Sunday, 31 May 2009

In My Mailbox #19: New Books This Week

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

I got some cool books this week, and I'm excited to read them all!


Blood Water
by Dean Vincent Carter
(For review. I love the cover!).

They're all dead now. I am the last one. Dr Morrow can't identify the 'thing' he found living in the lake but he knows it's dangerous ...then it goes missing ...Caught in the flood that is devastating the town, brothers Sean and James stumble across Morrow and the carnage left at his lab. The missing specimen is some kind of deadly parasite that moves from person to person, destroying its hosts in disgusting, gory ways. The death toll will rise along with the waters unless the brothers can track down the homicidal specimen and find a way to destroy it.


The Dead and the Gone
by Susan Pfeffer
(We hardly ever get this in at work, so I thought I'd better buy it now!)

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event--an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.


City of Ghosts
by Bali Rai
(For review. This sounds unusual, but good).

It's 1919 and Amritsar is a city on the brink of rebellion. Riots, violence and tension spill onto the streets ...Bissen Singh fought bravely for the British Empire during World War One. Now he waits patiently for news from England. Gurdial, a young orphan, is desperate to marry Sohni, the daughter of a rich and evil man. And Jeevan, Gurdial's oldest friend, is swept up in the revolution and changing beyond all recognition. Bissen, Gurdial and Jeevan are looking to the future whilst trying to escape ghosts from the past. But as the fight for Amritsar reaches a terrifying climax, their lives will be changed for ever.


Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott (Woohoo!)

Get this, I'm supposed to be starting a journal about "my journey." Please. I can see it now: Dear Diary, As I'm set adrift on this crazy sea called "life" . . . I don't think so. It's been seventy-five days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her. And she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone now, and she doesn't want to talk about it. They wouldn't get it, anyway. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to have your best friend ripped away from you. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to know it's your fault. Amy's shrink thinks it would help to start a diary. Instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia. But as she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past wasn't as perfect as she thought it was—and the present deserves a chance too.


Secrets at St. Jude's: New Girl by Carmen Reid (For review. This sounds like a fun read!).

Gina's mother is fed up with her staying out late, spending too much money on clothes and too much time IM-ing her friends. But her solution to sort out her wayward LA IT girl is pretty drastic - she's sending Gina to Scotland to go to the same boarding school she attended. Suddenly taken from a world of malls, mobile phones, en-suite wet-rooms, designer clothes and sophisticated boys, Gina is suddenly forced to find her way through games of hockey, communal meals and showers, horrible public schoolboys and stuffy housemistresses. Will she ever survive? Her dorm buddies might just help - they're a strange bunch but they seem to be good fun ...And there are always the boys from the local school to help keep them entertained.


The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (I couldn't resist this one - it's about vampires! I know it's adult fiction, but I think I'll still review it here. I reckon' it will appeal to some other YA readers).

A plane lands at JFK and mysteriously 'goes dark', stopping in the middle of the runway for no apparent reason, all lights off, all doors sealed. The pilots cannot be raised. When the hatch above the wing finally clicks open, it soon becomes clear that everyone on board is dead -- although there is no sign of any trauma or struggle. Ephraim Goodweather and his team from the Center for Disease Control must work quickly to establish the cause of this strange ocurrence before panic spreads. The first thing they discover is that four of the victims are actually still alive. But that's the only good news. And when all two hundred corpses disappear from various morgues around the city on the same night, things very rapidly get worse. Soon Eph and a small band of helpers will find themselves battling to protect not only their own loved ones, but the whole city, against an ancient threat to humanity.


City of Glass
by Cassandra Clare
(UK advance copy: yes, they're printing it with the US cover! Cool eh? It's so much better than the creepy blue guy. My CoG review is 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?

Walker UK also sent me this very cool City of Glass promo t-shirt. I love it!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Out of the Blue Giveaway: Winner!

