Saturday, February 27, 2010

Library Loot (37) and review copies

I've got some brilliant books this week including one I've been dying to read...


Soulless by Gail Carriger
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Or will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart? SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

The Splendour Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Sylvie Davies is a ballerina who can't dance. A broken leg ended her career, but what broke her heart was her father's death, and what's breaking her spirit is her mother's remarriage. Still reeling Sylvie is shipped off to stay with relatives in the back of beyond. Or so she thinks, in fact she ends up in a town rich with her family's history ...and as it turns out her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys she can't stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, is the expected choice. But handsome and mysterious Rhys has a hold on her that she doesn't quite understand. Then Sylvie starts seeing things - a girl by the lake and a man with dark unseeing eyes peering in through the window ...Sylvie's lost nearly everything - is she starting to lose her mind as well?

W.E. by John Dickinson
We are the only Humans left...In the furthest, coldest, darkest reaches of our solar system, Paul Munro is on a mission from which he can never return. A desolate ice-covered moon will be his home for the rest of his life. And only from here can he see what humanity has become. A thriller to freeze your blood. To absolute zero.


Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings (out now)
"I've seen a ghost," said Emily. "Well, not seen one exactly. Heard one. At least, I think I have!" Everything has a rational explanation. Unless it doesn't. Welcome to Weirdsville! Woodsville is not like other towns. Night falls a little earlier there, the shadows are darker and denser, and everyone knows it's a place where strange things happen. Even if they won't admit it. Bethan would prefer to be anywhere but here. Jay has his theories, but isn't ready to share. Hashim sees more than he'll say, while Kelly's demons are all too flesh and blood. But Emily's freak-out brings them out of denial and face to face with the supernatural. Anywhere else, Friday night would be date night. But not in Weirdsville!

Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver (out 4 March)
They say that when you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that's not how it happened for me

Sam Kingston is dead. Except she isn't.

On a rainy February night, eighteen-year-old Sam is killed in a horrific car crash. But then the impossible happens: she wakes up in her own bed, on the morning of the day that she died.

Forced to live over and over the last day of her life the drive to school, skipping class, the fateful party she desperately struggles to alter the outcome, but every morning she wakes up on the day of the crash.

This is a story of a girl who dies young, but in the process learns how to live. And who falls in love... a little too late.

BEFORE I FALL is a brave and complex novel about the territory between life and death. As astonishing as The Lovely Bones and as luminous as Jenny Downham s Before I Die, it will make you want to live every day as if it were your last.

(All summaries from

Friday, February 26, 2010

More on Beautiful Malice

I posted details of Rebecca James's publishing deal a while ago. More details on the book are now available. It'll be out on 1 July from Faber in the UK:

So, were you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed? Following a horrific tragedy that leaves her once perfect family devastated, Katherine Patterson moves to a new city, starts at a new school, and looks forward to a new life of quiet anonymity. But when Katherine meets the gregarious and beautiful Alice Parrie her resolution to live a solitary life becomes difficult. Katherine is unable to resist the flattering attention that Alice pays her and is so charmed by Alice's contagious enthusiasm that the two girls soon become firm friends. Alice's joie de vivre is transformative; it helps Katherine forget her painful past and slowly, tentatively, Katherine allows herself to start enjoying life again. But being friends with Alice is complicated - and as Katherine gets to know her better she discovers that although Alice can be charming and generous she can also be selfish and egocentric. Sometimes, even, Alice is cruel. And when Katherine starts to wonder if Alice is really the kind of person she wants as a friend, she discovers something else about Alice - she doesn't like being cast off. Shocking and utterly absorbing, Rebecca James' strong narrative will grip readers from the very first page. "Beautiful Malice" has become a publishing phenomenon, sparking numerous auctions worldwide, selling to 27 countries, and launching a previously unknown writer into the centre of the international book market.

[NB. Cover is taken from the Faber catalogue so may not represent the final image.]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow

TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow (February 2010, Puffin, ISBN: 0141326921)

First Line:
1912, Atlantic Ocean

"Anyone left here on deck E?" cried Liam O'Connor.

