Thursday 29 July 2010

Glee: The Beginning Exclusive Extract

I’m thrilled to present an exclusive extract from Glee: The Beginning, the Glee prequel, courtesy of Headline. Enjoy!

‘As you know, Principal Figgins, McKinley High School has a sadly limited number of creative outlets for performance minded students such as myself.’
It was true. For as long as she could remember, Rachel’s fathers had let her enroll in any sort of activity she wanted – tap and ballet and, briefly, hip-hop. Vocal training, piano lessons, acting lessons. Public speaking training. Improv. Pageantry. Anything that allowed Rachel to be onstage. But once she got to high school, her options seemed to disappear. It was all politics in high school.
‘Yes, well.’ Principal Figgins pushed his hair back, showing his receding hairline.
‘Budget cuts make that a very tricky subject. I’m not sure there’s anything I can do.’
‘But there is, sir.’
Rachel believed that when people gave no as an answer, they were usually just too lazy to try and figure out how to say yes.
‘Enlighten me, then.’

Rachel had prepared a whole speech this morning while she did thirty minutes on the elliptical trainer in her bedroom. She was a firm believer in holistic health. She woke up early each morning to do either a cardio workout or yoga. This routine helped keep her balanced.
‘I realized that there is one underutilized outlet that’s just being wasted away – and that I would like to be allowed to take over. The morning announcements.’
She waved her arms in a flourish, as if she had just announced an Oscar winner.
‘But Mrs Applethorpe has always . . .’
‘I know, sir.’
Mrs Applethorpe was the attendance officer who, each morning during first period, read the daily announcements with the enthusiasm of a mortician.
‘But I thought it would be fair to let someone else give it a try. Someone who could really pep up the announcements.’
It was hard to stay still in her seat when Rachel felt so close to success. What better way to make herself – and her amazing voice – known? It was the closest thing the school had to a radio broadcast. And it was a captive audience – no one could change the station on her! After all, many important celebrities had got their start in radio, like Ryan Seacrest. Not that he’s as talented as I am, Rachel thought.

Extract before:
Number 3.

And the following extract you need to link to will be on:
Number 5.


Tuesday 27 July 2010

The Runaway Troll - Matt Haig

The Runaway Troll - Matt Haig

Pages: 435
Publisher: Bodley Head/Random House
Release Date: 5th February 2009

Other Title by this Author: Shadow Forest

There’s one thing every troll child dreads more than anything else - ns hat’s being sent to the Betterer - the most evil creature in Shadow Forest.

The Betterer is furious when one troll boy escapes to be with his favourite human, Samuel Blink. But then he realises that perhaps the most useful thing to have in his Bettering Tower would be a real life human child. He sets out on a quest to kidnap Samuel and the troll he’s been hiding in his wardrobe. Samuel's not allowed to enter Shadow Forest, but what’s to stop the forest coming to him?

The Runaway Troll is a fabulously funny and magical tale that will delight boys and girls of all ages.

I love the style that Matt Haig wrote The Runaway Troll in. it felt like he was telling me the story. Before the story began, we were introduced to each of the central characters with a mini bio which I think is a really brilliant idea. There were also small chapters that were interruptions form the author giving necessary back-story and telling his readers that creatures like trolls really do exist. I have no idea why, but this style really, really appeals to me.

The fact that this novel is about trolls is what drew me to it as they aren’t the most common mythical creature in children’s fiction. Probably due to them being hideously ugly and smelling disgusting. But I love them with the funny nuances in their speech, the shared family eyeball and their yearly bath. I even thought Troll-Son was rather sweet, though there is one troll that fit’s the evil connotations: The Betterer. I did not like him at all.

