Wednesday 30 January 2013

The Disappeared - CJ Harper

Pages: 376
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 31st January 2013
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Jackson’s life is perfect, he’s top of his class, wants for nothing and is destined to be part of the leadership that runs the country. But when a violent incident leaves Jackson badly beaten and his best friend dead, everything changes. Suddenly, his teachers claim not to know him, his records are deleted...Jackson doesn’t exist anymore.

Dumped in an academy, where teachers are kept in cages and being a good fighter is all that matters, Jackson realises that to survive he needs to adapt, and fast. And, as he learns the academy’s terrible secrets, Jackson discovers his whole life has been based on lies; the leadership is corrupt to the core and they’re coming after him.

Time is running out, can Jackson destroy the man at the heart of it all before he makes Jackson disappear for good?

I don’t know why, but I expected The Disappeared to be more of a thriller than a dystopia and this threw me off a little in the beginning but I ended up enjoying it.

CJ Harper introduces Jackson’s world with mystery and intrigue. We’re immediately introduced to an incredibly elitist society and I was left what could possibly have led to the forming of a structure like that. Then Jackson’s erasure from the system occurred. Firstly, how on earth could someone manage that? And secondly, what on earth had he done? It didn’t sound like a particularly pleasant world to be in, but I was definitely intrigued by it.

My horror and fascination at the social system in The Disappeared only intensified once Jackson/Blake arrived at The Academy. I thought it was a really brilliant way for the corruption of The Leadership to be explored and it carried a very powerful message. The kids are conditioned to be dumb, violent slabs of meat. It made the importance of education and language so, so obvious and living in the Western world I was surprised to realise that that would ever or had ever been the case. Not having the ability to communicate effectively, whether it be through speech, writing or reading, was crippling to the kids in the Academy and I shared Jackson/Blake’s horror. Language really is power.

Although I instantly became involved in the world of The Disappeared, my connection to Jackson/Blake took a little longer to develop. It wasn’t until at least half-way through the novel that I began to like him. In the beginning I thought he was a bit of an arrogant douchebag if I’m being honest. I respect how CJ Harper wrote his transition in to Academy life though. It took him a long time to acclimatise to his new situation and work out what was really happening and I’m glad it wasn’t an instant ‘Look guys, you’re all living a lie’. It worked perfectly with his character. I did love Kay pretty much instantly though. She’s tough, clever and so willing to learn and fix what she discovers is wrong with how she has been brought up in.

The Disappeared is a brilliantly paced and easy to read dystopian thriller from a really promising debut author.

Thank you to S&S for providing me with a review copy.

make sure you check back here on February 3rd for a guest post from CJ on writing in a male POV for The Disappeared blog tour.


Monday 28 January 2013

Just One Day - Gayle Forman

Pages: 369
Publisher: Definitions (Random House)
Release Date: 10th January 2012
Edition: UK paperback, purchased copy

Other Titles by this Author: If I Stay, Where She Went

A whirlwind day in Paris...
A chance at true love...
Heartbreak is waiting just around the corner.

From the author of the international bestseller, If I Stay, comes a poignant and beautiful story of love, loss and learning to live again.

If I Stay and Where She Went captured my heart with Gayle Forman’s beautiful prose and heartbreaking story of love and loss and Just One Day had exactly the same effect.

One of the most unexpected – in the best way – things about Just One Day was the prominence of Shakespeare in the novel. I’ve studied his plays in school since I can remember but I’ve not yet seen one live and the performance of Twelfth Night put on by Guerilla Will is something I’d kill to see, especially in Stratford-upon-Avon! Forman kept the themes and ideas of Shakespeare relevant to so much in the novel and was the perfect thing to run alongside Allyson’s journey.

Just One Day takes a few philosophical and thoughtful turns as “LuLu” and Willem muse on the nature of love and release of travelling and Allyson reacts to loss and doubt. I found it incredible that a single day with a stranger in Paris could have such a large and lasting impact. It left a permanent mark on her opened her up to so many new ideas and experiences that she otherwise would have stayed ignorant of.

This novel gave me serious wanderlust. I haven’t been to many places but I’ve always dreamt of seeing the world and Allyson went to more places in a single year than I’ve been to in my entire life: Paris, Holland, Amsterdam, New York, Miami, Mexico and that’s not including the European tour she went on before the novel started! I want to go somewhere new and exciting so badly. The possibilities, the opportunities, the people...

Once again, I’ve written a pretty vague review but I really don’t want to spoil a single word of this romantic, thoughtful and intensely involving novel.


