Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Blood Red Road by Moira Young: Trailer + UK Giveaway!


My lovely friend at Scholastic sent over this brilliant trailer for Moira Young's Blood Red Road, which is officially published in the UK on June 2nd. Here's a bit more info from Amazon.co.uk:

Every step of Saba's journey sizzles with danger... In a lawless land, where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba has been brought up in isolated Silverlake. She never sees theangers of the destructive society outside. When her twin brother is snatched by mysterious black-robed riders, she sets out on an epic quest to rescue him. The story's searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious love story make this a truly sensatonal YA debut novel.




What do you guys think? Cool, isn't it?

I also have five (5) copies of Blood Red Road to give away, with thanks again to the kind people at Scholastic. This is one for all you dystopian fans out there, and to enter, all you have to do is fill in the form below. Good luck!

Rules & info:
  • Open to UK residents only.
  • End date: June 10th, 2011.
  • One entry per person.
  • You do NOT have to follow my blog to enter.
  • Books will be sent out by the publisher


Review: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton


Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
Released: June 9th, 2011
Grade rating: B/B+


Amazon summary:

Ari can't help feeling lost and alone. With her teal coloured eyes and freakish silver hair that can't be changed or destroyed, she has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. When her search for answers uncovers just one message with the word 'RUN' from her long dead mother, Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it's impossible to protect herself when she doesn't know who or what she's running from, or why she is being pursued.

Review:

Kelly Keaton's YA debut novel is exciting and intriguing, and is a great addition to the paranormal genre. It's set in a future New Orleans left devastated after hurricanes and now called New 2. It's home to freaky people, many of which leading lady Ari meets, including witches, vampires and shifters. Ari is none of these, she's something else entirely: something cool and unusual.

Ari's heritage is often hinted at but isn't revealed until much later in the book. I liked that about it, as I was always guessing as to what was going on. It's like a mini mystery waiting to be unraveled, but it doesn't hinder the story in any way. It's fast-paced and very character driven, with little room for unnecessary filler.

Everything happens in the space of a few days which, if I'm honest, I think is a bit unbelievable even for me. Everything falls into place for Ari far too quickly: she meets the right people, gets to New 2, falls for Sebastian and confronts her destiny all in less than a week. I wish the timeframe was longer, though by the time I got to the end I'd forgotten how much time was supposed to have passed. Obviously I was too wrapped up in the story to care!

My favourite character by far is Violet, a little girl with sharp teeth and a pet alligator called Pascal. She's ace, and I really really hope she has a big part in the next book. She immediately hits it off with Ari, leading me to think we might see more of these two as a team in future instalments. I can see Ari being like a big sister figure for Violet which I'm sure would be new to both of them.

Darkness Becomes Her isn't without its faults, but I still enjoyed it regardless. It brings something different to the YA table and is very much rooted in myths and legends. It's a promising start to what I hope will be a brilliant series!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Review: Forgotten by Cat Patrick


Publisher: Egmont
Format: Paperback
Released: June 6th, 2011
Grade rating: B+/A-


Amazon summary:

Here's the thing about me: I can see the future in flashes, like memories. But my past is a blank. I remember what I'll wear tomorrow, and an argument that won't happen until this afternoon. But I don't know what I ate for dinner last night. I get by with the help of notes, my mom and my best friend Jamie, and the system works... Until now. Everything's falling apart. Jamie's going of the rails. My mom is lying to me. And I can't see the boy I adore in my future. But today, I love him. And I never want to forget how much...

Review:

Forgotten is one of my favourite 2011 debuts so far. It's well written and mind-boggling, and deals with a form of time travel. I knew I'd like it as soon as I read that, as time travel is one of my favourite theories. The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my best-loved books and, though it's an adult read, I think fans of Clare and Henry's epic story will similarly enjoy Forgotten. Both books are very different, of course, but both have this feel to them, a feeling of both disbelief and fascination.

I was hooked right from the start of Forgotten. London grabbed my attention straight away, though initially the lists she writes for herself confused me. I didn't know why she was writing them, but then I did and I was drawn into her story faster than Superman chasing a train. I couldn't get enough of Patrick's terrible but brilliant story of a girl who remembers the future but forgets the past, and I think it's one of the most unique plots to turn up on the pages of a YA book in recent years.

As with most YA novels, there's a romance. London falls for a boy called Luke, and gets the pleasure of meeting him for the first time every single day. She quickly falls for him, hard, and their feelings for each other reach intense heights in what is a fairly short space of time. As of late this has bugged me, but in this instance it didn't. London and Luke's feelings seem real and right, and I never questioned their choices. I'm crediting Cat Patrick with overcoming that particular hurdle, as I think her writing is what made the characters so believable.

My one main problem with Forgotten is the ending. For me it was too abrupt, and I felt like there was more to say, more story to tell. I won't say it comes across as rushed, but maybe premature? I don't think it should have ended where it did and, if what I hear is true and there's no sequel, it will make the ending even more frustrating. I have a feeling there will be more from London, but don't hold me to that.

