Monday 31 August 2009

Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler

Pages: 290
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: 6th August 2009

“Don’t worry, Anna, I’ll tell her okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.”
“Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?”
“Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?”

According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna light-heartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie - she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it means to truly love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Twenty Boy Summer is a beautiful story of love, loss and friendship that I loved. Sarah Ockler has written a stunning debut.

I thought that the way that the cover tied in with the story was very clever. Sea glass is something that is very important in Twenty Boy Summer as it’s something that Anna associates with Matt and his summers in Zanzibar Bay. This was reflected in the blue and green sea glass heart holding a single piece of rare red sea glass on the cover. I think that it’s quite rare for a cover to mirror the story and the characters to such an extent.

Even though Twenty Boy Summer deals with grief, it’s not a depressing story at all. There are sad moments, especially in Anna’s journal entries to Matt and how she thinks of him, that actually made me cry at some points. But there were very funny moments scattered throughout the novel too, usually when Frankie was involved. She had madcap ideas and funny lines, but it was the way that Frankie spoke that really cracked me up. She kept trying to use complex words and mixed them up and put them in completely the wrong place. It found it pretty funny!

The way that Sarah Ockler let us get to know Matt was subtle and very well done. We saw postcards sent to Anna and flashbacks and memories from their time together. From those things we learnt of Matt’s love of words and books, his love of the sea and his protective nature, especially where his sister was concerned. Sarah Ockler allowed us to see exactly why Anna fell in love with him.

Twenty Boy Summer is a heartbreakingly beautiful debut and I’m really looking forward to reading whatever Sarah Ockler writes next.


Sunday 30 August 2009

In My Mailbox 31

This was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. If you want more information check out their blogs. All summaries are from the book jackets.

Goddess Boot Camp - Tera Lynn Childs

Phoebe, who recently discovered she’s a descendent of Nike (the goddess, not the shoe), is finding out that supernatural powers come with a crazy learning curve.

A few months ago, when Phoebe’s mom married a Greek guy and moved her halfway around the world to the tiny island of Serfopoula, she had no idea that she’d soon find herself surrounded by the descendents of Greek gods, let alone that she’d learn her own heritage was more mythical that mortal. But because she still doesn’t quite have her new powers under control, something that can be dangerous since the gods a re known for smoting those who use their powers recklessly, Phoebe’s been enrolled at Dynamotheos Development Camp, also known as Goddess Boot Camp, for the summer. What kind of earthly torture will Goddess Boot Camp be? Well, it can’t be any worse than Hades, can it?

This summer will be all about learning her powers, reigning them in, training for the marathon at the Pythian Games (the only athletic event bigger than the Olympics). And surviving Goddess Boot Camp with her love life and sanity intact!

I loved Oh.My.Gods. so I can’t wait to see what Phoebe gets up to next.

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

From Amazon: After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying... The terrifying sequel to The Hunger Games.

I’ve almost finished this and ‘wow’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The Darkangel - Meredith Ann Pierce

Aeriel is kidnapped by the darkangel, a black-winged vampyre of astounding beauty and youth, and taken to his castle keep. There, she must serve his thirteen wives, wraiths whose souls he has stolen away. Aeriel knows she must kill the darkangel before he takes his fourteenth bride and comes into full power, but she is captivated by his magnificent beauty and intrigued by the spark of goodness in him. Will Aeriel save the darkangel’s soul, or can she end his reign of beautiful terror before he finds his beautiful bride?

I’d never heard of this before when I found it yesterday but I thought it sounded like my kind of book.


Friday 28 August 2009

Featured on Friday: Beth Fantaskey

Beth Fantaskey lives in Pennsylvania and has two children. She has a degree in journalism and Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is her first novel.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I like to write in my home office during the day. I need to get started in the morning, right after I read the newspaper, or the whole thing gets off track!

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
As a teenager, I loved authors like Tolkien and Dickens and Austen and Melville... pretty much the same people I love today (and sometimes reference in my own fiction!) And classic humorist James Thurber was always a real favorite, too. I used Thurber's "My Life and Hard Times" when I taught basic composition at Susquehanna University, and I was laughing out loud - while my students looked at me like I was crazy. I guess you had to grow up with him to get it!

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
"A Thurber Carnival" (an anthology of James Thurber's funniest stuff), "Fierce Pajamas" (a collection of the best humor writing from the New Yorker Magazine), and Charles Dickens' "The Pickwick Papers." (Actually, I'm surprised at how easy that was... I guess I would want to laugh a lot if I was alone on an island!)

