Sunday, 5 July 2015

Letterbox Love #95

Letterbox Love is a way to show you all of the lovely, lovely books I’ve gotten in the post, bought and everything else over the last week. Summaries are taken from the cover, or Amazon/NetGalley/Goodreads in the case of e-books, unless otherwise stated. Hosted by Narratively Speaking.

For review:

Get Started in Young Adult Fiction, Juliet Mushens (paperback)

Get Started in Young Adult Fiction provides sensible, easy to follow advice on how to plan, write, edit and publish your first novel for young adults. It will help you understand how genres work, what makes a book suitable for a young adult audience, and how to make the process of writing easier by breaking it down into bite-sized chunks.

Written by a leading literary agent who knows what it takes to make it in this market, this book will give you the advice and tis you need to stand out and get your writing noticed in one of the fastest growing and most popular areas of fiction. You’ll learn how to develop your plot, write relatable characters and convincing dialogue, and bring your story to life. Using editing exercises and workshops, this book will give you the practical tools, encouragement and motivation to write great fiction for young adults and show you how to get it published.

Really curious about this. Thanks Hodder!

Crow Mountain, Lucy Inglis (proof)

While on holiday in Montana, Hope meets local boy Cal Crow, a ranch hand. Caught in a freak accident, the two of them take shelter in a mountain cabin where Hope makes a strange discovery. More than a hundred years earlier, another English girl met a similar fate. Her rescuer: a horse-trader called Nate.

In this wild place, both girls learn what it means to survive and to fall in love, neither knowing that their fates are intimately entwined.

This sounds like it’s going to be an epic, sweeping romance and I can’t wait. Thanks Chicken House!

Darkmere, Helen Maslin (proof)

Outsider Kate has a crush on the coolest boy in school, Leo. He’s inherited a castle, a menacing ruin on the rugged English coast. When he invites her along for the summer, she finally feels part of the gang.

But Darkmere’s empty halls are haunted by dark ghosts. Two centuries ago, Elinor – the young wife of the castle’s brooding master – uncovered a dreadful truth.

As past and present entwine, Kate and Elinor find themselves fighting for their lives – and the ones they love.

Another fab sounding romance from Chicken House! Can’t wait to get stuck in.

Killer Game, Kirsty McKay (paperback)

This is Killer, and you have all been invited to play. And you should play like your life depends on it.

At cate’s isolated boarding school, Killer Game is a tradition. Only a select few are invited to play. They must avoid being ‘killed’ by a series of thrilling pranks, and identify the ‘murderer’.

But this time it’s different: the game stops feeling fake and starts getting dangerous – and Cate’s the next target. Can they find the culprit…before it’s too late?

Really looking forward to this! Thanks Chicken House!


For Holly, Tanya Byrne (paperback)

Lola Durand hates her stepmother. It’s a cliché but it’s true.

Lola Durand can’t get through to her father. He never wants to talk about the things that matter: why they had to move to Paris, why he had to marry evil Agatha, and how they can get through the heartache of her mother’s death together.

If he won’t listen, she’ll show him. She’ll show him the truth about his new wife and then her life can go back to normal, just the way she likes it.

Lola Durand knows a secret about her stepmother. She’s going to share it.

I loves Tanya’s books so super excited for this. Took me ages to get hold of though!

I Am Legend, Richard Matheson (e-book)

The last man on earth is not alone…

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth…but he is not alone. Every other man, women and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood.

By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like this?

This is one of Jenny of Wondrous Reads’ favourite books and it’s on sale on Kindle! Sounds amazing.

Completely Cassidy: Star Reporter, Tamsyn Murray (e-book)

Latest news from Cassidy Bond, Star Reporter!

So I started this petition to let girls wear trousers at St Jude’s, and everybody’s talking about it – including Kelly, Year Ten editor of the school magazine. And now she’s asked me to be her star reporter – yay!

Even better, I’ve already sniffed out a *big* exclusive. Because someone’s set up a nasty gossip website about people at school – and if I can identify the mystery blogger, it’ll be the scoop of the century!

The first of Cassidy’s adventures was really good fun so I’m looking forward to this!

Life Moves Pretty Fast, Hadley Freeman (trade paperback)

For Hadley Freeman, American movies of the 1980s can teach you quite simply every life-lesson you need to know.

