Saturday, 31 October 2009

Hush, Hush Week: Guest Blog - Becca Fitzpatrick





Becca Fitzpatrick: author of Hush, Hush



Blending Myth with Reality


Like many little girls, I used to have nightmares about monsters. Not senseless monsters who wanted to devour me in three bites, but calculating monsters who wanted to steal me away from my home and family, and hold me hostage in their monsterish lairs, which were bleak and cold and impossible to escape. I'd wake from a nightmare to total blackness, my face mashed into my pillow, my ears alert, listening for the soft tread of feet making their way down the hall to my bedroom door. It was very easy to mistake the thrumming of my heart for the sound of a doorknob turning. As I lay paralyzed, my mind frantically assessed my next move. If I held still, would the monster not see me and leave? If I screamed, would he kill me before my parents could rush in and save me? If I hid in my closet, would something even worse be waiting inside?

One afternoon while walking home from school, I confessed my fears to my older sister. She carefully explained that if I would only tap my hand softly against my mattress the next time I woke from a nightmare, the monster would have to retreat. One step backward for every tap. I asked how she knew this secret. She told me it was in the dictionary, and I was free to look it up. And I just might have, if I'd known how to navigate a dictionary at the age of six.

That night (or one soon thereafter) I woke in the night, sprinkled in a cold sweat. My throat was dry, and I could feel my pulse clear up in my temples. A monster was in my bedroom. I could hear him approach. I could smell him approach. His breath fell on the back of my neck, and then –

Remembering my sister's words, I tapped my trembling hand against the mattress. I could feel the monster pull back. I tapped my hand again. And again. And a hundred times more, hoping if my eyelids betrayed me and shut against my will before sunrise, the monster would be ten hundred miles away.

For several more years, I thought I was in on the greatest kept secret of all time. More nights than I can remember, I lulled myself back to sleep by gently tapping my hand against the side of my mattress. This was the one myth of my childhood that outlasted even my belief in Santa Claus. The sinister creatures of my nightmares were real, so very real, and I needed something powerful – something preternaturally powerful – to combat them. Because as we all know, when trapped in a nightmare, nothing of this world will save you. Not a cry for help, not a weapon. In a nightmare, even the simple act of running away will turn your feet into immovable blocks of cement. Which is why we often turn to things out of the world to combat our greatest fears.

Enter myths.
Legends.
Phenomenons.

In HUSH, HUSH, Nora is beguiled away from her safe, normal world into a nightmarish land of suspicion, deception and self-doubt. She doesn't know who to trust. She isn't even sure she can trust herself. To make matters worse, she isn't sure where in the world – or out of the world – she's going to be taken from one page to the next. And despite a strong suspicion that Patch is up to no good, she believes he has the power to unlock the door back into her safe, ordinary world.

It's a well-known fact that we fear what we don't know. We're terrified of the things we can't explain. In HUSH, HUSH, it's no different for Nora. At one moment she feels an irresistible draw to Patch. At the next, she suspects he may be trying to end her life. The effect is the roller coaster of suspense: a ride of twists and turns, and blind descents. A ride that builds in momentum, never slowing until it spits you back on the platform, safe, but not altogether sound.
Even though we might not believe in the monsters of our nightmares, we understand the emotions they leave lingering in our hearts long after we wake: fear, helplessness, deception.

That's the power of myth.

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And that brings my Hush, Hush UK release celebration to a close! Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog this week - I've had so much fun!

Extra thanks go to Becca for putting up with months of my email preparation, and to Kat at S&S UK for the same... thanks, guys!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Hush, Hush Week: Publicity Event Report by Kat at S&S UK




A big thanks to Kat for the write up, and thanks to Liz for the picture of model Patch!

