Monday, 31 May 2010

GIVEAWAY: Win The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson + Other Goodies! (UK only) - CLOSED


Thanks to Walker Books UK, I have a very cool The Sky is Everywhere giveaway today. To celebrate the release of this beautiful book, I have one (1) prize pack up for grabs, which includes the following:
  • A finished UK copy of The Sky is Everywhere (read summary here).
  • A Sky is Everywhere t-shirt
  • A pack of Sky is Everywhere post-it notes


Rules & info:
  • Open to UK residents only.
  • End date: June 10th, 2010.
  • One entry per person.
  • You don't have to follow my blog to enter.

Fill in the form below to enter, and don't forget to check out my exclusive extract from the book. Good luck!


Blog Tour: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson - Exclusive Extract & Poem


It's a bit of a Jandy Nelson day here on Wondrous Reads: I'm one of the stops on Walker Books' The Sky is Everywhere blog tour (click here to read the Amazon synopsis), and have an exclusive extract and poem to share with you all. You can read the second extract over at Teenage Fiction for All Ages, who will then give you directions of where to go next.

The Sky is Everywhere is officially published in the UK on 7th June. Check back later tonight for a very cool UK only giveaway!


The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Extract #1
“It was great hanging out with you, Lennie, made me feel better.”
“Me too,” I say, plucking a lavender petal. “Much better, really.” I say this quietly and to the rosebush, not sure I even want him to hear, but when I peek back up at his face, it’s kind, his leonine features less lion, more cub.
“Yeah,” he says, looking at me, his dark eyes both shiny and sad. He lifts his arm, and for a second I think he’s going to touch my face with his hand, but he just runs his fingers through the tumble of sunshine that is his hair.
We walk the few remaining steps to the road in slow motion. Once there, Lucy and Ethel emerge out of nowhere and start climbing all over Toby, who has dropped to his knees to say goodbye to them. He holds his skateboard in one hand, ruffling and petting the dogs with the other as he whispers unintelligible words into their fur.
“You really are St Francis, huh?” I have a thing for the saints – the miracles, not the mortifications.
“It’s been said.” A soft smile meanders across the broad planes of his face, landing in his eyes. “Mostly by your sister.” For a split second, I want to tell him it was me who thought that, not Bailey.
He finishes his farewell, stands back up, then drops his skateboard to the ground, steadying it with his foot. He doesn’t get on. A few years pass.
“I should go,” he says, not going.
“Yeah,” I say. A few more.
Before he finally hops on his board, he hugs me goodbye and we hold on to each other so tightly under the sad, starless sky that for a moment I feel as if our heartbreak were one instead of two.
But then all of a sudden, I feel a hardness against my hip, him, that. Holy freaking sh*t! I pull back quickly, say goodbye, and run back into the house.
I don’t know if he knows that I felt him.
I don’t know anything.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

In My Mailbox #71: New Books This Week

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to Amazon. Click images for a bigger picture!

Another great week for me this week. It's that time again... time for the new editions of The Twilight Saga to hit shelves. Yay! Happy reading everyone :)



For review:
  • Fortune by Megan Cole (UK proof/ARC)



Bought:
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (£2.. worth a try!)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Review: Stunt Bunny - Showbiz Sensation by Tamsyn Murray


Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
Released: May 27th, 2010
Grade rating: A-


Amazon summary:

Meet Harriet Houdini, a young rabbit with lots of attitude, as she settles into life with her new family. Never destined to be a boring bunny, Harriet finds herself scouted by the producer of hit TV show Superpets and starts her career on the showbiz ladder. From daring backflips to thrilling escape attempts Harriet really is a Stunt Bunny extraordinaire!

Review:

I don't usually review books for an age group this young (5+), but I enjoyed Murray's YA debut, My So-Called Afterlife, so thought I'd give this one a go as a one-off change. One chapter in, I knew I'd made the right decision -- I was laughing my head off at Harriet's hutch antics, not to mention the fantastically funny illustrations by Lee Wildish.

Murray's writing is brilliant to read. It's amusing in the best way, and her characters are charming and intelligent animals with personalities that kids will love. Thanks to Harriet herself, as well as Smudge the family cat and Doodle the opera-singing Poodle, things are never dull in Showbiz Sensation.

This is exactly the kind of book I would have loved when I was little, and I'm sure any child reading it will enjoy it. I've never heard of a famous cartwheeling, somersaulting pet rabbit before, but if I could somehow own one, I would. Though I'd have to get it a really, really sturdy cage, for fear of an Alcatraz-like escape plan taking place.