Lots of important moral lessons were learnt through Samuel, Martha and Troll-Son’s adventure. Good obviously triumphed evil, Samuel learned to be grateful for his new home and family and the residents of Trollhelm learned that that they were perfectly fine in all their trollish glory.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Runaway Troll and hopefully there will be more adventures of Samuel and Troll-Son to be read about.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Friday 23 July 2010

Time Raiders: The Avenger - PC Cast

Time Raiders: The Avenger - PC Cast

Pages: 344
Publisher: Nocturne/Mills and Boone
Release Date: 12th July 2010

Other Titles by this Author: House of Night series, Divine by Mistake, Divine by Blood, Divine by Choice, Brighid’s Quest, Elphame’s Choice

“You are about to enter a place of power, a place beyond imagining.”

Alex thought communicating with the dead was the worst of her troubles. She couldn’t have been more wrong!

She’s just been sent to 60 AD by a secret army unit to recover missing pieces if a medallion that could change the world.

Alex must use her gifts to entice Druid Caradoc into helping her. Yet soon she’s torn between duty and the man who’s been haunting her dreams. Returning to the present is the noble thing to do, but her heart tells her to stay in this enticing new world of goddesses and warriors.

The Avenger is a tale of ghosts, time travel, war, revenge and romance all in one novel.

My expectations for this book weren’t very high. I don’t like PC Cast’s House of Night series; I can’t bring myself to read any further and I’ve only gotten to book three! So I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Avenger. I can honestly say that I’ll definitely be reading more adult paranormal romance in the future.

I loved the historical setting of this novel. The Roman empire’s reign is an era of history that has always fascinated me so I was pleased to learn that The Avenger is set in 60 AD and surrounded Boudicca enacting revenge on the Romans. Learning more about Boudicca and her story showed me what a strong, powerful woman she was and how she fought back at the wrongs that she had been dealt. I really came to admire her.

The beliefs and traditions of the Celts aren’t something I’ve come across before and I finished the novel wishing that they were still around today. The Druids are tied to the environment and the elements and draw strength and even magic from them. And then there are the spirits, priestesses and goddesses that make up their everyday lives. I love it!

I’m really glad I gave PC Cast another chance and hopefully I’ll get to read more of her adult books in the future.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Wednesday 21 July 2010


Today I am flying out to Florida for a holiday. I can't even begin to explain how excited I am! Then again, posting at 7am tells you that I couldn't sleep for excitement, doesn't it?This means that I won't be around to answer emails and leave or read comments. I have, however, scheduled posts up until when I come back on August 6th as normal (if Blogger decides to work properly) but there won't be an IMM until the Sunday after I get back. And that post is going to be huge!

I plan to spend a whole 16 days internet free just reading, swimming and going on stupidly scary rollercoasters. Possibly my three favourite things in the world, by the way. Whether I'll manage an internet detox I don't know!

See you in a couple of weeks!


Monday 19 July 2010

Fortune - Megan Cole

Fortune - Megan Cole

Pages: 432 (ARC)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 8th July 2010

From Goodreads: HarperCollins is ready to set the publishing world alight with the acquisition of the world's first 'snogbuster', a new teen genre that is set to grace poolside’s everywhere this summer. Written by hot new talent Megan Cole – the pseudonym of a journalist and writer steeped in celebrity culture – FORTUNE combines the allure of the super-rich with the thrill of first romance, all in a glossy, blockbusting format.

Fortune tells the story of three very different girls – Madison from New York, Simonetta from Rome and Sapphire from London – who all receive mysterious invitations to the 50th birthday of Brad Masters, billionaire record executive. But what could the girls possibly have in common? The truth shocks them all, and turns three strangers into something much closer and more dangerous – after all, family make for the deadliest enemies...

Most of all, though, Fortune is something totally new in the booming teen romance market. So it's time to wet our lips and unashamedly embrace the glitz and glamour of the snogbuster.

Fortune is a sparkly debut full of glitz, glamour and bitchiness.

This novel is written in a very odd narrative. When I first started it, I thought that it would be a straightforward 3rd person perspectives alternating between Madison, Sapphire and Simonetta. But it shifted strangely, reaching into the viewpoint of other characters such as Brad, turning it into a kind of omniscient narration. Though saying that, the majority of the novel was still focused on Sapphire.

