Books of the month: March


Each month we will take a look back at everything we have reviewed and each of us will pick a favourite!

Lyndsey's Pick

I really found picking this month's book super easy! Flip stood out far from the rest of the books I have reviewed this month. It has a completely new take on body swapping stories and was extremely different than anything I had read before. You can find my review here and view the trailer here!

One December night, 14-year-old Alex goes to  bed. He wakes up to  find himself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country, and it's the middle of June. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table are total strangers.And when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back at him.  A boy named Flip. Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life,  he may be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else.  Questions of identity, the will to survive, and what you're willing to sacrifice to be alive make this extraordinary book impossible to put down.


Vicki's Pick

Much less Book of the Month, more Book of the last two years. This months pick was incredibly easy, I knew it would be this one before I even finished it. You can see my (spoiler free!) review here to find out why Veronica Roth's Divergent completely stole my heart. 

One choice can transform you. Pass initiation. Do not fail…
Thrilling urban dystopian fiction debut from exciting young author.


In sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions – Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent) – each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue, in the attempt to form a “perfect society.” At the age of sixteen, teens must choose the faction to which they will devote their lives.
On her Choosing Day, Beatrice renames herself Tris, rejects her family’s group, and chooses another faction. After surviving a brutal initiation, Tris finds romance with a super-hot boy, but also discovers unrest and growing conflict in their seemingly “perfect society.” To survive and save those they love, they must use their strengths to uncover the truths about their identities, their families, and the order of their society itself. (Published by HarperCollins May 2011)

So, have you read either of these and agree with our choices? Which are you particularly looking forward to and what was your book of the month?



Waiting On Wednesday: Sweet Valley Confidential

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine and allows us to spotlight books we are eagerly anticipating

This weeks choice:


One of the most successful series of all time is back, and this time it's for adults

It’s been ten years since the Wakefield twins graduated from Sweet Valley High, and a lot has happened.

For a start, Elizabeth and Jessica have had a falling out of epic proportions, after Jessica committed the ultimate betrayal, and this time it looks like Elizabeth will never be able to forgive her.

Suddenly Sweet Valley isn’t big enough for the two of them, so Elizabeth has fled to New York to immerse herself in her lifelong dream of becoming a serious reporter, leaving a guilt-stricken Jessica contemplating the unthinkable: life without her sister.

Despite the distance between them, the sisters are never far from each other’s thoughts. Jessica longs for forgiveness, but Elizabeth can’t forget her twin’s duplicity. Uncharacteristically, she decides the only way to heal her broken heart is to get revenge. Always the ‘good’ twin, the one getting her headstrong sister out of trouble, Elizabeth is now about to turn the tables...

*****

So this released in the US yesterday I believe but not until 14th April in the UK (by Arrow publishing). When I first heard about it last year I was excited..I grew up on Sweet Valley books! Then I read the first chapter online, and to be honest it was terrible, but a OMG I can't wait to read more terrible. Anyway, I forgot about it until I was reminded yesterday and got all excited again. Also, I love the fact the UK publishers have gone with the retro, original style covers. This is definitely guilty pleasure reading I feel with a good old dose of nostalgia, and I can't wait!

Walker Undercover: Flip Book Trailer

Book Trailer: Flip by Martyn Bedford

Since the launch of Undercover, Walker have showcased some fabulous trailers. The trailer for Flip by Martyn Bedford is no exception. This was a book that I loved and I think the trailer really does it justice.

One December night, 14-year-old Alex goes to  bed. He wakes up to  find himself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country, and it's the middle of June. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table are total strangers.And when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back at him.  A boy named Flip. Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life,  he may be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else.  Questions of identity, the will to survive, and what you're willing to sacrifice to be alive make this extraordinary book impossible to put down


You can find my review for this awesome book here!!


Blog Tour: Interview with Lacey Weatherford



I am extremely happy to say that today we are hosting a stop on a blog tour for one of my all time favourite series. Of Witches and Warlocks, by Lacey Weatherford is super addictive but also so much more! I couldn't wait to ask Lacey some questions about herself and the first book in the series, The Trouble with Spells.  

Describe your book in 5 words.
True love meets magical mayhem.

With a host of paranormal topics available to write about, what made you decide to write about magic?I
Ive always loved the idea of magic for as long as I can remember. When I was initially inspired with the idea for The Trouble with Spells, it revolved specifically around the theme of witches so that took care of the magic for me. I knew that I loved paranormal too, and I while I happen to have a great affinity for vampire stories, I decided to steer away from that and go in a different direction, to avoid the current frenzy over them.



