Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Blurb: In the heart of Africa trouble is brewing. A chain of events throw one young girl into a world of espionage and danger. One thing's for sure. Life will never be the same again for Darcie Lock. When her father mysteriously goes missing, Darcie sets off on the trail of his captors finding that her government-official father is actually a spy and that her shopaholic mother is also a spook. In a desperate attempt to get their best agents back and the invaluable information that they possess, the secret service have no option but to employ Darcie as their newest recruit. Thrown on a crash course of self-defence, survival skills and gadget training, Darcie must penetrate an international smuggling ring. But will she be able to save her father or will she wilt under the pressure as things hot up under the Kenyan sun? Expats, espionage and the exotic setting of Nairobi - Julia Golding will have you gripped in this rollercoaster ride of an action thriller.
My review is here.
I hadn't realised that the third in the series, Deadlock, is available on Kindle ahead of it's paperback release next March.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Contains three companion stories to the #1 NYT bestselling Darkest Powers trilogy.
Dangerous (prequel to The Summoning) The story of how Derek and Simon came to Lyle House, told from Derek's point-of-view.
Divided (set between The Summoning and The Awakening) Derek and Simon's adventures while separated from Chloe and Rae in the factory. Also told from Derek's point of view.
Disenchanted (overlaps part of The Awakening) Simon and Tori continue their journey after Chloe and Derek are left at the truck stop. Told from Tori's point of view.
Please note: these are stories, not novels. Combined, they equal half the length of a Darkest Powers novel.
It's available as epub and Kindle.
My reviews of The Summoning and The Awakening.
Monday, December 5, 2011
First Line: Every morning I wake up and tell myself this: It's just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through.
Notes: Contains spoilers for If I Stay. Whilst reading Where She Went I switched to and from a UK library book and a US e-copy supplied via Netgalley depending on where I was reading.
Review: Where She Went is the sequel to 2009's If I Stay and picks up three years later; it is narrated solely by Adam, the boyfriend to If I Stay's other main character, Mia.
Three years ago Mia left to go to Juilliard to continue her cello-playing career and after a while she dropped Adam from her life. Three years on, Adam is a rock-star, lives with a famous actress but is struggling and most of all he wants to know why Mia left him. He cannot move on. Dreading an upcoming tour with his estranged band members, which he leaves New York for the next day, he stumbles across Mia giving a recital. She spots him in the audience and summons him afterwards. They have one night before going their separate ways to talk about their past.
The structure of the book, in the way in which Mia takes Adam around New York in the late night/early hours of the morning reminded me slightly of Thirteen Reasons Why - such an intense experience for them over a few hours. Along the journey, Mia gets to see what Adam's life has become plus there are flashbacks from Adam as to how they met and other significant occasions.
Despite being one of the few readers who was not wowed by If I Stay I was eagerly awaiting the sequel. I did want to find out what happened next and I enjoyed Where She Went more. I raced through it, intrigued to find out what the two would do and I enjoyed being in the New York atmosphere. Both Adam and Mia's characters start off as unsympathetic but as more is revealed, their situations become more understandable. Nonetheless I don't think Mia behaved very well and Adam seems to have over-reacted. However, if you enjoyed If I Stay you should enjoy this one too and if you haven't read it already, I recommend reading it before reading Where She Went.
Cover: I like the NYC background but I don't like the model's expression.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Monthly lists for 2010 can be found here.
I have tried to identify all the British authors which I hope will be useful to those doing the Bookette's excellent British Books Challenge.
Veronica Bennett - Vice & Virtue (1st, Walker, pb) British Author
Francesca Lia Block - The Frenzy (27th, HarperCollins Childrens Book Group, pb)
Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game (1 Dec, ATOM, pb)
Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Prince (6th, Walker, pb)
Cat Clarke - Torn (22nd, Quercus Publishing Plc, pb)
Sara Grant - Dark Parties (22nd, Indigo, pb)
Michael Northrop - Trapped (15th, ATOM, pb)
Monday, November 28, 2011
Update: I wrote this review 2 years ago and never posted it as I seemed to be going against the flow of opinion. I have now read the sequel and will post that review as well shortly.
Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that's true.
Review: When a smattering of snow brings Oregon to a halt, seventeen-year-old Mia and her family take advantage of the school closures to visit some friends. An incident along the way changes everyone's life and Mia has to decide what to do next. Mia's decision process is interleaved with her narration of her life before that day: details of her family, friends, boyfriend and her music career.
I'm trying to leave the premise vague so as not to give too much away but it's the sort of incident that happens everyday and gets a few lines in the newspaper whereas the implications of it are far-reaching.
If I Stay has had lots of great reviews and yet it didn't hit the spot for me. I've been trying to work out why. I think it's possibly because it's in a genre that I don't usually read ie family relationships. I prefer plot-driven books and this didn't seem to have much action in it. Though the premise itself is intriguing, most of the book is Mia's life in flashback, which, to me, wasn't particularly interesting and I didn't feel there was much of an ongoing struggle about her decision. I expected the battle to be tougher between the two options. I was also expecting this to have a stronger supernatural angle than it does, which was partly why I was interested in it in the first place. However a lot of people have loved this book, it just wasn't for me.