Great stuff.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Review: Secrets at St Jude's - Rebel Girl by Carmen Reid


Publisher: Corgi Children's
Format: Paperback
Released: May 27th, 2010
Grade rating: B+/A-


Amazon summary:

At St Jude's School for Girls, four friends are facing very different problems ...Can Gina still be happy with her boyfriend when there's such an exciting new guy on the scene? How will Amy survive when her rich dad's money disappears? What can tomboy Niffy do to make herself gorgeous? And why is Min spending so much time in the study and missing all the fun? Sounds like all the St Jude's friends need to get in touch with their inner Rebel Girl!

Review:

Rebel Girl is my favourite St Jude's book so far. It was brilliant! Things were really shaken up for Gina, Niffy, Amy, and Min, and I honestly couldn't put this one down. Carmen Reid gets better with each book, which I think is quite unusual. From past experience, earlier books in a series tend to be the strongest, but not this time!

Each girl had a very strong story in Rebel Girl, ranging from a new boy raising relationship doubts to the loss of a much loved family business. It might all sound quite serious, but that's where Niffy came in with her hilarious practical jokes on housemistress the Neb. There is nothing more genius than a toilet screamer, which I won't explain more as I don't want to spoil the joke!

There was some great relationship drama for Gina, which is exactly what she needed. Maybe she'll be more appreciative of Dermot now, and vice versa. It was all typical teenage romance stuff, and it was fantastic. Definitely teen chick-lit at its best.

Thanks for another great book, Carmen. St Jude's is one of the strongest teen series to come out of the UK, and it deserves a lot more credit than it gets. I hope the wait for the next one won't be too long!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

US Vs. UK: Revolution Covers

US // UK

It's no contest for me this week: I LOVE the UK cover. In my opinion, the US one doesn't look YA enough, and it just isn't making me want to read the book. I like how it's trying to illustrate the historical element of the story, but I don't think it works.

Now the UK cover is one I would rush out and buy. The image is clean and incredibly eye-catching, and the title/author name font go together so well with the black and red colour contrast. It conveys history and time, but uses a much more subtle approach. It's one of my favourite covers of the year so far!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Blog Tour: Della Says OMG! by Keris Stainton Review + Guest Blog


Publisher: Orchard
Format: Paperback
Released: May 6th, 2010
Grade rating: B


Amazon summary:

Della’s over the moon when she kisses her long-standing crush at a party – but then she discovers her diary has disappeared... When scans of embarrassing pages are sent to her mobile and appear on Facebook, Della’s distraught – how can she enjoy her first proper romance when someone, somewhere, knows all her deepest, darkest secrets?

Review:

Della Says: OMG! is the debut novel from author Keris Stainton, and is a great addition to UK teen fiction. It focuses on Della, a likeable, realistic teenager whose personal diary is stolen from right under her nose. When excerpts from said diary start showing up on Facebook and other public places, she does what everyone in that situation would do: panics.

I enjoyed Della Says: OMG!, and I particularly liked the budding romance between Della and Dan. First relationships can be a scary thing, with so much to worry about, and so much that can go wrong. Stainton shows every side to teen life, and has perfectly captured the mindset of a teenage girl. Readers will realise they're not along when it comes to boyfriend anxiety, and that can only be a blessing in disguise.

I would have liked the book to be a little longer, and for there to be more emphasis on the missing diary. I felt like that plot got slightly overlooked, and I would have loved to see more embarrassing excerpts. I also thought Della figured out who the thief was too easily, though I understand why it played out that way.

Overall, Della Says: OMG! is a fun, light read with some serious stuff thrown in for good measure. Growing up is a hard time in anyone's life, and what makes this book so good is the realisation that Stainton still remembers what those rollercoaster teen years are like. I'm really looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next, and I think she's definitely a writer to watch!


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Keris Stainton's Top 5 Teen Heartthrobs



1. Alex P Keaton

Michael J Fox was one of my first loves. I fell much more in love with him in the film, Back to the Future (which I saw at the cinema twelve times), but I discovered him in TV show Family Ties. Alex was a dork (and a Republican so he really wouldn't appeal to me in real life, but I didn't know that when I was about 13) and I thought he was madly cute.



2. Brandon Walsh

I was obsessed with Beverly Hills 90210. Ob. Sessed. I could never quite choose between Brandon (played by Jason Priestly) and Dylan (Luke Perry). Brandon was friendly and funny, smart and conscientious. Dylan was dangerous and sexy. I wish I liked Dylan best, but I have to accept that Brandon is much more my type. Pah.



