Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter (July 2012, Orchard, ISBN: 1408316226)

Review: Uncommon Criminals is the sequel to Heist Society, a series about Kat Bishop, a fifteen-year-old thief with principles. Since Heist Society, Kat has been on her own doing a fe jobs which involve re-stealing stolen property and returning it to its rightful owners. Returning to New York, her best friend (and soulmate if she'd just realise it!) Hale is not happy with her but they soon have a new job. They are approached by the rightful owner of the Cleopatra Emerald, which is soon to be displayed in New York, leaving its home in Europe and asked to steal it back for her.

One of the family's rules is not to try to steal the Cleopatra but Kat decides to do it anyway, despite the fact that it's cursed) and is supported by her “crew” of Hale, cousin Gabriella and IT whiz Simon.

The mission to steal the Cleopatra goes both well and badly and the fall-out leaves Kat uncertain about herself and her ability to lead. The adventure then takes them to Europe and in particular Monte Carlo, showcased in the famous Grace Kelly/Cary Grant film, the appropriately named, To Catch a Thief* where they have to plan and execute their most difficult heist so far.

Uncommon Criminals has some exciting and breathtaking set pieces and some progression in the Kat-Hale would-be romance but it is also about Kat and her chosen path. She sees how she could become and that she is fallible. There is plenty of humour and twists and turns in this fast-paced romp and I'm looking forward to Perfect Scoundrels which is out in the UK in February 2013.

*showing on Film4 on Sunday 23rd September at 5.05pm.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris (June 2012, Harper Collins Children's Books, ISBN: 000746021X)

Review: It's the end of the summer holidays and seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner has just finished her last life-guarding shift. When she gets to her car, she find it's been graffitied and two tyres are slashed. She knows it's the work of the ex-girlfriend of Janelle's maybe boyfriend Nick.

Mid phone-call to her best friend and neighbour Alex, Janelle is run over by a truck coming from nowhere. She dies. For a few seconds. Then Ben Michaels heals her, though he later denies it and no-one will believe her. Ben Michaels has been in her classes for years but why has she never noticed how smart and gorgeous he is, until now?

Janelle's father and uber X-Files fan is a high ranking FBI agent in San Diego and Janelle and Alex often secretly go through his files at home. While she is trying to find out information on her accident - where did the truck come from with its unidentified and dead driver - she discovers that what is probably a bomb counting down, with 24 days left, and the FBI cannot disarm it.

Janelle and Alex do their own research into the bomb and a series of deaths from radiation and Janelle also gets closer to Ben and his two closest friends and finds out their secrets.

A shocking incident raises the stakes for Janelle and it becomes difficult for her to know whom she can trust...

It's best not to know too much about the plot going into Unravelling. If I had to give it a strap-line, I'd say very loosely Veronica Mars meets Roswell, with a strong female lead investigating together with a romance of the intensity of Roswell's Max and Liz (as well as a similar beginning to their romance). As well as it being an action packed race against the clock, there are a couple of heartbreaking and unexpected moments which really got to me. The guideline on the back is 13+ and maybe I'm overreacting but this could be quite an upsetting read for some teenagers. I rattled through Unravelling; there are quite a few short chapters amongst the longer ones which keeps the pages flipping over. There are plenty of surprises and Janelle is a great character, clever, witty and capable and I loved her relationship with Ben.

The sequel, Unbreakable is scheduled for April 2013 and I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Buying Iron's Prophecy

The latest Iron Fey novella, Iron's Prophecy by Julie Kagawa has just been released as an ebook. It's listed as book 4.5 in the series on the official website.

Meghan Chase is finally getting used to being the Iron Queen, ruler of the Iron Fey. Her life may be strange, but with former Winter prince Ash by her side at last, she wouldn't have it any other way.

But when they travel to the Summer and Winter courts' gathering for Elysium, the oracle from Meghan's past returns with a dire prophecy: "What you carry will either unite the courts, or it will destroy them."

Now Meghan faces a devastating choice that may determine the future of all fey--and her and Ash's unborn child...

It's available on Kindle and Epub and I've just bought an Epub copy for 79c at Harlequin (and I'm in the UK).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Published in September 2012

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

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

This is still a work-in-progress so I'll continue to update it during the month. 

