Friday, 31 July 2009

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

From Amazon: When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn’t so friendly anymore. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

I absolutely love this book, D.J. Schwenk and Red Bend, Wisconsin. Catherine Gilbert Murdock has taken your average, run-of-the-mill farming family, and has transformed them into compelling individuals that come alive on the page.

D.J. herself is tough, awkward, determined - everything you'd expect from a high school farm girl. Her friendship with rival jock Brian is real and sweet, and their relationship develops very naturally. I was rooting for them like I would a football team, and even though Brian can be a bit of an idiot, he suits D.J. perfectly. The whole Schwenk family is just brilliant, and I enjoyed getting to know every last one of them.

American football has a huge role in Dairy Queen, and without my trusty Friday Night Lights knowledge, I think I would have been completely lost. We don't play this sport here in the UK, so it's a bit more difficult to follow, though not impossible. D.J. has a rappore and ease with the all-male football team, and it's largely due to her brothers that played before her. Her sheer will to fit in and play is a joy to read, with her success expected and deserving. Dairy Queen is a fantastically fascinating read, with a whole host of loveable characters and lives for you to immerse yourself in. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

US Vs. UK: Kissed by an Angel Covers

US // UK

I know everyone is probably fed up of seeing black covers with a flower on them, but these two do it very well. I like both, but I LOVE the UK one! The colours and the image itself is lovely, and really stands out to the reader. I also prefer the font, and the placing of the author's name.

I also like how the falling petals are mixed with feathers. Clever, no?

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson & Ned Rust

From Amazon: Daniel X has his work cut out for him. A teenage alien hunter, he has a deadly list of evil predators to eliminate and while he's made it all look easy so far, much darker days await him. Next on his list is Number Five, an unsightly and terrifying alien who is watching Daniel as intently as Daniel has been tracking him. Number Five kills for thrills but not just for his own. Will Daniel X live to see who is next on his list?

I enjoy these books for what they are: fast paced, easy to read stories about an alien hunter and his friends. The writing style or plot is never going to be awarded as a great literary accomplishment, but they're good for a couple of hours entertainment.

In this second installment, Dan X has to track down Number Five - an alien determined to get rid of him. With the help of his imaginary friends (bit strange, I know), Dan tries to stop the alien from killing him and broadcasting it live on TV. The plot is good enough, but I would have liked it to have had a bit more depth, like the Maximum Ride series. I like the way Dan talks to the reader, as if he's addressing them personally, because it makes it almost like a diary entry. I also like the descriptions of disgusting alien lifeforms - James Patterson certainly has a good imagination for that kind of stuff.

The cover of Watch the Skies is really nice, and is one of the best artwork covers I've seen for a while. It captures the action of the book, and succeeds in catching the reader's eye. Overall, this book was a fun read, and I'll definitely be back for book three. I just can't resist!

Waiting On Wednesday: Intertwined

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Intertwined by Gina Showalter

* Published by: Harlequin Teen
* Format: Hardcover
* Release Date:
September 1st, 2009 (US)
* On Amazon: here.

From Amazon:
Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him: One can time-travel. One can raise the dead. One can tell the future. And one can possess another human. With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends. But now they're causing him all kinds of trouble. Like, he'll blink and suddenly he's a younger Aden, reliving the past. One wrong move, and he'll change the future. Or he'll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she's going to die. He's so over it. All he wants is peace. And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices. Well, as long as he's near her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He's a loner; she has friends. He doesn't care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she repels it. For her sake, he should stay away. But it's too late.... Somehow, they share an inexplicable bond of friendship. A bond about to be tested by a werewolf shape-shifter who wants Mary Ann for his own, and a vampire princess Aden can't resist. Two romances, both forbidden. Still, the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger but not everyone will come out alive....

I think this sounds really interesting and different. Four human souls living inside someone?! Could it sound any cooler?

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

News: More US Books in the UK

Good news for UK readers: two more US books are getting UK releases!