Forget school, in the eighties all you needed was a videostore membership and you’d learn how to be cool (from Bill Murray), how relationships might really work (from When Harry Met Sally…), why your parents matter (from Back to the Future), and even how to deal with the kissing parts (The Princess Bride).

In this personal love letter to the films that shaped her generation’s view of the world, Hadley puts her obsessive movie geekery to good use. She looks back to a more innocent cinematic world in which girls could wear their grandmother’s clothes and still get the guy; in which superheroes were fun (and not agents of a neo-con agenda); in which the greatest teenage rebellion was visiting an art gallery and attending a parade. She considers how the change between movies then and now says so much about society’s changing expectations of women, young people and art/

Funny, fascinating an insightful, Lives Moves Pretty Fast is a truly heartfelt tour of some of the best-loved movies ever made. (And it’ll make you want to go and rewatch Ghostbusters, right now!)

I’ve only read the first chapter, but I’m in LOVE.


Friday, 3 July 2015

One, Sarah Crossan

Pages: 418
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 26th August 2015
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Breathe, Resist, The Weight of Water, Apple and Rain

Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.

And their lives are about the change.

No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

But what neither Grace nor Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…

From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to have and want a soulmate?

By now you will have heard about One. The tweets and Goodreads updates of the beauty of the free verse, the power of the story and the sadness of the story. It’s all true.

I’ve read very few verse novels in my time so I completely blown away by how effective the writing in One is. I was really surprised at how easy it was to become involved with Grace and Tippi and their family and friends – I cared about them within pages. It’s amazing how so few words can have such a big effect, especially in the ending pages.

Tippi and Grace are conjoined from the hip down. The reality of the extensive medical bills, endless appointments and reactions of strangers were brought to light, as well as the basic health risks and complications for both of the girls just for living. But that’s normal life for the girls. It was so interesting to see how normal they see themselves as, but also completely different. It’s a fascinating dynamic between Grace as the narrator and me as the reader. The connection between her and Tippi is essential to Grace and neither of them had even considered being separated, until Grace began to fall in love of course. It made me so aware of the simple fortunes in my life.

One is a beautiful, beautiful novel about sisterhood, love and life and I implore you all to rush out and get a copy when it’s out next month.

Thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Most Anticipated: July to December 2015

I can't believe it's time for another most anticipated reads post! Here are the books I'm most looking forward to over the next months. 


Completely Cassidy: Star Reporter, Tamsyn Murray (1st, Usborne)

Fire Colour One, Jenny Valentine (2nd, Harper Collins)

Lorali, Laura Dockrill (2nd, Hot Key Books)

Lying Out Loud, Kody Keplinger (2nd, Hodder)

Ink and Bone: The Great Library, Rachel Caine (7th, Alison and Busby)

Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee (14th, William Heinemann)

I Knew You Were Trouble (Jessie Jefferson), Paige Toon (30th, S&S)

First Class Murder, Robin Stevens (30th, Corgi)

Another Day, David Levithan (30th, Electric Monkey)


House of Windows, Alexia Casale (6th, Faber and Faber)

The Boy Most Likely To, Huntley Fitzpatrick (18th, Dial [US])

A History of Glitter and Blood, Hannah Moscowitz (18th, Chronicle Books [US])

The Tattooed Heart: A Messenger of Fear Novel, Michael Grant (27nd, Electric Monkey)

The Rest of Us Still Live Here, Patrick Ness (27th, Walker)

One, Sarah Crossan (27th, Bloomsbury)


Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between, Jennifer E Smith (1st, Headline)

Queen of Shadows, Sarah J Maas (1st, Bloomsbury)

Counting Stars, Keris Stainton (3rd, Hot Key Books)

Did I Mention I Need You?, Estelle Maskame (3rd, Black and White Publishing)

All of the Above, James Dawson (3rd, Hot Key Books)

All About Pumpkin: The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby, Natasha Farrant (3rd, Faber and Faber)

This is One Moment, Mila Gray (10th, Macmillan)

Zom-B: Fugitive, Darren Shan (10th, S&S)

Stand Off, Andrew Smith (10th, Penguin)

Mosquitoland, David Arnold (10th, Headline)

Saga: Volume Five, Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples (15th, Image Comics)

Tonight the Streets Are Ours, Leila Sales (24th, Macmillan)

Zeroes, Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti (24th, S&S)

Monster, CJ Skuse (24th, MiraINK)


The White Rose, Amy Ewing (1st, Walker)

