Wednesday 27 February 2013

Hunger - Melvin Burgess

Pages: 293
Publisher: Hammer
Release Date: 17th January 2013
Edition: UK hardback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Junk, Doing It, Sara’s Face, Nicholas Dane, Kill All Enemies, Bloodtide, Bloodsong, The Hit and many more

When Beth wakes up one morning covered in dirt, she puts it down to an extreme case of sleepwalking.

But when reports of a desecrated grave start to circulate, her night-time wanderings take on a sinister air.

Soon the city is being plagued by strange sightings and sudden disappearances.

Beth knows that something is changing within her.

Something that’s filling her with an urgent, desperate hunger that demands to be satisfied – at any cost...

Hunger is unlike anything I’ve ever read by Melvin Burgess and I’m really not sure what I thought of it.

Right from the get go, Hunger creeped me out. It threw out eerie situations and strange questions: where’s all the dirt come from? Why can’t Beth remember what happened? Why can she smell death? Why is she so hungry all the time? It unnerved me so much that I had to stop reading. The vagueness of the events that kick-started the novel really amped up the tension beautifully.

Although I was glad I stopped jumping out of my skin at every noise surrounding me, I was a little disappointed when the creep-factor trailed off once the story got going. I became a little more like your average supernatural novel for me.

If it wasn’t for the signature Melvin Burgess touches, I don’t know whether I would have liked Hunger. As ever, issues of sex, drinking, death and bad language were tackled head on and not a single punch was pulled. I love the Burgess tells it as it is. The novel also delivered a powerful religious message about Heaven, Hell and the absence of God that many authors void studiously avoid.

I was impressed with the choice of supernatural creature though. Ghouls and demons are encountered so rarely in YA, in fact I think the TV show Supernatural is the only other place I've really come across them! I really enjoyed learning about creatures and mythology that I hadn’t really come across before and my ignorance made it so much more exciting.

Though I was unsure about Hunger, the things I enjoyed definitely outweighed the negatives. I mean, come on, it was written by Melvin Burgess.

Thanks to Arrow/Hammer for providing me with a review copy.


Monday 25 February 2013

Scarlet - Marissa Meyer

Pages: 452
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 7th February 2013
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles in this Series: Cinder

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 to 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 Queen vicious Lavana.

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...

Cinder was one of the best books I read last year and while Scarlet didn’t have the same sparkle as its predecessor for me, I still loved it.

It’s been over a year since I read Marissa Meyer’s debut so I was a little sketchy on the finer details of Cinder and the world that the series is set in. I have to admit that that would usually seriously hinder my enjoyment of a novel, but it didn’t seem to matter at all with Scarlet. There were mysteries and intriguing questions immediately thrown in to the mix surrounding Scarlet’s grandmother and Wolf and there was so much more action, adventure and near-experiences in Scarlet.

Even though I knew that Cinder would feature in Scarlet, I had no idea that she would have such a big part of the novel. I’m so glad she did though! I would have a liked a little more of Kai to match however. I wanted them two to be reunited SO BADLY and I just kept hoping and hoping for them to somehow be in the same place again, but alas, not this time. Don’t give up on her Kai! I was glad that Cinder was accompanied by the arrogant and brilliantly funny Thorne. He was a refreshing burst of comic relief and he complicated Cinder beautifully.

Scarlet is fiery, brave and has a temper to match her name – I loved her. She’s such a strong and determined character who will stop at nothing to protect her grandmother and she was also really brave. Unusually for a YA novel heroine, it was Scarlet that made the first move and I was so, so pleased that Marissa Meyer did that. Excellent. Speaking of Wolf, what a revelation! I didn’t see that coming at all and it really threw a different dynamic in to their relationship and the story.

I cannot wait for Cress to be released. A brilliant, brilliant series.

Thank you to Puffin for providing me with a review copy.


Sunday 24 February 2013

In My Mailbox 147

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:

Between the Lines – Tammara Webber

Seventeen-year-old actress Emma is starring in her first major film, opposite Hollywood It Boy Reid. The exclusive nightclubs, snapping photographers and screaming fans are a normal part of his life, but it’s all new to Emma.

The rest of the cast befriend her, but Emma feels out of her depth. She’s grateful to fellow actor Graham for hi support and wonders if he wants something more – until she sees him sneaking out of beautiful Brooke’s bedroom one night...

Reid has no holds barred in his pursuit of Emma; he loves the thrill of the chase, but he’s also experiencing something new. Could he be genuinely falling for his co-star?

I’ve heard mixed things about Easy so I’m looking forward to seeing what I think of Tammara Webber’s series. Thanks Puffin!

Barely Breathing – Rebecca Donovan

Will the promise of a passionate love mend Emma’s broken heart?

