Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove - Lauren Kate

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove - Lauren Kate

Pages: 235
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: 12th November 2009

Other Titles by this Author: Fallen (my review)

All it takes is one fatal mistake.

What she wanted:
Natalie Hargrove wants one thing and one thing only - to be her high school’s Palmetto Princess. Among the other Southern Belles, a.k.a. Bambies, competing for the crown, she’s by far the most beautiful, and the most deserving. Or so she thinks.

The catch:
Her boyfriend, Mike King, is on the brink of losing Palmetto Prince to Nat’s nasty nemesis Justin Balmer. And let’s just say Natalie and Justin have a history so shady it could wither flowers. Sure, Natalie could share the throne with Justin - over her dead body.

The trick:
So Nat convinces Mike to help her play a naughty little prank on Justin…just to make him look bad. Little do they know, the plan is about to go terribly, terribly wrong.

The fatal flaw:
Natalie and Mike desperately try to cover up what happened to Justin. But blackmail and buried desire, dark secrets and even darker deeds slowly begin to tear them apart. Because fate is the one thing more twisted than Natalie Hargrove.

Lauren Kate’s debut, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove, is a re-telling of Macbeth that’s full of twisted, sexy intrigue.

I have to admit that I didn’t really connect with Natalie. She’s cold, hard and very scary. I mean, is anyone actually that arrogant and assured? It’s really quite unnerving. But regardless of that, I really wanted to learn more about her. Nat’s bad girl past was heavily hinted at but we only saw one or two tiny snippets of it. I would have liked to have known more about what made her so messed up. And Nat really is concrete proof that both greed and your parents really can screw you up for life. She just completely shocked me. Maybe I’m naïve. Maybe lots of high school seniors are like Natalie. I really hope not, though.

One of the first things that struck me about The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove is how different it is to Fallen. Lauren Kate’s sultry, sumptuous prose is harsher and darker (but not supernaturally dark) than I expected, but it fit Natalie’s story and personality perfectly. The writing is what kept me going during The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove as not connecting with the main character really reduces the chances of me liking a book.

I didn’t enjoy The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove nearly as much as I wanted and expected to. I do love Lauren Kate’s writing, though.


Monday, 29 March 2010

Event Report: Headline Meets Online

Last Wednesday, I got the chance to go up to London for the Headline Meets Online party where I got to meet lots of the Headline publicity team and some amazing UK bloggers. Unfortunately I forgot my camera (as usual) so I have no pictures, but I did meet Jenny of Wondrous Reads, Carla of The Crooked Shelf, Jo of Once Upon a Bookcase/Ink and Paper, Becky of The Bookette, Carolyn of Book Chick City, Liz of My Favourite Books, Sammee of I Want to Read That and a few more that I can’t remember. Sorry!

I was lucky enough to bump into Jenny, Carla, Liz, Carolyn and Alex Bell (author of Lex Trent Versus the Gods) as I arrived early so we sat outside and chatted until it was time to go in. When we arrived we navigated the very cool lifts into the office and got our badges (which I forgot to take off and ended up wearing on the Tube). We were in a little boardroom with food, drink and piles of books. Books that we were allowed to HELP OURSELVES TO and add to our goodie bag!! A very exciting moment for all of us. After a brief chat with everyone we settled down to watch a presentation on all of the new and upcoming Headline titles. I have to admit, I’m a tad excited for a few of them! (Wintercraft, Scarlett Dedd etc.).

After the presentation, the authors were unleashed on us. Carole Matthews (The Chocolate Lover’s Club), Dan Wells (I Am Not a Serial Killer), Alex Bell (Lex Trent Versus the Gods), Jonathan L. Howard (Johannes Cabal the Necromancer), Paul Magrs (The Diary of a Dr Who Addict) and Sean Cregan (The Levels) joined us. They were all fantastic and it was really lovely to be able to chat to them and get our books signed so informally.

We then took part in a quiz. My team, the Crescents, came joint second to last. But Alex, Becky, Carla and me felt we were at a disadvantage with only four players compared to some with seven. It wasn’t our fault we were so lame! Jo’s team won and they got a cool little trophy as she proudly showed off in her report!

Then we just carried on chatting as the people dropped away and then after I left, some bloggers went to the pub. I had college the next morning and would’ve been home quite late so I didn’t go, but it sounds like they had a brilliant time.

I had a fantastic time so I’d like to give a thank you to all of the Headline team (Sam, Maura, Kasi, Helena) who organised the event and I’d encourage anyone else to go to something like this if they get the chance. It was a brilliant afternoon.


Sunday, 28 March 2010

In My Mailbox 56

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:

Mr Monster - Dan Wells (signed)

My name is John Cleaver. I’m sixteen. I’m a mortician. I’m a sociopath.

But I am NOT a serial killer. Yet.

It’s been almost five months since I first killed someone. Nobody knows it, but I stopped the Clayton Killer - a serial killer who tore his victims to shreds. The other thing nobody knows is that he wasn’t even human - he was a monster. Literally a monster. A demon.

Now the only monster left is me - the dark side of me I call Mr Monster. I try to keep him locked up but he’s desperate to kill again, and now people are getting suspicious, the FBI is asking questions and corpses are showing up all over and - well, something’s gotta give…

This sounds fabulously dark. I got this at the Headline Meets Online event on Wednesday when I actually got to meet Dan and get this signed.

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer - Jonathan L. Howard

Johannes Cabal, a brilliant but reclusive scientist, has never pretended to be a hero. There is, after all, little heroic about robbing graves, being chased by torch-bearing mobs and selling your soul to the Devil. All routine inconveniences, however, when your buisness is raising the dead.