Review: The three main teenage characters are plucked from certain death by a mysterious man who appears moments before their demise and says that he can save them. Liam from 1912, Maddy from 2010 and Sal from 2026 have been recruited as TimeRiders. Their job is to make sure that time is not interfered with. Their field office is in New York and is contained in a time-bubble which constantly cycles through the 10th and 11th of September 2001.

The three have been chosen for their special skills: Liam's quick wittedness, Maddy's computer expertise and Sal's pattern-recognition ability. They are guided by the mysterious man, Foster and are joined by a cloned human fighting machine with a computer chip for a brain, nick-named Bob.

They have not had much training before a major shift in history changes the word they live in and so begins Liam and Bob's first mission: to find out how the Nazis won the Second World War - but it turns out there's an event even worse than that. Can the team correct history and at what cost to themselves?

I love time-travel books and tv-series though it makes my head hurt to think too much about the concept and TimeRiders is an enjoyable addition to the genre. [If like me, you're an older reader of teenage fiction you might remember Jean-Claude Van Damme's best film Timecop (and his eye-watering splits demonstration) which was followed by a short tv-series.] The three main characters are instantly likeable - though as Liam is the operative we get to know him a bit better than Sal and Maddy. TimeRiders also painlessly introduces or refreshes the reader's knowledge about some significant events in 20th Century history including: the Titanic, the JFK assassination, World War Two and 9/11. Constructed of mainly short-ish chapters switching between different time periods and narrators, this is a quick read and a scary one in parts. This is the first of a projected nine book series with the second, TimeRiders: Day of the Predator, due out in August 2010 and I'm looking forward to it.

Cover: I've been reading a proof which has a different cover to the final version and from the picture above it looks like an enticing movie-poster and shows the three main characters. I'd definitely pick it up!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Publishing Deal - Chris Bradford

More Young Samurai books by Chris Bradford are on the way. First mentioned in The Bookseller last week there's more information in today's Booktrade:

Puffin has acquired a further three titles in the sensational YOUNG SAMURAI series by Chris Bradford. Since first UK publication in August 2008, the YOUNG SAMURAI series has already totalled sales of over 70,000 and has been sold in 16 languages around the world, with film rights sold to Coolabi.

'Puffin is delighted to acquire a further three books in the YOUNG SAMURAI series. Chris's hard work and dedication has been outstanding and I very much look forward to working with him and continuing the success of the books. They're thrilling, action-packed adventures and already have thousands of devoted fans' – Shannon Park, Executive Editor.

Chris Bradford is looking forward to taking the YOUNG SAMURAI series further and continuing his adventure with Puffin:

'I'm thrilled about embarking on the next chapter of the YOUNG SAMURAI series. It's a breakneck action-adventure as Jack Fletcher flees across war-torn Japan. But readers will have to watch out for ninja! There's a devious twist in the plot that only an assassin could plan!'

2010 is already set to be the year of the YOUNG SAMURAI for Puffin, with the publishing of YOUNG SAMURAI: THE WAY OF FIRE, one of the specially produced £1 World Book Day titles. This will publish on World Book Day 4th March alongside the third book in the series, YOUNG SAMURAI: THE WAY OF THE DRAGON. In addition, on 6th May, VIRTUAL KOMBAT, a one-off story by YOUNG SAMURAI author Chris Bradford, will be one of our exclusive 70th Anniversary Pocket Money Puffins. Fantastic new stories by favourite Puffin authors published at a fantastic £3.99 pocket-money price. Finally, the fourth book in the series, YOUNG SAMURAI: THE RING OF EARTH, will follow on 5th August.

Read the whole press release here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Library Loot (36), prizes and a review copy

Sorry for the rubbish picture. All the snow's fooling the camera into not using the flash.