Ilsa J Bick - Shadows (27th, Quercus, pb)
Gina Blaxhill - Forget Me Never (27th, Macmillan Children's Books, pb) British Author
Gwenda Bond - Blackwood (6th, Strange Chemistry, pb)
Libba Bray - The Diviners (18th, ATOM, HB)
Sarah Rees Brennan - Unspoken (13th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
Tanya Byrne - Heart Shaped Bruise (27th, Headline, pb)
Meg Cabot - Underworld (27th, Macmillan Children's Books, pb)
Tera Lynn Childs - Sweet Venom (1st, Templar, pb)
Cassandra Clare - Mortal Instruments 5: City of Lost Souls (6th, Walker, pb)
Lauren Conrad - The Fame Game (27th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Kim Curran - Shift (6th, Strange Chemistry, pb)
Keren David - Another Life (6th, Frances Lincoln Children's Books, pb) British Author
James Dawson - Hollow Pike (6th, Indigo, pb) British Author
Joseph Delaney - Spook's: Slither's Tale: Book 11 (27th, Bodley Head, HB) British Author
Chris d'Lacey - The Fire Ascending (6th, Orchard. pb) British Author
Rosemary Edghill & Mercedes Lackey - Dead Reckoning (13th, Bloomsbury Childrens Books, HB)
Jim Eldridge - The Deadly Game: The Malichea Quest (13th, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pb) British Author
Candace Fleming - On the Day I died (27th, Corgi Childrens, pb)
Mark Frost - The Paladin Prophecy (27th, Doubleday Childrens, pb)
Elizabeth George - The Edge of Nowhere: Saratoga Woods (13th, Hodder & Stoughton, HB)
Alan Gibbons - Raining Fire (6th, Indigo, HB) British Author
Michael Grant - BZRK (3rd, Electric Monkey, pb)
Maya Healy - Between Heaven and Earth (6th, OUP Oxford, pb) British Author
Charlie Higson - The Sacrifice (20th, Puffin, HB) British Author
Colleen Houck - Tiger's Destiny (Tigers 4) (4th, Hodder & Stoughton, pb)
Sophie Jordan - Firelight (6th, OUP Oxford, pb)
Sophie Jordan - Vanish (6th, OUP Oxford, pb)
Niall Leonard - Crusher (13th, Doubleday Childrens, HB) British Author
Erika McGann - The Demon Notebook (3rd, O'Brien Press, pb)
Kirsty McKay - Unfed (6th, Chicken House, pb) British Author
Sophie McKenzie - Missing Me (13th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, HB) British Author
Karen Mahoney - Falling to Ash (27th, Corgi Childrens, pb) British Author
Melissa Marr - Carnival of Souls (4th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
John Marsden - Darkness Be My Friend (27th, Quercus, pb)
Colin Mulhern - Arabesque (1st, Catnip, pb) British Author
James Patterson - Confessions of a Murder Suspect (27th, Arrow, HB)
Lauren Oliver - Pandemonium (27th, Hodder, pb)
Terry Pratchett - Dodger (13th, Doubleday Childrens, HB) British Author
C J Redwine - Defiance (6th, ATOM, pb)
Ilkka Remes - Operation Code Breaker (6th, Andersen, pb)
Darren Shan - The Saga of Larten Crepsley (4) - Brothers to the Death (27th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Darren Shan - Zomb-B (27th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, HB)
Jessica Shirvington - Entice (6th, Orchard, pb)
Cara Lynn Schultz - Spellbound (7th, MIRA Ink, pb)
Neal Shusterman - Unwholly (27th, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, pb)
L J Smith - The Divide (The Secret Circle) (6th, Hodder, pb)
Maggie Stiefvater - The Raven Boys (19th, Scholastic, pb)
Cate Tiernan - Darkness Falls (13th, Hodder, pb)
Kat Zhang - What's Left of Me (27th, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, pb)
Susan Waggoner - Neptune's Tears (1st, Piccadilly Press, pb)
Sara Zarr - How to Save a Life (1st, Usborne Publishing Ltd, pb)