But now Cabal wants his soul back and he descends to Hell to retrieve it. Satan, incredibly bored and hungry for a challenge, proposes a little wager: Johannes has one year to persuade one hundred people to sign over their soul or he will lose his own forever.

With little time to lose, Cabal raises a crew from the dead and enlists his vampire brother to help out. On the road, Cabal wields weird science and black magic with the moral conscience of anthrax, but are his tricks good enough to beat the Devil at his own game?

I also got this at the Headline event. It sounds really, really weird. But brilliant.


Savannah Grey - Cliff McNish (ARC)

With a secure, new home life is good for Savannah Grey. But now it seems her body has turned against her. It’s become an enemy and a weapon. New boy Reece thinks Savannah’s troubling powers are a special gift. No wonder she is attracted to him. But there’s another force luring Savannah from safety into danger…

A present from Jenny who I finally got to meet on Wednesday. Love the sound of this!

White Cat - Holly Black (ARC)

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers - people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all mobsters or con artists. Except for Cassel. He’s the straight kid in a crooked family, if you ignore one small detail - he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Now Cassel is having nightmares, terrifying dreams about a white cat that seems to want to tell him something. He’s starting to notice other things, too - the strange behaviour of his two brothers, who seem caught up in a secret plot. As Cassel starts to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.

Thanks to the fabulous Nancy for this and some Vladimir Tod badges. I’m extremely excited to read this as I love Holly Black’s books.


I went a little mad this week! And they’re all Tenners!

The Naughty List - Suzanne Young

Everybody knows Tessa Crimson id the perfectly perky captain of the Smitten Kittens cheer squad. What most people don’t know is that the Smitten Kittens double as spies-for-hire. Their mission? Catch cheating boyfriends in the act and bring justice to the girls of Washington High. So far, every suspect on their naughty List has been found 100% guilty!

Thank goodness Tessa’s relationship with basketball captain Aiden is strawberry-smoothie. Or so she thinks.

Inter-kitten communication

Dear Smitten Kittens,
Brace yourselves, girls, for this latest catastrophe - we received the following anonymous alert this morning:
Another name for your possible cheater roster: Aiden Wilder. Who would’ve guessed right? Hope the rumours aren’t true!

Tessa’s about to begin her biggest mission yet: Could her boyfriend be just as naughty as all the rest?

SO excited for this!

The Mark - Jen Nadol

Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark - a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it to someone else, the mark was dismissed as a trick of the light. Cassie starts to consider its rare occurrences insignificant - until the day she watches a man die. After searching her memories, Cassie realises she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today

Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift”, seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret - even from her new philosophy obsessed boyfriend - with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all:

If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?

This has got really mixed review, but at only £6.89 on Amazon UK, I thought I’d give it a go!

Princess for Hire - Linsey Leavitt

Wanted: teenage girl to serve as substitute princess. Must be willing to travel. Please call Meredith.

Desi’s life sucks. She has to wear a stupid, furry costume at work, the guy she likes doesn’t know she exists and her former best friend hates her.

So when she’s accepted as a substitute princess, it looks like she might finally have a chance to shine…And there’s a hot prince to meet!

But is Desi really up to the royal challenge? After all, the life of a princess isn’t just tiaras and glass slippers…

What girl doesn't secretly want to be a princess? I do!

Pretty Bad Things - CJ Skuse

Twins in candy-store crime spree…

I know what you’re thinking. Tearaway teens. Yadda yadda. Maybe you’re right. But we’re all out of choices.

Last time we made headlines, Beau and I were six-year-old ‘wonder twins’. Little kids found alive in woods after three days missing, looking for our dad.

We’ve just hit sixteen and life’s not so wonderful. In fact, it sucks out loud. Still no Dad. Still lost. Still looking.

But now we’ve got a clue where Dad could be. Everything’s changed. it’s a long shot but we’ve nothing to lose. In the words of Homer Simpson, seize the donut.

This sounds so different and Lauren gave it a great review.

Magic Under Glass - Jaclyn Dolamore

Nimira’s life takes an unexpected turn when she’s hired by the mysterious Mr Hollin Parry to accompany an exquisite piano-playing automaton. But Nimira’s happiness with her new lifestyle is short-lived. She soon discovers that the spirit of a handsome young fairy gentlemen is trapped inside the machine’s stiff limbs. As they gradually fall in love, they become enmeshed in a plot to save the fairy realm from a ruthless gang of sorcerers - a battle that risks their very lives.

This delightful novel, which combines a fabulous blend of fantasy, intrigue and magic with a healthy dash of romance, marks the debut of an exciting new writer.

I love the cover of this book. And fairy gentlemen…


Friday, 26 March 2010

Featured on Friday: Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver is the debut author of Before I Fall; the novel that’s taken the blogosphere by storm.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I love to write in the mornings, at my kitchen table, but I travel so much and have such a hectic schedule I often find myself writing on the subway, or in airports, or at 10 p.m., unfortunately.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
I read and loved a lot of great literature as a teenager, although weirdly, I don’t have very strong memories from that period about what I loved to read. I remember being blown away by James Joyce, but I’m pretty sure that was in college. I do know that I’ve always had a shamefully intense obsession with Agatha Christie. It has abated somewhat over the years, but as a teenager I think I may have read all of her books, multiple times.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
The complete book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales; Remembrances of Things Past, by Proust, because otherwise there is probably no way I will ever get through the darn thing; and either Matilda, by Roald Dahl, or One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez—both books I could reread endlessly.

[Sophie: I LOVE Matilda! It's one f my favourite books ever.]

4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
The Harry Potter series, for fiscal reasons; The Great Gatsby, for artistic ones. The last line of that book still takes my breath away every time I read it.