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I was so pleased when the lovely Jenny asked for me to recount a little bit of the marketing and publicity side of HUSH, HUSH as part of her blog! HUSH, HUSH is one of the most exciting books on our list this year, and from the moment it fell into our hands pre-publication, we all loved it – something so special deserved as much marketing and PR as we could give it. So we did teasers, postcards, press releases that came with red envelopes and feathers, limited edition proofs… the works. We told EVERYONE about this book, from bloggers to trade to tweeting incessantly, telling friends, the man sitting next to us on the bus, and yet we were sure we could still keep going…

The story I really want to talk about was how we managed to get HUSH, HUSH to the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, as part of Antony Gormley’s One And Other art project. For those who aren’t familiar, One And Other was a 100 day stint in which a person would stand for one hour on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, to be replaced by another, and another, twenty four hours a day. 2,400 people stood on that plinth between 6th July and 14th October. The rules? There really weren’t any – as long as there were no live animals, or prejudiced commentaries, the Plinth was a stage for human interest, ranging from civil protests to silent memorials to comedy routines, to just plain naked people.

The idea to take HUSH, HUSH onto the Fourth Plinth was borne many months before publication, and was really only a pipe dream. More than 35,000 people applied for an opportunity to stand on the Plinth. When it was suggested that we submit our own fallen angel Patch for the chance to win a spot, we were hesitant but determined - no matter how unlikely it was that we’d be in luck! We were just sharpening our pencils and stretching our typing fingers to fill out the forms, drawing hearts around Patch’s name, etc…

And suddenly, like a twist of very unlikely fate, our Editorial Assistant managed to bag a spot while we were still tapping in our postcode and agreeing to Terms & Conditions! She very kindly allowed us marketing girls to hijack her performance, and before she knew what was happening she was donning white angel wings and a loud speaker. There was also some eyeliner involved – but that was mostly for Patch.

Lydia took to the Plinth at 8pm on Tuesday, September 15th – six weeks before HUSH, HUSH was published - to read from the book to any keen listeners and viewers on the One And Other website (if you haven’t already, you can still see her reading here). We had an awesome banner, and a great book, and we were all set to go. Then the rain started.

A months’ worth of rain fell in that one night, starting fairly early and long before our spot, which led to obsessive checking of AcuWeather in the office. It was still raining hard by the time we got to the Plinth, and it lasted out the duration, soaking Lydia wet through and no doubt the lovely fans who turned up to listen to her read. Meanwhile, the marketing and publicity team (along with an array of the S&S Children’s Publishing team members) watched on in wonder at the bottom, with Patch alongside, before handing out 100 free copies of HUSH, HUSH to any passers by.

While the rain may have presented a bit of a curveball - we did it! Determined to spread the word about this fantastic book, we weren’t going to let a little (or a lot) of rainfall get between us and our venture. In fact, the storm-like rain only added to the atmosphere of the reading, and we were all pretty proud of having done a good night’s work. Patch posed for photos with some dedicated bloggers and fans, before drying off his angel wings and fixing his smudged eyeliner.

We loved getting a chance to do something this fun, and creative – it’s what marketing and PR is all about, and when you love a book as much as we love HUSH, HUSH, getting an opportunity to do something so unlikely is exciting.

HUSH, HUSH goes on sale in the UK today – we’re sure it’s going to make a big impact on the YA world and if you haven’t read it, make sure you do – it’s not to be missed. Just maybe not in the middle of a torrential downpour, as it turns out books and water don’t mix well. Trust us!

- Kat
(Marketing and Publicity Assistant, Simon & Schuster Children’s UK)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Hush, Hush Week: GIVEAWAY - Win 5 UK Copies of Hush, Hush! - CLOSED





Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK, I have five (5) shiny UK copies of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick to give away.

From Amazon: A sacred oath, a fallen angel, a forbidden love... Forced to sit next to Patch in science class, Nora attempts to resist his flirting, though gradually falls for him against her better judgment. Meanwhile creepy things are going on with a mysterious stalker following her car, breaking into her house and attacking her best friend, Vi. Nora suspects Patch, but there are other suspects too - not least a new boy who has transferred from a different college after being wrongly accused of murdering his girlfriend. And he seems to have taken a shine to Nora... Love certainly is dangerous... and someone is going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice for it.


Rules and info:

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.
  • Only one entry per person, please!
  • You don't have to follow my blog to enter.
  • Just leave a comment on this post, with a contact email address, and you'll be entered into the giveaway.
  • End date: Thursday November 12th.

