A Round Up Of Some Bookish News!!

Read The First Three Chapters Of The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller!

What if love refused to die?


Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again

Sounds great right? Well you can check out the first three chapters by clicking the links below!



The Eternal Ones - Sampler #1



The Eternal Ones - Sampler #2

The Eternal Ones - Sampler #3

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller published by Penguin 19th August 2010 in the UK







Read The First Chapter Of Out For Blood by Alyxandra Harvey!

Desperate for your next fix of Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles? Well here's a chance to whet your appetite with the first chapter of Out For Blood (releases 1st November) 


Click HERE for the first chapter

Sign up to the facebook page HERE for more news




Win A Writing Workshop with Marjorie Blackman!

The people at Sugarscape have asked me to let all my readers know about this fantastic competition!

To celebrate the release Malorie Blackman’s new teen novel Boys Don't Cry, Sugar Book Club have teamed up with her, to offer Sugarscape readers an amazing, exclusive and money-can't buy prize -  a writing workshop, Malorie and ten of the winner’s mates at their local branch of Pizza Express.


For more details click here

Book Review: Glee:The Beginning by Sophia Lowell



CALLING ALL GLEEKS! Get more of your favourite characters in this official Glee prequel!

All great performances deserve a warm-up! Enroll early at McKinley High to find out what went on before New Directions was even a glimmer in Mr Schuester’s eye. When did Rachel first decide Finn was more than just a jock? When did Puck and Quinn start their secret romance? And how did the fledgling Glee Club function without a fearless leader? Hint: It wasn’t exactly a perfect melody. 

Break out the gold stars and refill the slushies: it’s time to find out what happened to all your favourite characters before the show-mance began
These novels contain additional storylines to those featured in the hit TV show. (From Amazon.co.uk)

So first off let’s get one thing straight, despite arriving late to the Glee fever that hit the world earlier this year I LOVE Glee. We own the first DVD of season one (and hopefully DVD 2 once it’s released on the 13th September) and it’s worn out from being played…because even my daughter can’t get enough. So I was excited to start reading this novel, set before the TV show.

I was also a little concerned. The characters are so huge and strong in Glee…would a written adaptation pull this off and do them justice? Well surprisingly the answer is YES. Reading this novel is like watching an episode in some respects. The author gets the characters voices and mannerism absolutely spot on, so much so I could clearly hear them as I read. Rachel Berry in particular springs off the pages, Quinn Fabray’s cutting put downs and evil glares are vividly brought to life and Sue Sylvester is just as hilarious in the book as she is on screen. Even minor character Jacob is kept true and every line I read from him I could absolutely see him saying.

It was interesting to see how some of the story lines in Glee may have come about, especially the relationships between Rachel, Finn, Quinn and Puck. To be honest though I’m not sure if the book would make a whole lot of sense to someone who hadn’t seen Glee the TV show. Part of the charm of this book was seeing the relationships we already know about and how they developed. While a lot of the book revolves around Rachel, the story flits between all of the main characters and in a book of just 230 pages it doesn’t give the reader much opportunity to get to know them. I did feel that maybe just focusing on one would have been better. The author does provide some background but I can’t see anyone without prior knowledge of the show really getting that much from the book.

Overall I thought Glee: The Beginning was a fun, quick and enjoyable read. It’s well written and Sophia Lowell does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. There are one or two inconsistencies but I wasn’t expecting much from a book based on a T.V show and was very pleasantly surprised by this one. If you haven’t watched any of the TV series (then you definitely should!) this book probably isn’t the best place to start. However if you’re a fan then I’d recommend this as a must read to compliment the show. 


Thanks to Headline for providing me with this review copy.

Guest Review: Shade by Jeri Smith Ready

I'd like to welcome the wonderful Sya, fellow book blogger with her guest review of Shade by Jeri Smith Ready

Shade was one of my most anticipated reads of 2010. I've never read any of Jeri Smith-Ready's adult books, but I really liked the premise laid out for this one. Recently, I've had a couple of disappointments with books that I've been desperately waiting to read – Shade was not one of them.