4. I loved that Jess wasn’t incredibly skinny. Did you set out to make her that way? Why?
Yes, I wanted Jess to be an average-sized heroine. I get tired of the whole "skinny = beautiful" thing. Who says those two things have to equate? As Lucius would say, why not have a presence? Really, though, Jess could have broken other stereotypes about what girls "should" be... I just chose weight because it's such a fixation. In my next book, Jekel Loves Hyde, the heroine is very shy (like me), but proves that she's still a strong person. I like people who are different from the "ideal."

5. Where did you get the idea for the warring Romanian vampire royal families?
Oh, gosh... I have no idea! I guess it's the old Romeo/Juliet thing about forbidden love and families that are torn apart. Clashing families is a classic theme, because family fights are so intense, I suppose. When you add vampires into that mix, there's great potential for chaos!

6. Would you ever write a sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side?
I am considering that right now... so many people are asking that I wouldn't rule it out. However, it's still up in the air, because I've been so focused on completing Jekel Loves Hyde. I'm just now seriously turning my attention to the possibility of a sequel.

7. Jess had a very realistic reaction to learning that vampires exist. Was this something that you saw as important?
Incredibly important! I tried to imagine how a girl would really feel in Jess's situation, and rational girl that she is, I didn't think she'd just say, "Okay, that's great!" She'd be skeptical. Heck, I'd be skeptical!

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I'm still putting the very last finishing touches on Jekel Loves Hyde - seeing the cover art, that kind of thing - but beyond that, it's all top secret. Well, pretty much secret! :-)

Thank you very much, Beth! You can visit Beth at her website here and head over to her blog to help plan Jessica and Lucius’s wedding here. You can also read my review of Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side here.


Wednesday 26 August 2009

The Reformed Vampire Support Group - Catherine Jinks

The Reformed Vampire Support Group - Catherine Jinks

Pages: 355
Publisher: Quercus
Release Date: 4th June 2009

Other Titles by This Author: Evil Genius, Genius Squad, Pagan Chronicles, Eye to Eye etc.

Fifteen-year-old Nina has been a vampire since 1973, and she’s hated every day of it. It has really cramped her style and social life - and it’s boring. Plus, she has to wear wrap-around shades 25/7 and she can’t get a decent hair cut. But things take a turn for the worse when a member of her therapy group is killed by an unknown vampire slayer.

Threatened with extinction, she and her fellow vampires set out to hunt down the culprit - and soon find themselves caught up in a dangerous quest full of guns, thugs and a very sexy werewolf. Perhaps there’s more to being a bona fide vampire after all…

The Reformed Vampire Support Group wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, though it did grow on me.

The vampire lore in The Reformed Vampire Support Group was unlike any I’ve ever read before. It’s a strange mix of traditional vampire myths such as death by stake, sleeping during the day and turning to ashes in death and new elements that turns the traditions on their head. Catherine Jinks’s vampires are sickly, weak and really quite fragile. It’s a very individual take on vampire myth that I thoroughly enjoyed learning about.

One of the things that helped The Reformed Vampire Support Group to grow on me was Nina. She’s snarky, witty and really funny sometimes. Something that really made me laugh is that she writes vampire novels. I think it’s kind of brilliant. I wouldn’t mind reading the Bloodstone Chronicles! Nina is brave, strong (mentally!) and everything that she thinks vampires aren’t.

But the point in the novel when I really began to enjoy The Reformed Vampire Support Group was with the introduction of Reuben. It’s very rare for me to like the werewolf over the vampires. In fact, it’s never happened before! The way that Nina described the gorgeous, and slightly feral, werewolf made him much more appealing that the supposedly pathetic vampires.

Because of my preference for Reuben, I’m definitely going to be reading the sequel, The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group when it’s released.


Monday 24 August 2009

Airhead: Being Nikki - Meg Cabot

Airhead: Being Nikki - Meg Cabot

Pages: 301
Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: 4th September 2009

Other Titles in the Series: Airhead, Runaway (2010)

Teen-supermodel Nikki Howard has a secret. She’s no the gorgeous golden airhead she seems - on the inside she’s someone else. Literally. Em Watts is stuck in the body of glamazon celebutante Nikki. And it’s not easy. Especially when Nikki’s past is about to catch up with her, her boss is spying on her, and Em’s heart wants one thing but her lips keep kissing someone else…

Being Nikki took me by complete surprise. I had expected more of Em’s getting used to living Nikki’s life as in Airhead, but I got a whole lot more.

There were lots of elements of mystery in Being Nikki which I can’t say to much about without giving loads away! I was constantly being shocked by what was revealed and the questions that arose. It was paced a lot faster than Airhead and didn’t let my attention stray from the book for even a second. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning to finish Being Nikki as I couldn’t bear to put it down until I had read every last word.