I was rather glad about that because she is the only one of the three girls that I actually liked. She’s sweet, homely, friendly and a brilliant musician; the type of girl I’d like to be friends with. Madison is a spoilt, bratty, nasty bitch and is everything I dislike in another girl. Even though Simonetta is beautiful, haughty and arrogant, I started to like her a smidge once her weaknesses were revealed. I bet that says a lot about me!

Fortune is a novel that I found difficult to read . The mixing of the three girls caused some serious bitchiness that was completely undeserved and it made me rather uncomfortable. I even got to the point where I couldn’t wait to get it over with. Only the happy ending rescued it for me.

Megan Cole has written a guilty pleasure of a novel to be read while lounging by the pool or sunbathing on the beach.

For my 2010 Debut Author Challenge, 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Sunday 18 July 2010

In My Mailbox 72

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

For review:

Crashed - Robin Wasserman

Lia Kahn was a lot of things before the accident…She was happy. She was normal, alive…and human. But Lia no longer believes in before. She has finally accepted her new reality as a machine, a “mech”. Lia now lives a wild and carefree life, without rules and without fear. Because there’s nothing to fear when you have nothing left to lose.

But when a voice from her past cries out for revenge, everything changes and Lia is forced to choose between her old life and her new one. How many people - mechs and human - is Lia willing to hurt to protect her freedom? And how far is she willing to go to protect the people she loves?

Thanks to S&S for this. I loved the first book.

Sing Me to Sleep - Angela Morisson (ARC)

Beth has always been “The Beast” - that’s what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Who could love a beast? Beth’s only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scoot. That is, until she’s selected to be her choir’s soprano soloist, and receives the makeover of a lifetime. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of Beth.

Things only get better when her choir travels to Switzerland and Beth meets the mysterious Derek. They have an incredible whirlwind affair that makes Beth realise, for the first time, she too can find love. She’s no longer The Beast. In Derek’s eyes, she’s beauty. But then Scott makes a heartbreaking confession to Beth that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scoot of follow her dangerous, passionate feelings she has for Derek?

And there’s and even bigger problem: Derek’s got a secret…one that could shatter everything.

After Jo’s raving of this book I was dying to read it, so thank you to Angela for sending me a copy.

The Poisoned House - Michael Ford

Abi is a servant at Greave hall, a stately London home. She runs away, but is soon recaptured, to suffer once more under the tyrannical rule of Mrs Cotton, the housekeeper. The house, though, has a darker secret. Something ghostly inhabits the corridors, leading Abi to the very truth someone has tried so hard to bury. The more she discovers, the more her life is in danger, as she begins to unravel the mystery within the poisoned house.

A gripping and masterfully woven story of intrigue, passion and greed.

Thanks to Bloomsbury for this.


From the fabulous Nancy. Thank you!

The Replacement - Brenna Romanoff (ARC)

Mackie Doyle is the replacement.

Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement - left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with an oddly intriguing girl called Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

Edward Scissorhands meets Catcher in the Rye in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.

Raised by Wolves - Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ARC)

Pack life is about order, but Bryn is about to push all the limits with hair-raising results.

At the age of four, Bryn watched a rogue werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by Callum, the alpha of his pack. Now fifteen, Bryn’s been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes her.

But the pack’s been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum’s orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answer, and she needs Chase to get them. Sudden, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter. It’s Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences.

An exciting new paranormal adventure, with a heroine who rivals Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Raised by Wolves will leave you howling for more.


Friday 16 July 2010

Blog Tour: PC Cast Interview

PC Cast is the hugely successful author of the Goddess Summoning series, the Divine series, the Parthalon series and her YA series, House of Night, which is co-written with her daughter Kristin. Her latest novel, The Avenger, is published by Mills and Boone's new imprint, Nocturne.

