Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Free Book with Bliss Magazine

The September edition of Bliss magazine (£2.50) comes with a free copy of Amy Meredith's Shadows which I loved and reviewed earlier this year.

The September issue of Bliss is out now and it's stuffed with everything you need to finish your summer. Our cover girl is Demi Lovato and she gave us the lowdown on everything from being mates with Miley to how to get over a Jonas! Plus we've got heaps on Autumn/Winter fashion, McFly are back with freaky facts and there's amazing free gifts - Glee stickers, amazing book A Dark Touch Novel: Shadows and some sweet treats. What are you waiting for? Get your copy now!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison (July 2010, HarperCollins Children's Books, ISBN: 9780007156832)

First Lines:

Wow. This is it. This is me growing up.

Review: Being a recent convert to the YA genre I've missed out on Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicolson series so I thought I'd jump in at the beginning of her new series featuring Tallulah Casey. (Tallulah is apparently a cousin of Georgia.)

Tallulah is fourteen and a half and has super-long legs (with knobbly knees) and no chest to speak of yet. These things depress her. She has decided she wants to be a performance artist and gets permission from her absentee parents to spend the six weeks' holiday at Dother Hall, a performing arts college on the Yorkshire Moors. Because she is late applying she is not boarding at the school but staying with a local family, the Dobbins - mum, dad and two starey-eyed twin boys.

Tallulah soon makes friends - Vaisey who is staying at the local pub, Ruby a precocious ten year old who lives at the pub, plus a group of girls at the school. The story covers some of the classes at the school and the girls meets with some of the residents from a neighbouring boys only school, Woolfe Academy. Tallulah also has a hate-hate relationship with local ruffian, Cain Hinchcliff and a crush on Ruby's older brother Alex.

There's plenty keeping Tallulah busy but she may not be cut-out for the stage. Can she convince the headmistress to let her come back for the next school year?

Withering Tights is extremely funny. It had me laughing aloud a lot, not something books usually make me do! Tallulah is someone you're rooting for and you want her to reveal a hidden talent - other than being very tall. The main characters are all very likeable and young Ruby is priceless. It's a sweet read, with no spiteful characters and the Dobbins family take Tallulah to their bosom and give her a taste of conventional family-life, very unlike her own. I flew through this book and can't wait to see what the next instalment will bring. (According to Louise Rennison's website there are to be two more books about Tallulah.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Davitt Awards 2010 - YA Winner

The winner in the YA category of the Davitt Awards was announced last night, and it was Justine Larbalestier for Liar. From the Sisters in Crime website:

..competition was fierce this year among the exciting and original batch of children’s and young adult crime novels.

“Justine Larbalestier’s Liar is aimed squarely at the older end of the market, and as such could easily be picked up and devoured by the discriminating adult reader as well,” “This is a book which may not be to the tastes of all readers, but which grabs you by the jugular from the first page and drags you headfirst into it. It is elegantly and skilfully structured, told from the point of view of an unreliable main character whose lies and truths have the reader questioning and re-questioning what they believe and what they think they believe. This is an extraordinary novel.”

Larbalestier, who divides her life between Sydney and New York, was unable to receive her award in person. She is currently in New York and sent a message saying she was overjoyed to be recognised as a crime writer as her book, while “very positively received”, has been widely been interpreted as being a different genre entirely from the one she intended it to be.

The full shortlist can be found here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Library Loot (63), 2 review copies, 2 purchases


Kite Identity 1: Soft Targets by Harry Edge
New Yorker, Luke Kite has been estranged from his multi-millionaire father, Jack, for years. The result of a one night stand, he has never been acknowledged as heir to his father's globally successful business, Kite Industries - unlike his English half-sister Megan, the apple of her daddy's eye. But when his father is mysteriously killed on Luke's 17th birthday, Luke and Megan are brought together as they uncover the dark secrets, and corruption at the heart of their father's multi-billion business empire. Jack's death was not an accident, nor was the hit and run incident that Megan herself, narrowly escaped the day he died...The threats don't end there, as Megan again becomes a target for killer when she's staying at Jack's London flat. Again she escapes death, and another girl is killed in her place, but now Megan is on the run. Using her best-friend's identity, she travels to New York, to Poland, and Tokyo in order to escape whoever wants her dead. Luke, too, is wary of all those around him, even his mother and his reliable Uncle Mike, his dad's brother. Who can he trust and how can he protect his half-sister? In a tense game of cat and mouse, Luke needs all his resources to narrow down his enemies and those of Megan...what he discovers destroys what little faith he has in his so-called family, and in his own identity as no one is quite who they seem. As the action draws to a nail-biting conclusion, Luke and Megan discover a bond that that will carry them through the danger and subterfuge they have ahead of them, and the Kite Identity is born...

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
A prodigal son. A dangerous love. Haunted yearning...Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood. Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother. As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.

Vintage by Maxine Linnell
A fresh and funny début novel about freedom, expectations and how, just maybe, you can be what you want to be.