I loved having an insight into the world of a top model. I expected all of the bitchiness between the models but I didn’t think that modelling was actually that difficult until now. I was quite surprised actually. The bit about Nikki/Em’s life that would’ve got on my nerves the most however, was Stark’s utter control and spying. I would have ended up as paranoid as Em!

Meg Cabot’s characters are fabulously written. They each have distinct quirks and personalities that set them apart. In Being Nikki it becomes clear what Nikki was really like before Em took over - a bitch. I don’t usually swear, but that’s the only way that I can think to describe her. Steven is a really sweet character who was introduced rather surprisingly. But it’s Christopher that stole my heart. He’s pretty darn awesome. I mean, what girl wouldn’t want a guy that was willing to do anything to avenge your death?

I loved Being Nikki and I’m really excited to read the final instalment of Em’s story, Runaway, next year. I think it’s going to be an explosive finale!


Sunday 23 August 2009

In My Mailbox 30

This was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. If you want more information check out their blogs. All summaries are from the book jackets.

Blood Promise: A Vampire Academy Novel - Richelle Mead


Bound by love, but sworn to kill…

The world thought Dimitri was dead. And to a certain extent, he was. But I hadn’t been able to forget a conversation he and I had once had. We’d both agreed that we’d rather be dead - truly dead - than walk the world as Strigoi. It was time to honour our words.

Guardian Rose Hathaway’s life will ever be the same. The recent attack on St. Vladimir’s Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose’s neck; a mark that says she’s killed far too many Strigoi to count.

But only one victim matters…Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honouring her life’s vow to protect Lissa - her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess - or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She’ll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake - and worlds away from St. Vladimir’s Academy and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend - can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

Readers who fell in love with Rose, Lissa, and Dimitri won’t want to miss Blood Promise, the much-anticipated, epic fourth novel in Richelle Mead’s enthralling Vampire Academy series.

I’ve already read this and all I can say is !!!!.

206 Bones - Kathy Reichs

‘You have an enemy, Dr Brennan. It is in your interest to learn who placed that call.’

A routine case turns sinister when Dr Temperance Brennan is accused of mishandling the autopsy of a missing heiress. Someone has made an incriminating accusation that she missed or concealed crucial evidence. Before Tempe can get to the one man with information, he turns up dead.

The heiress isn’t the only elderly female to have appeared on Tempe’s gurney recently. Back in Montreal, three more women have died, their bodies brutally discarded. Tempe is convinced there’s a link between their deaths and that of the heiress. But what - or who - connects them?

Tempe struggles with the clues, but nothing adds up. Has she made a grave error or is some unknown for sabotaging her? It soon becomes frighteningly clear. It’s not simply Tempe’s career at risk. Her life is at stake too.

I love Kathy Reichs’s books. There aren’t many adult authors - let alone crime authors - that I read religiously, but she is one of them.

The Hollow - Jessica Verday

Even though he was sitting a couple of feet away from me, his black suit blended in completely with the shadows. Only his hair gave him away. The white-blond colour glowed in the dark room. It was the boy from the cemetery…

When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone in the town assumes that she is dead. Everyone, that is, except Abbey.

Struggling to come to terms with Kristen’s disappearance and desperately seeking some answers, Abbey finds herself drawn more and more to the mysterious - and drop-dead gorgeous - Caspian, who keeps reappearing in her life. But Caspian has secrets of his own, and when Abbey uncovers the frightening truth about him, she starts to question not only their emerging love but also her own sanity…

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for this. I’m so excited to read it, it sounds fantastic.


Friday 21 August 2009

Featured on Friday: Tina Ferraro

Tina Ferraro lives with her husband and children. She has published three books so far: Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, How to Hook a Hottie and The ABC’s of Kissing Boys.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I love to write first thing in the morning at the computer in my family room.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
I read everything I could get my hands on as a teenager, so some of them were already "dated" when I picked them up. But favorites included the books by Beverly Cleary, Stephen King, and GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell--all of which I still love. My favorites have since expanded to include books by Jennifer Donnelly, John Green, Shannon Hale, Caroline B. Cooney--and my critique partner, Kelly Parra.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be? about GONE WITH THE WIND, AN IDIOT GIRL'S CHRISTMAS by Laurie Notaro (who is my favorite humorist) and probably a guide to survival on a desert island?

4. Are you sporty like Parker from The ABC's of Kissing Boys?
Not really. I was a competitive swimmer for 11 years, but what differentiated me from Parker was her drive to win. While losing races disappointed me, it rarely inspired me to work harder. (Unlike in my writing career, where deadlines, disappointments and dangling carrots definitely motivate me.)

5. Which of your characters are you most like?
Nicolette in TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS. But she's spunkier, said the things I would only have thought. I like to say she's the teen I would have been if I'd been on my A-Game!