I hope to finish off Alex Scarrow's TimeRiders book today and I've got some great books lined up:


When I was Joe by Keren David
When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he s named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can't cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe's cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own. This wonderfully gripping and intelligent novel depicts Ty/Joe's confused sense of identity in a moving and funny story that teenage boys and girls will identify with - a remarkable debut from a great new writing talent.

The Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd
It’s over a year since her last diary and Laura Brown is now in her first year of university in London, a city still struggling to pull itself together in the new rationing era. Laura’s right in the heart of it; her band, the dirty angels, are gigging all over town until a police crackdown on rioting students forces them out of the city. After a brief exile on her parents' farm, the angels set off in a battered VW bus on a tour of Europe with the fabulous Tiny Chainsaws in the Distance.

The tour soon unravels, however, in an increasingly dramatic sequence of events that include drought in Europe and Africa, a tidal-wave of desperate immigrants, a water war in the Middle East and a city-wide face off with the army in London. Not to mention infidelity, betrayal, friendship, love and massive courage.

How long can Laura distance herself from the struggle? And more importantly, how can she keep her style and hope alive in a world on the edge of madness?


Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Tx to Jenny at Wondrous Reads)
Auden has always felt like the odd one out. Since her parents' divorce she's shied away, studying lots and staying out of the party scene. But now Auden's realized there must be something more and, just like that, she changes everything. Moving to her dad's house opens up a whole new world of beach parties, food fights - and simply having fun. As she gets to know herself - and a secretive boy with dark, brooding eyes - can Auden begin to let go and finally feel like she truly belongs?

Dark Life by Kat Falls (Tx to simonkids_UK on twitter)
Ty has lived under the ocean for his entire life. Following global warming and the rise of the seas, his family joined an underwater community in hopes of living in the new frontier of the ocean floor. But When Ty meets Gemma, a girl from "topside", who is searching the seas for her brother, she quickly makes his life very complicated. Together Ty and Gemma face dangerous sea creatures and venture into the frontier town's rough underworld as they search for her missing brother. But the deeper they dig, the more attention they attract, and soon Ty and Gemma find themselves being hunted by a gang of outlaws who roam the underwater territories causing havoc, and who seem to have eerie abilities. But Ty has a secret of his own, living underwater for his entire life has meant he has also developed a "special" power. Can he keep it a secret from Gemma and his family or is it time for him to finally tell everyone the truth?


Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide by William Hussey (out 4th March, UK)
The first in a terrifying trilogy, read on if you dare: Jake could now see the demon fully. Its body was a mass of steely sinew, its arms roped with muscle. Six fingers sprouted from its hands, each ending in lethal talons. The thing did not possess a nose; instead a large hole, bubbling with green mucus, occupied the middle of its face. Mr Pinch's tongue flickered between his teeth and slurped across his fat lips. He was hungry. When a violent storm rages around the little village of Hobarron's Hollow, a young boy is sacrificed 'for the greater good'. His blood is used to seal a mystical doorway and prevent an apocalyptic disaster known only as the Demontide. Twenty-five years later, another boy, Jake Harker, is about to be drawn into the nightmare of the Demontide. Witches and their demon familiars stalk his every move, and his dreams are plagued by visions of a 17th Century figure known only as the Witchfinder. When his father is abducted, Jake must face the terrible secrets kept by those closest to him and a shocking truth that will change his life forever . . .

(summaries from

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trailer Thursday - Before I Fall

I want to read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver so much it hurts. But not long to wait now with the UK release being 4 March (from Hodder & Stoughton).

Watch the trailer below:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (October 2009, Scholastic, ISBN: 9781407115009)

First Line:
I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves.

Review: Grace is very young when she is attacked by the wolves which live in the woods at the bottom of her garden. But she is rescued by one of the wolves and she never forgets its eyes. Every winter she looks out for her wolf and is disappointed when the wolves disappear in the summer. What the reader knows before Grace is that the wolf turns into a boy, Sam, every summer.

When the wolves attack an obnoxious boy from Grace's school in the autumn, it leads to a wolf hunt and a shot which unexpectedly brings Sam to Grace in his human form. Sam and Grace finally have the relationship they've been waiting for but there is a catch. The next time Sam turns back to a wolf he'll lose his human self forever.

