Saturday, July 30, 2011

Library Loot (2.8) & review copies

Thanks again to my local library, the library where I work and the publishers for keeping me supplied with exciting books:


Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
Crossing Over by Anna Kendall
Other by Karen Kincy
Little Manfred by Michael Morpurgo
Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

and not shown: Dork Diaries: Pop Star by Rachel Renee Russell which I've read and returned.


Hades by Alexandra Adornetto (ATOM, Aug)
Shelter by Harlan Coben (Indigo, Sep)
The Legacy by Gemma Malley (Bloomsbury, Aug)
The Mystery of the Hidden Gold by Helen Moss (Orion, Aug)
The Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece by Helen Moss (Orion, Aug)
Shimmer by Alyson Noel (Macmillan, Aug)
Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink (ATOM, Aug)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Free Audio Book of Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Like last year, Sync are offering two free audio books per week over the summer. You only get a week to download them but then they can be played at any time afterwards. This week's selection runs out today:

(Available to download July 28 - August 3)

By Jo Treggiari
Read by Cassandra Campbell
Published by Oasis Audio

(Released June 2011: A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.)

RESCUE: Stories of Survival From Land and Sea
By Dorcas S. Miller [Ed.]
Read by Terence Aselford, Colleen Delany, David Elias, et al.
Published by Listen & Live Audio

There don't appear to be any geographical restrictions on Ashes, Ashes. You have to download a small piece of software (Overdrive) before being allowed to download the mp3 files.

Download the books from here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Am Number Four Novella - ebook

I've just noticed this ebook came out a couple of days ago. It's 144 pages and is available on Kindle and as an epub (UK: £1.49):

Pittacus Lore's I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six's Legacy

Number Six - when John meets her in I Am Number Four she's strong, powerful, and ready to fight. But who is she? Where has she been living? How has she been training? When did she develop her legacies? And how does she know so much about the Mogadorians? In I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six's Legacy, discover the story behind Six. Before Paradise, Ohio, before John Smith, Six was traveling through West Texas with her Cêpan, Katarina. What happened there would change Six forever . . .

Publishing Deal - Louisa Reid

A two-book publishing deal has been announced for Louisa Reid:

Amanda Punter Publisher for Razorbill and Mari Evans Fiction Publisher for Michael Joseph have acquired world rights, including digital, for two titles by debut UK author Louisa Reid. The first book Black Heart Blue is a chilling teen debut to be published 10th May 2012 in paperback, in two separate editions.

Black Heart Blue is the tragic story of twin sisters - one beautiful, one heartbreakingly disfigured - and their terrifying struggle to escape their abusive parents. Poignant, memorable and unbelievably gripping, Black Heart Blue marks the arrival of an extraordinary new voice in YA and crossover fiction.

Louisa Reid said: 'My inspiration for Black Heart Blue came, in part, from a documentary about a young man with Treacher Collins Syndrome, Jono Lancaster. His incredible spirit in the face of what for most of us would be insurmountable challenges, stayed with me for a long time and manifested itself in the character of Rebecca. The novel's plot arrived in one fell swoop whilst I was waiting in a cafe before a school trip to see R C Sherriff's Journey's End; I still have the outline written next to a most mundane shopping list. After that, the story demanded to be written and the twin voices grew and developed as the characters revealed themselves and their lives to me. I hope the audience of Black Heart Blue will enjoy reading my novel as much as I enjoyed writing it.'

Read the whole press release here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blog Tour: David

I'm very pleased to welcome Mary Hoffman to Teenage Fiction For All Ages today for the latest stop on the David blog tour.

My review of David is here

You can contact or follow Mary at:

Over to Mary and More Italian favourites:

I spent half my life learning Italian, on and off but didn’t get serious about it until I took A level in 2000. We moved to Oxfordshire the following year and I found a wonderful weekly class in Oxford, called Reading Italian Literature. The idea was to keep up the language while having something more interesting to talk about than train time-tables.

So I’ve now been attending that class for ten years and have read so many books, stories and poems, written so many essays and had so many “assessed discussions” that I have collected enough CATs points to – perhaps – buy a toaster.

I have read literature that I had never come across before by authors I had not even heard of. And I have a fantastic teacher. In 2003 I won an essay prize that enabled me to go to Florence for a month on a course at the European Institute, in the lee of the great cathedral. That echoed something I had done many years earlier in my first summer vacation from university. Only at twenty I was a “beginner” and on the later occasion “level five.”

The main thing I retain from that course is that my Italian was much worse at the end than at the beginning – because I knew just how much I was getting wrong!

But still, I can now read a novel without using a dictionary, just for the story, So I have come a long way from the teenager on a beach in the Italian Riviera who had to converse with a boyfriend in a mixture of French and Latin.

My five favourite Italian words

Magari! = “If only” or “as if!”

Bidonario = someone who fails to turn up (literally an empty-water-container-carrier!)

Chiaroscuro = the use of light and shade in Renaissance paintings

Terribilità = the expression on David’s face

Rinascimento = “Renaissance” = “rebirth”

• My five favourite Italian books (all adult)

Two of these I read in my Oxford class, one for A level, one I read as a teenager – in English – and one I found for myself.

Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities (Le Città Invisibili)

My favourite book by my most favourite Italian writer. When I first read it, I had to put it down after every paragraph or two because it so filled my head with ideas for books of my own. He had the most wonderful imagination and was always unpredictable.

Primo Levi’s If This is a Man (Se Questo è un Uomo)

I resisted this book for many years, thinking it would be just too unbearable to read. But the other students in my A level class chose it in preference to the Leopard (see below), so I had to. And I loved it. I voluntarily read The Truce afterwards and have read many other books by this great man, as well as four biographies.

Antonio Tabucchi’s According to Pereira (Sostiene Pereira)

This was my first set book on my Oxford course and it remains a great favourite. A good book on a serious subject: the moment in life when a person must act, in spite of his reluctance to get involved in politics.

Giuseppe Tommasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard (Il Gattopardo)

This was the one I read when I was still a teenager and loved from day one. It was only on my course that I found out how reactionary Italian intellectuals consider it to be. (I still love it).

Giorgio Bassani The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini)

I didn’t rate this highly when I read it in English, finding it a bit Proust-lite. But when we studied it in my class, I was moved by it and bought the rest of the “Story of Ferrara” Bassani’s five linked novels.

• My five favourite Italian films

Federico Fellini’s 81/2 (Otto e mezzo)

When I was at university, this film, and Truffaut’s Jules et Jim, Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad, Godard’s Alphaville – these were the smart art house movies you were supposed to like if you were clever. And I did like the Fellini; it is still, with Jules et Jim, my favourite film.

Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (Il Gattopardo)

I saw this only a few years ago when it came to the art house cinema in Oxford, but it’s very close in spirit to the book.

Roberto Faenza’s Sostiene Pereira (According to Pereira)

This, like the Fellini, stars Marcello Mastroianni, at the opposite end of his career. Once a matinee idol, he is now able to be the paunchy, pouchy-eyed Pereira, the good man who is not prepared to do nothing and let evil prevail.

Gabriele Salvatores’ Io non ho Paura (I am not Scared)

This is another film based on one of our set books, this one by Niccolò Ammaniti, who collaborated on the screenplay. Both book and film excellent.

Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars

Does this even count? The first “spaghetti western,” starring Clint Eastwood, on whom I had a huge crush as a schoolgirl, when he was in the TV series Rawhide. Leone took a whole genre and invested it with elegance and style – something the Italians are very good at.

Many thanks to Mary and Bloomsbury for arranging this.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper (June 2011, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, ISBN: 0747599122)

Notes: The following review is written by Amanda Gillies who reviews crime fiction on my Euro Crime website. You can read her crime reviews here and her YA reviews here.

Review: What a beautiful book this is! Exquisitely written and with such a brave young lady as its heroine, I loved every page - from start to finish. Aside from being chock-full of classic Victorian Villains and Damsels in Distress, Fallen Grace is very informative and interesting in terms of the information it contains about the harsh realities of life in Victorian England. It is also full of fascinating facts about the Victorian’s apparent obsession with death, mementos and funeral ceremonials.

Without wanting to spoil things for the reader, sisters Grace and Lily have fallen on hard times and just about manage to get by on the money they make selling water-cress on the streets of London. Sadly, things get even worse for them when their boarding house is pulled down and they have nowhere to live. In desperation, Grace turns to the Unwins for help and is employed as a funeral mute in their family undertakers business. Her sister, Lily, becomes a maid in the family home. The Unwins are unscrupulous people and discover a secret about Grace and Lily that the sisters know nothing about. Determined to steal what rightfully belongs to the girls, the Unwins look as if they will stop at nothing to achieve their evil ends. But Grace is a resourceful girl and won't rest until she discovers what they have done with her beloved sister…

The superb twist at the end of Fallen Grace is sure to bring a tear to your eye and had me dabbing at mine on the bus. Just beautiful. Mary Hooper is a fabulous author and this book is one of the best I have read this year. Very highly recommended.

Amanda Gillies

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Library Loot (2.7) & review copies


Momentum by Saci Lloyd (I've enjoyed her other two books, The Carbon Diaries 2015 and The Carbon Diaries 2017)

London, the near future. Energy wars are flaring across the globe - oil prices have gone crazy, regular power cuts are a daily occurrence. The cruel Kossak soldiers prowl the streets, keeping the Outsiders - the poor, the disenfranchised - in check. Hunter is a Citizen: one of the privileged of society, but with his passion for free running and his rebel friend Leo he cannot help but be fascinated by the Outsiders. So when he meets Outsider Uma, he is quickly drawn into their world - and into an electrifying and dangerous race to protect everything they hold dear.


Sister, Missing by Sophie McKenzie (15 Sep, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books) (I enjoyed Girl, Missing)

It's two years after the events of Girl, Missing and life is not getting any easier for sixteen-year-old Lauren, as exam pressure and a recent family tragedy take their toll. Lauren's birth mother takes Lauren and her two sisters on holiday in the hope that some time together will help, but a few days into the holiday one of the sisters disappears, under circumstances very similar to those in which Lauren was taken years before. Can Lauren save her sister, and stop the nightmare happening all over again?

