Monday, November 30, 2009

Review: Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (September 2009, Clarion Books, ISBN: 0547223994)

Notes: Received as an e-book via NetGalley.

First Lines:
I was born on the night of Samhain when the barrier between the worlds is whisper thin and when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hears it.

Review: When Tamsin Greene was born her grandmother said that she would be one of the most powerful witches in the family. Seventeen years later her special gift, her 'Talent' has not materialised. She thinks she's a disappointment and longs to get away from her huge and multi-Talented family.

During the summer holidays she is working in her grandmother's book shop when a handsome stranger appears, asking if she can find something for him. Those in the know, know that Tamsin's family are good at that sort of thing. Tamsin, wanting to prove herself though she has no Talent, accepts the assignment and arranges to meet the stranger, a professor, when they are both back in New York City, she to learn, he to teach.

The engagement party for her perfect sister, Rowena, brings Gabriel back into Tamsin's life. He has been away for many years and they had lost touch, however their childhood friendship is soon rekindled and could be easily developed into something more.

Tamsin's task, to find a certain clock is made easier as Gabriel can find anything. Their search takes them back in time and their action unleashes a power that could upset and possibly destroy their family's future.

I very much enjoyed Once a Witch. Tamsin is a likeable and sympathetic character who feels very real; her actions are understandable and consistent with her character. I found this a quick read but it does take a while for the action to begin. I didn't find this a problem as I was enjoying spending time with Tamsin's family and friends but my slight disappointment with the book is this: the story implies that there will be a big conflict and that Tamsin will have to make a huge sacrifice - but none of that happens in this book. There're some fireworks, but it seems that the big struggle is only just starting. I kept looking at the page numbers going down and wondering if I'd only got half the file. I've subsequently found out that there is to be a sequel: Always a Witch which I look forward to and hope will resolve the plot threads.

Cover: I love the cover. It represents Tamsin as both a student and as a witch (if you look closely at the book).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

TSS: The week in summary (17)

The Sunday

This week I've finished Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (ebook) and the audio book of Mean Spirits by Meg Cabot (reviews of both to follow). Ongoing are Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink and Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber and for Euro Crime I'm reading Close Quarters by Eugenio Fuentes and Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter by Simon Brett (audio).

Activity on the blog in the last week:

Monday - review of Beautiful Dead (2): Arizona by Eden Maguire.

Tuesday - some teenage titles being published in January; plus the Costa Children's Award Shortlist.

Wednesday - 'Waiting on Wednesday' post for Beautiful Dead (3): Summer by Eden Maguire.

Thursday - trailer for Sources of Light by Margaret McMullen; plus publishing deal news for Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.

Friday - publishing deal news for Melissa de la Cruz.

Saturday - my newly acquired library loot.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Library Loot (24)

Only a couple of library books this week, no purchases or review copies. I confess I haven't yet seen New Moon, but I shall soon.


Mark Cotta Vaz - New Moon: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
Academy Award-nominated director Chris Weitz and his creative team have brought the second book in Stephenie Meyer's riveting vampire romance saga to the big screen. Inside this deluxe visual companion, get an intimate look at the creation of the film. With lavish, never-before-seen full-colour photographs, exclusive interviews with the cast and crew, and answers to questions about costume and set design, bestselling author Mark Cotta Vaz gives a special behind-the-scenes tour of the film millions have devoured. Inside you'll get a glimpse into the director's aesthetic inspiration, learn the secrets behind some of the film's most intense stunts, and learn just how a person can become a werewolf.

Stella Lennon - Invisible I
Amanda Valentino is the most mysterious, the most magnetic girl you'll never meet. But if you join THE AMANDA PROJECT you just might find out what happened to her! Who is Amanda? And why did she vanish? When Amanda Valentino started at Endeavor High on Halloween, she changed everything. A fabulous mix of the weird and the wonderful, Amanda was the most extraordinary student ever. Amanda herself was drawn to only three other students: Callie, Hal and Nia -- the popular girl, the loner and the intellectual misfit. Without Amanda they would never had been friends, but now Amanda has disappeared and it's up to them to find out what happened. Reluctantly, and with only the most cryptic of clues and the fragments of her life that Amanda let slip, this unlikely trio must find out where she's gone, and why...The mystery begins in THE AMANDA PROJECT, Invisible i and continues online at