5. What inspired you to tell Sam‘s story?
Sam herself. The character came to me before the story did. I knew I wanted to write about this kind of mean, bratty, self-absorbed girl who doesn’t even know how terrible she really is; she excuses her own bad behaviour. I wanted to create a set of circumstances that would enable her to see herself from different perspectives.

6. Where did the idea for Cupid Day come from?
I wish it had been some kind of invention on my part! We actually had a Cupid Day in my high school. It’s funny, because I was criticized by a blogger for having imagined this cruel holiday; she referred to that portion of the novel as “straight out of Mean Girls.” But I didn’t imagine it, or invent it! People exchanged flowers (carnations, not roses) with little notes attached to them, and the quantity you received was a big measure of your popularity.

7. Do you think that the blogosphere has had a substantial effect on the immediate success of Before I Fall?
Absolutely. I mean, I have nothing to compare this experience to, really, as this is my first published novel, but I definitely think the tremendous support of the blogging community has helped my book achieve a kind of recognition and notice in the industry. That’s what buzz is all about: getting people to chatter about a certain title. And that buzz, that chatter, certainly helps sell books.

8. If you had to relive one day in your life, which would it be?
It is probably too private—and in some ways, too painful—to share.

9. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
Yes! I’m just finishing up my follow-up book to Before I Fall (not a sequel). It’s called Delirium, and I’m very excited about it. It’s basically a Romeo-and-Juliet kind of story, with some dystopian deliciousness thrown in there. It takes place in a society that has deemed love a contagious and very dangerous disease…and figured out how to cure it. It should be out in early ’11. I’m also working on a middle-grade novel tentatively titled The Story of Liesl and Po. So lots going on!

Thank you very much, Lauren! You can visit Lauren at her website and read my review of Before I Fall here.


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Hourglass - Claudia Gray

Hourglass - Claudia Gray

Pages: 339
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 9th March 2010

Other Titles in the Series: Evernight (my review), Stargazer (my review)

Bianca will risk everything to be with Lucas.

After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school where they met, Bianca and Lucas take refuge with Black Cross, a fanatical group of vampire hunters. Bianca must hide her supernatural heritage or risk certain death at its hands. But when Black Cross captures her friend - the vampire Balthazar - hiding is no longer an option.

Soon, Bianca and Lucas are on the run again, pursued not only by Black Cross, but by the powerful leaders of Evernight. Yet no matter how far they travel, Bianca can’t escape her destiny.

Bianca has always believed their love could survive anything…but can it survive what’s to come?

Hourglass is the heart-pumping third instalment of the amazing Evernight series. And what an instalment it is!

High-octane action is packed into every page of this novel and I don’t think I breathed properly for a moment while reading this. The chases and the hunts kept me right on the edge of my seat and each time I was literally praying for both Bianca and Lucas to come out unscathed. Because sometimes I couldn’t see how that was possible. Add that to Bianca’s desperate need for blood and you’ve basically got a book full of tension. And one that’s very hard to review without being spoilery!

But it’s Bianca and Lucas’ relationship that I love most about this series. They have such an amazing connection! The lengths that they’re willing to go for each other astounds me and now I kind of want my own Lucas. (I realise that I say this a lot, but I can’t help it. Fictional guys are amazing.) The chemistry between them is electric and so full of sexual tension that I’m surprised they didn’t spontaneously combust! It’s almost reminiscent of the connection between Alex and Brittany from Perfect Chemistry.

But the ending made me angry. And it also made me cry. Why, Claudia Gray, why? You can probably tell that I was quite distraught. But I shouldn’t rally have been very surprised. With all of the shocking twists and turns that Hourglass had in store I should have anticipated such a horrible cliffhanger of an ending. But instead, I was left gawping like a fish.

After the aforementioned cliffhanger, I am aching to read Afterlife, the last chapter in Bianca and Lucas’ story.


Monday, 22 March 2010

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Pages: 341
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date: 4th March 2010

‘They say that when you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.’

Sam Kingston is dead.
Except she isn’t.

On a rainy February night, eighteen-year-old Sam is killed in a horrific car crash. But then the impossible happens: she wakes up in her own bed, on the morning of the day she died.

Forced to live over and over the last day of her life - the drive to school, skipping class, the fateful party - she desperately struggles to alter the outcome, but every morning she wakes up on the day of the crash.

This is a story of a girl who dies young, but in the process learns how to live.
And who falls in love…a little too late.

Before I Fall is a brave and complex novel about the territory between life and death. As astonishing as The Lovely Bones and as luminous as Jenny Downham’s Before I Die, it will make you want to live every day as if it were your last.

The beautifully written Before I Fall has taken the blogosphere by storm, and though it didn’t blow me away, I completely understand why.

Reams of glowing reviews and five-star ratings gave me incredibly high expectations for Before I Fall. the type of expectations that very few books would be able to meet. And, unfortunately, Before I Fall didn’t quite make them. But saying that, it’s still one of the best books that I’ve read this year.

Lots of bloggers have said in their reviews that they didn’t like Sam, and for the first chapter or so, I agreed with them. But then I realised that it wasn’t her that I disliked but her actions. As the layers of Sam’s life and personality were peeled away, a very normal girl was exposed. A girl desperate to remain popular, to fit in, to hide her dorky past. And I felt like she was telling ME her story. For my benefit and to teach me not to make her mistakes. But not in a preachy way at all.

If you hadn’t heard much about Before I Fall (where have you been?!), but found out that Sam relived the same day over and over again, you could mistakenly think that it would be boring. But you couldn’t be further from the truth. I was fascinated by how the smallest change could have such dramatic consequences. It made me think of all the hundreds of thoughtless decisions I make everyday and wonder how different my life could be. But that line of thinking could make a girl crazy, so we won’t go there!

