Monday 30 November 2009

Killer: A Pretty Little Liars Novel - Sara Shepard

Killer: A Pretty Little Liars Novel - Sara Shepard

Pages: 323
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 1st July 2009

Other Titles in this Series: Pretty Little Liars, Flawless, Perfect, Unbelievable (my review), Wicked (my review), Heartless (19/01/10), Wanted (29/06/10)

In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystals. But pictures often lie - and so do Rosewood’s four prettiest girls.

Hanna, Aria, Spencer and Emily have been lying ever since they became friends with beautiful Alison DiLaurentis. Ali made them do terrible things - things they had to keep secret for years. And even though Ali was killed at the end of seventh grade, their bad-girl ways didn’t die with her.

Hanna’s on a mission to corrupt Rosewood’s youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria’s snooping in her boyfriend’s past. Spencer’s stealing - from her family. And pure little Emily’s abstaining from abstinence.

The girls should be careful, though. They thought they were safe when Ali’s killer was arrested and A’s true identity was finally revealed. But now there’s a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.

Killer is the sixth book in the Pretty Little Liars series, and this one definitely isn’t my favourite of them.

This instalment of the series made my love for these books waver. I have to admit that it pretty much annoyed me and I got a little bit fed up. It seemed to get a tad repetitive. Aria falling for inappropriate guys, Spencer getting tangled in lies and mistakes, Emily having serious girl/boy issues and Hanna battling to be Queen Bee. It’s been that way since the first book.

A was the only one that wasn’t the same. He/she seemed to have a new agenda, focused less on the girls’ exploits and didn’t play such a large part in Killer. A’s texts and emails brought up so many new questions and answered hardly any of them.

But any ill will I had towards Killer had evaporated by the last few shocking chapters. Sara Shepard really does know how to deliver an explosive cliffhanger! I was left staring blankly with shock and confusion for a good five minutes after turning the last page of Killer.

After Killer’s shock ending, I’ll be reading book seven, Heartless, as soon as it’s released next January. I will definitely be seeing this series through to the end, if only to find out what’s really going on!


Sunday 29 November 2009

In My Mailbox 41

This meme 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.

Beautiful - Amy Reed

This is what I am now.

When Cassie moves from the tiny town where she has always lived to a suburb of Seattle, she is determined to leave her boring girl existence behind. This is Cassie’s chance to stop being invisible and become the kind of girl who’s worth noticing.

Stepping into her new identity turns out to be easier than Cassie could have ever imagined…one moment, one choice, changes everything.

Cassie’s new existence both thrills and terrifies her. Swept into a world of illicit parties and social land mines, she sheds her virginity, embraces the numbness she feels from the drugs, and floats through it all, knowing that she is now called beautiful. She ignores the dangers of her fast-paced life…but she can’t sidestep the secrets and the cruelty.

Cassie is trapped in a swift downward spiral tinged with violence and abuse, and no one - not even the one person she thought she could trust - can help her now.

A contest win from the fabulous Kristi via Simon and Schuster US. Thank you both!


Saturday 28 November 2009

2010 100+ Reading Challenge

I’ve signed up for my second reading challenge in a week! The 2010 100+ Reading Challenge is a challenge I’ve attempted every year since I was about thirteen, so I thought I’d make it official this year! You can sign up and read more about the challenge at J. Kaye’s Book Blog here. Here are the rules of the challenge:

“1. The goal is to read 100 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. --Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.

2. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Library books, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts.

3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Books started before the 1st do not count.”

Here is my list, to be filled in as I go:
7. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (for college, no review)
32. The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks
33. Swapped by a Kiss - Luisa Plaja
34. Kiss of Death: The Morganville Vampires
35. Drawing with Light - Julia Green
36. Never Bite a Boy on the First Date - Tamara Summers
37. Runaway - Meg Cabot
38. Radiant Shadows - Melissa Marr
39. The Keeper's Daughter - Gill Arbuthnott
40. Spirit Bound: A Vampire Academy Novel - Richelle Mead
41. Della Says: OMG! - Keris Stainton
42. Dido - Adele Geras
43. Dear Dylan - Siobhan Curham
44. The Moonstone Legacy - Diana de Gunzburg and Tony Wild
45. The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan
46. The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
47. The Last Summer of the Death Warriors - Francisco X. Stork
48. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer
49. A Most Improper Magick - Stephanie Burgis
50. Forbidden - Tabitha Suzuma
51. My Name is Memory - Ann Brashares
52. Sweethearts: Star-Crossed - Jo Cotterill
53. Seriously Sassy - Maggi Gibson
54. Spirit Hunter - Katy Moran
55. Low Red Moon - Ivy Devlin
56. Withering Tights - Louise Rennison
57. The Other Countess - Eve Edwards
58. Fortune - Megan Cole
59. The Avenger - PC Cast
60. The Runaway Troll - Matt Haig
61. Blood Feud - Alyxandra Harvey
62. iBoy - Kevin Brooks
63. Passing Strange - Daniel Waters
64. Pictures of Lily - Paige Toon
65. Rules of Attraction - Simone Elkeles
66. Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols
67. Sing Me to Sleep - Angela Morrison
68. The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa
69. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson
70. Linger - Maggie Stiefavter
71. Troy High - Shana Norris
72. Glee: The Beginning - Sophia Lowell
73. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan
74. Clockwork Angel - Cassnadra Clare
75. My Desperate Love Diary - Liz Rettig
76. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (re-read, no review)
77. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (re-read, no review)
78. The Eternal Ones - Kirsten Miller