Friday, November 27, 2009

Publishing Deal - Melissa de la Cruz

From this week's Publishers Lunch Weekly:

NYT and USA Today bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz's WITCHES OF EAST END, following the lives of the Beauchamp girls, as they struggle to stop an arch nemesis and restore the delicate balance between good and evil, for publication in spring 2011, and a second adult fantasy novel;

plus two books in the new WOLF PACT series for publication beginning in winter 2010;

and three more Blue Bloods books, BLUE BLOODS: KEYS TO THE REPOSITORY, BLUE BLOODS: BLOODY VALENTINE, a romantic novella;


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Publishing Deal - Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell

From today's Bookseller:

Random House Children’s Books will publish a new series by bestselling duo Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell whose Edge Chronicles ended earlier this year.

The Wyrmeweald trilogy, launching in May 2010, is set in a Wild West world where dragon-like beasts roam supreme and pioneering fortune-hunters clash with brutal bandits. The series is also expected to attract adult fantasy readers.

Trailer Thursday - Sources of Light

This week's trailer has a hint of the Waiting on Wednesday post about it as it's not out until next April, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The book in question is Sources of Light by Margaret McMullen:

It's 1962, a year after the death of Sam's father--he was a war hero--and Sam and her mother must move, along with their very liberal views, to Jackson, Mississippi, her father's conservative hometown. Needless to say, they don't quite fit in.

People like the McLemores fear that Sam, her mother, and her mother's artist friend, Perry, are in the South to "agitate" and to shake up the dividing lines between black and white and blur it all to grey. As racial injustices ensue--sit-ins and run-ins with secret white supremacists--Sam learns to focus with her camera lens to bring forth the social injustice out of the darkness and into the light.

Watch the trailer below:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Beautiful Dead: Summer

Having just finished Eden Maguire's Beautiful Dead: Arizona, I now have to wait until May for the next instalment, Summer:

Six months have passed sine the last Ellerton teenager died, but Darina is still traumatized by the stabbing of her own beloved Phoenix. But there's work to be done as Darina must now turn her attention to the shooting of Summer Madison -- the beautiful and gifted, singer-song-writer with a heart of gold. It's been nearly a year since the random shooting in a shopping mall caused Summer's meaningless death. Summer left behind recordings of her wonderful songs and a deep sadness amongst high school friends. Now Darina must act as Summer's agent to track down the psychotic killer in a clear search for justice. With the sound of Summer's music constantly playing inside Darina's head, recalling the wonderful months when she was alive and performing her first gigs, Darina, Phoenix and the Beautiful Dead are determined to catch the crazed killer. And all the while Darina's love for Phoenix continues to beat ...

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Costa Children's Award - shortlist

The shortlist for the Costa Children's Award's was announced earlier today. The contenders are:

Solace of the Road - by Siobhan Dowd
Troubadour - Mary Hoffman
The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness
Guantanamo Boy - Anna Perera

More information on each book can be found on the Costa Book Awards website.

Books coming out in January

I have secured a recent edition of the Bookseller which has a children's preview for January. Teenage titles coming out in January (in the UK) include:

Laurie Halse Anderson - Chains
Anne Cassidy - Guilt Trip
Paul Dowswell - Auslander (paperback edition)
Anna Godbersen - Luxe: Splendour
Michael Grant - Hunger
Michelle Harrison - The 13 Curses
Alyxandra Harvey - My Love Lies Bleeding
Ben Horton - Monster Republic
Suzanne LaFleur - Love, Aubrey (paperback edition)
Gabrielle Lloyd - Conspiracy 365: January
Saci Lloyd - The Carbon Diaries 2017
Sophie McKenzie - The Medusa Project: The Hostage
L J Smith - The Secret Circle: Initiation & the Captive

Links are to my Waiting On Wednesday posts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: Beautiful Dead: Book 2 - Arizona by Eden Maguire

Beautiful Dead (2) - Arizona by Eden Maguire (October 2009, Hodder Children's Books, ISBN: 0340988622)

First Line:
Phoenix Rohr changed me.

Review: Arizona is the second part in a four-book series which began earlier this year with Jonas. Four teenagers have died in mysterious circumstances: Jonas, Arizona, Summer and Phoenix and they have become the Beautiful Dead. They have been sent back to the 'far side' ie the land of the living to resolve what happened to them so that they can successfully pass to the other side. They have a year from the day of their death, to resolve their issues but must remain in hiding. When the year's coming to an end and they are getting nowhere, they call in Darina, Phoenix's girlfriend who'll do anything to spend time with her (dead) boyfriend.