Cover: I love this cover. I had been itching to read If I Stay because of the cover.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
This is taken at around 4.30pm from Blackfriars Bridge next to the home of ATOM (Little, Brown).
This is the fab building they work in at 100 Victoria Embankment!!!
The evening began with piles of books laying around for us to help ourselves to as well as sandwiches, cake and drinks. The theme of the night was a "new term" so the lovely ladies had dressed up in school ties and we were given prefect labels with our names on.
Once all were gathered, we were given a presentation on the 2012 list and informed that two authors: C J Daugherty and Sarra Manning were present.
CJ Daugherty explained bit about how the plot of Night School developed: whilst going round some country villages with her husband she spotted a scary school building and asked herself who'd send their children there!
Here's the official blurb on amazon: When everyone is lying, who can you trust? Allie Sheridan's world is falling apart. She hates her school. Her brother has run away from home. And she's just been arrested. Again. This time her parents have finally had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to a boarding school for problem teenagers. But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. It allows no computers or phones. Its students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged. And then there's the secretive Night School, whose activities other students are forbidden even to watch. When Allie is attacked one night the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, Allie must learn who she can trust. And what's really going on at Cimmeria Academy.
If that's not enough the back states "The Secret History" for Teens - and The Secret History is one of my favourite books! Night School is published 5 January 2012.
Next up was Michael Northrop's Trapped which is published on 15 December 2011 and was described as "Lord of the Flies"-esque:
Amazon blurb: The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive . . . Scotty and his friends are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision . . .
Robin Wasserman's The Book of Blood and Shadow is also published 5 January 2012.
Amazon blurb: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and a boyfriend she adored. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands. Chris was dead. Adriane couldn't speak. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer. Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora's determined to follow the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. But Chris's murder is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
February brings Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi which is post-apocalyptic but ATOM stresses the key is the love story.
Amazon blurb: Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its protected space, she's never thought to dream of what lay beyond its doors. Perry and his tribe have always struggled to survive on the outside. Though their lives are simple they are increasingly under threat from an unknown - and unhuman - enemy. But when Perry saves Aria after one of these attacks she realizes that she might just be able to survive in the outside after all. And that this one sheltered girl might be the only one that can save ? or destroy ? his people.
In March, Bunheads by Sophie Flack, described as "Black Swan for the teen set" is published. The bottom line is "her first solo or her first love?":
Amazon blurb: On-stage beauty. Backstage drama. As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet. But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other 'bunheads' in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?
And in April, 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad, tr. Tara F Chace. Apparently this is very scary, reminiscent of 70s SF and more recently the film Moon.
Amazon blurb; Three teenagers are going on the trip of a lifetime. Only one is coming back. It's been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2 - a place that no one but top government officials even knew existed until now. The three winners, Antoine, Midori, and Mia, come from all over the world. But just before the scheduled launch, the teenagers each experience strange, inexplicable events. Little do they know that there was a reason NASA never sent anyone back there until now - a sinister reason. But the countdown has already begun...
ATOM are introducing a new list aimed at 8-12 year olds which is of particular interest to me as I run a reading group for that age at the library.
In March, the first in a trilogy, The Witch of Turlingham Academy by Ellie Boswell is released. ATOM describe the series as "The Worst Witch meets the Chocolate Box Girls".
Amazon blurb: It's not easy being the only day girl at Turlingham boarding school: Sophie misses out on all the midnight feasts and late night gossip. Things take a turn for the worse when a new girl - Katy - shows up and all Sophie hears is Katy, Katy, Katy from her friends. It's like she's put a spell on everyone. Katy's no witch, but there is a witch at Turlingham. Katy comes from a long line of witch hunters whose fate is to stop evil magic once and for all. Sophie is going to help her - anything to get Katy out of her life and get things back to normal. But what she finds out means nothing will ever be normal again!
In April: "Goosebumps for Girls" the Creeper series by P J Night begins with Truth or Dare.
Amazon blurb: During a round of Truth or Dare, Abby Miller confesses her crush on Jake Chilson. The only people who know her secret are her friends at the sleepover - and whoever sent her a text message in the middle of the night warning her to stay away from Jake...or else! But Abby isn't going to stay away from Jake, especially not after he asks her to the school dance. As the night of the dance comes closer, some very creepy things start happening to Abby. Someone definitely wants to keep her away from Jake. Is it a jealous classmate or, as Abby begins to suspect, could it be a ghost?
May and August's offerings looks fun! The Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams begins with Athena the Brain, followed by Persephone the Phony, Aphrodite the Beauty and Artemis the Brave: "Because even goddesses need training".