What kind of research did you need to do for The Trouble with Spells?
While I wanted this story to be its own thing, I also wanted it to have some sense of reality to it too. So even though the witches in my story dont practice true Wicca, I researched a lot about it to give it an authentic feel. I also researched many different kinds of religious beliefs and myths as I tried to build a world that would eventually encompass all forms of magic and religion, and then took author liberties to switch things up as needed.


The main male character in The Trouble with Spells, Vance, was inspired by Matt Lanter but do you think you will use this technique again for future projects?
It was actually a fluke that Matt inspired this character. The fates dumped his image into my head at the moment of creation and there he stayed! I didnt even know who he was at the time and had to research him! I dont think I would use this technique again though, because I like that Matt/Vance is special because of it. It wasnt something planned or contrived…it just happened, and to me thats the beauty of it all. Thats not to say an actors image doesnt come to mind when Im writing another story, which can be fun, but Vance was written, basing his movements, tone, gestures, and inflections on Matt. I was just really impressed with his acting style. Hes gifted.


Who would you like to see as the main cast if The Trouble with Spells got made into a movie/ TV adaptation?
I love this question because I can think of some great actors to fit the part.
Portia Mullins: Emma Roberts. Vance Mangum: Matt Lanter. Shelly Fontane: Taylor Swift. Brad Anderson: Zach Roerig. (Grandma) Milly: Diane Keaton. (Portia’s dad) Sean: Rob Estes. (Portias mom) Stacey: Selma Hayek. (Vances mom) Krista Mangum: Amy Brenneman. (Vances dad) Damien Cummings: Sean Bean.

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music etc. Do you have to do anything like this while you write?
I do! I have a giant playlist of significant songs that go well with the story line Im working on that I listen to as Im writing. If I have one song that helps maintain a really intense mood for me then I will even put it on repeat while I write the scene. My Of Witches and Warlocks playlist has fifty-one songs on it currently. Some reflect the entire series and others are specific to certain books. Other than my music, I just need a bottle of water and Im good to go!

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I first tried my hand at writing when I was nine, a little mystery story that lasted all of three or four pages with two chapters per page! I dont think I ever made the conscious decision to become a writer until I was in my twenties. I was driving home one day and saw this gargantuan cumulus cloud that was shaped like a castle. I remember getting excited and pointing it out to my husband and saying, “Wouldnt that make a cool story? Castle in the Clouds?” He agreed with me and immediately my mind started humming with ideas. My siblings, who are much younger than I am, loved fantasy stories and I told my husband I was going to write this fairytale for them and have it bound, just so I could have a book on my shelf that I could point to and say, “I wrote that!” I didnt have a computer then (back in the olden days, ha) so I started out writing in long hand on yellow legal paper. I carried around a voice activated tape recorder to capture ideas on. Eventually we got a word processor and I transferred the story onto it. A couple of years later we got our first computer, but the files wouldnt transfer from the word processor so I had to rewrite the whole thing again. I only worked on it in spurts because I hated sitting at the desk top computer. I finally finished the story fourteen years after I started it, when I purchased a laptop. I named it Castle in the Clouds, printed it off and was letting family read it that same week when I got the idea for The Trouble with Spells. I actually groaned at the idea and berated myself a bit. “You just finished writing a book and it took you fourteen years! You dont want to do this again!” But I couldnt get the idea out of my head and a week later I started writing the book. It was finished in six weeks.

Are there any other YA authors that you admire?

Actually some of my favorite authors who wrote books about young adults are some of the classics, like Louisa May Alcott, who wrote Little Women, and Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote Anne of Green Gables. Those are some of my all time favorite books. I do enjoy several authors that are available today as well. I do enjoy several authors that are available today as well. Ive really enjoyed Cassandra Clares work with her Mortal Instruments series, and Im very anxious to see what Andrea Cremer has in store with her Nightshade series since I adored it. Im sure I could make a list a mile long!

What is your favourite book of all time and why?
I dont have one favorite book of all time, because its my hope and desire to love them all! I pick up every book hoping it will be a five star read for me. I want to be swept away by them. I may have a “pick of the moment” at times, but I cant seem to find it in my heart to single out one above the rest.