It's Arizona's turn this time. She drowned in a lake but cannot believe she committed suicide and she cannot remember why she would have been at the lake at all, especially in the winter. Arizona appears to be the typical stuck-up fashion plate with few close friends but she is hiding some big secrets. Darina is called in to investigate and her nosing around Arizona's family and boyfriend gets her into plenty of trouble and not a little danger. Meanwhile keeping secrets from her own family and friends makes her life more difficult and stressful.

I enjoyed Jonas very much and was eager for Arizona and I wasn't disappointed. It's a very smooth read which holds the interest completely; the who or what is behind Arizona's death keeps changing as more information is revealed. The author gives more of a reason for the strong bond between Phoenix and Darina, even though they had only been together for a short while before his death. Darina's current situation puts a great strain on her which is reflected in the off-hand way she treats those around her, with the exception of Phoenix. Her relationship with him, though completely understandable, is not in her best interests really - I do wonder how it will be resolved. The setting is well evoked and I can really visualise the town and especially the open country where much of the action takes place.

Arizona follows a similar format to Jonas and if you enjoyed Jonas then you'll enjoy Arizona. This series has a pleasing combination of crime, romance and the supernatural.

Cover: The cover is a very accurate depiction of a scene in the book and I love the look this series has. Very spooky.

My review of Jonas is here.

Win a copy of Arizona, here (ends 30 November 2009, UK only)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

TSS: The week in summary (16)

The Sunday

This week I've finished Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire (review to follow) and the audio book of The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason (reviewed here, euro crime). I'm currently part-way through Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (ebook) and Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink and have just begun the audio book of Mean Spirits by Meg Cabot.

Activity on the blog in the last week:

Monday - review of Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers

Tuesday - news of a publishing deal for Cate Tiernan

Wednesday - details of a publishing deal for L A Weatherly; plus 'Waiting on Wednesday' post for My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey and more publishing deal news, this time for - Michelle Harrison.

Thursday - a link to the Film 2009, Jonathan Ross review of New Moon.

Friday - how you can read The Amanda Project: Invisible I by Stella Lennon, online for free; plus a new publishing deal for a teenage series from Kathy Reichs.

Saturday - my newly acquired library loot and review copy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Library Loot (23) and a review copy

My local library has had an influx of new books. It will be shut throughout January for the final stage of its refurbishment - I feel sorry for those people who won't have access to a library for a month. I'm fortunate enough to work in another library service.
Summaries are from


Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
When Cassie was little her grandmother would tell her stories about the Arctic...stories about snow and ice, about a beautiful castle made of ice, and about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth to become a prisoner of the trolls. Cassie is older now and has no time for fairytales and talking animals, or lies about her dead mother. Living with her father at the Arctic research centre, she is determined to become a leading scientist and researcher. But when Cassie comes face to face with a mysterious polar bear, one that defies all scientific fact or knowledge, she begins realise that the fairytales could actually be true. Armed with the knowledge that her mother might be alive, Cassie makes a deal with the Polar Bear King, and embarks on a dangerous journey against time to save her. But her agreement with the Polar Bear King comes with consequences she never bargained for, and before her journey's end Cassie will discover the true meaning of love and family, and loss. A compelling romantic fantasy set in the beautiful frozen Arctic.

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber
Aphra Behn Connolly has the type of life most teenage girls envy. She lives on a remote tropical island and spends most of her time eavesdropping on the rich and famous. The problem is that her family's resort allows few opportunities for her to make friends - much less to meet cute boys. When smoldering Seth Mulo arrives with his parents, Aphra's immediately drawn to him. Sure, he's a little bit guarded, and sure his parents are rather cold, and okay he won't say a word about his past, but their chemistry is undeniable. Then a famous rock star's girlfriend turns up dead on the beach - strangled by her own bikini top - and alarm bells sound. Is it too great a coincidence that Seth's family turned up just one day before a murder? As the plot thickens, Aphra finds that danger lurks behind even the most unexpected of faces .....