6. Do you have a piece of clothing, or anything really, that you treasure as much as Nic does her prom dress?
Not really, and that's what made her love of her dress a stretch for me. But my friend, who is into fashion, and my editor, helped me make those things real.

7. You deal with issues such as, family break-ups and the resident mean girls. Do you feel that these are things are important to include when writing YA fiction?
They are for me. Most girls deal with issues at home and at school, although specifics and degrees of severity differ. And besides, my humor and insights are always strongest during some sort of adversity, when it's kind of a me- or us-against-the-world thing.

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
It's called WHEN BAD FLINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD GIRLS, and the tag I'm using is, "How far will a good girl go to save her family?" Look for it next year!

Thank you very much, Tina! You can visit Tina at her website here and read my reviews of her books here, here and here.


Wednesday 19 August 2009


I just got an email saying that I've been nominated for the Book Blogger Appreciation Week Award for Best YA Blog and Best Reviews! It completely made my day.

It would be great if you or you know who nominated me could let me know so I can thank them profusely. I would be extremely grateful!

Thanks guys, really. It makes this blogging this so much better to know that people enjoy my blog.


The Demon's Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon’s Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan

Pages: 322
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 1st June 2009

Other Titles in the Series: The Demon’s Covenant (2010)

Sixteen-year-old Nick knows that demons are real.

Magicians call up demons in exchange for their power. The demons can appear in any shape, show you marvels, promise you anything - until you invite them in and receive their mark.What happens next?First you get possessed.Then you die.

Nick’s been on the run his entire life, ever since his mother stole a charm from the most feared magician of them all, and the only person he trusts is his brother Alan. Alan’s just been marked by a demon. Only Nick can save him, but to do so he must face the magicians - and kill them.
The hunt is on, and Nick’s going to discover things he never dreamed were out there…

The Demon’s Lexicon is the dark and twisty debut novel from Sarah Rees Brennan. It completely captured my imagination.

Alan, Jamie and Mae are all very likable characters, but it was Nick who caught my interest. He is the opposite of Alan, except in his loyalty to his brother, and is extremely difficult to get to know and understand. But as the story progressed I began to realise why Nick is like he is and how cleverly Sarah Rees Brennan had constructed his character.

One of the other things that I like about The Demon’s Lexicon is the Goblin market. It sounds like a wonderfully dangerous place full of magic and mystery. I was also really pleased that I recognised and understood the reference to Christina Rossetti’s poem Goblin Market because I studied it in English Literature last year. It made me feel very clever!

I loved how Sarah Rees Brennan created such a complex plot full of shocks and surprises. I never knew what to expect next from the story or the characters which kept The Demon’s Lexicon moving at break-neck speed.

I can’t wait to find out what happens to Nick, Alan, Mae and Jamie in The Demon’s Covenant when it’s released next year.


Monday 17 August 2009

Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

Pages: 391
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 29th October 2009

Other Titles in the Series: Crescendo (2010)

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgement.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and to know more about her than her own mother. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of a centuries-old battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and sooner or later, she’s going to have to pick sides…

Hush, Hush is just as amazing as everybody has been saying it is. I completely and utterly loved it.

Becca Fitzpatrick is a fantastic new addition to the YA fantasy world. Her writing is dark, atmospheric and absolutely addictive. The world that she creates is creepy and mysterious, which is only intensified by the winding country lanes of Maine shrouded in fog that the story is set. Becca Fitzpatrick is going to be a huge talent in the world of young adult fiction.

The story is laced with mystery and danger. There are surprises on nearly every page and I never knew where the story was going to take me next. I couldn’t stop reading. By half way through Hush, Hush I kept on telling myself that I could read just one more chapter, but I ended up finishing it. It was completely compulsive.

But it was the characters that made Hush, Hush so phenomenal. Nora is a brilliant heroine; she’s a fantastic mixture of teenage girls everywhere. She’s hard not to like and care for really. Nora’s best friend, Vee, is brilliant. She’s incredibly funny, adventurous and impulsive; an excellent compliment to Nora. But what to say about Patch. He’s cheeky, unnerving and extremely difficult to ignore. Everything he knew about Nora and everything he said just made him more complicated and even harder to decipher. Nora had no chance but to fall for him!

I adored Hush, Hush and I can’t wait to find out what Nora and Patch get up to in the sequel, Crescendo.


Sunday 16 August 2009

In My Mailbox 29

This was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. If you want more information check out their blogs. All summaries are from the book jackets.

The Cinderella Society - Kay Cassidy (signed ARC)

What’s a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn’t want to wear it anymore?

Sixteen-year-old Jess Parker survives by staying invisible. Then she gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join the Cinderella Society, a secret club of some of the most popular girls in school, where makeovers are the first order of official business. Catching the eye of her popular crush, and with a chance to finally fit in, Jess feels like she’s found her fairy tale.