Firstly, the premise is compelling in its simplicity. All children born since the Winter solstice seventeen years previous to when our story takes place, have been able to see ghosts. Some of these ghosts are nice but most are pretty disgruntled at their present condition and some become so embittered that they become nasty shadow-creatures known as Shades. As the story progresses, it becomes more complex – particularly regarding how the powers that be deign to deal with the problems that psychic kids and nasty shadows create. There are interesting riffs on duty and exploitation running throughout the story, giving it more depth than it might have otherwise have.

Character-wise I have few complaints. Aura is our main protagonist. During the story she is approaching her seventeenth birthday and dealing with the sudden death of her boyfriend, Logan. Cleverly, while Logan's death occurs almost immediately, the author then allows a period where he does not appear to Aura, letting the reader get to know her on her own. Her grief is very believable, as is her friendship with new boy Zachary and the struggles that she has with it. I liked Aura a lot – for a YA protagonist she is pleasantly flawed, refreshingly blunt and realistically mature for her age.

Logan, however, is a different kettle of fish. While I could see why Aura was attracted to him, I didn't find him particularly likable. At seventeen, he is a talented musician and has that tunnel vision that can come with the drive for fame. He also lacks the maturity that Aura displays – jaunting off in his spirit form with nary a thought for the grieving relatives and friends that he leaves behind. It all kind of works, though and I started to warm to him towards the end of the book.

Then there is Zachary. At first I was suspicious that he had been inserted into Shade simply as a love interest for the grieving Aura, but as the story progresses we see that he has a far larger part to play. Again, he is pleasingly honest and charmingly straight-forward regarding his feelings for Aura. He strikes me as the kind of guy who says exactly what he thinks, although not without caution. The relationship between the two of them is particularly well-realised. At no point does it seem rushed and the way that it is left was very pleasing, feeling both realistic and hopeful. I have no idea where it will go next. Also, Zachary is Scottish and so am I. This means that Zachary and I are destined to be together so keep yer mits to yourself. Talking of Zachary's Scottishness, maddest of mad props to Jeri Smith-Ready for getting it right. I recently reviewed a certain book which, while excellent in most other respects, got the Scottish vernacular of the teenage Scottish character so badly wrong that it almost ruined the entire book for me. In Shade, Jeri gets it exactly right. Particular woot woots for the excellent usage of the words “wean” and “pure hackit”.

The writing in general is a joy to read. The author handles issues such as teen drinking, drugs and sex with honesty – never shying away from the nitty gritty. Throughout Shade, interesting questions are thrown up regarding the balance between an acceptable period of grief and the peace of mind gained by letting go. For Aura, there are difficult decisions to make between her love for Logan and her own future – how do you let go if the person you've lost is...well...not so lost? The cliffhanger ending took me by surprise – I hadn't even realised that this was a part of a series but I am certainly glad that it is. For anyone looking for a ghost story with a modern twist (and why wouldn't you be??) then this is for you. Absolutely the best paranormal read of the year so far.

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Thanks Sya for a brilliant review...I'm looking forward to reading this myself! (My copy is currently available on UK Book Tours for anyone who'd like to read it)

Sya can usually be found at her awesome blog, The Mountains Of Instead. I highly recommend going to check out more of her fantastic reviews

'So I Say Thank You For The Books...' Featuring Amanda from Floor To Ceiling Books

'So I say Thank You For The Books...' is a new weekly feature and where each week
someone, blogger or author, tells us who or what inspired their love of reading



This weeks post is from Amanda @ Floor to Ceiling Books. If you haven't already, you should definitely checkout her eclectic blog for her brilliant reviews and fantastic discussion posts.


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 One of most enduring memories from being a very young girl is being sat on my dad's lap, listening to him reading from a massive hardback copy of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C S Lewis. The book was simply beautiful - for those who have watched The Neverending Story, well, this book he read to me from was like the book from that film. Huge and leatherbound, with crackly pages. My dad did all the voices as well. He would read me just one chapter each night, and that was my favourite hour or so of the day. I actually looked forward to bedtime since I would have my one chapter before I went to bed.


Both my parents read, and encouraged me to read. They suggested books I might like, brought me my very first books, and read to me before bedtime until I was ready to read for myself. Considering the amount I now read, I was a late starter to reading for myself. I was in the remedial reading group - until one occasion when no one was around to read for me, and I picked my way through The Giant Pancake as I listened to the accompanying tape at the same time. From then on, something clicked with me and I was on my way.

