Sunday, 28 February 2010

In My Mailbox 52

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets.

For review:

Solace of the Road - Siobhan Dowd

I put the wig on and I thought myself into Solace. I was Solace the Unstoppable the smooth-walking, sharp-talking glamour girl, and I was heading into a red sky, thumb out and fag in hand.

Holly is sick of being told what to do. She’s ditching her old life and she’s heading off. She puts on her blonde wig, blows herself a kiss and flutters her eyelashes. And now she’s ready. She’s Solace, Solace of the road.

I didn’t like the other book I'vs read by Siobhan Dowd, A Swift Pure Cry, but I might give this a go one day. If only for the beautiful cover!


Castle of Shadows - Ellen Renner (signed)

“No clue about why the Queen vanished had ever been found. Until now…”

The day Charlie discovers a scrap of paper that could solve the dark mystery of her mother’s disappearance, her world changes. Forever.

Charlie and her friend, Toby, must race against time on a dangerous mission too uncover the sinister truth.

But in this shadowy world of secrets and lies, there is more to fear than they can possibly imagine…

I won this in a contest at the fabulous Chicklish. It sounds like another brilliant UK debut. Thanks, Luisa!


Friday, 26 February 2010

Signing Report: Richelle Mead

Last Friday I went up to Harrods to meet Richelle Mead where she was doing a stock signing during her week-long UK tour.

Luckily I got there early so there weren’t many people in the queue and she was able to personalise one of my books and sign her name in the other five.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I couldn’t take any photos, and it didn’t occur to me to use my phone. I know, stupid, right?

While Richelle was signing my books I asked her how many more books there are going to be in the Vampire Academy series. This is what she told me:

- After Spirit Bound, there’ll be one more book starring Rose.
- Then there is going to be a spin-off series of another six books.
- Richelle is keeping the main star a secret as she doesn’t want to give away who lives and who dies! I was panicked after she said that!
- She did give away that one of the characters will be Sidney who made her first appearance in Blood Promise.

After meeting Richelle I’m even more excited to read Spirit Bound!


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Hunger: A Gone Novel - Michael Grant

Hunger: A Gone Novel - Michael Grant

Pages: 586
Publisher: Egmont
Release Date: 4th January 2010

Other Books in the Series: Gone (my review)

An uneasy calm has settled over Perdido Beach. But soon fear explodes into desperation as starvation sets in and the mob look to place blame. For the ‘normals’ the buck must stop somewhere - with the ‘freaks’.

More and more kids are developing strange powers and, just as frighteningly, so are the animals in the FAYZ: talking coyotes, swimming bats and deadly worms with razor-sharp teeth are just the beginning.

For Sam Temple the strain of leadership is beginning to show and he’s got more than just dwindling rations and in-fighting to worry about - Caine is back with the psychotic whip hand, Drake, by his side.

And in the background lies the greatest danger of all - and he too needs to be fed.

Hunger is the fantastically intense sequel to Gone. I completely loved it.

I felt really sorry for Sam in the second instalment of this excellent series. The pressure of being Mayor of Perdido Beach , the mutations and powers developing in the FAYZ and the rising troubles between the ‘Freaks’ and the ‘Normals’ really started tog et on top of him. He really seemed so much older than fifteen and I truly felt for him throughout Hunger. Because of all of the things on Sam’s shoulders we didn’t get to see much very much development in Sam and Astrid’s relationship. This is one of my only complaints about the novel.

The only other thing I disliked about Hunger was just a passing comment from Sam, something inconsequential, but something that stayed with me throughout my reading of the novel. Everybody in Perdido Beach is beginning to starve and Mary has become bulimic and has lost a lot of weight. A lot of weight. Sam notices and comments on how good she looks. I know it’s nothing major but it struck a nerve with me and I felt it a little irresponsible of Michael Grant to be portraying that message.

But, regardless, the positives far outweigh the negatives in how I feel about this book. Hunger is written in third-person, with all of the characters having the spotlight. As one of my favourite writing formats, Hunger was sure to be a hit with me. But that wasn’t the only thing that made me love it as much as I did. The constant suspense put me on edge and very often panicking about the situation in Perdido Beach and the safety of the characters.

As well as being full of panic-inducing suspense, Hunger is a terrifying dystopia that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. The reality of what happens to a group of teens and children where there are no adults or authority figures, when food is running out, powers are emerging in the kids and a potentially fatal divide is falling between the kids of Perdido Beach is incredibly disturbing. Because it could happen in that situation. And it probably would. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes a good dystopia.

I loved Hunger and even though there wasn’t a cliffhanger, I can’t wait to see how Sam’s story continues in Lies.


Monday, 22 February 2010

Contest: The Uglies Series (CLOSED)

A couple of weeks ago I received the first three books in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series for review from Simon and Schuster as they have been reprinted in gorgeous new covers. As I already own the series I thought I'd give someone else a chance to win some of my favourite books.

Summary for Uglies: Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?

Tally can't wait to turn sixteen and become Pretty. Sixteen is the magic number that brings a transformation from a repellent Ugly into a stunningly attractive Pretty, and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be Pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the Pretty world - and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

I couldn't figure out the Google Docs thing so I'm doing this the old fashioned way!

+1 Leave a comment with your name and email address so i can contact you.
+2 For being a new or old follower
+2 For each place you mention the contest (Twitter, sidebar, blog post, etc.) Mention what you've done in your comment/email

If you're not comfortable leaving your email address in the comments, email me at

This contest is open to everyone in Europe (sorry! Three pretty substantial books will cost a fortune to send!) and ends on Monday 8th March at 11:59pm GMT.

Good luck!


Friday, 19 February 2010

Featured on Friday: Sally Nicholls

Sally Nicholls debut novel, Ways to Live Forever, won the 2008 Waterstone‘s Children’s Book prize. Season of Secrets is her sophomore novel.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
If I'm struggling, I'll go and write in a different place - this stops me getting too stale. I work best in the evenings, but have to train myself to write during the day, otherwise I'd never have a social life.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
As a teenager, I read a lot of science fiction - Terry Pratchett, Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, John Wyndham. As an adult, I have more favourite books than favourite authors

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
Ooh ... hard question. The Norton Anthology of English Literature (both volumes), because it would take me ages to get through it and I'd hate to be stuck with nothing to read. And a big blank pad of paper (and a pen) so I could do some writing while I was there.