Amazon blurb: Athena has always been above average. She's never quite fit in at Triton Junior High, but who would've guessed that Athena is actually a goddess? Principal Zeus's daughter, to be exact. When she's summoned to Mount Olympus Academy, Athena thinks she might actually fit in for the first time in her life. But in some ways, school on Mount Olympus is not that different from down on Earth, and Athena is going to have to deal with the baddest mean girl in history -- Medusa! Authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams put a modern spin on classic myths with the Goddess Girls series. Follow the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most privileged godboys and goddessgirls in the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills.
The final announcement was the Sarra Manning is joing the ATOM list with...Adorkable which is published in May.
Amazon blurb: Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian's 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World. And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane's boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common - she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can't she stop talking to him?
I want to read them all! Many thanks to ATOM for the evening, the company, the nibbles and the books!
Read more about the event at the ATOM blog, at The Pewter Wolf (where there's also a giveaway!) at Pretty Books and Cheezyfeet Books.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Garrett Carr - Deep Deep Down (24th)
Around a hidden lake in the mountains is a perfect place. The people there live long and contented lives. But not for much longer...Andrew, May and Ewan will destroy everything. Unless the mystery that awaits deep, deep down destroys them first...
Ally Condie - Crossed (24th)
Rules are different outside the Society. Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again. Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's points of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever...This title is the incredible sequel to acclamied international bestseller, "Matched".
Cathy MacPhail - Out of the Depths (21st)
'I saw my teacher in the queue in the supermarket last Christmas. Miss Baxter. I was surprised to see her. She'd been dead six months.' In Out of the Depths, Cathy MacPhail introduces her latest character, Tyler Lawless, who has an unusual and sometimes scary gift. She is able to see dead people. And sometimes they speak to her, asking for her help. When Tyler moves to a new school she is hoping to make a fresh start. But it is very difficult to make a fresh start when a boy who is supposed to be dead appears in your classroom, and statues in the school seem to come alive and point towards the place where the dead boy, Ben Kincaid, was murdered. Will Tyler be able to assist Ben with his pleas for help, or will she be dismissed as an attention-seeking teller of tall tales? A thrilling and spooky tale from the acclaimed Cathy MacPhail.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Watch on iPlayer for the next 7 days:
Breaking Dawn - here
Snow White - here.
Kiki Hamilton - The Faerie Ring (14th)
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood - Tiki's blood. Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched - and protected - by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen's son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist. Prince, pauper, and thief - all must work together to secure the treaty...
Robison Wells - Variant (20th)
Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. He was wrong. Now he s trapped in a school thats surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive. Where breaking the rules equals death. But when Benson stumbles upon the school s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape his only real hope for survival may be impossible.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Flip by Martyn Bedford (Walker Books)
The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Walker Books)
Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans (Doubleday)
Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Marion Lloyd Books)
Read more about the books and authors here (pdf). The winner will be announced on 4 January 2012.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Guardian Children's Fiction Prize
Return to Ribblestrop, by Andy Mulligan (Simon & Schuster, £6.99). Age: 10+
My Name Is Mina, by David Almond (Hodder, £6.99). Age: 9+
Moon Pie, by Simon Mason (David Fickling, £10.99). Age: 10+
Twilight Robbery, by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan, £6.99). Age: 11+
Voting is now open for the Red House Children's Book Awards
Older Readers Shortlist:
Grace by Morris Gleitzman
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
And the nominations for the 2012 CILIP Carnegie Medal have been announced:
Almond, David My Name is Mina
Barraclough, Lindsey Long Lankin
Bedford, Martyn Flip
Blackman, Malorie Boys Don't Cry
Bowler, Tim Buried Thunder
Boyne, John Noah Barleywater Runs Away
Brahmachari, Sita Artichoke Hearts
Bruton, Catherine We Can Be Heroes
Collins, B.R Tyme's End
Condie, Ally Matched
Crossley-Holland, Kevin Bracelet of Bones
David, Keren Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery
Deary, Terry Put Out The Light
Diterlizzi, Tony The Search for Wondla
Dogar, Sharon Annexed
Doherty, Berlie Treason
Donnelly, Jennifer Revolution
Downham, Jenny You Against Me
Earle, Phil Being Billy
Eastham, Ruth The Memory Cage
Evans, Lissa Small Change for Stuart
Fine, Anne The Devil Walks
Forward, Toby Dragonborn
Gibbons, Alan An Act of Love
Grant, Helen Wish Me Dead
Halahmy, Miriam Hidden
Hardinge, Frances Twilight Robbery
Hartnett, Sonya The Midnight Zoo
Ibbotson, Eva One Dog and His Boy
Kennen, Ally Quarry
LaFleur, Suzanne Eight Keys
Lewis, Ali Everybody Jam
Lewis, Gill Sky Hawk
Mason, Simon Moon Pie
McCaughrean, Geraldine Pull out all the Stops
McKay, Hilary Caddy's World
Mitchelhill, Barbara Run Rabbit Run
Morpurgo, Michael Shadow
Mulligan, Andy Trash
Ness, Patrick A Monster Calls
Peet, Mal Life : an Exploded Diagram
Perera, Anna The Glass Collector
Pitcher, Annabel My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece
Priestley, Chris The Dead of Winter
Rai, Bali Killing Honour
Revis, Beth Across the Universe
Rooney, Rachel The Language of Cat
Rosoff, Meg There is no Dog
Saunders, Kate Magicalamity
Sepetys, Ruta Between Shades of Gray
Stephens, John The Emerald Atlas
Young, Moira Blood Red Road
The shortlist will be announced in late March 2012.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Tessa Gratton's WEIGHT OF STARS, and two more books in her SONGS OF NEW ASGARD series, an alternate history of a USA founded on the tenets of Norse religions, in which two teens take a road trip to find a missing god and encounter small-town zealots, trickster gods, and sadistic field trolls, as they discover who they are to each other and who they want to be, to Random House, for publication starting in Summer 2013.