3. Seth Cohen

Well now it starts to get a bit embarrassing. I was a teen when I was in love with Alex Keaton and in my early 20s when I fell for Brandon Walsh, but I loved Seth Cohen from the very first episode of The O.C. when he was probably about 16 and I was 32. But he's so sweet! And funny! (Really funny.) He's a dork, of course, but in an oddly cool way.



4. George Michael Bluth

One of the reasons I was keen to watch Arrested Development was for Jason Bateman, who plays the lead character Michael Bluth, and who I loved back in the 80s (he took over from Michael J Fox in the Teen Wolf franchise, fact fans), but before long I was falling for his son, George Michael Bluth. This is even worse news than the Seth Cohen crush because George Michael is younger and I am older. But I can't help it. I love him. (I'm sure you know by now that he's sweet and a dork, right?)



5. Dan Humphrey

I resisted Gossip Girl for so long and then, when I finally gave in and watched it, fell in love with Dan Humphrey in moments. "Oh my god! Why didn't you tell me about Dan?!" I asked my friends. (On Twitter.) "Dan? Really?" they replied. He's a dork. He's funny. He's foxy. What's not to love? Seriously. (Goodness, I didn't realise quite how much of a "type" I have until I made this list.)



Thanks Keris! Check out the rest of the blog tour here.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

News: Trailers, Extracts, Sugar Mag & Simon Pulse UK

I've got quite a bit of news to post today, so here goes!



I've been sent two new US trailers for books released soon: Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon and The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman. Both books will be available in the US and UK, though I'm not sure about other countries.

You can also read an extract from Infinity here, and download the song used in the trailer here.





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Bloomsbury UK have a couple of cool web pages worth checking out. An extract from The Drake Chronicles: Blood Feud can be found here, and their Like Vampires? Love this page is great for other Bloomsbury fantasy/paranormal recommendations.


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This month's issue of UK teen magazine Sugar has a free copy of Joanna Nadin's My So-Called Life (Book 1 in the Rachel Riley series, worth £5.99). Also, over at their website Sugarscape, you can win £100 of Topshop vouchers and all 6 books in the Rachel Riley series. Click here for more details.

In addition to this, Sugarscape have also just launched their online book club. They're looking for teen book reviewers, and have all sorts of cool stuff going on, including a look at the 'Top 5 Films Made from Brilliant Books'. Go and a have a look... it's great stuff!



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If you like Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, why not join my Facebook Fan Group? (Shameless plug there guys, sorry!).


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And last but not least: Simon Pulse, the new UK imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's, now have a Facebook page and official site! The Facebook page is a place for cover and book discussions, news, reviews, and more. Join here. And if that wasn't enough, Simon Pulse.co.uk has also launched! If you sign up for their newsletter in the next month, you'll be sent a free extract from Becca Fitzpatrick's Crescendo, sequel to Hush, Hush. I'm so excited about Simon Pulse - they have some amazing titles publishing this year!

Review: Dark Angels by Katherine Langrish


Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
Released: April 30th, 2009
Grade rating: B/B+


Amazon summary:

When Wolf runs away from the monastery where he grew up, he finds himself lost on Devil's Edge -- a hill riddled with old mine shafts, said to be infested with ghosts, boggarts, elves, and perhaps even the Devil himself. Wolf meets a local knight out hunting, who offers him work and shelter in his castle -- a place inhabited by a host of unexpected characters -- a hearth hob, a ghostly white lady and a mysterious wandering juggler... Together Wolf and Nest, the knight's daughter, become embroiled in a mystery which leads Wolf into the very darkest depths of Devil's Edge...

Review:

Dark Angels was a surprisingly gripping tale, and I can't quite put my finger on why. I think it had something to do with Elfgift the elf child and the hearth-hob, though it could also be the spooky setting and occasional mention of Lucifer and the angels.

I had no idea what to expect when I read this book, but I definitely wasn't expecting to love the characters so much. Between Wolf, Nest and the aforementioned little creatures, Dark Angels had a cast of really loveable people. The setting was also extremely atmospheric and well described, not to mention a little creepy at times.

I was hoping for the action to pick up along the way, but instead the focus fell to the well-rounded characters. I also thought it was slightly too long and drawn out, though that all comes down to personal reading preference. The unexpected ending was exciting, and was a fantastic end to a well-written, captivating story.

Overall, Dark Angels was an unusual tale of adventure, loyalty and sacrifice. I'm sure it will appeal to fantasy readers, as well as those looking for something a bit different. I'm interested to read more by Langrish, and I'll be sure to check out her Troll trilogy sometime in the future.