Sunday 27 January 2013

In My Mailbox 145

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.


Anthem for Jackson Dawes – Celia Bryce

When Megan bright arrives in hospital for her first cancer treatment, there is only one other teenager there – Jackson Dawes. He is cute, rebellious...and infuriating. Even so, Megan finds herself slowly and surely drawn to him.

But so is everybody. Jackson is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need some of his extraordinary optimism as they face the difficult times ahead.

An uplifting story of bravery, loss and love against the odds.

I’m really looking forward to this, though I think it might make me cry! Thanks Bloomsbury!

Night School: Legacy – CJ Daugherty

In the last year, Allie has survived three arrests, two breakups and one family meltdown. The only bright point has been her new life at Cimmeria Academy – It’s the one place Allie feels she belongs. And the fact that it’s brought the dreamy Carter West into her life hasn’t hurt.

But far from being a safe haven, the cloistered walls of Cimmeria are proving more dangerous than Allie could’ve imagined. The students are under threat and Allie’s family – from her mysterious grandma to her runaway brother – are at the centre of the storm.

Allie is going to have to choose between protecting her family and trusting her friends. But secrets have a way of ripping even the strongest relationships apart...

I really need to read this series! Thanks Atom!

Finding Cherokee Brown – Siobhan Curham

His lips touched mine and for one split second the whole world stopped.
Then every cell in my body fizzed into life...

When I decided to write a book about my life I thought I’d have to make loads of stuff up. I mean, who wants to read about someone like me?

But as soon as I started writing, the weirdest thing happened. I found out I wasn’t who I thought I was. And I stopped being scared. Then everything went crazy!

Best of all, I discovered that when you finally decide to be brave it’s like waving a wand over your life – the most magical things can happen...

Really looking forward to this. And my review of Dear Dylan is quoted inside! Thanks Electric Monkey.

The Indigo Spell – Richelle Mead

An ancient magic.
A heart-wrenching decision...

Sydney Sage is an alchemist. She protects vampire secrets – and human lives.

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she is struggling to decide between following her Alchemist teachings – or her heart.

Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch, a former Alchemist who is now on the run. As Marcus pushes her to rebel, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought.

There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as Sydney searches for the person attacking powerful young witches, she realizes that she must embrace her magical blood – or else she will be next.

AHHHHHHH! Thank you Puffin!!

Scarlet – Marissa Meyer

This is not the fairy tale you remember.
But it’s one you won’t forget.

Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn t each other.

Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.

As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. They must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner...

SO looking forward to this as I loved Cinder! Thanks again Puffin.

Speechless – Hannah Harrington

Chelsea can’t keep a secret...until now.

Everyone’s shared gossip that they shouldn’t have – but the last time Chelsea told a secret nearly got someone killed.

So Chelsea takes a vow of silence, if she keeps her mouth shut, at least things can’t get any worse, right?


Suddenly taking a stand’s making previously popular Chelsea a social outcast. But finding new ways to communicate is making her new friends in unexpected places, especially rebellious skateboarder Sam.

Sam’s the last person who should give Chelsea a second chance. It’s his best friend who her gossip hurt the most – yet he’s the only one who understands.

And the only one can help Chelsea discover who she really is...and who she wants to be.

I really enjoyed Saving June so I’m looking forward to this. Thanks Mira!

Gilt – Katherine Longshore


Kitty Tylney has always lived in the shadow of her best friend, Cat. Then Cat worms her way into the court of Henry VIII – and into the king’s heart. When Cat makes her best friend part of her inner circle at court, Kitty is thrust into a glittering new life of fabulous gowns, opulent parties and dashing men vying for her attention. But Kitty soon discovers that beneath the golden veneer lurks a world of secrets and lies, trysts and back-door deals, where the price of gossip could literally be her head.

Once you’ve clawed your way to the top, there’s nowhere to go but down...and it’s a long fall from the Queen of England’s throne.

This sounds so good! Thanks S&S!


Thursday 24 January 2013

Undone - Cat Clarke

Pages: 502
Publisher: Quercus
Release Date: 31st January 2012
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Entangled, Torn

How far would you fall for the truth?

Jem Halliday is in love with her gay best friend. Not exactly ideal, but she’s learning to live with it.

Then the unspeakable happens. Kai is outed online...and he kills himself.

Jem knows nothing she can say or do will bring him back.
But she wants to know who was responsible.
And she wants to take them down...

A searing story of love, revenge and betrayal.