This book made me think about a lot. Without memories, what do we have other than an empty history? Sure, a knowledge of the future would no doubt make up for that, but I'm not sure I'd want to know what my day was going to be like before I'd even left my house. Forgotten is an excellent debut novel, and I think it's going to be huge when its simultaneous publication day finally hits bookshelves. There's something utterly enthralling about London and her fractured memory, and just thinking about her makes me grateful that I can remember my past.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

In My Mailbox #123: 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 with lots of cool surprises in the post. Some of my highly anticipated pre-orders also arrived and my name is in an Elizabeth Scott book. Not sure how I'll top this week! Also, Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' ROCKS. I've listened to nothing else all week. *dances* Are you guys fans? If yes, tell me your favourite new tracks!

Here's what was in my mailbox this week:



For review:
I've never read a Cornelia Funke book. How bad is that?

Quite liked the first book in this series. Looking forward to this one.

I haven't read the first of these books, so I might have to track that down before I read this one.

This looks SO creepy! Brilliant idea to incorporate real photos. *shudder*

Yay! I do like this series. Can't believe it's up to book 5 already though!

Sounds fun!

I've been looking forward to this one for months and I'm reading it now. So far so good.

I'm not keen on the Drake Chronicles, but this sounds good.

I love this UK cover. Really looking forward to reading it!

Been wanting to read this for ages too. Must get to it before the film comes out.

I haven't read the first Stonewylde book yet but it sounds ace. Great covers too.


~



Bought
Yay yay yay! A new EScott book is like an event for me. And my name is in the acknowledgements of this one... woohoo!!! Thanks Elizabeth. :)

I also have never read anything by Libba. Time to rectify that me thinks.

I have the UK edition of this (titled Angel) but wow do I hate the cover. However, I really like this US cover so I bought it. It's also hardback which is even better.

Read this one the other month and really liked it.

It was 3 for 2 at work so I got this. I've had a proof for a while so will be reading it soon.

Tom came in to WHSmith where I work and signed his books. He signed one for me too so obviously I bought it. Cheers Tom!

I love the cover and I'm intrigued as to what this book is actually about.


~



Gift:
A very nice friend sent me this (thank you!). The 13 series is one of my favourites (like in my top 10, maybe top 5) and I looooove the US hardbacks. The covers are so beautiful! If you haven't read this series yet, get 13 Treasures NOW!




Have a great post-BEA week, everyone!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Review: The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook by Jason Heller


Publisher: Quirk
Format: Hardcover
Released: May 5th, 2011
Grade rating: B+


Amazon summary:

Illustrated with film stills, line drawings, and helpful diagrams, "The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook" will cover everything a swaggering swashbuckler needs to know, including: How to sail a ship; How to climb rigging; How to decipher a treasure map; How to break a curse; How to survive being marooned; How to battle a sea monster; and much, much more. With skills derived from all three films-and up-to-the-minute data regarding the forthcoming "On Stranger Tides" - this handbook will be a surefire hit with Pirates fans of all ages.

Review:

Ahoy me hearties!

In my opinion, Captain Jack Sparrow is the best fictional movie character of the last decade. At least. Johnny Depp has brought the loveable pirate to life for the fourth time recently, with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides hitting cinemas worldwide. There's no better time for a fun Jack Sparrow handbook, don't you agree?

Jason Heller has basically compiled a how-to guide for becoming a pirate. In this book you'll find clothing tips, advice on how to deal with mermaids, how to successfully smuggle, how to escape when you're tied up and the correct way to insult your fellow sea men. Nothing is left uncovered in the Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook, and even I now feel like I could follow in Jack's footsteps! In addition to all this, you'll also find ship plans, lists of essential sailing objects and a key to reading a pirate's map. Each section is supplemented with images from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, as well as original pirate drawings to illustrate the text.

My personal favourite section is right at the end, titled 'Appendix: Piratical Lingo'. I feel well-versed in all things pirate, and I reckon' I'd fare okay if I was ever marooned on an island by myself. This book is a laugh-a-minute read (there's even pirate hygiene tips!), and the perfect companion for those people looking into a pirate's life at sea. I think it'd be pretty fun, albeit dangerous and a bit too creepy. Fanged mermaids aren't the norm, and I'd hate to run into them with only a small monkey for company. Anyway, I've now brushed up on my swashbuckling skills and I'm all set to grab my cutlass and declare mutiny on the Black Pearl. Argh!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Life: An Exploded Diagram Blog Tour: Trailer Reveal + Extract!


Life: An Exploded Diagram is the latest novel from multiple award-winning author Mal Peet, who won the Carnegie Medal for Tamar and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for Exposure. The book is a coming-of-age love story, set in Norfolk in the 1960s against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It has already received great acclaim from Patrick Ness and Anthony McGowan, and Walker have created a book trailer which is revealed exclusively here on Wondrous Reads today!

I'm really excited to be revealing this: I love all of Walker's trailers (Remember the one for The Sky Is Everywhere? *sniffle*), and this is no exception. They're like mini movies! This is also the start of a blog tour, so you can read an extract here, and you'll be able to find another extract over at So Many Books, So Little Time on Saturday May 28th.

Let me know what you think of the trailer in the comments, or tweet Walker Books at @WalkerBooksUK.