Monday, 24 May 2010

GIVEAWAY: Win Captivate by Carrie Jones! (UK only) - CLOSED


Thanks to Bloomsbury UK, I have ten (10) paperback copies of Captivate by Carrie Jones to give away. Captivate is the second book in the Need series, and is my favourite so far. You can read my thoughts here.


Here's more info from Amazon: [May include minor spoilers for Need].

Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people becomes weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town. A turf war is imminent. The new pixie king is moving in quickly. He swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Zara isn't so sure. Despite herself, she wants to trust the new king, but there's a lot more than her relationship with boyfriend Nick at stake. It's her life - and his.


Rules & info:
  • Open to UK residents only.
  • End date: June 4th, 2010.
  • One entry per person.
  • You don't have to follow my blog to enter.

Just fill in the form below, and you'll be entered! :)

Review: The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood


Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
Released: May 27th, 2010
Grade rating: B+


Amazon summary:

Jessamine has spent her whole life in a cottage close to her father's apothecary garden, surrounded by medicinal plants and herbs that could kill her -- although her father has never allowed her into the most dangerous part of the grounds... the poison garden. And so she's never had reason to be afraid -- until now. Because now a newcomer has come to live with the family, a quiet but strangely attractive orphan boy named Weed. Though Weed doesn't say much in words, he has an instant talent for the apothecary's trade, seeming to possess a close bond with the plants of the garden. Soon, he and Jessamine also share a close bond. But little does Jessamine know that passion can be just as poisonous as the deadliest plants in the garden...

Review:

After hearing excellent things about Wood's other YA series, I had high expectations for The Poison Diaries. I wasn't in the least bit disappointed, and I really hope it's the first book in a series. Wood's writing was fantastic, and the imagery she created within her words was just beautiful. Her description of the monastery cottage and its surrounding gardens was also a pleasure to read, and she really brought the setting to life.

The story itself was somewhat unusual, with plants, poison and a carefully guarded apothecary at the forefront of the plot. I loved how everything unfolded into a tale of love and sacrifice, and I was surprised by the actions forced in the last chapter. The Poison Diaries starts off at a steady pace and, at first, it isn't clear where it will end up. All that changes when a new character is introduced, and from then on the book spirals into a web of secrecy and deceit.

Weed was an excellent character, and I would like to see more of him, as well as more of his background and history. I didn't feel like I knew him as well as I could have done, but maybe Wood is saving him for a future instalment in the series? (Fingers crossed). Jessamine was easy to get along with, and I particularly enjoyed her personal thoughts and the extracts from her poison diary. Weed and Oleander, the Prince of Poisons, were the best characters to appear on the pages, and they easily stole the show.

The Poison Diaries was inspired by the current Duchess of Northumberland's public English gardens, of which I now want to visit. I'm sure they're fascinating! Maryrose Wood definitely delivered with this book, and I think I need to dig out my copies of her other series. She certainly has a way with words, not to mention a great knowledge of plants and their poisons.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

In My Mailbox #70: New Books This Week

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to Amazon.


I had such an amazing week this week, and I'm still really excited. Most of these were complete surprises, and it was a little bit like Christmas opening them all. It was a crazy week for review books, but I've already read 3 of them, and some aren't published until August. Thank you very, very much to all the lovely publishers & publicists!

Click on the book titles to go to their Amazon pages.






For review:
  • Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Enjoyed this one!)
  • Torment by Lauren Kate (Bound manuscript. Woohoo!)





Bought:


Happy reading, everyone! And if you're going to BEA next week - ENJOY!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

UK Publisher Spotlight: Bloomsbury


I don't know about you guys, but I love looking forward to new titles coming up. It's not always easy to find out what's due to be published, which is why I thought I'd do a series of UK publisher spotlights. These posts will tell you about upcoming 2010 books, and will include a synopsis and cover image when available (all descriptions and images are from Amazon and a rockin' publicist!).

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This week's spotlight is Bloomsbury, home of Harry Potter and hundreds of other fantastic books. It would be impossible to list everything they're publishing this year, so here are just a handful of their upcoming 2010 titles. I'm looking forward to reading them all, and the covers are lovely!





4.3.2.1. by Jim Eldridge & Noel Clark (Paperback movie tie-in, May)

When four girls meet to discuss their weekend plans, little do they know quite what excitements lie before them. Soon they are embroiled in a brilliant diamond heist, trans-Atlantic flights, various romances and a lot of high-octane adventure in London and New York. Based on Noel Clarke's new film of the same name with countrywide summer 2010 release, this novelisation keeps the reader on the edge of their seat as the girls embark on a weekend they will never forget.