1. What character in The Avenger did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I loved bringing Boudicca alive again because I’m intrigued by that time in history, especially regarding the leadership role of women then. And Boudicca was such a vibrant, strong character – she was a pleasure to write!

2. All of your books have mythological roots. What is it about myths and legends that fascinate you so much?
I think you can tell a lot about a people by listening to their myths. Also, I think history is a lot more fun when you delve into mythology instead of boring text books!

3. If you were a time raider, which period in history would you most like to travel back to?
Can I take penicillin and a gun?
I know it’s not ancient history, but I’d like very much to have been alive during WWII.

4. Are there any mythical elements that you'd like to tackle in future books?
Absolutely! Robin Hood, Aida, Dracula’s Mina, and I’d like to bring alive some of the ancient Japanese myths.

5.You seem to write about very strong heroines. Is this portrayal of women very important to you?
Yes. One of my main goals in my writing is to celebrate the intelligence and power of today’s women, and to empower them to listen to their intuition and follow paths that lead to health, happiness, and fulfilment.

Thanks so much, PC! You can find out more about PC and her books at her website.


Wednesday 14 July 2010

The Other Countess - Eve Edwards

The Other Countess - Eve Edwards

Pages: 333 (ARC)
Publisher: Puffin/Penguin
Release Date: 1st July 2010

Romance. Deception. Destiny.

A brand-new historical fiction series to captivate Philippa Gregory fans and leave teenage girls swooning…

England, 1582

Ellie - Lady Eleanor Rodriguez of San Jaime - is in possession of a worthless title and a feisty spirit that captivates the elite of the Queen’s court, and none more so than the handsome new Earl of Dorset…

William Lacey has inherited his father’s title and his financial ruin. Now the earl must seek a wealthy heiress and restore his family’s fortune.

Will’s head has been turned by the gorgeous Ellie, yet their union can never be. Will is destined to marry a lady worthy of his status, so the only question is - which one…?

Historical fiction is a little hit and miss with me, but The Other Countess was definitely a hit. I loved it!

One of the reasons that I agreed to review this book was to try and fill the hole that the ending of Anna Godbersen’s The Luxe series left. And, boy did it! The mix of a historical setting, a lovable heroine and fabulous romance swept me up and carried me back to 1582. This is without a doubt a novel for the romantics (i.e. Me) with Ellie and Will’s doomed love and Will himself with his family loyalty and chivalrous acts. Sigh. But they were also intellectually matched and shared brilliantly witty banter.

Eve Edwards clearly did her research before beginning this novel. The Other Countess is packed with intricate details of life in Elizabethan England. The outfits for men and woman of all status’ were beautifully described, the rigid customs were observed and the religious instability of the country at this time made a large contribution to the story. All the threats to the Queen from the Spanish and Catholics were also a part of Ellie’s story.

Though I loved The Other Countess, it was also agony to read. All of the characters fell in love with the wrong person who were highly unlikely to be as a couple in society at this time. Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting a satisfying ending, or a happy one. But telling you whether I was satisfied with the ending or not would give far too much away…

I loved The Other Countess and I can’t wait for book two, The Queen's Lady. I have a feeling that this is going to be a favourite series of mine.

For my 2010 Debut Author Challenge, 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Monday 12 July 2010

Withering Tights - Louise Rennison

Withering Tights - Louise Rennison

Pages: 351
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 8th July 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging; It’s OK, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers!, Knocked Out by my Nunga-Nungas; Dancing in my Nuddy Pants; ‘…and that’s when it fell off in my hand.’; ‘…then he ate my boy entrancers.’; ‘…startled by his furry shorts!’; ‘Luuurve is a many trousered thing…’; ‘Stop in the name of pants!’; ‘Are these my basoomas I see before me?’

I was in the barn showing Ruby my comedy version of Irish dancing. Suddenly, mid-leap, the best-looking boy I have ever seen came in.
    He smiled at me and said, “Er…hello, I’m Alex, Ruby’s brother.”
    Ruby tutted and said, “She’s called Tallulah and she goes to that Dother Hall. Tha’ knows, the bonkers hall.”
    I said, “Hahhaha. Hiddly diddly diddly diddle…” And started dancing again.
    Alex had everything a dream boy should have. Back, front, sides. A head.

