Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gone by Michael Grant - online & free

I really enjoyed Gone and until the end of October, you can read the whole of Gone, by Michael Grant, online at the Egmont website.

Go here to start reading the book.

My review of Gone is here.

Also, download (pdf) the first three chapters of Hunger, the sequel to Gone, here.

Waiting on Wednesday - My So-Called Afterlife

My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray will be published on 1 February 2010 by Piccadilly Press. I'm looking forward to this one as it has both crime, ghosts and romance!

Synopsis from Tamsyn Murray's website:

Lucy Shaw is a ghost with problems. First, she’s stuck haunting the men’s toilets on Carnaby Street, not the best place to spend eternity. Second, no-one can see or hear her. And third, the man who killed her last New Year’s Eve is still on the loose. Is it any wonder her mood is blacker than a tramp’s fingernails? So when a lighting engineer called Jeremy walks into the toilet and asks her what she’s doing there she’s not exactly Miss Congeniality. But given that he’s the only person who can see her, she decides to overlook the fact that he’s drippier than a toddler’s nose and accepts his offer of help. Before she knows it, she’s out of the toilet and meeting other ghosts, including the emotionally unstable Hep and the lip-smackingly gorgeous Ryan.

Together, they track down Lucy’s killer, encountering meerkats, exorcists, and the world’s stroppiest tattoo artist along the way. Will their efforts to catch Lucy’s murderer succeed? What happens if they do? And just how do you go about snogging the boy of your dreams when you don’t actually have lips anymore?

Follow Tamsyn Murray on Twitter.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Offers at The Book People

The latest catalogue from The Book People has some great offers on teenage books:

5 Eva Ibbotson books for £9.99:

* The Secret Countess
* A Company of Swans
* A Song for Summer
* The Morning Gift
* Magic Flutes

4 Celia Rees titles for £7.99:

* Pirates!
* Sorceress
* Sovay
* Witch Child

The first 3 Twilight books for £9.99.

More good deals can be found here. Postage is free when you spend £25.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

TSS: The week in summary (8)

The Sunday
Rather belatedly I've just started The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson (for Euro Crime) and I'll be returning to Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink. I'm also about 1/3 way through listening to The Mediator: Love You to Death by Meg Cabot.

Activity on the blog in the last week:

Monday - details of what's on the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2009 Shortlist; news of Rebecca James's UK publishing deal for Beautiful Malice.

Tuesday - ways of catching up with the series premiere of Merlin.

Wednesday - 'Waiting on Wednesday' post for Hunger by Michael Grant.

Thursday - review of The Medusa Project: The Set-Up by Sophie McKenzie

Friday - the book trailer for Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.

Sunday - details of newly acquired library book, prize and review copy.

Sunday - the latest links from the blogosphere post.

Links from the Blogosphere (15)

Here are a few links/reviews which caught my eye this week:

The Independent reviews Ghost Hunter by Michelle Paver.

MTV interviews L J Smith about the Vampire Diaries tv series.

The Telegraph interviews Jacqueline Wilson.

Library Loot (15), a prize & a review copy

I'm slightly behind this week as I usually post this on Saturday. This week I only took out one YA library book: Kate Cann's Possessing Rayne which I hope to read before I review the follow-up, Fire & Rayne. I won a copy of Geektastic at the fantastic LibrariAnne and Halo by Zizou Corder is a review copy.

Possessing Rayne
- Kate Cann
Rayne couldn't wait to get away from everything: her mum, her boyfriend, the estate. But the solitude of Morton's Keep isn't all she thought it would be. It's eerie and more than a little creepy. When she meets St John, Rayne forgets her worries; he's like no one she's ever met. So why is everyone warning her away from him? She knows there's something people aren't telling her. But how can she find out the secrets everyone wants to keep hidden ... and more importantly, know who to trust?

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
(edited by Holly Black & Cecil Castellucci)
Acclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside)and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.

With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you're a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on!

Halo - Zizou Corder (Feb 2010 UK)
Washed ashore as a baby in ancient Greece, Halo is discovered by a family of centaurs. Although her true identity remains a mystery, she is loved as one of their own. But when Halo is dragged away by fishermen, her wild adventure begins . . . Halo soon realizes that if she is to survive then she must live in disguise – as a boy. A violent war is threatening to erupt and Halo is at the mercy of the mighty Spartan warriors. And as she battles to hide her secret, Halo never forgets her quest to find out who she is – and where she really came from.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Leviathan - trailer

Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan will be published on 1 October in the UK by Simon & Schuster Children's.