The Out of the Blue giveaway is now closed, and chose comment #17 as the winner. Congrats to Jessica of Book Reviews by Jess! An email should be in your inbox right about now :)

Thanks once again to everyone who entered to win this brilliant book, and I'll have some more contests very soon. Happy reading, everyone!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

From Amazon: All over the tri-state area, something strange is happening. Teenagers who die aren't staying dead. When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, her best friend and star of the football team, Adam, has conflicting emotions. And when Tommy decides to try out for the football team, it sets off a chain of events that escalates into deadly violence.

Generation Dead is my first foray into the world of zombies, and I'll never look back. Why I hadn't read this before, I don't know.

The plot is original, and the characters are all engaging and authentic. I love how the zombies functioned slower than humans, as it really sets them aside from the rest of the world. Referring to them as 'corpsicles' made me laugh out loud, and I would quite like to meet a zombie so I can use that nickname.

The story develops well, and I especially like the use of Tommy's blog excerpts. I would have liked to have seen more of these, as it was a great way to get to know the dead characters more, and get an insight into their minds. My favourite character was Faith, Tommy's Mum. She's so understanding and tolerant of the zombies, even though the majority of the population think they're something to be feared or avoided. Although she was only a secondary character, she really made an impression on me, and I hope she appears in the sequel.

I like that the romance between Tommy and Phoebe is innocent and new, and isn't rushed or unrealistically portrayed. Tommy's shyness is representative of a lot of teenage boys, and I think it made me like his character more than I would have done had he been a typical jock. Adam is also a favourite of mine, and I look forward to finding out what happens to him in Kiss of Life.

I think Generation Dead is about accepting diversity and individuality, and it sends an important message to readers. Whether dead or alive, everyone has feelings, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. It's a fun, addictive read, and I can't wait to get back to Oakvale High School!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

US Vs. UK: Poison Study Covers

US // UK

I'm on the UK's side this week! Our cover is amazing, in my opinion. I do like the US one, but it just doesn't have the same effect on me. The UK cover represents a lot of the story, and it's beautiful in person. I'm going to have to read this soon, as I've heard very good things about it!

So... US or UK?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Dido by Adele Geras

From Amazon: 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.

I don't know much about Greek stories and history, but for some reason I was still dying to read this book. I'm so glad I did, because I spent the day with a group of brilliantly written characters, and was thoroughly sucked into the world of Queen Dido and her serving maid Elissa.

The narration was what I liked most about Dido. It's told by four different characters in alternating chapters, which enables the reader to see the story from different angles and perspectives. It's a great way to get to know the characters, and I wish more authors wrote in this style.

I also liked the inclusion of the Greek gods, who appeared almost as an apparition. It was a nice mythological touch, and I at least now know more about the gods and goddesses than I did before. I would have liked the setting and surroundings to be described more, just so I could get a feel for what Greece was like back then. That's the only thing I thought was missing, though it didn't take anything away from the story.

Dido is a tragic love story, and is built around secrets and jealousy. It's interesting to see how Queen Dido reacts to the various revelations about her husband Aeneas, and how she lets her world crumble around her. For a Queen and leader, she wasn't the strongest of women, which surprised me. I expected her to be tougher, but instead Elissa was the one to possess those character traits.

Greek myths, love triangles, betrayals and lies are all present in Dido, and all make this book an addictive read. I also really love the cover artwork; it's unusual and stylistic, and relates well to the story. Now, where's my Troy DVD...?

Waiting On Wednesday: Lipstick Apology

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

* Published by: Razorbill
* Format: Hardcover (But only $9.99? Hmm...)
* Release Date:
August 6th, 2009 (US)
* On Amazon: here.

Sometimes a good-bye is just the beginning…

When Emily Carson’s parents die in a plane crash, she’s left with nothing but her mother’s last words scrawled in lipstick on a tray table: “Emily, please forgive me.”

Now it’s fall and Emily moves to New York City— where she attracts the attention of two very different boys: the cute, popular Owen, and her quirky chemistry partner, Anthony. With the help of some surprising new friends, Emily must choose between the boy who helps her forget and the one who encourages her to remember, and ultimately heal.