Regardless of how I felt about Before I Fall not quite meeting my expectations, the love story blew me away. It’s beautiful, tender and utterly heart-rending. The way that Kent saw through Sam’s defences and looked out for her over the variations of the day never failed to make me smile like an idiot. But it was Sam’s eventual realisation of her feelings for Kent that I really loved. Her surprise at wanting to be around him, her growing disdain for Rob and the giddiness of her feelings for him made their story so real that I couldn’t help getting emotionally involved. Which is why I cried, like the sap that I am, at the completely unexpected and heart-breaking ending.

I have a feeling that Lauren Oliver is going to be around for a really long time and I can’t wait to read her next offering, Delirium.


Sunday, 21 March 2010

In My Mailbox 55

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 Prophecy - Gill James

Kaleem Malkendy is different - and, on Terrestra, different is no way to be.

Everything about Kaleem marks him out from the rest: the blond hair and dark skin, the humble cave where he lives and the fact that he doesn’t know his father. He’s used to unwelcome attention, but even so, he’d feel better if some strange old man didn’t keep following him around.

Then the man introduces himself and begins to explain the Babel Prophecy - and everything in Kaleem’s life changes forever.

Thanks to The Red Telephone for this. It sounds really good.

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure - Allan Richard Shickman (signed)

“She began to move warily in a circle as the men frightened the trap, and as they got closer the lioness began to stride and prowl in a circle so small that she almost seemed to be chasing her tail. But she was watching, watching while she turned and snarled, for a weakness in the ever-tightening ring of her pursuers. Then, at the moment the attack finally sounded-when the men, putting down their drums and torches, charged on the run with their spears-the lioness saw what she was looking for. One of her enemies was smaller, weaker than the rest. There was a point of the strengthening line that could be broken! Thought merged with furious action and the beast, with a mighty bound of astonishing swiftness, darted towards Zan. Five hundred pounds of snarling fury sprang directly at him with claws bared and fanged mouth open!”

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure has only begun. Pressed by love for his brother and a bad conscience, the hero undertakes a quest which leads to captivity, conflict, love and triumph. In three years, Zan-Gah passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a role of leadership among his people. This dramatic and impassioned story will thrill and deeply move young adults and older readers. They will dream of Zan-Gah at night, and remember it all their lives.

Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country - Allan Richard Shickman (signed)

Well past the middle of the night Zan felt a shaking of his shoulder as he slept, and then an impatient foot kicking at him. Instinctively grabbing for his spear, he looked up and saw the orange glow of a torch, and as his eyes adjusted to the invading light he recognised his brother’s ghastly face. Dael’s dangerous brow was furrowed, and the vein of his forehead bulged under the old scar. His teeth were clenched, and his eyes darted nervously back and forth. His every motion expressed a profound agitation, and Zan knew that what he had been dreading had come.

“It is time, Zan. Let us go!”
“Where? It’s dark!”
“I want to find where the river comes from.”

The volcanic turbulence that shakes Dael’s mind carries him to vicious extremes. It is Zan’s task to calm his brother and lead him away from thoughts both destructive and self-destructive. But even the paradise of the Beautiful Country will not erase them.

These aren’t my usual type of reads but I’ve been wanting to read more historical fiction and you can’t get an more historical than these! Thanks to Earthshaker Books for review copies.

The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in her isolated community without ever questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters; without ever questioning the strict rules imposed by ‘the Prophet’ who leads them.

But now Kyra has started keeping secrets. She reads books that are forbidden and sneaks away to meet Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself, instead of having a husband chosen for her.

Kyra knows that it’s only a matter of time before her two secret loves are discovered. And when the Prophet decrees that she is to become the seventh wife of her sixty-year-old uncle, Kyra is forced to make a desperate decision. But saving herself mean endangering everyone she’s ever cared for.

How far should she go for freedom?

Thanks to S&S for this. I’ve never read anything like this before so I’m curious to see what it’s like.

Viola in Reel Life - Adriana Trigiani

Viola doesn’t want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up ay the Prefect Academy, which feels like a million miles away from her home in New York.

Viola’s sure she won’t survive the year - especially since her three new roommates all seem to like being at Prefect. Her only comfort is her camera and her dreams of becoming a filmmaker.

But life at Prefect is nothing like Viola thought it would be and soon she realises that this could be the most incredible year of her life; if she can just learn to put the camera down and let the real world in…

Thanks again to S&S. I really love the sound of this.

Extras - Scott Westerfeld

These days it’s all about the fame.

As if life isn’t hard enough when you’re fifteen, Aya Fuse’s face rank of 451, 369 is so low, she’s a total nobody. An Extra. But when she meets a clique of girls who pull crazy dangerous tricks in secret, Aya sees a way to get her popularity rating to soar…

Aya is sure she’s destined for a life in the spotlight, and if she can just ‘kick’ the story to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are, then the spotlight will be on her.

But is Aya prepared to be propelled out of Extra-land and into a world of instant fame, celebrity…and extreme danger?

Thanks to S&S. I’ve already read and reviewed a copy of the old cover and I loved it.

Titus and Atreus - Meridi Myers (signed)

Two worlds, two boys…one prophecy.

Grief-stricken by the loss of his parents, Titrus Attwaters is convinced his life will never improve. His older sister ignores his calls, his grades in school have plummeted, and his house, once a place of warmth and security, is now lonely, cold, and alien.

But when a young man appears one night in Titus’s house, claiming he cam ein upstairs through the full-length mirror, Titus’s life gets turned upside-down. For, as Titus soon discovers, this intruder is not from Earth. Against his will, Titus is kidnapped and taken to another world, a place like Earth but markedly different. It is here where he will befriend angels, face assassins, and help a young prince unravel a prophecy that proves much darker and more twisted than any of them had imagined.

Thanks, Meridi!