Shiver is a fairly leisurely but absorbing story of Sam and Grace's relationship and a reveal of their characters and back-stories. In a nice role reversal, Grace is the pragmatic one, unable to read people whereas Sam is the artist, musician, poetry lover. The point of view switches between Sam and Grace so we get to know the depth of feeling on both sides. I did feel that the pace was a bit slow but the writing is lovely and both leads are equally interesting and likeable so I never felt impatient to get to the other person's pov, and the pace cranks up near the end with some heart-breaking chapters. Shiver is a quick read and a very enjoyable one and there is a sequel, Linger, out in July. I look forward to finding out what happens next.

Cover: A very enticing cover which reflects the wintry woods in the story.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Publishing Deal - Megan Cole

Introducing a new genre ...the Snogbuster according to Booktrade:

HarperCollins is ready to set the publishing world alight with the acquisition of the world's first 'snogbuster', a new teen genre that is set to grace poolsides everywhere this summer. Written by hot new talent Megan Cole – the pseudonym of a journalist and writer steeped in celebrity culture – FORTUNE combines the allure of the super-rich with the thrill of first romance, all in a glossy, blockbusting format.

Fortune tells the story of three very different girls – Madison from New York, Simonetta from Rome and Sapphire from London – who all receive mysterious invitations to the 50th birthday of Brad Masters, billionaire record executive. But what could the girls possibly have in common? The truth shocks them all, and turns three strangers into something much closer and more dangerous – after all, family make for the deadliest enemies...

Most of all, though, Fortune is something totally new in the booming teen romance market. So it's time to wet our lips and unashamedly embrace the glitz and glamour of the snogbuster.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Publishing Deal - Curtis Jobling

One for werewolf fans...on today's Booktrade:

Puffin are very excited to announce that we have acquired two fantasy novels in a new series entitled Wereworld by British author and artist Curtis Jobling. Puffin secured world rights for the series for an undisclosed five-figure sum. The Wereworld novels are due for publication in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

WEREWORLD follows the story of fifteen-year-old Drew, a shepherd's son, as he comes of age and discovers he's the last of the long line of Werewolves, and rightful (yet reluctant) ruler of the land of Lyssia, where lycanthrope 'Werelords' reign. Before long he's hurtling headlong into an epic journey of fantasy and horror, from one deadly encounter to the next, meeting exotic Werelords at every turn as he's drawn inexorably towards his destiny.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Library Loot (35), review copies and an ebook

Some long awaited reservations arrived at the library last week.


My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey
The Blakes 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.

Fallen by Kate Lauren
What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours? 17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross ...only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart. Some angels are destined to fall...

The Killer's Daughter by Vivian Oldaker
Emma's life has been turned upside down since her father was accused of murdering her grandmother in Kalos, Greece. Although he was found not guilty, the accusation haunts the family, and they relocate to Wessex in an attempt to make a fresh start. But news of the family's history has travelled with them, and Emma becomes the target of vicious bullies at school. Enough is finally enough, and Emma secretly hatches a plan to visit Kalos to find the truth and try to clear her father's name. But, as the plot begins to thicken, Emma finds herself in grave danger...

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith
CLASSIFIED ADS: WANTED Personal assistant to Her Royal Highness. Duties: Whatever is asked, without hesitation, including but not limited to secretarial / administrative, household, defence, blood donation, driving, companionship, prey disposal, and love slavery. At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high school theatre wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight. Meanwhile, Zachary, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, demoted to human guise as the princess’s personal assistant, must try to save his girl’s soul before all hell arrives, quite literally, on their castle doorstep. In alternating points of view, vampire Miranda and angel Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous love story for the ages.

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
By award-winning author Jerry Spinelli, the story of Stargirl continues...
In the form of letters to Leo, written over the course of a year, this moving and lyrical book charts Stargirl's feelings as she comes to terms with the loss of Leo and starts to make new friends.


Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (finished copy) out 1 March (UK)
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.

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards (UK debut author?) out in July
It's 1582 and eighteen-year-old Will Lacey's family is in trouble. After years of wasteful spending, his late father has run Lacey Hall to near ruin. Tasked with marrying his family back into fortune, the new Earl of Dorset is all set for a season at court to woo not just the Queen but potential brides with his jousting skills. But when Ellie – a strong-willed girl with nothing to her name but a worthless Spanish title – catches Will's eye, he faces a bigger battle than he could ever have anticipated.

Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar out in March
As teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is pursued through the streets of London by murderous hunters, her sister, the Werewolf Enchantress, is busy designing clothes for the Fire Queen. Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands, the MacRinnalch Clan is plotting and feuding after the head of the clan suddenly dies intestate. As the court intrigue threatens to explode in all-out civil war, the competing factions determine that Kalix is the swing vote necessary to assume leadership of the clan. Unfortunately, Kalix isn't really into clan politics - laudanum's more her thing. But what's even more unfortunate is that Kalix is the reason the head of the clan ended up dead, which is why she's now on the run in London ...


I downloaded Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Review: The Enemy by Charlie Higson (audio)

The Enemy by Charlie Higson and narrated by Paul Whitehouse (October 2009, Puffin Audio, ISBN: 9780141328423)

First Line:
Small Sam was playing in the car park behind Waitrose when the grown-ups took him.

Review: An unknown catastrophe has hit the world and all people over the age of fourteen have become ill and either died or become zombie-like shadows of themselves: slow and stupid. The grown-ups attack the remaining children and take them for food. The children we meet first in The Enemy are the Waitrose group, a collection of children living in Waitrose in Holloway who rely on food found by a daily scavenging party. There is a similar group at the Morrisons. Over a year has passed since the world changed and it's getting harder all the time to keep going. After a terrible day of fighting and losing friends, the Waitrose group rescue a boy called Jester who brings news of a safe place in the centre of London. And so both supermarket groups join together and seek out the promised land.

The story switches between the quest and the many trials the enlarged group has to get through, plus the stories of two of the group who have been left behind - one voluntarily and one thought dead.

But what lies at the 'safe place' and is there a catch?

There is much fighting in this book and much as in 24 no characters are bullet-proof and characters you like and sympathise with will die along the way. There are lots of gross descriptions of oozing bodies and skin complaints which should appeal to the boys and there are some strong female characters whom girls can identify with. I can easily picture the deserted London portrayed in the book. The Enemy illustrates the debt children owe parents in keeping them safe and taking all the burdens from them.

This is an unrelentingly tense tale, well narrated by Paul Whitehouse who makes each character readily identifiable by their accent alone. I think The Enemy will appeal to fans of Michael Grant's Gone series and it's also intended to be a multi-part series. I look forward to book two: The Dead.

Cover: The cover's the same as the print book.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Free e-book of Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean

The latest Vampirates novel, Empire of Night, by Justin Somper will be published in the UK on 4 March. For a limited time, the ebook of the first of the series, Demons of the Ocean can be downloaded here.

Connor and Grace are twins, recently orphaned after their widowed father's death. Rather than being adopted by the town's busy-bodies, they decide to set sail for new pastures in their father's last single possession, his sailing boat. But a vicious storm sees their boat capsize and the twins separated. Two mysterious ships sail to their rescue - each picking up one twin before disappearing into the mist. Connor wakes to find himself on a pirate ship and is soon being trained up with a cutlass. Meanwhile Grace finds herself locked in a darkened room, as the vampirates await nightfall...Determined to find each other, yet intrigued by their new shipmates, the twins are about to embark on the biggest adventure of their life...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Merlin moves to Syfy (in the US)

From Digital Spy:

Syfy has acquired the basic cable rights to Merlin.

The first series of the UK fantasy series, which stars Colin Morgan as a young mythical wizard, previously aired on NBC during primetime.

