Sunday 31 March 2013

In My Mailbox 151

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:

Everything is Fine (and Other Lies I Tell Myself) – Cathy Brett

Things haven’t been going so well for fifteen-year-old Esther Armstrong. With her brother Max – her closest ally – absent, she’s forced to face everything alone, not least her parents’ heated arguments. As the summer holidays stretch endlessly ahead, she’s desperate for something, anything to divert her attention.

Then she finds some letters hidden in the walls of her family home, sent by a soldier to his sweetheart from the trenches of WWI. Esther is consumed by the mystery of these lovers – not very much older than herself – and what became of them. Perhaps in piecing together the jigsaw of someone else’s life, Esther can work out how to reassemble her own, ad how to make everything fine again...

This sounds a bit different to Cathy Brett’s previous novels and I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks Headline!

Follow Me Down – Tanya Byrne

First love. Last lie.

When Adamma Okomma has to leave her glossy high school in New York for a dusty English boarding school, she thinks it’s the end of the world – or the end of her social life, at least.

Then she meets the wicked-witted Scartlett Chiltern, who shows her all of Crofton’s College’s darkest corners and Adamma realises that there’s much more to her new school than tartan skirts and hockey sticks.

She and Scarlett become inseparable, but when they fall for the same guy; the battle times are firmly drawn.

Adamma gets the guy but loses her best friend. Then, when Scarlett runs away, Adamma finds herself caught up in something far more sinister than a messy love triangle. Adamma  always knew that Scarlett had her secrets, but some secrets are too big to keep and this one will change all of their lives forever.

So. Excited. For. This. Thanks Headline!

Getting Over Garrett Delaney – Abby McDonald

Sadie has been hopelessly in love with her best friend, Garrett Delaney, for the past years – but he doesn’t even notice. When Garrett goes away for the summer, Sadie hopes that absence will make his heart grow fonder.

Instead, he rings to tell her he’s fallen in love – with someone else! Devastated, she embarks on a plan to get over Garrett Delaney once and for all.

This sounds adorable! Thanks Walker!


Friday 29 March 2013

The Vincent Brothers - Abbi Glines

Pages: 270
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 7th March 2013
Edition: UK paperback, won from Lynsey

Other titles in this Series: The Vincent Boys

Smouldering Sawyer Vincent is in a bad way after his break-up with Ashton Gray. Losing the girl he dreamed of marrying is bad enough, but to lose her to his brother Beau is plain humiliating.

But Sawyer won’t be alone for long – not if Ashton’s cousin Lana has her way. Lana’s grown up to be a femme fatale and she wants Sawyer, real bad.

But deep down, will Lana ever feel good enough to compete with Ashton in Sawyer’s eyes? She’s red hot, but inside, Lana’s still the shy geeky girl she used to be.

Lana’s gonna need all her sexy powers of persuasion to make this gorgeous Vincent boy her man...

I had problems with The Vincent Boys when I read it, but my enjoyment outweighed them. Not this time – I have a scary number of problems with The Vincent Brothers.

Before I go off on one I’m going to start with the positives. I do love the setting of a good sultry, summer in the South and it makes me hate rainy, cold Britain with a passion! I want to have a summer of continual sun and everything that comes with it. Partly due to this, The Vincent Brothers was also incredibly quick and easy to read – I read it in two short sittings. I’m afraid these are the only good elements of this novel for me.

This book was very poorly written. The prose is endlessly clucky and clichéd; either it had gone straight from self-published e-book to the paperback without being edited or it was a hurried and cursory edit. This resulted in the meaning being frequently lost in a forced attempt at drama, tension or humour.

As for the clichés, I thought the plot of a heartbroken guy using a pretty innocent girl as a way to get over his previous girlfriend and then falling in love with her was a cliché in itself. There were also the name-checked songs with a cringe-worthy theme or character appropriate lyrics which always makes me feel like I’m having my music taste dictated to, even if I actually like a song that’s mentioned. And the final niggling cliché is also intensely cheesy: the epilogues. Yes, plural – there are three of them. I’m pretty good with cheese and I love a good epilogue, but this went too far even for me.