Special Powers by Mary Hoffman
Emily feels that everything about her is boring, her name, her looks, her life. The only interesting bit is the fantasy world she creates in her head, the desert kingdom of Krin, where she rules as Queen K'sendra. But Emily is transformed into Emma Leigh when the glamorous Power family come to town and with a change of name comes a whole new life. When the local library is threatened with closure, Emma Leigh and her new friends lead the campaign against the closure. It is very exciting but Emma Leigh begins to suspect that the Power family are not quite who they claim to be. An adventure story of life between two worlds that will carry the reader along with enthusiasm.

Evermore by Alyson Noel
Seventeen-year-old Ever is the sole survivor of a car crash that killed her entire family. Living with her aunt in Southern California, she's plagued by the ability to hear the thoughts of those around her, and haunted by the ghost of her little sister. She tries to tune everyone out, shunning her old lifestyle as the pretty, popular cheerleader, but somehow she can't hide from Damen, the new guy at school. Stunningly handsome, clever and not a little bit intimidating, there's something about him that doesn't quite add up. Ever realises he's hiding something, but nothing could prepare her for the truth - especially when the truth involves past lives, murderous enemies, everlasting love and the secret of eternal youth . . .

Betrayals by Lili St Crow
The second novel in the Strange Angels series picks up with Dru neatly tucked away in a Schola that's more like a prison than a secret training facility. Except for one tiny detail ...she's the only girl in the place and is totally surrounded by tons of cute boys. But a traitor in the Order wants Dru dead and she can't trust anyone except for Graves. Too bad he's being kept busy with a new crew of wulfen teens and doesn't have time for her. As she learns the truth about who she can and can't trust, Dru's only hope may be to save herself - although the one gift that makes her special is draining away, and she doesn't know how to get it back. Will Dru survive long enough to find out who is really after her? Or is she destined for the same fate as her murdered parents? Lili's characters come alive on the page in a way that's visually stunning and she creates the same terrific pace, danger and teen romance as in Strange Angels.

Legend - John Brindley
Seventeen-year-old Blake used to be a star runner. Now he's a has-been. On a school trip, he has the opportunity to secure the answer to his prayers - a specially created serum that will restore him to physical supremacy. But does he steal it or not? Before he - and the reader - knows, Blake is transported into another dimension where evolution has run wild and where he is perceived as a hero by the beautiful, enigmatic mermaid creature, Chimera. He escapes and returns to his own world - our world - to face the consequences of his alleged theft. Can he prove his innocence? Not without returning to that strange new world and the even stranger but alluring Chimera ... LEGEND is a gripping and thought-provoking thriller about the blurring of physical and emotional boundaries in the quest for the truth.

(the invite was tied on with the ribbon)


Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (March 2010)
They're Young, Fabulous and Fanged...And they rule Manhattan from the trendy uptown clubs to the downtown boutiques. Fifteen-year-old Schuyler Van Alen has never quite fit in at her exclusive prep school - she's more of a vintage than a Versace girl - but all that's about to change...Because Schuyler has just found out she's a Blue Blood. The Blue Bloods are the city's glamorous - and secret - vampire elite. They're young, beautiful and powerful. But now they're being murdered. And Schuyler must find out who - or what - is behind it before she's next.

March also sees the UK release of Masquerade and April sees Revelations and The Van Alen Legacy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Publishing Deal - Kathy Reichs

You might think this belongs on my crime blog but no, it seems that Kathy Reichs is to write a teenage series starring the great-nephew of her lead character from her forensic crime series. From The Bookseller:

[Cornerstone] has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to three books in the Viral series.

Described as “young adult forensic thrillers with a touch of fantasy”, the Viral books will feature Tory Brennan, the 14-year-old great-nephew of Reichs’ adult series character, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

Tory is one of five teenagers living on an isolated island who, after a veterinary experiment goes wrong, are left with heightened powers of smell, sight and hearing, increased memory, and improved strength and speed. These powers are triggered by strong emotions and cannot be called upon at will.

The first title in the series will be published by Young Arrow in August 2010.

The Amanda Project: Invisible I - read online for free

I picked up the news via twitter that one of the books I'm waiting to read, The Amanda Project: Invisible I can be read online for free at the HarperTeen website.

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle are also available online, in full.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trailer Thursday - New Moon (sort of)

I caught up with the latest edition of Film 2009 last night and Jonathan Ross reviews New Moon. Surprisingly he hasn't seen Twilight and he found New Moon a pleasant surprise. There's a clip from the film, a brief interview with the three leads and the director, and his review at about 1 minute into the show. This link should take you straight to it on iplayer. (Ross calls Pattinson and interesting looking, charismatic young actor).