Synopsis: The year is 1914 and Europe, armed with futuristic machines and biotechnology, is on the precipice of war. Prince Aleksandar is fleeing for his life, having discovered that his parents have been assassinated and that he is now a target for the Clanker Powers, a group determined to take over the globe with their mechanical machinery. They will stop at nothing to get what they want, so Alek knows his only choice is to keep on running. When he meets Deryn Sharpe, an orphan girl who has disguised herself as a boy so she can to join the British Air Service, they form an uneasy, but necessary, alliance. But the pair will soon discover that their emerging friendship will dramatically change their lives and the entire course of the Great World War...

Watch the trailer below:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review: The Medusa Project: The Set-Up by Sophie McKenzie

The Medusa Project: The Set-Up by Sophie McKenzie (July 2009, Simon & Schuster Children's, ISBN: 9781847385253)

First Lines:
I'm Nico and what I'm about to tell you is Secret and Dangerous and True. It's also several planetary systems beyond Weird. Here's How it started....

Review: Our narrator is Nico a fourteen-year-old who lives with his stepfather (who is also his headmaster) at a boarding school in London.

Nico has the hots for his best friend Ketty, a very keen runner but when in assembly he sees another boy's arm around her, he gets angry and jealous. And that's when the furniture starts flying around. Nico realises it's him causing the havoc, he's telekinetic! Fergus puts it down to a freak storm but he calls Nico over and tells him not to do it again and that his power is evil. So when Nico gets an anonymous text from someone offering to tell him about his ability, he can't resist.

He meets up with a man called Jack who also introduces him to an American girl called Dylan. Jack explains that there are four of them with the Medusa gene which gives each of them a psychic ability of some sort and that he has been hired to track down all four children. Nico doesn't ask too many questions - he just wants to get money to impress Ketty and pay for her trip to a Scottish running event.

Initially things go well, but when the formula for the gene turns up, a gene that can kill, Nico's conscience won't allow the formula to be sold. Life becomes dangerous for Nico and his friends as they put their own lives in jeopardy...

The Set-Up is an easy read with an entertaining if very naive narrator. Unfortunately, I didn't find any of the main characters particularly likeable and Nico's habit of calling Ketty 'babe' irritated me. Though the story is well paced and eventful, I didn't feel that it offered that many surprises but I'm a rather older and jaded reader than the target audience and a friend's fourteen-year-old couldn't put it down.

Each of the four books has a different narrator and the second book, The Hostage, is out in January. This series should appeal equally to boys and girls.

Cover: An enticing cover which accurately depicts the two girls, though I'm less sure about the boys!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Hunger

Hunger, the sequel to Gone, by Michael Grant will be out in the UK on 4 January 2010 from Egmont Books Ltd.

The clock is ticking for Sam Temple and the kids of Perdido Beach but it's not the big one-five that they face now; it's starvation that threatens the FAYZ. In an abandoned mine shaft a faceless animal lurks, pulling the strings, toying with human and mutant alike. And he's hungry - hungry in the darkness. An uneasy calm has settled over Perdido Beach. But soon, fear explodes into desperation as starvation sets in and the mob look to place blame. For the 'normals' the buck must stop somewhere: with the 'freaks'. More and more kids are developing strange powers and, just as frighteningly, so are the animals in the FAYZ: talking coyotes, swimming bats and deadly worms with razor-sharp teeth are just the beginning. For Sam Temple the strain of leadership is beginning to show and he's got more than just dwindling rations and in-fighting to worry about - Caine is back with the psychotic whiphand, Drake, by his side. And in the background lies the greatest danger of all - and he too needs to be fed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Missed Merlin?

The second series of Merlin started last Saturday. If you missed The Curse of Cornelius Sigan, it's repeated on BBC3 on Friday at 8pm followed by a cut-down version of Merlin Confidential Secrets & Magic.

Both programmes are also available on iplayer (including it seems an appearance by the boys on last week's Jonathan Ross).

Digital Spy reviews the first episode here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Publishing Deal - Rebecca James

Confirmation of the UK publication of Rebecca James's Beautiful Malice comes in today's Bookseller:

Julia Wells acquired British Commonwealth, excluding Australia and New Zealand, to the debut and a follow up. The deal was struck via agent Jo Unwin, who pitched it as "a teenage Jodi Picoult crossed with [TV programme] 'Skins'".

Written by Rebecca James, a 30-something year-old Australian living in Armadale in New South Wales, Beautiful Malice was described by the agency as "a tense YA psychological thriller".

According to Rebecca James's blog, Beautiful Malice will be out in Australia (by Allen and Unwin) in May 2010 and the UK (by Faber) in February 2011.

UPDATE: Beautiful Malice will be out in the UK in July!

Booktrust Teenage Prize 2009 - Shortlist

The short list for the 2009 Booktrust Teenage Prize has been announced today. The contenders are:

Auslander by Paul Dowswell (Bloomsbury)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)
Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray (Definitions)
The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant (Puffin) (review)
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Walker)

The winner will be announced on 18 November. Read more about the shortlisted books and the prize on the Booktrust website.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

TSS: The week in summary (7)

The Sunday
I've just finished The Gigolo Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer (for Euro Crime) and I'll be returning to Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink. I'm also about 1/2 way through listening to Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith.