Macmillan are publishing Alyson Noel's Evermore on October 2nd, 2009, and Hodder are publishing Malinda Lo's Ash on March 4th, 2010. I'm loving both UK covers for these, especially Ash's colours and Evermore's title font. Yay for UK publishers!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Lucy Zeezou's Goal by Liz Deep-Jones

From Amazon: Lucy's family is famous for two things in Italy: soccer and fashion. Her pushy mother wants her to model for the family's fashion label. Even worse, Lucy's father—captain of Milan’s premier soccer team—agrees. But Lucy has been leading a double life, playing soccer on the side when she isn’t modeling. When she and her mother move from Milan to Sydney to be closer to her grandparents, Lucy has the chance to come clean about who she really is and what she really wants to do with her life.

Lucy Zeezou's Goal
is a fun story about passion, determination and family. It shows that girls can play football (soccer) too, and that following your dream is possible.

Lucy is a headstrong character who doesn't let gender stereotypes stand in her way. If she wants to do something, she does it, regardless of whether it's expected or not. I really liked this about her, along with her family loyalty. Family really is the most important thing in life, and it's great to see a young character relying so heavily on that bond.

I also liked the subject of football and sport, as it's not something I come across very often. There was a lot of sports terminology throughout the book which, luckily, I could understand, because I like football myself. Famous players are referred to, such as Kaka and Beckham, which helped add realism to the story. A few of the plot twists seemed a bit far-fetched, though maybe real football coaches do actually go through simlar experiences. If they do, and if that's what being in the football spotlight brings with it, then I'm glad I'll never have to be put in that position.

The writing style is quite simple and to the point, which is exactly as it should be for the novel's desired market of 8-14 year olds. I think girls (and probably boys, too) of this age would really relate to the characters and situations, and it might even give younger aspiring footballers the motivation to carry on. For fans of football and stories of growing up and holding your own, Lucy Zeezou's Goal is sure to be a hit with its target audience.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

In My Mailbox #27: New Books This Week

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

Not too many this week, though they all look great!


Coffeehouse Angel
by Suzanne Selfors
(Really looking forward to reading this!)

From the author of Saving Juliet comes a romantic comedy that is good to the last drop. When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down. Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be . . .


The Roman Mysteries: The Sirens of Surrentum
by Caroline Lawrence
(For review. Thanks, Caroline!)

Summer AD 80. Flavia and her friends receive an invitation to stay at the luxurious Villa Limona in Surrentum, where their friend Pulchra has a mystery she desperately wants them to solve. After a year of hardship and disasters, people are in cheerful spirits - there is even talk of love and romance. But it seems one of the guests has murder in mind. Can Flavia and her friends track down the would-be poisoner before it's too late?


Undercover by Beth Kephart (After reading Steph's review of this, I had to get it!)

Like a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, Elisa ghostwrites love notes for the boys in her school. But when Elisa falls for Theo Moses, things change fast. Theo asks for verses to court the lovely Lila—a girl known for her beauty, her popularity, and a cutting ability to remind Elisa that she has none of these. At home, Elisa's father, the one person she feels understands her, has left on an extended business trip. As the days grow shorter, Elisa worries that the increasingly urgent letters she sends her father won't bring him home. Like the undercover agent she feels she has become, Elisa retreats to a pond in the woods, where her talent for ice-skating gives her the confidence to come out from under cover and take center stage. But when Lila becomes jealous of Theo's friendship with Elisa, her revenge nearly destroys Elisa's ice-skating dreams and her plan to reunite her family.


The Eternal Kiss
by Various Authors
(For review. Finished copy. I love this book! (review coming soon) )

There’s an allure to vampire tales that have seduced readers for generations. From Bram Stoker to Stephanie Meyer and beyond, vampire stories are here to stay. For those fresh-blooded fans of paranormal romance or for those whose hunt and hunger never dies, these stories have what readers want!

Featuring stories by: Holly Black, Libba Bray, Melissa De La Cruz, Cassandra Clare, Rachel Caine, Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie, Cecil Castellucci, Kelley Armstrong, Maria V. Snyder, Sarah Rees Brennan, Lili St. Crow, Karen Mahoney and Dina James.


I also got some Thornthwaite Inheritance postcards, signed by author Gareth P. Jones. Thanks to Liz for these!

Hope everyone had a great week!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Vampire Academy Giveaway: Winners!

Seeing as there were two groups of entries for this giveaway (UK & International), I chose the winners a bit differently. I put everyone's name in a hat, and my Mum picked the winners! (Cheers Mum!)