Until the Wickeds - led by Jess’s archenemy - begin targeting innocent girls, and Jess learns that there’s more to being a Cindy than reinventing yourself from the outside. She’s become part of a battle for good vs. evil, and now the Cindys need Jess on special assignment. Is honouring her new sisterhood worth destroying her dream life?

The Cinderella Society is a chick-lit novel with a twist, introducing a secret, prestigious society that teens will love to read about.

I won this from Kay’s monthly contest over at her fabulous You 2.0 blog.

Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick (ARC)

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgement.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and to know more about her than her own mother. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of a centuries-old battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and sooner or later, she’s going to have to pick sides…

I‘ve already read this and it‘s as amazing as everybody is saying it is! My review will be up Monday.

Eyes Like Stars - Lisa Mantchev

All her world’s a stage.
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theatre.
She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.
Until now.

Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie (as she’s known to the theatre).
Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, and Peaseblossom: Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. Bertie’s sidekicks.
Ariel: Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.
Bertie: Our heroine.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book - an ancient magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family…and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

All of the raving reviews made me finally succumb to buying this. I’m so excited to read it.

Beautiful Americans - Lucy Silag

What happens in Paris…

Secrets. PJ’s deep blue eyes and angelic long blond hair conceal a truth that’s anything but. Will her dark past stay where it belongs in the backwoods of Vermont, or haunt her in the city of light?

Passion. Always the good girl, Olivia plans to twirl her way to the top of the Parisian ballet scene. But that’s not supposed to include dancing on a table all night…or stumbling into the arms of the wrong boy.

Lies. With his emo-trendy behead, hilarious comebacks and Southern drawl, Zack could win over anyone. Too bad he’s after the only on who’s forbidden…

Scandal. All Alex wants from Paris is to nab that berry-red Dior coat and seduce the perfect penny-loafer-wearing boy - and Alex always gets what she wants. But will her scheming pay off? Or is she risking more than she knows…?

Alex, Olivia, Zack and PJ are spending a year at the prestigious Lycé e de Monceau in the sparkling city of Paris. This is their chance to sip café au lait in Le Marais, throw secret parties in their families’ Versailles-size apartments, and have the time of their lives. But when the secrets they thought they left behind come out, everything could be ruined…

I've wanted to read this for so long.

The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle - Catherine Webb

The Bank of England robbed!
Murder on the streets of London!
Hypnotism! Mystery! Pursuit!
Saint Paul’s Cathedral ablaze!

Horatio Lyle is a former Special Constable with a passion for science and invention. He’s also an occasional sleuth. Thrown together with Tess (a reformed pickpocket) and Thomas (a rebellious young gentleman), Lyle and his faithful hound Tate find themselves pursuing an acient Chinese plate, a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of polite society and a dangerous enemy who may not even be human…

Welcome to the world of Horatio Lyle: when mystery beckons, he gathers his courage, sharpens his wits and fills his pockets with things that explode.

Thanks to Sam from Little, Brown for this.

I was also meant to get Blood Promise by Richelle Mead yesterday but we weren’t in when the post was delivered so I have to go and pick it up from the Post Office tomorrow morning. I nearly started crying!


Friday 14 August 2009

Featured on Friday: Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman is the bestselling author of over 50 books for children and young adults. Malorie has also written TV scripts for Byker Grove, Whizziwig and the television adaptation of her novel Pig Heart Boy.

1. Where did you get the idea for the Noughts and Crosses series?
From a number of places really; events from my own childhood, things I’ve seen and heard and experienced over the years, a number of injustices which made my blood boil – they all inspired me to write the Noughts and Crosses books.

2. You tackle some intense and serious issues in your books. Is this something that you set out to do when writing?
Well, I’ve written over 50 books and most of them are pure adventure, suspense, mystery or funny stories for all age ranges. Not all my books are ‘serious’ in tone by any means, but I certainly had a few things I wanted to express in the Noughts and Crosses books and I hope I’ve done that. I don’t believe in hitting my readers over the head with a message saying this is right and that is wrong. What I wanted to do with the Noughts and Crosses books was present the world that Sephy, Callum and their daughter Callie Rose live in and have the readers of the books make up their own minds as to the rights and wrongs of that world.

3. Noughts and Crosses has parallels with Romeo and Juliet. Was this something that you intended to do?
I didn’t set out to do it but I became aware half way through writing the story that there were some parallels.

4. Do you do lots of research before you begin writing a book?
It depends on the book but I’m quite happy doing research if it’s required. For example I did quite a lot of research for my book Pig Heart Boy. I read up about heart transplants, xenotransplantation (transplanting the organs of one species into another), etc and watched a couple of documentaries about organ transplants too. To be honest, I didn’t have to do much research for the Noughts and Crosses books. They were written straight from my head and my heart.