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (5 Jan 2012, Puffin)

A forbidden romance.

A deadly plague.

Earth's fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future.

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it's one you won't forget.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Publishing News: Asher & Mackler (UK release)

I was so pleased to receive this press-release as it means a UK release for Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler's Future of Us. I loved Asher's, Thirteen Reasons Why and can't wait for this new book.

22nd July 2011, London—Simon and Schuster today announced the acquisition of a new teen novel for the Facebook generation, with a hugely successful collaborative team behind it – New York Times bestselling author Jay Asher and award-winning author Carolyn Mackler.

The Future of Us was acquired at auction, amidst a flurry of global interest and numerous international deals being signed. Venetia Gosling, Fiction Editorial Director for S&S UK, bought UK and Commonwealth rights, including e-book editions, from Helen Boomer, Group Rights Director for Penguin US. Film rights have been optioned byWarner Brothers, with Denise Di Novi (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, What a Girl Wants and the upcoming The Lucky One) set to produce.

Everybody wonders what the future holds for them. Emma and Josh are about to find out in this unique and compelling story… The Future of Us opens in 1996, when few high school students have ever used the internet. Facebook will not be invented until several years in the future. Emma has just got a new computer and an America Online CD. She and her best friend Josh load the CD and log on… only to discover their Facebook profiles in 2011. So begins a quirky, original and accessible story as the teens see their futures laid out before them, and realise that every decision they make in the here and now changes their lives in the future…

Written as a dual narrative from both characters points of view, The Future of Us is a funny and romantic read for tweens and teens, cleverly exploring the impact of what is now second- nature online networking on a previous generation. The Future of Us will be published in the UK and Australia simultaneously in January 2012. A high-profile marketing and publicity campaign will be focussed online, and of course will include Facebook and other social media elements.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Torment by Lauren Kate (audiobook)

Torment by Lauren Kate and read by Justine Eyre (September 2010, RHCB Audio, ISBN: 9781846577437)

Notes: Contain spoilers for the previous book Fallen (but who hasn't read that yet?)

Review: I'm probably the last person (of those likely to read it) to have got to this one. Nudged by the release of Passion I set to it.

Torment takes place shortly after Fallen finishes and heroine Luce knows that Daniel is the love of her life(lives) and that every time she has a life she dies when she's 17, except in this life. Something's changed. For her own safety, as various supernatural beings want her dead, Luce is moved to a boarding school in California called Shoreline. Luce is kept pretty much in the dark about what Daniel's doing whilst she's there but the reader knows that there's a short-lived truce between the angels (eg Daniel) and demons (eg Cam). Daniel orders Luce to stay on the campus and is generally unhelpful and uncommunicative. Luce of course does not follow his orders and puts herself and others in danger.

At Shoreline she makes new friends and begins to get close to Miles, a nice guy who doesn't order her around! Also Luce begins to see the impact of the curse she's under, the effect her death has had on a long history of her own families. She also learns more about "the Shadows" that have haunted her all her life and begins to get the mastery of them.

Lessons continue and her love-life becomes complicated until another dramatic battle brings Torment to a cliff-hanging end....

I enjoyed Torment much more than Fallen where I found the behaviour of "the boys" Daniel and Cam to be annoying and patronising. This time Luce is standing up for herself and thinking about more than swoon-some kisses. She's developing her own skills and showing off her kindly traits. As it'd been a while since I listened to Fallen I was quite confused at first but slowly, as various new people had the back-story explained to them I got up to speed (I think). If there is anyone new to this series then it may be worth reading them closer together than I did! I'm still unclear on some things, such as why did Luce's previous boyfriends go up in flames and why were so many angels and demons attending Luce's previous school for reform students and is Daniel always the same age? Maybe there'll be more answers in Passion. I'll get back to you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Free Audio Book of Chanda's Secrets

Like last year, Sync are offering two free audio books per week over the summer. You only get a week to download them but then they can be played at any time afterwards. This week's selection runs out today:

Download July 21 - July 27:

By Allan Stratton
Read by Suzy Jackson
Published by Brilliance Audio

By Thomas Hardy
Read by Anna Bentinck
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

There don't appear to be any geographical restrictions on Chanda's Secrets. You have to download a small piece of software (Overdrive) before being allowed to download the mp3 files.

Download the books from here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Publishing Deals - Brockenbrough, Pearce

A couple of YA publishing deals were announced in today's Publishers Lunch Weekly:

Martha Brockenbrough's TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR THE DEAD, in which a guardian angel in a rehabilitation program for wayward souls accidentally kills the girl he's supposed to watch over, fails to get her into heaven, and may or may not cause lasting psychological damage to a squirrel, to Arthur A. Levine Books, for publication in Summer 2012.