So, the two winners of Vampire Academy are:

Euro Crime (UK)
Linna (International)

Thanks to everyone who entered, and to Puffin UK for the books! I'll have another pretty cool contest soon, which is quite fire themed! ;) (and yes, it's a book!)

Friday, 24 July 2009

An Interview with Me at Sarah Ockler's Blog

The super cool Sarah Ockler has featured an interview with me as part of her fLiP iT fRiDaY blog feature. I'm not the most interesting person to read about, but I thought it was cool all the same :)

Head here to read it, or to just visit Sarah's brilliant blog!

Young, Loaded & Fabulous: Secrets & Liars by Kate Kingsley

From Amazon: Love is in the air at St Cecilia's: Alice Rochester has a new man in her life, much to her ex Tristan's dismay, Tally Abbott and hot new teacher Mr Logan's secret tutorials are getting cosier and new girl Dylan Taylor is being well and truly romanced by Jasper. But when the crew all head over to Rome for Alice's cousin's lavish engagement party hosted by Italian Vogue tensions are high. Will it all end happily ever after?

Secrets & Liars is the second book in the brilliantly addictive Young, Loaded & Fabulous series. It's scandalous, shocking, and exactly how I'd imagine a UK-based Gossip Girl.

Alice, Tally and T are back for another term at St. Cecilia's boarding school, where nothing ever goes according to plan. Alice is still getting over T, while Tally is treading on dangerous ground with a teacher. Add to that trips to Ireland and Rome, and things really heat up for London's favourite spoilt rich girls.

I love books centred around gossip and intrigue, so I was really excited to read this. Although the characters are an exaggeration of today's teenagers (as far as my personal experiences are concerned), I still can't help liking them. They're self centred and bitchy, but strongly committed to their relationships with each other -- whether it be romantically or otherwise. I like Kate Kingsley's easy writing style, and her knack for capturing the dramas and dilemmas of teen years.

A highly recommended series for fans of Cecily von Ziegesar, Kate Brian and Lisi Harrison, YLF is outrageous and oh-so-good. I can't wait for the next book!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

US Vs. UK: The Knife of Never Letting Go Covers

US // UK

Two answers this week: If I was going off the cover image, I'd choose US - I love the colours and the people running. But if I was choosing based on book presentation, I'd go with the UK. The UK hardcover (pictured) has an acetate cover, which is where all the writing is. It looks so cool, and is a great effect!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Waiting On Wednesday: Meridian

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Meridian by Amber Kizer

* Published by: Delacorte Books
* Format: Hardcover
* Release Date:
August 11th, 2009 (US)
* On Amazon: here.

From Amazon: Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain. Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

I'm really into angels at the moment! Seriously, give me more angel books! (please!) With Hush, Hush and Fallen coming out later in the year, I'm glad there's another book to keep me going until then. And look at the pretty cover!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

From Amazon: 1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, except for the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling through a weak spot on the ice-covered lake. Then comes a knock at the door. It's a man, the flash of a revolver's butt at his hip, and a mean glare in his eyes. Sig has never seen him before but Wolff claims to have unfinished business with his father...

Revolver is fascinating, original and very hard to put down. It tells the story of a boy, a gun and a day when everything is forever changed.

Fifteen-year-old Sig and father Einar are the main protagonists, with Einar's story taking place in 1899/1900, and Sig's in 1910. I really enjoyed the journey of both characters, and couldn't wait to see how it all played out. Wolff is a horrible man whose mind is clouded by greed and revenge, and who can't see past his own obsessions. The fear he instills in Sig and his sister Anna resonates through every page, and I was surprised at how brave and resilient Sig turns out to be. He thinks only of his family, and is willing to do anything to protect them.

The lengths people will go to for money, or in this case, gold, astound me. Is wealth really worth dying over? This is a question Sig is faced with, and it brings with it a decision that could ruin his life, and the lives of those around him. I loved the conclusion to Sig's story, and think he ultimately made the right decision. The choice of whether to use a revolver or not isn't something that should be taken lightly, and I'm glad it was met with some trepidation.