I was able to look past all of these things in the first book but when paired with the misogyny in The Vincent Brothers, my blood boiled. It started when Sawyer didn't notice Lana until she had undergone a makeover and started to wear short shorts and tiny tops with a sexy hair style and rejuvenated make-up. That is not something to base a relationship on, but moreover, what sort of message is that? It’s like telling the fourteen years olds that are going to read this book that the only way you’re going to get the guy you want is by dressing provocatively.

It continues with a tendency for sex or violence to be the answer to every one of the problems that the characters encounter. Some guy threatens ‘their girl’ and fists go flying, girl is upset and runs straight in to physical intimacy with the boy. There was a really strong example of this in each novel which resulted in sexual acts they hadn’t taken part in before for both girls. I just thought that was such a bad idea! That’s not the answer and again, such a bad message to give girls and guys. It also pushes the idea that the female characters in the novel, especially Ash and Lana, can’t do anything without their boyfriends coming to their rescue or stepping in for some reason.

Even when you ignore the misogyny and sloppy prose the characters just aren’t likable. Lana who takes the lead in The Vincent Brothers is so distinctly blah. The only personality traits she seems to have are being hot, being Ash’s cousin and that was about it. She only even spiked interest in me when she stood up for herself and let Sawyer know what a shit he was being. Ash and Beau from The Vincent Boys were also featured in this one, a lot more than I expected them to be actually. Now, I really loved Beau in the first book; he’s a bad boy with a heart, he genuinely loves Ash and he's seriously hot, but he turned into a manipulative jerk who frequently bordered on psycho in this instalment. I really disliked Ash this time as well – she’s so whiny!

Well, now I've got that all out of my system I feel much better! I really hated this and it worries me that some people had no problems with The Vincent Brothers and yet I’m still planning to give her other series ago. I just want more from Abbi Glines.


Wednesday 27 March 2013

Hidden Among Us - Katy Moran

Pages: 293
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 7th March 2013
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Bloodline, Bloodline Rising, Spirit Hunter, Dangerous to Know You

When Lissy meets a mysterious and strangely wonderful boy on her way to Hopesay Edge, she is deeply unsettled by their encounter.

She discovers that the boy, Larkspur, is a member of the Hidden, an ancient group of elven people, whose secrets lie buried at Hopesay Reach. Before long, Lissy and her brother Rafe find themselves caught b a powerful magic and fighting to escape a bargain that can never be broken...

I have pretty mixed feelings about Hidden Among Us and I’m not get sure whether the positives outweigh the negatives so I’m hoping I’ll make up my mind in the duration of this review!

I really enjoyed the different approach to writing about the fae. I mean, they’re not even called fae, they are the Hidden for a start! Their world is also very different; it’s dank, dark and damp instead of the usual setting of a bright and magical space full of magic and wonder. It nicely reflected the fact that most of the Hidden we met were pretty evil and that the love interest wasn’t one of them.

The multiple perspectives in Hidden Among Us was a surprise to me and while I enjoyed seeing the events of the novel from all angles, I found it confusing at first. I wasn’t sure who anybody was or their relevance to the story as it wasn’t really explained or clearly hinted at, especially Joe – he seemed completely out of place at first. I actually came to prefer any narratives that weren’t Lissy. She irritated me and I thought she was whiny and a little selfish.

I think I could have handled the confusion and Lissy if it was executed a little differently. The prose was often clucky and clichéd which really put me off. It was frustrating as the story is so unique and I love the idea and every so often I stumbled in to a really beautiful phrase and they two extremes just didn’t mesh very well.

Regardless of the problems I had with Hidden Among Us, the novel maintained a creepy and unsettling atmosphere and it’ a really brilliant idea.

Thanks to Walker for sending me a copy to review.