Friday 27 November 2009

Featured on Friday: Lucy Christopher

Lucy Christopher was born in Wales but grew up in Australia. Lucy moved back to the UK to do her degree and is now doing her PhD. Stolen is her first novel.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I now have my own office to write in, which is absolutely lovely! I have a huge desk covered with lots of papers and a vase of carnations - just perfect! I tend to take quite a while to get into writing most days as I have a terrible tendency to faff about with writing emails and making coffee and procrastinating! So, I guess my best time to write would be the afternoon once I’ve got all my faffing out the way. I also really like to pen down ideas when I am on a long journey on a plane or a train!

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
A lot of my favourite authors from when I was a teenager are the same as the ones I have now, funnily enough.

My family moved to Australia not long before I started high school. I was a really small Welsh kid and I didn’t fit in. So I took solace in the (air-conditioned) school library and in Mrs Adamson, our librarian. Mrs Adamson was a jolly roly-poly smiley lady and, perhaps because she felt sorry for me and could see that I didn’t fit in, she took pity on me and found me lots of books to read. And she chose really exciting books. Books that I had never read before in Wales, or even heard of. Books that were mostly about Australia. The best thing Mrs Adamson did for me was to introduce me to Australian teen fiction. I still love Australian teen fiction, with my particular favourites being John Marsden and Sonya Hartnett. When I was 13 and 14, I used to be pen pals with John Marsden and I thought he was the most amazing author in the world! Now, fifteen years later, he wrote the quote on the cover of the Australian edition of Stolen!
I have picked up a few new favourite authors along the way though. It was a happy day indeed when I discovered Tim Winton (another Aussie author, though writes for adults), and I also really love David Almond!

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
Just three? Oh, too hard! Well, I’d have to take a really fat book of short stories that I can dip into when I have different mood swings on my island (preferably a collection with lots of Hemingway and Carver and Poe!) Then I think I’d like to take a field guide to all the flora and fauna on the island so that I can keep studying and learning while I was there. And thirdly, it would have to be a thick blank writing journal so that I can write my own novel there!

4. What inspired you to tell Gemma and Ty’s stories?
It started with the place. I wanted to write a story that was set in the outback, in Australia. It’s a much maligned landscape that’s got some seriously bad press over the years. It is also a landscape of extremes. I needed an extreme subject matter to echo the extreme landscape that I wanted to write about. I thought that kidnapping seemed like a pretty extreme subject matter to tackle. However, I knew that my kidnapper couldn’t be your regular stereotypical kind of kidnapper. He had a to a kidnapper, and a person, with conflicting aspects in his personality; a character of contrasts ... just like the landscape he had come from. Once I’d worked this out, then the characters of Ty and Gemma seemed to come pretty easily to me.

5. The Australian outback is such a harsh, but beautiful place. Why did you choose to set Stolen there?
Oh, for so many reasons! This landscape has fascinated me for such a long time now. I love this landscape: it’s beautiful and restorative and the most fertile desert environment in the world. I love the indigenous cultures that are entwined with it. But, like Gemma, I also find this landscape terrifying. And, like Gemma, it’s not a landscape I am overly familiar with (I grew up in a country town in Wales and then in a suburb of Melbourne). When I first saw the Australian outback, I thought it was open and hot and dangerous. I knew that if I got lost in it, I would die.

I’ve also long been fascinated by the way that this landscape has been portrayed in earlier Australian children’s literature, Australian art and in media reports. It’s been reported as a landscape where backpackers get murdered, dingoes steal babies and children get lost. It’s a horror landscape, and yet it is also a beautiful and spiritual landscape at the same time. I wanted readers to question their thoughts about a wild and isolated landscape; to think about whether it’s really as awful as they first assume.

This landscape of love and fear, beauty and terror, echoes perfectly the way Gemma feels for Ty.

6. As I read Stolen I found myself liking and empathising with Ty even though I knew I shouldn’t. Was this your intention?
Yes. I wanted to place the reader in a similar position to how Gemma felt for Ty. As Gemma started to change her perception of him, I wanted the reader to also. In this way, I wanted the reader to question their initial assumptions about what is right and wrong, and wanted the reader to experience a kind of Stockholm Syndrome first hand too!