I also got six graphic novel versions of:
- Stolen Hearts: The Love of Eros and Psyche by Ryan Foely
- A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
- Kim by Rudyard Kipling
- The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Harry Houdini by Cel Welsh

From Frances Lincoln. I won’t be reading these so if anybody wants any of them, drop me an email.


None. I didn't need to this week!


Friday, 19 March 2010

Featured on Friday: Tera Lynn Childs

Tera Lynn Childs won the RITA award for best First Book for Oh.My.Gods. and has written more about Phoebe in Goddess Boot Camp. Tera’s third novel, Forgive My Fins, will be released in the US in June.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
Usually I write in the mornings, starting at around ten o'clock or so. That way, I can get my page count for the day done and then waste the rest on email, internet, and social networking. I absolutely cannot write at home, so I usually take myself to the nearest Starbucks or other coffee shop. Give me a comfy chair, a tasty beverage, and a stream of people to watch and I'm a happy writer.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
When I was a teen we didn't have the wide selection of young adult books that we do now. Also, I wasn't the biggest reader in high school. Other than books required for school (most of which still make me gag) I read a lot of Michael Crichton. Right now, my favourite authors are those who inspire me most as a writer, especially those who are masters at the emotional journey, like Suzanne Collins, E. Lockhart, and Susan Beth Pfeffer. And my unequivocal writing hero is Jaclyn Moriarty.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
These would change from time to time, but right now it would be THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, FLY ON THE WALL by E. Lockhart, and THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS by Jaclyn Moriarty. (Note the parallels with the previous question.)

4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
THE HUNGER GAMES. Definitely. The farther I go in my career, and the more I learn about writing and analyzing the writing of others, the pickier I've become about reading. Even in books I love there is almost always something I would tweak or change if I were the author or editor. Not with THE HUNGER GAMES. I wouldn't change a single syllable.

5. Where did your interest in Greek mythology stem from and why did you decide to write about it?
Ever since I can remember I've been fascinated by ancient cultures: Greece, Rome, Egypt, Inca, Maya. I loved the mystery of a vanished civilization, it was a puzzle I wanted to piece back together, to understand how they flourished and why they disappeared. I never specifically said, "I want to write about Greek myth." Instead, I came up with a fun working title (Growing Up Godly) and had to find a story to fit. Since I don't write religious fiction, then the Godly bit had to mean something else. The Greek gods! From there, everything just fell into place.

6. You’ve written about descendents of Greek gods and mermaids. Are there any other mythical creatures that you plan to try your hand at writing about?
That's a tough one, because so many of the mythical creatures just aren't that romantic. A guy with the torso of a man and the legs of a horse? Not exactly a dream. I have a very thick encyclopaedia of mythical creatures that I like to flip through every so often, looking for inspiration. There are a couple that have caught my eye, but no real story ideas have hit me yet.

7. Will you ever write any more books about Phoebe or her world?
Oh, I hope so. I have a couple (okay, tons) of ideas, but it's just a matter of things lining up right with the stories and the timing and the sales numbers on the first two books. We'll have to wait a bit and see.

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
Right now I am waiting on the revisions for the sequel to FORGIVE MY FINS (which will most likely be titled FINS ARE FOREVER) that is due out in Summer 2011. And I am writing the first book in my new, untitled trilogy which will debut in Fall 2011. It's about triplet descendants of the gorgon Medusa who learn they are destined to guard the door between the world of monsters and that of man.

Thank you very much, Tera! You can visit Tera at her website or her blog and read reviews of for Oh.My.Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp here and here.


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Summer That Changed Everything - Ann Brashares

The Summer That Changed Everything - Ann Brashares

Pages: 274
Publisher: Corgi
Release Date: 4th March 2010

Other Titles by this Author: The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls in Pants, Forever in Blue, Girl of Lost Things, The Summer (of You and Me), My Name is Memory (UK 27/05/10, US 01/06/10)

Polly, Jo and Ama were best friends.

For no real reason their friendship faded, and now the girls face their long summer holiday without each other.

But this will be a summer filled with drama and memories, love and loss, tears and laughter. This will be a summer that changes everything.

Can the girls get through it without each other…?

The Summer That Changed Everything is a beautiful summer tale of friendship, love and loss.

The four girls from The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants were mentioned throughout the novel and one even had a cameo. In the eyes of Ama, Polly and Jo, those girls and their story are legendary. But I haven’t read the books about the Sisterhood. I know, I know, I’m very ashamed of myself. It seems like the stories of the Sisterhood are teenage rites of passage and The Summer That Changed Everything seemed to bring this to a younger generation, like passing those beloved teen classics down to your little sister.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book like this; it was completely refreshing. I tend to read a lot of intense paranormal romances so it was nice to return to the kind of book that I would have read before I started blogging. The Summer That Changed Everything is full of a different kind of life and energy to my usual reads. It reads like the soft, warm fulfilment of a day spent out in the sun enjoying life. And while The Summer That Changed Everything is a subtle, summer read, it also deals with bigger issues that you face growing up, such as, divorce, alcoholism, kissing another girl’s boyfriend and drifting away from your friends. But they weren’t forced down your throat at all, they sat in the background having a silent effect on the lives of the girls just as they really would.

One of my favourite things about The Summer That Changed Everything is it’s format. If you’re a regular reader of my reviews you’ll know that I love split narration as I love to hear all sides of a story! Polly, Jo and Ama are three very different girls that live very different summers and their story probably would have been impossible to tell in any other way. I also really loved the facts about willow trees that were scattered between the chapters. They held the novel on an underlying string that really pulled everything together. I love them!

I really enjoyed The Summer That Changed Everything and I definitely hope to read more of Ann Brashares’ books in the future. Especially The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series!