Monday 25 March 2013

My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatick

Pages: 394
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: 14th June 2012
Edition: US hardcover, purchased copy

“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 everything changes. 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 a secret from her own. Then 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 the one person you love without betraying another.

Huntley Fitzpatrick’s debut is a book that I saw glowing reviews for everywhere I turned so I knew I had to have it. And, boy am I glad I did!

My Life Next Door has all the elements of my favourite type of contemporary YA: lovable and complex characters, a sultry summer in a small American town setting, a healthy dose of life-altering drama and an intense first love. Perfection. It’s all-consuming and so vividly real and I devoured it.

I adore the Garrett family. I immediately understood Samantha’s fascination with them. The chaos and sheer aliveness in that house is infectious and I wanted to be a part of their family. I have a big family like Jase – the exact same number of siblings actually – but we all live in different places as the ages are quite spread out! I love the noise, the energy and the love between them all. For such a big cast of characters, Fitzpatrick kept them all distinct and easy to tell apart without them being caricatures which was fantastic. Apart from Jase, I have to say that George was by far my favourite Garrett. He’s adorable.

The prejudice that Mrs Garrett faced for her choice to have a large family was surprising. She loves them all, looks after them and they’re all happy so I really couldn’t see why she got all of the snide comments and looks that she did. It was an unexpected, but very interesting. Another part of My life Next Door I didn’t expect was the inclusion of a political figure in Samantha’s mum in the novel. As her campaign continued and her agenda became even more serious and severely Republican, everything began to fall to the way side. I really didn’t like her.

As we got in to My Life Next Door and Samantha and Jase’s relationship began to heat up. They slept together for the first time and it was awkward and sweet and fumbling and so brilliantly written. The new adult genre should really take note. After they had cemented their relationship I was constantly dreading that something or someone would come along and shatter their perfect summer. I honestly didn’t expect things to pan out like they did, but it put a really strong challenge to the characters and I couldn’t stop reading.

My Life Next Door is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year and I can’t believe I waited so long to read it! Bring on Huntley Fitzpatrick’s next book.  


Sunday 24 March 2013

In My Mailbox 150

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:

Going Vintage – Lindsey Leavitt

Mallory loves her boyfriend and she’s sure he loves her back. Until she accidentally logs on to his Authentic Life profile, that is.

He’s  been cheating on!

Mallory’s relationship is ruined and the internet is to blame.

And then Mallory finds a list, written by her grandma as a teenager. Things were so much simpler in the 1960s – it was all about sewing dresses and planning dinner parties.

Maybe it’s time for Mallory to go vintage...

Love the sound of this! Thanks Scholastic.

Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa Gray should be happy – aren’t all bride happy? Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal clam to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her.

I don’t think I need to say anything about this, do I? Thanks Walker!!

Above World – Jenn Reese

Aluna opened her hand and stared at the broken shell nestled in her palm. The name was carved on it in tiny, perfect letters:


Many are already dead in the City of Shifting Tides. The Elders are afraid to venture to the dry and dangerous Above World for help, so it is up to Aluna and Hoku to face the terrors on land.

Will Aluna’s warrior spirit and Hoku’s intelligence be enough to save their city?

In a thrilling ride through a future in which greed and cruelty have become unchecked, the loyalty of friends remains as true as ever.

I think this sounds like brilliant fun. Thanks again Walker!

The Secret of Ella and Micha – Jessica Sorensen

‘The girl he thinks he loves needs to disappear. I don’t want tonight to be irreversible, so I pull away, breathing him in one last time.’

Ella and Micha have been best friends since childhood, until one tragic night shatters their relationship and Ella decides to leave everything behind to start a new life at college, Micha.

But now it’s summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home. Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else. And he’s determined to win back the girl he lost, no matter what it takes.

I really like the sound of this. Thanks Sphere!

Ink – Amanda Sun

The gods of Japanese myth become modern-day legend in a transformative new series from debut author Amanda Sun.