Mark Kermode's review will be out tomorrow and he enjoyed Twilight...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Publishing Deal - Michelle Harrison

Yet another publishing deal has been announced, this time there's no mention of the M or T word(s). From The Bookseller (again):

Simon & Schuster Children's Books has bought another two books by Waterstone's Children’s Book Prize winner, Michelle Harrison, in a five-figure deal.

Harrison's debut novel, The Thirteen Treasures was a mystery adventure book for children aged 11 and over. Published by S&S in January this year, it won the 2009 Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize. The sequel, The Thirteen Curses, will be published in January 2010.

One of the novels in the new deal will be another title in the same series, entitled The Thirteen Wards. Harrison said it would be a "return to Elvesden Manor for a third fairy story". The second contracted title will be a paranormal stand-alone novel. Harrison called it, "something very new and different".

Waiting on Wednesday - My Love Lies Bleeding

My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey is due out on 4 January (UK) from Bloomsbury and they say it "is a teen vampire action story for fans of Stephanie Meyer and Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

The Drakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen.

Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange’s brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire?

Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father’s killer . . .

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Publishing Deal - L A Weatherly

Yet more paranormal young adult fiction. Today's Bookseller has another deal which mentions Twilight/Meyer though L A Weatherly's series is about the "new vampires" - angels:

Usborne is entering the young adult market for the first time with a dark romantic fantasy by author L A Weatherly. Angel Heat, the first book in a planned trilogy will be published in October 2010 with the second book publishing in spring 2011, and the third in autumn 2011.

In the Angels trilogy angels are poisonous to people and feed off human energy. The books follow Alex, an angel killer, and Willow a half angel, with whom he falls in love.

Fiction director Megan Larkin [] said: "Angel Heat has obvious appeal to Stephenie Meyer fans, but even without vampire hysteria, we just loved this book. It's a classic love story with a cool contemporary setting."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Publishing Deal - Cate Tiernan

From today's Bookseller, news of an exciting 3-book deal for Cate Tiernan:

Everlasting Life is the first title in the Immortal Beloved series and will come out in autumn 2010. The series is about Nastasya who is immortal and who leads a dark existence, until she decides to change and "turn toward the light". The next two books in the series are as yet untitled.

[Hodder & Stoughton] said the book would appeal to all the Stephanie Meyer fans. “They’ll absolutely love this and there is a point of difference - she is not a vampire, but she is immortal and a very likable girl.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Review: Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers

Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers (October 2009, HarperCollins e-books, ISBN: 9780061949722)

First Line:
If you were dying...

Review: Kira November has been sixteen for a year and a half now and she wasn't originally called Kira. Her old life ended in a hit and run accident and her new life as a vampire began when she was saved by her new family.

As Kira is very new to being a vampire, she makes mistakes and the family has had to move town a couple of times. It's not surprising then, that when one of her new school colleagues is found dead, killed by a vampire, that suspicion falls on her. She has a week to prove it wasn't her before being locked up in a padded coffin for a few hundred years.

Kira has to investigate and she thinks the killer is one of three boys that have caught her attention by their suspicious behaviour. She has to get close to them and see what she can find out.

I really enjoyed reading Never Bite a Boy on the First Date. It's light and funny and Kira is a likeable lead character (and a fan of Buffy and Veronica Mars). Her sleuthing duties involve more romance than detection and the identity of the killer was well concealed until the very end. I did think it ended a bit abruptly and would have liked another chapter. Some of the vampire traits such as not having a reflection and inability to be in sunlight are given a different twist and the applying make-up problem is very amusing. The only thing I was surprised with is that Kira can't tell another vampire without checking their pulse (or lack of). Maybe she doesn't have super hearing to go with the super strength.

I read that the author would bring Kira back if there was enough call for it and I for one would love to see her return, along with her extended, bizarre vampire family and new boyfriend.

Cover: I love the cartoon-style cover and think it fits well with the light-hearted story.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

TSS: The week in summary (15)

The Sunday

This week I've finished Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers (ebook)(review to follow) and Strange Days Indeed by Francis Wheen (non-fiction book about the paranoid 1970s). I'm currently part-way through Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (ebook) and Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink and the audio book of The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason (euro crime).

