIVEAWAY: Win a UK Copy of STOLEN by Lucy Christopher


After realising how excited non-UK people were about this book, I decided to buy an extra copy to give away here. I finished reading it earlier today, and it really is as brilliant as it sounds! (For more info, visit Lucy's site here).

So, if you would like to win one (1) shiny new copy of Stolen , just comment on this post and include your contact e-mail address (if you remember). If anyone could mention this in sidebars or contest roundup posts, it would be much appreciated!

This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE, and ends in two weeks time, on Thursday May 7th. You don't have to be a follower or anything, just comment and you're entered!

US Vs UK: Generation Dead Covers

US // UK

This is one of those rare weeks where I can't choose between covers. I love them both!

The UK one looks like it's inspired by Mrs Meyer's vampire book, though I can get over it because it's different enough. And it's red, which automatically equals points, because it's my favourite colour. As for the US cover, it's just plain cool! A creepy, zombie cheerleader staring at you... surely that would be enough to at least pique your interest?!

Which do you prefer?

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Guest Blog: Beth Fantaskey

Beth Fantaskey: author of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.

When I first dreamed up the story that became Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, I primarily saw it as an adoption tale – not a vampire story.

Making Jessica’s birth parents vampires was mainly a way of forcing a very rational girl to accept a very irrational truth about herself. I definitely wasn’t “into” vampires, myself.

Then along came Lucius.

As I mentioned in the Q&A, Lucius seemed to walk into my life the same way any stranger would. He just “showed up” in my office, and suddenly I was typing his letters home in his very distinctive voice.

One of my favorite things about Lucius – and I think this is at the heart of why vampires are so appealing – is his self-confidence, bordering on arrogance.

The greater part of the world might perceive Lucius Vladescu as a monster, but he never wavers in his belief that this only makes him all the more special. When other students back away from him in the cafeteria, Lucius perceives their cringing not as distaste, but as deference… which it is, in a way.

Lucius tries to pass this attitude along to Jess, not only in terms of helping her accept her destiny as a vampire, but also her body. Although society has led Jess to believe that she’s overweight, Lucius looks at her and sees a girl with a “presence.”

And Lucius’s opinion is credible. After all, generations of humans have persecuted, even murdered, his relatives for being “different.” If this hasn’t shaken his self-esteem, why should Jess worry about petty sniping by classmates?

Ultimately, Jess comes to value all aspects of herself. And what if we could all do that?

What if we could all see the things that others perceive as faults as assets?

I recently got an e-mail from a girl who thanked me for making Jess a size-ten heroine, instead of a size two. The writer had been struggling with her own self-image, and appreciated how Jess comes into her own – without shedding a pound.

As I replied, I thought about how I used to beat myself up for being super shy. But if I wasn’t shy, I wouldn’t have spent so much of my childhood conjuring up grand adventures in my imagination. Maybe I wouldn’t have grown up to write a book. Maybe being shy is the best thing that ever happened to me.

In a weird way, shyness has become a source of confidence – albeit quiet confidence.

So here’s to having “flaws.” May we all embrace them as profoundly as Jess and Lucius do!

Waiting On Wednesday: The Demon's Lexicon

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

* Published by: Simon & Schuster
* Format: Hardcover (US), Paperback (UK)
* Release Date:
June 1st, 2009 (UK), June 2nd, 2009 (US)
* On Amazon: here.

From Amazon:
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.

Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is desperate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long. Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.

I can't wait to read this! My friend at work just finished a proof/ARC copy, and said it's perfect for fans of The Mortal Instruments. Roll on June!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Author Interview: Beth Fantaskey

Beth Fantaskey is the debut author of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, which is all about vampires, royalty and Romania. Here she talks about being published, her next novel, and one of my favourite topics: vampires.

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How long was your publication process?

The writing process was quick – the story just kind of came bursting out – but the publication process was l-o-o-o-ng. The manuscript sold in 2006, and the book just came out this February. I understand that’s considered a pretty long production period. But I was happy with the process. A lot of care went into making the final product. I hope it shows!

Why did you choose to write about the undead? Are you a vampire fan in general?

I was not a vampire fan – although I am now! I chose to write a vampire tale because I wanted Jess’s birth parents to be something completely extraordinary. She’s a level-headed girl, so I had to make sure the revelation about her biological parents – and by extension the boy she is promised to marry – completely rocked her rational world. Plus, let’s face it… even though I wasn’t really into vampires at the time, everybody knows that they have a certain intriguing appeal!

Where did the idea for Lucius come from? Is he based on any other vampire characters?

Lucius sprang to life the moment I started writing his first letter home. He is based on no one – not even anyone I know. I swear, it was like he walked into my office and started dictating his letters to me. Which seems like something Lucius would do – assume that he had a secretary.

Did you have any input into the cover design, and are you happy with it?