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The Cardturner by Louis Sachar (Hardcover, 1st June)

When Alton's ageing, blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him, he agrees. After all, it's better than a crappy summer job in the local shopping mall, and Alton's mother thinks it might secure their way to a good inheritance sometime in the future. But, like all apparently casual choices in any of Louis Sachar's wonderful books, this choice soon turns out to be a lot more complex than Alton could ever have imagined. As his relationship with his uncle develops, and he meets the very attractive Toni, deeply buried secrets are uncovered and a romance that spans decades is finally brought to a conclusion. Alton's mother is in for a surprise!



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Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper (Hardcover, 7th June)

Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper's grave. Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace's life. But Grace doesn't know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune. A stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions, ranging from the deprivation that the truly poor suffered to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich: all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister.


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Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody (Paperback, 7th June)

In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities, it is also dangerous. Survival is only by secrecy and so she determines never to use her forbidden powers. But it is as if they have their own imperative and she is brought to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land. Banished to the remote mountain institution of Obernewtyn, she must throw off her cloak of concealment and pit herself against those that would resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse. Only then will she learn most truly who and what she is ...Elspeth is determined to uncover the plot and so, accompanied only by her cat, Maruman, embarks on a terrible adventure full of danger, the conclusion to which promises not just uncertainty about her safety but also that of many around her.


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Girl 16: Five-Star Fiasco by Sue Limb (Paperback, 7th June)

The teenage world of Jess Jordon is looking characteristically chaotic: Mum has joined an online dating programme and has recruited Jess as advisor, while Jess' best friend Flora has a rich new boyfriend who Jess can't possibly keep up with. Then Jess' own boyfriend, Fred, does something unbelievably treacherous and spineless. Jess is becoming completely fed up with the male sex, and is beginning to think that the only reliable form of male is e-mail ...Never mind, there's Valentine's Day to look forward to. Fred is sure to make amends then. Isn't he?





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The Other Girl: A Midvale Academy Novel by Sarah Miller (Paperback, 7th June)

Molly McGarry seems to have it all – she’s smart, she attends the prestigious Midvale Academy prep school and she’s finally got the guy of her dreams, Gideon Rayburn. But now everything’s changing. Molly and Gid got together in a very unusual way, when Molly mysteriously entered Gid’s mind, and so could ‘guess’ what he was thinking and exactly what he wanted. This gave Molly one-upmanship over Cullen and Nicholas, Gid’s debauched and rebellious room-mates, who pressure Gid and prefer him single.

By some bizarre twist of fate, Molly suddenly leaves Gid’s mind and enters the mind on Pilar Benitez-Jones, possibly the hottest girl in the world, and definitely not someone whose head she want to be inside. Pilar flirts with Gid. A lot. And she appears to be the shallowest and most spoilt rich girl on campus. No longer inside the head of her crush, Molly feels her life spiralling out of control. Gradually Molly realises that being inside Pilar’s head has its advantages as she tries to influence Pilar for her own schemes and to salvage her grades – with ensuing chaos.


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Pastworld by Ian Beck (Paperback edition, 5th July)

Pastworld. A city within a city. A city for excursions and outings. Pastworld is a theme park with a difference, where travellers can journey back in time for a brush with an authentic Victorian past. But what if the Jack the Ripper figure stopped play-acting and really started killing people? For Caleb, a tourist from the present day, his visit goes terribly wrong when his father is kidnapped and he finds himself accused of murder. Then Caleb meets Eve, a Pastworld inhabitant who has no idea the modern world exists. Both Caleb and Eve have roles to play in the murderer's diabolical plans - roles that reveal disturbing truths about their origins.


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The Drake Chronicles: Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey (Paperback, 5th July)

This second instalment of The Drake Chronicles sees suave, ladies man Logan Drake meet his match. Isabeau St Croix has everything Logan admires in a woman: class, strength, beauty and style. She also has a two hundred year old grudge against the vampire who turned her and Logan is destined to help her exact revenge on him.

Isabeau survived the death of her parents, the peril of the French Revolution and the treacherous journey to England only to be turned into a vampire by the evil Greyhaven. After two hundred years buried in Highgate Cemetery she was rescued by Kala and her hounds. Now she is one of the Cwn Mamau and as fiercely loyal to them as Logan is to his family. Kala has foreseen that Isabeau and Logan’s futures are intertwined. Together they must fight Monmatre’s men and defeat Greyhaven, but can they both survive the battle . . .