Jackson Pearce's FATHOMLESS, pitched as a modern Little Mermaid retelling in which a young mermaid wants to leave the sisterhood of dark, soulless creatures and regain her humanity, which she can only do by convincing a mortal to love her and stealing his soul, to Little, Brown Children's, for publication in Fall 2012.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray

My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray (February 2010, Piccadilly, ISBN: 1848120570)

First Line: I knew it was time to move on when a tramp peed on my Uggs.

Review: Meet Lucy Shaw. She's a fifteen-year-old ghost stuck haunting the place she was murdered: the Carnaby Street men's toilets. Her boring afterlife starts to look up when, much to her surprise, one of the patrons is able to see her. Jeremy, a 27 year-old with no fashionable dress sense is about to turn her "life" around.

Through him Lucy gets to have a bit of a life with friends and an enemy and even a burgeoning romance but Jeremy is keen to help her move-on and begins the search for her killer hoping that that is the unresolved business tethering her to this plane of existence.

I enjoyed My So-Called Afterlife which despite its themes of loss, forgiveness and the murder storyline is a sweet tale culminating in an ending which brought tears to my eyes.

Lucy is sharp-witted character with a nice line in sarcastic and humorous comments though Jeremy is able to hold his own, in the main. The ghostly world is well thought out and given some rules which gives the characters some freedom but with an underlying restraint to their long-term mobility.

I found this a quick read and there's a lot of incident packed into its 180 pages. I believe My So-Called Afterlife should prove popular with younger teenagers and up. I'm looking forward to reading the next two books, which feature a new protagonist: My So-Called Haunting and My So-Called Phantom Lovelife.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Free Audio Book of The Spook's Apprentice/Revenge of the Witch

Like last year, Sync are offering two free audio books per week over the summer. You only get a week to download them but then they can be played at any time afterwards. This week's selection runs out today:

Download July 14 - July 20:

By Joseph Delaney
Read by Christopher Evan Welch
Published by HarperAudio

By Anonymous, Francis B. Gummere [Trans.]
Read by Rosalyn Landor
Published by Tantor Media

There are geographical restrictions on The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch. You have to download a small piece of software (Overdrive) before being allowed to download the mp3 files.

Download the books from here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Library Loot (2.6) & review copies

I was very lucky to be able to go to Orion's Indigo imprint launch party for bloggers last week and they kindly gave out arcs of the first books to be launched in September. I'd have loved Sally Gardner's new book, The Double Shadow but demand outstripped supply :).


Not shown! Be assured that I've taken several books out this week (the benefit of a staff ticket) but it's been a hectic week and I've rather lost track of which ones, except for Jenny Han's It's Not Summer Without You.


Not shown: Andrew Hammond's Crypt: The Gallow's Curse Amazon; Good Reads (1 Sep, Headline)

From Orion blogger do:

Dark Parties by Sara Grant (debut & currently a standalone) (20 October)
Neva keeps a list of The Missing - the people like her grandmother who were part of her life but who have now vanished. The people that everyone else pretends never existed. In a nation isolated beneath the dome of the Protectosphere - which is supposed to protect, but also imprisons - Neva and her friends dream of freedom. But life is becoming complicated for Neva. She's falling for her best friend's boyfriend - and she's learning more than she ever wanted to know about what might be happening to The Missing...

Soul Beach by Kate Harrison (1 Sep) (#1 trilogy)
When Alice Forster receives an email from her dead sister she assumes it must be a sick practical joke. Then an invitation arrives to the virtual world of Soul Beach, an idyllic online paradise of sun, sea and sand where Alice can finally talk to her sister again - and discover a new world of friendships, secrets and maybe even love . . . . But why is Soul Beach only inhabited by the young, the beautiful and the dead? Who really murdered Megan Forster? And could Alice be next? The first book in an intriguing and compelling trilogy centred around the mystery of Megan Forster's death.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (6 Oct)
Have you ever had the feeling that you've lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you've never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumour has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they've lost. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon - the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter's moon, the blood moon - this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting. Beautifully imagined, intricately and cleverly structured, this is a heart-wrenching and breathtaking love story with the hallmark Sedgwick gothic touches of atmosphere, blood-spilling and sacrifice.

From Templar:

The first three in the Jack Christie series by Johnny O'Brien in preparation for a blog tour in September. Day of Vengeance, #3 is out 1 August:
Schoolboy time-traveller Jack Christie is thrown back to 1940s Nazi-occupied France. With the Battle of Britain and the German Vengeance programme underway, the Second World War is at a crucial point. Jack and his best friend Angus take a more senior role in VIGIL's attempts to prevent intervention in history, attempting to stop the Revisionists from their highly volatile nuclear plan to stop the war. With spitfire dogfights, jeep races and thrilling chases, the boys have their most hair-raising adventure yet, including involvement in an assassination attempt on Hitler himself. Just as all seems lost, Jack's father returns and a nuclear disaster is averted in the nick of time.

From Puffin:

The True Tale of Billy Dean by David Almond (1 Sep) (adult novel)
This tale is told by 1 that died at birth by 1 that came into the world in days of endles war & at the moment of disaster.