I remember asking that the cover be dark, to offset the sort of whimsical title, because the book is a mix of light and dark. Beyond that, it’s the creation of a very talented Harcourt artist. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was, and how it captured the mood of the story. I’ve had people e-mail, wishing that they could find Jess’s dress in a store. And I love the hint of Lucius’s fangs. I think it’s just perfect.

Do you have any plans to write a sequel to Jessica's Guide?

Nothing definite at this point, although I’m getting a lot of requests, which is really nice. I’m honestly not sure…

Can you tell us anything about your next book, Jekel Loves Hyde?

It’s a different kind of twist on the paranormal. Jill Jekel and Tristen Hyde are two high school students who gradually discover that they share a mysterious, possibly dangerous, connection to the old novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As they race against the clock to figure out the puzzle, they start to fall for each other – which is probably the worst thing that could happen to them… That’s probably enough!


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Thanks, Beth! For more info on Beth and her books, visit her official site. You can also read my Jessica's Guide review here. Oh, and check back tomorrow for Beth's guest blog!

Monday, 20 April 2009

News: Upcoming UK Releases

Robin Wasserman's Skinned is due to be published in the UK on August 3rd, by Simon & Schuster Children's. It's a paperback, and will be priced at £6.99. I love the cover, and think it'll do really well over here.

Also released in a few weeks is Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda. It's published by Puffin on May 7th, and sounds really, really good. I think it's UK only, but I'm not sure. Click here to view a very cool trailer.

A title getting a somewhat rare simultaneous US/UK release is The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. It's being published on June 1st (from Simon & Schuster again), and you can see the cover here (thanks Khy!).

I can't wait to get all these books (minus Skinned - I got the US edition)... 2009 is a great year!

Operation Retirement Rescue: Fearless by Francine Pascal

Adele at Persnickety Snark had a great idea called Operation Retirement Rescue.

Before May begins I would like you to post reviews for 1-2 YA titles that - 1) were published more than five years ago, 2) hold fond memories, and 3) post the icon somewhere in your review.



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First UK publication: March, 2000.

I'm not very good at remembering books years after I've read them (unless they're amazing), but Fearless is a series that has stayed with me for almost nine years.

Seventeen-year-old Gaia Moore is not a typical high school senior. Her mother is dead, and her father, a secret agent, abandoned her years ago. But before he left, he taught her self-preservation. She's a black belt in karate, multilingual and has an extraordinary ability - fearlessness.

I adore everything about this series - all 36 books of it (38 if you include specials, 42 if you include FBI). The characters were all brilliant, especially heroine Gaia and her best friend Ed. The story was incredibly fast-paced and original, and always had me on tenterhooks.

The idea that someone could be born without the fear gene was, in my opinion, genius. It made for a very interesting read, and I honestly never knew what would happen next.

Fearless is one of my all-time favourite series, and Gaia remains one of my favourite characters. That girl could seriously kick some ass! I'm sad to say I've never met a single person who has read any of these books, but I hope that will change. There has to be another fan somewhere!

One Lovely Blog Award & Blog of the Week

Melissa's Bookshelf and Fantastic Book Review gave me the One Lovely Blog Award - thank you!

The rules to follow are:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I'm passing this on to all the new bloggers out there. I haven't got time to mention you all (sleep - why do I need it?!), but consider yourselves awarded! :)

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Also, my blog of the week is a blog that I just discovered tonight - Fantastic Book Review. It's a blog to review all things supernatural and paranormal, and already has some brilliant reviews!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

In My Mailbox #13: New Books This Week


In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all descriptions from Amazon/author sites.


Something strange happened this week... I didn't buy a single book. This doesn't happen very often, but Amazon didn't get any of my pre-orders in stock, and nothing new came in an work. The books I did get all came for review, which I am REALLY excited about. I didn't expect them, so it was a great week!

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Stolen
by Lucy Christopher (YES!! *Happy dance*).

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost.



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Bad Faith
by Gillian Philip
(This one sounds intriguing).

Life's easy for Cassandra. The privileged daughter of a cleric, she's been protected from the extremist gangs who enfore the One Church's will. Her boyfriend Ming is a bad influence, of course, with infadel parents who are constantly in trouble with the religious authorities. But Cass has no intention of letting their different backgrounds drive them apart. Then they stumble across a corpse. Who killed him? How did his body end up in their secret childhood haunt? And is this man's death connected to other, older murders? As the political atmosphere grows feverish, Cass realises she and Ming face extreme danger.



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My Dating Disasters Diary
by Liz Rettig
(I love this series!)