5. In The Stuff of Nightmares, why did you make Kyle’s dad come back as Death?
Kyle’s dad didn’t come back as Death. Death was in the carriage with Kyle almost from the beginning but as quite a different character. But I wanted Kyle’s dad to come back so he and Kyle could have the conversation they should’ve had when Kyle’s dad was alive. Kyle’s dad came back to stop Death from taking Kyle as well.

6. Will there be any more books in the Noughts and Crosses series?
I currently have no plans to write any more in that series. None of the characters from those books are whispering in my ear, urging me to write their story the way Callum, Sephy, Callie Rose and Tobey did!

7. Is there a particular time or place that you do your best writing in?
I do most of my creative writing in the mornings. I prefer to edit/rework later in the day and during the evening.

8. Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on my next novel but I never talk about the story I’m currently writing as I find I lose all enthusiasm for finishing it if I do that!

Thank you very much, Malorie! You can visit Malorie at her website here.


Wednesday 12 August 2009

Ghost Huntress: The Awakening - Marley Gibson

Ghost Huntress: The Awakening - Marley Gibson

Pages: 338
Publisher: Graphia Books
Release Date: 4th May 2009

Other Titles in the Series: The Guidance (07/09/09)

Kendall Moorhead can’t sleep. Not a wink.

Ever since her family moved from Chicago to the small town of Radisson, Georgia, Kendall hasn’t gotten a decent night’s sleep. It’s just too freaking quiet.

To remedy the situation, Kendall’s father brings home a white noise machine. The soothing sound of static should Kendall drift off to la-la land.

But what Kendall hears is anything but relaxing: A voice comes through the machine. A Voice? Has Kendall completely lost her mind? Or is she waking up to a world she never knew existed?

I didn’t expect to enjoy Ghost Huntress: The Awakening as much as I did. It was really, really good.

It was clear that Marley Gibson has done her research and really knows what she’s talking about. All the ghost hunting equipment that Kendall and the gang used was explained clearly and in just enough detail to be completely understood. I was completely surprised at the range of devices used to capture every second of the hunt and I watch Most Haunted!

Marley Gibson’s debut novel is fantastically written. She gets right into the mindset of a teenager and captures our essence perfectly. There are also lots of pop culture references scattered throughout The Awakening that really enhance Kendall and her friend’s personalities. Kendall herself is very funny and loves Justin Timberlake, which makes her a brilliant heroine in my opinion.

The only qualm I have about The Awakening is that it was loaded with religious references. It’s probably just down to personal taste but I really didn’t like that about this book. Occasionally it seemed to border on preachy, but most of the time I was able to simply ignore it and enjoy the story.

The Awakening is a fabulously written start to what I’m sure will be a brilliant trilogy. I can’t wait to read the next instalment, The Guidance, when it’s released in September.


Monday 10 August 2009

Skinned - Robin Wasserman

Skinned - Robin Wasserman

Pages: 361
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 3rd August 2009

Other Titles in this Series: Crashed (US 8/9/09, UK 1/4/10)

Lia Kahn is beautiful, popular and destined for success…until a horrific accident nearly kills her.

Lia wakes up in a body that is not a body. It’s a machine, designed to look and feel human. She need never feel pain again. She will never age. And, as long as she is vigilant about backing up her memories, she need never die. For Lia is now a “mechanical” or “mech” - a living experiment.

Lia tries to return to her old life, but is shunned by her friends and boyfriend. Even her own family can’t seem to understand that underneath she’s still the same person. But is she? Can be a human without a body? And is it technically murder to “kill” a machine…?

Skinned took me by surprise. It wasn’t what I expected at all, but I really enjoyed it.

This book strongly reminded me of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series. There was lots of similar technology, such as the network that everybody was connected to and lived through, in a way. The playing around with their genes and appearance also played a part in the way that they chose how the children looked and constant up-keep operations. But unlike Uglies there was no equality and control over society, in other words, a lot more similar to our world.

Even though most dystopian novels have a cataclysmic event that sets a new world in motion; the events in Skinned surprised me. All of the nuclear wars, Water Wars and lots of other types of wars made a scarily clear picture of all the plausible ways that we could destroy the world. Because they are all such real possibilities, they jumped out and scared me a little. Especially when it came up that the pollution caused by our life and wars blocked out the moon and the stars. I was kind of horrified at that.

Although I enjoyed the plot, I found the characters quite difficult to connect with. All of the girls, including Lia, were shallow and a little heartless and her sister, Zoey, was just plain horrible. It wasn’t until we were introduced to the mechs that I began to warm to Lia and the other characters. The mechs were different and, ironically, real.