When orphan Katie Green goes to live in Japan with an aunt she barely knows, she must learn to embrace a foreign world that will open her eyes forever to the unimaginable. Katie can’t deny her attraction to the aloof Tomohiro, but there’s something unnerving about him. Drawings seem to come to life in dangerous ways.

Somehow Tomo is connected to the kami, ancient beings who once ruled Japan as gods, and being close to Katie is making his powers spiral dangerously out of control. Hunted by the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia, and an even darker underworld, Katie and Tomo must find a way to control the ink before their relationship unleashes a power that will shake the very foundations of Japan – and the entire world.

This sounds great. Thanks Mira!


Friday 22 March 2013

Featured on Friday: Marissa Meyer

I’m thrilled to welcome Marissa Meyer, author of the fantastic Cinder and Scarlet of The Lunar Chronicles, to the blog today to answer a few questions as part of my long-abandoned Featured on Friday (which I hope to resurrect once uni is all done) to celebrate her first UK signing this month.

1.   You’re obviously a big fan of fairytales – which is your favourite? Why?

It’s impossible for me to choose just one favourite, although it tends to be drawn to those fairy tales that everyone thinks they know, but there are little known creepier elements of them that have gotten largely lost with time. I’m fascinated by Cinderella’s stepsisters chopping off their toes and heel to fit the slipper, and how Sleeping Beauty’s prince essentially raped her and she didn’t wake up until after she gave birth. It’s so disturbing, but so interesting, and I’m intrigued by how the stories have changed and become so Disney-ized in the past few generations.

2.   Why did you choose to make cyborgs at the bottom of society when it would be so easy for them to have the power?

I wanted Cinder’s role in society to mimic her servant status in the Cinderella tale. I love romance stories in which people have to cross societal divides to reach each other, and the Cinderella tale encompasses that idea so well. Once I decided that cyborgs were second-class citizens, though, I had to give a lot of thought to why and how they ended up this way, because as you say, with all their strengths and talents it would be easy for them to be the rulers. I drew on a lot of history of oppression and prejudice to try and create their history, which will be more fully explained in Book 3.

3.   I love that both Cinder and Scarlet are strong, independent heroines. Do you have a favourite fictional heroine?

Oh gosh—so many! But I’m obviously drawn to the strong-willed types, although there are different ways that a girl can be strong and independent. I adore Elizabeth Bennet, who had the courage to be independent in a time when that was very unusual for women, and Katsa from Graceling, who never loses sight of her goals and desires.

4.   Cinder and Scarlet are closely linked but also follow different threads. Did it get confusing when you blended the characters and timelines in Scarlet?

I don’t know that it was confusing, but it was definitely a challenge! I had written out the characters’ histories and had a really good sense of how the stories were going to intertwine as the book went on, but it was still difficult to make sure things were revealed in a way that readers would find intriguing and inevitable, while still keeping up plenty of suspense in both storylines. I hope I succeeded!

5.   Do you have a favourite fairytale retelling? Author of retellings?

I LOVE Gail Carson Levine, who is of course most known for Ella Enchanted. Ella  definitely ranks high on my list of fave retellings, although I adore pretty much everything Levine did. She has a way of keeping the whimsical fairy-tale vibe in her stories, while also making them entirely her own, which I admire.

Thank you so much for some great answers, Marissa! Don’t forget to bookmark March 26th for Marissa’s first UK signing at Waterstone’s Bromley at 6:30pm. I’m definitely going to try and make it!


Wednesday 20 March 2013

Drowning Instinct - Ilsa J Bick

Pages: 343
Publisher: Quercus
Release Date: 28th February 2013
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Ashes, Shadows

Falling for a teacher breaks all the rules...
... what if he wants to break them to?

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

Jenna’s brothers says he loves her. So why hasn’t he visited 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?

Ilsa J Bick’s Ashes trilogy is one of my favourites at the moment so I seriously excited to discover that she’s written a contemporary novel. I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest – Drowning Instinct blew me away.