The scandalous secrets of Emma’s past life have been revealed, but she still has so much to learn. Why did her mother leave all those years ago?

What really happened the night Emma’s father died – and were her memories of being happy just a dream?

The repercussions of one horrific night have affected everyone involved. Now Emma has the chance of a new love – but will she let the past haunt her for good?

Thanks again to Puffin. I actually don't own and haven’t read book one of this series, but it sounds interesting.

Monument 14 – Lammy Laybourne

This is the story of what happens when 14 kids are trapped inside a superstore in the town of Monument. Inside they have everything they could ever need, and with no adult supervision they can do whatever they want.

Sounds like fun.

It is.

Until they find out that the world outside is being destroyed...

I really love the sound of this. Thanks Hodder!

The Bunker Diary – Kevin Brooks

I can’t believe I fell for it.

It was still dark when I woke up this morning. As soon as my eyes opened I knew where I was.

A low-ceilinged rectangular building of whitewashed concrete. There are six little rooms along the main corridor.

There are no windows. No doors. The lift is the only way in our out. What’s he going to do to me? What am I going to do?

If I’m right, the lift will come down in five minutes.

It did.

Only this time it wasn’t empty...

YAY, A NEW KEVIN BROOKS! So freaking excited! Thanks Penguin!

Diary of a Mall Girl – Luisa Plaja

“I’m not even exaggerating. My life is absolutely over. It’s official.”

The mall is the heart of fifteen-year-old Molly’s suburban town. Most teens hang around with friends there, get their first job there, and experience their first kiss there. And Molly? She actually lives there, in the complex’s residential wing.

But living in a massive shopping centre isn’t as much fun as it sounds. That is, until mysterious twins Jewel and Jasper move into the flat upstairs. Suddenly life is a lot more exciting – and complicated. Will Molly get what she wants, or will it all come crashing down?

Find out the whole truth in Molly’s private diary!

I can’t wait to get stuck in to this! Thanks Luisa!


Friday 22 February 2013

Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion

Pages: 239
Publisher: Vintage
Release Date: 31st January 2013
Edition: UK paperback, movie cover, review copy

R is a zombie.

He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his prisoner, then as his reluctant guest, Julie is a blast of colour in R’s grey landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom.

He doesn’t want to eat her, he wants to protect her. He wants to breathe again. He wants to live.

This unlikely bond will cause transformations they can’t imagine, but their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

I had no idea what to expect from Warm Bodies other than awesomeness and yet it still managed to take me by surprise.

The tone and style of this novel is the best thing about it for me. I love the mixture of vast consciousness and breadth of thought compared to the basic restrictions of R’s zombie brain along with the visions that drove him on. It was a little bit mind-blowing in the contrast sometimes. The prose is so clever and unique and it felt like it had a sense of literary fiction to it. But in an accessible way, a way that just added to the charm of the novel.

R is a fantastic character and he wasn’t at all what I expected him to be. He’s so sweet and I love the way that he interacted with Julie. They are a brilliant pair. Julie is sassy, brave and completely bad-ass. My opinion of her only continued to rise once she was back in the Stadium after experiencing what she had.

The idea of the Stadium blew my mind: a miniature city housed in a former sports stadium where the remnants of human civilians tried to rebuild life. The whole story behind the breakdown of the world as we know it was really well done. Our information was drip-fed as R himself had no recollection of what had really happened and it seemed like a scarily realistic way for it to go. Well, until the zombies that is.

Warm Bodies ended with a strange and fascinating change in R and Julie’s world and I hope a sequel comes out soon.

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


Wednesday 20 February 2013

Speechless - Hannah Harrington

Pages: 268
Publisher: Mira INK
Release Date: 1st February 2013
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Saving June

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

Everyone’s shared gossip 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 who can help Chelsea discover who she really is...and who she wants to be.

Like with Hannah Harrington’s debut, I started Speechless not too bothered but ending up really involved in the story with a fondness for the characters.

In the beginning of the novel I really, really didn't like Chelsea. She was the type of girl who ruled the school and made the lives of everyone not in her inner circle a misery. It was a little worrying that it took such a horrible event to shock her out of her behaviour and in to doing something to make up for it. Once Chelsea took her vow of silence however, I grew to like her very quickly.

The family that she formed with Sam and the rest of the gang at Rosie’s was my favourite element of Speechless. The sense of camaraderie and support was exactly what Chelsea needed to realise where she’d been going wrong and it opened her up to being a better person. It was the kind of environment that I think would have made secondary school a much happier place for me. I‘d especially have liked a Sam – he’s adorable!

Speechless stuck with me unexpectedly and I love the breadth of topics Hannah Harrington subtly covers in her novels. I’m looking forward to her next offering.

Thank you to MiraINK for sending me a review copy.


