Friday 31 August 2012

Blog Tour: Rage Within Character Profile (Jeyn Roberts)

As part of the blog tour for Jeyn Roberts’s second novel, Rage Within, the follow up to Dark Inside, I have a character profile for Michael for you! Enjoy!


Age: 17
Hair colour: brown
Eye colour: brown
Favourite music: Slayer, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Rolling Stones
Favourite movie: Shaun of the Dead
Favourite colour: Black
Favourite food:  pizza
Favourite subject: Lunch
Friends: Joe
Family: Lives with Dad. Mom and sister, Bethany, live in Detroit
Favourite things to do: Playing guitar. Driving really fast on the highway with the stereo blasting.

Michael was born in Denver and spent most of his childhood there. When he was eleven, his parents divorced, Dad and him moved to Whitefish. Dad was a truck driver and felt that Whitefish was a better place for Michael to be, because Dad was often on the road.

Michael never was overly active in school. Instead, Joe and him preferred to spend their afternoons learning to play guitar. For his fourteenth birthday, Dad gave him a Fender Strat. Joe and him started their first band the next day. They called themselves Muck and they were terrible.  Both of them grew their hair out really long and carried their guitars everywhere.

Once at a party, Michael fell asleep on the couch. Dad was en route to Idaho, so he didn't have to worry about being home. There were a few others sleeping there too, including Joe and a some other guys. The next morning, Michael woke up to something licking his face. Thinking it was the host's dog, he shoved it away with his hand and rolled over.

Then he heard the scream.

Michael turned around and came face to face with a brown bear. Someone had left the patio doors open during the night. Smelling the potato chips and half empty beer bottles, the animal came in for a visit.

Luckily for Michael, the bear wasn't interested in sampling human. It grabbed a full bag of Doritos's Cool Ranch chips and headed back out into the wilderness. For the next several months, Michael earned the nickname "Bear Slapper."

I’d like to thank Macmillan for sending me a copy of Rage Within to review and for organizing my stop on the tour.


Wednesday 29 August 2012

Rage Within - Jeyn Roberts

Rage Within – Jeyn Roberts

Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: 30th August 2012 
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles in the Series: 
Dark Inside

After the earthquakes came the infectious rage, turning friends into deadly enemies.

For survivors Michael, Aries, Mason and Clementine the battle to stay alive is about to get even tougher. The new world is organising itself, with camps that promise protection for the uninfected. But the reality of the sites is far more sinister. Besides, nobody is safe from the rage within their own soul...

It’s been a while since I read Jeyn Roberts’ debut so I was a little bit wary of starting Rage Within as I worried that I wouldn’t be able to slip back into the world very easily, and I was right. However, as soon as I did, I didn't want to leave.

Rage Within is written in four main perspectives, Clementine, Michael, Mason and Aries, who we met in book one. This did provide a slight difficulty when I first started reading as there were four characters and back-story that I had to pull from deep in my memory for everything to make sense. Luckily, the events of the Dark Inside were referenced just enough to spark the memories of the characters story arcs and I feel back into their world, but it did take around fifty or so pages for that to happen.

My favourite thing about this series is an additional perspective that is sporadically resent in short chapters through the book: the chapters narrated by ‘Nothing’. In the first book, these chapters seemed to me to represent an abstraction that formed into a sort of group consciousness by the end of the novel and it continued to develop further in Rage Within. Here it became a clearer personality and seemed a lot more human than before, which if I’m honest, made it even more unsettling. But these chapters are exquisitely written. They’re dark, enticing and puzzling. I went through so many ideas of whether it could be a character or if it was something else entirely, and when it was finally revealed, in a roundabout kind of way, I was completely wrong. I do love it when that happens.

As Clementine, Michael, Mason and Aries settled in to their new life at the safe house in Vancouver, some new characters started to appear. Although there were around five or six that had a major role, I instantly fell for one of them: Raj. He was quick-witted and provided some much-needed comic relief to the gang’s stressful days and he never failed to make me smile. He was very well characterised with his idiosyncrasies and likability for someone who we really know very little about and thinking about it, is he all he’s cracked up to be...?