One of the things that first struck me about Drowning Instinct was just how different it seemed. Jenna telling the story of falling in love with her teacher to a detective is immediately intriguing and the dramatic and ambiguous prologue only intensified that. I was already hooked. Jenna proceeded to tell her story in to a Dictaphone like the scenes of a film. It’s such an original idea and I haven’t come across a form like that before. I loved it.

The relationship between Jenna and Mr Anderson/Mitch was of course at the heart of the novel. I kept having to remind myself that he was her teacher and that I really, really shouldn’t want anything to happen between them. But that’s one of the many things about Drowning Instinct that makes it so special: he wasn’t just her teacher, he’s a person too. I immediately saw in Mitch what Jenna did and I eventually forgot that it was technically ‘wrong’ for them to be together.

There isn’t a character in this novel that isn’t broken in one way or another, Jenna especially. So many issues are broached through her and those around her: abuse, self-harm, alcoholism and more. Jenna went through an unthinkable amount before the novel even started and she wasn’t doing too badly now as Drowning Instinct began, but Mitch helped her even more. She helped him too. That’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t see him as a predator in any way and I really don’t think he is. I did have doubts though and there were a few things that set me on edge. This really amped up the tension in the novel, especially with the events of the prologue hovering in the back of my mind – I couldn’t tear myself away.

Just like Jenna had had a life before Drowning Instinct, I felt like she did after the novel as well, but not in a needs-a-sequel kind of way. In that’s-life kind of way. There were unanswered questions and doubts and feelings that weren’t concretely resolved and I thought that was brilliantly. Her relationship with Mitch was her life during the novel, but it’s really only a chapter and the idea of that really stuck with me.

Drowning Instinct is compelling, thoughtful and beautifully written. I adored every word of it and I implore each and every one of you to go and read it. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Thanks to Quercus for sending me a copy to review.


Monday 18 March 2013

The Day I Met JK Rowling

Photo courtesy of
On Friday 8th March I got to do something that I never thought I would get the chance to do: meet JK Rowling. An immensely private person who does few events and promotion, what were the chances? How lucky am I that I happened to be in Bath while James Runcie was the artistic director of the Bath Literature Festival; a friend of Jo, he declared that he couldn’t finish his run without bringing her in.

This was an event that I knew of months in advance. The tickets went up on the Bath Festivals website and my Twitter and Facebook exploded with excitement and I raced to nab myself a ticket, making sure to let Carly of Writing From the Tub that they were available. Even though we got them pretty swiftly after they went up, we weren’t able to get seats together and ended up on opposite sides of The Forum. The 1630 seat auditorium was sold out.

In preparation for such an event, Carly and I met for dinner and a gossip at The Westgate before heading over to The Forum. As we approached we saw a queue stretching right round the back of the building which we begrudgingly joined. Luckily for us, after only a few minutes the girls in front of us let us know that that was for collecting tickets. We had our tickets in our hands...
We took a smug walk past all of the queuing fans and went to take our seats. The event started around ten minutes late as it took so long to get everyone in, but we were promised we’d get our full hour. Phew! After being introduced twice, Jo finally took the stage to deafening applause.

In a relaxed and open conversation with James, Jo told us lots of interesting things about The Casual Vacancy, Harry Potter, her writing life and why she writes for adolescence:

- The idea for The Casual Vacancy came to her on a plane with Krystal at the centre.
- She wanted to write about the widespread effect of an election in a small, pretty and unassuming village.
- Jo loves all of her characters, even the bad ones. She believes in good nature not too.
- Adolescence is a fragile time fraught with possibilities that aren’t always open to everyone and that’s what she wanted to demonstrate. Those restrictions of situation that aren’t represented often fascinate her.
- She’d recently dreamt about Harry and Ron with herself as herself in the dream which provoked a joke about her open secret of being Hermione.
- Hermione was written as the friend Jo would want – plain and clever. She told us that Hermione’s insecurities are hers as well.
- We were told the story of Dumbledore being outed at Carnegie Hall where in the signing that followed, a boy declared that he’d come out to his friends in response. Jo said it was one of her proudest moments.
- A discussion about teenagers and parents led to JO sharing details of her first: twelve at the school disco with a boy called Charles.