4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
Loads! Homer's the Iliad - because it's such a great story, so violent and descriptive, and because I'd love to write something which lasts that long. And Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle, because it's so funny and clever and Cassandra is such a great character.

5. I loved all of the myths and legends in Season of Secrets. Was it hard to weave them into the story?
No ... the hardest part was working out what Molly was going to DO when she met the green man. And what to do with my villain! All the other stories were fairly easy, because I'd just finished writing Ways to Live Forever, where Sam is always telling stories, so it made sense for Molly to do the same.

6. Both Ways to Live Forever and Season of Secrets deal with loss in some form. Why is this such a prominent theme in your novels?
I like strong emotions, and I think young people do too - I certainly did when I was a teenager. I like big themes too - and death and loss are two of the biggest themes there are.

7. How did you tap into a child’s mindset so perfectly?
I have a good memory! And a small shoulder demon aged about ten who complains every time I put something unrealistic in there.

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
The book I'm writing at the moment is set in Yorkshire in 1349, at the time of the Black Death. It's very gruesome and - I hope - sad. I'm learning a lot of medieval England!

Sally also asked me to say hello to all my blog readers, so, ‘Hello!’ from Sally!

Thank you very much, Sally! You can visit Sally at her website here and read my review of Season of Secrets here.


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen

Pages: 424
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 4th February 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Someone Like You, Last Chance, That Summer (my review), Dreamland (my review), Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, Lock and Key (my review)

Auden has always felt like the odd one out.

Since her parents’ divorce she’s shied away, studying lots and staying out of the party scene.

But now Auden’s realised there must be something more and, just like that, she changes everything. Moving to her dad’s house opens up a whole new world of beach parties, food fights - and simply having fun.

As she gets to know herself - and a secretive boy with dark, brooding eyes - can Auden begin to let go and finally feel like she truly belongs?

Sarah Dessen doesn’t know how to write a novel that’s less than amazing. Before reading this I’d been waiting for a ‘Wow!’ book, and Along for the Ride delivered.

I know I’ve said it about Sarah Dessen’s books before, but she really writes her characters so beautifully and intricately that I feel like I’ve known them forever. Closed-off, controlled, insomniac Auden is a classic Dessen heroine; strong, likable, a little damaged and in need of some real friends and the love of a legendary Dessen boy. Eli Stock. Quiet, mysterious and gorgeous Eli. He’s managed to make himself my second favourite, just under Wes from The Truth About Forever.

The way that the characters in Along for the Ride interact with and help each other is one of my favourite aspects of the novel. Relationships are very important in this novel: romantic ones, ones between siblings, those between friends and definitely the one between parent and child. Auden and Eli’s connection grew steadily and realistically in such a believable way that I felt myself grin every time they were together. I loved the way that they just talked and talked, it was such a contrast to their daytime personas. All the friends that Auden made in Colby really helped her to grow and I’d love to be friends with any one of them. I also found myself really liking Auden’s step-mum, Heidi; more that her mum actually! Sarah Dessen really is an extraordinary character writer.

Along for the Ride is written in such a familiar voice that it was almost nostalgic. I love Sarah’s style so much that I would read a leaflet on the life cycle of worms if she wrote it! Her books are such a pleasure to read, I try to drag them out for as long as possible. One of my favourite parts of Along for the Ride, as with her other novels, is the way Sarah Dessen dives her old characters cameos. Joining Auden in Colby were Jason from The Truth About Forever (Macy‘s boyfriend) and Colby from Last Chance/Keeping the Moon. Nate from Lock and Key was also mentioned. I really love being caught up with them!

I love Sarah Dessen’s novels to death and I will continue to read and recommend them forever.


Monday, 15 February 2010

My Worst Best Friend - Dyan Sheldon

My Worst Best Friend - Dyan Sheldon

Pages: 304
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 1st February 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Planet Janet, Confessions of a Hollywood Star and many more

“Promise me you’ll always be my best friend, Gracie,” said Savanna.“No matter what happens. Promise. Promise. Promise.” I laughed. “Of course I will,” I promised.
It was a no-brainer. There was nothing that could ever end our friendship. We were soul sisters. We were cosmic twins and would be forever.
As least that’s what I thought then.

My Worst Best Friend is a funny, sparky and heart-warming tale of the ups and downs of friendship.

Dyan Sheldon has written a cast of unforgettable and lovable characters. Gracie is a character that I immediately identified with: plain, quiet and a bit of a soft-touch. I really enjoyed reading about her preoccupation with protecting the environment and her love for lizards. I found it very hard to make my mind up about Savanna, though. Her word confusions were hilarious but her manipulation of Gracie was horrible and even made me cringe a little at times. But it was Cooper who I especially enjoyed reading about with his love for old movies, quirky dress sense and peculiar turns of phrase.

The way that My Worst Best Friend is written sucks you in and pins you to your seat until the very last page. The simplistic and easy to follow prose and engaging plot draws you into Gracie’s world with both humour and teen trauma. I read it one sitting over a period of only a couple of hours and I wasn’t even aware of the time passing.

The subject of a worst best friend is a situation that I imagine that everybody can relate to. I know I can! This accessibility really enhanced my connection with the characters of My Worst Best Friend as I could not only sympathise, but empathise with Gracie’s situation.

I feel like I’ve been missing out on Dyan Sheldon, My Worst Best Friend being my first book by her, so I’ll definitely be reading more of her work in the future.


Sunday, 14 February 2010

In My Mailbox 51

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets.

For review:

My So-Called Afterlife - Tamsyn Murray

‘Aaargh!’ Stumbling backwards, the man’s face flooded with horrified embarrassment. ‘How long have you been standing there?’
My mind fizzled furiously. He could see me. He could actually see me! I could have hugged him! Well, I couldn’t, but you know what I mean.