Holly and Marilyn are both 16. Holly is dissatisfied with life. She hangs round with her gay best friend Kyle and tries to avoid her mother as much as possible. Meanwhile Marilyn sleeps in rollers and dresses like her mother and does what she is told. Holly fancies the guy who has just moved in opposite, but Marilyn is not sure about sex at all. Holly lives in 2009, Marilyn lives in 1962 – the same house. Just suppose they swapped places...

Conspiracy 365: August by Gabrielle Lord
On New Year's Eve, Callum Ormond is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning:

They killed your father.
They'll kill you.
You must survive the next 365 days.

Cal is fighting for his sister’s life. But nobody believes the ‘psycho kid’ and he’s running out of people he can trust. He doesn’t even know which of his enemies he’s facing.
How many hard-won treasures will he have to relinquish in return for his sister’s safety?


The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner (reissue 2 Sep)
Enthralling sequel to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

It is the Eve of Gomrath – the night of the year when the Old Magic is aroused. Had Colin and Susan known this, they would never have lighted a fire on the Beacon, thereby releasing the uncontrollable ferocity of the Wild Hunt. Soon they are inextricably caught up in the struggle between their friend, the Wizard Cadellin, and the evil Morrigan.

The strength of their courage will determine whether or not they survive the awaiting ordeal…

Blood Ransom
by Sophie McKenzie (1 October)
Clones Rachel and Theo now live thousands of miles apart. They keep in touch, but things just aren't the same. When Rachel discovers that evil scientist Elijah is still working in secret for a section of the government and about to murder Daniel, she sets out to rescue the little boy, but her plans backfire with disastrous consequences. Across the Atlantic, Theo becomes suspicious when Rachel misses their weekly internet chat. He discovers a report online saying she's killed herself and travels to Scotland to find her, certain that she has been kidnapped. A clue leads him to Elijah's mysterious clinic, where the sinister Aphrodite Experiment is underway. But what is Elijah really planning? Why does he need to track Rachel down so badly? And will Rachel and Theo be able to pay the ultimate ransom that he demands?


Confessions of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway
Morgan is so over being first daughter.

Morgan Abbott has no social life and no privacy, and her one major talent is screwing things up. Unfortunately for Morgan, every mistake makes front page headlines—because her mom is the president of the United States. To top it all off, she's been assigned a brainiac secret service agent who's barely older than she is and won't let her out of his sight (never mind that he's kind of cute). Torture!

But when her mom has to slip away on secret business and needs a decoy to cover for her, Morgan is the only one who can help. With a bit of makeup, a little ingenuity, and a lot of family resemblance, Morgan soon has everyone calling her "Madam President." Can she pull it off? Or will she mess everything up . . . again?

by Sharon Dogar
For fifteen-year-old Hal Ditton and his family, summer has always meant six glorious weeks by the sea. But this year is differen - Charley, Hal's sister, is lying in a coma. When the troubled family makes the difficult decision to return to their holiday home without her, Hal finds it harder than anyone to shake off his eder sister's presence. In fact, Hal's mind is crowded with thoughts of Charley, and the events that led to her accident on the beach last summer - thoughts which, he comes to realise, are not entirely his own.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Audiobooks of Handbook for Boys and Oliver Twist

Until 1 September, two free audiobooks have been available every week to download (for 7 days only) from Sync. The final selection is:

From 8/26 - 9/1,

HANDBOOK FOR BOYS by Walter Dean Myers (Read by Peter Francis James)
Download Courtesy of Harper Audio

OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens (Read by Martin Jarvis)
Download Courtesy of AudioGO

These titles are available for ONE WEEK ONLY, no exceptions, so get them while they last!

Unfortunately Oliver Twist is only available in the US and Canada. (For non-UKers, Martin Jarvis is a well-known actor who famously narrates the Just William stories amongst many other books and always with a twinkle in his eye. I'm very disappointed that I'm not able to download Oliver Twist.)

You have to download a small piece of software (Overdrive) before being allowed to download the mp3 files.

Download from here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - The Body Finder

I'm waiting on the UK edition of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting which is published on 11 November by Headline.

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies -- or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world...and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift, but now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer -- and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer...and becoming his prey herself.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Review: Conspiracy 365: June by Gabrielle Lord

Conspiracy 365: June by Gabrielle Lord (June 2010, Hodder Children's Books, ISBN: 0340996498)

First Lines:

1 June
214 days to go...

Big River State Forest

12.00 am

Everything fizzed and flickered out.

Review: June is the sixth in the Conspiracy 365 series in which a new book comes out at the beginning of every month for a whole year. I reviewed January a few months ago and I'm still reading and enjoying this series.

Slight spoilers for the earlier books may follow:

Fifteen-year-old Cal Ormond is on the run. He's suspected of hurting members of his family and two sets of criminals are after him and he has to stay alive for 365 days. It's all to do with the 'Ormond Singularity' but what that is, Cal nor the reader yet knows. Connected to the Singularity are others things called Ormond: the Ormond Angel, the Ormond Riddle and most recently, the Ormond Jewel. January set the premise of the series up and since then Cal has been in multiple scrapes and life-threatening situations and it was only in May that he began to get some information together about what's going on and discover how the bad guys always knew where he was.