7. Kidnapping is such a controversial issue, and at first I was hesitant about reading Stolen. Were you ever worried that it may put people off?
A little! It was weird actually. As I started to write Stolen, all these kidnap cases came up! However, I kinda thought (hoped) it might work in my favour!

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I have just delivered a book called Flyaway, which is totally different to Stolen. It’s about a girl called Isla and her relationship with a sick boy and a flightless swan. It’s happier than Stolen in a way, and I do hope the fans like it! Then after that book, I’m going to write another teen thriller!

Thank you very much, Lucy! You can visit Lucy on her website here and read my review of Stolen here.


Thursday 26 November 2009

2010 Debut Author Challenge

Next year I am going to be taking part in my first challenge: The 2010 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren. You can read more information about the challenge here, but here are the basics:

“What is the 2010 Debut Author Challenge?
The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year. I'm going to challenge everyone to read at least 12 debut novels! I’m hoping to read at least 30! You don’t have to list your choices right away, but if you do feel free to change them throughout the year. I will also be focusing on mostly Young Adult novels.

Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on, or any other bookish site.

The challenge will run from January 1, 2010- December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime!”

I will add to the list as I read them.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Ice - Sarah Beth Durst

Ice - Sarah Beth Durst

Pages: 308
Publisher: Simon and Shuster
Release Date: 29th October 2009

Other Titles by this Author: Into the Wild, Out of the Wild

When Cassie was little, her grandmother told her stories about the Arctic…about frost and snow, and a beautiful castle made of ice, and about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King. But Cassie is older now and has no time for fairytales and talking animals, or lies about her dead mother.

But when Cassie comes face to face with a mysterious polar bear, one that defies all scientific fact or knowledge, she begins to realise that the fairytales could actually be true. Discovering that her mother may still be alive, Cassie makes her own deal with the Polar Bear King, embarking on a dangerous journey to save her. But the deal comes with consequences she never bargained for, and before her journey’s end, Cassie will discover the true meaning of family, and of loss and love.

Ice is a unique, enchanting and beautifully written tale of science, magic and love colliding to form an utterly magical story that will stay with me for a very long time.

Although I wasn’t sure about Ice at first, it completely captured my imagination. It was a beautiful mix of science and magic; two of my favourite things. All of the goings on in the research station and the polar bear tracking were a stark contrast to Bear’s castle and the munaqsri. And it worked brilliantly. But, seriously, Bear’s castle…You’ve got to read it for yourself.

The cast of characters in Ice are fantastically written. Cassie is such a strong heroine and I was rooting for her all the way. She’s incredibly stubborn and refused to give up on anything. But what I love most about her is that she will go to the ends of the earth to protect the ones she loves, with no regard for her own well-being. And Bear is pretty special, too. He’s kind, patient and really loves Cassie. But he’s also a very unusual hero…

The second half of the novel is adrenalin-fuelled and action-packed. Nothing that happened in that part of the book was anything that I’d anticipated. The race against time and Cassie’s anxiety kept the story moving along and I found it hard to stop reading. When I eventually did, I kept thinking about it, wanting to be reading it. In fact, I wish I was still reading it!

I absolutely loved Ice, It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before. And although not everyone will love this as much as I did, but give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.


Monday 23 November 2009

Candor - Pam Bachorz

Candor - Pam Bachorz

Pages: 249
Publisher: Egmont
Release Date: 22nd September 2009

Everything is perfect in the town of Candor, Florida.

Teens respect their elders, do their chores, and enjoy homework…because they’re controlled by subliminal messages.

Oscar Banks, the son of the town’s founder, is the model of perfection: class president, top student, shining example. But it’s only a disguise. Unlike all the other Candor teens, he knows about the Messages, and he fights them with his counter programming.

Only Oscar knows how to get kids out of Candor - for a price. Nobody suspects that he smuggles the richest new kids out of town before they change. It’s risky: if Oscar were caught, he’d be sent straight to the Listening Room, where the most resistant kids are wiped clean.

When Nia moves into town, Oscar is smitten by her tart attitude and ability to see through his perfect-boy front. He can’t stand to see her changed by the Messages. Now he must decide to help Nia escape Candor and lose her forever, or keep her close and risk exposure.

Candor is the captivating debut from Pam Bachorz. Filled with love, hate, survival and everything in between.

The concept of brainwashing - or mind control - is utterly terrifying. Even the thought of being made to think a certain way while I have no idea it’s happening makes me shudder. But that’s what life is like in Candor. The change between the real person and the perfect Candor teen is likely to be something that every reader of Candor will take away with them. And it got worse! The parents of these brainwashed children knew and actually sought it out for themselves and their families. It really is a horrifying concept.