Ashley Elston's THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING, about a girl who, desperate to escape the Witness Protection program and discover what really happened the day that ruined her family's lives, breaks her minders' ultimate rule by falling for a boy and embarking with him on a perilous journey to outwit both cops and criminals, to Disney-Hyperion Children's, in a two-book deal, for publication in Winter 2013.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Jasper Fforde - The Song of the Quarkbeast: A Last Dragonslayer Novel (10th)
A long time ago magic faded away, leaving behind only yo-yos, the extremely useful compass-pointing-to-North enchantment and the spell that keep bicycles from falling over. Things are about to change. Magical power is on the rise and King Snodd IV of Hereford has realised that he who controls magic controls almost anything. One person stands between Snodd and his plans for power and riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice. Meet Jennifer Strange, sixteen-year-old acting manager of Kazam, the employment agency for sorcerers and soothsayers. With only one functioning wizard and her faithful assistant 'Tiger' Prawns, Jennifer must use every ounce of ingenuity to derail King Snodd's plans. It may involve a trip on a magic carpet at the speed of sound to the Troll Wall, the mysterious Transient Moose, and a powerless sorceress named Once Magnificent Boo. But one thing is certain: Jennifer Strange will not relinquish the noble powers of magic to big business and commerce without a fight.
Colleen Houck - Tiger's Voyage (10th)
With the head-to-head battle against the villainous Lokesh behind her, Kelsey confronts a new heartbreak: in the wake of his traumatic experience, her beloved Ren no longer remembers who she is. As the trio continues their quest by challenging five cunning and duplicitous dragons, Ren and Kishan once more vie for her affections - leaving Kelsey more confused than ever. Fraught with danger, filled with magic, and packed with romance, Tiger's Voyage brings Kelsey and her two tiger princes one step closer to breaking the curse.
Mark Kurlansky - Battle Fatigue (7th)
Growing up in the years following World War II, Joel Bloom always played soldiers with his friends. But by the time he's eighteen, the Vietnam War is in full swing, and it's not as simple as the war games he played when he was a child. Old enough to be drafted, Joel loves his country, but he knows that fighting in an unjust war isn't something he can do. After trying and failing to be a conscientious objector he leaves for Canada - a decision that will help him avoid the physical conflict of the war, but will create another inside of him that will take much longer to resolve. An insightful and compelling novel that explores one boy's struggle to understand himself and the harsh realities of life during wartime.
Caragh M O'Brien - Birthmarked: Prized (10th)
Having escaped from the corrupt Enclave, Gaia ventures into the wasteland with her baby sister, Maya, hoping to find a settlement that's rumoured to lie in the Dead Forest. After days of travelling, Gaia is close to death when Peter, a ranger from the mysterious village of Sylum, finds her and takes her back with him. Gaia soon realises that Sylum has as many strict laws as the Enclave she fled from, but when Maya is taken from her by the ruthless village leader, the Matrarc, Gaia is forced to stay and submit to their strict social code, or risk losing her sister forever. But Sylum is in trouble. The population is falling and the amount of women dwindling dramatically, and with a deadly fever affecting striking down anyone who tries to leave, the future is bleak for the village. Desperate to escape with her sister, Gaia is determined to uncover the secrets of the village, whatever it takes. And when Leon is captured too, Gaia is faced with another tough choice between the boy who captured her heart in the Enclave, and Peter, for whom she can't deny her growing feelings. But when the decisions you make affect the lives of everyone around you, how can you be sure you're making the right choices?
Christopher Paolini - Inheritance (8th)
Not so very long ago, Eragon - Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider - was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now, the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances. The Rider and his dragon have come farther than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaesia? And if so, at what cost? Featuring spectacular artwork by cult artist John Jude Palencar, this stunning book brings the bestselling "Inheritance" cycle to a breathtaking conclusion.