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Forest Born by Shannon Hale (Paperback, 5th July)

Rin, Razo's little sister, is haunted by the forest she has always loved. When Razo invites her back to the city to be one of Queen Ani's waiting women, she happily accepts...only to end up on the adventure of her lifetime, following the queen, Enna, and Dasha into the countryside in search of a fire-starting enemy that no one can see. As she learns more about the three women's magical talents, she finds her own strength comes from places both expected the forest and unexpected the sound of her own voice. A brilliant addition to the "Books of Bayern', this book is a treat for fans of this series, and stands alone for readers who might be discovering the joys of Shannon Hale's writing for the first time.


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The Space Crime Conspiracy by Gareth P. Jones (Paperback, 7th July)

In prison, accused of murdering President Vorlunar, things are not looking good for Stanley. But when he is released, matters get even worse! He discovers that his assumed crime has given him not only notoriety, but value. How can a boy who lives above a pub in south-east London cope with bounty hunters with beards on their foreheads, lawyers who specialise in Intergalactic Law, Pan-Dimensional Litigation and Criminal Prosecution, and the terrifying bird-headed space pirates, the Marauding Picaroons.




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The Legacy by Gemma Malley (Hardcover, 2th September)

When a Pincent Pharma lorry is ambushed by the Underground, its contents come as a huge surprise - not drugs, but corpses in a horrible state. It appears Longevity isn't working and the drugs promising eternal youth are failing to live up to their promises. A virus is sweeping the country, killing in its wake, and Longevity is powerless to fight it. When Richard Pincent of Pincent Pharma suggest that the Underground has released the virus, something has to be done to put the story straight and once and for all alert everyone to the truth.




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The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley (Hardcover, 4th October)

Michael Vyner recalls a terrible story, one that happened to him. One that would be unbelievable if it weren't true! Michael's parents are dead and he imagines that he will stay with the kindly lawyer, executor of his parents' will ...Until he is invited to spend Christmas with his guardian in a large and desolate country house. His arrival on the first night suggests something is not quite right when he sees a woman out in the frozen mists, standing alone in the marshes. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself as he is kept from his guardian and finds himself spending the Christmas holiday wandering the silent corridors of the house seeking distraction. But lonely doesn't mean alone, as Michael soon realises that the house and its grounds harbour many secrets, dead and alive, and Michael is set the task of unravelling some of the darkest secrets of all.


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Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (Hardcover, 4th October)

Andi lives in New York and is dealing with the emotional turmoil of her younger brother’s accidental death. Alex lives in Paris and is a maid to the royal family as the French Revolution rages. They’re both struggling with their responsibilities and their places in the world.

When Andi is sent to Paris to get her out of the trouble she’s so easily enveloped by in New York, their two stories collide, and Andi finds a way to reconcile herself not only to her past but also her future.




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The Drake Chronicles: Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey (Paperback, 1st November)

The third instalment of The Drake Chronicles. Hunter Wild just wants to get through her last her at the Helios-Ra Academy. To do so, she’ll have to betray her grandfather, date a vampire and possibly take down the entire League – all before the end of term.







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Here's some exciting news: There isn't much information for this book at the moment, but the third book in the Need series by Carrie Jones, titled Entice, will be published on 3rd January 2011. I can't wait!


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Friday, 21 May 2010

Review: This Is Me From Now On by Barbara Dee


Publisher: Aladdin
Format: Paperback
Released: April 27th, 2010
Grade rating: A-


Amazon summary:

Sometimes your life just needs a little jolt. This is what Evie's new friend Francesca tells her, and soon enough, Evie's life has had something more like an earthquake. Francesca thinks life is dull unless you go after everything you want and say everything on your mind all the time--and sometimes that includes giving other people a little behind the scenes help to give them what she thinks they want. Evie can't always tell if she's horrified or fascinated by everything Francesca convinces her to do, but ultimately, she comes to see friendship--and life--in a whole new light.

Review:

I loved this book from beginning to end. It's a light, enjoyable read, with excellent characters and a plot that I'm sure will resonate with a lot of middle grade students.

Friendship is the order of the day in This Is Me From Now On. They're torn apart, reconciled, and newly appreciated. Middle school (and high school) are murky waters when it comes to relationships, and things can easily change at the drop of a hat. BFFs are forgotten about when a boy shows up, new friends take the place of old friends, and cliques mix and match like their lives depend on it. This is all explored in This Is Me From Now On, with Dee's writing giving the impression she may have experienced it for herself.