Cat Clarke always delivers something unexpected and Undone was no exception. I loved it.

Though I’d been looking forward to Undone for months, all I really knew about it was from what Cat read at mini-blogger party in the summer, so it was a complete surprise. I loved that Kai left Jem a letter for each month in the first year after his death – it gave me tear-filled PS I Love You flashbacks. On a related geeky note, I loved the font that Kai’s letters were written in; it’s gorgeous. So was the chapter title font actually! I loved getting such a clear glimpse of Kai through the letters. I know exactly why Jem fell for him. He’s sweet, funny and wordy; pretty awesome to be honest.

Jem was the real star of Undone though. I know it sounds silly to say so, but Jem just felt so realistic. Every part of her narration was authentically teenage; from her internal monologue to the way that she changed how she spoke according to who she was with. The snark and swearing wasn’t toned down and I believed her every word. Spot on. I was also really pleased to see how insecure Jem was in social situations and not because of shyness or being angsty, it seemed like a genuine social anxiety and I related to that. My reaction to Jem didn't even waver when she began to slide in to being a little like the people who she was trying to bring down.

I think that one of the most powerful elements of Jem’s character was that her sexual desire was portrayed. It’s one of those things that can sometimes still be a little taboo and is rarely approached in YA, but Cat didn’t shy away from it which I thought was brilliant. The power of her grief was also vividly portrayed. Her intense desire for revenge and the wide variety of emotions she felt for Kai and for Lucas, Sasha, Bugs, Stu and Nina really demonstrated the idea that a person really isn’t always who they seem to be.

After a shocking turn of events and an even more surprising ending that only resulted in my broken heart and floods of tears, Cat Clarke was cemented in my mind as an author to be reckoned with. Undone had a long way to go to top the awesome of Entangled and Torn, but it was effortlessly done and it’s easily my favourite of the three.

Undone is what contemporary YA should be: gritty, thought-provoking and emotionally involving. Brilliant.

Thank you to Quercus for sending me a copy for review.


Tuesday 22 January 2013

Fourth Blogoversary Giveaway! - CLOSED

Today is my fourth blogoversary. Insane, right?? I didn’t think I’d keep up bogging for a month, let alone for four years! But here we are and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

To say thank you for every follower, reader, commenter and friend I’ve found since I started So Many Books, So Little Time, I have a little giveaway for you.

You can win £20 to spend at The Book Depository by filling out the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open to everywhere The Book Depository ships and will end in two weeks time – 5th February.

Good luck and thank you all for being awesome!


Sunday 20 January 2013

In My Mailbox 144

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.


Me, Suzy P. – Karen Saunders

I’m Suzy Puttock (yes, Puttock with a P), fourteen years old and a total disaster magnet.

My life’s full of ups and downs. My loved-up big sister Amber’s getting married and wants lime green bridesmaid’s dresses. I’m not happy about that.

But there’s this hot new guy, Zach, just started at my school. I am happy about that. Only... I’ve had a boyfriend since forever, Danny.

So now I’m all kinds of confused!

I went to Karen’s launch on Thursday night and picked up a copy of Me, Suzy P. and got it signed. It looks like so much fun!


Friday 18 January 2013

Secrets & Sapphires - Leila Rasheed

Pages: 295
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 3rd January 2012
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

England, 1912

Housekeeper’s daughter Rose Cliffe has always looked up to Ada Averley, the young mistress at Somerton Court. The girls have grown up together in the formidable big house, even though their destinies are so utterly different...

But behind their dutiful smiles and glamour of the Averley family, ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction and unspoken dreams are entangled with Rose and Ada’s lives. And the secrets of Somerton are just waiting to be revealed...

Part one of the sumptuous and compelling At Somerton saga...

Following in the insanely popular footsteps of Downton Abbey comes Secrets & Sapphires. It didn't quite hit the spot for me though.

Ada and Rose are both strong and likable heroines who carry the story well, but they were rather stereotypical in some ways. Ada is politically inclined, reads, supports women’s suffrage and wants to study at Oxford – she’s a ‘new woman’ restricted by her social requirements. Rose is a housemaid with talents and desires far above her station. This is a common set up for a novel set in England in the early 1900s and I wasn’t all that taken by it.

I also found the villains to be obvious in their actions and haven’t yet been given very much grounding for it. I hated Stella. Violently. She’s manipulative and vindictive and every time she appeared she enraged me. This was quite similar to Charlotte in some ways: spiteful, spoilt and jealous, she was a classic evil stepsister that when Fiona was added in to the mix made me think of Cinderella every time they were all together. But I guess that fact that I hated them so obviously meant that their characterisation worked!