I really like the sound of this one, and I love the cover. I like it when characters have to make difficult choices, which is exactly what it sounds like Emily has to do.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Author Interview: Lucy Christopher

Lucy Christopher is the UK debut author of Stolen, a brilliant story of love, obsession and survival. I really enjoyed her book, and am excited that she agreed to answer my questions. Thank you, Lucy!


Can you tell us how you came to have your book published?
(and with one of my favourite publishers, too!)

Well, this is a rather long story but I’ll try my best to condense it! Basically, I was working on another novel about a wild swan. As my editor and I were about to commence editing work on it, she happened to ask me what I was working on next. I told her about Stolen, and when I showed her the opening thirty pages of the novel everything changed rather quickly. The ‘head chicken’ at Chicken House, Barry Cunningham, rang me up the following day wanting to publish it as soon as possible, wanting to swap the order of publication between this book and the swan book. What followed next was a whirlwind few months of trying to finish writing and editing Stolen. In the end I didn’t finish editing the novel until a month before the books were printed, which is pretty mad in terms of publishing! But we got there in the end.

What inspired Stolen?

Stolen was actually written as part of my PhD in Creative Writing (which I haven’t finished yet!). In my PhD I wanted to explore how the Australian desert had been written about in books for young adults. For the creative part of this PhD I wanted to write a kidnap book, not because I love horror narratives (quite the opposite – they scare me silly!) but because I wanted to explore the different images that the Australian desert has in fiction – that of being a ‘horror-scape’ and yet also a place of beauty and spiritual significance. Having felt both wonder and fear about the Australian desert when I went to visit it myself, I wanted to think more deeply about what this amazing landscape really meant to me and about what it could mean to other young people.

Ty, the kidnapper, is very hard to dislike, even after everything he does. Did you always intend for the reader to form an ambiguous opinion of him?

Yes I did. I wanted the reader to experience similar thoughts about Ty to how Gemma feels. Gemma is both repelled by and attracted to Ty, and is confused and confounded by what to do about it. I wanted the reader to feel this too, for two reasons. Firstly, having feelings for the ‘wrong’ person is more common than you might think, and yet, having feelings like this is not a crime. It is what you do with those feelings that really determines your true mettle. Gemma must find a huge amount of personal strength and integrity in order to distance herself from the very troubled and inappropriate object of her affections. This process of realising that you are attracted to someone who is not good for you or your life path and having the strength to move away from this damaging relationship is something that I think is important for many young women to think about. I also wanted readers to think more carefully about the notions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Certainly taking Gemma by force was not a good thing for Ty to do, but when one looks at Ty’s difficult background of scarce love and not feeling like he belongs to anyone and couple this with his more gentle idea of living close to and protecting nature, he becomes a difficult character to blame entirely. It is this complexity of human beings that I want readers to think about.

Stolen explores, amongst other things, the boundaries between love and obsession. Do you think it's really so easy to confuse the two?

This is a difficult question. I think it is easy for Ty to confuse the two, sure, because I don’t think that he has ever had much experience of true love. When Ty develops feelings for Gemma, and then becomes obsessed with her, he equates these feelings to love… simply because he doesn’t know any better. But I also believe that Gemma can distinguish the boundaries between love and obsession, as we see from the choice she makes at the end of the novel.

The Australian outback is such a strong setting for the story, and makes it that much more terrifying. Do you think it would have worked as well in another location?

The setting of this novel came before anything else for me. I wanted to write about the Australian desert, desperately and passionately, I just had to find some characters who wanted to be written about in it! So with that in mind, then no, I don’t think this novel would have worked as well, or maybe even worked at all, in another location.

Did you have any input into the cover design? What does the butterfly signify?

I had a limited amount of input into the cover design. When I first saw this cover I wasn’t sure about it because I was worried that the butterfly might come to signify feelings of entrapment or being captured and held (like Gemma was only a fragile butterfly). However, after thinking more about the cover and talking to some of the readers about it, I’ve come to really like the cover. A teen reader told me recently that she thought the butterfly symbolised freedom and individuality, and I really like this interpretation. So the butterfly could perhaps symbolise different things to different people, but personally I’d like it to symbolise freedom and beauty.

What was the best thing about living in Australia? (Hopefully not the poisonous snakes and spiders!)