Billy Dean is a secret child, growing up in the dark heart of Blinkbonny. He has a beautiful young mother and a father who arrives at night carrying the scent of incense and cigarettes. His world is just a bed, some pictures of the holy island and a single locked door, but his father fills his dreams with mysterious tales and dreadful warnings.

When his father disappears, Billy's mum brings him out into the world, and he learns the dreadful truth of what happened in Blinkbonny on the day he was born. Gradually he finds he has the gift of helping to rebuild what has been broken. But there is one figure who is beyond healing, who comes looking for Billy himself and is determined on a kind of reckoning.

I am Billy Dean. This is the truth. This is my tale.

David Almond's extraordinary first novel for adults is the story of a child, born of sin, who emerges into a post-industrial, almost apocalyptic world where the force of his innocence is tested to the extreme.

From Macmillan:

The Demon Trappers: Forbidden by Jana Oliver (1 Aug)
Riley’s beginning to think being a demon trapper isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Her dad’s been stolen by a necromancer, her boyfriend’s gone all weird and she’s getting warm and fuzzy feelings for someone who’s seriously bad news. It’s tempting to give it all up and try to be normal, but that’s not an option.

Because the demons have plans for Riley.

And they’re not the only ones.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: David by Mary Hoffman

David by Mary Hoffman (July 2011, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, ISBN: 1408800527)

Review: The David of the title is Michelangelo's famous statue in Florence and this is the fictional story of the model who posed for it and the heady times he lived in for the few years he spent in Florence.

The man behind the face is actually Gabriele who has a close connection with Angelo, as Angelo was wet-nursed by Gabriele's mother; they are milk brothers. Gabriele is a stone-cutter and leaves his family and first love to go to Florence to earn money.

He is only 18 and naive with it. On his arrival in the city he finds himself robbed and then taken in by a widow who looks after him in return for certain duties.

When he finally gets to stay with Angelo, he is told he must choose a political side as the city is divided between those who want the return of the Medici family as ruler, and the republicans.

Gabriele's beauty has him in demand for modelling and gains him access to important homes and gradually he becomes a spy not really realising the danger he's in. And all the time the giant David statue is coming to life and causing practical and political problems of its own. (See photo for scale.)

David is a very readable and fascinating look at Florence during the early 1500s and I've certainly learnt a lot. Gabriele is fairly ignorant so the political situation is, thankfully, explained to him and thus to the reader. Other artists of the time make appearances, in particular Leonardo da Vinci who paints his most famous portrait, the Mona Lisa, during this time. Mary Hoffman has taken a few wisps of fact and constructed a tightly-plotted, plausible scenario for the life behind one of the most well-known faces in the artistic world.

NB. There is a warning on the back stating not suitable for younger readers.

Also of possible interest to a prospective reader of David is the (adult) novel, The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra which is set a few years earlier in Milan and revolves around a hidden meaning in da Vinci's The Last Supper. I read it a few years ago and enjoyed it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Free Audio Book of Where the Streets Had a Name

Like last year, Sync are offering two free audio books per week over the summer. You only get a week to download them but then they can be played at any time afterwards. This week's selection runs out today:

Download July 7 - July 13:

By Randa Abdel-Fattah
Read by Kellie Jones
Published by Bolinda Audio

By E.M. Forster
Read by Sam Dastor
Published by AudioGO

There are no geographical restrictions on Where the Streets Had a Name. You have to download a small piece of software (Overdrive) before being allowed to download the mp3 files.

Download the books from here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Halo by Zizou Corder

Halo by Zizou Corder (February 2011, Puffin, ISBN: 0141328300)

Notes: The following review is written by Amanda Gillies who reviews crime fiction on my Euro Crime website. You can read her crime reviews here and her YA reviews here.

Review: Halo is a truly heart-warming and magical tale. Set at the time when Sparta and Athena were at war but also when The Gods spoke to the faithful, and centaurs roamed the earth. It kept me totally captivated from cover to cover and I cried tears of joy at the end. Wonderful!

A small baby girl is washed up in her basket and rescued by a family of centaurs. They name her Halo and adopt her as one of their own. She leads a very happy, carefree life until one day she is captured by fishermen and dragged away to the world of men. Not being best pleased with what she finds, or the way she is treated - simply because she is a girl - Halo runs away and starts an adventure of her own to find her way back to her beloved centaurs, and also discover who her real parents were. Her journey finds her taken captive again by the Spartans, then by the Athenians but all is well as she eventually finds her uncle. Her big problem is that she has disguised herself as a boy in order to be treated fairly.

Happily settled, Halo maintains her disguise and learns archery human-style. She also starts to train to become a doctor, but war is coming and she must try to return to her centaurs to warn them of a mysterious new threat to their safety.

"Zizou Corder" is the pen name used by Louisa Young and her daughter Isabel Adomakoh Young. They have been writing together since Isabel was seven and this is their fifth book. Halo is well written and full of such delicious descriptions that you are there with Halo on her journeys and experience everything first-hand when she does. This book should appeal to anyone who loves to read fantasy and still believes in their dreams. Very highly recommended.