So, my parents were definitely a factor in my reading. An early teacher of mine, in primary school, also contributed - Mr. Newton read to us each afternoon and one of the books he chose was The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton. I adored Kiki the parrot, and the adventures of the four children had me on the very edge of my seat. After the third day of being read to, I begged my parents for a copy of the book (which they duly brought for me) and I read on by myself, entranced at the idea of a secret island and smugglers. 



My favourite books when I was a young girl were any about horses - and my favourite series was those six books about the Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell. Once my dad went on a course from Germany to England (he was in the Forces in those days) and he brought me back the last two books to complete my collection. I still have them now - all gifts from my parents, much loved and dog eared, and still read today. Hopefully books to read to my own children - when/if I have them.


I wanted to share my love of reading so much, once I got started. I attended little book clubs at school; I spoke to my English teachers after class; I asked for book recommendations from anyone who I knew read. I even read to my little brother - any books that I loved, I would read to him. A chapter at a time, just the same as our parents read to me. We tackled Room 13 by Robert Swindells and The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann in that way.

So... I say thank you for the books to my parents, for giving me a love and appreciation for books. I say thank you to my enthusiastic primary and secondary school teachers, who introduced me to different books and showed me the school library! I say thank you to my brother for having the patience to listen to my reading *grin*. And I say thank you to all those authors - alive and dead - who have produced worlds of spellbinding wonder for me to enjoy. Thank you.

  
Thanks Amanda, I remember the book in The Never Ending Story...Your copy of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe must have been beautiful! 

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Would you like to be featured in So I Say Thank You For The Books...? I'm looking for bloggers and authors who would like to write a guest post for this weekly feature.

Is there one particular person who inspired your love of books? It could be a relative, teacher, librarian, a particular author...anyone. It could even be a 'thing'...perhaps a movie prompted you to look up the book which inspired it or a specific event occurred and you've never looked back? It's up to you...now's your chance to tell us all about it! (Obviously, for privacy reasons, we don't need full names and photo's of people!)


There's more details hereYou can be as creative as you like and don't have to follow a specific format. Feel free to email me with any questions!

Checkout previous So I Say Thank You For The Books...posts here

Book Review: Single In The City by Michele Gorman

What happens when you take one 26-year-old American, add to one 2,000-year-old city, add a big dose of culture clash and stir?

Hannah Cumming and the population of London are about to find out.

How is Hannah to know that there's a special technique to crossing the street or riding a bus, or that words like tomato will elicit snide elocution lessons from the locals? Hannah lands alone in London only to find that she is totally ill equipped to live there. Not that a complete lack of forethought has ever stopped her before. She charges headlong into London life, perplexing its residents with continual faux pas and cultural misunderstandings in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself. (From Goodreads.com)

I really liked the sound of Michele Gorman’s debut novel, Single In The City, as soon as I heard about it. Telling the story of American Hannah and her move to London, it seemed to offer an original slant to the chick lit genre, it’s one I’ve not come across before anyway.

I’m pleased to say that I was right. Single In The City gives fresh breath to the usual chick lit story. Yeah, some of the characters and situations are a bit clichéd…Hannah is ditsy, works in PR and is unlucky in love, falls for the playboy villain, has a crazy mother and ends up with the guy you know she will from the beginning…but the journey there is hilarious. Honestly, I’ve never laughed so hard as I did at some of the scenes in this book…one in particular will be difficult to forget, having me gagging and crying with laughter in equal measures (If my Nan’s Sausage casserole wasn’t already bad enough, this scene certainly ensures I wouldn’t be able to look at it without wanting to spew or go into a fit of giggles)

I loved Gorman’s (an expat herself) observations of London and surprising as this may seem to anyone outside the UK I totally got them! I live about as far North as you can get in England without crossing the border to Scotland, and for me going to London is like going to a foreign country. I was nodding in agreement at Hannah’s experiences of how busy and scary London is, how people just stare quite aggressively at you and how overwhelming it can feel. I also really liked Hannah as a character. Despite the novel picking out the differences between the Uk and US culturally, the fact that our insecurities are the same, particularly where dating and men and relationships are concerned, really stood out for me. I think a lot of females will be able to relate with Hannah!