Fifteen-year-old Lucy has been stuck in the men’s loos since she was murdered there six moths ago and Jeremy is the first person who’s been able to see her. Just her luck that he’s a seriously uncool geography type - but at least he’s determined to help.

Once he’s found a way for her to leave the loos, she’s soon meeting other ghosts, including the gorgeous Ryan. However, when Jeremy insists that she helps him track down her killer, she has to confront her greatest fear…

A fabulous surprise from Piccadilly Press. This is a UK debut author so I’m especially excited to read it.

Desperate Measures - Laura Summers

‘Jamie and me have run away,’ said Rhianna, ‘and now you can too, Vicky.’
I took her hand in mine. It was freezing.
When we first started school, they thought Rhianna could manage without any help. But every morning, Mum would whisper to me, ‘Keep an eye on your sister, Vicky.’

So I did. I looked out for her. Kept the bad kids away. Protected her from danger. And now Mum was dead, I would always have to look out for her. For ever and ever, amen.

Vicky and Rhianna are twins but they couldn’t be more different. For their fourteenth birthday, Vicky wants a card from the hottest boy in school. Rhianna, brain-damaged at birth, wants a Furby.

Instead they get a nasty shock. Their foster parents can’t cope and it looks as if Vicky and Rhianna and their younger brother Jamie will have to be split up.

How can they stay together?

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

Another excellent surprise from Piccadilly Press and another UK debut that I‘m really looking forward to.

Vampirates: Empire of Night - Justin Somper

The stakes rise…

Sidorio, fuelled by grief and revenge, is intent on becoming King of the Vampirates and building a new empire to bring terror to the oceans. But he faces growing opposition from both Pirate Federation and from the more benign vampirate realm, led by Mosh Zu and Lorcan Furey.

Twins Grace and Connor Tempest, still reeling from the recent discovery of their true parentage and its explosive implications, are thrust deep into the heart of the conflict. As old friends and foes are thrown together unexpectedly, the twins find their allegiances shifting in ways no-one could ever have imagined…

Join the Tempest twins in this fifth dramatic encounter as they battle for the empire of the vampirates.

I’ve seen this series around but have never really looked at them. They sound pretty exciting! Thanks to S&S!

Dark Life - Kat Falls (UK Proof)

When the oceans rose, entire continents were swallowed up by the rising water. Now humans live packed into high rises on small tracts of land, while those willing to forge new frontiers settle deep beneath the waves.

Ty has lived under the sea his entire life, helping his family to farm the ocean floor. But when outlaws attack, Ty finds himself in a fight to save the only home he has ever known. Joined by Gemma, a girl from Topside who is looking for her missing brother, Ty ventures into the frontier’s rough underworld - and discovers some very dark secrets. Secrets which threaten to destroy everything…

A world where the deep can be dangerous, the darkness can be deadly and sometimes it’s all you can do to stay alive…

I’m so pleased I got an early copy of this from S&S. It looks fantastic!

Striker Boy - Jonny Zucker

Nat Dixon is Premier League Football Club Hatton Ranger’s mystery new signing - and their only chance at avoiding relegation.

It’s every young footballer’s dream come true, and Nat feels though he’s fulfilling his destiny…

But what his fellow players, the fans and the press don’t know is that Nat is only 13 years old…

A thrilling story of one boy’s plunge into an incredible world of Premiership football and deadly danger, that will have football fans gripped from start to finish.

I’m won’t be reading this one as I have no interest in football whatsoever. But if any of you, or sons, brothers, nephews etc., would like it, send me an email and I’ll send it out to you.

I also got quite a few repeats this week: The Worst of Me by Kate le Vann, Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles and the first three books in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. Look out for a contest for these coming up soon.


The Carbon Diaries 2017 - Saci Lloyd

It’s so weird being inside history. I keep waiting for someone to press the stop button.

It’s 2017 and London is a city on the edge, fighting for survival in the new carbon rationing era. As ever, Laura Brown is right on the front line charting events with acerbic wit as Europe descends into student revolt, strikes and a bitter water war.

These are revolutionary times, and it’s down to Laura to deal with the big stuff - how to keep her love life under control, her parents chilled out, and that dream of world domination with her band, the dirty angels, alive.

I really enjoyed to first book so I’m interested to see how much worse London has gotten!


Friday, 12 February 2010

Blog Tour: Guest Post with Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth is the prolific author of over twenty books and has joined So Many Books, So Little Time for a guest blog in honour of her newest release The Puzzle Ring. (My review). Over to Kate…

Kate Forsyth’s Top 10 CYA books Read This Year

‘The Ropemaker’ by Peter Dickinson.
Publisher’s blurb:

Tilja has grown up in the peaceful Valley, which is protected from the fearsome Empire by an enchanted forest. But the forest’s power has begun to fade and the Valley is in danger. Tilja is the youngest of four brave souls who venture into the Empire together to find the mysterious magician who can save the Valley. And much to her amazement, Tilja gradually learns that only she, an ordinary girl with no magical powers, has the ability to protect her group and their quest from the Empire’s sorcerers

My review:
I read and loved many of Peter Dickinson’s books as a teenager, in particular ‘The Dancing Bear’ and the Weathermonger series. Peter Dickinson is one of the great children’s fantasy writers (he is 73 now, I think) and I was really curious to see if he still had the magic. ‘The Ropemaker’ was short-listed for the Carnegie Medal and was a Printz Honor Book, and so someone definitely thinks so! What do I think? It is a clever, thoughtful and demanding YA fantasy novel, and so it may not appeal to those teenagers who have grown used to quick and ultimately forgettable reads. However, it is truly original, with a quartet of unlikely heroes, being a girl and her grandmother, and a boy and his grandfather. The Ropemaker himself is an intriguing and enigmatic figure, and the book is full of surprises. It has lingered in my mind for a long time since reading it, and I think it will join many of Peter Dickinson’s other books as a classic of children’s fantasy.