Brilliantly written characters, vivid locations and a deep and powerful story make Revolver a book not to be missed. It might be a quick read, but it's one that you won't forget in a hurry, and it's one that I'll be revisiting in the future. Highly recommended.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Lottie Biggs is (not) Mad by Hayley Long

From Amazon: My name is Lottie Biggs and in three weeks time, I will be fifteen years old. My current hair colour is Melody Deep Plum which is not as nice as Melody Forest Flame but definitely better than the dodgy custard color I tried last week... And this is my book - it's about important things like boys and shoes and polo-neck knickers and rescuing giraffes and not fancying Gareth Stingecombe (even though he has manly thighs) and hanging-out with your best friend having a blatantly funny time. It is definitely not about sitting in wardrobes or having a mental disturbance of any kind!

I expected Lottie Biggs to be light, funny and written in a similar style to Louise Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series. What I didn't expect was for it to explore some serious topics that are often overlooked.

The humour and characters were my favourite aspects of the book, and I especially liked Lottie's best friend Goose. There was an eclectic mix of strange, quirky personalities, and each one brought something important to Lottie's story. Lottie herself was a typical teenager: mad about boys, looks and social status. I liked the realism that Hayley Long included, and think that, for the most part, she got the teen voice just right.

I liked the use of drawings, diagrams and footnotes, as they made Lottie easier to identify with. It was also a great way to get to know her, and to find out how her mind worked. Some of the drawings were hilarious, and had me in stitches. I hope this style of writing makes a reappearance in the sequel next year! My problem with Lottie Biggs was the sudden and unexpected change in tone. One minute it was a lighthearted, comical look at a girl's life, and the next it was delving into the topic of mental health. I personally wasn't fond of the sudden plot change, though I do see the reasoning behind it, and think it was a brave move to make.

Overall, I enjoyed Lottie Biggs, and I will definitely be reading the sequel. If you like your teen comedy with a more serious side, then this would be the ideal book to read!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

In My Mailbox #26: New Books This Week

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

This is my second favourite book week of 2009, because I got a copy of Hush, Hush. All I'll say is it's AMAZING, and I can't wait 'til it's officially released. So, a HUGE thanks to S&S UK. I don't think I've ever been so excited to open my mail!


Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (For review. UK proof/ARC. It came with a promo postcard thing, and a black feather. SO COOL! Oh, and I'm totally in love with Patch!)

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment. But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.


Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R. J. Anderson (I've read good reviews, so I hope I like it!)

Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake. Only one young faery—Knife—is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything—not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the fascinating humans living nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she realizes. Can Knife trust Paul to help, or has she brought the faeries even closer to the brink of destruction?


Young, Loaded & Fabulous: Secrets & Liars
by Kate Kingsley
(For review. Really enjoyed the first book, so looking forward to this!)

Addictive, scandalous and glamourous new fiction series for sophisticated teens. Love is in the air at St Cecilia's: Alice Rochester has a new man in her life, much to her ex Tristan's dismay, Tally Abbott and hot new teacher Mr Logan's secret tutorials are getting cosier and new girl Dylan Taylor is being well and truly romanced by Jasper. But when the crew all head over to Rome for Alice's cousin's lavish engagement party hosted by Italian Vogue tensions are high. Will it all end happily ever after?


The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams (I love the cover of this!)

For the past nine years, Helena Waite has been returning to summer camp at Southpoint. Every year the camp and its familiar routines, landmarks, and people have welcomed her back like a long-lost family member. But this year she is returning not as a camper, but as a counselor, while her best friend, Katie Bell remains behind. All too quickly, Helena discovers that the innocent world of campfires, singalongs, and field days have been pushed aside for late night pranks on the boys' camp, skinny dipping in the lake, and stolen kisses in the hayloft. As she struggles to define herself in this new world, Helena begins to lose sight of what made camp special and the friendships that have sustained her for so many years. And when Ransome, her longtime crush, becomes a romantic reality, life gets even more confusing.


Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick (For review. I finished it yesterday and loved it!)

1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, except for the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling through a weak spot on the ice-covered lake. His sister, Anna, and step-mother, Nadya, have gone to the local town for help. Then comes a knock at the door. It's a man, the flash of a revolver's butt at his hip, and a mean glare in his eyes. Sig has never seen him before but Wolff claims to have unfinished business with his father. As Sig gradually learns the awful truth about Wolff's connection to his father, Sig finds his thoughts drawn to a certain box hidden on a shelf in the storeroom, in which lies his father's prized possession - a revolver. When Anna returns alone, and Wolff begins to close in, Sigs choice is pulled into sharp focus. Should he use the gun, or not?