After a trip into the countryside in May, June finds him returning home to the city and getting help from his best friend Boges and Winter, the ward of one of the criminals after him. He's not sure if he can trust her as she's very mysterious but she has saved his life before. Some familiar, friendly, faces from earlier books also reappear.

Most of the story is action but each book begins with a recap of the previous month and Cal usually tells his story to one of the characters in the current book so I don't think it would be too hard to pick-up the story if you began this series part-way through the year.

Conspiracy 365 is an action-packed series which should appeal to fans of thrillers. Each book ends on a cliff-hanger which makes you desperate to read the next one. The underlying mystery of the Ormond family, is slowly coming together and next month, July, it's Cal's birthday which is a significant one, so I imagine the baddies won't hold back on trying to find him.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Library Loot (62)


Conspiracy 365: July by Gabrielle Lord
On New Year's Eve, Callum Ormond is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning:

They killed your father.
They'll kill you.
You must survive the next 365 days.

Cal is running out of places to hide. Everywhere he goes, someone seems to be behind him, tracking his every move. They don’t care who they hurt to get to him.
As his sixteenth birthday approaches, the threat to him and his family increases. Nobody is safe while the secret of the Ormond Singularity remains unsolved. And Cal’s enemies will do anything to make sure he doesn’t see his sixteenth ...

He has 184 days.
He can’t hide for ever ...

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison
The misadventures of Tallulah Casey…
Hilarious new series from Queen of Teen – laugh your tights off at the (VERY) amateur dramatic antics of Talullah and her bonkers mates. Boys, snogging and bad acting guaranteed!

Picture the scene: Dother Hall performing arts college somewhere Up North, surrounded by rolling dales, bearded cheesemaking villagers (male and female) and wildlife of the squirrely-type.
On the whole, it’s not quite the showbiz experience Tallulah was expecting… but once her mates turn up and they start their ‘FAME! I’m gonna liiiiive foreeeeeever, I’m gonna fill my tiiiiights’ summer course things are bound to perk up.
Especially when the boys arrive. (When DO the boys arrive?)
Six weeks of parent-free freedom.
BOY freedom.
Freedom of expression…
cos it’s the THEATRE dahling, theatre!!

White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick
It's summer. Rebecca is an unwilling visitor to Winterfold - taken from the buzz of London and her friends and what she thinks is the start of a promising romance. Ferelith already lives in Winterfold - it's a place that doesn't like to let you go, and she knows it inside out - the beach, the crumbling cliff paths, the village streets, the woods, the deserted churches and ruined graveyards, year by year being swallowed by the sea. Against her better judgement, Rebecca and Ferelith become friends, and during that long, hot, claustrophobic summer they discover more about each other and about Winterfold than either of them really want to, uncovering frightening secrets that would be best left long forgotten. Interwoven with Rebecca and Ferelith's stories is that of the seventeenth century Rector and Dr Barrieux, master of Winterfold Hall, whose bizarre and bloody experiments into the after-life might make angels weep, and the devil crow.

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
by Francisco X Stork
When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short. If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assigned to hep DQ, whose brain cancer has slowed neither his spirit nor his mouth. DQ tells Pancho all about his "Death Warrior's Manifesto", which will help him to live out his last days fully - ideally, he says with the love of the beautiful Marisol. As Pancho tracks down his sister's murderer, he finds himself falling under the influence of DQ and Marisol, and beginning to understand that there's more to life than revenge and more to death than sadness.

Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Lucy has nine months to break an ancient curse in order to save both herself and her unborn daughter.

Inspired by the ballad “Scarborough Fair,” this riveting novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale.

Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child’s birth. But Lucy is the first girl who won’t be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents and her childhood friend Zach beside her. Do they have love and strength enough to overcome an age-old evil?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Read The Alchemyst - online

Michael Scott's The Alchemyst is being made available to read online for free, but in instalments rather than all in one go:

"From 20th August until 30th September 2010, you can read The Alchemyst online, for free!
The first exciting instalment will be available to read until Thursday 2nd September.
Check back for the 2nd instalment, on 3rd September."

Read part one here.

Synopsis: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty and Nicholas Flamel lives. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects - the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won't know what's happening until it's too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. Sometimes legends are true. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Free Audio Book of Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Until 1 September, two free audio books will be available every week to download (for 7 days only) from Sync. This week's selection is:

From 8/19 - 8/25,

WONDROUS STRANGE by Lesley Livingston (Read by Lesley Livingston)
Download Courtesy of Harper Audio

A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM by William Shakespeare (Read by Michael Maloney et al.)
Download Courtesy of Naxos Audio

Unfortunately Wondrous Strange is only available in the US, Canada & Open Market (UK & Commonwealth excluded). You have to download a small piece of software (Overdrive) before being allowed to download the mp3 files.

Download from here.

Trailer Thursday - Scarlett Dedd

Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett is published on 2 September, by Headline (UK).