Monday 18 February 2013

Such a Rush - Jennifer Echols

Pages: 325
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date: 18th December 2012
Edition: US paperback, purchased copy

Other Titles by this Author: Major Crush, The Boys Next Door, Going Too Far, The Ex Games, Forget You, Love Story, The One That I Want

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil 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 seas in the ultimate rush.

By her senior year of high school, Leah’s dreams come true: she snags a job for an aerial-banner advertising business. Then the owner dies, 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.

There’s just something endlessly involving about Jennifer Echols’ romantic dramas and I devour each one of them. Such a Rush is one of her best yet.

Life in an American trailer park is a totally foreign concept to me; we don't really having anything nearly equivalent to that over here, the closest being travellers that get pushed on every few months. Even with that, I still felt I knew what it would be like because of the assumptions you make about trailer parks and the people that live in them. In the case of Leah, that definitely wasn’t true, but with lots of the people living around her, my stereotyping really wasn’t far off.

I did think that Leah was a ‘typical trailer park’ girl at first, but I quickly realised that although she was brought up in one, she couldn’t be farther from it in most circumstances. She got herself a job as soon as she could, saved her money, worked to achieve her dream and pulled herself above her surroundings. Leah isn’t completely clean-cut though – her roots were very visible in moments of Such a Rush. She isn’t the girl she or anyone else thought she was.

The setting of the airport was unusual and fantastic – I loved it. Learning to fly isn’t something that I’ve ever considered a possibility, but now I really, really want to learn. It’s thrilling, dangerous, so freeing and a brilliant career to embark on. Of course there was the added bonus of Grayson and Alec, the gorgeous Hall brothers. I was instantly taken with bad-boy Grayson and the spark he had with Leah crackled through the pages.

Such a Rush has Jennifer Echols’ trademark high stakes, drama and steamy romance and I loved it. I can't wait for the fantastic sounding Dirty Little Secret when it’s released this summer.


Sunday 17 February 2013

In My Mailbox 146

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.

This is for the last few weeks as there have been THINGS going on that got in the way of posting IMM and I also came home to a mound of packages so there are a lot of books this time! Here you go!


Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion

R is a zombie.

He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his prisoner, then as his reluctant guest, Julie is a blast of colour in R’s grey landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom.

He doesn’t want to eat her, he wants to protect her. He wants to breathe again. He wants to live.

This unlikely bond will cause transformations they can’t imagine, but their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

Can’t wait to read this. Thanks Random House!

The Disgrace of Kitty Grey – Mary Hooper

England, 1813. Kitty Grey has a happy, carefree life as a dairymaid. She loves her trade, caring for the herd and working in the cool, calm dairy. And then, of course, there is Will, the handsome river man who she thinks is very fond of her, and indeed she is fond of him. Surely he will ask her to marry him soon?

Then disaster strikes: Will disappears. Kitty is first worried then furious, convinced Will has gone to London to make his fortune, forgetting about her completely. So when she is asked to go to London to pick up a copy of the latest novel by the fashionable Jane Austen, she leaps at the chance to track down Will. But within moments, eagle-eyed pickpockets have spotted country-born-and-bred Kitty and relieved her of her money and belongings. Kitty must face the terrifying prospect of stealing in order to survive...

I loved Mary Hooper’s last novel, Velvet, so I’m really looking forward to this. Thanks Bloomsbury!

Burn for Burn – Jenny Hand and Siobhan Vivian

Bad things can happen, even to good girls, and sometimes the only way to make things right is to do something wrong.

Lillia used to trust boys, but not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do anything to stop the same thing happening to her sister.

Kat’s over the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person – her ex best friend – and now it’s payback time.

Four years ago, Mary left town because of a boy. Now that she’s back, she’s going after him and she’s going to make him pay.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: revenge, sweet revenge. And they won’t stop until they’ve each had a taste.

SO exicted for this! Thanks S&S!

This is What Happy Looks Like – Jennifer E Smith

(Description from the press release) In This is What Happy Looks Like, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet – albeit virtually – when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic comedies You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don’t even know each other’s first names.

Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don’t tell each other everything; Graham doesn’t know the major secret hidden in Ellie’s family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in LA.

When the location for a the shoot of Graham’s new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie’s mom want her to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?

Can’t wait to read this! Thanks Headline!

I went to the Chicken House Little Breakfast and picked up proofs of these two lovelies and managed to get them signed too!

The Drowning – Rachel Ward

When Carl opens his eyes on the bank of a cold lake, his brother is being zipped into a body bag. And a shivering wet girl is being helped nearby. What happened in the water? He can’t remember. All he knows is that he must find out – before the truth comes back to drown him...

You Don’t Know Me – Sophia Bennett

It was all so good. Sasha and Rose. Best friends in a band, singing together. Right up to the finals of Killer Act when the judges tell them one of them must go.