The characters that I did end up liking a lot tended to be more peripheral: Emily, Oliver, Sebastian and Lord Fintan. I really hope Emily pops up more frequently later in the series; in fact I’d love to hear from her more directly. She’s very interesting. I feel the same about Oliver. I think there are lots of skeletons in his closet and I’m really looking forward to seeing how his relationship with Sebastian develops.

The problems I had with some of the characters were easy to get past, but the predictability of Secrets & Sapphires was something that I struggled to move past. Al of the elements of the story that should have had a big dramatic reveal had already been given away for me.  The heavy-handed foreshadowing and obvious hinting gave the game away so, so early on. This made it a lot less enjoyable for me; I like surprises!

Although Secrets & Sapphires wasn’t for me, I’m sure there are loads of people suffering post-Downton Abbey syndrome who will be captivated by it.

Thank you to Hot Key Books for providing me with a review copy.


Wednesday 16 January 2013

Zom-B Underground - Darren Shan

Pages: 212
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 3rd January 2012
Edition: UK hardback, review copy

Other Titles in this Series: Zom-B, Zom-B City (March 14th)

B Smith is a zombie, but unlike most of the walking dead, B’s brain still works. At first B thinks this is a blessing, but soon realises consciousness can also be a curse...

A tall man staggers past, face and skull ablaze, trying to slap out the flames but failing. He falls to his knees and shakes his head wildly from side to side, the flames growing thicker, glowing more brightly. And I peg the source of the smell.

It’s burning flesh.

With a startled cry, I flail away from the man on fire and glance around desperately for something to quench the flames with.

There’s a small team at the centre of the room – some with flame-throwers, a pair of stun guns, two with spears. They’re surrounded by zombies.

SPOILER ALERT: Although I’ll try not to spoil anything, there may be the odd spoiler for Zom-B.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Zom-B so I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to Zom-B Underground, and I have to admit that I devoured it in one big gulp.

As I read a proof copy of book one I really loved getting to see the awesome comic-strip endpapers and full=page illustrations in this one. Brilliant! But anyway, on to the review.

Things have changed drastically in the small amount of time since we left B at the end of Zom-B: B is now one of them. But she’s a little different; her brain still functions like it did before. I have to say that I like dead B a whole lot more than I did live B. Removed from her dad’s influence she’s a much better person. She is able to make judgements for herself and her new situation revealed a good heart and a conscience that we glimpsed at the very end of book one. As a victim, of some sort, she has a different perspective, though she still retains her ass-kicking sass and no-nonsense attitude. I like the new B.

B wasn’t the only change between books. The idea of racism which was plainly spelt out and clear to see in Zom-B, while still present, is changed up a little bit as B’s story continues. And it was so, so clever. Even though the zombies are thoughtless monsters, they’re being treated unjustly for something they can’t help and when it’s put that way, the message and correlations couldn’t be clearer. I think it was a much more powerful way to put across the message of racism than the blatant abuse that B and her dad dealt in Zom-B.

Darren Shan delivered some serious bomb shells in the book one so I was wondering whether there would be some of a similar calibre in this, and while they weren't as mind-blowing, there were still some pretty shocking twists. I have a feeling that that might be a Darren Shan trademark. To make of for it though, there was an impossible choice put to B. I have no idea how I would have dealt with that; in fact, I don't even want to think about. Imagine having to choose between doing something against your beliefs or losing yourself and becoming a monster. Unbearable, right?

Zom-B Underground is gruesome, thought-provoking and completely involving. Good job I don’t have long to wait for Zom-B City!

Thank you to S&S for providing me with a copy for review!


Monday 14 January 2013

Paper Valentine - Brenna Yovanoff

Pages: 304
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 3rd January 2012
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: The Replacement, Smoulder

Hannah’s best friend, Lillian, starved herself to death six months ago, and Hannah’s been haunted by her ever since. But now Hannah’s ghost has an urgent task for Hannah – someone is killing girls in their suburban neighbourhood, and the victims want justice. Drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets, Hannah slowly pieces the clues together, starting with the child-like paper valentines the killer leaves on each body. But her investigations are bringing her into the Valentine Killer’s orbit. How long before he strikes again?

Paper Valentine has such an intriguing premise and a gorgeous cover, but I had heard that it was a little slow to start, but I decided to give it a shot.