Dee's dialogue is authentic, without any annoying exaggerated teen speak. She doesn't constantly talk in numbers and abbreviated words, and it makes the characters that much more realistic. The plot is engaging, and I read through the book with no breaks, as it's written in a compelling style that really is hard to put down.

Evie, Nisha and Lily are such a cool group of girls, and even though they have their problems and disagreements, they're always there for each other. When new girl Francesca moves to the area, things are epically shaken up, and what follows is a story worthy of a teen movie. I can just see it now: a popular teen starlet playing Evie, and Taylor Lautner playing boy interest Zane... but anyway, that's beside the point.

This one is aimed at a slightly younger teen audience, and because of that it is a little predictable. I actually guessed what would happen, which is very unusual for me! It will in no way change your life, but it's one fun read. I'll be checking out more by this author, and I urge you guys to as well. If you know anyone in seventh grade, point them in Barbara Dee's direction.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Review: Werewolf Versus Dragon by The Beastly Boys


Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
Released: May 27th, 2010
Grade rating: B/B+


Amazon summary:

Ulf is an orphaned werewolf who has lived all his life at Farraway Hall, the home of the RSPCB and a sanctuary for rare and endangered beasts. When a dead dragon arrives and a ghost reveals a dark secret, Ulf sets out to investigate, uncovering a plot by the world's most villainous beast hunter to resurrect the cruel sport of dragon fighting.

Review:

Werewolf Versus Dragon is the first book in the Beastly Business series, which is being republished and repackaged throughout the year. It's a great read for kids, and would be perfect for fans of Tommy Donbavand's Scream Street series. There aren't quite as many laughs, but there are some brilliant characters and some equally brilliant beasts!

The RSPCB is an acronym for The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Beasts. It's a massive conservation-type area where injured beasts are rehabilitated before being released back into the wild, and reminded me of a less scary Jurassic Park. Beasts living under the care of the RSPCB include werewolves, fairies, gargoyles, dragons and phoenixes. There are also trolls and vampire owls, which I would love to see more of.

The characters of Werewolf Versus Dragon are a lot of fun to read about, and I think I've finally settled on a favourite: Druce the gargoyle. He provides much of the book's humour, and also has the ability to turn to stone. Personally, I think that's cool. I also like Tiani the fairy and werewolf Ulf, who together make a great team when it comes to getting rid of the bad guy.

The pacing is fast, the plot adventurous and the writing entertaining. I would have liked more humour in the dialogue, though I did laugh at a lot of the full page artwork, which mostly made up for that. I'm looking forward to reading more of these new editions of the series, especially book 4, The Jungle Vampire. I wonder if the vampire owls will make an appearance?

US Vs. UK: Shade Covers

US // UK

I really like these covers. They're swirly, armospheric and use a mix of great colours. I'd have no problem buying either, though I do wish Jeri's name was larger on both books. Having read Shade, I'm glad the colour red has some prominence on both covers - it's kind of important, and story-specific covers always make me happy.

In conclusion, I love them both! I'm sure they'll look even better in person, and I can't wait to see them. Oh, and from a distance, the model on the UK cover reminds me of Lea Michele (Rachel) from Glee... anyone else, or is it just me?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

GIVEAWAY: Win New Paperback Copies of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick! (UK only) - CLOSED


Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children's UK, I have four (4) brand new paperback copies of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick to give away. This edition includes the first chapter of Crescendo, which is reason enough to own it! I'm sure you all know how much I love this book, and you can read my review here.

[There are also two other current giveaways for this book over at BellaAndEdward.com and Fallen Archangel.]


Here's the summary 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 & info:
  • Open to UK residents only.
  • End date: May 31st, 2010.
  • One entry per person.
  • You don't have to follow my blog to enter.

Just fill in the form below, and you'll be entered! :)

Review: The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell


Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
Released: April 29th, 2010
Grade rating: B+


Amazon summary:

The Carrie Diaries is the coming-of-age story of one of the most iconic characters of our generation. Before Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw was a small town girl who knew she wanted more. She's ready for real life to start, but first she must navigate her senior year of high school. Up until now, Carrie and her friends have been inseparable. Then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture, and a friend's betrayal makes her question everything.

Review:

I'm not a big fan of Sex and the City; I've only ever seen a couple of episodes, and I fell asleep halfway through the first film. Despite my ignorance, I do know the general story of the four New York socialites, though my knowledge is hazy at best. When I first heard about The Carrie Diaries, I had no interest in it at all. Then I read a few reviews, and thought it sounded a bit like Gossip Girl. That was enough to make me want to read it, and I'm so glad I did.