Good luck! :)

Hush, Hush Week: US Vs. UK - Hush, Hush




US // UK

As part of my Hush, Hush week, this week's US Vs. UK post is a little bit different. There are pictures!...


Front cover:




My pick: US. The cover has a matte finish (Is that what I mean? I think it is.) and the image is easier to see. I do love the UK's shinyness, as well as the tagline ('A fallen angel... a forbidden love), but the US edition just looks slightly better.



Inside pages:




My pick: UK. They've gone for cool black feathered pages over here, and it looks amazing. Kudos to the design team: they've easily beaten the US on this one.



Back cover:




My pick: UK. It has feathers. And 'Falling for the fallen...'. I find the red on the US edition quite off-putting and, in my opinion, it doesn't fit with the grey background.



Spine:




My pick: Hmm.. I don't know. I like little Patch on the UK spine, but I also like the placing of Becca's name and the simplicity of the US one. This one's a tie -- I would happily look at either!

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What do you guys think? Which would you buy? And if you own both, which is your favourite?

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Hush, Hush Week: Author Interview - Becca Fitzpatrick



I'm really excited to have had the chance to ask this lovely lady some questions, and to get her thoughts on things. Thanks, Bec!

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Can you tell us a bit about your publication process?


I'll be honest – it was a long process. Whenever I read stories about authors who write their entire book and sell it all in the space of ten days, I want to cry. (Okay, truthfully, I want to pull out my voo-doo doll...) I started writing Hush, Hush in 2003. I wrote the first couple of chapters – basically where Patch and Nora (then named Ellie) meet up in bio class – and when I finished, I thought those couple of chapters were pretty decent. I thought it might be a good time to see if anyone wanted to publish the story. So I mailed out two queries to agents. Right away, both agents requested the full. Problem was, I didn't have a full manuscript. I spent the next week furiously writing another couple hundred pages, then shipped them off. Needless to say, both agents declined representation.

The next five years played out the same cycle of writing, submitting, receiving rejections and rewriting. For whatever reason, I refused to give up on the story. I kept at it, deleting and rewriting hundreds and hundreds of pages, until finally in September 2008, Simon & Schuster bought the book. After so many years of rejection, it was hard to believe it had finally happened. All I can say is, I will never underestimate the
value of perseverance again!

Where did the fallen angel idea come from?

When I started writing Hush, Hush, I knew I wanted Patch to be the ultimate bad boy...but with a twist. He hadn't always been bad. In fact, at one point, he'd been really good, and something had caused this big change. While pondering what had caused Patch's fall from grace, the metaphor of “falling” that I was carrying around in my head became something quite literal – a fallen angel. Since I already knew Patch was going to be the ultimate bad boy, this revelation seemed perfect – after all, fallen angels are the original bad boys.

Patch is like the perfect tall, dark and dangerous bad boy that girls inevitably love. Just how did you make him so alluring?

I may be getting on in years, but I haven't quite forgotten the kind of guy I would have secretly been madly in love – er, lust – with!

Are Nora and Vee based on any real-life friends of yours?

This past summer I went on vacation with my sisters and mom, who had just finished Hush, Hush for the first time. All of them commented on Vee, and how much she reminded them of two of my childhood friends. I hadn't made Vee so similar to these friends on purpose; I think when writers write from our hearts, these things are bound to happen. How can I write about characters I love, and not borrow from the people who taught me about love and friendship in the first place, you know?

I think everyone knows by now how much I love your book cover. Do you think it's made a difference to your book sales/publicity?

I really think it has. I'm not sure I could walk past Hush, Hush in the bookstore and not stop for a second look. The cover is absolutely stunning. It's perfect. All I can hope now is that the story between the covers lives up to the expectation!

So, Crescendo - can you tell us anything? Anything at all? Please?

For you, Jen, of course :). So...Crescendo. I'll come clean right now and say I think it's better than Hush, Hush. It's sexier and snappier. It's a little darker. Marcie Millar plays a bigger role in the plot. Another secondary character also returns, but I'm not going to say who just yet. Readers are going to find out what really happened the night Nora's dad was murdered...

What are some of your favourite YA books/authors?

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; Linda Gerber's Death By series, anything by Meg Cabot, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

Who would be your ideal guardian angel?