You're dead Scarlett...Previously a poor taste jibe from school frenemies, now a statement of fact. Scarlett is absolutely mortified (in more ways than one) to discover that she's accidentally killed herself while trying to get out of a school trip. Even worse, she's taken her entire family with her. Life as a ghost is pretty dull - if only some of her friends were dead too...

Headline have kindly sent me the code for the following trailer, produced by the author herself:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Free Audio Book of Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

The audio book of Holly Cupala's debut novel Tell Me a Secret, published in June, is being made available as a serialised podcast, between now and December, which you can download via iTunes or RSS. Narrated by Jenna Lamia, the first two chapters are now available. Subscribe via the website (click on audiobook, top right of the box).

It's tough living in the shadow of a dead girl. . . .

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda's death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams - a best friend to unlock her sister's world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all - Miranda has a secret all her own.

When two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears, Miranda is stripped of her former life. She must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister's demons and her own.

In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

Waiting on Wednesday - Out of the Depths

Unfortunately we've got to wait until August 2011 for this one, Out of the Depths by Cathy MacPhail, published by Bloomsbury (UK).

'I saw my teacher in the queue in Tesco's last Christmas. Miss Baxter. I was surprised to see her. She'd been dead six months'.

In "Out of the Depths", Cathy MacPhail introduces her latest character, Tyler Lawless, who has an unusual and sometimes scary gift. She is able to see dead people. And sometimes they speak to her, asking for her help.

When Tyler is sent to a new school because her so called 'storytelling' about seeing dead teachers gets her into too much trouble, she is hoping to make a fresh start. But it is very difficult to make a new start when boys who are supposed to be dead appear in your classroom, and statues in the school seem to move and point towards one part of school in particular - the chapel, where the dead boy, Ben Kincaid, was murdered ...

Will Tyler be able to assist Ben with his pleas for help, or will she just be dismissed again as an attention-seeking teller of tall tales? This is a thrilling and spooky tale from the acclaimed Cathy MacPhail.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review: Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani

Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani (April 2010, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, ISBN: 1847389260)

First Line: You would not want to be me.

Review: Fourteen year old Viola Chesterton is sent from her home in Brooklyn to South Bend, Indiana, to stay for a year at the Prefect Academy (for girls) whilst her documentary-film-maker parents go on a lengthy assignment in Afghanistan.

Needless to say Viola is not happy at leaving her family, friends, school and potential boyfriend and initially is determined to be miserable. Fortunately her three room-mates encourage her to change her attitude and she finds that her skills with her camera may just change her life.

Viola in Reel Life is a heart-warming read, a feel-good book, a fairy-tale even. Contrary to what I was expecting, it's not full of conflict and angst rather it's just Viola growing up amongst a very supportive set of friends. At first Viola isn't particularly likeable but she mellows out. Whilst at boarding school, Viola experiences her first dance, her first boyfriend and makes her first film. These events are told at a steady pace, with no real tension, except near the end, but it's a very pleasant read. There is a touch of the supernatural that pushes Viola in one direction but it's very slight. I enjoyed Viola in Reel Life, and I'll certainly read the follow up, Viola in the Spotlight published next year, so that I can meet her New York friends which include her best friend Andrew.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Library Loot (61) & a review copy


The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Everything that happened this past summer, and every summer before it, has all led up to this. To now. Every year Isabel spends a perfect summer at her family friends’ house. There’s the swimming pool at night, the private stretch of sandy beach . . . and the two boys. Unavailable, aloof Conrad – who she’s been in love with forever – and friendly, relaxed Jeremiah, the only one who’s ever really paid her any attention. But this year something is different. They seem to have noticed her for the first time. It’s going to be an amazing summer – and one she’ll never forget . . .

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski
“See, I was at the mall and I dropped my phone into the fountain. And I had been thinking about all the things I would tell myself if I could call myself when I was fourteen. And now I’m talking to you.”
“What,” I say slowly, “are you talking about?” I would hang up, should hang up, but she sounds so familiar.
“Don’t you see?” she says, bursting with excitement. “I’m pretty sure I’m you. In the future.”

Devi is a mess. Her boyfriend just dumped her, and the only college that accepted her is known to everyone as ‘Stupid State’. But suddenly, she can talk to herself three-and-a-half years earlier – which means she can totally change her future for the better! Either that, or create hilarious and disastrous consequences...

Boy vs Girl
by Na'ima B Robert
Farhana swallowed and reached for the hijab. But then she saw with absolute clarity the weird looks from the other girls at school, and the smirks from the guys. Did she dare? And then there was Malik... What should she do about him? Faraz was thinking about Skrooz and the lads. Soon he would finally have the respect of the other kids at school. But at what price? He heard Skrooz's voice, sharp as a switchblade: "This thing is powerful, blud. But you have to earn it, see? Just a few more errands for me..." They're twins, born 6 minutes apart. Both are in turmooil and both have life-changing choices to make, against the peaceful backdrop of Ramadan. Do Farhana and Faraz have enough courage to do the right thing? And can they help each other - or will one of them draw the other towards catastrophe?


Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett (2 September, Headline)
You're dead Scarlett...

Previously a poor taste jibe from school frenemies, now a statement of fact.

Scarlett is absolutely mortified (in more ways than one) to discover that she's accidentally killed herself while trying to get out of a school trip. Even worse, she's taken her entire family with her.

Life as a ghost is pretty dull - if only some of her friends were dead too...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Free Audio Book of Beastly by Alex Flinn

Until 1 September, two free audio books will be available every week to download from Sync. This week's selection is:

From 8/12 - 8/18,
Sync is offering these fabulous FREE audiobook downloads:

BEASTLY by Alex Flinn (Read by Chris Patton)
Download Courtesy of Brilliance Audio

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE by Robert Louis Stevenson (Read
by Scott Brick)
Download Courtesy of Tantor Media

Unfortunately Beastly is only available in the US and Canada. You have to download a small piece of software (Overdrive) before being allowed to download the mp3 files.

Download from here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Dark Heart Forever

I haven't done a Waiting on Wednesday post for a while but Dark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe caught my eye as it's a paranormal romance by a UK author for a change. It's published by Hodder Children's Books on 7 October (UK).

Jane Jonas is nearing her 16th birthday and troubled by unsettling recurring dreams where the same mysterious boy her age comes to her, telling Jane that they are each other's destiny. Her mother is increasingly anxious about Jane's disruptive sleepwalking episodes, but for Jane her dream world and reality are about to collide ...

When she develops a friendship with an enigmatic stranger in town, the blond, uber-cool Evan, it's exciting, it's new, and Jane wants him more than she's ever wanted anybody - until her mystery dream boy gets in the way.

Now Jane is caught between two worlds: one familiar, but tinged with romance and excitement; the other dark and dangerous, where angels, werewolves, the undead, and an irresistible stranger are trying to seduce her ...

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Review: Aries Rising by Bonnie Hearn Hill

Aries Rising by Bonnie Hearn Hill (March 2010, Running Press, ISBN: 0762436700)

First Line: It started with a wish.

Review: Aries Rising is the first in the Star Crossed series; Taurus Eyes came out in May and Gemini Night is due out in August.

Logan McRae is an ordinary sophomore student at Terra Bella Beach High in California. She has a couple of major things on her wish list - win the writing fellowship to Monterey and attract the attention of hottie Nathan.

Her demanding English teacher, Mr Franklin aka Mr Frankenstein, believes she has the writing talent but she refuses to write anything personal. Her mum is a professional golfer, never at home and this hurts Logan more than she will admit. Rootling in her dad's study one day she discovers a book called Fearless Astrology and this is when her life begins to change. She absorbs the information and by learning their zodiac signs starts to use it to good effect on Mr Franklin and Nathan. Soon she becomes known as Astro Girl and a column in the school paper beckons. But the one thing that would seal her fellowship win is to discover who the Gears are - a group who started out doing annoying pranks but whose acts have become progressively more hurtful. Logan's investigations and predictions of the Gears behaviour, bring her a lot of trouble and heartache but also an increasing confidence - but will she win the fellowship, will she get her man?

I've been waiting to read this for ages (ie waiting for the library to buy it) and I was so worried I'd be disappointed, but I really enjoyed Aries Rising. I flew through it - and can't wait to continue reading about Logan and her two close friends Paige and Chili. It's a light read with plenty of astrology information and whether you believe in it or not, Logan certainly benefits from it in the long run. Logan is a likeable character who does what's right even at the risk of losing something dear to herself. Her friends are incredibly supportive and there is some romance for them as well. The suspenseful plot is quite twisty and I couldn't predict the ending - I had all sorts of incorrect ideas about the identity of the Gears!

(Making Aries Rising seem even more exotic is its unusual size: wider and shorter than a UK paperback; plus, as well as an excerpt from the next book, there are some temporary tattoos in the back - unfortunately this was a library book so I had to leave them there!)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Free Audio Book of Does My Head Look Big in This?

Until 1 September, two free audio books will be available every week to download from Sync. This week's selection is:
From 8/5 - 8/11,

DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Read by Rebecca Macauley)
Download Courtesy of Bolinda Audio

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith (Read by Kate Burton)
Download Courtesy of Harper Audio

There are no geographical restrictions on Does My Head Look Big in This?. You have to download a small piece of software (Overdrive) before being allowed to download the mp3 files.

Download from here.

Library Loot (60) & review copies & a prize(?)


The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
Madison always thought she understood how Karma worked. It's that mysterious, powerful force that brings harmony to the universe. You know - do good things and you will be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what's coming to you. A sort of cosmic balancing act. But when Mason Brooks, Maddy's boyfriend of two years, gets caught tongue-wrestling with Miss Perfect Body Heather Campbell, and absolutely nothing happens to either of them - except that they wind up the hot new couple of Colonial High School, it seems like Karma has officially left Maddy in the lurch. That's why Maddy and her best friends, Angie and Jade, decide to start the Karma Club - a secret organisation whose sole purpose is to clean up the messes that the universe has been leaving behind. Whether they're modifying Heather Campbell's acne cream as part of 'Operation Butterface', or righting a few wrongs when it comes to Angie and Jade's own slimy exes, they know they're just doing what karma should have done in the first place. They're taking care of one another.


Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie
Lauren has always known she was adopted but when a little research turns up the possibility that she was snatched from an American family as a baby, suddenly Lauren's life seems like a sham. How can she find her biological parents? And are her adoptive parents really responsible for kidnapping her? She manages to wangle a trip across the Atlantic where she runs away to try and find the truth. But the circumstances of her disappearance are murky and Lauren's kidnappers are still at large and willing to do anything to keep her silent...

Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie
When Theo discovers the father he thought died when he was a baby is still alive, he's determined to find him. The clues lead him to the lonely Rachel, who has problems of her own, including parents who compare her unfavourably to her long-dead sister. But when Rachel and Theo are attacked by men from RAGE - the Righteous Army against Genetic Engineering - at Rachel's school disco, they are rescued by strangers and taken to meet a mysterious figure. There, they both make some startling discoveries about their identities, which will affect their past, present, and future in dramatic and life-altering ways...

City of Thieves by Ellen Renner
"The final shock of it hit home. The Petches were thieves, and they had stolen him."

Tobias is on the run. From the father who betrayed him...from the mother who couldn't comfort him...from his own desperate fear. But when he falls into the clutches of his uncle's sinister gang of thieves, his fear grows. And soon Toby realises, his nightmare has only just begun...

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
There I was: Cammie the Chameleon—the Gallagher Girl who had risked the most sacred sisterhood in the history of espionage. For a boy. But I was through with lying. And sneaking around. I was going to be...myself.

Despite Cammie’s best intentions to be a normal student, danger seems to follow her. Cammie and her friends must clear her name by discovering the truth about some mysterious guests...but this time the stakes for Cammie’s heart – and her beloved school – are even higher.

Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton (Updated edition)
The very first Famous Five adventure, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy.

There's a shipwreck off Kirrin Island - but where is the treasure? The Famous Five are on the trail - looking for clues - but they're not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first?

Prize (?) not sure whether this one's a review or competition prize as there's no paperwork with it.

Noughts & Crosses (inc An Eye for an Eye)
by Malorie Blackman
Sephy is a Cross - a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a nought - a 'colourless' member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood. But that's as far as it can go. Until the first steps are taken towards more social equality and a limited number of Noughts are allowed into Cross schools...Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity by Noughts, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum - a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Publishing Deal - Cassandra Clare

From Publishers Weekly:

Simon & Schuster has signed books five and six in Cassandra Clare's bestselling YA series, The Mortal Instruments. S&S says there are more than three million copies of the series' three published titles in print. Clare launched The Mortal Instruments in 2007, with City of Bones, about a teenage demon slayer; City of Ashes and City of Glass followed. Book four, City of Fallen Angels, is scheduled for April 2011.

The two new books under contract--City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire--are scheduled, respectively, for May 2012 and September 2013.

Publishing Deal - Jenny Downham

Announced on Booktrade, details of Jenny Downham's next book, You Against Me:

David Fickling Books is delighted to announce the publication of a new novel from Jenny Downham, author of the international bestseller Before I Die.

You Against Me, an intense and uncompromising novel about loyalty and the choices that come with it, will be published on 2nd December 2010.

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's accused of a terrible crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him, don't you?

When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel.

When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.

David Fickling comments: "Jenny Downham's second novel is amazing. Say no more. Read it now."

Jenny's agent, Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates, comments: 'This is a love story, but it reads like a thriller. We know we are in the hands of one of our most brilliant writers.'

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Publishing Deal - Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, published in the UK in May will be released in the US on 28 June 2011. From Booktrade:

Random House Children's Books UK is delighted to announce a deal for the right to publish FORBIDDEN by Tabitha Suzuma with Simon Pulse in the U.S. Simon Pulse is due to publish 28 June 2011.

Mary Marotta, VP, Director of Children's Sales comments: "I was drawn to Maya and Lochan's story from page one and this was probably one of the most angst ridden books I've read in awhile. Despite what I would typically think, I found myself rooting for them and wanting them to be together. The writing was superb and this would be on my recommended list of 'page turner, must be read in one sitting'!"

Annie Eaton, Publisher Fiction, RHCB, adds: "Tabitha Suzuma's heart-rending story of forbidden love is a compelling and inspired work. She guides the reader to an understanding of how a tender relationship can become something that is wrong, taboo and against society. This is a beautifully and sensitively told story, with characters you really believe in from the first page right up to the inevitable devastating conclusion."

FORBIDDEN is the incredibly compelling and heart wrenching love story of Maya, pretty, talented, sweet sixteen and never been kissed and Lochan, seventeen, gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. But ...They are brother and sister.

Tabitha Suzuma is an award-winning author who never shies away from challenging subject matter for older readers. The book will contain a warning explaining that this is strictly for older readers.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review: Doctor Who: Apollo 23 by Justin Richards

Doctor Who: Apollo 23 by Justin Richards (April 2010, BBC Books, ISBN: 9781846072000)

First Line: Twenty minutes before he died, Donald Babinger was feeding bits of cheese sandwich to a pigeon.

Review: The Doctor and Amy arrive (by accident) near a shopping centre and Amy takes the opportunity to get some retail therapy except she doesn't get very far. Apparently an astronaut has just appeared in the burger place in the shopping mall and a man in the park outside, seems to have suffocated. The Doctor soon realises that quantum displacement is occurring, and allows the TARDIS to follow the source of the displacement activity, which turns out to be a secret US base on the dark side of the moon. The quantum displacement system has been damaged and the Doctor sets about fixing it but someone's not happy about that, and sends the Doctor back to Earth, apparently stranded. Amy is left on the moon to discover that an invasion is being planned. Can the Doctor get back to the moon and prevent the aliens from taking over the Earth?

Apollo 23 is one of the first set of three novels to feature the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond. I don't imagine the writers had much opportunity to watch the actors in action before composing their stories. Regular Doctor Who novelist, Justin Richards captures the new Doctor and Amy very well and you can hear Matt Smith's distinctive delivery in your head as you read his dialogue. I've read a few new Who books and listened to several of the audio books and Apollo 23 is a solid addition to the series. It has a very intriguing start and though the rest of the story doesn't reach the same high standard, it held my interest throughout. You do have to suspend disbelief a little with some aspects of the alien invasion - I know this sounds a bit rich when we readily accept a Time Lord in a space-time travelling blue box - but nonetheless some of it seems very unlikely. However, taken at face value, this is time spent in the Doctor's company, which can't be bad, and he gets some great lines.

(I'm a Who fan but not an expert but I picked up a few episode references such as The Satan Pit and Victory of the Daleks. This adventure stands alone from the recent series; there're no mentions of Rory or cracks in time.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Publishing Deals - Josephine Angelini & Gina Blaxill

From the press release at Booktrade, these two have been bought by Macmillan Children's Books:

STARCROSSED, by US debut author Josephine Angelini, is a steamy, pulse-racing mix of Greek mythology and high-school romance. Editor Rachel Petty says, 'Who wants a pasty vampire or a hairy werewolf when you can have a bronzed demi-god? I was starry-eyed over this unique romance from page one.' STARCROSSED, the first in a trilogy, publishes in June 2011.

Twenty-four-year-old Gina Blaxill's PRETTY TWISTED is a dark, edgy and impeccably plotted teen thriller. Editor Emma Young says, 'Gina's debut crime novel is so edge-of-your-seat compelling (and disturbing) that we had to snap it up right away. It's rare to see such an accomplished, twists-and-turns-packed manuscript from someone so new to writing.' PRETTY TWISTED will publish in May 2011.

The US deal for Josephine Angelini, announced in March, was quite significant.

Published in August (UK)

Here are some of the teenage/YA titles that are published in the UK in August. I will put a link to this post and previous and subsequent "monthly" lists in my sidebar. Title links go to amazon.co.uk. Please let me know of others to add to the list.

Releases by month so far:
January, February, March, April, May, June and July.

Gabriella Ambrosio - Before We Say Goodbye (2nd, Walker, pb)
Pam Bachorz - Candor (2nd, Egmont Books Ltd, pb)
Steph Bowe - Girl Saves Boy (30th, The Text Publishing Company, pb)
Chris Bradford - Young Samurai: The Ring of Earth (5th, Puffin, pb)
John Brindley - Blood Crime (5th, Orion Childrens, pb)
Stephanie Burgis - A Most Improper Magick (1st, Templar Publishing, pb) UK Debut
Meg Cabot - The Mediator: Grave Doubts & Heaven Sent (6th, Macmillan Children's Books, pb)
David Calcutt - The Map of Marvels (5th, OUP Oxford, pb)
Isobelle Carmody - The Farseekers (2nd, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Ally Carter - Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (5th, Orchard, pb)
Elizabeth Chandler - Dark Secrets 2: No Time to Die and the Deep End of Fear (5th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Suzanne Collins - Mockingjay (25th, Scholastic, pb)
Joanne Dahme - Contagion (12th, Perseus Books, pb)
Gregory Dark - Charming! If the Glass Slipper Fits (1st, O Books, pb)
James Dashner - The Maze Runner (2nd, Chicken House, pb)
Stephen Deas - The Thief-taker's Apprentice (26th, Gollancz, HB)
Kate De Goldi - The 10pm Question (1st, Templar Publishing, HB)
Delpine de Vigan - No and Me (2nd, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Jane Eagland - Whisper My Name (6th, Young Picador, pb)
Marimba Easmon - Karis: Can You Guess Her Secret? (5th, Matador, pb)
Harry Edge - Kite Identity: Bad Company (5th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Jim Eldridge - Death in the Desert (2nd, Egmont Books Ltd, pb)
Marilyn Edwards - White Chin (1st, Catnip Publishing Ltd, pb)
Kat Falls - Dark Life (5th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Michael Ford - The Poisoned House (2nd, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Lucy Godfrey - Forbidden Lives (26th, Book Guild Publishing, HB)
Tamara Gray (ed) - Just When Stories (19th, Beautiful Books, HB)
Rosemary Hayes - The Blue-Eyed Aborigine (5th, Frances Lincoln Children's Books, pb)
Bonnie Hearn Hill - Star Crossed: Gemini Night (12th, Running Press, pb)
Mary Hoffman - Troubadour (2nd, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Paul Hoffman - The Left Hand of God (19th, Penguin, pb)
Tonya Hurley - Ghostgirl: Homecoming (5th, Headline , pb)
Barry Hutchinson - Invisible Fiends - Raggy Maggie (5th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Christine Johnson - Claire de Lune (5th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Gabrielle Lord - Conspiracy 365: August (5th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Pittacus Lore - I am Number Four (26th, Puffin, HB)
James Lovegrove - Five Lords of Pain 4: Lord of the Typhoon (1st, Barrington Stoke, pb)
Sophia Lowell - Glee: The Beginning (5th, Headline, pb)
Kelly McKain - Half a Sister (27th, Usborne Publishing Ltd, pb)
Lisa McMann - Fade (5th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Lynn Messina (& Louisa May Alcott) - Little Vampire Women (5th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Amy Meredith - Dark Touch: The Hunt (5th, Red Fox, pb)
Stephenie Meyer - Breaking Dawn (19th, ATOM, pb)
Kirsten Miller - The Eternal Ones (19th, Puffin, pb)
Robert Muchamore - Shadow Wave (27th, Hodder Children's Books, HB)
Garth Nix - The Seventh Tower: The Violet Keystone (5th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Michelle Pan - Bella Should Have Dumped Edward (19th, Ulysses Press, pb)
Gillian Philip - Firebrand (13th, Strident Publishing Limited, pb)
Gabriella Poole - Divided Souls (5th, Hodder Children's Books, pb)
Charlie Price - Hear the Dead Cry (5th, Corgi Childrens, pb)
Ellen Renner - City of Thieves (5th, Orchard, pb)
Liz Rettig - My Rocky Romance Diary (5th, Corgi Childrens, pb)
Alex Scarrow - TimeRiders: Day of the Predator (5th, Puffin, pb)
Kieran Scott - She's So Dead to Us (1st, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Michael Scott - The Necromancer (5th, Doubleday Children's Books, pb)
Michael Scott - The Magician (5th, Corgi Childrens, pb)
Michael Scott - The Alchemyst (5th, Corgi Childrens, pb)
Michael Scott - The Sorceress (5th, Corgi Childrens, pb)
Gillian Shields - Betrayal (15th, HarperCollins Childrens Book Group, HB)
John E Smelcer - The Edge of Nowhere (5th, Andersen Press Ltd , pb)
Lauren St John - Dead Man's Cove (5th, Orion Childrens , HB)
Tricia Telep (ed) - Kiss Me Deadly (12th, Running Press, pb)
Jenny Valentine - The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight (5th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Jenny Valentine - Finding Violet Park (5th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; (Reissue), pb)
Lee Weatherly - Wasted (1st, Barrington Stoke, pb)
Jordan Weisman - Cathy's Ring (5th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb)
Chris Wheat - Screw Loose (1st, Allen & Unwin, pb)
Joffre White - Frog (12th, Book Guild Ltd, HB)
David Whitley - The Children of the Lost (5th, Puffin, pb)
Lili Wilkinson - Pink (1st, Allen & Unwin, pb)
Carol Lynch Williams - The Chosen One (5th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Michelle Zink - Guardian of the Gate (5th, ATOM, HB)
Michelle Zink - Prophecy of the Sisters (5th, ATOM, pb)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Library Loot (59) & review copies


Taurus Eyes by Bonnie Hearn Hill
Having been accepted into the summer writing camp in Monterey, Logan McRae needs to use her astrological knowledge to solve they mysterious death of a famous folk singer and become a published author.

Star Crossed by Jo Cotterill
'You did WHAT?' screamed Mari. 'You turned down the cutest boy ever? Are you crazy?' Fliss isn't exactly outgoing. But on stage she really comes alive. And this summer, she's playing Juliet opposite her dream Romeo - Tom Mayerling. If only she could tell him how she feels! But unless Fliss finds some inner confidence, she's going to miss her chance with Tom. Because someone else has her eyes on Fliss' role - and her leading man...

Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh
This title features the hilarious twisting-turning plots and ludicrous escapades of a brand new star, Lula Bird! Lula Bird is gorgeous, funny and dreading her birthday because you can't turn 16 if you've never been kissed...So why does every boy in Hambledon run a mile the second she bats her eyelids? The fact is, they fear for their lives. Rumour has it Lula's been jinxed! And it's not as if that's her only problem: Lula thinks she has a stalker, her dad keeps sneaking out at night with a lady's handbag, and a mysterious theft is threatening to bring the town to its knees...


Dark Life by Kat Falls (out 5th August from Simon & Schuster Childrens Books)
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?

The Chronicles of Vladimor Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer (Feb 2011, Razorbill)
Vlad has to keep his vampire urges under control while dealing with the pressures of middle school.

Thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod really hates junior high. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: His mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: He's being hunted by a vampire killer.