But there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Oscar Banks. He knew about the messages and heard them all the time, but fought them everyday while maintaining his perfect faç ade and helping others get out of Candor. That was one of my favourite things about him. And that he’s not completely good. Though what he sacrificed for Nia is one of the most amazing and utterly heartbreaking parts of Candor.

I loved Candor and I recommend it to absolutely everybody and anybody. It really is that good!


Sunday 22 November 2009

In My Mailbox 40

This meme 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.

Shadowland: The Immortals - Alyson Noël

Ever and Damen have travelled through countless past lives - and fought the world’s darkest enemies - so they could be together forever. But just when their long-awaited destiny is finally within reach, a powerful curse falls upon Damen…one that could destroy everything. Now a single touch of their hands or a soft brush of their lips could mean sudden death- plunging Damen into the Shadowland. Desperate to break the curse and save Damen, Ever immerses herself in magick - and gets help from an unexpected source - a surfer named Jude.

Although she and Jude have only just met, he feels startlingly familiar. Despite her fierce loyalty to Damen, Ever is drawn to Jude, a green-eyed golden boy with magical talents and a mysterious past. She’s always believed Damen to be her soul mate and one true love - and she still believes it to be true. But as Damen pulls away to save them, Ever’s connection with Jude grows stronger - and tests her love for Damen like never before…

I’m so excited to read this after the shock ending of Blue Moon.

Killer: A Pretty Little Liars Novel - Sara Shepard

In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystals. But pictures often lie - and so do Rosewood’s four prettiest girls.

Hanna, Aria, Spencer and Emily have been lying ever since they became friends with beautiful Alison DiLaurentis. Ali made them do terrible things - things they had to keep secret for years. And even though Ali was killed at the end of seventh grade, their bad-girl ways didn’t die with her.

Hanna’s on a mission to corrupt Rosewood’s youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria’s snooping in her boyfriend’s past. Spencer’s stealing - from her family. And pure little Emily’s abstaining from abstinence.

The girls should be careful, though. They though they were safe when Ali’s killer was arrested and A’s true identity was finally revealed. But now there’s a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.


The Splendour Falls - Rosemary Clement-Moore (ARC)

The Splendour Falls has it all - a heroine that will steal your heart, a house that will haunt you and a love story that will leave you breathless.

Sylvie Davies is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but what broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage.

Still reeling, Sylvie is shipped off to stay with relatives in the back of beyond. Or so she thinks, in fact she ends up in a town with her family’s history…and it turns out her family has a lot more history that Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, is the expected choice. But handsome and mysterious Rhys has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.

Then Sylvie starts seeing things - a girl by the lake and a man with dark unseeing eyes peering in through the window…Sylvie’s lost nearly everything - is she starting to lose her mind as well?

A complete surprise from Random House. It was wrapped in black tissue paper with a velvety ribbon, an intriguing note and rose petals! Love it!

Hope everyone had a great week!


Friday 20 November 2009

Featured on Friday: Aprilynne Pike

Aprilynne Pike has a BA in Creative Writing but when she’s not writing she can be found reading, acting singing or at the gym. Wings is Aprilynne’s first book and the first in a four-book series.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I really like to go out to restaurants and write with something yummy at my elbow and with a server to refill my Diet Coke. :D But since I would weigh eight hundred pounds if I did that every day, I instead mostly write in my office (I have an office! Yay!) with something to drink at my elbow (usually Diet A&W) and sometimes with something playing very quietly on my ipod.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
I adored V.C. Andrews and Christopher Pike (no relation) when I was a teenager. I also liked AVI and Mary Higgins Clark. I still read Mary Higgins Clark pretty often, but I find myself gravitating toward more modern fantasy authors these days. I love Janni Lee Simner, Carrie Ryan, Michael Grant, and JK Rowling just to name a few. (I have like thirty favorite authors.:D)

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
Oh man. The Giver, by Lois Lowry, The Cradle Will Fall, By Mary Higgins Clark, and Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Ask me next week and I'll probably give you three different titles. :D

4. Your fairies are very different from most others in YA at the moment. Where did you get the inspiration for their mythology from?
I don't know.

You probably want a longer answer than that.:) I decided that I wanted to write a YA faerie book, but I also decided I wanted to do something different than anything anyone else was writing. So I spent a long, rather sleepless night trying to come up with an original mythos. Finally, at like four in the morning, I came up with this idea of this goth faerie who lived with these three old women and couldn't go out after midnight because there was no power from the sun. It was like this goth Goldilocks and the Three Bears meets Cinderella meets Superman. And let's just say that ideas that sound great at four in the morning don't always sound so great at eight.:) But from the idea that faeries got their power from the sun led me to the idea that it could be because they photosynthesize. From there I just started asking about a zillion, "Well then how...?" questions that led to the mythos you'll find in my book.