I thoroughly enjoyed Rage Within and although I don’t know for certain if there’ll be another book in this series, I hope there will be!

For my 
2012 Dystopian YA Challenge (even though it’s post-apocalyptic...)


Monday 27 August 2012

Spy for the Queen of Scots - Theresa Breslin

The Spy for the Queen of Scots – Theresa Breslin

Pages: 402
Publisher: Doubleday (Random House)
Release Date: 2nd August 2012
Edition: UK proof copy, review copy

Jenny, close friend and companion to Mary, Queen of Scots, has grown up at the French royal court – a place of ruthless ambition, intrigue and deceit. When Jenny overhears a whispered plot and several mysterious deaths take place, she turns spy for Mary.

Then Mary returns to Scotland to claim her throne and the girls face even greater peril. There are many who would slit Mary’s throat to steal her crown, and Jenny must protect her mistress – while also fighting her feelings for charismatic nobleman Duncan Alexander.

Can Mary and Jenny survive this poisonous time of dark secrets, betrayal and murder?

When it comes to historical fiction and me, we don’t always gel, but I always try to give it a go. Even though I didn’t fall in love with Spy for the Queen of Scots, I’m glad I read it.

Right from the get go Spy for the Queen of Scots is highly political, exactly like the time during which Mary lived. Politics is one of those things that I’ve really known about or been that interested in, but with the history and the lovable characters, I was easily able to just go along with it. I think that the political side of the novel confused me so much because there was a huge cast of characters that kept switching sides and I just lost track of them and whether I should trust them or not.

I have to admit that there were some brilliantly horrible characters in Spy for the Queen of Scots that I loved to hate, my favourite being Catherine de’ Medici, the Queen of France. As a member of the infamous Italian Medici’s, as soon as I heard her name, I knew trouble was brewing and it was brilliant. She was everything I expected from a Medici and I’m now intrigued to go back and read Theresa Breslin’s 2006 novel, The Medici Seal

With the nasty and dangerous characters came the equally as good. Firstly, Mary, Queen of Scots, who I knew very little about bar her execution and involvement in the war between Catholicism and Protestantism. I discovered a brave, strong, dedicated and fascinating woman who had royalty and responsibility thrust upon her from birth. Then you have our protagonist, Lady Ginette, or Jenny, who is Mary’s loyal confidante and friend. There’s literally nothing bad about this girl, although some of her less-smooth moments may have secured her her guy a little sooner, I’m glad those distinctly teenage moments were included. 

And now you’re all thinking ‘Her guy? Tell us about him then!’ and so I’ll oblige. Sir Duncan Alexander, a Scots lord, is on the receiving end of Jenny’s love. He’s a very mysterious character and I was constantly unsure whether he could actually be trusted or not, but I was continually hoping that they’d get together. Although the tension was there between them, there wasn’t really enough romance for me, I wanted some swoon, dammit! But all in all, I’m happy with how her story ended, with an exception of the final paragraph of the epilogue. It felt cheesy and contrite and not at all in keeping with the tone of the rest of the novel and I closed the book with a bit of a sour look on my face.

Even though the ending wasn’t quite to my taste, I enjoyed reading Spy for the Queen of Scots and I hope to get around to more of Theresa Breslin’s beautifully researched novels in the future.


Sunday 26 August 2012

In My Mailbox 128

This meme was started by Kristi of The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea from Pop Culture Junkie. Check out their blogs for more information. All summaries are from the book jackets unless otherwise stated.

For review:

Sweet Venom – Tera Lynn Childs

GRACE is new in town. It’s scary, starting over, but it gets scarier when she runs into a minotaur. And scarier still when a girl who looks just like her rocks up to fight it.

GRETCHEN is fed up of fighting monsters, especially on school nights. Getting rid of a minotaur is easy, but she never expected to run into her double in the process.

GREER is perfection personified. But her world is knocked off its immaculate axis when two identical girls appear on her doorstep and claim they’re all demon-hunting sisters.

Meet Grace, Gretchen and Greer – three teenage descendants of Medusa must embrace their fates in a world where mythological monsters lurk in plain sight.