Monday, 15 March 2010

The Carbon Diaries 2017 - Saci Lloyd

The Carbon Diaries 2017 - Saci Lloyd

Pages: 400
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Release Date: 7th January 2010

Other Titles in the Series: The Carbon Diaries 2015

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.

The Carbon Diaries 2015 was one of my favourite books of 2008, but it’s sequel The Carbon Diaries 2017 fell a little short for me.

I loved the fact that the novel was Laura’s diary; I really like the idea of reading someone else’s diary. (Not that I ever would, of course…) The entries were interspersed with texts, emails, photos and newspaper clippings which brought Laura’s world to life. However, as it is written as a teenager’s diary, there was lots of slang and abbreviations. And although it makes me sound snobby, it was just so irritating! I suppose it is pretty realistic, though.

For me, The Carbon Diaries 2017 didn’t really start until the dirty angels began their French tour. Then the action really kicked off. But before that it just seemed to be plodding along, even with all the drama, and moved at a pretty slow pace. Then again, the hilarity of Kieran throughout the novel kept me going.

Novels like this often freak me out. The future that Saci Lloyd has envisioned is a scarily plausible one of for the UK. I just hope that the idiot in charge of our country don’t impost carbon rationing. They should read this book first; it’d definitely change their minds! Protests, riots, poverty, squalour, water wars, extremist parties taking power and impossible taxes. Chaos, basically. The Carbon Diaries 2017 made me very grateful that I was curled up in bed reading a book instead of on the front-line of a revolution with Laura!

I did end up enjoying The Carbon Diaries 2017, though not as much as the first book, and I hope that I get to read more from Laura Brown in the future.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

In My Mailbox 54

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 Island - Sarah Singleton

Otto, Jen and Charlotte are off to India for the trip of a lifetime. Arriving ahead of the others, Otto’s soon enjoying the beach paradise they’ve all dreamed of. But when he discovers a dead girl in the shallows, he’s suddenly thrust into the middle of a murder investigation.

And then he disappears.

As their dream holiday unravels, can Charlotte and Jen find their friend and prove his innocence - without putting themselves at risk?

From S&S. I really love the sound of this so I can’t wait to read it.

Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins

When sixteen-year-old Sophie Mercer discovers she’s witch, she imagines life will be full of magic, fun and…well…broomsticks! But her first attempt at a love spell goes disastrously wrong and, as punishment, Sophie is shipped off to Hectate “Hex” Hall, a reform school for witches, shape shifters and faeries.

By the end of her first day among her fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person on campus and the only vampire.

Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students and her only friend is the number-one suspect…

From S&S. This sounds like such a fun book and the MC has a very cool name!


Hourglass - Claudia Gray

Bianca will risk everything to be with Lucas.

After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school where they met, Bianca and Lucas take refuge with Black Cross, a fanatical group of vampire hunters. Bianca must hide her supernatural heritage or risk certain death at its hands. But when Black Cross captures her friend - the vampire Balthazar - hiding is no longer an option.

Soon, Bianca and Lucas are on the run again, pursued not only by Black Cross, but by the powerful leaders of Evernight. Yet no matter how far they travel, Bianca can’t escape her destiny.

Bianca has always believed their love could survive anything…but can it survive what’s to come?

So excited for this! The ending to Stargazer was evil!

Never Bite a Boy on the First Date - Tamara Summers

When we found the guy and saw the holes in his neck, the cause of death was obvious.

“It wasn’t me,” I said. “I make one mistake and every little vampire attack is my fault? That’s so unfair!”

But it doesn’t matter how much I protest, unless I can prove my innocence I’ll be spending the nest decade in a padded coffin. So now I’m on mission to track down the real murderer. I’ve narrowed it down to three suspects.

Al acting suspiciously.
All boys.
And all very cute…

A present from my Dad. I haven’t read a vampire book in way too long so I’m really looking forward to this one.


Friday, 12 March 2010

Nearly Departed - Rook Hastings

Nearly Departed - Rook Hastings

Pages: 265
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 4th February 2010

“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…

Nearly Departed is the creepy first book in a new ghostly series from Rook Hastings and I enjoyed it much more than I expected to.

The group of friends - Kelly, Emily, Bethan, Jay and Hashim - that Nearly Departed centres around each have distinct and well fleshed-out personalities and are all very different to each other. Jay is the geek who loves science, maths and Kelly; Hashim is the gorgeous, popular, football-playing guy that sees more than he lets on; Kelly is the fierce, scary girl with a broken home; Bethan is a misunderstood ‘emo’ who can’t wait to get out of Woodsville and Emily if the girl who sits at the back of the class that nobody notices. After being thrown together for a homework assignment, the five inexplicably become friends and begin to unravel the weirdness of Woodsville.

A nearly omniscient narrator gives Nearly Departed a subtly creepy atmosphere that fit the gang’s description of Woodsville perfectly. In the beginning, Nearly Departed follows a regular ghost story format: someone tells them there’s a ghost, they go on a ghost hunt and nothing goes to plan. That’s where the similarities end. Shocking twists and terrifying encounters made me hold my breath and the equally surprising events that followed left me suitably creeped out.

With a brilliant foundation for the next book and an individual writing style, I’ll definitely be reading more of the Welcome to Weirdsville series.


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Undead Much? - Stacey Jay

Undead Much? - Stacey Jay

Pages: 306
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: 21st January 2010

Other Titles in this Series: You Are So Undead to Me (my review)

Q: How many guys does it take to make your boyfriend wild with jealousy?
A: Only one, if he’s undead.