5. Have you also been fascinated with fairies?
Always. I have always adored faeries. Pretty much any kind of faeries. Even now I still read a ton of books about faerie both for research and for fun

6. Why did you choose to write for young adults?
It kind of chose me. I was actually about halfway through a different book when I stopped it to write Wings. It was YA and I was really having a great time with it! Except that it didn't have . . .oh . . . a plot.:D So while I was trying to figure out what the heck happened in that book, I started writing Wings. And I started it as a teen book. And it just worked. I have since finished the other book and written the next two in the Wings series and I just love writing for teens! It works for me.

7. I loved all of the myths, legends and stories that were weaved into Wings. Was there a particular reason for their inclusion?
In my opinion, the best mythos twisting is based on actual lore and legend. It's like the old writing rule that says you have to know the rules before you can break them effectively. I have done so much research into traditional faerie lore in order to twist my mythos the way I have. The reason for that is that I wanted my interpretation to fit into the traditional lore. I wanted Laurel, and my readers, to see how the "true" mythos in my book could show how the faerie lore we have today could easily be misinterpretations. The wings, for example. The blossoms in my book look very much like wings so it is clear why people thought they had wings. While I certainly don't want to replace the traditional lore, I did want to weave my mythos around it. And Wings is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. You will see so much more lore and legend twisting in the next three books. Just wait till you see my Seelie and Unseelie courts.:D

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I am currently working on the third Wings book, and am just about ready to hand it in to my editor. After that I will be working on a non-Wings book until I get edits back for book three. I have a couple of ideas for what I'd like the next book to be, but I haven't actually decided yet. I better get cracking!

Thank you very much, Aprilynne! You can visit Aprilynne at her website and read my review of Wings here.


Wednesday 18 November 2009

The Tear Collector - Patrick Jones

The Tear Collector - Patrick Jones

Pages: 263
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 1st September 2009

Other Titles by this Author: Things Change, Nailed, Chasing Tail Lights, Stolen Car, Cheated

Between hookups, makeups, and break-ups, there isn’t a day a Lapeer High School without drama turning to trauma turning to tears.

And tears are just as essential as air for Cassandra Gray. She and her family are vampires who thirst for human sorrow, and the energy that they soak in from a good crying jig can keep them fuelled up for days.

Anytime a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, Cass is there. Anytime a boyfriend gets too secure, she breaks his heart. Cass’s work as a school peer counsellor and hospital volunteer also provides the perfect cover and access to her family’s energy source. But she is getting tired of all the lies and manipulation - especially now that she’s actually fallen in love with a human. Can she bear to betray her family for a chance at happiness and a life lived with joy?

A perfect blend of romance and the supernatural, this unique kind of vampire story will hook readers.

The Tear Collector turns vampire lore completely on it’s head, and I’m not sure that it really worked.

I felt that the lore and myth of Patrick Jones’ vampires was vague and undefined. For a large part of the book I was grasping every tendril of information I could find. And it just wasn’t enough. I understand that Cass’s own knowledge was sketchy and to explain every detail to the reader would require Cass’s narration to be undermined, but she still didn’t tell us all she knew and that really quite annoyed me.

One of the elements of the lore that was mentioned prevented me from connecting with Cass for a large portion of The Tear Collector. Cass encouraged misery from her friends and received it from her family as well. Her nature prevented her from feeling any real emotion, it was even prohibited by her family. Regardless of this, I did begin to warm to her as she fell in love and learned what happiness is.

The Tear Collector moved at a slow pace in the beginning but it was a quick and easy read. Although I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to, I’d recommend it to die-hard vampire fans who are eager for a brand new take on the traditional lore.

Regardless of all my complaints, I did kind of enjoy The Tear Collector and if there’s going to be a sequel, which seemed like a possibility to me, then I will read it.


Monday 16 November 2009

Wicked: A Pretty Little Liars Novel - Sara Shepard

Wicked: A Pretty Little Liars Novel - Sara Shepard

Pages: 311
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 1st June 2009

Other Titles in the Series: Pretty Little Liars, Flawless, Perfect, Unbelievable (my review), Killer, Heartless (19/01/10), Wanted (29/06/10)

In idyllic Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four very pretty girls just can’t help but be bad…

Hanna will stop at nothing to be Rosewood’s queen bee. Spencer’s digging up her family’s secrets. Emily can’t stop thinking about her new boyfriend. And Aria approves a little too strongly of her mom’s taste of men.

Now that Ali’s killer is finally behind bars, the girls think they’re safe. But those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. And they should know by now that I’m always watching…

- A

The drama continues for Aria, Hanna, Emily and Spencer in Wicked. I really do love this series!

With all of the shock revelations and solved mysteries of Unbelievable, I wondered what Sara Shepard would have in store for us this time. But I needn’t have worried! A’s back and more badass than ever, new shocking secrets are discovered and fresh mysteries are set up. The twists and turns could give a girl whiplash!