I really enjoyed Skinned and I’m looking forward to reading Crashed when it’s released in the UK next April.


Sunday 9 August 2009

In My Mailbox 28

This was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. If you want more information check out their blogs. All summaries are from the book jackets.

Lipstick Apology - Jennifer Jabaley

Four little words written in lipstick mean Emily must say goodbye to everyone she knows.

One minute, Emily Carson is dancing on her kitchen at an end-of-school party. The next, she’s staring at the news, witnessing the wreckage of a plane crash - the plane her parents were on. Her mother’s last words are scrawled in lipstick on a tray table: EMILY PLEASE FORGIVE ME.

Now it’s fall in New York City, and Emily is desperate to leave tragedy behind. If helps that Darlington High’s swim team champion has his irritable green eyes on her. And then there’s her quirky chemistry partner slash baker-by-night, Anthony, with his classroom jests, delicious frosted donuts and firm just-friends status.

But Emily is still haunted by her mother’s mysterious apology. She must find out what it means. Only then can she choose between the two boys in her life: the one who makes he forget, or the one who helps her remember, and ultimately, heal.

Sometimes goodbye is just the beginning.

I also got the goods from Jessica Verday. One of the postcards is signed, it says, ‘Welcome to The Hollow. JV’.


Friday 7 August 2009

Featured on Friday: Daniel Waters

Daniel Waters is the author of the fabulous Generation Dead. The sequel Kiss of Life was released earlier this year. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and children.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
Nope. Anywhere, anywhen.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different toyour current favourites?
I read mostly science fiction and horror when I was a teenager, some of my favorites were Stephen King, Peter Straub, Robert Heinlein, Samuel Delaney, Robert Howard, Michael Moorcock. I also loved Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler. They are all still favorites, but I discover new ones every day.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be? Just three?
The complete works of Shakespeare, the Bible, and, um...can I take the complete run of Mad Magazine? It is available on CD-Rom.

4. Was it hard writing as a zombie for Adam’s chapters in Kiss of Life?
It was fun!

5. Both the US and UK covers for your books are pretty awesome. Did you have any input into them?
Disney/Hyperion has been kind enough to run their concepts by me, and I have to confess when they first told me the concept for GD I really didn't care for it. But then they sent me the jpeg and I thought it was the most beautiful cover I'd ever seen in my life, so my new policy is to shut up and let the experts do their jobs.
I've had no input on the UK covers at all, but I love them!

6. Where did the idea of Tommy’s blog come from?
Tommy blogs within Generation Dead, and as there was a lot of material I wanted to write that didn't really fit in the novels I thought it would fun for the readers (and me!) if I had a place where they could interact with the Generation Dead world.

7. How many books will there be in the Generation Dead series?
I'm not certain. I thought four initially but then I wanted to write another story so now I'm thinking five. And I'd like to do a book of short stories, too.

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I'm working on the third Generation Dead book, Passing Strange, with my editor, and I have a couple other YA novels outside of the Generation Dead world that I'm working on.

Thanks very much, Dan! You can visit Dan at his website here and you can read my review of Kiss of Life here.


Wednesday 5 August 2009

Moonlight: A Dark Guardian Novel - Rachel Hawthorne

Moonlight: A Dark Guardian Novel - Rachel Hawthorne

Pages: 263
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 1st April 2009

Other Titles in This Series: Full Moon, Dark of the Moon

I see him and know what this turmoil inside of me means: He’s the one. My forever.

Kayla is the nature lover, the all-American beauty who can’t understand why she’s so drawn to distant, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a young child, she has no way of knowing that she’s inherited a terrifying - and thrilling - gene that will change her life forever.

Lucas is dangerous, gorgeous . . . And a werewolf. As leader of the Dark Guardians, shape-shifters who gather deep within the state park, he has sworn to protect the pack. But when Lucas finds his true soul mate, his love could put them all in harms way.

As Lucas and Kayla struggle with their feelings for each other, a greater danger lurks: Humans have discovered the Dark Guardians and are planning their destruction. Kayla must choose between the life she knows and the love she feels certain is her destiny.

I really enjoyed Moonlight. It’s a great start what I’m sure will be a brilliant trilogy.

The forest that Moonlight is set in holds an air of magic and mystery. It’s seclusion and isolation from civilisation would have made me panic, but Kayla felt as though that is where she belongs. A sense of the dangerous unknown surrounded most of the novel because of the forest. There are some parts, like the ferocious river and the cave behind the waterfall that brought back the magic and enchantment of the forest that shields the danger.

When I read books about mythical creatures I rarely think about the consequences that their existence would have on the world. That changed with the introduction of Dr Keane and his students in Moonlight. If these creatures were real (I live in hope!), it would change the world in ways I can’t even imagine. It’s mind-boggling to even think about it.