Activity on the blog in the last week:

Monday - review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

Tuesday - news of two of the Morganville Vampire books being available as e-books.

Wednesday - 'Waiting on Wednesday' post for Child of the Hive by Jessica Meats; news of a publishing deal for Mike Lancaster for 0.4.

Thursday - the book trailer for Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow.

Saturday - details of newly acquired library books and review copies.

Sunday - the latest links from the blogosphere post.

Links from the Blogosphere (14)

Here are a few links/reviews which caught my eye this week:

Digital Spy has an 8 minute interview with Merlin's Arthur, Bradley James.

Handy for adding to the TBR: Kirkus reviews of new children's fiction.

Variety reports that Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr is to be made into a film.

Some recent publishing deals from Macmillan's Children's Books.

and The Guardian reviews The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Library Loot (14) & a review copy or four

Quite a girly selection this week. I own this Mediator book but have took out the audio book with the view that I might actually get to it quicker!

Library books (summaries from

Laura Ruby - Good Girls (2007)
A Forever for the 21st Century. Audrey is a good girl: a good student, daughter and friend. She's also the last person anyone expects to be with Luke DeSalvio, the biggest player at school. On the night she dumps him, someone takes her picture doing something good girls just don't do...The next Monday, messages begin popping up on people's phones and email inboxes. Soon everyone knows, including her teachers, her mum and her dad! Now she must discover strength she never knew she had, find friends where she didn't think she would, and learn that life goes on - no matter how different it is to how you think it's going to be.

T S Easton aka Miss Understanding - My Year in Agony (2009)
Sixteen year-old Anya Buxton has been transferred from her fee-paying school to the local comp. Her parent's acrimonious divorce has left them strapped for cash, and Anya is forced to adapt to her new school life. Deciding to keep her head down and her opinions to herself every day, Anya distracts herself from a chaotic home life and warring parents by becoming the school's anonymous Agony Aunt on the newsletter website.

Her fabulous powers of observation and perception along with a no-nonsense attitude and sometimes caustic wit, makes a big impact on the pupils who write in with their problems. Miss Understanding tells it like it is, and doesn't pull any punches and on the whole delivers wise, and often hilariously brutal advice, along with a few sage observations about her fellow pupils and the teachers at the Academy.

Stirred by her irreverence, the school chucks her off the offical website, but undeterred, Miss Understanding simply sets up her own, along with a regular blog for her readers' entertainment. She is articulate and riveting reading and the problems continue to flood in. But gradually Anya's feelings about her home life, her frustration with her mother and with her father's new wife begin to bias her writing and her responses to problems, and the readers begin to form a picture of who Ms Understanding really is.

Consequently, when she inadvertently raises questions and issues of her own in her blog, her readers start to chip in with advice of their own on how she should cope with and adjust to all the changes in her life.

All this is executed in a consistently funny and wry narrative, and reveals a unique and strong new character in chick lit genre for teens.

Gayle Forman - If I Stay (2009)
'Just listen,' Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel. I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen. 'Stay,' he says. Everybody has to make choices. Some might break you. For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they're all about a future full of music and love, a future that's brimming with hope. But life can change in an instant. A cold February morning ...a snowy road ...and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all. Gripping, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, "If I Stay" will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you've lost - and all that might be.

Meg Cabot - The Mediator: Love You to Death (2004)
Being a mediator doesn't exactly make Susannah Simon your typical sixteen-year-old. Her job is to ease the path for the unhappy dead to their final resting place. Not all ghouls want to be guided, but Suze is inclined to kick some serious ghost butt if she has to. Now she's moved to California with her new step family and is starting out at a brand-new school. From her first day, her mediator skills are tested to the max when Suze finds herself the target of the murderous spirit of ex-class beauty, Heather. At least she's sharing her new bedroom with Jesse, who just happens to be the hottest ghost in history. Suze is totally warm for his form and is determined to win the heart of the sexiest spirit in town. But can this girl get her ghost?

Review books (summaries from

To be reviewed on this blog:

Abby McDonald - Life Swap (2009)
Take an administrative snafu, a bad break-up, and what shall heretofore be known as The Hot-Tub Incident , and you ve got two thoroughly unprepared sophomores on a semester abroad. For American party girl Tasha, an escape to tweedy Oxford may be a chance to ditch her recent fame as a tabloid temptress, but wading Uggs-deep in feminist theory is not her idea of a break. Meanwhile, the British half of the exchange, studious control-freak Emily, nurses an aching heart amid the bikinis and beer pong of U. C. Santa Barbara. Soon desperation has the girls texting each other tips on fitting in, finding love and figuring out who they really are. With an anthropologist s eye for cultural detail and a true ear for teen-speak, exciting new novelist Abigail McDonald crafts a very funny, fast-paced, poignant look at survival, sisterhood, and the surprising ways we discover our true selves.