Hanna, Aria, Spencer and Emily really are drama magnets and Rosewood definitely isn’t the place for a quiet life. There’s always a naughty secret, buried family mysteries or an incriminating text to rock the world of the pretty little liars. Well, you can’t say that their lives are boring!

After Wicked’s shock ending, I can barely wait for my copy of Killer, book six in the Pretty Little Liars series, to arrive.


Sunday 15 November 2009

In My Mailbox 39

This meme 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.

Beautiful Dead: Arizona - Eden Maguire

Not alive. Not dead. Somewhere in between lie the Beautiful Dead.

There’s been no sign of the Beautiful Dead for weeks. Darina achingly misses Phoenix all over again. Surely he will return to help her solve the remaining mysteries.

It’s been a year since Arizona drowned in Hartman Lake. Suicide, it would seem. But something doesn’t add up… Drowning herself in a lake does not sound like strong, confident Arizona: Ellerton High School’s high-maintenance drama queen.

Darina must help Arizona the way she helped Jonas. But invisible wings are beating, the Beautiful Dead are in danger and time is running out…

I really enjoyed the first one so I’m looking forward to seeing how Darina solves Arizona’s mystery.

Wicked: A Pretty Little Liars Novel - Sara Shepard

In idyllic Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four very pretty girls just can’t help but be bad…

Hanna will stop at nothing to be Rosewood’s queen bee. Spencer’s digging up her family’s secrets. Emily can’t stop thinking about her new boyfriend. And Aria approves a little too strongly of her mom’s taste of men.

Now that Ali’s killer is finally behind bars, the girls think they’re safe. But those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. And they should know by now that I’m always watching…

- A

I’m in love with this series!


Friday 13 November 2009

Featured on Friday: Hayley Long

Hayley Long studied at English Aberystwyth University and later became a teacher. Lottie Biggs is (Not) Mad is her most recent novel.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
Yes. I split my week between teaching English in a sixth form college and writing. So on the days when I’m not talking to A Level students about dynamic verbs and extended metaphors, I sit and tap away on my computer. I’ve got a little room I write in at the front of my house. It’s a bit scruffy in there to be honest. When I’m working on a book, I tend to have piles of paper and other books everywhere. And empty mugs. And biscuit wrappers. That little room does the job though.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
That’s a good question. Who were they? [Insert long hard think] I used to read all the time. Anything I could get my hands on. I loved The Hobbit by Tolkien and I loved stuff by the Brontë sisters, particularly Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. There was A LOT of angst and drama in those books. Although, at the time, I completely missed the point that the men in those novels are all pretty much selfish or useless. I actually thought Heathcliff was sweet! I read Wuthering Heights again a few years ago and was shocked by how incredibly vile he is. What on earth did Cathy see in him?

My favourite books though were the Adrian Mole books. Me and Adrian are practically the same age! I remember reading The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and 3/4 when it came out and laughing so much. It also seemed incredibly rude to me at the time and I liked that aspect of it because I’m a smutty little person deep down. J I still love the Adrian Mole books. Those and Holes by Louis Sachar. They are my all-time favourite YA books.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
Ok, assuming that Adrian Mole and Holes are there already, buried under a palm tree somewhere, I’d take:

The Twits by Roald Dahl. This book makes me laugh whenever I pick it up. Any book which has a chapter that starts…’To pay her back for the glass eye in his beer…’ is always going to be a winner with me. I love Roald Dahl.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Harper Lee only ever wrote this one novel. I don’t blame her. How on earth do you follow such a masterpiece? The characters in this book are so clear and rich and I love all of them. Even horrible old Mrs Dubose who sits on her porch and shouts things like, ‘Don’t you say ‘hey’ to me you ugly girl!’

Some kind of survival manual. I’m not a practical person and I’m hopeless at cooking. I really don’t think I’d survive for long on that island if I didn’t have some clue about what to eat and how to look after myself.

4. Was Lottie Biggs is (Not) Mad inspired by your life?
In places. When I was a teenager I worked in a rubbish shoe shop like the one in the novel. It was actually the best job ever. Me and my friend had a hilarious time. And Lottie is a lot like me. She looks like me and she thinks like me and she laughs at the same things as me. But, luckily, I don’t have the same problems that she has. And I’ve never had a horde of stolen goods in my wardrobe.

5. What was your road to publishing like?
Well, until a couple of years ago, I was living in Wales and my first novels were published by a small Welsh publisher. This was fantastic for me because it’s so hard to get your work into print and being part of the Welsh literary scene helped me to gain confidence and develop as a writer before daring to try to find a bigger publisher. I’d written several novels by the time Lottie Biggs came along. Without the support of all those people in Wales, I might have given up writing long ago. For most writers, it’s a massive struggle to find anyone who wants to read what you’ve written. It was for me too. The important thing is never to give up and to accept constructive criticism when it’s given to you.