L J Smith - Vampire Diaries: Phantom (10th)
Since meeting vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon Salvatore, Elena Gilbert has been to hell and back. Now that she and her friends have saved their hometown from a demonic spirit, everything can finally go back to normal. But Elena should know better than anyone that Fell's Church will never be normal. In PHANTOM, a dangerous new other-worldly threat sets its sights on Elena. And this time she can only count on one Salvatore brother to protect her.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Helen Bailey - Knowing Me, Knowing You (3rd)
Chantelle 'Channy' Allen is just about enduring her slightly bored teenage existence - trying not to die of embarrassment every time her parents' Abba tribute band peform a cringing medley of hits in front of all her friends...But then Channy finds out something that turns her world upside down; something that makes perfect sense, but at the same time seems utterly ridiculous. Something that Channy is intent on investigating - despite the distraction of gorgeous French exchange student Antoine. Channy's about to learn a valuable life lesson: sometimes CURIOSITY is a dangerous thing...
Rachel Caine - Last Breath (1st)
INCLUDES A BRAND NEW AND EXCLUSIVE MORGANVILLE SHORT STORY Claire Danvers is concerned when three vampires vanish from Morganville without a trace. The last person seen with them is someone new to town - a mysterious individual named Magnus. Claire is convinced creepy Magnus isn't human ...but is he a vampire, or something else entirely? Claire's hunt for answers leads her to solving another mystery that's long been puzzling her: why do vampires live so far out in a sunny desert when they're sensitive to sunlight? The answer has nothing to do with sunlight, but with water - and an ancient enemy who has finally found a way to invade the vampires' landlocked community. Vampires aren't the top predator on earth. There's something worse that preys on them ...something much worse. Which means if Claire, and Morganville, want to live, they will have to fight on to the last breath ...
Cinda Williams Chima - The Dragon Heir (3rd)
For centuries, wizards have avoided making war on each other for fear of waking the legendary dragon that sleeps at Raven's Ghyll. But it is a new age. The patriarch Nicodemus Snowbeard is rapidly failing. The Wizard Houses of the Red and White Rose have united against Claude D'Orsay, Master of Games and keeper of the Dragonhold, and a moment when he and and his sadistic son Devereaux seem poised to seize control of all of the magical guilds. But then everything changes ...Jason Haley has been trying to be part of the action for months: he wants to help, but no one seems prepared to let him in. Seph is monitoring the defensive walls. Jack and Ellen are training their ghost army, even his Anaweir friends are doing their bit to help. Only Jason seems to be left out - until he stumbles across a powerful talisman, called the Dragonheart, hidden away in a cave. It seems to sing to Jason, its power calling to him. Perhaps, finally, he's going to be able to help. The final battle is coming, and the magical community of Trinity is about to risk the destruction of everything they care about in order to remain free. The outcome is balanced on a knife edge, and the slightest advantage could turn the tide. If Jason can help, if the moody and mysterious Madison Moss can be persuaded to join the Weirguilds before it's too late, and if the friends who make Trinity a place worth fighting for remain true ...
Deborah Cooke - Flying Blind (31st)
I will shift shape and I will cast dreams and I will be everything that I am forecast to be. I am the Wyvern. And I will claim my birthright, right here and now. Zoe Sorensson is a perfectly normal teenage girl. That's the problem. She's always been told she's destined for great things - she is a dragon shape shifter, a Pyr, and the only female one of her kind. But Zoe's powers are AWOL, so she's sent to Pyr boot camp. Zoe quickly realizes that she has to master her powers yesterday, because the Pyr are in danger and boot camp is a trap. The Mages want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line -unless Zoe and her friends can work together and save their own kind.
Sally Gardner - The Double Shadow (3rd)
Arnold Ruben has created a memory machine, a utopia housed in a picture palace, where the happiest memories replay forever, a haven in which he and his precious daughter can shelter from the war-clouds gathering over 1937 Britain. But on the day of her seventeenth birthday Amaryllis leaves Warlock Hall and the world she has known and wakes to find herself in a desolate and disturbing place. Something has gone terribly wrong with her father's plan. Against the tense backdrop of the second World War Sally Gardner explores families and what binds them, fathers and daughters, past histories, passions and cruelty, love and devastation in a novel rich in character and beautifully crafted.
Joanne Harris - Runelight (3rd)
The squabbling Norse gods and goddesses of Runemarks are back! And there's a feisty new heroine on the scene: Maggie, a girl the same age as Maddy but brought up a world apart - literally, in World's End, the focus of the Order in which Maddy was raised. Now the Order is destroyed, Chaos is filling the vacuum left behind...and is breaching the everyday world. A chilling prophecy from the Oracle. A conflict between two girls. And with just twelve days to stave off the Apocalypse, carnage is about to be unleashed ...