Merlin will now join Syfy's lineup from April, with all 26 episodes from the first two series slated to air.

Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good news for UK fans of Claudia Gray

News from today's Bookseller:

HarperCollins Children's Books will fast-track publication of Claudia Gray's paranormal romance series, Evernight, after signing a three book rights deal.

Evernight will be published next month, with book two in the series, Stargazer, published in May and Hourglass, the third book, following in July.

Describing the series as a "paranormal romance with a twist . . . and a razor-sharp bite", HarperCollins said the book was about shy teenager Bianca, who discovers that nothing at her new school is what it seems, including herself.

Read the article in full, here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Library Loot (34) and review copies

Due to camera fail, I'm still borrowing pictures and descriptions off Waterstone's.



Dead Gorgeous by Malorie Blackman
A tragi-comic mystery story from a best-selling author. Life is tough for Nova. Her frantic parents are obsessed by running their hotel and her older sister seems too grown-up and good-looking to spend time with her any more. Then Nova meets the gorgeous Liam and things start to look up. But Liam is having an even worse time than she is. He's permanently stuck at the hotel and he can't attract his brother's attention either. At least Liam can see how hard Nova is struggling - and, in fact, she's the only one who can see him at all! Could a new friendship between them help them both see the light at the end of the tunnel? A truly thought-provoking and entertaining black comedy from the very talented author of Pig-Heart Boy and, for older readers, Noughts and Crosses.

The Story of Martha by Dan Abnett
For a year, while the Master ruled over the Earth, Martha Jones travelled the world telling people stories about the Doctor. She told people of how the Doctor has saved them before, and how he will save them again. This is that story. It tells of Martha's travels from her arrival on Earth as the Toclafane attacked and decimated the population through to her return to Britain to face the Master. It tells how she spread the word and told people about the Doctor. The story of how she survived that terrible year. Featuring the Doctor and Martha as played by David Tennant and Freema Agyeman in the hit series from BBC Television, "The Story of Martha" is read by Freema Agyeman.

[I reviewed the print book of this last year but this is an abridged version which has, I think, removed the bits I was less keen on.)


Hold Still by Nina LaCour
An arresting story about starting over after a friend’s suicide, froma breakthrough new voice in YA fiction.

dear caitlin, there are so many things that i want so badly to tell you but i just can’t.

Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend’s suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn’t die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid’s descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid—and Caitlin herself.


Lex Trent versus The Gods by Alex Bell (out now in the UK)
A quirky and original comic fantasy from talented Gollancz author Alex Bell Law student Lex Trent's world is inhabited by fearsome magicians, ageing crones and a menagerie of Gods and Goddesses. And while Lex is seemingly dedicated to his legal studies he's always enjoyed a challenge -- which is why he leads a double life as the notorious cat burglar 'The Shadowman' who has been (luckily) evading capture for years. But Lex's luck is about to run out because the Goddess of Fortune has selected him to be her player in the highly dangerous Games. Losing is not an option for Lex (particularly as it so often involves dying) but can he really win each of the perilous rounds? Given that the reward for doing so is money, fame and glory -- all things that Lex is quite keen on -- he's going to do whatever it takes to make sure he will...and he's certainly got good experience of cheating.

The Oracle of Dating by Allison van Diepen (e-review copy, out 1 May in the US)
No one at Kayla’s school knows she’s the famous Oracle of Dating—the anonymous queen of dating advice, given through her own Web site. Kayla doesn’t even have a boyfriend. Two relationship disasters were enough to make her focus on everyone else’s love life. But then her advice backfires on her own best friend. And Kayla starts to seriously obsess about Jared Stewart—the very cute, very mysterious new guy in school. Suddenly, the teen queen of advice needs her own oracle of dating--and she knows just where to find one...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Review: The Mediator (4) Young Blood by Meg Cabot (audio)

The Mediator (4): Young Blood by Meg Cabot and narrated by Johanna Parker (April 2008, Whole Story Audio Books, ISBN: 9781407461533)

First Line:
Summer. Season of long, slow days and short, hot nights.