Suddenly their friendship is put to the ultimate test. On TV in front of millions...

Two girls. One huge mistake. Can they ever forgive each other?

Prodigy – Marie Lu


June Iparis
Agent, Los Angeles City Patrol, 15, female, 5 ft 4 in.
350,000 Republic Notes reward

If seen, report immediately to your local official

That’s what The Republic wants their people to think. That I’m ‘missing’.
What they don’t say is that they want me dead.
I helped Day, the country’s most notorious criminal, escape his executionaided the rebel  patriots in  staged uprising and turned my back on The Republic.

But I won’t turn my back on Day...

Thanks Puffin!

Hunger – Melvin Burgess

When Beth wakes up one morning covered in dirt, she puts it down to an extreme case of sleepwalking.

But when reports of a desecrated grave start to circulate, her night-time wanderings take on a sinister air.

Soon the city is being plagued by strange sightings and sudden disappearances.

Beth knows that something is changing within her.

Something that’s filling her with an urgent, desperate hunger that demands to be satisfied – at any cost...

I love Melvin Burgess! Thanks Random House!

Drowning Instinct – Ilsa J Bick

Falling for a teacher breaks all the rules...

...what if he wants to break them too?

Jenna’s parents say they love her.
So why do they ignore her?

Jenna’s brother says he loves her.
So why hasn’t he visited her in years?

Jenna’s teacher says he loves her.
He treats her well, he protects her and tells her she’s beautiful.

Mr Anderson is the only one she can trust.

So why is Jenna telling her story to a detective?

CAN’T WAIT to read this! Thanks Quercus!

The Hit – Melvin Burgess

A new drug is out.
Everyone is talking about it. The hit.

Take it, and you have one amazing week to live. It’s the ultimate high. At the ultimate price.

Adam is tempted. Life is rubbish: his girlfriend’s over him, his brother’s gone. So what’s he got to lose? Everything, as it turns out. It’s up to his girlfriend, Lizzie, to show him...

Yay, a new Melvin Burgess! I love his novels and this one sounds fantastic. Thanks Chicken House!

One Crow Alone – SD Crockett

‘They say it’s going to get worse. That it’s not going to end.’

The cold, bitter winters are getting longer, and a state of emergency has been declared across Europe. After the death of her grandmother and the evacuation of her small Polish village, sixteen-year-old Magda is running out of options. Joining forces with the arrogant yet resourceful Ivan, she smuggles her way on to a truck bound for London. But London, when they reach it, is a nightmarish world, and far from welcoming. The pair will need all the cunning and know-how they possess to survive – if they can trust each other.

A darkly thrilling adventure by the author of After the Snow.

I haven’t got around to After the Snow yet, but I am looking forward to reading both books. Thanks Macmillan!

I also got an incredible package from MiraINk as a thank you for taking part in round two of BlogInk. I feel sorry for the postman having to lug them round with him!

I also got copies of:

The Day I Met Suzie, Chris Higgins (Hodder)
While the Others Sleep, Tom Becker (Scholastic)
Parallel, Lauren Miller (Scholastic)
Dead to You, Lisa McMann (Scholastic)
Beautiful Creatures: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion, Mark Cotta Vaz (Penguin)
Rat Runners, Oisin McGann (Random House)


Devil’s Due – Rachel Caine

The psychic world will never be the same again.

Lucia Garza is trapped in a supernatural power struggle. To save a friend she agreed to work for sinister psychic organisation The Cross Society. But after a death threat that almost succeeds, she’s starting to think they want her out of the way. Forever.

Worse, as Lucia uncovers the society’s most dangerous secrets, she discovers that she’s being used as a pawn between two warring paranormal factions. Caught in a battle no one can win, Lucia’s only choice could be to go against long-told prophecy to destroy both The Cross Society and its sworn enemies.

 But what are the consequences of defying destiny?

Yay! I love Rachel Caine!

Library Haul:

In one of my English seminars we read two of Atwood’s short stories, The Female Body and Making a Man, and I feel in love with them. After a tweet to see which of her novels I should read first, I headed off the library and picked up the two with the most recommendations.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Republic of Gilead allows Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like all dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on whom her future hangs...

Firstly, I’ve been meaning to read this for years so it’s great to finally cross it off the list, secondly, this cover is hideous. Ergh.

Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood

‘If I were to meet Cordelia again, what would I tell her about myself? The truth, or whatever would make me look good? Probably the latter. I still have that need.’

Elaine RIsley, a painter, returns to Toronto to find herself overwhelmed by her past. Memories of childhood – unbearable betrayals and cruelties – surface relentlessly, forcing her to confront the spectre of Cordelia, once her best friend and tormentor, who has haunted her for forty years.

This was the one that was recommended the most. I’d actually never heard of it, but I’m looking forward to giving it a shot.