Mia James - By Midnight (3rd)
April Dunne is not impressed. She's had to move from Edinburgh to Highgate, London, with her parents. She's left her friends - and her entire life - behind. She has to start at a new school and, worst of all, now she's stuck in a creepy old dump of a house which doesn't even have proper mobile phone reception. Ravenwood, her new school, is a prestigious academy for gifted (financially or academically) students - and the only place her parents could find her a place, in the middle of term, in the middle of London, on incredibly short notice. So she's stuck with the super-rich, and the super-smart ...and trying to fit in when the rest of the students seem to be more glamorous, smarter, or more talented than she is, is more than tough. It's intimidating and isolating, even when she finds a friend in the conspiracy-theorist Caro Jackson - and perhaps finds something more than friendship in the gorgeous, mysterious Gabriel Swift. But there's more going on at Ravenwood than meets the eye. Practical jokes on new students are normal, but when Gabriel saves her from ...something ...in Highgate Cemetery, and then she discovers that a murder took place just yards away from where she had been standing, April has to wonder if something more sinister is going on. ..and whether or not she's going to live through it ...
Eden Maguire - Twisted Heart (3rd)
'We will all rise,' Zoran warned while all around him burned. 'There will be other times, other places - a million other willing souls!' With a heart twisted by the lust for new lovers to destroy, new souls to connquer and a desire for revenge against Tania, the Dark Angel can take any shape, inhabit any body. He will lie low until the time is right. The battle against the Dark Angel isn't over.
Antonia Michaelis - Dragons of Darkness (1st)
This is the fantastical tale of the invisible prince Jumar who sets out to free his country, Nepal, from rebels, intertwined with the story of Christopher, a shy boy from Germany who is magically transported there to search for his brother, apparently kidnapped by the same rebels. Together, Jumar and Christopher begin a dangerous journey through the wilderness of Nepal that turns into a journey of initiation. Fighting the beautiful but deadly dragons that beset the country, the two boys learn that in order to change the world they need to change themselves first.
Samantha Rendle - House of Vampires (31st)
An exciting new twist on a popular teen theme: vampires! Fourteen year-old Pete wakes up in a mansion with no idea who he is and no memories. He discovers he's one of a rebel group called the Hunters - vampires with a conscience. Pete and his friends are soon mixed up in a dangerous battle between good and evil.
Barbara Spencer - Time Breaking (1st)
Fifteen-year-old Molly is gauche and awkwardly tall, a great disappointment to her parents who only have time for their careers. Constantly at loggerheads because Molly is determined to become a swimmer, the family go to stay in a 17th century manor house now used as a religious retreat. Inadvertently, Molly triggers a time-chute and reappears in 1648, at the end of the Civil War, to find she has taken the place of Molly Hampton, the eldest daughter in a Puritan family. After suffering a beating, an entire morning spent in chapel, a smelly privy, a muddy farmyard, and cold water to wash in, Molly labels the seventeenth century "barbaric" and is hell-bent on escaping back to her own life. But the manor house belongs to Sir Richard Blaisdale, a Royalist family, and is barred to her. Forced to continue with the charade, Molly meets Richard, supposedly her best friend, only to find herself falling in love with him. Gradually, Molly begins to change her mind believing that she can stay and take Molly Hampton's place, little realising that danger and disaster lie in wait for her...
Allison van Diepen - The Vampire Stalker (3rd)
What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world - and came into yours? Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he is Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book.
Jill Wolfson - Cold Hands, Warm Heart (3rd)
The lives of two teenage girls become literally connected after 14-year-old Amanda unexpectedly dies during a gymnastics meet and Dani receives Amanda's heart. Fourteen-year-old Amanda is a competitive gymnast, sleek-muscled and in perfect health. Fifteen-year-old Dani was born with her heart on the wrong side of her body; she's been in and out of hospital all her life. The two girls don't know each other - and never will. Yet their lives are about to collide. Amanda suffers a haematoma - a blood clot - during a gymnastics competition, and dies. The donation of her heart means renewed life for Dani and several other donor recipients.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Monthly lists for 2010 can be found here.
I have tried to identify all the British authors which I hope will be useful to those doing the Bookette's excellent British Books Challenge.
Helen Bailey - Knowing Me, Knowing You (3rd, Hodder Children's Books, pb) British Author
Rachel Caine - Last Breath (1st, Allison & Busby, pb)
V Campbell - Viking Gold (1st, Fledgling Press, pb) British Author
Anna Carey - Eve (5th, HarperCollins, pb)
Garrett Carr - Deep Deep Down (24th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Cinda Williams Chima - The Dragon Heir (3rd, Indigo, pb)
Allie Condie - Crossed (24th, Puffin, pb)
Jasper Fforde - The Song of the Quarkbeast: A Last Dragonslayer Novel (10th, Hodder & Stoughton, HB) British Author
Sally Gardner - The Double Shadow (3rd, Indigo, HB) British Author
Kiki Hamilton - The Faerie Ring (14th, TOR, HB)
Joanne Harris - Runelight (3rd, Doubleday Childrens, HB) British Author
Colleen Houck - Tiger's Voyage (10th, Hodder & Stoughton, pb)
Mia James - By Midnight (3rd, Indigo, pb) British Author
Mark Kurlansky - Battle Fatigue (7th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Cathy MacPhail - Out of the Depths (21st, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb) British Author
Eden Maguire - Twisted Heart (3rd, Hodder Children's Books, pb) British Author
Antonia Michaelis - Dragons of Darkness (1st, Amulet Books, pb)
Caragh M O'Brien - Birthmarked: Prized (10th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Christopher Paolini - Inheritance (8th, Doubleday Childrens, HB)
L J Smith - Vampire Diaries: Phantom (10th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Barbara Spencer - Time Breaking (1st, Matador, pb) British Author
Allison van Diepen - The Vampire Stalker (3rd, Scholastic, pb)
Robison Wells - Variant (20th, HarperCollins, pb)
Jill Wolfson - Cold Hands, Warm Heart (3rd, Walker, pb)
Monday, October 31, 2011
Review: Velvet is the latest historical novel from Mary Hooper and is set at the beginning of the 20th century. The eponymous young lady at the heart of the novel, the independent Velvet (born Kitty) is struggling to keep herself afloat financially. She is about to lose her job at the laundry but her boss gives her one more chance in a more specialist part of the business - looking after individual clients' laundry. In this way Velvet gets to do the personal laundry of one Madame Savoya, a medium of some renown and eventually Velvet ends up as a live-in maid to Madame along with the handsome chauffeur/assistant George.