To be reviewed for Mystery Women:

Anne Cassidy - Just Jealous (2009)
Elise has a crush. She's been infatuated with her best friend, Carl, for as long as she can remember. When he starts dating an American girl who's just arrived at their school, Elise thinks it will just be a short fling. When she realizes it's not, she decides she needs to take matters into her own hands...

Kate Cann - Fire & Rayne (2009)
Rayne is still enjoying life at remote Morton's Keep, an escape from the city life she hated so much. But there are hints of something creepy and out of kilter still in the house, especially when a mysterious new housekeeper takes over. Then - suddenly and shockingly - a violent murder occurs on the outskirts of Marcle Lees, and Rayne's life is turned upside down all over again...

Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games (2009)
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before—and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Strange Angels - trailer

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow has just been published in the UK by Quercus:

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called the touch. (Comes in handy when you're travelling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie).

Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she's next. Even worse, she's got two guys hungry for her affections, and they're not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

Watch the trailer below:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Publishing Deal - Mike Lancaster

From a press release at Book2Book:

Egmont Press has bought the rights to debut author Mike Lancaster's novel 0.4.

0.4 is a sci-fi thriller about a teenage boy who discovers that humans are little more than hardware, able to be programmed and upgraded. Redundant and left on the technological scrapheap, the story is told via a transcript of old audio tapes. They prove to be prophetic, raising pertinent questions about future society, technology and the nature of our existence. Egmont will publish in January 2011.

Philippa Donovan says 'We are so excited to have Mike's debut novel on our list. Sci-fi is long overdue for a renaissance, and 0.4, with its chilling technological and apocalyptic themes, has the capacity to lead the movement.'

Waiting on Wednesday - Child of the Hive

Child of the Hive by Jessica Meats is published by Book Guild on 30 September. The SF premise appeals to me:

Will is different … ‘special’. He’s a genius at maths and even though he’s still at school studying for his A levels, he lives on his own in a dingy, run-down bed-sit and has to work at night to support himself. But there’s something more that sets him apart – something he has to keep hidden from everyone, even his friends. Otherwise, he risks blowing his cover or, worse, losing his life…

Sophie is ‘special’ too. Deep in the bowels of a secret government facility she spends her days colouring in seemingly unfathomable patterns on endless sheets of graph paper, never speaking a word. To those around her she seems like a simpleton, but little do they suspect that she, like them, is fighting a secret war – a war against the deadly organization known as the Hive.

Set in a Britain of the near future, Child of the Hive is both a tense sci-fi thriller and a gripping philosophical exploration of what it means to be human in a world of ever-increasing technological sophistication. An unputdownable read.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Morganville Vampires books go digital

Allison and Busby announced yesterday that five of their books are now available as e-books, including...

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

The e-books are available from and They are very reasonably priced - £3.50 at WHSmiths. I haven't got an e-reader yet but if more books become available at a reasonable cost ie the same or less that the print versions, then I'll be very tempted.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (July 2009, Gollancz, ISBN: 9780575090842)

First Line:
My mother used to tell me about the ocean.

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth is set an unspecified number of generations into the future. However rather than society being technologically advanced, a more simple way of life, a way of survival, has been established.

Mary, lives in a small village surrounded by the Forest. The Forest is full of the Unconsecrated, people who have died and 'returned'; they are dead but still walk and constantly moan and seek to infect more people through their bites. All that separates the living from the Unconsecrated is a tall wire fence which is constantly patrolled by the Guardians. The Sisterhood looks after the spiritual, moral and legal needs of the village from their Cathedral under the leadership of Sister Tabitha.

Mary has already lost her father to the Unconsecrated and her mother watches every day at the fence to try and find him. As the book opens, Mary's mother gets too close to the fence and is infected. She has a choice to either be killed or to 'return' and join the Unconsecrated. She chooses the latter. Mary's brother Jed, unhappy with Mary for agreeing to their mother becoming one of the Unconsecrated, shuns Mary which means she must join the Sisterhood unless one of the eligible men will 'come for her' ie offer marriage. Her friend Harry will come for her but it is Travis, his brother whom she loves.

Mary has always been different. She dreams about what's beyond the Forest - are there more people, more villages - but most of all she dreams of the ocean. Her mother having told her tales of life before 'the Return', tales handed down by her grandmother and from her grandmother before her. During her time at the Sisterhood, Mary finds proof that there is more to life than in their safe village. However she will endure many tragedies before she finds some of the answers she seeks.