Teenage Carrie Bradshaw is a driven, ambitious girl who has her head screwed on tightly. She doesn't let anyone, whether it be friends or boys, push her around, and she does what she wants to do. She's faced with all the usual teenage grievances, including bad boyfriends, high school back-stabbing and the constant pressure to lose her virginity. She doesn't let peer pressure sway her decisions, and for that I absolutely admired her strength of character. Her interest in writing is an outlet of sorts, and proves to be a very worthwhile hobby that, thankfully, she pursues.

In addition to Carrie, this book also has some fantastic secondary characters. Walt and The Mouse are my favourites, and I like to think they stay in touch with Carrie in the future, as they really are the best kind of friends a girl could have. Bad boy Sebastian and nice, normal George provide the romantic element of the story and, though I preferred Sebastian (don't ask me why I go for the bad ones, 'cause I don't know), George is definitely the more reliable of the two. As Greenday once said: nice guys finish last. But hey, at least they try.

Things get a little too convenient for Carrie every now and then, and that's my only real criticism of the story. One of the plot threads involves an article in a school newspaper, and I think if that particular scenario had happened in reality, it would have been dealt with a lot more severely, rather than being condoned.

The Carrie Diaries is pure chick-litty goodness. It's got romance, gossip, high school banter and a feisty female heroine. It's a journey of self-discovery, as well as a no holds barred look at the obstacles that can stand in the way of family, friends and dreams. I really hope Bushnell continues Carrie's YA story, as I want to read more!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Review: Goddess Girls - Athena the Brain & Persephone the Phony by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams


Publisher: Aladdin
Format: Paperback
Released: April 6th, 2010
Grade rating: B


Amazon summary:

Athena has always been above average. She's never quite fit in at Triton Junior High, but who would've guessed that Athena is actually a goddess? Principal Zeus's daughter, to be exact. When she's summoned to Mount Olympus Academy, Athena thinks she might actually fit in for the first time in her life. But in some ways, school on Mount Olympus is not that different from down on Earth, and Athena is going to have to deal with the baddest mean girl in history -- Medusa!

Review:

Goddess Girls is a really cute series for younger readers, and I'm guessing it's like Percy Jackson for tween girls. I've never read the Percy Jackson series though, so that's just a generlisation based on my knowledge from watching the movie.

Goddess Girls focuses on one Triton Junior High girl per book, and starts with Athena, daughter of Principal Zeus. Athena's quite quiet and shy, having just come from earth after learning she's the relative of a Greek God. She quickly makes friends with fellow students Persephone, Aphrodite and Artemis, and they form a bond that I think will last for life. I personally didn't love Athena, as I found her slightly irritating. Still, she was a good character to kick off the series with.

Things on Mount Olympus soon start to heat up, as Medusa causes some trouble for the Goddess Girls. They have to put their heads together to solve the problem, and their attempts often have hilarious consequences. The story has some good moral messages throughout, and I bet tweens will love it. It's fun and interesting, and would be a great educational aid for classes on Greek myths. I even learnt something new myself!


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Publisher: Aladdin
Format: Paperback
Released: April 6th, 2010
Grade rating: B/B+


Amazon summary:

As Persephone's mother encourages her to do, she often "goes along to get along" instead of doing what she really wants. But when she meets Mount Olympus Academy bad-boy Hades, she finally feels she has found someone with whom she can be herself. He's the first person who actually listens to her, and she finds herself liking him, despite the fact that the other goddessgirls think he's bad news. But if he makes her feel so special -- and so comfortable -- can he really be all that bad?

Review:

Persephone the Phony is my favourite of the first two books, as I liked Persephone slightly more than Athena, and this one even had a little sprinkling of romance, with none other than bad boy Hades! Well, he's not bad really, everyone just thinks he is. Instead, he's a sweet, thoughtful guy with an interest in Persephone, and a kick-ass black stallion that he rides around on. Life's great if you're a God of the Underworld, eh?

I really like how these books incorporate Greek mythology into the everyday trials and tribulations of growing up. It's such a cool way to learn about history, and I wish there had been something like this when I had to snooze my way through boring lessons in primary school. Although each story seems quite short to me, I think they're just the right length for tweens, and would be a great pick for reluctant readers.

I'm looking forward to reading the other 2 books in the series later in the year, and then I think I'll move on to Percy Jackson. These Greek types are cool!