Velvet's story is inter-cut with a third-person point of view, narrating the various one-to one meetings that Madame and George have with bereaved customers who want a longer chat with their dead loved ones than the general seances can provide.
It becomes obvious to the reader how much truth lies behind Madame's skill and the tension is created by the watching and waiting for Velvet to catch up with the reader.
I thoroughly enjoyed Velvet. It tells of a fascinating time when Spiritualism was all the rage and Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, a famous believer and debunker of fakes, makes an appearance. Velvet is a believable if naive character and you are rooting for her to do the right thing(s). I love how historical novels painlessly teach the reader something and Velvet is no exception, with for example - a visit to a baby-farm which was horrendously portrayed and yet I understand that the author has toned it down somewhat for the YA market.
Velvet is a real page-turner and I flew through it. If like me, you are a bit wary of historical fiction, I'd strongly recommend giving Velvet a go and let it put any prejudices you may have had in the dustbin!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Tiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck (10 Nov, Hodder & Stoughton)
With the head-to-head battle against the villainous Lokesh behind her, Kelsey confronts a new heartbreak: in the wake of his traumatic experience, her beloved Ren no longer remembers who she is. As the trio continues their quest by challenging five cunning and duplicitous dragons, Ren and Kishan once more vie for her affections - leaving Kelsey more confused than ever.
Fraught with danger, filled with magic, and packed with romance, Tiger's Voyage brings Kelsey and her two tiger princes one step closer to breaking the curse.
Won - with thanks, from Lyrical Reviews
The Crimson Shard by Teresa Flavin (out now, Templar)
This sequel to The Blackhope Enigma is imbued with alchemy and intrigue. During what seems like an ordinary museum visit, tour guide Throgmorton lures Sunni and Blaise through a painted doorway into eighteenth-century London. When Throgmorton demands secret information from the pair about their Blackhope escapades, they attempt to flee, encountering body snatchers, art thieves and forgers in this gripping time-travel adventure.
Miss Understanding: My Summer on the Shelf by Lara Fox (out now, Hodder Childrens)
After a stint as the school agony aunt, Anya's forthcoming summer as an intern at a London publishing house comes as a breath of fresh air. It'll take her mind off Al - her AWOL boyfriend - at least, and maybe she'll get tips on how to be a writer, too. But it's clear that Anya's role is senior dogsbody - and involves reading terrible stories, listening to her colleague's Katie's domestic woes, and taking on a nightmarish teenage author, who is about five years late delivering his next 'best selling novel'. It's not quite the gltiz and glamour Miss Understanding thought it would be, but it does have its plus points: Delicious Seth Hodges being one of them...Anya is torn between the swarve Seth, the notorious waste of time The Boy, her lost boyfriend Al, not to mention the intriguing teenage writer Casper...So many boys, so little time. Another fresh, original and witty journey through Miss Understanding's life...
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Last year, Pierce died - just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: tall dark and terrifying, it’s his job to usher souls from one realm to the next.
There’s a fierce attraction between them, but Pierce knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the underworld. But now things are getting dangerous for her, and her only hope is to do exactly what John says . . .
Mortal Kiss by Alice Moss
How much would you sacrifice for just one kiss . . .
When smouldering Finn and sexy Lucas arrive in Winter Mill, life starts to get very complicated for Faye McCarron.
But two boys battling for her heart is just the start. Soon there's a dead body in the woods, a motorcycle gang on the prowl, and the snow just won't stop falling. Something evil is at work, and only Faye and best friend Liz can stop it. As Hallowe'en draws near they must uncover the dark and sinister secret . . . before it's too late.
Love paranormal romance, werewolves and ethereal spirits? Then this book is for you!
POD by Stephen Wallenfeld
PODs - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside. Will is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food...Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself. What would you do to survive?