The best thing about living in Australia was my friends – I really miss them. I also really loved not having to anticipate rain every day (like I tend to now, living in South Wales!).

What's your favourite book of all time?

I have so many favourite books for so many different reasons, and for so many different moods. I really love Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden because I read it when I was about thirteen and it totally blew me away that a teenage girl protagonist could be so cool and capable. I also really love The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy because I think the language is exquisite. A book that I enjoyed recently was Dirt Music by Tim Winton – the language and, of course, the setting got me there! And any horse book can usually win me over too!

What are you working on next?

I am working on three novels right now. I am rewriting the swan book for publication, while also working on two new ideas for teens (one is a bit of a thriller again and the other a bit of a kooky love story!).


Related links:

Lucy's site: Lucy
Publisher's site: Chicken House
My review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Monday, 25 May 2009

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

From Amazon: When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends -- her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her. This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

I was already a fan of Elizabeth Scott before I read Living Dead Girl, but now I have even more respect for her. The fact that she can go from a light, fun romance story to this is nothing short of amazing.

There's no easy way to read this book: it's scary, and is sometimes hard to get through. Your imagination runs away with you, and you find yourself thanking God you aren't in Alice's situation. At least I did, anyway.

Scott's story is bleak and harrowing, and there isn't a glimmer of hope in sight. Alice is in a dead-end life, one that I'm not sure could be called an existence, and by the time I was half way through the book, even I was hoping that her death wasn't far away.

It's a compelling and disturbing read, and won't appeal to every YA reader out there. I don't usually like age guidance on books, but in this instance, I agree with the 16+ warning. I think it was needed, and if this was ever published here in the UK, I have no doubt it'd be amongst the adult fiction. That's not to say I wouldn't recommend it, I just don't think it's for everyone. If you're a fan of Laurie Halse Anderson, I'd suggest checking it out, as it's beautifully written and similar in style.

I never understood the meaning behind the cover and title before, but I do now. If ever a story was an epitome of hell, this would undoubtedly be it.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

In My Mailbox #18: New Books This Week

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

I'll apologise in advance for the length of this post. I ended up with a lot more books than I thought I would: it seems Amazon got my next 3 months worth of pre-orders in stock this week. Also, I received quite a few books for review, which I wasn't expecting!


Lord of Misrule
by Rachel Caine
(I already have the US edition of this, but I bought this new UK version so Rachel could sign it. It's lovely!).

Morganville. Texas. Just south of normal. In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, a master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn't the only threat. Violent black clouds promise a storm of devastating proportions. As student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against the elements - both natural and unnatural - the unexpected happens: Morganville's vampires begin to vanish one by one. Discovering why leads Claire to one last choice: swear allegiance to Bishop...or die.


The Demon's Lexicon
by Sarah Rees Brennan
(For review. I had to take my last copy of this back to work before I could read it, so I'm glad I got another!)

Nick and his brother Alan are on the run with their mother, who was once the lover of a powerful magician. When she left him, she stole an important charm - and he will stop at nothing to reclaim it. Now Alan has been marked with the sign of death by the magician's demon, and only Nick can save him. But to do so he must face those he has fled from all his life - the magicians - and kill them. So the hunted becomes the hunter...but in saving his brother, Nick discovers something that will unravel his whole past...


Generation Dead
by Dan Waters
(For review. I've still not read this!).

All over the tri-state area, something strange is happening. Teenagers who die aren't staying dead. They are coming back to life, but they come back different - they stutter and their reactions to everything are slower. Termed 'living impaired' or 'differently biotic', there are lots of conspiracy theories to explain this new phenomenon. But as their numbers keep on growing, so does the discomfort of the living people in the community. When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, her best friend and star of the football team, Adam, has conflicting emotions. And when Tommy decides to try out for the football team, it sets off a chain of events that escalates into deadly violence.


The Kiss of Life
by Dan Waters
(For review. I like the cover!)