Megan Berry had a perfectly average new-sundress-and-boy-obsessed life - until her power to settle the Undead returned. Oh, and her best friend tried to kill her - and ruin homecoming - with a bunch of black magically raised zombies. At least she got a spot on the pom squad and a smokin’ boyfriend (Ethan). But now Megan is in deep fertilizer all over again. Why? Well, let’s see…

- Feral new super-strong zombies? Check.
- Cheerleader vs. pom squad turf war threatening the end of the half time as we know it? Check.
- An Undead psychic hottie (Cliff) who’s predicting a zombie apocalypse - and doing his best to tempt Megan away from Ethan? Check.
- Earth-shattering secrets that could land Megan in Settler prison for life. Um…It wasn’t me!!

Everyone thinks Megan’s at fault for the new uber-zombie uprising. Looks like she’ll need the help of both Cliff and Ethan if she’s going to prove her innocence before it’s too late.

Undead Much? is the action-packed, zombified sequel to Stacey Jay’s debut novel, You Are So Undead to Me.

I really liked Megan in You Are So Undead to Me; I thought that she was nice, funny and normal (for a Zombie Settler, anyway.) But I just kept changing my mind about her in Undead Much?. In the beginning, Megan seemed overly confident, almost bordering on arrogant, and it really irritated me. But as soon as the accusations started being hurled at her, I was firmly back on her side. Then she did something very stupid and my sympathy fled. However, as soon as her life was turned upside-down again, I wanted everything to turn out okay for her. Confused? I was!

Reading Undead Much? really made me realise how complicated American high schools are. I mean, who knew there was a difference between cheerleaders and the pom squad? I do now! (Pom squad = dancing, cheerleaders = dancing-ish, cheers and pompoms). Although I would have liked to go to a US high school for a bit, I feel that I’m much safer in my UK sixth-form college. We don’t have cheerleaders OR a pom squad!

Although I didn’t enjoy this as much as I did You Are So Undead to Me and I felt that it didn’t really get going until about two-thirds in, the set-up for book three at the end of Undead Much? made me sufficiently intrigued to continue reading the series.


Monday, 8 March 2010

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa

Pages: 363
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 1st February 2010

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.

The Iron King is one of the best debuts I’ve read in a long time. I loved every single page of it.

The faery world that Julie Kagawa created was enchanting. The lore was a mix of traditional elements and a unique incorporation of features from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As I’m only vaguely familiar with the story, I only spotted a few references, but those that I did find were seamlessly worked into the story. This, along with the myth that belief and imagination causes the faery world to exist and the lack of it destroys it, has made The Iron King one of my favourite ever faery novels. It really is a truly unique spin on such old mythology.

One of my favourite elements of the novel is the cast of vivid and engaging characters. Meghan charged straight into the Nevernever to save her brother with no thought of her own safety, and though this made her similar to many heroines in faery novel, she really began to stand out as The Iron King progressed. She has weaknesses, damsel-in-distress moments and makes some pretty unwise decisions, but she eventually came into her own and kicked fey butt. And you’ve got to love it when the girl saves the guy! The guy, however, is pretty special too. A Faery Prince who carries a sword (and knows how to use it) and can shoot icicles out of his hands. Enough said, really. But my favourite character in The Iron King is Grimaulkin. He’s a sneaky talking cat who can make himself invisible. What’s not to like?! And even though he reminded me a lot of the Cheshire Cat (who creeps me out a little), he really made me want a cat!

Julie Kagawa’s rich imagination and beautifully descriptive writing really came into it’s own when Meghan was in Faeryland. And once again I found myself wanting to go there. I’m sure there’s something wrong with me! Meghan’s world came alive on the page and I felt her every emotion. The Iron King actually felt reminiscent of Holly Black’s Modern Tales of Faerie trilogy (which I loved), though there were very few plot similarities and they’re written in very different styles.

I loved this novel full of fey princes, talking cats and forbidden love so much that I pre-ordered the sequel, The Iron Daughter, before I’d even finished the book.


Sunday, 7 March 2010

In My Mailbox 53

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 Summer That Changed Everything - Anna Brashares

Polly, Jo and Ama were best friends.

For no real reason their friendship faded, and now the girls face their long summer holiday without each other.

But this will be a summer filled with drama and memories, love and loss, tears and laughter. This will be a summer that changes everything.

Can the girls get through it without each other…?

Thanks to Random House for this. I think this is the UK version of 3 Willows, but I’m not sure.

Twisting the Truth - Judy Waite

Elsa has the perfect excuse for being late: a man tried to kidnap her! She’s got all the details. It’s a really good story. It’s just not true.

But then a girl is kidnapped for real. And now Elsa’s lie might be helping a killer…

I had no idea this was coming. In fact, I don’t even remember giving Barrington Stoke my details!


Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

‘They say that when you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.’

Sam Kingston is dead.
Except she isn’t.

On a rainy February night, eighteen-year-old Sam is killed in a horrific car crash. But then the impossible happens: she wakes up in her own bed, on the morning of the day she died.

Forced to live over and over the last day of her life - the drive to school, skipping class, the fateful party - she desperately struggles to alter the outcome, but every morning she wakes up on the day of the crash.

This is a story of a girl who dies young, but in the process learns how to live.
And who falls in love…a little too late.

Before I Fall is a brave and complex novel about the territory between life and death. As astonishing as The Lovely Bones and as luminous as Jenny Downham’s Before I Die, it will make you want to live every day as if it were your last.

I am beyond excited to read this one. I haven’t heard a bad thing about it.


Friday, 5 March 2010

Featured on Friday: Tamsyn Murray

Tamsyn Murray lives in London with her husband, daughter and an assortment of pets. My So-Called Afterlife is her first novel.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I write wherever and whenever I can but I probably find it easiest to work when there are no distractions - like fabulous blogs, for instance :)

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
I read anything I could get my hands on when I was younger, from the Sweet Valley High books (about a set of sixteen year old twins living in California) to Jane Austen but my favourite authors were Terry Pratchett, Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman. They're still my favourites, although others have joined them - I dropped everything for Harry Potter.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
Only three?! One of them would definitely have to be Beauty by Robin McKinley (a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story) and I'd have to have Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The third one is a tough call - maybe Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison because it never fails to make me giggle.