Thursday, October 27, 2011
PC & Kristin Cast - Destined (Amazon says 25/10 whereas Waterstones says 8/11)
The latest instalment from the ever-scandalous House of Night sees Zoey and Stevie Rae trying to restore some order to their complex lives. But is that ever possible in the dark world of the House of Night vampyres?
Leigh Fallon - The Carrier of the Mark (27th)
Bewitching debut teen fiction from Inkpop sensation -- dark magic, prophecies and irresistible romance collide in this beguiling read. When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. She makes close friends with the girls in her class, her relationship with her dad is better than ever, and she finds herself inexplicably drawn to gorgeous, mysterious Adam DeRis. Adam is cold and aloof at first, but when Megan finally breaks down the icy barrier between them, she is amazed by the intensity of their connection. Then Adam reveals a secret about the magical destiny that will shape both of their lives but also threatens to tear them apart!
Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie - Crusade: The Damned (27th)
The Salamancan hunters are at war, and Jenn Leitner, the newly appointed Hunter, must lead the Salamancan hunters into battle against the Cursed Ones. But tensions are running high, and heated arguments threaten to fracture the group, especially after the hunters discovered that Jenn's sister, Heather, has been converted. Struggling to balance leadership and being the Hunter with her desire for revenge against the vampire who converted her sister, Jenn tries hard to over come any personal vendettas as she prepares for battle. But with her beloved Antonio spending every waking moment with her newly-turned vampire sister, and the rest of her team fighting among themselves, Jenn finds her inner strength and trust wavering. And as the Cursed Ones and other sinister powers continue to rage war against humanity, Jenn will learn, along with the rest of the Salamancan hunters, that it is always darkest before dawn...
Robin Jarvis - Tales from the Wyrd Museum 2: The Raven's Knot (27th)
Timely reissue of the classic fantasy trilogy by Robin Jarvis, following on from the landmark publication of DANCING JAX, his first novel in a decade. In a grimy alley in the East End of London stands the Wyrd Museum, cared for by the strange Webster sisters -- the scene of even stranger events. Brought out of the past, elfin-like Edie Dorkins must now help the Websters to protect their age-old secret. For outside the museum's enchanted walls, a nightmarish army is gathering in the mystical town of Glastonbury, bent on destroying the sisters and their ancient power once and for all! Revisit the chilling, fantastical world of the Wyrd Museum in this sequel to The Woven Path.
Rebecca Lim - Mercy: Muse (27th)
An angel searching for answers, for her destiny! In the third MERCY paranormal romance, Mercy wakes in a new unknown host, her love for Ryan and Luc burning stronger than ever. But who will she make the ultimate sacrifice for? There's something very wrong with me. When I wake up, I could be anyone! Mercy is thrust into the excessive world of fashion when she awakes in the body of a troubled Russian supermodel, Irina: bitchy, hot-tempered and known to be dabbling in things she shouldn't, Irina is on the verge of a very public breakdown. Against the glamorous background of opulent Milan, Mercy continues her increasingly desperate search for Ryan to lead her back to her immortal lover, Luc. But this time Mercy is aware that her memories and powers are growing ever stronger -- and she begins to doubt Luc as The Eight reveal more of her mysterious past. Are Luc's desires as selfless as her own or does he want her for a more terrifying purpose? The grand scale celestial battle for Mercy's soul builds to an incredible stormy crescendo as archangels and demons clash in a cataclysmic showdown that not all will survive!
Jessica Martinez - Virtuosity (27th)
Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot ...what if Jeremy is better than her? Carmen knows that dating Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her - and riles her up - like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform and what started as a quick fix has become a hungry addiction. But now Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she's told, doing what's expected. And, as Carmen starts to open up to Jeremy, she realises that sometimes being on top just means you have a long way to fall...
James Phelan - Quarantine: Alone (27th)
Jesse has survived the chasers. He's survived the roving bands of humans. And he might even have started to make some new friends. But the quarantine period is up. The army is coming in. And Jesse's about to learn that the real test of survival has only just begun.
Kathy Reichs - Virals (27th)
Fourteen-year-old Tory Brennan is as fascinated by bones and dead bodies as her famous aunt, acclaimed forensic anthropologist, Tempe Brennan. However living on a secluded island off Charleston in South Carolina there is not much opportunity to put her knowledge to the test. Until her and her ragbag group of technophile friends stumble across a shallow grave containing the remains of a girl who has been missing for over thirty years. The question is, did whoever was responsible for the girl's death have anything to do with the sick puppy they rescued from a secret laboratory on the same island? With the cold-case murder suddenly hot, Tory realises that they are involved in something fatally dangerous. But events take a turn for the bizarre when they escape some would-be attackers by using physical powers more akin to a dog than a human...Could the puppy hold the key not only to the murder, but also the strange changes that are taking place in their bodies?
Lili St Crow - Strange Angels: Reckoning (27th)
Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru herself. She's battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a full-fledged svetocha - rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires - the worst is yet to come. Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she's ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice?