Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie

Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie (March 2012, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, ISBN: 0857070991)

Falling Fast is the first part in the Flynn trilogy which is to be narrated by River; River is 16 and looking to love and be loved. Along with her two best friends Emmi and Grace they go along to a local boys' school to audition for the female roles in Romeo and Juliet. Though River is a better actor than Emmi, when she sets her eyes on Romeo, played by Flynn, she is overcome with emotion and fluffs her test. Emmi secures Juliet and Grace and River get other parts which means that several times a week they have to rehearse with the boys...

Slowly River and Flynn begin a relationship but he is moody and swift to anger and River, though soon deeply in love, is not sure Flynn is her Romeo; what's with all his secrets and his intense personality? Frank discussions are needed if they are to last...

Falling Fast charts a passionate but fragile relationship between the insecure River and the chip on his shoulder Flynn and shows the difference between expectation and reality. It's a quick read but still covers some serious issues. I found River a likeable and believable character. The three girls are quite grown-up what with getting drunk and the varying degrees of experimentation with sex (from none to frequent). There is also an aggressive/frightening scene with some drunks. If you want something along the same lines but more innocent then try Kay Woodward's Wuthering Hearts.

I look forward to seeing where the story goes in the second instalment, Burning Bright. In the meantime you can download  Acting Friends, a prequel, written for World Book Day, here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano (February 2012, Harper Voyager, ISBN: 0007386982)

Review: Wither is the first part in The Chemical Garden trilogy, the sequel Fever is also available. At an unspecified time in the future, technology has allowed for perfect children to be born. These "first generations" are living to a ripe old age however subsequent generations are reduced to a lifespan of 20 years for females, 25 for males at which time a virus kills them. In addition, all that remains of the habitable world is North America with the other continents reduced to nothing, uninhabitable fragments.

Young women are at risk from the 'Gatherers' who steal them off the street and sell them as brides into polygamous marriages to make babies. This is what happens to sixteen-year-old Rhine, who lived in New York City with her twin brother Rowan, before being sold to a wealthy Floridian architect Linden (21) along with two sister brides, Jenna (18) and Cecily (13). The brides live in a large house in luxury but it is still a prison and Rhine vows to escape and return to her brother. As well as her sister-wives she begins to become friends with one of the servants, Gabriel, however she has to be careful as Linden's father the heartless Vaughn knows everything that goes on and will go to inhuman lengths to keep Linden happy.

Wither is an imaginative debut novel which suffers a little from repetition and slow pacing. Rhine has to play the long game, getting her husband to trust her enough for her to leave the mansion, albeit escorted, however she spends the best part of a year in the mansion, 25% of her remaining life-span. Rhine begins to tolerate Linden as he is a pawn like her in his father's machinations, but unlike Rhine he is weak and I wanted Rhine to tell him the truth and get him to change things. Love interest Gabriel is kept off-stage for much of the time. Nonetheless, with its well-developed characters, it held my interest and there were some unexpected twists in the plot.

I enjoyed Wither but I'm hopeful that Fever will have more thrills, more romance, more about the outside world and more about the virus and the possibility of an antidote.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Win: Soul Beach by Kate Harrison

Thanks to the publishers, I have 3 copies of the paperback of Soul Beach by Kate Harrison to giveaway.

I really enjoyed Soul Beach as you can see from my review.

The giveaway is open to UK and Eire residents and you must be over 13 to enter (please ask someone to enter for you if you are under 13).

You don't have to be a follower to enter but I don't mind if you do :)

One entry per person/household please. I am asking for the address upfront to get your prize out more quickly.

The competition closes on 31 May 2012.

Please fill in the form below. Please note there is no correct answer to the question posed  (or at least I don't know it) it is just a bit of fun!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ebook Bargain - The Immortal Rules

Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules is currently available for Kindle for 99p at

In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who killed her mother and keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked - and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters. Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most.