~

Extract 1

In less than an hour Clem and Goz had filled their twelve punnets. Forty-eight pounds of fruit. Goz straightened up, wiping his face on his sleeve. Gold straw-dust glittered on the damp hairs of his forearm.
“Are we done?”
“Yup, reckon so. Look at this un.”
Clem held up his pick of the day: a big, glossy, flawlessly scarlet berry. It was too good to eat.
“Boo’iful,” Goz said. “The size of a dog’s heart.”
They headed up towards the head of the field.
“Not if it was a Pekinese,” Clem said.
“Nor a Jack Russell. I was thinking more like a Labrador.”
“Norfolk lurcher.”
“Speak for yerself,” Goz said.

They shuffled forward in the queue, pushing their punnets with their feet. The weighed strawberries were being loaded onto a trailer. One of the loaders was a girl neither of them had seen before. She had very dark hair that swung against her face and neck as she moved. She wore an old bluechecked shirt that was too big for her – a man’s shirt – its tails bunched into a knot at her waist. When she stooped to lift, you could see down into it, where white crescents could be glimpsed. Her jeans stopped at the calves of her slender legs. They were unlike the slack, cheap denims that the boys wore; they fitted her. Clem could not help noticing the seam that curved down from her waistline and vanished under her bum. She was not used to the work. Her mouth
was set in a pout and she seemed to have some invisible barrier surrounding her, defying contact.
A rough male voice awoke him.
“Oi! D’yer want them strorbries weighed, or what?”
Clem dragged his gaze away from the girl.
“Sorry,” he said, and stacked his load onto the scales.
He stood aside while Goz collected the tickets.
“What d’yer reckon? Do another six?”
“Yeah,” Clem said. “Might as well. I’ll get em.”
He went to the pile of emptied punnets. He was closer to the girl now. He watched her lift filled ones; his own were on top. She carried them to the trailer, hoisted them up, then paused, reaching out. When she turned round, she was holding a perfect strawberry delicately in her fingertips. It was Clem’s dog’s heart. She turned it, examining it. She raised it towards her mouth.
“You aren’t gorna eat that, are yer?”
He was more surprised that he’d spoken than she seemed to be.
“Pardon me?”
Her face was too small. No, it wasn’t that. It was that her eyes were so big. And dark, but full of light under rather heavy black eyebrows. Her mouth was wide. Below the full lips her chin was a soft little triangle. She looked Spanish, Clem thought, not really knowing what that meant; perhaps that he’d seen her in a painting projected onto Jiffy’s wall.
He had to say something. “You’ll get told off.”
She stared at him without expression. Or maybe a smile refusing to be seen.
“I really don’t think so,” she said. A posh voice. Mocking him?
Clem glanced to his left. The foreman was walking in their direction, his face red and slick with sweat beneath his flat cap.
“Clem,” Goz said. A warning. But Clem couldn’t stop looking at the girl. She put the strawberry into her mouth, its plump tip first, and bit it in half. She closed her huge eyes.
“Mmmn. God!” Mumbling it.
A thin rivulet of juice ran from the left corner of her mouth onto her chin. She turned her head and wiped it away on the shoulder of her shirt. She looked at Clem, swallowing.
“You think you’ve got sick of them, but every now and again you get one that’s too luscious to resist, don’t you?”
It seemed to Clem that the world had gone entirely dark for an instant, but he hadn’t blinked.
“Yrrng,” he said, then cleared his throat. “Yeah. I picked that one.”
“Thank you,” she said, apparently seriously.
The foreman came alongside the trailer. He glowered at Clem, then saw the girl. He touched the greasy peak of his cap with two fingers.
“Orright, Miss Mortimer? The work suit you, do ut?”
She waved the remainder of the strawberry at him: a gesture that might have meant anything. The coral-pink flesh of the fruit was neatly grooved by her teeth.


Thanks to Walker for this and don't forget to read the second extract on So Many Books, So Little Time tomorrow!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

News: Life: An Exploded Diagram Blog Tour


Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet is published on June 2nd and tomorrow I'm kicking off an exciting blog tour, starting with a trailer reveal and an extract from the book. You can find more info over at Walker's Undercover Reads site, and you can see the brilliant trailer here tomorrow.

From Undercover Reads:
The book is a coming-of-age love story, set in Norfolk in the 1960s against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It has already received great acclaim from Patrick Ness and Anthony McGowan.

"Brilliant... Witty, supersmart, heartbreakingly generous, it's so good you almost want to keep it a secret." - Patrick Ness.


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Trial by Fire Chapter Hunt!


Trial by Fire, sequel to Jenn Lynn Barnes's fantastic Raised by Wolves, is published by Quercus in the UK tomorrow, and to celebrate we have a cool chapter trail for you to follow. Four blogs are taking part, and there will be four extracts posted in total. You'll be able to find the next part of the chapter over at Girls Without a Bookshelf very soon.

Enjoy!


-----


CHAPTER ONE

“No more school, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks . . .”

For a two-hundred-twenty-pound werewolf, Devon Macalister had a wicked falsetto. Leaning back in his chair with casual grace, he shot a mischievous look around our lunch table. “Everyone sing along!”

As the leader of our little group–not to mention the alpha of Devon’s pack and his best friend since kindergarten–the responsibility for shutting down his boy-band tendencies fell to me. “It’s Thanksgiving break, Dev, not summer vacation, and technically, it hasn’t even started yet.”

My words fell on deaf ears. The smile on Devon’s face widened, making him look–to my eyes, at least–more puppy than wolf. To my left, Lake, whose history with Devon’s flare for the dramatic stretched back almost as far as mine did, rolled her eyes, but her lips parted in a grin every bit as irrepressible and lupine as Devon’s.

A wave of energy–pure, undiluted, and animalistic–vibrated through my own body, and I closed my eyes for one second . . . two.

Three.

In control of the impulse to leap out of my chair and run for the woods, I glanced across the table at the last member of our little quartet. Maddy was sitting perfectly still, blinking her gray eyes owlishly, a soft smile on her lips. Images–of the night sky, of running–leapt from her mind to mine through our pack-bond, as natural as words falling off lips.

The impending full moon might have been giving the rest of our table werewolf ADD, but Maddy was perfectly Zen– much more relaxed than she normally would have been when all eyes were on the four of us.

Despite our continued efforts to blend in, the buzz of power in the air and the unspoken promise that within hours, my friends would shed their human skin were palpable. I recognized the feeling for what it was, but our very human–and easily fascinated–classmates had no idea. To them, the four of us were mysterious and magnetic and just a bit unreal–even me.

In the past nine months, my life had changed in more ways than I could count, but one of the most striking was the fact that at my new high school, I wasn’t an outsider, ignored and avoided by humans who had no idea why people like Devon and Lake–and to a lesser extent me–felt off. Instead, the other students at Weston High had developed a strange fascination with us. They didn’t approach. They didn’t try to penetrate our tight-knit group, but they watched and they whispered, and whenever Devon–Devon!–met their eyes, the girls sighed and fluttered their eyelashes in some kind of human mating ritual that I probably wouldn’t have completely understood even if I’d grown up like a normal girl.

Given that I’d been raised as the only human child in the largest werewolf pack in North America, the batting of eyelashes was every bit as foreign to me as running through the woods, surrounded by bodies and warmth and the feeling of home, would have been to anyone else. Some days, I felt like I knew more about being a werewolf than I would ever know about being a teenage girl.

It was getting easier and easier to forget that I was human.

Soon. Soon. Soon.

The bond that tied me to the rest of the pack vibrated with the inevitability of the coming moon, and even though I knew better than to encourage Devon, I couldn’t help the way my own lips tilted up at the corners. The only things that stood between the four of us and Thanksgiving break were a couple of hours and a quiz on Shakespeare.

The only thing standing between us and delicious, feral freedom was the setting of the sun.

And the only thing that stood between me and Chase–my Chase–was a distance I could feel the boy in question closing mile by mile, heartbeat by heartbeat, second by second.

Review: The Thirteenth by G. L. Twynham


Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing
Format: Paperback
Released: November 20th, 2009
Grade rating: B+


Amazon summary:

Imagine starting at the end and finishing back at the beginning. This is the story of a teenage girl called Valerie Saunders who is about to be thrown through time and space. Being bestowed with abilities beyond her wildest nightmares, she discovers that she not only has to deal with turning eighteen, her first job and an unwanted tattoo, but also magical powers and intense urges to fall in love. She envisaged she would spend her life blending into the scenery, not blowing it up! Val has a calling, but which side is dialling her number?

Review:

I'm always dubious about reading self-published novels, and I'm not sure why. Some of them are brilliant and very readable, the latest of which I've discovered to be The Thirteenth. It's compelling and exciting and, for the most part, well-edited. One thing that did bother me was the lack of contractions - 'it's', 'we're' etc. - as it always drives me mad. Teenagers just don't speak like that, and it makes for hard reading. I can look past it though, which is exactly what I did here.

Twynham knows how to spin a good story, and one that crosses numerous genres at that. The Thirteenth is like sci-fi meets horror meets paranormal romance, and I still don't know which one it's supposed to be. There are elements of everything in there, even some mystery just to shake things up.

Val is a strong, relatable protagonist, and one I ended up really liking. Her friend Delta is also a fun to get to know, and the two of them make quite a team. The addition of father-son team Shane and Jason nicely rounds out the cast of characters, kind of making them into their own Scooby Gang.

There are lots of surprises in The Thirteenth, some that I saw coming and some that I didn't. I was so shocked at the end, and I have no idea how Twynham kept me in the dark for all that time. Val's constant missions kept me glued to the pages, though I do wish she would have taken a bit more time to fully accept what was happening to her. I thought she dealt with it a little too easily, but that's just me.