I was a little bit wary of picking up The Forest of Hands and Teeth as I thought zombies, ugh. But I'm so glad I did. I really enjoyed reading it and it moved me to tears at one point. The set-up grabs you in from the start: where are we, when are we, how did this happen, what lies behind the Forest? Mary, who must be around sixteen, is strong, resilient, single-minded and sometimes selfish in her desire to escape and also to get the man she loves. The other characters, initially lightly drawn, change, develop and become more real as the story progresses and they face enormous challenges. The tone of the book is tension all the way with no room for humour and you read it with your body on edge wondering what's going to happen next and even though Mary isn't a particularly likeable character I wanted her to succeed in her quest. This is a well-written debut novel which has lingered in my mind.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth has already been optioned for a film. I certainly had a vivid image of the village and the Forest and it will be interesting to compare it with the film version.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is the first part of a trilogy, so there are plenty of unanswered questions left at the end. The second part, The Dead Tossed Waves, is out in March 2010.

Cover: I know the black cover style is in fashion at the moment but I do like this cover very much and the title is very intriguing. At one point Mary says that "I feel as though I am finally unfurling".

Carrie Ryan's website is here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

TSS: The week in summary (6)

The Sunday
I've got quite a few books on the go at the minute: I've just finished Sophie McKenzie's The Medusa project: The Set-Up, I'm part-way through Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink and for Euro Crime, I have just started The Gigolo Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer and am 3/4 way through listening to Dead Line by Stella Rimington.

Activity on the blog last week:

Tuesday - review of The Vampire Diaries: The Reunion by L J Smith.

Wednesday - 'Waiting on Wednesday' post for The White Horse Trick by Kate Thompson; news of a publishing deal for Stephanie Perkins; the book trailer for Storm Glass by Maria Snyder and publishing news about James Patterson's YA series.

Thursday - information about Life Swap by Abby McDonald.

Friday - giveaway competition announced - Win 2 books by Andy Briggs plus news about the imminent return of Merlin.

Saturday - details of a newly acquired library book and a couple of review copies.

Sunday - the latest links from the blogosphere post.

Links from the Blogosphere (13)

Here are a few links/reviews which caught my eye this week:

Win a copy of HIVE Dreadnought at Teen Librarian.

Serenehours has put together Full lists of 2010 releases on Goodreads.

Random Jottings reviews Dido by Adele Geras.

Reading Rocks reviews Liar by Justine Larbalestier.

The Compulsive Reader has details of a new publishing deal for Maureen Johnson.

Over on the Tor website Mary Pearson discusses what YA Lit is and isn't.

In the NYT, the Sunday Book Review looks at 3 ecologically themed YA novels.

Connect With Your Teens has the Top 20 Fall Movies for Teens.

and The Vampire Diaries aired in the US this week, two reviews here - one good and one bad.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Library Loot (13) & a review copy or two

As I haven't been in work this week I've resisted adding to my library book tbr (almost). I had to drop off a couple of books but I only took one book out:

It's January 1st, 2015, and the UK is the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing, in a drastic bid to combat climate change. As her family spirals out of control, Laura Brown chronicles the first year of rationing with scathing abandon. Will her mother become one with her inner wolf? Will her sister give up her weekends in Ibiza? Does her father love the pig more than her? Can her band the dirty angels make it big? And will Ravi Datta ever notice her? In these dark days, Laura deals with the issues that really matter: love, floods and pigs. The Carbon Diaries 2015 is one girl's drastic bid to stay sane in a world unravelling at the seams.

For review I've received:

A renegade faction of the world's most powerful villains is intent on destroying G.L.O.V.E. (Global League Of Villainous Enterprises) and showing the world the true face of evil. The Disciples begin by hijacking Diabolus Darkdoom's Airborne command post, then they kidnap his son and his son's best friend. Unfortunately for them, Nigel Darkdoom (and Franz) also happen to be Otto's friends. Heading out to America, Otto, Wing et al embark on a perilous and highly unauthorised rescue operation. Cut off from the support of H.I.V.E. and on the run from American security forces the hunt for their friends leads to one of the US military's most secret facilities. It becomes clear that the Disciples are not all they appear and in a desperate race against time Otto must work out who his real friends are to prevent the Disciples from completing their true objective. Only Otto can save the world from domination by a sinister new world order but it might be that the price he has to pay is just too high. When it comes to the crunch will he be prepared to sacrifice himself?