‘The London Eye Mystery’ by Siobhan Dowd.
Publisher’s Blurb:

When Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim get on board the London Eye, he turned and waved before getting on. But after half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off - but no Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air?

So Ted and his older sister, Kat, become sleuthing partners, since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery.

This is an unputdownable spine-tingling thriller - a race against time.

My review:
This is a lovely little book that worked like clockwork – not one unnecessary word or sentence. It deserves to be as big a success as ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time’, which has a similar plot device but is not nearly as clever. This was author Siobhan Dowd’s second novel, and is a very adroit ‘locked room’ type mystery, in that the victim – a teenage boy called Salim – disappears from the London Eye despite his young cousins watching the whole time.

The family are beside themselves with horror and grief, and these scenes are drawn brilliantly well, each character vivid and alive and real. Most vivid of all is the character of Ted, the primary protagonist, who has what I suspect must be Asperger’s Syndrome, although he described it as having ‘a different operating system’. Ted and his sister Kat, who is a very ordinary, sassy teenage girl, turn sleuth in the hope of finding their cousin themselves. Despite the tension and drama, some of these scenes are very funny, such as Ted’s theory that Salim was caught in a time warp. In the end, it is Ted that solves the mystery, though each step of his reasoning is shown and makes perfect sense, and the denouement is truly brilliant.
I absolutely loved this book, and was shocked when I learned Siobhan Dowd died soon after it was published from breast cancer. She was posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal for her third novel, Bog Child, which I have on my TBR pile. She was only 47.

The Museum of Mary Child’ by Cassandra Golds.
Publisher’s blurb:
Heloise lives with her godmother in an isolated cottage. Next door is a sinister museum dedicated to the memory of Mary Child. Visitors enter it with a smile and depart with fear in their eyes. One day, Heloise finds a doll under the floorboards. Against her godmother's wishes, she keeps it. And that's when the delicate truce between Heloise and her godmother begins to unravel . . . Heloise runs away. She journeys far, but one day she must return to uncover the secret at the heart of her being. A timeless love story and a bewitching fairy tale from the masterful creator of Claire de Lune.

My review:
This is an extraordinary book about the power of love to transform the world. With a fairy-tale, out-of-world quality, it reminded me of books by Elizabeth Goudge and Joan Aiken, writers who I love. Delicate and yet riveting, timeless and yet surprising, tender and yet sad, it’s a truly beautiful book. It tells the story of Heloise who lives with her cold and remote godmother, who forbids her any toys or dolls or books, all except an old Bible that has had any passages about love heavily struck out so they cannot be read. When Heloise finds a doll hidden under her floorboards, she runs away, searching for love, a home, truth ... she hardly knows what. What she finds is a young prince chained in prison, a Society of Caged Birds, a church choir of orphan girls, and dolls. Lots of them, not all of them benign. And yes, in the end, love, a home, truth ...
Cassandra is an Australian writer and so perhaps may not be very familiar to UK writers, though I know you can buy her earlier book Claire de Lune from She was first published at the age of nineteen, but has written only a few beautiful and unusual books. You may need to buy this from an Australian online bookshop like

‘City of Flowers’ by Mary Hoffman
Publisher’s blurb:

The sequel to City of Masks and City of Stars, the narrative moves to the Talian equivalent of the city of Florence, where beauty and danger walk - as ever - hand in hand. The focus this time is on the new Stravagante, Sky, whose talisman is an ornate and delicate blue glass bottle. Sky is propelled right into the midst of a deadly feud between the di Chimici and Nucci families, who think nothing of sliding a knife between a man's ribs for revenge A breathtaking and thrilling drama with a very special kind of magic, continuing the stories of Luciano, Arianna, Rodolfo, Falco and Georgia, which fans will sieze upon with glee.

My review:
I love these Stravaganza books! They are a series of YA historical fantasy, about a group of modern day teenagers who travel back in time (or perhaps sideways to an alternative universe) to a medieval Italy with flying horses and other magical things. I wish I’d thought of stravaganzing – it is such a brilliant idea! Filled with romance, intrigue, drama and adventure, the books balance modern-day issues with gorgeous medieval Italy (or almost Italy). I read on her website that her daughter says her books are more Italian than Italy – which is perfect for an Italophile like me. Mary Hoffman is a UK writer whose other titles include ‘Troubador’ and ‘The Falconer’s Knot’ which I fully intend to read very soon. Book 4 in the Stravagnza series ‘City of Secrets’ was short-listed for the 2009 Carnegie Medal, so that’s on my TBR list too!

‘Magic Flutes’ by Eva Ibbotson
Publisher’s blurb:
Spring, 1922. Tessa is a beautiful, tiny, dark-eyed princess - who's given up her duties to follow her heart, working for nothing backstage at the Viennese opera. No one there knows who she really is, or that a fairytale castle is missing its princess, and Tessa is determined to keep it that way. But secret lives can be complicated. When a wealthy, handsome Englishman discovers this bewitching urchin backstage,Tessa's two lives collide - and in escaping her inheritance, she finds her destiny...

My review:
Eva Ibbotson is one of my favourite YA authors. Her books are light-hearted romances, yet are filled with life and vitality and charm. ‘Magic Flutes’ tells the story of Tessa, one of the last princesses of the dismantled Austrian Empire, who must face the reality of life after the Second World War. Like all of Ibbotson’s heroines, she is humble, hard-working and kind. She does not try and maintain her lost aristocratic dignity, but goes to work at a small opera company, following her passionate love for music and the arts. Meanwhile, her ancient, crumbling castle is sold to a young, rich Englishman who plans to lay it at the feet of the shallow, haughty beauty who rejected him before the war. Tessa, the rich hero, the shallow beauty and a cast of lovable eccentrics are then brought together by fate in a captivating and amusing story that includes all sorts of fascinating tidbits about Vienna and opera and music. As always, it is Ibbotson’s minor characters who bring so much life and humour to the story - the Littlest Heidi, the Bulgarian Boris and his flocculating yoghurt, Prince Maximilian and his dogs, Bubi and all the rest just leap off the page and dance around the room. A delight, as always.