Really looking forward to this. Thanks, Templar!

Zombies Don't Cry - Rusty Fischer (ARC)

Maddy Swift is just an ordinary girl, until the fateful night when she is struck by lightning and wakes up face down in a puddle. Then it’s goodbye to all things Normal – such as breathing and having a heartbeat – and hello to yellow vision and a whole new Afterlife.

Turns out there’s a lot more to being a zombie than shuffling and groaning, but surviving school as one of the living dead requires a different set of skills. And things don’t get any easier when Maddy realises that she’s not the only reanimated student at Baracuda High School...

I really love the sound of this. Thanks, Electric Monkey!

The Diviners – Libba Bray

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling of New York City – and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will – and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. 

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene. Evie realises her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides behind a shocking secret.

And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened...

So fricking excited for this!! Thanks Atom!


Friday 24 August 2012

Blog Tour: Moira Young's Female Heroes (Rebel Heart)

I'm honoured to welcome the fantastic author of Blood Red Road and Rebel HeartMoira Young, to the blog as part of the Rebel Heart blog tour. She's written me a fantastic post on female heroes. Enjoy!

Female Heroes

When you think of female heroes, Judy Garland may not spring to mind. But she was my first, as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. I was four years old. There it was, the hero’s journey with its archetypal elements – the call to adventure, the road of trials with its allies and enemies, the ordeal, seizing the sword (in Dorothy’s case, the broomstick of the Wicked Witch) and the hero’s return – all set to a catchy musical score. Little wonder that female heroes and the hero’s journey sank deep into my psyche.

Making allies along the road of trials

I continued to fill the well with the images and stories of the strong female heroes I found in the books of my childhood. Mary Lennox, the unloved, unloveable orphan of The Secret Garden, warmed to life along with her secret garden. Stubborn Maria Merryweather, who braves death in order to restore peace to her world of Moonacre in Elizabeth Goudge’s The Little White Horse. Troublesome Meg Murry, risking all to save her little brother in Madeleine L’Engle’s sci-fi classic, A Wrinkle in Time. There were male heroes, of course – Huck Finn, Jim Hawkins, Richard Hannay in John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps – but I was hooked on girl power.

A little later, I added characters such as Jane Eyre, Moll Flanders, Becky Sharp, Elizabeth Bennet, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing to my ever-growing list of fictional female heroes.

Alex Kingston, ‘The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders’

Heroic characters are determined, resourceful, courageous and self-sacrificing, with sacrifice being the hallmark of the best heroes. They’re willing to give up something of value for the greater good, up to and including their own life.

Self-sacrifice is by no means restricted to the male of the species. Ingrid Bergman as Joan of Arc.

I spent a lot of time at the movies, in the cinema and glued to the TV on Saturday and Sunday afternoons when the other kids were outside playing. My parents wrung their hands over their unsociable geek child, lurking in the gloom of the basement rec room, but I was in heaven. I was forging a strong bond with movies and visual storytelling. And I was discovering the powerful women of cinema, particularly in films of the 40s and 50s, reflecting the post-WWII shift in the status of women. My female film heroes were, and still are, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford. In all their various screen incarnations of independent, resourceful women who gave as good as they got, they provided a rich source of inspiration and aspiration. They were making their way in a man’s world and doing quite nicely, thank you very much.

Charlie and Rose (Bogart and Hepburn) on their heroic journey to sabotage the enemy in ‘The African Queen’

Every character is the hero of her own life. The female heroes in my books – Saba, Emmi, Mercy, Maev, Epona, Ash, Auriel and Molly – all have something of my favourite real-life, fictional and screen heroes in them. Male and female alike, from Dorothy Gale, whose most violent act is to slap the Cowardly Lion, to Lee Child’s lone-wolf vigilante for justice, Jack Reacher. It all goes into the well. It’s all good.

Moira Young’s blog tour continues tomorrow at

Monday 20 August 2012

The Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin

The Masque of the Red Death – Bethany Griffin

Pages: 319
Publisher: Indigo (Orion)
Release Date: 2nd August 2012
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who survived live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up...and so many tantalizing ways to escape from it all.