Which YA (human) character would you love to be and why?
This is a hard question for me, because I dont know if I have one currently. If I were basing it on my past dreams from my younger years I would say Nancy Drew. I always wanted to be able to solve mysteries like she did, clear into my teens. I think that somewhere I have a little bit of an analytical mind that likes to put pieces together, while carrying a big flashlight in a place where no one knows where I am, but Ned Nickerson is sure to find me and save me! Ha ha!
Which YA (non human) character would you love to be and why?I dont have a specific character for this one either, but if I were a paranormal character I would choose to be a witch or a vampire. I think those have always been my favorites in paranormal. Although I may prefer having magic and a heart beat to being cold, and undead. Real food versus blood seems way more appealing to me too. Hmmm. Maybe I could just be a witch with a vampire boyfriend? We got any of those running around? LOL!

Thanks for hosting me! Its been a blast! ;)

Lacey Weatherford has always had a love of books. She wanted to become a writer after reading her first Nancy Drew novel at the age of eight. She resides in the White Mountains of Arizona , where she lives with her wonderful husband, six beautiful children, one son-in-law, and their energetic schnauzer, Sophie. When she's not out supporting one of her kids at their sporting/music events, she spends her time writing, reading, blogging, and reviewing books.



We want to reward all the wonderful followers of this blog tour, so what better way to do that than to give away a free Kindle and Of Witches and Warlocks Swag! Being entered to win is easy! All you have to do is follow the tour each day and search for the highlighted words in the post. There may be only one word on some days or two or more on others, so be sure to read the whole post. They could be anywhere…even in this description! Keep collecting the words each day to build a certain phrase.

At the end of the tour on April 22nd, bring your completed phrase to The Delusional Diaries and submit it into the form to be entered into the Kindle drawing! Did you miss a day? No worries! Just follow the linky list on The Delusional Diaries to the post for that day and search for it. After you have submitted the special phrase, add up all the times you commented on the different posts during the tour and add that number for extra entries! Lots of chances! So come join in the FUN!

Book Review: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany


13 to Life is the debut novel by Shannon Delany. It was released by St. Martins Press (US) and it is 320 pages long.

Plot
Since the sudden loss of her mother, Jessica Gillmansen hasn’t had an easy life. She’s trying to cope with things as best as possible but keeping up a strong exterior is harder than she expected. Then Pietr Rusakova and his family move to Junction and her whole world is turned upside down. The arrival of the Ruskovas actually disrupts the lives of many of the girls at Junction High.

Pietr has secrets though and seems to be drawn to Jess. He’s extremely good looking with a hot accent and Jess cant seem to stay away from him, even though she likes someone else and many of her friends like Pietr. As a strange friendship blossoms, Jess is forced to rethink what she thinks she knows about reality really is and how well she knows the people around her, especially Pietr.

What I thought
I remember first hearing about this book and knowing that I had to read it. Unfortunately, other books were higher up in my list to buy first and I never got around to getting this one. Luckily, I won a competition to pick a book so I asked for this one, knowing I probably wouldn’t get around to it for a long time otherwise.

I hate to say it but I had some pretty major problems with Jess but there was also a lot that I loved about her. I’ll start with the good. Jess was a really feisty character with a quick, witty mouth on her. Even though she has a lot to deal with, Jess isn’t afraid to be outspoken and let people know what she thinks of them. I really liked the aspects of Jess’ character and really made me wish that she got a happy ending after all of the heartbreak. Now on to the bad. As awesome as Jess was, I kind of wanted to smack her. For someone who went on about caring for her friends and what they thought/ wanting them to be happy, she didn’t show it very well. I don’t really want to say too much so that I don’t spoil to book for anyone but I will say this… Jess is two faced and a bit of a bitch. That aside though, she was a good character.

Pietr was the character that I loved though. From the moment he appeared on the page, I was drawn to him, just like all of the other girls (apart from Jess) in Junction. Turning up to school with a cop certainly makes someone stand out. Not only that had me interested though. Pietr was mysterious, dark, obviously carrying some big secrets and he has the hot Russian thing going on. The use of the Russian language certainly helped to add to my love for him. Pietr gets some pretty fantastic one liners and his banter with Jess was very entertaining. I loved the chemistry between the two and how their relationship wasn’t easy and smooth at any point. In fact, Jess doesn’t even like Pietr to begin with.