The Thirteenth is probably the best self-published book I've read, and I think I'll be giving books like that more of a chance in the future. With a bit of polish and extra editing it could be even better than it is now, and I'm surprised a major publisher hasn't picked it up yet. It seems just the thing to appeal to YA fans who are getting tired of the same old plot and are seeking something new. I'll definitely be recommending this one to some friends of mine!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Review: Die for Me by Amy Plum


Publisher: Atom
Format: Paperback
Released: May 5th, 2011
Grade rating: B+/A-


Amazon summary:

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything. Suddenly, my sister, Georgia and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent. Mysterious, sexy and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen. Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies...immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

Review:

I honestly didn't expect to enjoy Die for Me as much as I did - I loved it! I read it without really knowing what it was about, though I had heard some whispering of zombies. If you think this is a zombie novel akin to The Walking Dead or Rot and Ruin, then think again. The word is used, yes, but these people aren't your average dead: they're revenants. What are they, you ask? To that, I'm going to say read the book: I don't want to spoil anything about their story or history. It's all fascinating!

Kate is Die for Me's main character and, although I liked her, I didn't love her. She'd be pretty average as far as teenage girls go, if it wasn't for the fact she's an orphan and lives with her grandparents in Paris. I've lost count of how many paranormal books I've read where the MC's parents are dead or missing and in a lot of cases, including Die for Me, I don't think it adds to the story. I just always end up feeling sad for the characters in question, as losing a parent so young is surely unbearable. I'd like to see more parents alive and kicking, please!

Vincent, the main boy hottie and Kate's romantic interest, was cool. He was a smooth-talking guy with perfect hair and chiseled facial features which, yes, is usually exactly what I like. However, I found Vincent a bit *too* nice. I much preferred his revenant friend Jules - his sarcasm totally appealed to me, and he had that bad boy quality about him. He would be top of my list, sorry Vincent!

Amy Plum's writing was compelling and flowed easily, which meant I read Die for Me pretty much in one go. I found it addictive and hard to put down, and the whole plot was brilliant. It was also a bit different to paranormal books I've been reading recently which is good as I do like to be kept on my toes when it comes to supernatural beings. The setting of Paris was also a brilliant idea, as it became a character in itself. Having never been there, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about all the landmarks and nightlife.

I'd recommend Die for Me to anyone who likes paranormal romances, strong characters and a well thought out plot. You'll get all that and more from this book, and I'm so glad it's the first in a series. Yay!

Monday, 23 May 2011

News: Justin Somper's Vampirates Blog Tour!


The final book in Justin Somper's Vampirates series, Immortal War, is published in the UK on June 9th, and Simon & Schuster have organised a really cool blog tour to celebrate. There'll be guest posts, interviews, Top 10 lists and lots more, running from June 6th - 15th. Here's Justin to tell you a little bit more about the book and the tour:




Here's the full blog tour schedule - hope you enjoy it!

  • Wednesday 8th June -- The Crooked Shelf - Guest Post: on Lady Lola Lockwood & The Women of Vampirates
  • Sunday 12th June - Wondrous Reads - 10 Ways to Know You're Obsessed with Vampirates

Sunday, 22 May 2011

In My Mailbox #122: 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!

I honestly wasn't expecting many books this week, aside from the ones I had pre-ordered at various online stores. However, I ended up with lots of exciting review books, some of which I'd never heard of and all of which sound like great reads. I also got a very exciting surprise parcel from the US - I was so excited!

Here are this week's new arrivals:


~





For review:
Never heard of this younger children's series, but it sounds fun!

I think this is YA, as I was told it'd appeal to older teens. Anyway, it sounds brilliant whatever it is - L.A. road trip!

I'm behind on this series, but I did absolutely love the first book. I'm hoping to get to book 2 soon.

Sounds good, I'm glad it's being published over here!

A lovely finished copy. I think this will be a fun read.

Yay!!

This sounds great. I don't know a lot about the Cold War, but my dad often mentions it and JFK's involvement. Such an unusual premise for a YA novel, I think it sounds fantastic.

This is an adult debut novel, but I it sounds brilliant and kind of similar to Forgotten, a YA debut out next month.

Again, I need to read the first book. Pretty cover!

Sounds intriguing, and takes place at a music festival!

Another one I've not heard of, but I'll give it a go.

I love the cover and the sound of this one. I'm looking forward to reading it!

I've only read the first 2 books in this series, but I plan to catch up eventually. This is the last in the series and has the best cover, in my opinion!

Ahhhh! I was so excited when I got home from work and this was waiting for me. It came in a red box with red papery stuff, and also had a pack of chocolate covered espresso beans (which I tried and think are disgusting). The book sounds amazing.. I really hope it is. Thanks to very kind US publishers for this one!


~



Bought:
Do I need to say anything? No? Thought not. :D

LOVED Hate List. Will be reading this soon.

I've heard mixed reviews of Bumped, but Megan's Jessica Darling series is one of my all-time favourites so I'm hoping I'll like this.

Sounds fun!

I love this series, it's hilarious. I found this one for £1 in a discount book shop. Yay!

This one was £2. I've heard good things.

This one was £1. And it's a US hardcover. Score!

My friend Lynn read and enjoyed this recently. I do have a UK copy in a box somewhere, but I've always wanted this beautiful gold US edition.

I really enjoyed Jan's last book, Fairest of Them All, so I hope this one is just as good.

~



Gift:
My editor friend Kate sent me this, as we tend to like exactly the same books. She described it as an "80's geek fest". Sounds good to me!