    He said, “That’s a cool name.”
    He said nothing against my knees.
    Granted, he couldn’t see my knees, but he probably got the picture. Today I have had more boy action than I have had in 14 ½ years of life. I LOVE Yorkshire. I do.

You know what it’s like when you have your first snog, and it feels like a tiny bat in barging around in your mouth? Of course you do. So you will love Tallulah Casey as she careers about in her tights. She’s your kind of mate.

The first book in Louise Rennison’s new series has a lot to live up to and although it didn’t quite reach the standards of The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Louise Rennison really is a comedy genius. She has a gift for creating madcap families and crazy friends to accompany her equally mad heroines. In Withering Tights we meet Flossie, Ruby, Honey, Vaisey and Jo who all go to Dother Hall with Tallulah. I have to admit that although Withering Tights is funnier than most novels, it wasn’t quite as funny as I wanted and expected it to be. There were a few moments that had me shaking with laughter, though.

As ever with Louise Rennison’s novels, there are bucket-loads of boy troubles. And what an array of boy for Tallulah and the girls to choose from! As Georgia’s cousin, choosing her favourite wasn’t easy, but I already know which one I like the most. Their distinct personalities and hilarious Yorkshire dialects really set each guy apart so I’m predicting a tumultuous journey for Tallulah throughout the series.

I really loved Withering Tights (and it’s cover) and I’m looking forward to reading more of Tallulah’s adventures at Dother Hall.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Sunday 11 July 2010

In My Mailbox 71

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

For review:

Fade - Lisa McMann

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmates violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open - but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behaviour has grave consequences for them both.

And if that isn’t bad enough, Janie has discovered Martha Stubin’s journals, and what she learns through them chills her to the bone. Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what’s to come is so much darker than she’d ever feared…

Thanks to S&S. I didn’t love the first book but I’m more than willing to give this a shot.

Dark Life - Kat Falls

Beware the deep.

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

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

Thanks again to S&S. I loved this book so much! You can read my review here.

100% Gleek: The Unofficial Guide to Glee - Evie Parker

O.M. Glee!

Calling all gleeks!

Are you a fan of the all-singing, all-dancing hit TV show? Then this unofficial guide is the must-have read for you.

Packed with behind the scenes facts, set gossip, episode guides and full colour photos, it’ll have you singing and dancing with, well…glee!

So, don’t stop believing’, get your gleek on and let your true colours shine - they say you can’t always get what you want, but this guide will get you pretty darn near! Oh yeah.

A fabulous surprise from Bantam Books/Random House. I love Glee!

Time Raiders: The Avenger - PC Cast

“You are about to enter a place of power, a place beyond imagining.”

Alex thought communicating with the dead was the worst of her troubles. She couldn’t have been more wrong!

She’s just been sent to 60 AD by a secret army unit to recove missing pieces if a medallion that could change the world.

Alex must use her gifts to entice Druid Caradoc into helping her. Yet soon she’s torn between duty and the man who’s been haunting her dreams. Returning to the present is the noble thing to do, but her heart tells her to stay in this enticing new world of goddesses and warriors.

From Midas Public Relations. I’ve never read adult PNR before so I’m quite looking forward to it!

Loving Spirit - Linda Chapman

Ellie has lost her parents, her home in New Zealand and everything she knows. Now she must live in England with a family who are more like strangers.

Life on her Uncle Len’s horse farm seems so lonely - until Ellie meets Spirit. She’s never seen the grey horse before, but she has the strangest feeling they’ve always known each other.

Like Ellie, Spirit is alone in the world, and they form an intense bond. And as the weeks go by, Spirit helps Ellie to discover an incredible talent that changes both their lives together.

Thanks to Puffin for this. This isn’t my usual thing, but I’m intrigued.