Notes: Young Blood is the fourth in the six-book Mediator series and was first published in 2001 as The Mediator: Darkest Hour by Jenny Carroll.

Review: Suze Simon, Mediator to ghosts with unresolved issues, is having to work her summer break at the exclusive Carmel hotel, the Pebble Beach Hotel and Golf Resort, where she is employed as a babysitter. One of her charges is the indoor-loving eight-year-old Jack. Suze finally snaps and drags Jack down to the pool and that's how she discovers the reason for his reluctance to venture out. Jack is a Mediator as well and being so young has not handled the situation very well. His parents think there's something wrong with him and he's had no support from his older brother Paul. Paul meanwhile has taken a real interest in Suze. Suze doesn't feel the same way as she's pining over Jesse, the 150-year-old ghost in her bedroom. Bring in the ghosts of Jesse's ex-fiancée and her murderous husband and an excavation in Suze's backyard which might reveal Jesse's bones, then trouble is in store.

Unlike the previous three books, this one's all about Suze and Jesse. We get some back-story on Jesse, discover the depths of Suze's feeling for him and a glimpse of the afterlife. The story is quite tense and I was desperate to reach the end to see what happened. Some new characters have been introduced and I wonder if they'll reappear in the final two books. Somehow true-love must win but I'm not sure how. I did find Suze repeated herself a bit more than necessary in this one, constant reminders on how a relationship with Jesse couldn't work laboured the point a bit.

As before, Johanna Parker's narration is enjoyable and convincing.

The next book in the series is only available on abridged audio (and by another narrator) so I'll be switching to the book for that one. It's a shame it's not available in the Whole Story Audio Books series.

Cover: The cover's in keeping with the look of the series but doesn't particularly match the book.

Publishing Deal (UK) - L J Smith

Great news for UK fans of L J Smith:

Simon & Schuster Children's Books has acquired UK & Commonwealth rights in two L. J. Smith novels.

Never published in the UK before, The Night of the Solstice and Heart of Valour are classic fantasy adventures with wide age appeal and follow a gang of kids on a journey into a parallel world of legend and danger. The Night of the Solstice was the first book ever written by L. J. Smith - originally published in the US in 1987 – and has been updated by the author this year.

The Night of the Solstice will publish in September 2010, followed by its sequel, Heart of Valour, in January 2011.

...teen trilogy, The Forbidden Game, will publish as a bind-up edition in July 2010.

Read the press release in full at Book 2 Book.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Publishing Deal - Libba Bray

From Publishers Weekly, details of a new YA series by Libba Bray:

Libba Bray, hot off her Printz win for Going Bovine, has landed a major book deal at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers... a new YA series called The Diviners [ ] a planned four-book series, which will bow in hardcover in fall 2012.

In The Diviners, a supernatural fantasy series set in Manhattan during the 1920s, Bray follows a teen heroine she says is reminiscent of two of the era's most famous literary women—Zelda Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker. Bray, who admitted to having always been fascinated by the Jazz Age, said she's looking forward "to offering readers a wild new ride full of dames and dapper dons, jazz babies and Prohibition-defying parties, conspiracy and prophecy—and all manner of things that go bump in the neon-drenched night.”

Read the whole article, here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Review: Fly on the Wall by E Lockhart

Fly on the Wall by E Lockhart (May 2008, Corgi Childrens, ISBN: 0552556246)

First Lines:

Friday. I am eating alone in the lunchroom.

Review: Gretchen Lee attends the Manhattan School for Art and Music. She is a talented artist specialising in comic book style drawing. At the Ma-Ha school every one tries to fit in by being different rather than conforming but Gretchen considers herself too ordinary to fit in and really only has one friend and a crush on a class-mate whom she's too shy to speak to.

She doesn't understand boys and in a fit of honesty says that she'd love to be fly on the wall of the boys' locker room, not expecting that her wish would come true and that the experience will change her life.