Activity on the blog in the last week:

Wednesday - 'Waiting on Wednesday' post for Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

Thursday - the book trailer for Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz; plus how you can read Vampire Diaries: The Struggle by L J Smith, online for free.

Friday - new publishing deals for Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and Andy Mulligan.

Sunday - my newly acquired library loot.

Library Loot (22)

Only one book from the library this week, Pastworld by Ian Beck, but it's one I've mentioned a few times before and been looking forward to:

Pastworld. A city within a city. A city for excursions and outings. Pastworld is a theme park with a difference, where travellers can travel back in time for a brush with an authentic Victorian past. But what if the Jack the Ripper figure stopped play-acting and really started killing people? For Caleb, a tourist from the present day, his visit goes terribly wrong when his father is kidnapped and he finds himself accused of murder. Then Caleb meets Eva Rose, a Pastworld inhabitant who has no idea the modern world exists. Both Caleb and Eva have roles to play in the murderer's diabolical plans - roles that reveal disturbing truths about their origins.

I've got a prize in transit from Penguin so hopefully that'll come next week.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Publishing Deals - Handler/Snicket & Mulligan

A couple of publishing deals have been announced this week.

From Publishers Weekly:

Daniel Handler, who had a long and successful run with his Lemony Snicket-penned A Series of Unfortunate Events series at HarperCollins, is moving to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in a five-book deal announced late Wednesday afternoon. Under the agreement, Handler will write four Lemony Snicket titles in a new series, with the first due out in 2012. Before that series hits, LBYR will release a Handler young adult novel in 2011 that will feature full-color illustrations by Maira Kalman.

and from Publishers Lunch:

Author of RIBBLESTROP, Andy Mulligan's TRASH, a "nail-biter" about children who survive, against the odds, with a set of instincts and skills that just keep them breathing, pitched as a read for all ages, to David Fickling Books, at auction in the UK, and then in a pre-empt for the US, for simultaneous publication in fall 2010.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Read The Vampire Diaries - Struggle - online

Recently, Vampire Diaries: The Awakening was made available to be read online and now part two, The Struggle, is also free to read online:

Read, The Struggle, online at the HarperTeen site.

My thoughts on The Struggle can be found here.

Trailer Thursday - Crocodile Tears

The UK edition of Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz is published today by Walker Books Ltd.

Alex Rider's eighth adventure and the most action-packed yet… Targeted by a hitman and under threat of his past being exposed by the media, Alex reluctantly turns to MI6. But their help doesn't come cheap: they need Alex to spy on the activities at a GM crop plant. There he spots Desmond McCain, a high profile charity organiser, who realises that Alex is on to him and the real plans for the money he's raising. Kidnapped and whisked off to Africa, Alex learns the full horror of McCain's plot: to create an epic disaster that will kill millions. Forced to ask MI6 for protection, Alex finds himself being manipulated in a deadly game that could lead to the destruction of an entire East African country.

In the trailer below, Anthony Horowitz introduces Crocodile Tears (and shows us his cool study):

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Before I Fall

Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall is one of those books that everyone's talking about. It's not out until March (US & UK). This is the US cover which is blurbed by Jay Asher author of one of my favourite recent reads, Thirteen Reasons Why:

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the parking lot to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

TSS: The week in summary (14)

The Sunday

I've been a bit quiet on the blog this week as I've been away and offline. I also didn't get much reading done. So I'm still reading: Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers (ebook), Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire and Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink to which I've added a chapter a day of a book about the paranoid 1970s - Strange Days Indeed by Francis Wheen which is fascinating but not quick reading (for me).

Activity on the blog in the last week:

Monday - news that Rachel Caine is at Mysterious Galaxy today

Tuesday - details of a publishing deal for Lauren Laverne.

Wednesday - 'Waiting on Wednesday' post for Miss Understanding: My Summer on the Shelf.

Thursday - the book trailer for Wake by Lisa McMann.

Sunday - my newly acquired library books, review copies and prizes.

Library Loot (21), 3 review copies & 2 prizes

I think most people stopping by will have heard of these books :).