Happy reading!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth


Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Trade paperback
Released: May 3rd, 2011
Grade rating: A

Amazon summary:

In sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions – Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent) – each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue, in the attempt to form a “perfect society.” At the age of sixteen, teens must choose the faction to which they will devote their lives. On her Choosing Day, Beatrice renames herself Tris, rejects her family’s group, and chooses another faction. After surviving a brutal initiation, Tris finds romance with a super-hot boy, but also discovers unrest and growing conflict in their seemingly “perfect society.” To survive and save those they love, they must use their strengths to uncover the truths about their identities, their families, and the order of their society itself.

Review:

Divergent is the most exciting book I've read so far this year. It was so good that I sat and read it in one sitting, not even moving when I got hungry. Roth's vision of society fascinated me, her writing was compelling and her characters utterly addictive. I'm so, so glad it's the first in a series, because I want more as soon as possible!

In Tris's world, society was divided into 5 factions: Dauntless, Erudite, Candor, Abnegation and Amity. When teenagers hit the age of 16, they must then be tested to find out which faction they'll choose to belong to. Tris chose differently to how everyone thought she would, and soon started a new life in a new faction. Do you see why this book was so brilliant?! Dystopian fiction is one of my favourite genres, but lately nothing has stood out for me. Divergent did though, and it's now on my favourite dystopian list with The Hunger Games and Matched.

Tris was a fantastic character to get to know. She was smart, headstrong and determined, and basically a strong told model for girls. She didn't let family pressures dictate her choices, and I loved her for that. She knew what she wanted and she went out and got it. Her relationship with super-hot boy Four, which comes later in the book, was also a highlight for me, and I will be shipping them all through this series. I doubt things will run smoothly, but I'm not expecting them too.

Divergent was full of edge-of-your-seat action, and had handfuls of twists just waiting to be discovered. It was gripping in the best way, in that I'm-not-moving way that eats up a whole day and leaves you breathlessly in need of the sequel. Finishing Divergent reminded me of when I turned the last page of The Hunger Games for the first time, and all I could think about was either re-reading straight away or ambushing Suzanne Collins' editor for the next book. If I could do that here, I so would. Veronica Roth has exploded onto the YA scene leaving a cloud of dust in her wake, and she deserves every minute of adoration that comes her way.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

US Vs. UK: The 13 Curses Covers

US // UK

Michelle Harrison's 13 Curses is published in the US in a couple of weeks (I hope you're all excited!) and look at the lovely cover they've given it. Now, while I really do like it (I do, I think it's beautiful), I don't think it can beat the UK edition. This one is my favourite of all the UK covers, and it looks even better in person. It has lots of shiny bits dotted around the amazingly designed '13', making it look magical and fit for even the most royal of fairies.

The US edition is definitely darker than I expected it to be, but I don't think that's a bad thing. The books get darker as they go on (13 Secrets is the darkest of them all, but oh so good!), and I think it will look fantastic in person. I'm hoping it's as shiny as the US 13 Treasures, as that one really stood out to me (and I prefer it to the UK cover).

So what do you guys think? I wouldn't care if these books came bundled in a black plastic bag - they'd still have pride of place on my shelf. They're amazing, and their various covers do the job of adding to that.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Emerald

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Emerald by Karen Wallace

* Published by: Simon & Schuster (UK)
* Format: Paperback (UK)
* Release Date: August 4th, 2011 (UK)
* On Amazon: here


Summary from Amazon.co.uk:

Emerald St. John is in trouble. She has been condemned to marry a man she hates, her enemies are conspiring to have her pet bear Molly torn apart in the baiting pits, and the man she loves is far away on the high seas. And she has stumbled into a web of spies with a plot to poison Queen Elizabeth I. To save herself and the kingdom, Emerald must beat the spies at their own game - which means transforming herself from a country girl into a lady of the court. Can she do it in time?


This sounds brilliant! Pet bears, men away on sea adventures and plots to poison the Queen? Count me in! I do like historical novels, but I like them to have more to them, if that makes sense. Emerald sounds like it will be a fast-paced, exciting story with more to it than meets the eye, and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Oh, and isn't the cover lovely? I *think* it's the final one, but don't quote me on that.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Review: We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han


Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
Released: April 26th, 2011
Grade rating: A


Amazon summary:

Belly has only ever been in love with two boys, both with the last name Fisher. And after being with Jeremiah for the last two years, she's almost positive he is her soul mate. Almost. Conrad has not gotten over the mistake he made when he let Belly go even as Jeremiah has always known that Belly is the girl for him. So when Belly and Jeremiah decide to make things forever, Conrad realizes that it's now or never--tell Belly he loves her, or lose her for good. Belly will have to confront her feelings for Jeremiah and Conrad and face a truth she has possibly always known: she will have to break one of their hearts.

