Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall by Susan Ee (May 2013, Hodder Paperbacks, ISBN: 144477851X)

The world is in chaos. Angels have destroyed civilisation as we know it and Penryn is living with her mentally ill mum and disabled sister Paige in a shady apartment block in Silicon Valley. One night they are about to make their escape to the country and are on the streets when several angels swoop down and have a fight amongst themselves. One angel is heavily outnumbered and is punished by having his wings cut off. When the victorious angels leave, one of them swoops up Penryn's sister and flies away with her. Penryn offers to help the de-winged angel, Raffe, get his wings reattached in return for him helping her to get her sister back. Angelfall tells of Penryn and Raffe's journey to get to the angels' headquarters, and what they see and who they meet along the way.

Angelfall is a compulsive read and you really feel that you are in this apocalyptic world. The relationship between Penryn and Raffe is a difficult one as, though he looks like a god he is one of the race that has burnt her world; and she is one of the despised humans. They have to help each other to achieve their respective goals but is that the only reason they get on quite well? With their antagonistic banter, Penryn and Raffe make an appealing pair of strong characters in a broken world.

Susan Ee's Angelfall has been an internet phenomenon and I was a little anxious about whether it would live up to the hype but it does in spades. I can't wait for the sequel, World After.

NB. I'm not sure whether Angelfall is YA (seventeen-year-old-protagonist) or adult (where it's shelved in my library) but it does contain a couple of unpleasant scenes, one involving children.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Read Rot & Ruin online at Pulseit (1 wk only)

Jonathan Maberry's Rot & Ruin is this week's online read at Pulseit. You have to register and the book can be read in full until 1 September.

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: The Taming of the Tights by Louise Rennison.

The Taming of the Tights by Louise Rennison (July 2013, HarperCollins Children's Books, ISBN: 0007323921)

The Taming of the Tights is the third book in the Tallulah Casey series. Tallulah, Irish, is now fifteen and is back at Yorkshire's Dother Hall for a third term of learning the craft of performance. She has her own band of friends – the Tree Sisters – and a couple of suitors, sort of. Plus she has a crush on the brother of her friend Ruby.

The storyline in the series has become increasingly about boys rather than performing, with the Tree Sisters all having or obtaining boyfriends with Tallulah increasingly confused by the intentions of Charlie, who apparently has a girlfriend back home and the bad-boy of the moor, Cain.

Tallulah has to suffer the hatred of Dother Hall's head and the embarrassment of acting as the back-end of a horse and the very odd but affectionate replacement family she boards with. As Tallulah invents her own Lulu-Luuuve List she has to decide who and what she ultimately wants.

The Taming of the Tights is a romp and is very funny. I raced through it straight after reading A Midsummer Tight's Dream and hope that there will be more in the series. I love the setting, the banter between the girls, the down-to-earth young Ruby and of course the elusive Cain (with his hidden depths...) and Tallulah is a great narrator and a good and loyal friend. The series covers things that teenage girls might worry about – especially the art of kissing!

The two previous books are reviewed: #1 Withering Tights (by me) and #2 A Midsummer Tights Dream (by Milly).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blog Tour: #MurderontheBeach

I'm very pleased to welcome Kate Harrison back to Teenage Fiction for All Ages. Today she's joined by James Dawson and they will be interviewing each other as part of the #murderonthebeach blog tour to celebrate the release of Soul Storm and Cruel Summer.

I'm not going to say too much about Soul Storm as it's the final part of the Soul Beach trilogy, other than it is a murder-mystery with a paranormal element. here are my reviews of the first two parts: Soul Beach and Soul Fire.

Here's the blurb for Cruel Summer: A year after the suicide of one of their friends, the rest of the group decide to spend the summer together in a holiday villa in the Mediterranean. They're hoping to get over the terrible events of the previous year, but then a new guest arrives - claiming to have evidence that the suicide was actually murder. When she is found dead, it becomes clear that the killer must be one of them - but who is it? And will they strike again? A compelling psychological thriller - with a dash of romance.

Ever wondered what authors talk about when they get together? We asked #murderonthebeach authors Kate Harrison and James Dawson to interview each other via Facebook – here are the results!

Kate Harrison: Morning, James! We're supposed to be interviewing each other, so I get to ask all the questions I've always wanted the answers to... like, what's your writing routine? I want the real version, not the 'I work out, write 5,000 words before breakfast' stuff most writers claim they do.

James Dawson: Hi Kate. Given that I'm still in my pyjamas at 9.40 this is clearly not the case! Usually I do try to be writing before 10, but I actually do go to the gym most days at some point in the morning. Then I write until about 6 and have the evenings off unless I'm on a really strict deadline. How about you?

K: Impressive! Well, I am in my gym kit, which is my way of trying to make sure I actually go. Writing full-time from home five years now means I have to shift my writer's booty or it expands very quickly! My routine is get up, do loads of social media, answer emails around writing, and then try to do some ACTUAL writing. I try to write against the clock, otherwise I get really distracted.