I've also received this but I'm not sure if it's for this blog or my euro crime operation:

At the centre: Toby O'Dare - Lucky the Fox - a contract killer of underground fame. A soulless soul, a dead man walking...He's fallen far from grace, and lives under a series of aliases. Lucky takes his orders from someone he calls 'The Right Man', someone whose name and allegiances he doesn't know. When the novel opens, the time is the present. The place is Riverside, California, the Mission Inn. For O'Dare, it is his place of solace; he can be there without disguise. This time, he's been sent on an assignment to kill. Into his nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions, comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, who offers him a chance to save lives, rather than destroy them. Lucky, who grew up in a New Orleans, son of an alcoholic mother and a murdered father, long ago dreamt of being a priest, craving rituals, taking refuge in history, books and lute music - but instead came to embody danger and violence - now seizes his chance. He is lifted in (angel) time and carried back through the ages to thirteenth-century England, to a dangerous world, where Jews live an uneasy existence, their money coveted and protected by the crown for their function as money-lenders, unjustly despised by the rest. Into this primitive, treacherous setting, where accusations of ritual murder have been made against innocent Jews, and children have been found dead or missing, O'Dare begins a journey of salvation that leads him from the medieval villages of England to the cities of London and Paris as his quest becomes a story of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Merlin's Back

Series 2 of Merlin starts next Saturday (19th) at 6.40pm on BBC One.

Watch the trailer on the BBC's Merlin Website

and has behind the scenes photos from series 2.

Win: 2 books by Andy Briggs

A competition for September: win a set of the latest two books in the series by Andy Briggs.

HERO.COM and VILLAIN.NET are a fiendishly clever new concept of series and anti-series. Publishing simultaneously within one set of covers, the two books stand alone but, thanks to their cunning plotting, they also overlap, to give added enjoyment to super observant readers.

When a group of teenagers discover that they can download superpowers from the internet their ordinary lives suddenly take an extraordinary turn.

In Books 3 of this brilliant new series, we watch as The Hero Foundation is a shadow of its former self and Lord Eon–the most terrible supervillain ever–has hatched a plan to tear apart time. Toby and his superhero friends should be able to stop him . . . but Pete has woken up from his coma a different person, Emily has been kidnapped, and Lorna has disappeared.

At the same time, schoolboy supervillain, Jake Hunter has taken his seat on the Council of Evil. Now he will live his dream and exact revenge on the cruel world.

But the cruel world has other plans, and they come in the shape of the Hero Foundation. Jake’s not scared of the Hero Foundation. He even has a plan to turn it to the dark side. Until it gets a new member – Jake’s own sister. Is he really so villainous as to try to get her out of the way?

Read the books as separate satisfying adventures . . .or read them together and spot the heroes and villains blasting into each other's missions.

Which side are you on?

[NB. You can win a Playstation 3 with £100 of vouchers at the offical website - Which Side Are You On?]

To enter the draw, simply visit the official website Which Side Are You On? and get yourself tested to see if you are a Hero or a Villain. Email your result (Hero or Villain) plus your postal address, to karen at putting 'Competition Briggs' in the subject line.

This competition is open to UK residents only and the closing date is 30 September 2009.

(This competition is also listed on my Euro Crime website.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Life Swap

Abby McDonald's Sophomore Switch has just been published in the UK as Life Swap. I've read the teaser chapter available from the Sophomore Switch website and it sounds like fun.

Synopsis: Take an administrative snafu, a bad breakup, and what shall heretofore be known as "The Hot-Tub Incident," and you've got two unprepared sophomores on a semester abroad. For American party girl Tasha, an escape to Oxford may be a chance to ditch her fame as a tabloid temptress, but wading Uggs-deep in feminist theory is not her idea of a break. Meanwhile, the British half of the exchange, studious Emily, nurses an aching heart amid the bikinis and beer pong of U.C. Santa Barbara. Soon desperation has the girls texting each other tips - on fitting in, finding love, and figuring out who they really are. With an anthropologist's eye for detail and a true ear for teen-speak, exciting new novelist Abby McDonald has crafted a funny, fast-paced, poignant look at survival, sisterhood, and the surprising ways we discover our true selves.

I hadn't come across this book until a publicist sent me the details earlier this week and last night, catching up with the excellent Wondrous Reads blog, I noticed it was reviewed there a couple of days ago.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

James Patterson - publishing deal

James Patterson's 17 book publishing deal announced yesterday includes books for teenagers as well as his adult crime thrillers. From Publishers Weekly:

The deal includes 11 adult titles, to be published in hardcover by Little, Brown and Company and in paperback by Grand Central Publishing, and six titles for young readers, to be published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

The books for young readers include new titles in the Maximum Ride and Daniel X series, and the Witch & Wizard series debuting this December.

Trailer - Storm Glass by Maria Snyder

Synopsis: STORM GLASS is the first in a fantastic new trilogy by Maria V. Snyder, author of POISON STUDY. In this first book we meet Opal Cowan, a student at Sitia's magic academy with unique magical skills. She is called upon to embark on a mission to help the Stormdancer Clan. But danger and deception abound and the mission goes awry. Using untested magic, which could destroy her, is now Opal's only hope of saving them all...