Kissed by an Angel - Elizabeth Chandler
Ivy and Tristan are meant to be together. Both stunningly attractive, brilliantly talented and very much in love, they think their happiness will last forever. When a terrible car accident shatters their world, killing Tristan and injuring Ivy, she must face life alone - or so she thinks. However, Tristan is watching over her as her guardian angel - so close she can feel his touch and hear his voice. And no one needs a guardian angel more than Ivy, because someone is trying to kill her. But if Tristan saves Ivy, his mission on earth will be finished, and he'll have to leave her behind. Will saving Ivy mean losing her forever?

Death by Latte - Linda Gerber
It was only a few weeks ago that Aphra Connolly’s life changed completely. She had been living a quiet existence on her father’s secluded island resort, until Seth Mulo turned up and stole her heart . . . and provided information that led her to find her mom in Seattle. But the reunion isn’t quite what she expected. Aphra’s mom, Natalie, doesn’t seem happy to see Aphra, and Natalie’s boyfriend, Joe, insists that Aphra go home. Even worse, Seth shows up, only to ask her to return the ring he gave her the previous summer. At least Natalie’s hunky neighbor is sympathetic. But when Joe is found dead at a nearby coffee shop, Aphra discovers her whole trip to Seattle has been based on a lie. And now someone just might be trying to kill her. . . .

Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.


Tempted by PC and Kristin Cast
So…you’d think after banishing an immortal being and a fallen High Priestess, saving Stark’s life, biting Heath, getting a headache from Erik, and almost dying, Zoey Redbird would catch a break. Sadly, a break is not in the House of Night school forecast for the High Priestess in training and her gang. Juggling three guys is anything but a stress reliever, especially when one of them is a sexy Warrior who is so into protecting Zoey that he can sense her emotions. Speaking of stress, the dark force lurking in the tunnels under the Tulsa Depot is spreading, and Zoey is beginning to believe Stevie Rae could be responsible for a lot more than a group of misfit red fledglings. Aphrodite’s visions warn Zoey to stay away from Kalona and his dark allure, but they also show that it is Zoey who has the power to stop the evil immortal. Soon it becomes obvious that Zoey has no choice: if she doesn’t go to Kalona he will exact a fiery vengeance on those closest to her. Will Zoey have the courage to chance losing her life, her heart, and her soul? Find out in the next spectacular installment in the House of Night Series, Tempted.

The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus
When Picky's Mum forces her to look after Gran, who has dementia, Picky is accidentally transported back to the year 1685, where a man in a wig insists she is someone called Amelia and tries to kill her. Managing to get the dress off just in time, Picky returns to the present with the dress covered in blood. Who is Amelia? Is she dead? Will wearing the other dresses in the chest take Picky back in time too? And does she dare put herself in danger again?

Plus an e-book ARC of Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search - and the stranger - will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.


Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (thanks to
A sacred oath, a fallen angel, a forbidden love...This darkly romantic story features our heroine, Nora Grey, a seemingly normal teenage girl with her own shadowy connection to the Nephilim, and super-alluring bad boy, Patch, now her deskmate in biology class. Together they find themselves at the centre of a centuries-old feud between a fallen angel and a Nephilim...Forced to sit next to Patch in science class, Nora attempts to resist his flirting, though gradually falls for him against her better judgment. Meanwhile creepy things are going on with a mysterious stalker following her car, breaking into her house and attacking her best friend, Vi. Nora suspects Patch, but there are other suspects too - not least a new boy who has transferred from a different college after being wrongly accused of murdering his girlfriend. And he seems to have taken a shine to Nora...Love certainly is dangerous...and someone is going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice for it.

The Hollow by Jessica Verday (thanks to My Favourite Books)
Growing up in the town of Sleepy Hollow, the mystery and intrigue over Washington Irving's classic legend are all part of daily life for sixteen-year-old Abbey. But when her best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Abbey's world is suddenly turned upside down. While everyone is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead, Abbey refuses to believe that she is really gone. And when Abbey meets the gorgeous, but mysterious, Caspian at Kristen's memorial she starts to feel like she has something to hold on to for the first time since Kristen's disappearance. But when Abbey finds a diary hidden in Kristen's bedroom, she begins to question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her disappearance or even her death? Hurt and angry at Kristen's betrayal, Abbey turns to Caspian for support...and uncovers a frightening truth about him that threatens both their emerging love and her sanity...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trailer Thursday - Wake

The UK edition of Wake by Lisa McMann was published last week by Simon & Schuster Children's.