So what was Cruel Summer like to write? Loads of writers suffer quite badly with Second Book Syndrome, where they get scared about doing it again. Was that a problem after Hollow Pike did so well?

J: You are looking amazing at the moment! Are you still 5:2ing?

K: *Blushes*. Yes, I've been on this 5:2 diet now for a year. In fact, this Friday is my 'Fastiversary' - exactly 12 months since I first tried this. Since then I've lost loads of weight, written two books about the diet (including a cookbook, yummy) and met 10,000 new dieters on Facebook. But I've been dying to get back to fiction, so it's exciting that Soul Storm is out.

You're not avoiding my question about 2nd book syndrome, are you?

J: Cruel Summer was a funny one. Initially I had envisaged a Hollow Pike sequel as the next book and had more or less written it before I got a book deal (rookie mistake), so in a weird way Cruel Summer is actually my third book! That said it was a leap into the unknown because while the characters in Hollow Pike were based on faces from my past, the Cruel Summer gang were original creations. I did worry that fans of Hollow Pike wouldn't welcome the characters in the same way that they did the Hollow Pike gang, but early reviews have been great, thank God!

How do you feel at the end of the Soul Beach Saga? That must be YEARS of your life?!

K: Yep. Years. About five since I first thought, 'ooh, I wonder what a social network for the dead would be like, where teens could carry on with the lives they're missing out on.' It was more emotional than I expecting, finishing it off. I don't often cry or get spooked or scared when I am writing, but this time I did all three. I was very conscious that I had to finish it in an exciting way for all the readers - including my mum - who'd invested so much time in the trilogy. The first reports are that I managed it, phew...

Cruel Summer feels quite different to me from Hollow Pike. I love both but I think so far *haven't finished so no spoilers* Cruel Summer has the edge. Why the change?

J: I think I have a clearer idea of my brand as an author now; a better understanding of what is it I do well. I think they both have my fingerprints all over them - hopefully snappy dialogue, cliff-hanger chapter endings, creepy imagery - but I agree that Cruel Summer has a clearer voice and perhaps a little more originality.

I can't wait to read Soul Storm. I really think Soul Beach is one of the most original concepts in YA. Will there be further teen offerings from you?

K: Thank you. I definitely plan to write more YA and have about three ideas buzzing round my head right now. They are all quite different - scary but also emotional I think. For me, it's never been about writing for a genre or an age group, it's about writing the stories and ideas that fascinate me, but the brilliant thing about writing for teenage readers is they are so open to mixing it up. I've written novels for them and for women, TV scripts, and now even this diet book. But I think I always come back to the same themes: being tested to your limit, being scared but also excited by what the future holds, and ALWAYS the importance of friendships.

Right now, though, I am working on some short stories and also ideas for my next adult novel as well. How about you?

J: I agree - YA works so well because it's such an open playing field. You can do pretty much anything unconstrained by adult literary rules or adult genre rules.

I have just finished SAY HER NAME which is a proper, actually scary horror YA so I'm frantically trying to finish what will be my second non-fiction book. The deadline is looming.

K: Can't wait!

But talking of deadlines. I reckon that's our cue to finish this and get writing/going to the gym. But I thought it'd be good to share what we're reading right now. I am most of the way through an adult novel, Dearest Rose, by Rowan Coleman, and then it's Fractured by Teri Terry, the follow-up to her brilliant Slated. Too many books, too little time...

J: No! But then I’ll have to do actual work! But you're right of course. I'm presently reading something VERY exciting - a YA offering from an adult author before moving on to Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo!

K: Must get that one next. Fun chatting to you, Mr D. Hope you have a very excellent summer with Cruel Summer - #murderonthebeach is going to run and run!

Thanks so much Kate and James for your interview and Indigo for arranging it.

Look out for reviews of both these books soon on Teenage Fiction for All Ages.

The blog tour continues tomorrow at Winged Reviews.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Read Dangerous Girls online at Pulseit (1 wk only)

Abigail Haas's Dangerous Girls is this week's online read at Pulseit. You have to register and the book can be read in full until 25 August.

Paradise quickly gets gruesome in this thrilling page-turner with a plot that’s ripped from the headlines and a twist that defies the imagination.

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.

But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Read Burn for Burn online at Pulseit (1 wk only)

Jenny Han's Burn for Burn is this week's online read at Pulseit. You have to register and the book can be read in full until 18 August.

Payback is paradise in this start to a trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.

KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.

LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.

MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.

None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.

With an alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently...” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Free Ebooks: Evernight & Atticus Claw

Here are a couple of free reads:

Evernight by Claudia Gray is currently free on UK Kindle and Kobo.

A lonely girl, a beautiful boy and a load of terrifying vampires. Think you’ve seen it before? Well get ready for a shock, because this is paranormal romance with a twist… and a razor-sharp bite.
Welcome to Evernight school. Don’t chew gum. Don’t feed on humans. Try not to die…

Bianca is devastated when she finds herself uprooted from her small town and sent to Evernight Academy, an elite boarding school. Hidden in the woods, there's something more than a little creepy about her mysterious new home… Soon Bianca discovers she could never fit in with the Evernight students – they're just too sleek, sophisticated and beautiful to be real.