The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (I'm sure I'll love Dairy Queen, so I bought this one while Amazon still had it in stock).

*Dairy Queen spoilers*

Life is looking up for D. J. Schwenk, star of Dairy Queen. She?s made it to eleventh grade, she?s reconnecting with her best friend, and she?s got a thing going with Brian Nelson. But best of all, she?s playing for the Red Bend High School football team?as the first female linebacker in northern Wisconsin.
But then the season goes suddenly, horribly wrong: her brother Win is put into the hospital after getting a devastating injury during a game. Once again, D.J. is forced to step up and be there for her family. It?s a heavy burden, even for D.J.?s strong shoulders. She?ll have to dig deeper than she?s ever had to before.


Viola in Reel Life
by Adriana Trigiani (For review. US ARC. This sounds great!)

When fourteen-year-old Viola is sent from her beloved Brooklyn to boarding school in Indiana for ninth grade, she overcomes her initial reservations as she makes friends with her roommates, goes on a real date, and uses the unsettling ghost she keeps seeing as the subject of a short film—her first.


Ember Fury
by Cathy Brett
(For review. Finished copy - it's lovely!)

Pyromania: A mental derangement, excitement or excessive enthusiasm for fire.
Having celebrity parents isn’t as hot as it sounds. Yes, there’s money to burn, fame and some totally smoking guys...But when your dad’s more interested in blazing a trail to the top of the charts than why you got kicked out of school, again, it can make you seriously angry. And if there’s one thing Ember knows, it’s that the smallest spark of anger can ignite a whole heap of trouble...

Friday, 17 July 2009

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee

From Amazon: At a young age, Mary is rescued from the gallows by a woman masquerading as a prison warden. She is taken to Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. The school, Mary learns, is a front for a private investigation agency and, at 17, she is taken on as an agent. In her new role she is catapulted into the family home of the Thorolds to investigate the shady business dealings of Mr Thorold.

Set in Victorian England, A Spy in the House is a great start to what promises to be a trilogy that gets better with every book.

Main characters Mary, James and Angelica are intriguing, and possessed more dimensions than I originally assumed they would. Mary is a strong, level headed girl that knew what she wanted and wasn't afraid to go after it. By working for the Agency, she put her intuitive, no-nonsense personality to good use, and uncovered important secrets and lies. I hated Mary's charge, Angelica, at first, but once I understood her circumstance and motives for her behaviour, I changed my mind. James was a clear winner from the start, with his loyalty to Mary being my favourite of his many qualities.

I really liked the Victorian setting, and the descriptions of that period in history. Ying Lee must have spent a lot of time and effort researching early 1800's England, and her attention to detail definitely shows through. I occasionally thought the plot was a bit slow, but that could be because I'm used to fast-paced stories and quippy dialogue. By the time I reached the end of Mary's story, I was entertained, surprised, and looking forward to the second book in the series. An original debut.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Book Cover Feature: Hush, Hush - Becca's Journal Entries

As the final part of my Hush, Hush cover feature, author Becca Fitzpatrick sent me some entries from her journal, which chronicles her whole cover journey, right up to the day she was allowed to show it to the world. Over to Becca...


Cover Feature: Hush, Hush - Becca's Journal Entries

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Cover photographer: James Porto
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Release dates: October 13th (US), October 29th (UK)

In case you're curious to see how everything played out, I'll share
some excerpts from the journal I've been keeping along the way.

April 2, 2009

My editor emailed to say she'll be sharing cover concepts with me as
soon as they come in! I have no idea what to expect. She said they
scout out potential photographers who pitch Simon & Schuster ideas and
comps, and then Simon & Schuster picks from the photographers who they
want. They picked a photographer named James Porto because he had
some really cool ideas. Fingers crossed...

April 8, 2009

Got an email from my editor this morning – attached with it were cover
models. As in, I'm going to get to choose the models for the cover
photo shoot!!! I can't believe they're asking for my opinion in
“casting” Patch and Nora. Trying not to freak out over here! It took
me all of two seconds to pick the model for Patch. It was the
weirdest thing – I knew it was him at first glance. I mean, the model
was Patch. Now I'm wondering what they're going to have Patch and
Nora doing? Just between us, I'm not a big fan of models just
standing around looking broodyish on covers. Hopefully they put a
really cool twist on mine.