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams at any given moment is getting tired. Especially the falling dreams, and the standing-in-front-of-the-class-naked ones. But then there are the nightmares, the ones that chill her to the the one where she is in a strange a dirty kitchen...and a sinister monster that edges ever closer. This is the nightmare that she keeps falling into, the one where, for the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant...

Watch the trailer below:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Miss Understanding: My Summer on the Shelf

I'm eagerly awaiting Miss Understanding: My Summer on the Shelf which will be published on 1 April 2010 by Hodder Children's Books. I loved the first book, Miss Understanding: My Year in Agony and I'm looking forward to the publishing house setting.

After a stint as the school agony aunt, Anya's forthcoming summer as an intern at a London publishing house comes as a breath of fresh air. It'll take her mind off Al - her AWOL boyfriend - at least, and maybe she'll get tips on how to be a writer, too. But it's clear that Anya's role is senior dogsbody - and involves reading terrible stories, listening to her colleague's Katie's domestic woes, and taking on a nightmarish teenage author, who is about five years late delivering his next 'best selling novel'. It's not quite the glitz and glamour Miss Understanding thought it would be, but it does have its plus points: Delicious Seth Hodges being one of them... Anya is torn between the suave Seth, the notorious waste of time The Boy, her lost boyfriend Al, not to mention the intriguing teenage writer Casper...So many boys, so little time. Another fresh, original and witty journey through Miss Understanding's life...

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lauren Laverne - Publishing Deal

In today's BookTrade, news of a teenage trilogy from Lauren Laverne:

Award winning TV presenter and DJ Lauren Laverne is set to write a series of teenage novels with HarperCollins in a deal announced today.

Lauren Laverne has created an uber-cool rock chick lit series for teens featuring a fifteen year old girl who is on a mission to escape her boring and ordinary life and make it big in a rock band. And on the way to stardom she is determined to track down her unknown father – BioDad - who will most definitely be supercool - and it looks like he might also be incredibly famous too! With the unexpected help of her FairyGodbrother, this feisty chick sets off on a quirky and magical adventure that takes her all the way to Glastonbury where it looks like this girl is really going to make it...

Read the whole press release here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rachel Caine at Mysterious Galaxy this weekend

Just had a newsflash from Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego that Rachel Caine will be at the store on Sunday, 8 November at 2 pm to sign Fade Out, the latest in the Morganville Vampire series.

From the Mysterious Galaxy Website:

Early on in Fade Out, a character is described as bouncing around like a "demented Goth bunny." That was pretty much the staff's response to news of our event with Rachel Caine on Sunday, November 8, at 2:00 PM. Fade Out is the most recent book in Rachel's Morganville Vampires series. The first two have just been re-released in a handsome trade paperback with new cover art, cleverly titled The Morganville Vampires. We also have plenty of the most recent Joanne Baldwin book, Cape Storm, and the first Cassiel, the former Djinn, novel, Undone, on hand for fans. Rachel will also tease fans with news of 2010's Kiss of Death (Morganville Vampires #8), Unknown (Outcast Season #2), and Total Eclipse (Weather Warden #9).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

TSS: The week in summary (13)

The Sunday

This week I finished The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson (for Euro Crime) and Cold in Hand by John Harvey (audio book). I'm currently reading: Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers (ebook), Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire and Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink.

Activity on the blog in the last week:

Monday - review of The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd; Giveaway announced of Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz (US only)

Wednesday - 'Waiting on Wednesday' post for Ransom My Heart by Meg Cabot.

Thursday - the book trailer for Tempted by PC and Kristin Cast.

Friday - giveaway for Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire (UK only).

Sunday - my newly acquired library books.

Library Loot (20)

Not much to talk about this week. The postal strike is holding up some prizes I've won and my local library was shut for a few days, so I've only got the two library books from where I work:


Vamps by Nancy A Collins
When the sun goes down, New York's true elite all head to one place: Bathory Academy, where the young ladies of the finest vampire families are trained in shapeshifting and luring their prey.

Bathory's reigning queen, Lilith Todd, is the daughter of a powerful vampire businessman, and she knows exactly what she wants from life. She wants to look beautiful for eternity and party till the sun comes up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Jules. And she doesn't want any New Blood upstarts standing in her way.

Enter Cally Monture, an unexpected threat from a trash zip code. When their first meeting leads to tragic results, Lilith is hungry for revenge.

Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.