Kelly Ann is a total tomboy. She loves football and computer games and has no idea why anyone would want to bother with soppy romantic stuff and stupid crushes on boys. Her best mate is Chris, the boy next door, and he's not into that stuff either, is he? Follow Kelly Ann's ventures into the crazy world of love through her stonkingly funny diaries.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Girl Meets Cake by Susie Day

From Amazon: Geeky fangirl Heidi, 15, has a great fantasy life thanks to her TV and her laptop - and no wonder, when she's stuck at the boarding school for crazy drop-outs where her parents teach, with only a cake-shop Saturday job to escape to. At least she's got her best mates - but when they all start coupling up, Heidi needs a boyfriend - and fast. Enter Gingerbread Ed, a sexy lovemuppet with a motorbike. He'd be perfect - if he actually existed.

Girl Meets Cake
should be renamed F-U-N. It's very, very funny.

Heidi invents a boyfriend called Gingerbread Ed, who really only exists online - through emails and instant messaging. When he starts talking to her friends, Heidi (and imaginary Ed) finds out more about them than she ever thought she would.

I loved this book because of its quirkiness and originality. I mean, who ever thought of dating a biscuit? It's a hilarious concept, and I will never look at Gingerbread men the same way again.

Every single secondary character (Dai, Ludo, Teddy and Fili especially) comes to life on the page, and I want to be friends with all of them. It's especially interesting to see what people will tell a stranger over the internet, and it really shows how careful you have to be online. Who knows which biscuits are posing as charming, yummy teenagers?!

I also loved fictional TV show Mycroft Christie Investigates, along with Heidi's amusing conversations with lead detective character Mycroft. The school production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was 80's-tastic, complete with a cool teacher possibly experiencing an early mid-life crisis. (You know the kind I mean... one who tries too hard to be 'down with the kids!').

Susie Day has written a brilliantly enjoyable book about friendship, love and cakes. It's being published in the US in 2010, under the title My Invisible Boyfriend, and it's great for anyone wanting a light, witty read. Now to find myself a copy of Susie's first book, Big Woo!...

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Resistance by Gemma Malley

From Amazon: The year is 2140. Peter and Anna are now living on the Outside as Legals. As an agent in the Underground, Peter is tasked with infiltrating Pincent Pharma Corporation and find out what's happening in the secret Longevity programme. At the heart of the organisation he most despises, Peter stumbles across something more sinister than he could ever have imagined, as powerful forces are gathering to crush the young couple's dreams.

[Recap: The Declaration review].


If you haven't yet read one of Gemma Malley's books, you're missing out. Her ideas and view of the future are nothing short of terrifying, and both make for compulsive reading.

The Resistance picks up a short time after The Declaration ends, and this time mainly focuses on Peter rather than Anna. I loved The Declaration, but I enjoyed this sequel more. It's exciting and original, with more shocks and revelations than I thought possible.

Peter is working with the Underground, a group of resistance fighters opposed to the Longevity drug (Longevity is a drug that makes you live forever, and can only be taken if you give up your right to have children). Together they try and take down Pincent Pharma, the company responsible for producing and distributing the drug.

Quite a few questions are answered in this book, though you could argue that even more are raised. The whole world that Malley has created just scares the life out of me, and I hope things are never like this by the time we reach the year 2140. There's definitely room for another sequel, and I hope we see a continuation of the story at some point. There's so much left to explore... Will the Underground prevail? Will Longevity be eradicated? All are valid questions I'm dying to know the answer to.

So, Gemma Malley, if you read this: please write another book. I'm not opposed to begging, and, if I have to, bribery could be arranged. As long as I don't have to sign the Declaration, I'm all ears!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

US Vs. UK: If I Stay Covers

US // UK

I really like both these covers, though if I had to choose, I'd buy the US one - I like the simplicity and what it's symbolizing. Saying that, I also like the UK one, because I think it represents the story well in a more literal sense. I also like the inclusion of a tagline of sorts: What would you do if you had to choose?

I think both covers will appeal to teenagers and adults, which is good for crossover sales. It's an amazing book, and I can't wait until it's officially released over here, then I can make lots of people buy it!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Waiting On Wednesday: What I Saw and How I Lied

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

* Published by: Scholastic
* Format: Paperback
* Release Date: July 6th, 2009 (UK), Out now (US)
* On Amazon: here
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From Amazon:
Summer's ending, Evie's stepfather is finally home from the Second World War, and Evie is tired of her glamorous mother treating her like a little girl. Then a mysterious stranger appears; a handsome ex-GI who served with Evie's stepfather. Slowly, Evie realizes that she is falling in love with him - but he has dark secrets, and a strange control over her parents. When a sudden tragedy occurs, Evie's world is shattered. Torn between her family and the man she loves, Evie must betray someone. The question is... who?

I can't wait to read this book! It's published here in July, and is going to have a retro dust-jacket over the paperback, which sounds very cool. I've heard good things about it, and I know it won an award in the US, which makes me even more excited. If you've already read it, what did you think?