April 21, 2009

More cover news – James read Hush, Hush! He had this to say about it,
"I read the manuscript for
Hush, Hush to prepare for the assignment,
starting on a rainy Sunday morning. I stopped for lunch but found I
couldn't wait to go back to reading it as soon as possible as I was
completely hooked by the story and the characters. I couldn't do
anything else until I finished reading it."

Me again. I read somewhere online that photographers rarely have time
to read the book before designing the cover art, so I went into this
just hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. All this time I've
been telling myself to be open-minded. That has all changed now that
I know he's read the manuscript. I have this feeling he's going to
nail it. It's going to rock – I just know it.

April 21, 2009.

Another email from my editor. The subject is titled, “Sketches.” I'm
too nervous to open it. What if I hate the cover? Whatever happens,
I'm not going to cry. I'm going to be open-minded about this. Here
goes nothing...

Just saw the photos!! Here is my response to my editor:

I am in LOVE!!!!!! My heart seriously flipped about ten times when I
saw the pictures. They are fabulous. I'm not sure I'm even going to
be coherent here because I'm on such a high - they are even better
than I imagined! Are they going to be in black and white? Because,
honestly, I almost think they're better in b&w. There's so much
atmosphere...and romance. And Patch? In that last picture? I
got the chills. He looks SO MUCH like I'm imagining. And here's
another thing. I always imagined Patch with black wings...and his wings are black! I
think James read my mind!

April 23, 2009

Everything is happening so fast. I got a revised version of the cover
in my email this morning. They chose the picture where Patch is
falling and his wings are shredding away. It is one of the most
arresting covers I have ever seen. I can not describe how completely
fulfilled I feel right now. In the email, James said he's going to
make a few more changes, but honestly? Even if he didn't, it would be
perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better cover. I'm so HAPPY!!!

P.S. I love Patch's black jeans!

May 11, 2009

Okay, first of all, my life is too exciting right now. First, I saw
the approved comp today. I AM IN LOVE WITH THE FONT! Just wanted to
make sure the whole world heard me say that, haha! No, really. The
cover is perfect. I can't wait to show everyone. There's going to be
a whole lot of screaming!

May 21, 2009

I have permission to show my cover. Going live, right now....

US Vs. UK: Faery Rebels/Knife Covers

US // UK

Yep... same book, different title! (Oh, and while I'm comparing things, I prefer the UK title of Knife). As for the covers, I'm not really drawn to one in particular. I think they both look like they're aimed at younger readers, although both have very cool artwork.

If I had to choose, I'd probably go for the UK one, because it's shiny and foiled. I've never seen the US one - does that have the same effect?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Girls to Total Goddesses by Sue Limb

From Amazon: Zoe and Chloe have a mission: to transform themselves into goddesses in seven days. But who for? Zoe has a dilemma. Having hated the horrible Beast for making Chloe's life a misery, Zoe has now realised that all was not as it seemed. When Beast came to both their rescue, Zoe's heart was completely overturned. But Zoe has told him she never wants to see him again. And how can she get him back without upsetting Chloe?

This book is absolutely hilarious. I haven't laughed so much since I first read Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, which was quite a few years ago now. Sue Limb's humour is delightfully British, and she depicts teen life and all its embarrassments perfectly.

Zoe and Chloe have their fair share of boy problems, body worries and i-wish-i-could-sink-into-a-hole moments, but they make it through all of these reasonably unscathed. With the help of friends, sisters and rock stars, everything works out in the end, and their fake moustaches live to tickle another day.

If you want a book to cheer you up, or one to just make you laugh uncontrollably, then I'd highly recommend Girls to Total Goddesses. Sue Limb is a comic genius and, joining Louise Rennison and Liz Rettig, is another contender for funniest author ever. A thoroughly entertaining read!

Waiting On Wednesday: The Medusa Project - The Hostage

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.


The Medusa Project: The Hostage by Sophie McKenzie (sequel to The Set-up)

* Published by: Simon & Schuster UK
* Format: Paperback
* Release Date:
January 7th, 2010 (UK)
* On Amazon: here.