Oh man, I don't know! If I had to choose someone to guard my life, I'd probably choose a girl. Girls know what's up. And we have better instincts. But my husband wouldn't do a bad job, either ;).


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Related links:

* Becca Fitzpatrick: Official site, LJ blog
* Hush, Hush fansite: Fallen Archangel
* UK publisher's site: Simon & Schuster
* My review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
* My cover feature: Part One, Part Two

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Hush, Hush Week: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick



From Amazon: A sacred oath, a fallen angel, a forbidden love... Forced to sit next to Patch in science class, Nora attempts to resist his flirting, though gradually falls for him against her better judgment. Meanwhile creepy things are going on with a mysterious stalker following her car, breaking into her house and attacking her best friend, Vi. Nora suspects Patch, but there are other suspects too - not least a new boy who has transferred from a different college after being wrongly accused of murdering his girlfriend. And he seems to have taken a shine to Nora... Love certainly is dangerous... and someone is going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice for it.

I'll be honest here: I would have read this book even if it had turned out to be about bricklaying or quantum physics -- that's how much of an impact the cover had on me. When people say book covers can be works of art, they really aren't joking!

Hush, Hush is the first fallen angel book I've read, so I didn't know what to expect. What I didn't think I'd get was hot bad boy Patch, an intricately crafted plot and more angel mythology than I'd ever encountered before.

There's no doubt about it: Patch is alluring. He has that couldn't-care-less attitude, mysterious secrets and is clad in an all black attire. He's standard fare when it comes to the bad boys of the world, which is why I immediately knew he was my new favourite YA male. His relationship with Nora is frustrating at times, because he won't open up, she won't push him more, yet there's always a strong spark between them. If I was ever rooting for a couple to just hurry up and get together, it was these two. Nora herself is a strong character, with problems and hang-ups that every teenage girl will be familiar with. Best friend Vee is also an energetic addition to the story, and is a great contrast to Nora, who tends to be a little bit quiet and pre-occupied.

The story unfolds slowly, giving the reader plenty of time to form their own theories and opinions of what is actually going on. I was surprised, excited and shocked by many of the plot twists and turns and, as usual, I hardly saw any of them coming. Guessing what happens next isn't one of my strong points, so lucky for me I was in the dark for the majority of the book. By the end my head was spinning, and I just wanted to go back and read it all again, and take in every little detail and description I might have missed before.

Becca Fitzpatrick has created a dark, dangerous story, with a clever plot and fascinating characters. Her writing is addictive, and once you start, you can't stop. Patch will lure you into a world of angels that you won't want to leave, so be prepared. Teenagers with wings have never looked so good.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Hush, Hush Week at Wondrous Reads!



Hey guys!

It's Hush, Hush week on Wondrous Reads -- a week celebrating all things Patch (swoon), Nora and Becca Fitzpatrick.

From Tuesday - Saturday, lots of cool Hush, Hush stuff will be going on, including:

  • An interview with Becca herself
  • A special US Vs. UK picture post
  • An event report from the lovely Kat at Simon & Schuster UK
  • & a chance to win a copy (or two...) of this fantastic book.

So, thanks for reading, and hope to see some of you throughout the week! Thanks also to Thao for making the great banner above... very cool, eh? :)

Guest Blog: Linda Strachan


Linda Strachan: author of Spider


Exploring the Inner Darkness


Writing Spider was a bit of a challenge. Let’s face it I am not a boy,
never have been, and I’m certainly not 15! In fact that was part of the
challenge. I recall those teenage years with a certain amount of
discomfort and for a long time I resisted attempting to write anything
that meant I had to spend time reliving the angst, the pain and
embarrassment of being 15. Not that I had such a bad time, just that the
adult me squirms when I recall it.

I had been happily writing warm, cuddly and fun books for younger
children but the darker side must have been itching to come out. As with
most ideas it was a combination of things that led me to start exploring
the situation that led to Spider.

A newspaper report, one of these that appear all too frequently, about
several young people injured or killed in a car crash, where the driver
was just 17 - another article about kids stealing cars and ‘joyriding’
in city centres. I started to think about how easy it is to be so
excited and lost in the moment, having a wild time with your friends
until a split second when everything changes.