Amanda Gillies

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Library Loot (2.5) & review copies

A big thank-you to all the publishers (and my postman!) who've sent out books this week. So many exciting titles.


Doctor Who: The Way Through the Woods by Una McCormack
‘As long as people have lived here, they've gone out of their way to avoid the woods...’

Two teenage girls disappear into an ancient wood, a foreboding and malevolent presence both now and in the past. The modern motorway bends to avoid it, as did the old Roman road. In 1917 the Doctor and Amy are desperate to find out what’s happened to Rory, who’s vanished too.

But something is waiting for them in the woods. Something that’s been there for thousands of years. Something that is now waking up.

Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel by Jonathan Morris
‘The past is like a foreign country. Nice to visit, but you really wouldn’t want to live there.’

In 2003, Rebecca Whitaker died in a road accident. Her husband Mark is still grieving. He receives a battered envelope, posted eight years ago, containing a set of instructions with a simple message: “You can save her.”

As Mark is given the chance to save Rebecca, it’s up to the Doctor, Amy and Rory to save the whole world. Because this time the Weeping Angels are using history itself as a weapon.


Panic: The Ultimate Edition by Jeff Abbott (ATOM, out now?)
Evan Casher had a perfect life: great parents, his first girlfriend and a huge online following for his films. But when he comes home from school to find his father missing and his mother dead, Evan's going to learn the hard way that the people he trusted most were the people he knew least. And that a 16 year old boy might be the only one that can bring a murderer to justice.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (ATOM, out now)
Nailer's time is running out. He's getting too big for his work ? stripping copper wire from old oil tankers ? and once he's off the crew he's on his own, stuck in a shack on the beach with no food, no money and no way of earning his keep. He has one last chance. The thing all crew members dream about, a lucky strike, has hit in the shape of a clipper ship beached during the last hurricane. If he can hold off the rest of the scavengers long enough to get the oil out, he might just have a future. But oil's not the only thing on the ship. And what Nailer finds is going to change his life forever.

Dragon's Oath by PC & Kristin Cast (ATOM, 12 July)
The all-new House of Night Novellas will delve into the backgrounds of some of the Tulsa House of Night's most important - and mysterious - professors. Beginning with Dragon Lankford, DRAGON'S OATH tells the story of the House of Night's formidable fencing instructor and warrior, whose mercy for one beast in the past will come back to haunt him in the future.

by Andrea Cremer (ATOM, 26 July)
You're an alpha, a leader. That's what we need. It's what we've always needed. When Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she's certain her days are numbered. Then the Searchers make her an offer, one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save her pack - and the boy - she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? Will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials love can endure.

Legend by Marie Lu (Puffin, 1 Dec)
The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history ....

Born into the slums of the Republic's Lake sector, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in the wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Only one person could be responsible.


And now it's June's mission to hunt him down.

The truth they'll uncover will become legend.

The first in an epic dystopian trilogy and a brilliant reimagining of Les Misérables.

Lottie Biggs is not Tragic by Hayley Long (Macmillan Children's Books, 5 Aug)
Just when things were starting to look up for Lottie her life's gone a bit pear-shaped, wonk-ways and downside up again. Her mum's all soppy over a bloke with a horrible shemo* daughter, her best pal Goose has disappeared in a cloud of nerd-gas and Lottie's in the midst of an existential crisis. There's only one thing to do - get the hell out of Cardiff and go on the road with the gorgeous Gareth Stingecombe (and his manly thighs). But things don’t go to plan, and Lottie starts to realise she might have been a bit me me me lately. . .

*a female emo, obviously

Everlasting by Alyson Noel (Macmillan Children's Books, out now)
With 3.2 million copies of her Immortals series in print, Alyson Noël is one of the hottest paranormal teen authors writing today. EVERLASTING is the sixth and final instalment of the epic love story that has enchanted readers across the world. Ever and Damen have spent centuries facing down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears—all in the hope of being together forever. Now in EVERLASTING, their destiny is finally within reach.

Will they be united . . . or torn apart forever? Readers will finally discover the truth in this anxiously awaited conclusion!

Stealing Phoenix by Joss Stirling (OUP Oxford, Sep) (:))))))) & signed!
What do you do when your soulmate turns out to be a thief? Steal her, of course. Phoenix was raised within the Community, a gang of thieves with paranormal powers, under the control of a harsh master known as the Seer. The notion that there's a soulmate out there for every person with a paranormal gift is mere myth in Phoenix's world. That is until the Seer gives Phoenix the details of her next target, Yves Benedict. He's more than just her next victim, he is her destiny. To be together, Phoenix must break away from the Community but resistance against the Seer puts them both in mortal danger. Phoenix has never trusted anyone before, now it's time to trust Yves with her life

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor (Hodder & Stoughton, 29 Sep)
There once was a young artist called Karou who drew tales of monsters and demons that delighted and enthralled those around her.

But she has a secret, a secret that ties her to a dusty subterranean chamber, where her beloved guardian brokers dark deals in a place that is not here. A place that is Elsewhere.