‘Cupid’s Arrow’ by Isabelle Merlin.
Publisher’s Blurb:
Love at first sight has never been so terrifying ... It's been a while since 16-year-old Fleur Griffon has had one of the weird and scary dreams that used to plague her childhood. So she's really creeped out when she starts dreaming of being hunted through a dark forest by an unseen, sinister archer. But when her bookseller mother unexpectedly inherits the magnificent library of a famous French author, Fleur forgets all about her fears. Excitedly, mother and daughter travel to Bellerive Manor, near the ancient French town of Avallon, reputedly the last resting place of the 'real' King Arthur. And it is there, in the magical green forest near Bellerive, that Fleur meets a handsome, mysterious boy called Remy Gomert. It seems to be love at first sight, beautiful as a dream. But Fleur's nightmare is just about to begin . . .

My review:
This is the third in a series of fresh, fast-paced YA suspense novels which I have been really enjoying. Each novel stands alone, with new characters and situations, yet they are linked by their French settings, their gentle romances, a twist of the eerie or supernatural, and their use of the newest technologies, such as google, blogs, and so on. In ‘Cupid’s Arrow’, an Australian teenager Fleur travels with her mother to Avallon, meant to be the ‘true’ resting place of King Arthur. She meets a lovely French boy called Remy, but soon finds herself caught up in a murderous mystery. The romance is romantic, the suspense is suspenseful, and the writing style is easy and natural and very readable. Definitely recommended for teenage girls!
Isabelle Merlin is an Australian writer, who draws upon the stories of her French grandmother to enrichen and enliven her books. The other books in the series are called Three Wishes, Pop Princess, with another coming soon, to be called Bright Angel.

‘Locket of Dreams’ by Belinda Murrell.
Publisher’s Blurb:

Sophie discovers a golden locket in an old treasure box that belonged to her grandmother's grandmother. When she falls asleep wearing the locket, she magically travels back in time to 1858 to learn the truth about the mysterious Charlotte Mackenzie.
Daughter of a wealthy Scottish laird, Charlotte and her sister Nell live a wonderful life with their parents and animals, on a misty island with its own ruined castle. Then disaster strikes and it seems the girls will lose everything they love. Why were Charlotte and Nell sent halfway around the world to live with strangers? Did their wicked uncle steal their inheritance? What happened to the priceless sapphire - the Star of Serendib? With the magic of the golden locket, Sophie begins to unravel the mysteries as she shares the adventures of Charlotte and Nell - outwitting their greedy relatives, escaping murderous bushrangers, and fighting storm and fire. But how will her travels in time affect Sophie's own life?

My review:
I need to declare straightaway that this wonderful book was written by my own beautiful, talented sister Belinda. She’s a writer too, and like me, writes stories filled with magic, history, suspense and adventure. This novel is a time slip adventure that moves between modern-day Sydney, and 1850s Scotland. It has as its inspiration the true story of our great-great-grandmother Ellen Mackenzie, whose parents died when she was just a young girl. Her family castle was inherited by her uncle, who promptly shipped Ellen and her sister Jane out to the wilds of Australia. As kids, Belinda and I used to dream about one day winning back that castle and so of course the old family mythology has worked its way through our imaginations and into our fiction. It was pure coincidence that both Belinda and I wrote time travel adventures set in Scotland in the very same year, and we both resolved not to read each other’s books until they were finished. Of course they are very different –half of Belinda’s book is set in 1850s Australia with bushrangers and bushfires and other Australian motifs, while mine is primarily set in Scotland. ‘The Locket of Dreams’ is a brilliant book, though, being sad, heroic, and beautiful. It can only be bought from Australian online bookshops, though, along with her other books which include a fantasy trilogy, Quest for the Sun Sword, and her forthcoming French Revolution time-slip novel, The Ruby Talisman.

‘Shiver’ by Maggie Stiefvater.
Publisher’s Blurb:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human... until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

My review:
I had heard a great deal about this book and so I grabbed it as soon as it finally arrived in Australian shores. I read it in a single setting – it is a small, simple, elegant story – with a sense of brooding melancholy and bittersweet longing. Essentially a tale of first love, it is beautifully told and I rate it much more highly than any other paranormal romances for teenagers that I’ve read this year. It is true that there are no surprises, but that is true of the genre as a whole, I think. Teenage girls (or anyone else) do not read paranormal romance for twists and turns and switches and surprises – they read it for the sense of strange and wonderful in the midst of the real experiences of first meeting someone who stirs you, and of the real fears and problems we all face as we grow into adulthood. They read it longing to find love like that for themselves.
Structured in very short chapters alternating between the points of view of Grace, the teenage heroine, and Sam, the mysterious wolf-boy, the book moves at an elegiac pace. Much of the pleasure in it comes from Stiefvater’s lyrical use of language, and especially for me, by the use of one of my favourite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke.

Also, the characters are carefully and lovingly drawn. Sam quickly became a favourite of mine, because he has the good taste to love Rilke, and because he composes songs in his head which made him a far deeper and more interesting character that is usual in YA paranormal romance. I liked Grace too. She was strong, intelligent and capable, and the romance between the two was delicate and rather lovely. By the time I finished the book I was completely enchanted.

‘Heroes of the Valley’ by Jonathan Stroud.
Publisher’s blurb:

Not everyone is destined to be a hero…Long ago the valley was a wild place, defended by the twelve legendary heroes. Now it is at peace and the time for daring exploits has passed – much to the annoyance of Halli Sveinsson. A short, squat stump of a boy, Halli craves excitement, setting sail across the uncharted waters of the goose-pond, or scaling the heights of neighbouring rooftops. But his dreams of real adventure seem doomed until a practical joke rekindles an old blood feud and his life is turned upside-down.Setting out on a daring quest, he is joined by Aud – a girl every bit as reckless and headstrong as him. Together they will challenge the legends, and themselves, and discover that there is more than one way to be a hero…Blood feuds, epic battles and an unforgettable anti-hero come together in this brilliant new fantasy adventure by Jonathan Stroud.

My review:
I’m a big fan of Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy and so I was looking forward to reading this book a lot. It was just as clever, funny and action-packed as I hoped it would be. ‘Heroes of the Valley’ tells the story of Halli Sveinsson, who dreams of being a hero like those in the old tales but is short and dark and bad-tempered, not at all the usual criteria for a hero. The character of Halli is one of the book’s joys, particularly his quick temper and acerbic tongue. One of my favourite lines: ‘Leif needs no sabotage from me .. If he manages two sentences without tripping over his trailing knuckles he will have exceeded my expectations.’ There is also a tall, clever, wisecracking girl called Aud who rescued Halli once or twice, and the dynamic between the two characters is great. Add in a murder, a quest, a few pratfalls, some nasty trows, and a genuinely surprising twist, and ‘Heroes of the Valley’ becomes one of the best children’s fantasy books I’ve read in a while. It also has a great website at

‘The Book Thief’ by Marcus Zusak.
Publisher’s blurb:
1939 - Nazi Germany - The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall. Some important information - this novel is narrated by death. It's a small story, about: a girl; an accordionist; some fanatical Germans; a Jewish fist fighter; and quite a lot of thievery. Another thing you should know - death will visit the book thief three times.

My review:
‘The Book Thief’ is one of my all-time favourite books. It is written by an Australian, Marcus Zusak, who drew upon his own German parents’ memories and tales of the war. It took him three years to write, and he struggled for a while to find the right voice – one day it occurred to him to have the story being narrated by Death himself, and the result is a truly extraordinary story.

The book thief is a teenage girl called Liesel who steals books from Nazi fires, and saves them from destruction, because she instinctively realises the redemptive power of words and stories. She tries to save a young Jewish man as well, and works to thwart Death from the feast of slaughter that was the Second World War. ‘The Book Thief’ has won too many prizes for me to list here, plus been on bestseller lists all around the world for years. I first read it when it came out in 2005, and I read it again this year – always a sign of true love with me. Such a wonderful book, so sad and yet filled with such hopefulness. If you haven’t read it, you really really must.

Kate stopped by Literate Mother Technologist yesterday and will be heading to the Ultimate Bookhound tomorrow to continue her fabulous tour.

Thank you so much, Kate! You can visit Kate at her website here and read my review of The Puzzle Ring here.


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Puzzle Ring - Kate Forsyth

The Puzzle Ring - Kate Forsyth

Pages: 438
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 1st June 2009

Other Titles by this Author: Witches of Eileanan series, Rhiannon’s Ride series, Chain of Charms series, The Star-Thorn Tree and Sea Magic

Hannah is almost thirteen when she discovers her family is cursed…

Desperate to break the dark spell and find her missing father, Hannah starts a treacherous journey back in time. If she can find all four pieces of a magical puzzle ring, her family will be reunited. But her quest takes her back to the days of Mary, Queen of Scots - a time when witches are burned at the stake and danger lurks everywhere.

Can Hannah put the puzzle ring together fast enough to save her family?

The Puzzle Ring is an exciting and engaging fantasy adventure that captures your imagination and takes you to places you’ll never believe you could go.

Hannah is a girl who dreams of magic and adventure. And, boy, does she get it! Her love of all things fairies, secrets and mysteries is infectious and Hannah’s brightness, loyalty and determination make her my kind of girl. I’d like to swap her for my younger sister, actually! One of my favourite things about Hannah is her cleverness and ability to solve all of the riddles and make up the rhyming spells. I was stunned by Kate Forsyth’s skill in turning then out in such a way that they flowed effortlessly. They must have taken her ages!

The atmosphere of The Puzzle Ring was electric. It was action-packed, fuelled with adrenalin and you never knew what was around the next corner. There was a flurry of history, magic, mystery and secrets and the plethora of mythical creatures only enhanced this. There were witches, fairies, kelpies, dwarves, giants, gargoyles and so many more. I was in my element!

But my favourite thing about The Puzzle Ring was Hannah, Donovan, Max and Scarlett’s journey back to the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. The historical detail! You could tell that Kate Forsyth really did her research on medieval Scotland: the smells, the clothes, the food, the beliefs and the superstitions were so precise. I briefly thought that I’d like to go with Hannah to the Queen’s court, but then three very important things came to mind: there was no hot running water, no flushing toilets and I can’t sing or play a musical instrument so I wouldn’t actually be allowed in anyway. I think I’ll be better off firmly in the 21st Century and leaving the time-travelling to Hannah!

I loved The Puzzle Ring much more than I expected to and I’ll definitely be checking out more of Kate Forsyth’s books. Check back on Friday for a guest post with Kate for her fantastic blog tour.


Monday, 8 February 2010

The Secret Year - Jennifer Hubbard

The Secret Year - Jennifer Hubbard

Pages: 192
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: 7th January 2010

Colt was with Julia for a year, but nobody else knew about it. Julia lived on Black Mountain Road in a mansion - with servants - and had a country-club boyfriend to complete the package. Colt definitely didn’t come from Black Mountain, and no one would have understood why they were together. But it never mattered to them. Until Julia dies in an accident right before her senior year, and Colt is the only one who knows their secret. He tries to pretend that his life is the same as ever, but he’s haunted by memories of Julia. Things get worse after the journal she kept about their romance falls into his hands. Colt searches every entry for answers: Did Julia really love him? Was he somehow to blame for her death? But the ultimate question - one nobody can answer - is how he’s supposed to get over someone who was never really his to begin with.

Combining the intrigue of forbidden romance with the tension of strict class divisions, Jennifer R. Hubbard creates and unforgettable debut novel about love, loss, and the freedom that comes with figuring out who you really are.

Jennifer Hubbard’s debut novel, The Secret Year, is a tale of love, loss and social divides.

I had such high expectations for this novel after all of the five-star reviews of it that I’ve been reading, but The Secret Year just didn’t do it for me. don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, it just wasn’t the blow-my-mind novel that I wanted and expected it to be. The love between Colt and Julia didn’t seem sincere to me or have any real foundation; it seemed purely physical.