There is another thing that happens in the aftermath of any crash or
potentially life threatening incident, secrets often come out. Things
that have been held close and hidden often unravel and are exposed, but
not in the way we might have hoped.

These were the starting points. Deciding how to tell the story wasn’t
really a problem because I knew I wanted to tell each of the character’s
stories in their own voices and the voice in my head at first was
Spider. My main concern was whether I could tell it convincingly as a 15
year old boy. As a parent I am used to my kids telling me I don’t
understand, so could I get into Spider’s head and would he be
convincing? One of the most reassuring comments I had was from a boy who
read it before publication and without knowing who had written it, he
guessed it had a male author.

I had an amazing time doing research for the book. One Saturday I went
out with an ambulance crew as an observer on a night-shift, a truly
scary and at times grizzly experience, but the paramedics were great. I
also attended a training day at our local Fire Service training school
when they extracted victims (played by firemen) from crashed cars (I got
some great photos!) and I went to speak to a young lad who was attending
a project to help kids who had been joyriding or getting into trouble.
That really helped with getting inside Spider’s head. Spider’s
girlfriend, Deanna and his best friend, Andy, each had their own story
to tell and secrets to hide, and once I had established their characters
they all played off against each other.

Spider is a short book compared to some YA novels out today but I have
had a very positive reaction to that from the young people I have spoken
to and many of them, even the enthusiastic readers, had said that they
were keen to start a book that wasn’t too long. The less keen or less
able readers said they were more likely to read it all if it was shorter
and they found some longer books too just daunting to start at all. But
I never really thought about the length when I was writing. I firmly
believe each story has its own length and trying to make it any longer
would have meant filling it with padding and slowing the pace, which is
not something I wanted to do. Most of the action in Spider happens over
a very short period, just a few days and I didn’t want to let up on the
tempo.

So will I be writing this kind of thing again? Well, yes, I’ve just
finished my next novel, Dead Boy Talking, which is due out next spring
and is another story told over a short time span, about 36 hours from
start to finish. It is the story of Josh, counting down the 25 minutes
he has left to live. He has been left to die just hours after he stabbed
his own best friend. The dark side has emerged again.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

In My Mailbox #40: New Books This Week



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


Thanks to the UK postal strike, most of my Amazon books didn't arrive this week, though I did get some other great books. I'm really excited about my New Moon Collector's Edition and Twilight Journals, and just Twilight in general. Only 27 days to go!


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For review:






Asterix & Obelix's Birthday
by R. Goscinny & A. Uderzo
(I've never read any Asterix books before, but they look funny!)

A collection of 12 new stories - all linked by the theme of Asterix's anniversary celebration. The Adventures of Asterix
is a series of French comic strips. The series first appeared in French in the magazine Pilote on 29 October 1959.









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Jane Airhead
by Kay Woodward
(Enjoyed this one, review here).

What's not to love about Jane Eyre? Gothic and passionate, it features the ultimate male hero - Mr Rochester. And that gives Charlotte a top idea: she'll look for a new Mr Rochester for her lovely mum. So when Charlotte finds the ideal man, she can't believe her luck. He's dark, brooding and mysterious. He's PERFECT. But the real-life romantic hero also turns out to be sarcastic and rude. Does Charlotte really want her mum marrying him? Perhaps it would have been better if Mr Rochester had stayed between the covers of Charlotte's favourite novel...?






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Wake
by Lisa McMann
(I've loved this series for ages, and the UK cover is definitely growing on me. Review here).

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams at any given moment is getting tired. Especially the falling dreams, and the standing-in-front-of-the-class-naked ones. But then there are the nightmares, the ones that chill her to the bone...like the one where she is in a strange house...in a dirty kitchen...and a sinister monster that edges ever closer. This is the nightmare that she keeps falling into, the one where, for the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant...





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Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (Can't wait to read this, I love the cover!)