6. I loved the fact that Lottie’s story was told through a piece of coursework. Where did the idea for this come from?
The idea just naturally evolved as I was writing. Personally, I’ve always found novels written in the first person viewpoint slightly worrying. I’m always thinking: But who is the narrator talking to? I know it’s art and I shouldn’t be worrying my head with such questions but I can’t help it. So I wanted to give Lottie a clear focus and purpose. And as I’m a teacher, the subject of coursework is never far from my mind.

7. There were darker undertones to Lottie Biggs is (Not) Mad that that made it very different from the usual teen comedy. Was this something you set out to do when writing it?
Yes. As I said earlier, I’m NOT Lottie Biggs. But I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to admit that, from time to time, I’ve experienced feelings of total miserabledom. Luckily, never so bad or so enduring that I’ve needed to go to the doctors and get help. And most of the time, I’m a very cheerful, noisy and upbeat person. But that’s half the problem. If you’re a smiley person, everybody notices when you don’t feel so positive. I suppose there have been occasions when I’ve been hard work to be around. I wanted to show that nothing is simply black and white. People cannot be neatly categorised as sane or insane. Mental health is not about strength or weakness of character. One in four people is likely to experience symptoms of mental illness during their lives. For me, I’ve occasionally felt crushingly hopeless; for some people, it’s much more serious than that and they are diagnosed as suffering from an actual disorder. I wanted to take the stigma away from the subject and also send a positive message to young people. A few people have criticised me for treating the subject too lightly. Of course, mental illness can be very serious, very terrifying and very difficult to live with. I’m aware of this, my character, Lottie, is aware of this and I think most young people are aware of this too. We hear frightening stories in the media about people with serious mental problems all the time. I wanted to redress the balance a little and remind my readers that mental illness covers a vast scale of experiences and many people learn to manage their condition just as they might manage asthma or diabetes. I wanted to write something with a hopeful and positive message.

I also wanted to write about Jimi Hendrix, Edvard Munch and Stevie Smith. Most other teen books don’t include cultural references of this sort.

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I’ve just finished writing the second Lottie book. Lottie Biggs is Not Desperate will be out next May. It’s centred on Lottie’s relationship with Gareth Stingecombe. I think it’s funnier than the first book – but that’s not really for me to say, is it? It’s also very cheekily rude in places. Definitely for teens and older, that one. Right now, I’m working on completing the trilogy. The third Lottie book is going to be a bit more serious, full of philosophy and, hopefully, by the end will see Lottie taking that mental step which shows she is a young adult and not a child anymore.

Thank you very much, Hayley! You can visit Hayley at her website and read my review of Lottie Biggs is (Not) Mad here.


Wednesday 11 November 2009

Unbelievable: A Pretty Little Liars Novel - Sara Shepard

Unbelievable: A Pretty Little Liars Novel - Sara Shepard

Pages: 335
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: December 2008

Other Titles in this Series: Pretty Little Liars, Flawless, Perfect, Wicked, Killer, Heartless (19/01/10), Wanted (29/06/10)


Four pretty little liars’ charmed lives have turned into living nightmares.

Emily’s been shipped off to Iowa to live with her über-conservative cousins. Aria’s boyfriend is behind bars - because of her. Spencer’s afraid she was involved in Ali’s murder. But Hanna’s fate is far worse: She’s clinging to life in hospital because ‘she knew too much’.

If these girls don’t start listening to me, Hanna’s going to look like the lucky one.
- A

Unbelievable is the thrilling fourth instalment of the addictive Pretty Little Liars series.

We saw a lot more of Ali in Unbelievable. Spencer, Aria, Emily and Hanna thought about her a lot so we saw her in flashbacks, memories and dreams. While I was reading these I was just so shocked that she actually had any friends; she was a nasty piece of work! I did like seeing how the girls were similar and how they had changed since Ali’s disappearance, though. Especially Hanna. At times it was like she was a completely different character.

The biggest thing that happens in Unbelievable is the reveal of A’s identity and Ali’s murderer. And I’m proud to say that they were both on my (very long!) list of suspects and there are plenty of other twists and turns that completely throw you off track. I never know what to expect from the next page in this series.

As much as I loved Unbelievable, I did have a few minor problems with it. My favourite of the four girls is Aria and there weren’t very many of her chapters. It seemed like she was being pushed back a little. This made me sad as I love Ezra and Aria’s quirkiness really sets her apart from the other three. The other little niggle I had was the tons of exposition. I know it’s the fourth in the series and that you need to know a lot to get Unbelievable, but it just on my nerves as I read them all consecutively and didn’t need a recap. You never know, I might love it in a few books time!

I love this series and I can’t wait for book five, Wicked, to drop through my letter box so I can see what those pretty little liars get up to next.