But in the depths of the Debauchery Club – in the depths of her own despair – Araby is going to find more than oblivion. He’s called Will, the handsome, mysterious proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is quite what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for – no matter what it costs her.

The Masque of the Red Death is a vivid and atmospheric post-apocalyptic novel with a twist.

As well as living in a world suffering the ravages of plague, Araby also seems to be in the remains of Victorian society. This mix of post-apocalypse and historical fiction is one I’ve never come across before, but it really, really works. This clever move on Bethany Griffin’s part brings a sense of darkness and threat with the dingy streets of an unnamed city, it felt a little like London to me though, and the disease-ridden poor. The city provided the perfect backdrop to the Debauchery Club and Araby’s broken and fragile state.

Araby herself is a fascinating character. From the very beginning she is encased in self-inflicted mental torment and is searching for complete oblivion, but with one exception: she won’t allow herself any physical contact with anyone. No holding hands, no kissing, no hugging. It’s all in the name of preserving her dead twin’s memory and not experiencing anything he didn’t get the chance to. It’s utterly heartbreaking and I was desperate for her to just let go and sink into Will’s arms. 

The blurb of The Masque of the Red Death promised a love triangle between two gorgeous, mysterious boys and I was anticipating being torn between Will and Elliott. I wasn’t. I didn’t really like Elliott, I mean, I could understand Araby’s material attraction to him, but he just wasn’t very stable, or very nice. Will captured my heart immediately and didn’t let go. I loved how he wasn’t purely a love interest. He had his own motives and did things that a traditional love interest might not do, but his character was followed flawlessly.

Masks are a common theme in literature, but are rarely literal. In The Masque of the Red Death the masks worn by those who can afford them to protect them from breathing in the plague and give them all an air of mystery and intrigue. They worked nicely against the attacks on the city and the attempts to take it from Prince Prospero anonymously. There was also the sense of never really knowing someone which I really liked. Wow, my English Lit came out there. Sorry!

I absolutely adored Bethany Griffin's debut and I can’t wait to get stuck into book two, Dance of the Red Death.

For my 2012 Debut Author Challenge, Dystopian YA Challenge 2012 and 2012 YA Historical Fiction Challenge.


Sunday 19 August 2012

In My Mailbox 127

This meme was started by the fabulous Kristi of The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. All book summaries are from the book jackets unless otherwise stated,

For review:

Carnival of Souls – Melissa Marr

Enter the carnival

The carnival pulsed in the centre of The City – a swirl of masked decadence and danger. Music played constantly as the dancers demonstrated their flexibility. At times it was a glamorous cacophony. Jugglers and fire-twirlers showed their skills in time to the music. In this carnival world, both pleasure and murder are up for sale...

Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures – if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

From the author of the million-copy selling Wicked Lovely series comes this sinister tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one’s own destiny.

So freaking excited for this – I love Melissa Marr’s books! Thanks, HarperCollins!

Runlight – Joanne Harris

From Goodreads: The squabbling Norse gods and goddesses of Runemarks are back! And there’s a feisty new heroine on the scene: Maggie, a girl the same age as Maggie but brought up in a world apart – literally, in World’s End, the focus of the Order in which Maggie was raised. Now the Order is destroyed, Chaos is filling the vacuum left behind...and is breaching the everyday world.

A chilling prophecy from the Oracle.
A conflict between two girls.
And with just twelve days to stave off the Apocvalypse, carnage is about to be unleashed...

I haven’t read the first book, but I’m a sucker for mythology. Thanks, RHCP!

Rage Within – Jeyn Roberts

After the earthquakes came the infectious rage, turning friends into deadly enemies.

For survivors Michael, Aries, Mason and Clementine the battle to stay alive is about to get even tougher. The new world is organising itself, with camps that promise protection for the uninfected. But the reality of the sites is far more sinister. Besides, nobody is safe from the rage within their own soul...

I’m quoted in this one! Thanks so much, Macmillan!

Million Dollar Mates – Cathy Hopkins

Jess Hall is going upmarket! Her dad’s got a new job at Number 1, Porchester Park – the luxury city apartment block – and he’s moving Jess, her brother, and her pet cat, Dave, in with him.

Jess isn’t too sure about moving away from her school friends – or her beloved Gran – until she learns the apartments are strictly A-list only and soon to be populated by actors, musicians, models and millionaires.

A life of glitz and glamour surely beckons...but will her new million dollar mates be all they’re cracked up to be?

After loving Love at Second Sight, I’m really looking forward to reading this. Thanks, S&S!

I also got an extra proof of Shadows by Ilsa J Bick from Quercus.


Friday 17 August 2012

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket - John Boyne

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket – John Boyne

Pages: 278
Publisher: Doubleday (Random House)
Release Date: 2nd August 2012
Edition: UK hardback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Noah Barleywater Runs Away

There’s nothing unusual about the Brockets. Boring, respectable, and proud of it, they turn up their noses at anything strange or different. But from the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, he defies the laws of gravity – and floats. Desperate to please his parents, Barnaby  tries to keep his feet on the ground – but he just can’t do it!

One fateful day, the Brocket’s decide enough is enough. They never asked for a weird, abnormal floating child. Barnaby has to go.

Betrayed, frightened and alone, Barnaby floats into the path of a very special hot-air balloon – and so begins a magical journey around the world.

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is my first book by John Boyne and I was rather apprehensive. I’d heard countless good things about his brilliant and always sad novels, but I'm so glad I gave it a chance.

Right from the beginning of the novel, John Boyne celebrates being different. Being normal is boring and being different leads to adventures and unique experiences that painfully ‘normal’ people like Barnaby’s parents will never experience. I love how Boyne repeatedly empathises how one person’s normal isn’t necessarily another person’s normal. In this he really endorses individuality which is so important in a society where following the fashions and the rest of the crowd seems to be the only possibility.

Aside from the message, my favourite element of The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby is all of the fascinating people Barnaby meets on his travels around the world. But even so, each of these people has embraced their individuality and broken away from the people trying to restrict them and turn them into their version of normal. You have two old ladies who moved to Brazil to work on a cacao farm; a businessman’s son disinherited to become an artist and a badly scarred man becoming a famous journalist. Each person helps Barnaby along the way and teaches him a little bit about appreciating his floating.

I loved the way that this novel emulated one of my favourite childhood authors: Roald Dahl. The story is whimsical and bursting with magic realism just like Dahl’s novels and the writing is witty, humorous and so, so easy to read. There’s also the evil nature of lots of adults, especially parents, and the spattering of black and white ink illustrations that bring Barnaby and his adventures to life.

I loved The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby and I now realise that I’ll have to be brave and go back and read his first two children’s novel.


Wednesday 15 August 2012

Why We Broke Up - Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up – Daniel Handler
Illustrated by Maira Kalman

Pages: 354
Publisher: Electric Monkey (Egmont)
Release Date: 6th August 2012
Edition: UK proof, unsolicited review copy

Other Titles by this Author: The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs and, as Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events

This is the box, Ed.

Inside is everything.

Two bottle caps,
a movie ticket from Greta in the Wild,
a note from you,
a box of matches,
your protractor,
Joan’s books,
the stolen sugar,
a toy truck,
those ugly earrings,
a comb from the motel,
and the rest of it.

This is it, Ed.

The whole story of why we broke up.

Since a few months before it’s release in the US, I have been hearing incredibly mixed things about Why We Broke Up and I was completely undecided as to whether I thought I’d enjoy it or not. I loved, loved, loved it.

I’m so glad that the lure of the unique premise and something other than A Series of Unfortunate Events from the man behind Lemony Snicket proved too much for me to resist. Even through my love of Why We Broke Up, I understand why it might not be for everyone. It has the potential to have the same effect as Marmite, I think! A large contributor to this may be because of how stylistic and self-aware of that that the novel is, at least, it seemed that way to me.

Min narrates her story in an extended letter to her ex-boyfriend, Ed. This means that we get the unusual combination of a past tense, second person narration, which although I think it’s amazing when done well, may put some people off quickly. Lucy Christopher’s debut, Stolen, one of the best books I've ever read, is written in the same style and works perfectly, but that is the only other example I can bring to mind. It’s a unique form and one that I think is quite difficult to pull off effectively. With Min and Ed’s story, Daniel Handler nailed it.

Min tells her story in a stream of consciousness, divided into chapters by an object, from a cinema ticket to a bottle cap to a t-shirt significant to the stages of their relationship. Accompanying the chapters are rich, vibrant and beautiful illustrations by Maira Halman. I loved that their position in the text occasionally varied so for a few pages you’d be reading a scene of a situation and not know what the object was until the end of the chapter, and you would only find out through the image. I thought it was a very clever to mix the two mediums and I loved it.

There is only one thing about Why We Broke Up that stopped it from being perfect for me: Ed. I really didn’t like him. Looking back on it, it was probably because I was so involved in Min’s narration where she’s telling him why they broke up and why he was wrong for her and I took that on. So in that way it could almost be a positive point for Handler’s writing, but it did distance me a little. To me, it was clear from the beginning that he wasn’t right for Min; he wasn’t clever enough, passionate enough, weird enough. It was the kind of relationship that was perfectly doomed from the very start.

Why We Broke Up is a beautiful bittersweet and incredibly stylish novel and I hope to see more from Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman very, very soon.


Monday 13 August 2012

Love at Second Sight - Cathy Hopkins

Love at Second Sight – Cathy Hopkins

Pages: 309
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2nd August 2012
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Mates, Dates series; Truth, Dare, Kiss or Promise series; Cinnamon Girl series; Zodiac Girls series; Million Dollar Mates series

 Can once in a lifetime happen twice?

Jo has never been lucky in love, and as the boy she likes has a queue of girls after him, it doesn’t look like things are going to change. But when she’s dragged along to see a clairvoyant by her two coupled-up best friends, Jo’s told that in a past life, she experienced true love and to be happy in this life, she needs to find her soulmate again in the present doesn’t believe a word of it, but then a series of events begin to change her mind. With three boys in her life, she wonders how is she ever to recognise The One? Will looking back to the past help shape her future? And does true love really happen time after time?

This was my very first Cathy Hopkins novel and I’m telling you now, it won’t be my last! I really, really enjoyed it.

There is an infectious warmth about Love at Second Sight that drew me on the very first page and didn’t let me go until a while after the last. I think that had a lot to do with the characters more so than any stylistic feature or the plot. Our protagonist, Jo, is fabulous. She’s smart ad logical, loves Steampunk and Pre-Raphaelite art and most importantly, she’s a normal teenage girl. She’s unsure of what she wants, of how to deal with her world changing, how to deal with worn in grief and how exactly to find her soulmate.

Not only is Jo fantastic, but the cast of secondary characters surrounding her and supporting her quest to find Howard are well-rounded and individual, but they are far from perfect and are in no way stereotypical. But I find that even with excellent characters, sometimes the dialogue stops them from coming properly alive. Cathy Hopkins definitely doesn’t have this issue. Dialogue isn’t generally something I take stylistic notice of, it’s just there, but in Love at Second Sight I was struck with just how authentic and relatable it is. Hopkins captures what it’s like to be a normal teenager living in London, with the landmarks of our capital without many of the obvious stops. I’m a little in awe of Cathy Hopkins at the moment.

I love when something pops up in a young adult novel that you don't often see in this genre so when I heard that past lives, in a non-paranormal romance fashion, was the driving force behind Jo’s story, I was very intrigued. Psychics and clairvoyants discovering your past lives in a reading is fascinating to me and I’d love to have a chance to see if I have one and then try to prove or disprove as far as possible as Jo, Effy and Tash did. I love that their research wasn’t founded in the mystical and supernatural, but in history and personal accounts. It made me want to explore my own family history and try and find out if maybe I have a soulmate from another life...

I loved Love at Second Sight and I hope to read much more from Cathy Hopkins in the future. It’s a good job she’s got such a long backlist really!