Just when Bianca has resigned herself to being lonely forever, she meets Lucas – an outcast like Bianca, even if he’s way too hot to possibly be interested in her. Lucas is on a mission to uncover the secret behind Evernight Academy – but he has his own secrets, and so does Bianca. Both of them are about to discover that secrets can be very dangerous things, and that a simple kiss can change your life forever… or end it.

Atticus Claw Breaks the Law by Jennifer Gray is currently free on UK Kindle.

I reviewed it recently  as part of my crime month, here.

When Atticus receives an anonymous message summoning him to a meeting in a sleepy English coastal town, he packs his bags and sets off. The world's greatest cat burglar likes a good mystery and this time curiosity has got the better of him. The writer of the message, it turns out, is none other than Jimmy the Magpie, gang leader. He is morning the death of his friend Beaky, who has been run over by a Rolls Royce. Now he wants Atticus to steal all the jewels in town and leave the humans baffled. What could be more straightforward? But when Atticus moves in with Inspector Cheddar and his family, he starts to wonder if a life of crime is really for him . . .

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Everbound by Brodi Ashton (August 2013, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, ISBN: 0857074636)

Notes: Everbound is the second part of a trilogy so there will be spoilers below for the first book, Everneath.

Review: If you haven't read Everneath I think enough information is imparted so that you won't be lost in Everbound.

Nikki Beckett has only escaped the Tunnels of the Everneath - and a future of being sucked dry of energy - because her boyfriend Jack sacrificed himself. Her only hope of saving him is Cole, the Everliving who loves her and wants her to be Queen of the Everneath.

After some blackmailing he agrees to help her and they and another Everliving, Max, enter the Everneath in a quest to rescue Jack which involves many perils along the way and a humdinger of a finale!

What I particularly liked about Everbound is that through the narrative device chosen by the author we get to see how Jack and Nik become a couple and also more about Cole. The author keeps you swinging with your feelings for Cole, one minute bad guy, one minute possible friend. I raced through Everneath and wish I didn't have to wait until 2014 (Jan (US), Feb (UK)) for Evertrue.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Read What Really Happened in Peru online at Pulseit (1 wk only)

Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan's What Really Happened in Peru is this week's online read at Pulseit. You have to register and the book can be read in full until 11 August.

Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices know that Magnus Bane is banned from Peru—and now they can find out why. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.

There are good reasons Peru is off-limits to Magnus Bane. Follow Magnus’s Peruvian escapades as he drags his fellow warlocks Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss into trouble, learns several instruments (which he plays shockingly), dances (which he does shockingly), and disgraces his host nation by doing something unspeakable to the Nazca Lines.

This standalone e-only short story illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality populates the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. This story in The Bane Chronicles, What Really Happened in Peru, is written by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: Soul Fire by Kate Harrison

Soul Fire by Kate Harrison (August 2013, Indigo, ISBN: 1780621477)

Notes: As this is the review of a second part of a trilogy it may contain spoilers for the first book, Soul Beach
Review: Alice continues to spend time online at the Beach where she can spend time with her murdered sister Meggie and the virtual boy in her life the American heir, Danny. In Soul Beach she was able to solve the mystery of  the death of Beach resident, Triti, which meant Triti moved on from the Beach. Alice know that if she solves Meggie's death Meggie will move on too and she, Alice, will not be allowed back to the beach and not only will she lose Meggie but Danny also.

Nonetheless in the real world she continues to suspect several of Meggie's close friends, all of whom seem keen to keep Alice in their circle. The apparent suicide of Meggie's boyfriend seems to close the police investigation into Meggie's death but Alice believes he's innocent. Especially when he turns up at the Beach.

Meggie's friends and Alice and her best friend plan a weekend break in Barcelona where they will meet up with Meggie's ex-room-mate. They are also joined by Alice's hacker friend Lewis who helped her so much in the previous book. Once in Barcelona Alice takes the opportunity to help one of the Beach's other residents.If Alice wasn't spooked enough the whole trip takes place during a Barcelona Fire Festival with firecrackers and street events leading to more confusion and a possibly fatal accident involving one of their group.

So who is following Alice? Alice begins to have a strong suspect for Meggie's murder but is she correct? Is the author leading us up a blind alley? Why does Lewis keep turning up (is it just friendship or something more sinister?) and what will happen to the Beach if/when Alice solves Meggie's murder?

There are lots of things to be tied up in the imminent Soul Storm and I have a mad theory re the Beach which I'm looking forward to seeing if it's true or not. Soul Fire is a very enjoyable follow-up to Soul Beach, full of romance, drama, tension and mystery. You do though have to go along with the whole premise that Alice can touch/feel the Beach and its residents - I wonder if the how of that will also be explained in the eagerly awaited Soul Storm.