When Cassie was little her grandmother would tell her stories about the Arctic...stories about snow and ice, about a beautiful castle made of ice, and about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth to become a prisoner of the trolls. Cassie is older now and has no time for fairytales and talking animals, or lies about her dead mother. Living with her father at the Arctic research centre, she is determined to become a leading scientist and researcher. But when Cassie comes face to face with a mysterious polar bear, one that defies all scientific fact or knowledge, she begins realise that the fairytales could actually be true. Armed with the knowledge that her mother might be alive, Cassie makes a deal with the Polar Bear King, and embarks on a dangerous journey against time to save her. But her agreement with the Polar Bear King comes with consequences she never bargained for, and before her journey's end Cassie will discover the true meaning of love and family, and loss. A compelling romantic fantasy set in the beautiful frozen Arctic.



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The White Horse Trick
by Kate Thompson
(Sounds cool!)

It is the latter part of the 21st century, and dramatic climate change has made life in Ireland almost impossible. Meanwhile, Tir na n'Og is faced with a refugee problem, and the king of the fairies is not happy about it and when it is revealed that the warlord who is behind the problem is a member of the Liddy family, JJ is sent to sort him out...Following on from "The New Policeman" and "The Last of the High Kings", "The White Horse Trick" travels from the now to far distant futures: from world's end to world's beginning.




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Bought:

  • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (US edition - it's lovely!)


From work:



Happy reading, everyone!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Wake by Lisa McMann

From Amazon: For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams at any given moment is getting tired. Especially the falling dreams, and the standing-in-front-of-the-class-naked ones. But then there are the nightmares, the ones that chill her to the bone...like the one where she is in a strange house...in a dirty kitchen...and a sinister monster that edges ever closer. This is the nightmare that she keeps falling into, the one where, for the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant...

I first read Wake quite a while ago, but after being sent a new UK copy, I decided to re-read it and write a review. This series is one of my favourites (Fade review here), and I think Lisa McMann does a really good job of drawing the reader straight into the story.

Janie's gift is fascinating, and to be able to see what other people are dreaming about is both scary and interesting, taking voyeurism to a whole new level. Being a dreamcatcher has its pros and cons; the pros being the chance to help people and solve crimes, with the cons leaning more towards physical ailments and the loss of privacy. The sense that people's deepest, darkest secrets are hidden in their dreams is a constant problem for Janie, because how do you draw the line? How can she keep herself grounded? All are questions the reader is faced with, along with a couple of moral questions of our own.

Cabel is a fantastic male character, and compliments Janie's personality perfectly. He understand her, he helps her, and ultimately becomes her go-to person when she's in trouble. Their relationship progresses as any normal one should -- with a certain amount of trepidation and hesitation. These are characters that can't afford to slip up or make a wrong move: too much is at stake, and this definitely shows through in their attutudes towards each other.

Lisa McMann's writing is simple but stylish, and is the only time I've come across this particular prose. She brings something new to the YA table, and makes sure to target a wide audience by having her story include many different components. Romance, danger, and the difference between right and wrong are just a few of the elements waiting for you within the pages of Wake, and if you haven't yet read it, give it a go -- I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Friday, 23 October 2009

GIVEAWAY: Win 3 Copies of Spider by Linda Strachan!


Thanks to Strident Publishing, I have three (3) copies of Spider by Linda Strachan to give away (review here).

From Amazon: A hard-hitting, provocative novel about teenage love, loyalty and fast cars. Spider is on his last warning. If he's caught joyriding again he'll be sent down, no questions asked. He's trying to stick to the straight and narrow but his girlfriend Deanna and mate Andy reckon he should risk one last run.


Rules and info:

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.
  • Only one entry per person, please!
  • You don't have to follow my blog to enter.
  • Just leave a comment on this post, with a contact email address, and you'll be entered into the giveaway.
  • End date: Friday November 6th.

Good luck guys!

Jane Airhead by Kay Woodward

From Amazon: What's not to love about Jane Eyre? Gothic and passionate, it features the ultimate male hero - Mr Rochester. And that gives Charlotte a top idea: she'll look for a new Mr Rochester for her lovely mum. So when Charlotte finds the ideal man, she can't believe her luck. He's dark, brooding and mysterious. He's PERFECT. But the real-life romantic hero also turns out to be sarcastic and rude. Does Charlotte really want her mum marrying him? Perhaps it would have been better if Mr Rochester had stayed between the covers of Charlotte's favourite novel...?