Sequel to Generation Dead. While coaxing Adam back to reality and fending off Tommy's advances, Phoebe continues to carry on as if everything's normal. But normal has been different since American teenagers started rising from their graves. Although some try to bridge the gap between the living and the differently biotic, there are scores of people who want nothing more than to send all of the undead back to their graves. And the dead kids in Phoebe's school don't like that one bit...


Hunger by Michael Grant (This is one heck of a giant book!).

It's been three months since everyone under the age of fifteen became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ. Three months since all the adults disappeared. Gone.
Food ran out weeks ago. Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers. Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town. It's the normal kids against the mutants. Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous. But a larger problem looms. The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ. Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them. The Darkness has awakened. And it is hungry.


The Hollow by Jessica Verday (US ARC. For review, and sounds brilliant!)

When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is deadâ?¦and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. It only makes things worse that everyone now treats Abbey like either a freak show or a charity case. Thank goodness for Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special. Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.


Genesis by Bernard Beckett (For review. This sounds very interesting!).

2041 - First global dust storms, 2050 - First shot in The Last War fired, 2051 - The Great Sea Fence completed; the Republic founded, 2052 - First plague released, and 2077 - The Great War begins. Fourteen-year-old Anax thinks she knows her history. She'd better. She's sat facing three Examiners and her grueling five-hour examination has just begun. If she passes, she'll be admitted into The Academy - the elite institution that runs her utopian society.But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she's been taught isn't the whole story. And that The Academy isn't what she believes it to be. The reader is about to discover a provocative novel of dazzling ingenuity. Anax's examination leads us into a future where ancient - eternal - philosophical questions have dramatically collided with the march of technology, where just what it means to be human is up for debate, and where the concealed stain of an Original Sin threatens the very existence of her Brave New World.


Everlost by Neal Shusterman (For review. I'm very excited about this one, as I loved Unwind. And how cool is the cover?!)

Nick and Allie don't survive the crash, and now they are in limbo, stuck halfway between life and death, in a netherworld known as Everlost. Everlost is home to those who didn't make it to their final destination: A magical yet dangerous place filled with shadows where lost souls run wild. Shocked and frightened, Nick and Allie aren't ready to rest in peace just yet. They want their lives back. Desperate for a way out, their search takes them deep into the uncharted regions of Everlost. But the longer they stay, the more they forget about their past lives. And with all memory of home fading fast and an unknown evil lurking in the shadows, Nick and Allie may never escape this strange, terrible world. In this imaginative, supernatural thriller, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.


Creature of the Night
by Kate Thompson
(This sounds cool, and I've heard good things about it).

When Bobby's mother moves the family into a rented house in the country, a neighbour tells him that a child was once murdered there. Bobby doesn't care. All he wants is to get back to Dublin and to resume his wild life there, stealing from the crowded shopping streets and racing stolen cars at night. But getting his old life back doesn't turn out to be so easy, and the longer he spends in the old cottage, the more convinced he becomes that something very strange is going on there. Was there really a murder? And if so, was it the one he has been told about?


Carpe Corpus
by Rachel Caine
(Morganville #6! Yeah!)

In the small college town of Morganville, vampires and humans lived in (relative) peace—until all the rules got rewritten when the evil vampire Bishop arrived, looking for the lost book of vampire secrets. He’s kept a death grip on the town ever since. Now an underground resistance is brewing, and in order to contain it, Bishop must go to even greater lengths. He vows to obliterate the town and all its inhabitants—the living and the undead. Claire Danvers and her friends are the only ones who stand in his way. But even if they defeat Bishop, will the vampires ever be content to go back to the old rules, after having such a taste of power?


The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (This sounds like a fun read!).

Emily Abbott has always been considered the Girl Most Likely to Be Nice -- but lately being nice hasn't done her any good. Her parents have decided to move the family from Chicago back to their hometown of Boston in the middle of Emily's senior year. Only Emily's first real boyfriend, Sean, is in Chicago, and so is her shot at class valedictorian and early admission to the Ivy League. What's a nice girl to do? Then Sean dumps Emily on moving day and her father announces he's staying behind in Chicago "to tie up loose ends," and Emily decides that what a nice girl needs to do is to stop being nice. She reconnects with her best friends in Boston, Josie and Lucy, only to discover that they too have been on the receiving end of some glaring Guy Don'ts. So when the girls have to come up with something to put in the senior class time capsule, they know exactly what to do. They'll create a not-so-nice reference guide for future generations of guys -- an instruction book that teaches them the right way to treat girls. But when her friends draft Emily to test out their tips on Luke Preston -- the hottest, most popular guy in school, who just broke up with Josie by email -- Emily soon finds that Luke is the trickiest of test subjects . . . and that even a nice girl like Emily has a few things to learn about love.