The Q&A brought up lots of questions about writing, advice and Jo’s writing life:

- She writes when she can, which isn’t every day as she has a family and a life. Though there are certain times where she just has to write something down.
- The isolating loneliness that comes with writing is something that she craves. She feels that she’s temperamentally suited to being a writer.
- Her mind clicks in to whatever she’s writing and becomes fully involved in that world.
- When it came to advice for aspiring writers she said that if you want to do it, you probably already are.  
- Jo believes in traditional publishing methods and emphasised that value of an editor.
- She then announced that she is currently writing a new children’s book, likely to be a little younger than Harry. She’s not very far through yet and when James asked when it would be out, she responded with a mock-severe, “When it’s ready!”.

After the Q&A and a brief interlude where a member of the audience had a coughing fit and Jo stopped to check she was okay and everybody in the audience had fallen even more in love with her, the signing began.

After about twenty minutes of people leaving, orders being thrown out to stay in your seats if you want a book signed until your row was called, Jo came back on the stage to another round of applause.

The seat next to Carly was empty so I ran over and sat to wait with her. At around twenty past ten, my row was called – N, if you were wondering. I queued up, book open at the title page ready for my holographic sticker. Very official. And shiny. The queue was incredibly fast-moving with each person getting about 30 seconds to a minute each with Jo. As I approached the stage I was feeling rather sick with nerves and I was shaking. It was crazy.
When I arrived at the table she said hello and I thanked her for Hermione and Luna. I told her how much I appreciated being able to grow up alongside characters like them. She looked me in the eye and thanked me. That was the point where I nearly cried. I managed to pull it back though. Just. I drifted back to Carly gazing at my signed book and we chatted until she was called up.
While Carly was queuing, I went and joined a crowd of people trying to get a good snap of Jo so I could get one of Carly at the table with her. You would not believe how difficult it was to get a clear view between the furious stream of people. I had lots of backs and bums on my camera, but I did manage to get a few decent ones.
That's Carly (in the red dress) with JK Rowling!
After Carly had her book signed, she drove me home with us both fawning over Jo and dramatically declaring how we’d never forget that event. It’s true though. JK Rowling is warm, funny, sharp, intelligent and brilliantly charming: my expectations were met and then exceeded. I met one of my heroes; it’s something to cross off my bucket list, and I’m now desperate to re-read Harry Potter in its entirety...


Sunday 17 March 2013

In My Mailbox 149

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 past few weeks as I had a blog tour last Sunday. I got some books that I’m seriously excited for.

 For review:

By Any Other Name – Laura Jarratt

I picked up the book and thumbed through the pages.

Names in alphabetical order, names with meanings, names I knew, names I’d never heard of.

How to pick? Nothing that would stand out, nothing that would link me to the past – those were the instructions.

The past. As if everything that had gone before this moment was buried already.

New girl, new school, new home, new life – everything about Holly is new. That’s the point of witness protection; nobody knows the truth. But one wrong move will put her whole family in danger...

Yay! I loved Skin Deep so I can’t wait to read this. Thanks Electric Monkey!

Death – KJ Wignall

Book three of the Mercian trilogy

I am pestilence and plague, war and turmoil. I am what you fear when the night is dark, I am the shiver you feel in your spine when you least expect it. I am the dreams from which you awake full of dread. I am the dreams from which one day you fear you will never wake at all. I am death, and you will know me soon enough.

The sorcerer Wyndham is set to destroy Will before he can achieve his destiny, but the bigger challenge facing the vampire Earl of Mercia is finding a way through the laze of prophecies laid down for him, to a future that is good.