Storm Glass is published by MIRA and is available now.

Stephanie Perkins - Publishing Deal

From Publishers Lunch:

Stephanie Perkins's ANNA AND THE BOY MASTERPIECE, in which American Anna Oliphant spends a year in a Parisian boarding school and falls for her multi-national classmate, plus a companion novel, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, to Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton Children's, in a very nice deal, at auction, for publication in Fall 2010.

Waiting on Wednesday - The White Horse Trick

I haven't read any of this trilogy by Kate Thompson yet but after the seeing the synopsis for this third part, I plan to have a go. The White Horse Trick is published 1 October in hardback by Bodley Head Children's Books.

It is the latter part of the 21st century, and dramatic climate change has made life in Ireland almost impossible. Meanwhile, Tir na n'Og is faced with a refugee problem, and the king of the fairies is not happy about it and when it is revealed that the warlord who is behind the problem is a member of the Liddy family, JJ is sent to sort him out...Following on from "The New Policeman" and "The Last of the High Kings", "The White Horse Trick" travels from the now to far distant futures: from world's end to world's beginning.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Review: The Vampire Diaries: The Reunion by L J Smith

The Vampire Diaries: The Reunion by L J Smith (October 2007, Hodder Children's Books, ISBN: 0340945044)

First Lines:
"Things can be just like they were before," said Caroline warmly, reaching out to squeeze Bonnie's hand.

Review: Bonnie, Meredith and Matt are trying to get their lives back together after the terrible and tragic events recounted in the previous three books. Their friends Elena, Stefan and Damon have left Fell's Church and Matt in particular is not coping well.

Bonnie's psychic gift has gone from strength to strength and in her dream she receives a message from Elena but is unsure what it means. When Caroline tries to recreate their cozy, girl get-togethers it all goes horribly wrong as their party is gate-crashed by evil. One girl is left dead and another traumatised.

Elena sends another message which allows Bonnie to summon Stefan (and Damon) back to town. The five of them have to discover who or what is threatening them and how they can stop it, especially as the enemy is more powerful than they can imagine...

I enjoyed The Reunion very much. The action doesn't let up and makes for a quick read. I liked that it was told more from Bonnie's point of view and we get to see her character mature. Stefan and Damon play a larger role also, though Stefan's plans never go well, leaving the poor boy with tons of guilt to carry. In The Fury, it became clear that Damon is not such a baddie after all and he redeems himself further in this book.

The final battle is won with the assistance from an unexpected source (the baddie made an error in judgement when choosing the time and place of the final confrontation) but the ending is still a bit of a tear-jerker (in a good way).

My only niggle really is that the 'evil one' was said to be dead in an earlier book, but the character who said that must have lied.

The Reunion is the final book in the initial quartet of Vampire Diaries novels however Vampire Diaries, The Return: Nightfall was published earlier this year and I look forward to reading that.

Cover: The candle is very appropriate.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

TSS: The week in summary (5)

The Sunday
I've got quite a few books on the go at the minute: I'm part-way through Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink as well as The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Audiobook-wise I'm currently listening to Dead Line by Stella Rimington.

Activity on the blog last week:

Monday - details of Booklist's list of upcoming Autumn titles.

Tuesday - review of The Vampire Diaries: The Fury by L J Smith.

Wednesday - 'Waiting on Wednesday' post for The Vampire Diaries: Nightfall by L J Smith.

Thursday - information about Kelly Osbourne's Fierce.

Friday - news about a new entry in Sophie McKenzie's Medusa Project series.

Saturday - details of newly acquired library books and a recent purchase.

Sunday - the latest links from the blogosphere post.

Links from the Blogosphere (12)

Here are a few links/reviews which caught my eye this week:

The Book Zombie reviews My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent.

Readspace reviews Breathless by Jessica Warman

Madhouse Family reviews The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric

Debra Hamel reviews The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Reading Rocks reviews Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Library Loot (12) & a Purchase

I have a few days off now, though I doubt I'll get as much reading done as I'd like as I'm not going away. Ever hopeful though, I've brought home a few more library books:

Sarwat Chadda - Devil's Kiss
Neil Shusterman - Everlost
Susan Pfeffer - Life as We Knew It
Michelle Lovric - The Undrowned Child
Judy Blundell - What I Saw and How I Lied
Robin Wasserman - Skinned
Sean Stewart et al - Cathy's Book

I also bought Vampire Kisses: The Beginning by Ellen Schreiber at a very good price from the Book Depository,which is an omnibus of the first three books in the series - Vampire Kisses, Kissing Coffins, Vampireville - which are mostly unavailable in my library.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Medusa Project - news

The first part of Sophie McKenzie's The Medusa Project - The Set-Up is out now. Part two, The Hostage, is out in January. Originally conceived as a four parter, news comes of a fifth part, to be published as part of World Book Day in March. From Sophie McKenzie's website:

The Medusa Project was originally intended to be just four books - one story focusing on each of the main four characters and their particular psychic ability. But thanks to the lovely people who organise World Book Day, there’s now going to be a fifth story about the Medusa teens. The Thief will publish next March. It won’t be as long as the other books but, thanks to the way its set up, should be even more exciting!