Monday 9 November 2009

Cover News: Nobody's Girl and Linger

Okay, so I'm behind on my reviews. I've gotten a little involved in the Pretty Little Liars series and neglected blogging. :) So, I decided to post about the (fairly) newly released covers of two books that I'm REALLY excited for.

Nobody's Girl - Sarra Manning (UK 04/02/10)

Linger - Maggie Stiefvater (US 20/07/10)


Sunday 8 November 2009

In My Mailbox 38

This meme 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.

Pretty Little Liars box set - Sara Shepard

Among the mega mansions and perfectly manicured hedges of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, everyone has something to hide - especially four very pretty little liars.

High school juniors Spencer, Hanna, Aria and Emily have been keeping secrets ever since their best friend, Alison DiLaurentis, disappeared three years ago. But when the girls begin receiving threatening notes from someone named “A”, their secrets, the big ones, the little ones, even the long-buried ones - no longer seem safe.

Unravel the Pretty Little Liars’ wildest mysteries in this special box set. But remember, nothing is what it seems in Rosewood…

I’ve actually read the first three of these, but I’m fed up of waiting for Unbelievable to come out in the UK so I got these so I could catch up!

The next three were sent to my from the lovely Nancy of Lush Budget Production. Thanks, Nancy!

Demon Princess: Reign or Shine - Michelle Rowan (ARC)

For Nikki Donovan, being a teenage can be hell. Literally.

As if trying to fit in at a new school and navigating the social scene isn’t enough stress for her, sixteen-year-old Nikki Donovan just found out that her long-lost father is, in fact, the demon king of the Shadowlands - the world that separates and protects us from the Underworld. When she is brought there by a mysterious - and surprisingly cute - messenger Michael she learns that he father is dying, and that he wants her to assume the throne. To complicate matters, a war is brewing between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, her half-demon qualities are manifesting, and her growing feelings for Michael are forbidden. Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew - what’s a teenage demon princess to do?

My Soul to Take - Rachel Vincent

Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh.

She doesn’t see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next…

Soul screamers

The last thing you hear before you die

Undiscovered Gyrl - Allison Burnett (ARC)

Only on the internet can you have so many friends and be so lonely.
We’re all famous in our own minds.
Complete honesty is a complete lie.
What’s worse than keeping a shameful secret.
All sex has consequences, most of them dire.
Don’t read my life. Go live your own!


Friday 6 November 2009

Featured on Friday: Ron Reikki

When Ron contacted me, interested in having an interview or guest blog on So Many Books, So Little Time, I decided to hold my first guest blog. I hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you think. Over to you Ron:

"I've done plenty of guest blogs, but the one Sophie asked for me to write is probably one of the hardest I've had to do . . . or am about to do. You see, she wants me to write about my environment where I write. My worry is that it's going to be boring. There's nothing really that intriguing about where I write. I've seen shows about writers where they take a cameraman and show them their writing desk and the view from their window where they type and it tends to bore me to tears. Well, for me there's no writing desk, because I don't own one. I live in a very sparse bedroom in a house with four roommates in California. But my rent's only $600 a month, which, for California is very cheap. Although my rent when I lived in Michigan was only $250 a month, so I'm still getting used to the leap in expenses. I have four roommates in the house, so I tend to write after they've gone to sleep so that I don't have any distractions. They all have day shifts and I work afternoon shift, so often I only see them for about five minutes a day. So it's at night and it's in my bed. Since I don't have a writing table, I put the laptop on my lap with a pillow underneath and write lying down, because there's not really another option. I found the bed in the trash outside and it looked in great condition so I brought it into the house and have used it ever since. This is the life of a writer. There's a lot of poverty to it. As a matter of fact, if I backed my life up, I'd never have become one. It's not a very good life. Right now I'm meeting with producers in L.A. and doing contract negotiations to turn my novel U.P. into a film and if that happens then things will change, but it's a ton of stress because if that doesn't happen then I have to continue to do telemarketing, which I detest, but the job market in America collapsed. In the background I'll listen to music while I write--lately it's been a lot of Fiona Apple, New Radicals, Elliott Smith, Sinead O'Connor, Oasis, and Radiohead, but I'm all over the place with what I listen to. I really like a lot of bands from England though. And that's really it. Like I said, there's not much for me to write about. I tried to go beyond my environment to other things just so I'd have something to write about, because it's a white small room with not much in it and a view of the wall of the house next door and a bed. That's all. I wish I was Stephen King so I could have some elaborate bat-decorated chair, but it's a boring environment with roommates who never seem to take the trash out and the sound of dogs barking every time a car drives by. Maybe that's why my novels are so intense and crazy--an escape from the realities of the dreariness of lower class American life."

Thanks, Ron! Ron’s book U.P. was published in 2008 by Ghost Road Press.