As with Brenna Yovanoff’s second novel, Smoulder, I found this a little slow to start. It took me until around half way through the novel to become properly involved in the characters and the story, but when I did, I flew through the rest of it.

This is both a ghost story and a murder mystery, but I found that the murders came through a lot stronger than the fact that Lillian is a ghost. Paper Valentine didn't feel like a paranormal YA, which I guess it technically was, because there was no questioning from Hannah or Lillian as to why she was still there and they didn't look for an explanation. It was simple: Lillian starved died, and then came back for Hannah. I thought this was clever and I really enjoyed it because sometimes I even forgot that Lillian was a ghost and it left the story to focus on Hannah’s burgeoning relationship with Finny and the Valentine Killer.

For a long time, Finny was the only character I Paper Valentine that interested me. It was both horrified and fascinated by the prejudice and accusations he received nearly exclusively as a result of his appearance, poor grades and who he has ended up hanging around with. The contrast between the person they thought he was and who Hannah saw was extreme and it really made an impact. But I have to say that apart from Hannah’s sister April and her friend Pinky, I didn’t like any of Hannah’s other friends. They were horrible and I didn't even really like Lillian very much.

I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been for Hannah to try and deal with how and why Lillian died with her ghost not allowing her a second to herself. Being constantly with someone would be difficult even if it’s not your dead best friend that won’t go away. Handling that on top of the murders and normal teenage boy issues – phew! Hannah handled it remarkably well as it made me admire as well as like her. Even though she seemed fine, the way that she referred to how things had been before Lillian got really sick and then died illustrated just how much Lillian’s death changed her. It broke my heart a little.

The whole novel built up to the reveal of the Valentine Killer’s identity, and boy I was not expecting that! It took me by complete surprise and that alone makes me look forward to seeing what Brenna Yovanoff releases next.

Thank you to S&S for providing me a copy for review.


Sunday 13 January 2013

In My Mailbox 143

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.

As I had a blog tour last Sunday, this is the last two weeks worth of books. I got some good’uns!

For review:

Dead Romantic – CJ Skuse

He was made for love!

Camille wants the perfect boy, with an athlete’s body and a poet’s brain. But when she’s rejected again, she decides there isn’t a boy alive who’ll ever measure up.

Enter Zoe, her brilliant best friend, who takes biology to a whole new level. Together they create Camille’s dream boy, Frankenstein-stylee.

But can they make him love her?

I love CJ Skuse’s writing and I love Frankenstein so I’m certain I’m going to love this too! Thanks Chicken House!

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There – Catherynne M Valente

In the kingdom of Fairyland-Below, preparations are underway for the annual Revels...but aboveground, the creatures of Fairyland are in no mood for a party.

It has been a long time since young September bid farewell to Fairyland, and she is excited to see it again; but upon her return she is shocked to find that her friends have been losing their shadows, and therefore their magic, to the kingdom of Fairyland-Below... It spells certain disaster and September won’t stand for it. Determined to make amends, she travels down into the underworld where, among creatures of ice and fire, she encounters a face she recognizes all too well: Halloween, the Hollow Queen. Only then does September realise what she must do to save Fairyland from slipping into the mundane world forever.

Come and join in the Revels with September and her friends. But be warned: in Fairyland-Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem.

I REALLY need to start this series. It sounds so awesome! Thanks Constable & Robinson!


These were my Christmas presents to myself!

My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them...until one summer night Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. The something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

I’ve been dying to read this since I heard about it early last year. I’m so glad I finally have a copy!

Such a Rush – Jennifer Echols

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everyone else, or I could learn to fly.

For Leah Jones, reality is life in a rundown trailer park with an irresponsible mother. But there’s one escape. With an after-school job at the local airstrip, she manages to afford cut-rate flight lessons. At the controls of a small plane, she leaves the trailer park far below, swooping out over the sea in the ultimate rush.

By her senior year of high school, Leah’s dreams come true: she snags a job flying for an aerial banner-advertising business. Then the owner dies suddenly, leaving everything in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she tries to stay clear of the apparently doomed business – until Grayson digs up her most damning secret. Holding it over Leah’s head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. She’s been drawn into a battle between brothers – and the consequences could be deadly.

I love Jennifer Echols’ romantic dramas so I’m really looking forward to this.

Just One Day – Gayle Forman

A whirlwind day in Paris...
A chance at true love...
Heartbreak is waiting just around the corner.

From the author of the international bestseller, If I Stay, comes a poignant and beautiful story of love, loss and learning to live again.

Yay! So excited to start this one!