It will follow on from The Hostage chronologically - though you won’t need to have read the other stories to understand what’s going on! The Thief will be narrated by all four main characters in turn: Nico, Ketty, Ed and Dylan, in that order and will involve diamond-theft, dramatic sand storm action and a terrible revelation…

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kelly Osbourne's Fierce - is out today

Kelly Osbourne's first book, Fierce, is out today. It's being marketed as "the one accessory a girl needs to get her through". Her website's being relaunched at the same time:
Log onto where you can sneak peek at some of Kelly's personal pictures, and keep up to date with what she's up to and where she's going to be appearing. You can also post the best piece of advice you've ever had and share it with others. It can be something that comforted you, inspired you, made you feel happier, made you laugh, or something you just want to share with the world. And if you've had your own embarrassing moments, just log on to the forum to discover you're not alone!

Synopsis: When you're little, you think your family is just the same as everybody else's. Doesn't everyone's mum plan secret exits for when things get tough? Surely all dads embarrass their daughters at their birthday parties? But as you get older, you begin to notice that what's normal to you is completely f***ed up to the outside world, and that sometimes you just can't explain that what other people think of as weird is actually all about love.

Who is Kelly Osbourne? I'm still not totally sure. But I do know who I'm not, and I want to help other people make the right decisions with the difficult choices we all face when growing up.

So I've gone out and got the best advice I can find from people I love, respect and always listen to. I've included Louis Walsh's advice on making it in the music industry, tips from Neil, my sought-after make-up artist at MAC and many others. And for when things get really serious I've gone to the organisations that really can help.

This book isn't just about me, it's about you. So whatever you're worried about, whatever you want to change, and whatever you want to shout about, me and my friends are here to help.

She'll be signing copies of Fierce at Selfridges, Oxford Street, London on Tuesday 8th September from 6pm - 7pm.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - The Vampire Diaries: Nightfall

Having just finished the original quartet of Vampire Diaries books, I'm keen to carry on with the series which is continued in 2009's Nightfall. It's currently available in hardback but I'm waiting for the paperback, which is due out in January.

NB. The synopsis below contains spoilers for the earlier books.

When Elena sacrificed herself to save the two vampire brothers who love her - the handsome, brooding Stefan and the sleek and dangerous Damon - she was consigned to a fate beyond death. Until a powerful supernatural force pulled her back.

Now Elena is not just human. She has powers and gifts that were bestowed on her in the afterlife. What's more, her blood pulses with an overwhelming and unique force that makes her irresistible to any vampire.

Stefan wants to find a way to keep Elena safe so that they can make a life together. Damon, however, is driven by an insatiable desire for power, and wants Elena to rule as his princess. When Stefan is lured away from Fell's Church, Damon seizes his chance to convince her that he is the brother she is meant to be with. . . .

But a darkness is infiltrating the town, and Damon, always the hunter, is now the hunted; he becomes the prey of a malevolent creature that can possess him at will, and who desires not just Elena's blood but her death.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Review: The Vampire Diaries: The Fury by L J Smith

The Vampire Diaries: The Fury by L J Smith (October 2007, Hodder Children's Books, ISBN: 0340945036)

First Line:
Elena stepped into the clearing.

Review: The Fury is the third part of the original quartet of Vampire Diaries novels and carries straight on from The Struggle which is exactly what I did; I picked up The Fury as soon as I put down The Struggle, feeling very fortunate not to have to wait months or longer between the books.

Elena is closer than ever to the feuding brothers Stefan and Damon who, though they have not been in her home town of Fell's Church that long, have turned her world upside down.

The three of them form an uneasy alliance and assisted by Elena's closest friends, they set out to track down and destroy the evil 'Power' that is now threatening the inhabitants of Fell's Church. The final showdown between 'good' and 'evil', results in a shocking revelation and tragedy.

The Fury, is the best of the series so far with non-stop tension. Elena has matured from being self-centred to self-less as she works to save her town from evil. The author set up a few traps in the previous books, which I fell into, and now she reveals the truth behind some of the horrific earlier events. There is a finality to the series about The Fury, with all the threads resolved, so it'll be interesting to see where the fourth book, The Reunion, goes.

Cover: I'm so hooked on these now that the cover is irrelevant however the owl on the front should be a barn owl.