As the barriers to the underworld fall around him, only one thing is clear – the choices will not be easy for Will, or for Eloise...

I actually haven’t read the first two books, so if you want this, let me know. Thanks Electric Monkey!

The Madman’s Daughter – Megan Shepherd

To uncover the truth means risking it all...

London, 1894. Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumours about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she s determined to find out if the accusations were true.

Yet what she finds on the island is twisted beyond all imagining, and out of her father’s control. As the island rapidly descends into chaos, she must escape the horrors of her father’s creations, but not before she discovers the true extent of her father’s genius – and madness – in her own blood.

I loved The Island of Doctor Moreau so I’m really intrigued to see how this is.

The lovely boy with the gorgeous Northern accent who lives in my old house dropped over some packages that arrived there. I thought these had gone missing!

Shards & Ashes – ed. Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

Gripping original stories of dystopian worlds from nine bestselling authors, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong.

The world is gone, destroyed by human, ecological or supernatural causes. Survivors dodge chemical warfare and cruel gods; they travel the reaches of space and inhabit underground caverns. Their enemies are disease, corrupt corporations and one another; their resources are few, and their courage is tested.

Powerful, original dystopian tales from nine bestselling authors offer bleak insight, prophetic visions and precious glimmers of light among the shards and ashes of a ruined world.

Stories from: Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Melissa Marr, Beth Revis, Veronica Roth, Carrie Ryan and Margaret Stohl.

I love nearly all of these authors so I can’t wait to get stuck in! Thanks HarperCollins!

Etiquette & Espionage – Gail Carriger

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time.

Welcome to finishing school.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial t her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners, and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrols Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies for Quality.

But Sophronia soon realises the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s young ladies learn to finish...everything. certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion and espionage – in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education...

I adore the sound of this. Thanks Atom!

Infinite Sky – CJ Flood

When Iris’s mum leaves home, her brother, Sam, goes off the rails and her dad is left trying to hold it all together. So when a family of travellers sets up camp illegally in front of their farm, it’s the catalyst for a stand-off that can only end in disaster. But to Iris it’s an adventure. She secretly strikes up a friendship with the gypsy boy, Trick, and discovers that home can be something as simple as a carved-out circle in a field full of corn...

I’m very excited to read this, though I know it’s going to break my heart! Thanks S&S!

I also received Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Atom), Neferet’s Curse by PC and Kristin Cast (Atom), The Queen in Dead by Kate Locke (Orbit) and a finished copy of The Hit by Melvin Burgess (Chicken House).


The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling

A big novel about a small town...

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the Parish Council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph I an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is JK Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

This is now SIGNED by the one and only JKR. I KNOW.


Illuminate – Aimee Agresti

The captivating, romantic, and suspenseful saga of a teen’s discovery of her extraordinary destiny.

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything changes when she is awarded a prestigious internship at a posh Chicago hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing young Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called the Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

I won a quiz in a class taken by the awesome CJ Skuse and this was the only book in the prize stack that I didn’t have/wanted! Thanks CJ!

The Vincent Brothers – Abbi Glines

Smouldering Sawyer Vincent is in a bad way after his break-up with Ashton Gray. Losing the girl he dreamed of marrying is bad enough, but to lose her to his brother Beau is plain humiliating.

But Sawyer won’t be alone for long – not if Ashton’s cousin Lana has her way. Lana’s grown up to be a femme fatale and she wants Sawyer, real bad.

But deep down, will Lana ever feel good enough to compete with Ashton in Sawyer’s eyes? She’s red hot, but inside, Lana’s still the shy geeky girl she used to be.

Lana’s gonna need all her sexy powers of persuasion to make this gorgeous Vincent boy her man...

I have a strange relationship with these books... Thanks Lynsey!

I also won a copy of Underworld by Meg Cabot. I haven’t read the first one yet so I’m not going to put the summary up! Thanks Emma!