My favourite thing about The Secret Year is Colt’s voice. It’s engaging, easy to follow and very, very likable. It was horrible how he had to grieve alone and in silence and I really felt for him. Even though his grief was evident in the beginning, I felt that he got over Julia pretty quickly. Speaking of Julia, I really didn’t like her. The Julia in Colt’s memories and her diary entries seemed very different and neither were girls that I’d like to be friends with.

Though I didn’t love The Secret Year, I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for books by Jennifer Hubbard in the future.


Sunday, 7 February 2010

In My Mailbox 50

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets.

For review:

The Diary of a Dr Who Addict - Paul Magrs

It’s the 1980s and David has just started secondary school. He’s becoming a teenager, while still hanging onto the rituals of childhood, particularly his addiction to Doctor Who: sharing the books with his best friend and neighbour, Robert, and watching the TV show.

But adolescence is as strange and alien to David as anything the good Doctor encountered, so he’s mystified when Robert begins to reject his hero in favour of girls, free weights and new music. Is it time for David to make a choice and move on too?

An evocative and moving portrayal of a boy finding his place in the world, set against a backdrop of Bowie, Blackpool and Breville toasters.

I actually love the Doctor Who TV show, so hopefully I’ll enjoy this too. Thanks, S&S!

Dark Secrets: Legacy of Lies & Don’t Tell - Elizabeth Chandler

Two girls haunted by the past…and destined to relive it.

In Legacy of Lies, Megan has to stay with the uptight grandmother she wants nothing to do with, she’s determined to get through the visit without any drama, but when she falls into a twisted love triangle with potentially fatal consequences, Megan may be caught up in her family’s legacy in more ways than she realises.

In Don’t Tell, Lauren knows that by returning to the town where mother drowned seven years ago, she’ll be reliving one of her most haunting memories. When she arrives, she is propelled into a series of mysterious events that mimic the days leading up to her mother’s death. Maybe her mother’s drowning wasn’t an accident after all…and maybe Lauren is next.

I really enjoyed Kissed by an Angel when I read it a couple of years ago so I think I’ll like this one a lot. Thanks, S&S!

If I Grow Up - Todd Strasser

“By the age of twelve, seeing dead folks was nothing new. The gangbanger who lay glassy-eyed in a pool of blood in the lobby. The lady who was stabbed…The crusty wino who froze to death…”

DeShawn lives in the Frederick Douglas Project where dropping out of school to join a gang is the norm, gunshots ring out on a regular basis and every kid knows someone who’s died.

DeShawn is smart enough not to want to join up - he knows that the cost of gang life is jail or an early death. But when some of his closest friends join and have money to buy whatever they want, while his family goes hungry. DeShawn starts to rethink his options. Could joining up be the end to all of his family’s problems, even if it’s just the start of his?

Another surprise from S&S. This sounds reminiscent of Kevin Brooks or Melvyn Burgess’s early books so I hope I’ll like it!

Nearly Departed - Rook Hastings

“I’ve seen a ghost,” said Emily. “Well, not seen one exactly. Heard one. At least, I think I have…”

Woodsville is not like other towns. Night falls a little earlier there, the shadows are darker and denser, and everyone knows it’s a place where strange things happen, even if they won’t admit it.

Bethan would prefer to be anywhere but here. Jay has his theories, but isn’t ready to share. Hashim sees more than he’ll say, while Kelly’s demons are all too flesh and blood. But Emily’s freak-out brings them out of denial and face to face with the supernatural.

Anywhere else, Friday night would be date night. But not in Weirdsville…

I’m really loving the sound of this one. I haven’t read a ghost story in ages. Thanks, Harper Collins!


Ghost Huntress: The Guidance - Marley Gibson

Kendall and her ghost hunting team are the talk of Radisson, Georgia, but one person isn’t so pleased.

Courtney Langdon doesn’t appreciate Kendall’s new popularity or her relationship with Jason, Courtney’s ex.

So Courtney begins dabbling in the paranormal world. At first it’s all a game to draw attention away from Kendall. But Courtney doesn’t know what she’s getting into. This is one game that’s about to turn deadly serious.

I loved the first book so I’m looking forward to this one.

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I’ve heard fantastic things about this so hopefully it’ll live up to my expectations.


Friday, 5 February 2010

Featured on Friday: Kate le Vann

Kate le Vann has written for various newspapers and magazines and has written five fabulous books for teens: Tessa in Love; Two Friends, One Summer; Things I Know About Love, Rain and her newest release, The Worst of Me.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I think I write best in the hours just before falling asleep, because there's a bit of magic that carries you through when you're really tired; it takes you further into a character's mind and you never have quite the same thoughts earlier in the day when you're wide awake. You can always tidy up the mad things you wrote the next day when you're thinking clearly - and there are usually lots. But it's also the time when it's easiest to just shut down the computer and go to sleep.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
My dad bought me a lot of teen fiction that I wouldn't even have known existed; he loves book shops and always looked for things I might like. American authors like Paul Zindel - he was my absolute favourite, his books always had amazing titles like 'My Darling My Hamburger' - I wanted to call Tessa in Love 'I Love You More Than Bacon' in tribute to this. And The Pigman and The Pigman's Legacy, which I thought were really mega-deep and told me all about myself. Because they were and did. And my guilty pleasure was the Virginia Andrews Flowers in the Attic books, which I loved. All of those, the Zindel and the Andrews, if I pick them up now, I find impossible to put down.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
I'd want to take books I haven't read already, and long ones. So, from my current to-read pile I'm looking forward to PG Wodehouse's autobiography, Wodehouse on Wodehouse, Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton, and the last Dragon Tattoo trilogy book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, because I haven't quite managed to get into it yet, but I really want to know what happened.