Troy High - Shana Norris

Homer’s Iliad, the classic tale of love and revenge, is shrewdly retold for teens in Troy High. Narrated by Cassie, a shy outsider who fears that an epic high school rivalry is about to go up in flames, the story follows the Trojans and Spartans as they declare war on the football field. After the beautiful Elena—who used to be the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders—transfers to Troy High and falls madly in love with Cassie’s brother Perry, the Spartans vow that the annual homecoming game will never be forgotten.

The Trojans and Spartans pull wicked pranks on each other as homecoming approaches. And the Spartans’ wildcard football star, Ackley, promises to take down the Trojans’ offensive line. But the stakes are raised when Cassie is forced to choose between the boy she loves (a Spartan) and loyalty to her family and school.

Troy High will seduce readers with its incendiary cast of mythic proportions.

Thanks to Abrams Books for this.

Troubadour - Mary Hoffman

‘The very stones of the castle glowed red…’

Elinor is in love with Bertran, a troubadour. But her parents will not hear of the match and Elinor is to be married to an elderly nobleman. Fearing the prospect of an unhappy and loveless marriage, she flees her castle to find Bertran, unaware that southern France is on the eve of a terrible war…

An epic and action-packed tale of war and romance from the acclaimed Mary Hoffman.

Thanks to Bloomsbury.

From the S&S event:

Rules of Attraction - Simone Elkeles

Carlos Fuentes isn’t happy about leaving Mexico to start the “new” life his ikder brother, Alex, has planned for him. Carlos liked his freedom; living life on the edge and carving out his own path - just like Alex did.

Kiara Westford doesn’t talk much; preferring instead to shut the world out. And whne Carlos bounds into her life she struggles to understand him and his wild ways. Carlos is sure that Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, which is just fine because he’s not interested anyway, right? But when they finally open up to each other, the connection they feel shocks them both. Can they overcome their fears and realise that sometimes opposites really do attract?

Squee!!! X1000

Of Saints and Shadows - Christopher Golden

Book one of The Shadow Saga - an epic tale of vampires, sorcery and war.

Armed with an ancient book called The Gospel of Shadows, a secret sect has been slowly destroying vampires for centuries. Now the book has been stolen, and the sect races to retrieve it before their purpose is discovered: a final purge of all vampires. As the line between saints and shadows grows ominously faint, private eye Peter Octavian is drawn into the search. And he’ll do anything to find the book…for Peter Octavian is also a vampire.

In a deadly game with a driven, sadistic assassin, the trail leads to Venice at the time of the carnival, where the Defiant Ones are engaged in a savage battle for their lives. Filled with plot twists, mystery, sex and violent death, Of Saints and Shadows is a gripping visceral thriller which opens the door to the world of The Shadow Saga.

Because Jenny told me to.

Daughters of Fortune - Tara Hyland

William Melville’s daughters are heiresses to the world’s most exclusive fashion dynasty. Beautiful and rich, they are envied by all. But behind the glittering façade of their lives, each girl hides a dark secret that threatens to tear their family apart.

Smart, ambitious Elizabeth knows how to manipulate every man she meets, except the one who counts: her father.

Gentle, naïve Caitlin, the illegitimate child, struggling to fit into a world of privilege while staying true to herself.

Stunning, spoilt Amber, the party girl with a weakness for bad boys; more fragile than anyone realises.

As each of them seeks to carve out her own destiny, Elizabeth, Caitlin and Amber face difficult choices, which will take them in wildly different directions. But as old wounds resurface, and threaten to destroy the foundations of the Melville empire, their paths will cross again. Because the simple truth is that, no matter how far you go, you cannot escape the claims of family.

All the S&S ladies were raving about this one.

I also picked up a copy of Pictures of Lily by Paige Toon for a friend and A Summer Fling by Milly Johnson and Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner for my mum.


The Dark Divine - Bree Despain

True love’s first kill.