The only fault I would pick with the book is that littered throughout there are footnotes explaining some of the American terms or cultural references used. To be honest I found this totally unnecessary…I, as I expect most people under a certain age, have grown up on US sitcoms, movies and books (my five year old sounds more American than English at times thanks to Dora and Diego and laughs when I tell her it’s Jag-yoo-ar not Jagwaar!) and I just didn’t need the explanations. I did find them quite annoying to be honest and eventually just skipped them completely. I’m not sure if they were meant to be tongue in cheek…they just didn’t really work for me.

Footnotes aside, Single In The City is a fun and highly entertaining read offering something a little different amongst similar books. I doubt many will be able to keep a straight face when reading some of Hannah’s experiences. There’s a great cast of characters to back up our loveable heroine including some Aussie flatmates I want to move in with myself…right now! I kind of predicted the ending or so I thought but at right at the last paragraph was thrown a surprising line...which could be taken two ways. It leaves you with a 'so did she or didn't she' feeling...left for you decide and either way I'm satisfied. This is the perfect comfort book…easy to read, fast paced and fun from start to finish. After reading this fantastic debut, I’m excited to see what Michele Gorman offers up next.

Published by Penguin July 2010

Thank You to the publishers for sending me this book for review.

Waiting On Wednesday


Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine and spotlights yet to be released books we just can't wait to get our hands on.

Italic
This weeks choice:

The Hating Game by Talli Roland

When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £50,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end? Who will win The Hating Game?

Released in the UK March 2011

It's been a while since I've featured any chick lit here, but this one really does sound great. I've been a huge fan of cheesy dating shows...like a guilty pleasure. And the twist of the contestants being exes sounds fun! Oh and that cover is stunning...would catch my eye a mile off!


Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion. (from goodreads.com)

Ally Condie’s debut novel, Matched, has had a massive amount of hype in recent months and like many others I really got caught up in all the excitement. When it became available on Uk Book Tours I eagerly signed up. And this was one of those times when I wasn’t disappointed; I loved every word of this book and devoured it in a single sitting.

The book starts on the evening of Cassia’s 17th birthday and the night she will be Matched with the person deemed by officials to be her perfect life partner. Immediately Condie creates a vivid and sinister world where on the surface everything seems perfect. Most diseases and conditions have been eradicated due to genetic matching and Cassia’s own loving parents are testament to how successful it can be. She has no reason to question the system and fully believes in it. From my point of view it sent shivers down my spine, the naivety with which people go along like sheep and being dictated to who they should spend their lives with really creeped me out.

When the other face flashes up on her Matching card, Cassia is shocked. This shouldn’t happen, especially when it turns out that the other boy is one deemed by The Society as less than perfect. Cassia starts to wonder if the Matching system really is as perfect as it seems…and this opens a whole can of worms as the other flaws in The Society become clear to her. I really liked Cassia. She isn’t willing anymore to just accept things. She wants more. She wants a choice.

Matched takes the concept of choice away from it’s characters. Everything is controlled from the food you eat, the exercise you take, what you learn, the job you do, who you marry and when you die. Of course this takes away what it actually is to be human, to learn and make mistakes, choosing our own destiny. My life span may end up being shorter than those living in The Society, but I know which I’d prefer. Yet I did get a little uneasy feeling at times. Last year there was a big furore at my daughters school when lists of banned lunchbox items where sent out to parents, with healthy lunchbox stickers now being stuck on the ones that pass the test. Part of me is outraged that I can’t decide what I put in my child’s lunch box and if I want to put a small chocolate bar in now and then, I should be able to. But then the other part doesn’t want to be judged as a bad parent in any way, so I conform. Ok, so compared to the themes brought up in this book that’s a really small scale example but it got me thinking about how many steps we could be away from complete control in the future. There are other little things that rang alarm bells in my mind too and made the world Ally Condie created chillingly believable. I got why people went along with the officials and didn’t step out of line.

I loved Cassia, the way she developes throughout the book from naïve and accepting to a strong, fighter against a system that reduces humans to little more than robots. I thought the way the flaws within The Society dawn on her ever so slowly and subtly was fantastic and built a steady tension that kept me hooked throughout. Ky absolutely stole my heart, vulnerable and strong in equal measures these two characters give each other the strength and courage to dare to want more from life and had a gentle chemistry. The relationship between Cassia and her grandfather is particularly touching. In The Society anything deemed unnecessary has been destroyed, and only 100 each of paintings, historical stories and poetry etc have been preserved. Yet it’s with the poetic words of Dylan Thomas that Cassia’s grandfather makes his greatest gift to her. This was beautiful and I adored how words still had the power to affect and inspire Cassia. Her Grandfathers story is particularly horrifying, as I realised just what was happening I felt sick. And very angry.