4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
There's about a thousand! It's easy to be in awe of other writers because they can do things you can't do. One of my favourite books is Maybe the Moon by Armistead Maupin, and I loved it so much that I copied it, without realising, in my first novel, Trailers. There's a slightly similar plot, about someone with a disability getting ready for a big future event. Of course I am insulting the Maupin HORRIBLY by saying that - the similarity only goes as far as me copying.

5. Lots of your novels have very sad elements to them. Why is this such a prevalent theme in your novels?
I would like to blame Cosmogirl, because the first two YA novels I wrote were supposed to be part of a series of weepy books. But my first adult novel was far more miserable than both of them, and when the Cosmogirl series ended I didn't get much happier! I am a bit of a misery! I always worry about the worst thing happening, and I think in a way I like to follow those thoughts through in my books.

6. At the Moth Ball in The Worst of Me, why did you decide to refer to the characters using their costumes?
I wanted to capture a slight wildness in everyone that was a result of them wearing costumes and being able to break free of their usual self-restraint because they weren't quite themselves, they were characters - even if that meant being truer to themselves than normal. So anything could happen that night. It's like the way Cassidy talks at the start of having a certain persona, that may be different with different people, but she's not even sure if it matches up to the real her. At the party, everyone is given a clean sheet to not act the way they're expected to act.

7. Why are the endings to your books never completely happy?
Like I said, I am a bit of a misery! There's a couple which definitely do have very sad endings, but I suppose I think the others are all sort of optimistic!. But because I'm always worrying, I think I assume my characters will never experience that moment of just feeling safely happy, like everything's going to be okay. But maybe I should take account of the fact that other people maybe do feel that way sometimes and it would be nice to feel that way. I mean, do they? Are they crazy?

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
Because I'm spending the year in beautiful California, I want to set a novel in San Francisco, which is completely my new favourite city. I absolutely love it. I've been working for a while on a ghost story, narrated by a boy who is dead, and haunting his girlfriend. It sounds really miserable again! But I think this one definitely has a happy ending, as far as books in which the hero is definitely dead can be happy.

Thank you very much, Kate! You can visit Kate at her page at Piccadilly Press and read my review of The Worst of Me here.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Worst of Me - Kate le Vann

The Worst of Me - Kate le Vann

Pages: 195
Publisher: Piccadilly Press Ltd.
Release Date: 1st January 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Tessa in Love; Two Friends, One Summer; Things I Know About Love; Rain

Cassidy has been feeling unsettled and adrift, but things look up when she meets an older boy called Jonah. She loves spending time with him and his friends, flattered to be included in their discussions. Jonah is sweet and sensitive and she’s never felt so happy.

But then Cassidy hears disturbing news about Jonah which shakes her trust in him and makes her question her own judgement. If you love someone, how far should you go to overlook their faults?

A sharply insightful story about the sometimes painful process of growing up and thinking for yourself.

The Worst of Me is Kate le Vann’s fabulous fifth novel for teens.

My favourite aspect of The Worst of Me is Cass. I identified with her immediately and found her so easy to like. Lots of the things that Cass felt about her friends and how she acted around them gave me an instant insight into her mind and I recognised some of myself in her. Kate le Vann has a way of drawing you into the mind and life if her characters and she did it again with Cass, leading her and the reader to a place where she began to like and trust herself.

Now, if you read my reviews regularly you’ll know that I love a good male lead in the books I read, but I just couldn’t quite find any like for Jonah. I think this may have been down to the mention of him in the blurb of The Worst of Me which instantly put me on guard about him because he really was pretty likable for most of the book. It’s really beginning to annoy me how crucial elements of novels are given away in the summary. I believe that The Worst of Me would have made a much bigger impact if I hadn’t known what to expect.

Religion plays a huge part in The Worst of Me and I generally don’t enjoy reading about it as it makes me a little uncomfortable, but Kate le Vann succeeded in writing it into the novel without being patronising or casting judgement. I thought it was handled beautifully.

I loved The Worst of Me and I highly recommend it along with the rest of Kate le Vann’s books.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Lex Trent Versus the Gods - Alex Bell

Lex Trent Versus the Gods - Alex Bell

Pages: 344
Publisher: Headline
Release Date: 4th February 2010

Cheats never prosper. At least that’s what everyone else would have you believe. But Lex Trent knows better. Lex knows that, with a bit of luck, the quickest route to success is a lie, swindle and cheat all the way to the top.Unfortunately Lex has taken his scams a step too far… Rather than see his neck in a noose, he’s forced to go on the run in a world of irritable Gods, fearsome magicians and strange beasts.But luck is still on his side, just.The Gods’ favourite pastime is The Games… and Lex has just become one of the human playing pieces. With fame, glory and untold wealth at stake, Lex isn’t going to lose (especially as that so often means dying) - in fact, he fully intends to beat the Gods at their own game.

Lex Trent Versus the Gods is an epic fantasy adventure full of extreme danger, high-octane chases and elaborate schemes. It was such a fun read that I didn’t even mind the lack of a love story!

The first thing that I have to mention about Lex Trent Versus the Gods is the world that Alex Bell created for Lex and the rest of her characters. I’ve never read about one like it; she physically changed the world! It was split between the Gods and the humans and the two halves were joined by ladders, the weather was controlled by the Gods and mythical creatures and objects were around every corner.

Another of my favourite things about Lex Trent Versus the Gods is the Gods and mythology. All of the Gods have churches and followers, they take human form and play with humans like chess pieces. Fantastic creatures from myth and folklore such as magicians, a griffin, Medusas and even a village of retired fairy godmothers popped up on Lex’s travels around The Globe. The were always new elements of the myth to be discovered.

Lex Trent is one of the most interesting main characters I’ve read about in a long time. He’s arrogant, selfish, a liar, a cheater and incredibly sneaky. And yet I still liked him! I don’t know how she did it, but Alex Bell made a despicable so likable and gave him much more depth than I expected. As we got further into the story we found that his ruthlessness has limits, he’s afraid of getting old and that Lex has serious height issues. He really is a brilliant character.

Lex Trent Versus the Gods is a fantastic start to a new adventure series and I’ll definitely be keeping up with Lex’s future escapades.