Daniel looked up at me. His dark eyes searched my face. There was something different about those too-familiar eyes. Maybe it was the way the orange light from the streetlamp illuminated his pupils. Maybe it was the way he stared without blinking. His eyes made him look…hungry.

I’ve heard mixed things about this, but I’m really looking forward to it.


Friday 9 July 2010

Featured on Friday: Maggi Gibson

Maggi Gibson has always been a big reader and her and her seven year old friends inspired Sassy, Cordelia and Taslima. She now lives in Scotland with her husband and two daughters.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
When starting a new book I like to try to write first thing in the morning at my desk- before real life starts to crowd my mind. But once I've got a story up and running I can become a bit obsessive, you know the way it is when you're reading a book you can't put down? Well, I become like that about writing and will write anytime, anywhere.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
When I was a teen there weren't books specifically aimed at teens. Also, we had to read a lot of the English classics at school, Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, Silas Marner, plus Shakespeare, and it didn't leave much time for reading purely for pleasure. I hated when I HAD to read something one chapter a week. So when I was a teen, although I loved some of the books we were forced to read, I was almost turned off reading.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
Seriously Sassy, Pinch Me, I'm Dreaming and Crazy Days. Only joking! I have all of those in my head, so I wouldn't need to take them. Oh, this is a hard one! I would take To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, I Captured the Castle by Dodi Smith and something by my favourite author, Margaret Atwood. Probably The Blind Assassin, which I thought was an amazing book. I think I could read that over and over.

4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
I would love to have written Cupcake by Rachel Cohn. I think it's a brilliant YA novel. Quirky, but with a real heart. I also love Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I found it quite magical, yet it's set in the real world. I love the central idea, that it's okay to be different, and that we should try to embrace difference and not squash it on other people.

5. Is music as important to you as it is to Sassy?
The reason I wrote about a girl who had a great singing voice, is because I really can't sing! I so wish I could, and I sing inside my head all the time, but when I sing out loud it coms out all wrong! But where Sassy sings to deal with her strong emotions, I write poetry. Not that different really. Someone else might get the same release from drawing or painting, or running or swimming. Where I am like Sassy is that I can be very passionate about things, have very strong emotions. For people like me it's important to have some kind of coping mechanism. I hope that my readers will follow Sassy's example and find their own way to deal with strong emotions, to turn what can feel like negative energy into something positive.

6. Why did you decide to make green issues and campaigning such a big issue in Seriously Sassy?
I think it's the big issue of our times, especially for children and teens. There really is a problem, and so much of our world is geared towards getting things for yourself and never seeing the bigger picture, the fact that if you're using lots of resources then someone else somewhere in the world or in the future might have to pay the price. Also, I think as individuals we're in danger of feeling powerless, of thinking we can't make a difference. I want all young people to know they CAN make a difference and that what they think and believe in and do is important.

7. I thought that Sassy’s voice was spot on. Was it difficult to think and write in the mindset of a thirteen-year-old?
Quite a lot of people have mentioned that. Actually, I don't find it hard at all to write in Sassy's voice. It just feels natural. I think a bit of me inside is thirteen still, and I just tap into that. Also, when I exchange emails with my younger daughter (well, she's 23 now!) we tend to write in that kind of teen-speak, so I suppose I had practice in that voice.

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I've got the fourth Seriously Sassy book all worked out and started, but I'm not sure when or if that will be coming out. Fingers crossed. I'm about to start today on a new series. I never quite know when I start an idea if it will suddenly veer off in a totally different direction from I intended, so I'm wary of saying too much! It will be about a group of girls, probably 11 years old. They will each be quirky in their own way. There will be boy-stuff in it cos I love the whole romantic thing, and I like creating cool boy characters. Beyond that, it's at such an early stage, I really can't say!

Thanks so much, Maggi! You can visit Maggie at her website here and read my review of Seriously Sassy here.