Living with one foot in each world, Karou has never really known which one is her true home.

Now the doors to Elsewhere closing . . .

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison (June 2011, MIRA Ink, ISBN: 077830499X)

Review: This is a very gripping and enthralling read but it's also one where you want to yell at the main character to stop and think as her behaviour is so awful.

Bridget Duke is queen bee (where the b stands for you know what) at a small private school. She causes trouble for her step-mother, who looks after her as her Dad is always away, and her teachers, in particular Mr Ezhno. She's not much nicer to her two friends and she gets what she wants when she asks for it, even when she needs someone to cheat off in her exams. But she feels powerful and content despite the fact that her boyfriend Luke left her a year ago and she misses him still.

The first section of Here Lies Bridget details the crash and burn of Bridget's social standing when a new girl, Anna, threatens her popularity. Bridget's acting out has major consequences for Mr Ezhno in particular as well as her peers and step-mum. As well as current events we get to see important moments from her past which have set her on the wrong track.

In the second section, she's given a chance to atone in part for what she's done and she gets to see recent happenings through the eyes and ears of those she's hurt. Can Bridget rise to the challenge and be a nicer person and will she be given a second chance even if she does so?

I whipped through Here Lies Bridget horror-struck by this awful girl at first and then feeling ever-so slightly more sympathetic to her as one got glimpses of the nice girl she used to be; even in her worst state she occasionally tried to say the right thing but it came out in the wrong way and she was self-aware that how she was acting wasn't right. It was also fascinating to get more of the story through other people's eyes. The final few pages are tissue material as she tries to apologise to Luke, who's been her best friend since they were little. I enjoyed this book very much and it might give people like Bridget pause for thought if they recognise themselves.

Here Lies Bridget is an uplifting tale, in that it's never too late to say you're sorry.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Review: Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn-Childs

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn-Childs (July 2011, Templar, ISBN: 1848771347)

Review: Lily is a mermaid. Not only that, she is a mer-princess and to keep her place in the royal succession she must find her "mermate" and bond with him before her 18th birthday, in a few weeks time.

Lily has her eyes set on the perfect boy, Brody, who is at home in the water. However every time she tries to pluck up courage to ask him to the Spring Fling she is thwarted, not least by her neighbour Quince. Lily and Quince have a stormy-relationship but he takes pity on her and offers his help to snare Brody for her.

Of course things don't go to plan and it's Quince who kisses her and finds himself bonded to Lily. Horrified she does her utmost to have the bond annulled and continues the plan to win Brody over.

Forgive My Fins is a sweet, screw-ball romance with a tough-guy with a heart of gold and a naive girl who can't see what's in front of her nose. The reader is just waiting for the scales to fall from her eyes. They are  funny as a "so not a couple" plus it's also humorously told - as Lily's speech is swimming with hilarious fishy references and metaphors. I also loved the well realised home under the sea where Lily returns to to get help.

I was entranced by this book so I'm really pleased that there's a sequel, Fins are Forever, which has just been published in the US. I hope we don't have to wait too long for it to be published in the UK.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Library Loot (2.4) & review copy


Too Much Trouble by Tom Avery
"Get out, Emmanuel!" growled my uncle. "Take your brother and go." But where can two boys go when they're on their own, on the run, with little money or food? All 12-year-old Emmanuel knows is that he has to look after Prince. They were his father's last words to him. On the train to London, Em and Prince have no idea where they will end up - but then they meet the mysterious Mr Green and his "friends". And that's when things start to spin out of control...

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
If you had a second chance at first love . . . would you take it?

It’s been three years since Adam’s love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it . . . and three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future—and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, powerful prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Forgotten by Cat Patrick
With the intrigue of Memento and the romance of The Time-Traveller's Wife, Forgotten is the perfect YA novel. Here's the thing about me: I can see the future in flashes, like memories. But my past is a blank. I remember what I'll wear tomorrow, and an argument that won't happen until this afternoon. But I don't know what I ate for dinner last night. I get by with the help of notes, my mom and my best friend Jamie, and the system works ...Until now. Everything's falling apart. Jamie's going of the rails. My mom is lying to me. And I can't see the boy I adore in my future. But today, I love him. And I never want to forget how much ...Forgotten is the story of a girl for whom yesterday is lost, today is an adventure, and tomorrow is a memory. An unforgettable read.


The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (29 September, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks)
Sixteen-year-old American girl Rory has just arrived at boarding school in London when a Jack the Ripper copycat-killer begins terrorising the city. All the hallmarks of his infamous murders are frighteningly present, but there are few clues to the killer’s identity.

“Rippermania” grabs hold of modern-day London, and the police are stumped with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. In an unknown city with few friends to turn to, Rory makes a chilling discovery…

Could the copycat murderer really be Jack the Ripper back from the grave?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Published in July (2011)

Here are some of the teenage/YA titles that are being published in the UK in July 2011. I will put a link to this post and previous and subsequent "monthly" lists in my sidebar. January's list can be found here, February's here, March's here, April's here, May's here and June's here. Title links go to Please let me know of others to add to the list. In general I have not included re-issues and have stuck to UK publishers.