From the publisher's site: Fourteen years ago, four babies were implanted with the Medusa gene - a gene for psychic abilities. Now teenagers, Nico, Ketty, Ed and Dylan have been brought together by government agents to create a secret crime-fighting force - The Medusa Project.

I enjoyed the first book in this series (review coming soon), and am looking forward to this one. Each book is from a different character's POV, which is cool. And I really like the cover designs!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Book Cover Feature: Hush, Hush - With Becca Fitzpatrick & James Porto

As soon as I saw the cover for Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush, my jaw just about dropped to the floor. I've personally never seen such an amazing image, least of all on the cover of a book. I liked it so much that I decided to ask Becca, and the man behind the photograph, James Porto, for their thoughts on the cover. Thanks to both Bec and James for taking the time to do this!


Cover Feature: Hush, Hush

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Cover photographer: James Porto
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Release dates: October 13th (US), October 29th (UK)

Becca's Thoughts on the Cover:

There's a scene relatively early on in Hush, Hush where Patch dares
Nora to ride a roller coaster named The Archangel with him. Nora's
terrified of heights, but she accepts his dare because she's not about
to let him think she's intimidated or frightened by him. During the
ride, Nora's seatbelt comes undone and she flies out of the car,
falling, falling...

When I envisioned Hush, Hush's cover, I always came back to this
scene. It's a big scene in the book, not only because Nora is falling
to her death, but because it's also on this night that she falls for
Patch. When my editor asked for my thoughts on the cover during its
early development, I relayed to her the picture in my head – a black
sky with the lights of Delphic making silhouettes of ferris wheels and
roller coasters, and in the middle of it all, Nora's falling body. I
couldn't get away from the image of falling, since it plays such an
important role in the story, both literally and figuratively.

Since Nora is the main character and narrator of Hush, Hush, it never
occurred to me to tell Patch's story on the cover, and it wasn't until
after I'd seen James's early photos of the cover that I realized how
perfect the picture of Patch falling is. After all, it's that moment
– the moment Patch falls from grace – that sets in motion every other
event in the book, including the reason Nora and Patch's lives are
drawn irrevocably and dangerously together. Of course, if you want to
know the rest, you'll have to read the book!

For more Hush, Hush info, visit

James's Inspiration Behind the Image:

Simon and Schuster asked me to make a photo illustration for the cover
of a 'supernatural teen love story'. This immediately got my attention
as I have an interest in bringing to life mythical characters and am a
sucker for teen romance. Reading the manuscript evoked dark haunting
images around the character of Patch, a fallen angel, and I began to
imagine a brooding black and white image of the moment when he is
thrust from heaven, his wings shredding on the way down. The sketch
below shows the initial idea which was submitted along with others. I
wanted the lighting, tonality, and mood to be dramatic, mysterious,
intense and above all, passionate! It was a great assignment.

For more info on James's work, visit


*Check back on Thursday night for some extracts from Becca's journal, chronicling the journey of her book cover, from concept to revelation.*

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Kiss of Death by Marcus Sedgwick

From Amazon: Marko and Sorrel meet in Venice for the first time. They must uncover the mystery of what has happened both to Sorrel's father, plagued by a strange madness that prevents him from sleeping, and to Marko's father, a doctor, who has mysteriously gone missing after travelling to Venice to help his old friend. Peter is still on the trail of the Shadow Queen. His search leads him to Venice, a city whose beauty disguises many ugly secrets. The Shadow Queen is there, gathering strength, recruiting a new army of the Undead for a final confrontation.

The Kiss of Death
is a vampire story with a difference. It's atmospheric and compelling, and combines an excellent writing style with an original plot.

Main characters Marko and Sorrel are well written, and are realistic and brave. The lengths they go to to find their missing fathers is admirable, and the dangers they face never slow them down. It's family loyalty at its best, and their unwavering love for their fathers is exactly how it should be.

The richly detailed Venice backdrop is unusual and brilliantly described, and I found it very easy to imagine the setting. From the buildings to the boats to the water, nothing is ignored. I especially liked the inclusion of a fairytale, and the extracts at the end of each part added an extra touch to the story. It was great to see a couple of familiar characters return, and for their journeys to be resolved.

The Kiss of Death
is well worth a read, either as a standalone novel, or as a companion to My Swordhand is Singing. Marcus Sedgwick is one of the UK's best, and deserves more recognition than he gets!