I seem to be having a bit of a thing with this at the minute but one thing I truly loved about this book was Pietr’s family. Secondary characters can really make a book and I think this was the case for me here, especially since I had problems with Jess. I said before that Pietr was mysterious but add in his whole family and there is some serious puzzling plot twists. Although they aren’t featured too much (not enough in my opinion), the time spent on them was great and since they began to pop up more and more, I was always waiting for the next time they would show up.

Although the pacing of the story was slightly off at times, I was hooked very quickly. 13 to Life is full of mystery and intrigue from both Jess and Pietr, considering that they both have their own secrets. The added elements of Shakespeare and the Cold War certainly added to my love of this book. In regards to Shakespeare, it was nice to see that it wasn’t used in the traditional sense. Jess loves Romeo and Juliet but Pietr hates it, which resulted in some quite funny debates about what it is really about.

Even with the things I disliked about 13 to Life, it is still a great debut which is beautifully written and different. Delany injects some much needed fresh ideas into werewolves, romance and forbidden love. Highly recommended.

In My Mailbox (#11)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren

Books we welcomed into our homes this week (either bought/won/gifted/borrowed or for review)


Shadows On The Moon by Zoë Marriott
A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is "Cinderella" meets "Memoirs of a Geisha". Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother's new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama's kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince - and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love. (Walker 7th July)


Angel's Fury by Bryony Pearce
Every atrocity. Every war. Every act of vengeance. One fallen angel walks the earth to bring mankind to its destruction...Turning love into hate, forgiveness into blame, hope into despair. Through the fires of hell he will come to haunt one girl's dreams. But what if everything she ever dreamed was true? Every time Cassie Smith tries to sleep, she is plagued by visions of a death: A little girl called Zillah. A victim of the holocaust. In desperation Cassie is sent for treatment in an old manor house. There she meets other children just like her. Including Seth...Seth who looks so familiar. Her dream becomes nightmare. And then reality. (Egmont 4th July)


Wither by Lauren Destefano
What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.(Simon & Schuster US March 2011)

Guest Post: Zombies in YA by Rusty Fischer

Write Like No One's Watching:
A Guest Post on Zombies, YA and Trusting Your Own Writing!



Do you trust your own writing? When you sit down to write, are you confident about what youre putting on paper or constantly looking over your shoulder wondering if it might find a home? If people will like it? If it will be “popular” or not? These are questions I think every writer has to answer at some point in his or her career, and ones I hope to put to rest at least a little with this post.


When people hear I wrote a book called Zombies Don’t Cry, the first question out of their mouths is usually, “Why zombies?”


The answer is simple: Im a big fan of underdogs. At this point, Id rather see a movie about Robin than Batman; Id rather watch Tontos exploits than the Lone Rangers.


So when I started writing YA about two years ago, I was instantly anti-vampire. Not because I dont dig vampires my next book, in fact, IS about vampires its just that they were the Batmans at the time; they were the Lone Rangers.


I wanted to write about Robin and Tonto, you know? So I looked around the Teen/YA section and tried to find the most underrepresented genre on the shelves. There were vampires, there were werewolves, there were faeries and goblins and demons and ghouls, but… where was all the zombie love?


At the time, there were only a handful of zombie books to choose from. Thats not really the case anymore, but I still feel that, compared to vampires and werewolves, faeries and ghouls, zombies are still the ultimate YA underdogs.


So, back to the question: “Why zombies?”


Its all about confidence. I figured this was a “blank canvas” niche; one where there werent a ton of rules laid out yet, one where I could open a blank page and start writing and make up my own rules.


Vampires have the whole sunlight, mirrors and stake through the heart thing. Werewolves have full moons and silver bullets. Zombies? All we know about them is pretty much you take off the head, they stay dead.


Fine, I can work with that, but… but… what would it be like to go to school as a zombie? What would zombies wear? Would they date? Could they date? Were there good zombies? Bad zombies? Zombie laws? Zombie cops? It was YA so I certainly couldn’t have my MC running around chopping other zombies heads off, so… how to put them down without decapitation?t give up!


It was a challenge, it was a fun one and knowing that I could write my own rules gave me a lot of latitude. Rather than sticking to the accepted rules for vampires and werewolves, I could play by my own rules.

The only problem was, most agents and publishers were as anti-zombie as I was anti-vampire and werewolf. There was a ton of rejection but, at this point, I was so into my zombie world I couldn

And here comes the confidence part: the more I got rejected, the more I said to myself, “Well, shoot, if nobodys ever going to see this anyway, why not REALLY go to town?” So I quit worrying if New York editors would like it, or if it would “fit” on the bookstore shelves, or if “the cool kids would like it.