To survive, she must work with her vampire creator and learn the rules of being immortal. Including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. When Allison is separated from her creator, she flees into the unknown, the world outside her vampire city, beyond the wall. There she joins a ragged band of humans who don't know what she is, seeking a legend - a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi Ashton (February 2012, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, ISBN: 0857074571)

Review: Everneath is the first in a trilogy and in which we meet Nikki Beckett and Jack Caputo. Nikki has spent the last six months in the 'Everneath' wrapped around Cole, an Everliving who survives by feeding off the emotions of humans. Cole wants Nikki to remain in the Everneath but she chooses to return to the surface to find the boy whose face has been haunting her during her exile. The catch, is that she only has six months to say her goodbyes properly before she will be dragged down to the hell-like 'Tunnels' for ever.

When Nikki reappears, the rumours fly that she's been on drugs. Her emaciated appearance and dulled emotions support the rumours. Very slowly she reconnects with Jack and her best friend Jules but Cole is never far away trying to get her to join him and become an Everliving. Nikki has to try and find a way out of her bargain with Cole and escape the tunnels...

As the six months count down, Nikki finds out more about Greek mythology (Persephone, Eurydice and Orpheus being particularly relevant) and at the same time the reasons why Nikki agreed to go with Cole are revealed to the reader.

is a quick read though I found it took awhile for Nikki to start fighting back. Many precious weeks are wasted but fight back she does, eventually, as she recovers from the setbacks which left her vulnerable to Cole's "attractions". Jack's adorable; a jock, a quarterback and totally besotted with Nikki though she doesn't seem to see it. (Plus I loved the fact that he's a hero who wears glasses.) As Nikki comes to life the tension really picks up as information is gathered and a plan made. The dramatic ending means it's going to be a long wait for Everbound, which is out February 2013.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review: Soul Beach by Kate Harrison

Soul Beach by Kate Harrison (May 2012, Indigo, ISBN: 1780620330)

Review: Soul Beach is women's-fiction author Kate Harrison's first foray into the YA market and is the first of a trilogy.

Alice is distraught over the murder of her sister Megan. She and her parents have been through the emotional wringer and the murderer is still at large. On the day of Megan's funeral, Alice receives an email allegedly from her sister...

After some time, Alice follows the link enclosed in the email, which takes her to Soul Beach, not just a social networking site but an apparent virtual paradise for "ghosts" and a place where Alice can talk to her sister again. All the inhabitants of Soul Beach are young and perfect in looks and everyday is the same - warm and sunny - however not all of them can stand it, including one of Megan's new friends, Triti. Also in Megan's circle is an American, Danny, to whom Alice is attracted.

Alice spends more and more time online but begins to realise she can help Triti through her actions in the real-world. She is assisted by a friend of her ex-boyfriend, a rich techno-whiz and together they begin to investigate Triti's death...

The narrative is interrupted from time to time by paragraphs from Megan's killer and it looks like he has his eyes set on Alice...

Soul Beach is an intriguing beginning to the Megan Forster trilogy and combines a romance (with a potential love-triangle I think), a crime (I love a good whodunnit) with a science-fiction premise. This being the set-up book there was slightly less investigating and more romance than I personally would have liked but then I'm a crime buff. The identity of the murderer is a real mystery and though you are given hints - they are probably misdirection! Drawing on her journalist experience, the author gives the reader a look at the media's impact on a bereaved family and we also get to see how Megan's death has changed everyone in that family and how outsiders interact with them.

Fans of the Beautiful Dead series by Eden Maguire should enjoy Soul Beach and I can't wait to read the next part in the series, Soul Fire, which is due out in July.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Published in May (2012)

Here are some of the teenage/YA titles that are being published in the UK in May 2012. I will put a link to this post and previous and subsequent "monthly" lists in my sidebar. January's list is here, February's is here, March's is here and April's is here.

I have tried to identify all the British authors which I hope will be useful to those doing Kirsty's British Books Challenge at The Overflowing Library (please let me know of any errors or omissions).