Wednesday 7 July 2010

Blog Tour: Low Red Moon - Ivy Devlin

Low Red Moon - Ivy Devlin

Pages: 196 (ARC)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: 14th September 2010

Her parents are dead. She can’t remember what happened. And now she’s in love with the most dangerous creature in the forest.

The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver - deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can’t, and there’s nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together.

Then Avery meets the new boy in school - Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she’s ever experienced. Ben is a werewolf, but Avery trusts him - at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash an inhuman silver. And she learns that she’s not the only one who can’t remember the night her parents died.

Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong, romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans. A powerful YA voice makes her paranormal debut with this breathless, spooky novel - a book to be devoured.

Low Red Moon is a riveting paranormal debut that ticks all the boxes: mythical creatures, mystery and a fiery romance.

This is one of the best paranormal romances I’ve read this year. I adored the creepy, secluded atmosphere that Ivy Devlin created in the setting of Woodlake. It’s a small, non-descript American town surrounded by ancient forest that been the subject of myths and stories since Woodlake’s settlers. I don’t think I could live in a town where no secret stays secret for long and everybody knows everything about you and your family. And all of this only made it harder for Avery.

Thankfully, I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to loose both of your parents, let alone have watched them be murdered and not be able to remember who did it. But that’s the reality that Avery faces. Shattering grief consumes her everyday and is only worsened by the empty space where the memory of that night should be. Ivy Devlin conveyed Avery’s fragile state of mind beautifully.

But it was the romance that really captured my attention with enough clandestine meetings to set pulses racing. The chemistry between Ben and Avery sizzled right from the moment they met and their connection only got stronger as Low Red Moon continued and the threat of evil got nearer and nearer to Avery.

The mysteries surrounding the evil presence and the murder of Avery’s parents kept me furiously turning the pages. Hints were dribbled throughout the chapters and led me to quite a few wrong conclusions. So when the murderer’s identity was revealed I actually gasped aloud in shock. Very unexpected!

I loved Low Red Moon and I can’t wait to read more from Ivy Devlin.

For my 2010 Debut Author Challenge, 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


Monday 5 July 2010

Spirit Hunter - Katy Moran

Spirit Hunter - Katy Moran

Pages: 272
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 7th June 2010

Other Titles by this Author: Bloodline, Bloodline Rising

Two empires are at war.

This time, the Empress of China is sure she will destroy the Horse Tribes for ever.

She sends a deadly weapon across the desert with her army: Swiftarrow, her Shaolin spy. But Swiftarrow has more than one mission to complete. He must also find a new recruit for the empress, a young barbarian to train as Shaolin: swift as a shadow, more silent than death.

Out on the Steppe, a young Horse Tribe shaman dreams of a great battle and the slaughter of her people. She knows that war is coming. She must stop the bloodshed. But how?

Spirit Hunter is the story of a girl being crushed by grief and a boy overwhelmed with regret at causing it.

Both of the main characters of Spirit Hunter, Asena and Swiftarrow, are in very difficult situations and states of mind. And through split narration, Katy Moran captures the pitch of their emotions perfectly and the nature of their intertwined lives. It is also told in the very rare present tense, making it feel as if you were right in the heart of the action with Asena and Swiftarrow.

The beliefs and customs of an ancient Chinese civilisation that are depicted in Spirit Hunter are fascinating. I really love the idea of everybody having spirit horses and a few - the shaman - that can see them and be able to tell what kind of person you are. I think it’s extremely cool. There’s also the wall-dwellers (people who live in the city of T’ang) with the Shaolin, their all-powerful queen and scores of courtesans. It really is another world.

I have to admit that Spirit Hunter did let me down in one respect: the love story. I was expecting a fiery, passionate, forbidden love, but in actuality, they were rarely together. When Asena and Swiftarrow were together the negative emotions were so strong that their declarations of undying love at the end seemed a little out of the blue and I didn’t quite believe it.

Spirit Hunter is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that will strongly appeal to fans of stories set far back in history.

For my 2010 100+ Reading Challenge