The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (Hmm, now I need to read the first one...)

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever. Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.


Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund (Again, I've heard very good things about this book!)

With a past too terrible to speak of, and a bleak, lonely future ahead of her, Aerin Renning is shocked to find she has earned a place at the most exclusive school in the universe. Aerin excels at Academy 7 in all but debate, where Dane Madousin—son of one of the most powerful men in the Alliance— consistently outtalks her. Fortunately Aerin consistently outwits him at sparring. They are at the top of their class until Dane jeopardizes everything and Aerin is unintentionally dragged down with him. When the pair is given a joint punishment, an unexpected friendship—and romance—begins to form. But Dane and Aerin both harbor dangerous secrets, and the two are linked in ways neither of them could ever have imagined...


You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith (Road trips are always good!)

Emma Healy has never fit in with the rest of her family. She's grown used to being the only ordinary one among her rather extraordinary parents and siblings. But when she finds a birth certificate for a twin brother she never knew she had, along with a death certificate dated just two days later, she feels like a part of her has been justified in never feeling quite whole. Suddenly it seems important to visit his grave, to set off in search of her missing half. When her next-door neighbor Peter Finnegan -- who has a quiet affinity for maps and a desperate wish to escape their small town -- ends up coming along for the ride, Emma thinks they can't possibly have anything in common. But as they head from upstate New York toward North Carolina, driving a beat-up and technically stolen car and picking up a stray dog along the way, they find themselves learning more and more about each other. Neither is exactly sure what they're looking for, but with each passing mile, each new day of this journey, they seem to be getting much closer to finding it.


Waiting For You by Susane Colasanti (For fans of Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott, apparantly. I couldn't think of a better recommendation!)

At the beginning of her sophomore year, Marisa is ready for a fresh start and, more importantly, a boyfriend. So when the handsome and popular Derek asks her out, Marisa thinks her long wait for happiness is over. But several bumps in the road—including her parents’ unexpected separation, a fight with her best friend, and a shocking disappointment in her relationship with Derek—test Marisa’s ability to maintain her new outlook. Only the anonymous DJ, whose underground podcasts have the school’s ear, seems to understand what Marisa is going through. But she has no idea who he is—or does she?


Twenty Boy Summer
by Sarah Ockler
(I'm excited that this one arrived!)

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.


Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
by Tina Ferraro
[signed] (I won this in a contest over at T.V & Book Addict. Thanks to T.V and Tina!)

Sophomore year, Nicolette Antonovich was dumped two days before prom by the hottest guy at school. As a result, she became the proud owner of one unworn, perfectly magical pink vintage dress. But Nic is determined to put that night behind her for good. She's a junior now— older, wiser, and completely overwhelmed by a new set of problems: (1) The bank's ready to foreclose on her childhood home. (2) Her father's too busy with his "replacement" daughter to care. (3) Her best friend's brother is an eternal thorn in her side. (4) Her best friend isn't exactly the rose attached to that thorn. (5) Rumors are flying around school that could get her kicked off the volleyball team, which would (6) ruin all chances of a college scholarship. (7) She still likes the boy who dumped her in the first place. (8) And what in the world do you do with an unworn prom dress, anyway? Strangely, it's getting to the bottom of this last dilemma that just might hold the answer to all Nic's problems.


Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Adele gave this one a good review, which is why I bought it).