This is still a work-in-progress so I'll continue to update it during the month.
Em Bailey - Shift (7th, Electric Monkey, pb)
Leigh Bardugo - The Gathering Dark (17th, Indigo, pb)
Jenna Burtenshaw - Wintercraft: Legacy (10th, Headline, pb)
Rachel Caine - Black Dawn (1st, Allison & Busby, pb)
Anne Cassidy - Dead Time: The Murder Notebooks (10th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb) British Author
Laura Jane Cassidy - Eighteen Kisses (3rd, Puffin, pb)
Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Prince (3rd, Walker, pb)
Cassandra Clare - Mortal Instruments 5: City of Lost Souls (8th, Walker, pb)
Susane Colasanti - When It Happens (3rd, Scholastic, pb)
Shelley Coriell - Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe (1st, Amulet, HB)
H L Dennis - The Power of Three (3rd, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Kristina Dunker - Vertigo (15th, AmazonCrossing, pb)
Gayle Forman - Where She Went (3rd, Definitions, pb)
Tessa Gratton - Blood Magic (3rd, Corgi Childrens, pb)
Caroline Green - Cracks (1st, Piccadilly, pb) British Author
Julia Green - Bringing the Summer (10th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb) British Author
Philippa Gregory - Changeling (24th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, HB) British Author
Michael & Rachel Grinti - Claws (24th, Chicken House, pb)
Gemma Halliday - Social Suicide (10th, HarperTeen, pb)
Kate Harrison - Soul Beach (3rd, Indigo, pb) British Author
Kim Harrison - Something Deadly This Way Comes (22nd, HarperCollins, pb)
Lisi Harrison - Back and Deader Than Ever: Monster High (8th, ATOM, pb)
Maya Healy - Under the Cherry Blossom (3rd, OUP Press, pb)
Maya Healy - Shadows Across the Sun (3rd, OUP Press, pb)
Wendy Higgins - Sweet Evil (20th, Harper Teen, pb)
Carrie Jones - Endure (10th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Mike Lancaster - 1.4 (7th, Egmont Books Ltd, pb) British Author
Gill Lewis - White Dolphin (3rd, OUP Press, pb)
Hayley Long - What's Up With Jody Barton (24th, Macmillan Children's Books, pb) British Author
Megan McCafferty - Thumped (3rd, Corgi Childrens, pb)
Abby McDonald - The Anti-Prom (3rd, Walker, pb)
Maureen McQuerry - The Peculiars (1st, Amulet, HB)
Eden Maguire - Broken Dream (3rd, Hodder Children's Books, pb) British Author
Diane Messidoro - How to Keep a Boy as a Pet (7th, Electric Monkey, pb) British Author
Alice Moss - Fool's Silver (3rd, Bantam Children, pb)
Chloe Neill - Hexbound (3rd, Indigo, pb)
Linda Newberry - The Treasure House (3rd, Orion Childrens, pb) British Author
Garth Nix - A Confusion of Princes (17th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Alison Noel - Fated (24th, Macmillan Children's Books, pb)
Peader O'Guilin - The Deserter (3rd, David Fickling Books, pb)
William Osborne - Hitler's Angel (3rd, Chicken House, pb) British Author
Panama Oxridge - Thyme Running Out (1st, Inside Pocket, pb)
Jackson Pearce - Sweetly (3rd, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Amy Plum - Until I Die (2nd, ATOM, pb)
Louisa Reid - Black Heart Blue (10th, Penguin, pb)
British Author Jeyn Roberts - Dark Inside (24th, Macmillan Children's Books, pb)
Veronica Roth - Insurgent (1st, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Dyan Sheldon - One or Two Things I Learned About Love (3rd, Walker, pb)
Michael Scott - The Enchantress (24th, Doubleday Childrens, pb)
Marcus Sedgwick - Midwinter Blood (3rd, Indigo, pb) British Author
Holly Goldberg Sloan - I'll Be There (1st, Piccadilly, pb)
Jennifer E Smith - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (24th, Headline, pb)
Thomas Taylor - Haunters (24th, Chicken House, pb) British Author
Ann Turnbull - No Shame, No Fear (3rd, Walker, pb)
Yvonne Woon - Life Eternal (1st, Usborne, pb)