One of my favourite things about Moonlight is the ways of the Shifters. I loved how they all watched out for each other and protected the land that they had grown up on and loved passionately. Every day they were consciously fighting to keep their home safe, not only for them but for future generations as well. It was pretty inspiring!

I’m looking forward to reading Full Moon; the second in the Dark Guardian trilogy which focuses on characters that had only a small part in Moonlight.


Monday 3 August 2009

Chosen: A House of Night Novel - P.C. and Kristin Cast

Chosen: A House of Night Novel - P.C. and Kristin Cast

Pages: 322
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 26th February 2009

Other Titles in the Series: Marked, Betrayed, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted (27/10/09)

I guess it had gone okay with Stevie Rae. I mean, she had agreed to meet me tomorrow. And she hadn’t tried to bite me, which was a plus. Of course, the whole trying-to-eat-the-street-person thing was highly disturbing…

Zoey’s best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead - in a eww! Zombie! Kind of way, not in a cool vampyre kind of way. She’s struggling to retain her humanity and Zoey doesn’t have a clue how to help. But she does know that anything they discover must be kept a secret.

Unfortunately, trust has become a rare commodity. Sinister forces are at work at the House of Night, where the line between friend and enemy is becoming dangerously blurred.

I didn’t like Chosen nearly as much as I did the first two in the series.

Zoey thoroughly annoyed me. I found her whiney and irritating and she was never satisfied with just how decent her life really is. I know she lost her best friend but she has amazing powers, a devoted boyfriend, great friends and a fantastic grandma. I also really disliked that she had Heath, Erik and Loren all on the go at once. Talk about greedy! It really got on my nerves, but, rant over now. I did actually like a few things about Chosen.

The twins, Shaunee and Erin, were by far my favourite characters. I love how they are like two halves of the same person even though they are not related in the slightest. Their finishing of each other’s sentences and witty comments along with their obsession with fashion and guys made them brilliantly funny characters to read about. I think they’re great!

I also liked how lots of different famous figures were made out to be vampyres. According to P.C. and Kristin Cast, Shakespeare, Josh Hartnett and Jake Gyllenhaal are all vamps. Making these famous people a part of Zoey’s world made the story a bit more realistic.

I will read the read of the House of Night series but I’m not in any rush to get to them.


Sunday 2 August 2009

In My Mailbox 27

This was started by the fabulous Kristi who was inspired by Alea. If you want more information check out their blogs. All summaries are from the book jackets.

Skinned - Robin Wasserman

Lia Kahn is beautiful, popular and destined for success…until a horrific accident nearly kills her.

Lia wakes up in a body that is not a body. It’s a machine, designed to look and feel human. She need never feel pain again. She will never age. And, as long as she is vigilant about backing up her memories, she need never die. For Lia is now a “mechanical” or “mech” - a living experiment.

Lia tries to return to her old life, but is shunned by her friends and boyfriend. Even her own family can’t seem to understand that underneath she’s still the same person. But is she? Can be a human without a body? And is it technically murder to “kill” a machine…?

Thanks to Kat from Simon and Schuster for sending me this, it sounds brilliant.

Killing God - Kevin Brooks
Dawn Bundy is fifteen. She doesn’t fit in and she couldn’t care less.

Dawn has other things on her mind. Her dad disappeared two years ago and it’s all God’s fault.

Dad was smiling too.
And he had a Bible in his hand
And his eyes…
God, his eyes.
It was terrifying.

When Dawn’s dad found God, it was the worst time ever. He thought he’d found the answer to everything.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

Thanks to Jenny for sending me this. I love Kevin Brooks so I know I’m going to love this.

Love, Aubrey - Suzanne LaFleur
Something heartbreaking has happened. Eleven-year-old Aubrey is on her own.
'It was fun at first, playing house. Nothing to think about but TV and cheese. A perfect world.’

She’s determined to hide away and take care of herself, because facing the truth is too much to bear.

‘I couldn’t let anyone know that I as alone. I was staying right here.’

But with the love of her grandmother and the letters she writes, can Aubrey begin to see that even though she’s lost everything - all is not lost?

Thanks again to Jenny for sending me this, I’m really looking forward to it.

The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

The funniest and most unorthodox fantasy in this or any other galaxy.

On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious but incompetent wizard, a naïve tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet…

As it moves towards a seemingly inevitable collision with a malevolent red star, the Discworld has only one possible saviour. Unfortunately, this happens to be the singularly inept and cowardly wizard called Rincewind, who was last seen falling off the edge of the world…

My Auntie lent this to me. She thinks that I’ll love it. I hope I do!