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.

Jeff Abbott - Panic (7th, ATOM, pb)
Paolo Bacigalupi - Ship Breaker (7th, ATOM, pb)
James Black - Blackbeard's Pirates Vs the Evil Mummies (7th, Orchard, pb)
N M Browne - Wolf Blood (4th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb) British Author
Penelope Bush - Diary of a Lottery Winner's Daughter (1st, Piccadilly, pb)
Vincent Caldey - A Good Clean Edge (7th, Orchard, pb) British Author
Terea Lynn-Childs - Forgive My Fins (1st, Templar, pb)
Rosemary Clement-Moore - Texas Gothic (7th, Corgi Childrens, pb)
Megan Cole - Riches (7th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Steve Cole & Chris Hunter - Tripwire: Deathwing (7th, Corgi Childrens, pb) British Author
B R Collins - Gamerunner (4th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb) British Author
Kate Costelloe - The Breakfast Club: v. 1 (7th, Hodder Children's Books, pb) British Author
Tracy Deebs - Tempest Rising (4th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Jenny Downham - You Against Me (7th, David Fickling Books, pb) British Author
Hilary Duff - Elixir (7th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Eve Edwards - The Rogue Princess (7th, Puffin, pb) British Author
Anne Fine - The Devil Walks (7th, Doubleday Childrens, HB) British Author
Pauline Francis - The Traitor's Kiss (1st, Usborne Publishing Ltd, pb) British Author
Cornelia Funke - Reckless (4th, Chicken House, pb)
Fabio Geda - In the Sea there are Crocodiles (7th, David Fickling Books, HB)
Tessa Gratton - Blood Magic (7th, Doubleday Childrens, pb)
Matt Haig - The Radleys (21st, Walker, pb) British Author
Richard Harland - Liberator (1st, Templar, pb)
Alyxandra Harvey - Haunting Violet (4th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Jack Heath - Money Run (1st, Usborne Publishing Ltd, pb)
Mary Hoffman - David (4th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, HB) British Author
Simon Holt - Fearscape (13th, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, pb)
Tara Hudson - Hereafter (7th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Rebecca James - Cooper Bartholomew is Dead (7th, Faber and Faber, pb)
Curtis Jobling - Wereworld: Rage of Lions (7th, Puffin, pb) British Author
Julie Kagawa - The Iron Queen (15th, Mira Ink, pb)
Josh Lacey - The Island of Thieves (7th, Andersen, pb)
Lindsey Leavitt - Sean Griswold's Head (7th, Scholastic, pb)
Maxine Linnell - Closer (7th, Five Leaves Publications, pb) British Author
Sophia Lowell - Glee: Summer Break (7th, Headline, pb)
Robin McKinley - Pegasus (7th, Puffin, pb) British Author
Zoe Marriott - Shadows on the Moon (7th, Walker, pb) BA
Morgan Matson - Amy and Roger's Epic Detour (7th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Tina Orr Munro - Ellie Foster's English Coursework (1st, Rickshaw Publishing, pb)
E J Newman - 20 Years Later (5th, Dystopia Press, HB) British Author
Alison Noel - Everlasting (1st, Macmillan Children's Books, pb)
Leonie Norrington The Devil You Know (7th, Allen & Unwin, pb)
Kate O'Hearn - Pegasus and the Fight for Olympus (7th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Kenneth Oppel - Half Brother (7th, David Fickling Books, pb)
Bryony Pearce - Angel's Fury (4th, Egmont Books Ltd, pb) British Author
Julia Ann Peters - She Loves You, She Loves You Not (7th, Little, Brown Young Readers, HB)
Christopher Pike - Final Friends (1) (7th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Luisa Plaja - Kiss, Date, Love, Hate (7th, Corgi Childrens, pb) British Author
Alison Prince - No Ordinary Love Song (7th, Walker, pb) British Author
Alex Scarrow - TimeRiders: Eternal War (14th, Puffin, pb) British Author
Darren Shan - Demonata: Hell's Heroes (13th, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, pb)
Keris Stainton - Jessie Hearts NYC (7th, Orchard, pb) British Author
Lauren St John - Laura Marlin Mysteries 2: Kidnap in the Caribbean (7th, Orion Childrens, HB)
Maggie Stiefvater - Forever (13th, Scholastic, pb)
GP Taylor - Vampyre Labyrinth: Oracle (7th, Faber and Faber, pb) British Author
Heather Terrell - Eternity (20th, HarperCollins Childrens Book Group, pb)
Dan Tunstall - Out of Towners (7th, Five Leaves Publications, pb) British Author
Philip Webb - Six Days (4th, Chicken House, pb) British Author
Kay Woodward - Wuthering Hearts (7th, Andersen, pb) British Author
Laurence Yep - City of Ice (15th, Tor, HB)
Carlos Ruiz Zafon - The Prince Of Mist (7th, Orion Childrens, pb)