Review:

Just reading the summary of this book makes me want to cry giant Conrad-shaped tears, before rugby tackling Jenny Han and giving her a hug to end all hugs. That woman put me through the emotional wringer with We'll Always Have Summer, and even though I was expecting that to happen, I wasn't expecting to want to face punch Jeremiah and elope with Conrad. My loyalties have lied with the latter since reading It's Not Summer Without You, but I've always had a place in my heart for lovely, thoughtful Jeremiah. I knew things wouldn't go smoothly for my beloved Belly, but did I think those.. those THINGS would happen?! Hell no I didn't!

Anyway, this is a very hard review to write without spoiling anything. Jenny Han gives you happy, rainbow-coloured things then rips them away before you've even managed to fully appreciate them. She sends you on a rollercoaster ride of ifs and buts, and makes you guess. Yes, GUESS! I got to the end and I was so emotionally drained that I had to have a lie down (actually, I was already lying down. It was 3am. It made me want to sleep). I felt bad and good for Belly, but I also wanted to rewind her life and live it all over again on one continuous loop. There is no contemporary YA series as amazing as this, and I never should have been worried about reading this final, long-awaited instalment. Jenny Han delivers in true epic Han style, and all I was left with was a great sense of loss. I feel like 3 of my BFFs have upped and left, leaving their story miles from finished. Of course, their story is finished (For now? Jenny, will there ever be more? Tell meeeee!), but dammit I could have read about these characters until they were 80-years-old and renting the Cousins beach house out to young whipper snappers experiencing a summer love for the first time.

*sheds tear*

OH! And don't even get me started on the letter. The letter that Belly reads. If you've read this book you must know which letter I'm talking about. The most heartbreaking of compositions, written for a much-loved girl on the most important day of her life. I bawled my eyes out reading it for the first time, and again for the second and third (Yes, I went back and put myself through the misery and ultimate happiness a couple more times). I'm happy with how things ended, I really am. It might not have been what I expected or hoped for, but I'm happy. Belly's happy, so obviously I am too. Ahh, that girl.

What I'm really trying to say is that every female reader and lover of YA should read this series. Jenny Han's a certified genius, and she inspires me to write these crazy reviews that make me sound like I've just downed 10 cups of coffee. For the record, I don't like coffee, this is all pure book love you're reading here. Aside from my extreme sadness upon turning the final page of We'll Always Have Summer, I was also left with an urgent desire to re-read the whole series, starting with The Summer I Turned Pretty. I've since got the first 2 books out of storage and they're waiting to be summoned. The Summer series might just be my new summer reading ritual, and I can't think of a better group of fictional people to spend the long hazy nights with. Thank you Jenny Han for making me want to live in yet another fictional world. If that was your intention, then you succeeded with many ribbons and flying colours. If only the pages of a book were big enough to jump into, I'd be at the Cousins beach house right about now!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Review: Undead Ed and the Howling Moon by David Grimstone


Publisher: Hodder
Format: Paperback
Released: May 5th, 2011
Grade rating: B/B+


Amazon summary:

Forget everything you've ever seen or heard about werewolves, zombies and vampires because Ed Bagley's going to tell you the single most important fact you'll ever learn: BEING UNDEAD ...especially if you're a kid. On his 13th birthday, Ed Bagley is hit by a truck and killed. But things go from tragic to freaky when Ed wakes in the sewers beneath the town of Mortlake with only a note from his missing left arm to explain that he's undead: a zombie, a walking corpse whose skin rots and oozes. And as if all this misfortune wasn't enough, there's a lunatic killer on the loose in Mortlake... and only Ed can stop him.

Review:

The first thing I want to say about Undead Ed and the Howling Moon is that it's funny. Really funny. I lost count of how many times I laughed out loud, and I even read certain passages out to my parents so I could share the laughs. It's written with dark, deadpan humour and is very blunt in parts. Ed doesn't beat around the bush: he tells it like it is, even if that means describing in great detail how there's a worm living in his decaying face! Brilliant.

Although this book is about death (obviously), it's not depressing or hard to read. Ed makes light of everything, even his untimely demise at the wheels of a truck. Oh! Have I mentioned that his left arm is possessed, and basically does what it wants? Because it is. And it does. It's an evil appendage if ever I read about one, and could give Devon Sawa's Idle Hand a run for its money (FYI: Idle Hands is a great comedy-horror film from 1999. If Ed was older, he'd be like this, I'm sure of it).

There's also some fantastically random charactars in Undead Ed, and I liked every one of them except Kampo Cheapteeth the evil clown. Max Moon, Ed's dead friend, is my favourite after zombie Ed, as he's a really cute werewolf with a sharp bite and lots of intimidating fur. If you want someone on your side, it'd be him and Jemini the vampire. What a group of friends!

Undead Ed and the Howling Moon is such a fun book, and is ideal for fans of the Scream Street series. It's gruesome and clever, with some great illustrations alongside the text. I wish it had been longer, as I could have read a lot more. I also would have liked for Kampo Cheapteeth to appear more, but I think we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the next book, Undead Ed and the Demon Freakshow. I'm glad I've found yet another younger character to read about - Undead Ed is going to make for a very fun series!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

In My Mailbox #121: 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!

I had another great week this week - lots of surprises and some very exciting titles! I also met John Boyne, author of the amazing The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which I'll hopefully write about soon. He's one of my favourite authors, and I was so excited to meet him!