Fly on the Wall is a short book but covers a lot of ground in terms of issues of self-image (male and female), sexuality (gay and straight), racism and the repercussions of divorce but it does it in a light way and a way that the reader can relate to, as well as enjoying the humour. I raced through this book, staying up late to finish it and will seek out more of the author's work.

Cover: Very appropriate cover for the middle third of the book!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Published in February (UK)

Here are some of the titles that are published in the UK in February. Most are for the first time, but a couple are the paperback editions of an earlier hardback release. I will put a link to this post and previous and subsequent "monthly" lists in my sidebar. Title links go to Feel free to let me know of others to add to the list. Most of this information is culled from many back-issues of The Bookseller.

A list of titles published in January, can be found here.

Anthology - Shades of Love (1st, Piccadilly Press, pb)
Tom Becker - Darkside: Blackjack (1st, Scholastic, pb)
Alex Bell - Lex Trent Versus the Gods (4th, Headline, pb) UK Debut
Kate Brian - Suspicion (4th, Simon & Schuster Children's, pb)
Melody Carlson - Anything but Normal (Revel, pb)
Lauren Conrad - Sweet Little Lies (4th, HarperCollins Children's Books, HB)
Joanne Dahme - Tombstone Tea (4th, Running Press, pb)
Melissa de la Cruz - Blue Bloods (22nd, Atom, pb)
Melissa de la Cruz - Masquerade (22nd, Atom, pb)
Sarah Dessen - Along for the Ride (4th, Puffin, pb)
John Dickinson - The Fatal Child (4th, David Fickling Books, pb)
Jackie Dolamore - Magic Under Glass (1st, Bloomsbury, pb)
Steve Feasey - Changeling: Blood Wolf (5th, Children's Books, pb)
Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl - Beautiful Creatures (4th, Puffin, pb)
Libby Gleeson - Mahtab's Story (1st, Allen & Unwin, pb)
Gaby Halberstam - The Red Dress (6th, Children's Books, pb)
MG Harris - Zero Moment (1st, Scholastic, pb)
Rook Hastings - Nearly Departed (4th, HarperCollins Children's Books, pb)
Chris Higgins - Tapas and Tears (4th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Marie-Louise Jensen - Daughter of Fire and Ice (4th, OUP, pb)
Carrie Jones - Need (1st, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Lindsey Leavitt - Princess for Hire (1st, Egmont, pb)
Gabrielle Lord - Conspiracy 365: February (4th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Michelle Lovric - The Undrowned Child (4th, Orion Childrens, pb)
Andy McNab - DropZone Book One (4th, Doubleday & Co Inc, HB)
Cliff McNish - Savannah Grey (4th, Orion Childrens, pb)
Gemma Malley - The Returners (1st, Bloomsbury, HB)
Sarra Manning - Nobody's Girl (4th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Richelle Mead - Shadow Kiss (4th, Puffin, pb)
Sam Mills - Blackout (4th, Faber, pb)
Stephanie Morrill - Out with the in Crowd (Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt) (Revell, pb)
Robert Muchamore - Henderson's Boys: Secret Army (4th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Tamsyn Murray - My So-Called Afterlife (1st, Piccadilly Press, pb) UK Debut
James Patterson - Maximum Ride: Max (4th, Arrow (Young), pb)
Gabriella Poole - Darke Academy: Blood Ties (4th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Laura Powell - The Master of Misrule (4th, Orchard, pb)
Louise Rennison - Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? (4th, HarperCollins Children's Books, pb)
Rosie Rushton - Echoes of Love (1st, Piccadilly Press, pb)
Alex Scarrow - TimeRiders (4th, Puffin, pb) review
Neil Shusterman - Everwild (4th, Simon & Schuster Children's, pb)
L J Smith - Secret Circle : The Captive (2) and The Power (4th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Jason Wallace - Out of Shadows (4th, Andersen Press Ltd, pb) UK Debut
Sarah Webb - Amy Green Teen Agony Queen: Summer Secrets (1st, Walker, pb)
Philip Womack - The Liberators (1st, Bloomsbury, pb)