Bailey Morgan isn't the type of girl who shows a lot of skin, but somehow, she ends up in a dressing room at the mall with her friend Delia applying a temporary tattoo to her lower back. Never one to suffer fashion doubt, trendsetter Delia knows exactly where she wants her own tattoo: on her stomach, right where her shirt ends—can you say "midriff"? Annabelle, the quiet one, chooses the back of her neck, and tomboy Zo plasters hers on the top of her foot. The tattoos will last for three days, and Delia's sure that with them, the four friends will absolutely kill at the school dance.

Unfortunately, killing is just what someone has in mind, and Bailey, Delia, Annabelle, and Zo are in for the battle of their lives. Along with her tattoo, each girl receives a gift—a supernatural power to help them in their fight. As Bailey's increasingly frightening dreams reveal the nature of their enemy, it becomes clear to the girls that it's up to them to save the world. And if they can get Delia to stop using her newfound power to turn gum wrappers into Prada pumps, they might actually stand a chance.


Gossip Girl The Carlyles: Take a Chance on Me by Cecily Von Ziegesar (I just love GG!).

The third book in the deliciously scandalous GOSSIP GIRL THE CARLYLES series. Owen, Avery and Baby Carlyle are really finding their feet on the Upper East Side. Owen's secret is out and he and Kelsey can live happily ever after. Can't they? Avery is set to take her place as Queen Bee now she has an internship at Metropolitan magazine. If she could just sort out her love life... And Baby has finally realised that J.P. is just too, well, 'perfect' for her - she wants someone a bit more interesting and surprising. Maybe she needs to look a little further a field... Gossip Girl will keep you informed of all the juicy details - even the ones they don't want you to know!


Strange Angels
by Lili St. Crow
(For review. It looks amazing!)

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.) Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?


The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks (For review. Another vampire book! Woohoo!)

The trouble with being a vampire is... You can't get a decent haircut. You live on guinea-pig blood. And even worse, most of the world's population wants to kill you for no good reason. Nina Harrison became a vampire in 1973, when she was fifteen. Since then, life's been one big drag - mostly because she spends all her time with a bunch of vampires, in a vampire therapy group. Then one of them gets staked by an anonymous vampire slayer, and things become even worse: while tracking down the culprit, Nina and her fellow vampires end up in the middle of an illegal werewolf-fighting racket, and find themselves the target of some genuine villains who'll stop at nothing to get their werewolf back.


Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (Does this not sound pretty amazing?)

Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear--part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify--and he's always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm's mailroom in order to experience "the real world." There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it's a picture he finds in a file -- a picture of a girl with half a face -- that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.


Lost It by Kristen Tracy (More light YA. Nice sized book, too).

What would you do if your best friend were plotting the annihilation of a small, furry neighborhood poodle? Or if your parents up and moved to an Outward Bound-type survival camp in the middle of the desert? How about if your grandmother bought you new bras and underwear -- and you actually thought they were a teensy bit, umm, sexy? Most people would not react well. Tess Whistle's junior year of high school is off to a fairly bizarre start. One might even say her life is spiraling out of control. But with her sense of humor firmly intact and her first real boyfriend on her arm, Tess is dealing with the ridiculous twists quite well, thankyouverymuch. Just wait until her shoes explode.


by Kristin Cashore
(I bought the US edition, 'cause I'm buying the US version of Fire when it comes out - I love the cover, and my books have to match!)

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight--she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po's friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Jumping to Confusions by Liz Rettig

From Amazon: 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. Josh seems strangely uninterested in Tess, and 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...

This book is a fun, light read for fans of UK teen fiction. I got through it quickly, and really enjoyed the characters and story. Weight and appearance are things that a lot of teenagers worry about, and Liz Rettig realistically addresses both. Sometimes it doesn't matter if someone else if more popular or better looking than you: they still won't get the most popular boy in school.

I thought the story was a little bit predictable at times, though there were a couple of twists I definitely didn't see coming. Cat was a character I could easily identify with, but I'm not sure I would have handled things the same way she did. Luckily I never had to, which is somewhat of a relief!

Liz Rettig managed once again to capture the essence of a girl's teenage years, and all the confusing problems that inevitably accompany it. From gay best friends to a crush on a teacher, Jumping to Confusions has it all. Add to that the lovely shiny cover, and I'd say this is a summer read not to be missed.