Matched absolutely lived up to my expectations. It’s a quietly powerful book that will have you thinking endlessly afterwards. Condie’s writing grips you and moves you along effortlessly at an alarming pace. I started reading this book on a train journey and almost missed my stop not once but twice, so engrossed I was in this sinister and completely believable world. With characters that will capture your heart and soul and a stunning romance to completely sweep you away, Matched is an amazing, thought provoking book and one that I won’t forget in a hurry. My one complaint is that I can’t wait to read more. With the scene fully set for a sequel at the end I’m left anxious to follow Cassia’s story. I thought I’d read my book of the year already, now I have a tie on my hands!

Matched is released 2nd December 2010 in the UK by Puffin

Thanks to UK Book Tours for supplying an arc tour of this book.

Guest Post: Johnny O'Brien author of The Jack Christie Adventures

Today I'm welcoming Johnny O'Brien, Author Of The Jack Christie Adventures as part of a blog tour.


The Jack Christie Series – Here come the (history) boys


The Jack Christie books are an action / adventure series for 10 to 14 year olds (and many adults!) which have a time travel theme involving modern heroes (Jack and Angus) in real historical ‘turning points’. ‘Day of the Assassins’ is the first in the series and is based around the assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 which triggered the First World War. It’s been long listed for two awards in the UK and short listed for the BBC History/History Association Young Quills Award – which is a real thrill.


The next in the series is just out and is called ‘Day of Deliverance’ and is based in Elizabethan England around the time of the Armada. Next year we’re publishing ‘Day of Vengeance’ which takes Jack and Angus back to the Battle of Britain, the defeat of France in 1940 and Hitler’s visit to Paris (which you can see astonishing actual footage of on You Tube).


I got the idea for the Jack Christie stories when clearing out a cupboard at my Dad’s home in Scotland. It contained all this memorabilia from the First World War - when my Grandfather fought in the Irish Guards. There was all sorts of stuff - uniforms, medals and even a citation from Winston Churchill. My Grandfather was injured in the war and this got me thinking about the choices people make and the consequences that follow – even from quite trivial decisions. It also made me think about what caused the First World War – and the trigger point of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. I wondered what I would have done if I had been there and known what was going to happen– would I have stopped it and thereby perhaps prevented the war? It was a small jump from that to Jack and Angus – ordinary kids who go back in time and face exactly that choice.


The other books in the series explore different periods of history but also revolve around ‘what ifs’ and turning points – or ‘counter-factuals’ to use the jargon. I guess my aim is to write action which hook young readers but also provoke an interest in history. It’s a brilliant subject and teaches great skills and is invaluable for pub quizzes. However, it does require quite a lot of research and you find yourself having to find the answers to some pretty odd questions:


- Would a fourteen year old boy fit inside the muzzle of a main battle gun on HMS Dreadnought? (Answer – yes, if he is particularly weedy).


-In Napoleon’s march to Moscow in 1812, how many of the 422,000 troops that set out made it back? (Answer: 10,000).


- What did Gavrilo Princip have in his hand and drop before he shot the Archduke Franz Ferdinand? (Answer: a sandwich. Sensible – never try and kill someone with a sandwich, it takes a long time and usually doesn’t work).


- Why do we light fires on bonfire night? (Clue: little to do with Guy Fawkes);


- Do people really free climb up the Colleges of Cambridge? (Yes – and have done so for centuries)


- What kind of beer would you drink in a London pub in 1588? (Many varieties – Mad Dog and Stride Wide are Jack and Angus’s favourites).


I’m trying to work out where Jack and Angus go for book number four – so if anyone has any bright ideas – please let me know!


Johnny O’Brien



Day Of Assassins and Day Of Deliverance are both available to buy now. Find out more about Johnny and his books at his awesome website http://www.jackchristieadventures.com/

You Can Checkout the previous stop on the tour at The Book Mogul and the next stop tomorrow at I Want To Read That


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