Blood Passage (The Dark Caravan Cycle), Heather Demetrios (, Balzer and Bray [US])

Carry On, Rainbow Rowell (8th, Macmillan)

First and Then, Emma Mills (13th, Henry Holt [US])

What We Left Behind, Robin Talley (22nd, MiraINK)

The Iron Warrior, Julie Kagawa (27th, Harlequin Teen [US])


Soundless, Richelle Mead (10th, Razorbill [US])

Ice Like Fire, Sara Raasch (19th, Balzer and Bray [US])


Ten Thousand Skies Above You, Claudia Gray (3rd, HarperTeen)

What are you most looking forward to in the rest of 2015?


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Blog Tour: An Extract from The Baby by Lisa Drakeford

Today I’m really excited to be a part of the blog tour for Lisa Drakeford’s debut, The Baby. I have a snippet from Alice, but don’t forget to head to the other tour stops to meet The Baby’s other four narrators: Olivia, Nicola, Jonty and Ben. Over to Alice!


Olivia is talking to her friend Ben. He came around about an hour earlier and they have been in the bedroom talking all this time. He has not been around for a while. Since the baby was born in the bathroom, a lot of things have changed.

Alice sits on the floor and rests her head against the wall. She looks around her with the gentle tones of her sister in her ears and tries to relax. It is difficult to calm down, because this is the same room where Nicola gave birth to the illegitimate baby and it still feels strange. Her mum spent a long time cleaning up the blood and the other stuff and she knows for a fact that she threw away two perfectly good towels.

It is difficult to forget the images and sounds of Nicola moaning and screaming on the floor.

But her sister’s voice is comforting.

Ben’s voice is lower than Olivia’s but that is because of the male hormone testosterone. Boys’ voices break during puberty. So Ben must have reached this.

‘I don’t even know how you can consider it,’ he says.

She hears her sister sigh. She has been doing a lot of sighing since her best friend gave birth to the illegitimate baby.

The Baby is out in paperback and e-book tomorrow from Chicken House!


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Blast From the Past: Jane Eyre

Originally published in 1847 by Smith, Elder and Company
(under the pseudonym Currer Bell)

My edition: the beautiful (and rather hefty) Penguin Clothbound Classics hardback.

What’s it about?
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject the the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr Rochester and discovers the impediment in their unlawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a women’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded for her sex in Victorian society.

Why now?
Well, I should have read it in my first year of university and I didn’t. Now I feel that that was a grave slight and I need to rectify it. And Stacey from Pretty Books told me she loved it.

The verdict:
Well, I actually should have read this for one of my core modules at uni, but I think I only managed a few chapters, and after reading it now, I know that I never would have made it all the way through. I struggled with Jane Eyre for most of the novel.

Though Charlotte Bronte’s writing is beautiful, it’s also quite dense. It took me a long time to read and I ended up having to make myself read on my Kindle as I tend to read quicker that way and so I could make myself read 10% at a time to get through it. It wasn’t until I reached about 60/70% where Jane finds out about Bertha that I became properly involved and that was mostly because of Jane herself.

She really is a character before her time. She refuses to accept injustice put upon her by her aunt and cousins; she values passion, intelligence and fairness; and most significantly, she won’t marry Rochester until they are on equal footing. When he has power over her and is above her in society, Jane struggles with what will become of their relationship, but after the horrific fire at Thornfield and Rochester is a very different man, she enters into a marriage with a partner, not a master. Before, Rochester was manipulative and really quite messed up, but Jane gaining independence and Rochester becoming injured helped them both into a position where they could work together, where they needed each other. It wasn’t until then that I bought into their love story at all. It had seemed to master and servant to me before that.

She’s also narrating the novel in direct address which I adore. I was so glad to see that the famous line, ‘Reader, I married him’ was far from the only time that she addresses the reader. Then at the end of the novel when she relates that’s she’s telling her story ten years from the end of the story, I really felt like I had been at the receiving end of being told a story by a friend. It was lovely.

So, yes. I struggled with Jane Eyre but finishing it felt like a real accomplishment and I’m really glad I did it. It was worth it to meet Jane, to be honest!

Still not convinced?
- John Green’s Crash Course Literature video (again): Reader, It’s Jane Eyre
- Jane is a heroine way before her time.
- You totally want to actually read all those super famous quotes, right? (Or is that just me?)