4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
There are lots! In fact, I wish I'd written almost every book I read because I am in awe of the way each writer crafts their story. I often find myself wondering how I'd tell the tale but then it would be a different book.

5. If you were a ghost, who would you want to haunt and why?
Now this is a juicy question! I'm a big Muse fan so I'd probably haunt the lead singer, Matt Bellamy - to learn the secrets of his musical creativity and not to catch a glimpse of him on the shower, obviously!

6. On the flip side, who would you like to be haunted by and why?
Another great question. I think it would be great to have someone around no-one else could see - imagine how much fun a boring lesson or meeting would be? So I think I'd actually like to be haunted by Lucy and her wicked sense of humour.

7. What do you think are the perks of being a ghost?
I reckon there are loads: no work or school, never missing out on tickets for that must-see gig, not worrying about bad hair days but the biggest perk would have to be walking through walls. How cool would that be?

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I'm currently working on My So-Called Haunting (out in September), which is the follow-up to My So-Called Afterlife and has a few of the same characters. The main character is Skye, a fourteen year old psychic, and the story follows her as she settles into a new school and tries to help the ghost of a boy who was killed in a gang shoot-out. Although Lucy isn't in this book I'm hoping she might join forces with Skye at some point in the future - now that would be a lot of fun to write!

Thank you very much, Tamsyn! You can visit Tamsyn at her website here and read my review of My So-Called Afterlife here.


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

My So-Called Afterlife - Tamsyn Murray

My So-Called Afterlife - Tamsyn Murray

Pages: 184
Publisher: Piccadilly Press Ltd.
Release Date: 1st February 2010

‘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…

Tamsyn Murray’s My So-Called Afterlife is a sharp, funny and moving debut that kept me smiling throughout.

Our heroine, Lucy Shaw, is one hell of a girl. Even after being brutally murdered and being entrapped in the men’s public toilets on Carnaby Street for six moths, she still retained her spirit. Lucy is sparky, sarcastic and brilliantly funny in her observations and one-liners. Though I’d love to be her friend, I don’t think I’d want to be haunted by her. She talks too much!

Underneath the light and quirky exterior, My So-called Afterlife deals with many deeper and heavier issues. Obviously death is the predominant one, there are also many of it’s branches such as murder, suicide, loss, grief and even bullying. In fact, even exorcism makes a dramatic appearance. Regardless of the sad and gloomy elements, My So-Called Afterlife isn’t even a tiny bit depressing. It’s hopeful. Hopeful that murderers will be caught, that the ghosts and their families will find peace and even that you can still fall in love even if you’re dead.

I loved My So-Called Afterlife so I can’t wait to read Tamsyn Murray’s next offering, My So-Called Haunting, when it’s released later in the year.


Monday, 1 March 2010

Nobody's Girl - Sarra Manning

Nobody’s Girl - Sarra Manning

Pages: 368
Publisher: Hodder
Release Date: 4th February 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Guitar Girl, Diary of a Crush trilogy, Pretty Things, Let’s Get Lost, Fashionistas series, Unsticky

Life is hard for dreamers…

Plain, frumpy, dull as mud - that’s Bea. So when super-cool Ruby and her posse want to hang with her, it has to be practical joke. But an invitation to a girly holiday in Malaga with Ruby and co. seems like the real deal. Even better, Bea can get away from her annoying mum.

But after forty-eight hours in Spain, Bea is heading to Paris to find the father she’s never met. On the way she meets Toph, an American student backpacking around Europe, and as they search for her dad in the cafés and boulevards of Paris, she loses her heart instead.

Is Bea Toph’s girl or the good girl her mum expects her to be? Or will this be the magical summer that Bea finally becomes her own girl?

I’ve loved Sarra Manning’s books for years and I wasn’t surprised when Nobody’s Girl became one of my favourite books of the year so far.

I see Sarra Manning as the darker, edgier and quirkier UK version of Sarah Dessen. And like Sarah Dessen’s novels, Sarra’s focus on normal, every-girl characters who are (usually) completely lovable, easy to relate to and find out who they really are. In Nobody’s Girl, Bea is a former shy and boring doormat (or so she thinks) who turns into a strong and feisty girl with a passion for all things French and gift for wreaking revenge. I have to admit that the Bea of the beginning of Nobody’s Girl reminds me of me far too much!

But being Bea means you get a Toph (sounds like loaf), so maybe it’s not all that bad! Toph is possibly one of my favourite of Sarra Manning’s boys. Even if he is a toxic boy. (Speaking of toxic boys, you should all check out Sarra’s guest post about them at Wondrous Reads.) A gorgeous American student backpacking around Europe? Yes, please! Thinking about it, Toph might even be on par with Dylan from Sarra’s Diary of a Crush trilogy. That’s quite an achievement!

I stayed up very late to finish this book, which is something that doesn’t happen very often as I LOVE my sleep, so that tells you just how much I loved it. But more than that, I even lay awake thinking about it after finishing it. And at the risk of sounding like an idiot, I’m going to tell you why. Bea lives inside her head with her hopes, dreams and fantasies being her focus (like me), but not once in Nobody’s Girl did she let go of her dreams or expectations, and some of them even came true. It made me think that some of my ridiculously silly and unrealistically romantic dreams could maybe, just maybe, possibly come true.

Nobody’s Girl has elicited one of the most personal reviews I’ve ever written or posted and I hope that will demonstrate how much I loved it and encourage you all to pick it up.