Jane Airhead is a humorous look at teen life and relationships, as seen through the eyes of Jane Eyre enthusiast Charlotte. The use of Jane Eyre references is a great homage to Charlotte Brontë, and has now made me want to check out the book. As someone who doesn't do too well with classic literature, this is quite an achievement on Kay Woodward's behalf.

The characters throughout Jane Airhead are all thoroughly entertaining, with problems and disagreements that all teenagers and mothers and daughters face at one point or another. The male characters are realistic, especially Jack, a boy not sure how to show his emerging feelings for Charlotte. The fast paced plot made for a fun read, as did Charlotte's determination to find her mum her very own Mr. Rochester. Schemes like this never go according to plan, which is a lesson Charlotte soon learns when she confronts her mum about the mysterious new teacher Mr. Grant.

I love UK teen books -- they're always written in a certain style, and are usually lighthearted and funny. After reading so many books that focus on serious topics, it's a nice change to pick up a story with no major drama, and this is why I enjoyed Jane Airhead so much. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more novels by Kay Woodward, and until then, I'm going to get over my fear of the classics and dig out a copy of Jane Eyre.


Thursday, 22 October 2009

US Vs. UK: The Vampire Diaries Vol. 1

US // UK

I didn't have to think for long about which cover I prefer out of these two -- the US wins. I like the paleness of the model, and the blood. The UK cover looks far too much like the Twilight cover, and I just don't think it works. I also don't like the simple title font, or the dripping red from the apple. What do you think?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Waiting On Wednesday: The Long Way Home

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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The Long Way Home (Homelander) by Andrew Klavan

* Published by: Thomas Nelson (US), Headline (UK)
* Format: Hardcover (US), Paperback (UK)
* Release Date:
February 2nd, 2010 (US), January 7th, 2010 (UK)
* On Amazon: here.

From Amazon:
Charlie's world has become a nightmare... Unable to remember the last year of his life Charlie is faced with the horror of being accused of murdering his best friend and being involved in a terrorist plot. Now he must dodge both the cops and a terrorist organisation to make his way home and clear his name...

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so I can't wait for this one. It reminded me of 24, which is one of my favourite TV shows. The action was non-stop, and it was a great change from the usual stuff I read.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Off Topic: Twilight Convention #2 - Pics

I went to the Eternal Twilight 2: New Moon Rising UK convention over the weekend (Friday - Monday), which was in Northampton. The guests there were: Rachelle Lefevre (Victoria), Edi Gathegi (Laurent), Chaske Spencer (Sam Uley), Tyson Houseman (Quil Ateara) and Gil Birmingham (Billy Black).

Everyone was really nice, and I enjoyed meeting all of the actors. It was also great to hang out with friends that I met last time, and some new people that I met at this one. Over the weekend, there were autograph signings, photo shoots, guest talks and parties. Saturday's party was a Volturi Masquerade Ball, which was amazing. I didn't dress up, but there were some brilliant costumes.

The guest talks were all interesting and hilarious (especially the wolf panel - Chaske, Tyson and Gil). Edi Gathegi has to be one of the funniest men alive, and his girl voice had the whole room in stitches. Rachelle was lovely, and really nice to talk to, she was my favourite guest. Chaske has fantastic taste in music, I got to talk to him about White Lies at Saturday's party, when he came and sat with us at our table. Turns out he's seen them live too, which I thought was pretty cool. I was excited to meet Gil because he's also been in a Buffy episode ('Inca Mummy Girl', from Season 2), and he was surprised that Buffy was still popular over here. I told him it was the best thing ever, which it is. :) Tyson was also very funny and cute, and we almost had matching glasses, as many people pointed out.

One particular story from a guest talk that made me laugh was when they were asked about New Moon bloopers. Chaske told us about Taylor Lautner (Jacob) doing his dreamy teen heartthrob "Hi Bella" look/line, and walked smack into a glass door. Poor Taylor!

Anyway, if I don't be quiet now, I'll carry on for a long time, so... onto the pictures! (Click to enlarge).
















You can see more of my pictures of the guests here. I can't wait for the next one... only four months to go! :)