Here's what was in my big red postbox this week:


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For review:
This sounds cool, very like Enid Blyton!

  • Passion by Lauren Kate (UK proof/ARC)
Woohoo!

I love the cover for this one, and it sounds intriguing. Looking forward to giving it a go.

I'd never heard of this one until it arrived. Sounds good!

Random adult title that arrived. Sounds fun and summery!

I love this series. I read this today and it might just be the best so far.

A lovely finished copy. Sounds like a great read, especially for boys.

Another random adult title. I will probably end up seeing the film so might give this a read first.

I have a trade paperback of this and still haven't posted my review. Faeries! Yay!

Sue Limb's books are SO funny. I haven't read this one so I'm really looking forward to it!

This is a UK debut and it sounds ace!

Scott Westerfeld ROCKS. And this paperback is lovely.

Sounds fun!

Another one that sounds really good and very topical.

I had never heard of this one either, and I'm not sure whether it's adult, YA or a crossover. It's about teenagers, but I don't know what it is - does anyone know? Sounds very interesting either way.

Some of my favourite friends and authors have stories in this anthology. Yay!

I just read the first in this series and enjoyed it!

Read this too. There's an alien hamster leader called Major Fluffy. I want to adopt him.


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For review ~ Secret Project

These books are all for a cool award judging thingy I'm involved with. I don't think I can say any more, but I am really looking forward to reading them!

Sounds interesting!

I really like the sound of this one. Regency + magic glamour!

These have ace covers. Sound good too.

This one sounds creepy and dark. Hope it's good!

Loving this new cover!


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Bought:
This is book 10?! Wow. I need to catch up. Not fond of the cover though.

I bought this at John's event and he signed it for me. It's about soldiers in WWI.

  • Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
I buy the US editions of this series. So pretty!

This looks like a quick summer read!

Carla raves about this series. I've got them all now and have read the first one. I hope I get more used to the footnotes.


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Gift:
I work at WHSmith, and the Richard and Judy adult book club is exclusive to us. We all got to choose one of the new books, and I chose this one. WWI again!

I forgot to include this last week, as my best friend bought it for me for my birthday. I think this is my 32nd book about the Titanic, or something like that. If you haven't guessed, the Titanic is my other big interest!



Happy reading and hope you all have a great week!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

News: New Covers!

Lots of ace new book covers have been revealed over the past couple of weeks, and I'm such a cover fan that I just had to post about them. I'll be US/UK'ing a few of them at some point, as I already have very clear favourites. Let me know what you guys think of these new ones - good, bad, indifferent?


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Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
(US cover)

I loooove this cover. But, then again, I love all of James Porto's Hush, Hush saga creations. I think it's atmospheric and brilliant, and I can't wait to have it on my bookshelf! (And, err, obviously I can't wait to actually read the book too!)



The Invisible Order: The Fire King by Paul Crilley
(US cover)

I love this one too. I read the first book last year and was swept away to OMG WOW land, and The Fire King is one of my most anticipated 2011 releases. September seems so far away!



Soul Screamers: If I Die by Rachel Vincent
(US cover)

I think the US covers for this series are great, and I like how each one has a different colour scheme. If I Die isn't my favourite so far, but I still like it. The title font really stands out!



The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
(US/UK covers)

I prefer the US cover here, but both are appealing. Looking forward to reading this... I hope it's a good one!



Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
(UK cover)

This cover gives me the creeps. Eep.



The Damned: A Crusade Novel by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
(UK cover)

More cover lust: I think this is amazing! It reminds me of an old 30 Days of Night tie-in cover, which is, of course, a good thing.



The Death Cure by James Dashner
(US cover)

Wow wow wow! I'm so glad I buy the US editions of this series. I think it's the best of the 3 for sure!


Fury by Elizabeth Miles
(US/UK covers)

Both of these are lovely. I want them both and I want them now!



Twisted by Gena Showalter
(US cover)

Ace colours used here, and epic title treatment once again. I hope the UK one turns out as nice.

Friday, 13 May 2011

The Passage by Justin Cronin Blog Tour: Video & Giveaway!


The Passage is the first in Justin Cronin's vampire trilogy, with book two, The Twelve, due for publication in 2012. I'm really excited to be a part of this video blog tour, as I had the chance to interview Justin last year and was fascinated. These videos are currently exclusive to the blog tour, so make sure you check them all out!

The Passage is now in paperback in the UK, and it looks brilliant. You can win one at the end of this post, but for now, here's Justin talking about The Twelve.




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To see more videos from Justin, head to the following blogs to catch the beginning of the tour. He talks about locations and settings for The Passage, so there may be minor spoilers.



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Giveaway!

One (1) lucky person will win a lovely limited edition paperback copy of The Passage, thanks to the kind people at Orion Books. This edition has red page edges and is exclusive to Waterstone's in the UK. It's amazing! All you have to do to enter is fill in the form as usual, and rules and whatnot are below. Good luck! :)




Rules & info:
  • Open to UK residents only.
  • End date: May 20th, 2011.
  • One entry per person.
  • You do NOT have to follow my blog to enter.
  • Books will be sent out by the publisher