I wrote a book that I wanted to read; not necessarily the 42-year-old graying beard me, but the nerdy spazz 16- or 17-year-old me who still listened to the Star Wars soundtrack and read Stephen King behind his math book. It was really freeing because I was literally writing for an audience of one.

You know how they say “dance like no ones watching”? Well, when it comes to zombies, and YA, and picking a genre or a word count length or even a publisher or an agent, here is my advice: write like no one! s reading

Write for yourself, write for your friends, write for the small, not the big; write for the underdog, not the hero. Write the story you want to read and somebody, chances are many somebodys, will want to read it to.

I dont think publishers and agents want to read the same old thing anymore; I know kids dont. As Zombies Don nears its publication date and it gets in the hands of more and more reviewers and It Crym seeing more and more feedback, what Im finding is literally hundreds of avid, excited, encouraging, honest, unabashed YA readers and bloggers who are not only enthusiastic about their genre of choice but absolutely sophisticated in their reading tastes.

They are a market who, I believe, welcomes the new and shies away from the trite. They may devour vampire book after vampire book, but even in that I can see the trend veering more toward sophisticated, far-reaching series and also kind of the anti-sparkly vamp set with Fat Vampire and the like.

Its an exciting, vivid and bold time full of opportunities for YA writers who can find their voice, speak to this sophisticated audience and write with absolute, utter confidence.

My advice to YA writers (and zombie lovers)? Know who you are, know who your audience is, know what you want to write, tell a great story and do it in a new way. To me, those are the keys to writing for YA.

And always remember, dont just dance like no ones watching; write like no ones reading!!!




About the author: Rusty Fischer is the author of Zombies Don’t Cry: A Living Dead Love Story, due out from Medallion Press in April 2011.

Visit his blog,
www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com, for news, reviews, cover leaks, writing and publishing advice, book excerpts and more! And look for his next book, Vamplayers, due out from Medallion next year!

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. (From Goodreads.com)

It’s very rare that I mange to read a full 500 page book in one day, no matter how hooked I am. I have a six-year old daughter who demands much of my time and rarely lets me read as she gets on with something quietly. So the fact I read Divergent in its entirety the day it arrived speaks volumes. Ok, I’ll admit it, I enlisted the help of the unpaid babysitter who sits in the corner (TV), ordered takeaway so I didn’t have to cook, abandoned any kind of housework and bribed my daughter continuously to let me read just a few more pages. Even she became obsessed with my reading progress that day asking ‘How many pages have you read now Mummy’ and appointed herself my official reading cheerleader. That’s how good this book is. Once started you won’t be able to stop until you have devoured every breath taking word.

As one of my top 3 anticipated books for 2011, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. Of course being so excited can often lead to over anticipation with the book becoming a let down. Absolutely NOT in this case, Divergent was everything and much, much more than I was hoping for and has easily shot straight to my top read of the year, the last two years in fact. It’s going to take some beating.

For once I’m going to refrain from hashing over the plot, I couldn’t do it’s intricacies justice and really don’t want to inadvertently give anything away that will spoil the book, so readers can go into it the same way I did. What I will say though is that Veronica Roth’s dystopian world is exquisitely built with complexities and detailing that will force the reader right into the very heart of it from the moment they pick up the book. It’s clever, exciting, brutal, jaw droppingly shocking and intense.  I adored lead character, Tris, the underdog who comes into her own. She’s brave, loyal and intelligent, fierce and compassionate in equal measures.  Then there’s Four (Tris’s coach in the new life she chooses) the HOTTEST, most swoonworthy guy ever. I’m slightly obsessed by him, I’ve even dreamt about him and I completely fell in love with him. The romance between Tris and Four is solid, real and beautiful. It developes at the right pace, it has the right amount of intensity and passion, yet it doesn't overwhelm the story at all. Divergent is an action packed and exciting read set in a brutal and violent world after all and the balance between action and romance is perfect.

To sum up, I LOVED this book big time. I found it hugely addictive and couldn’t part from it for a second I was that engrossed and involved in it. I think I read it with my eyes on stalks, my mouth hanging open and with my heart pounding throughout, It’s the most exciting book I’ve read for a long time. The final pages set up fantastically for the sequel and the wait for it is going to be sheer torture. Seriously, if there is one book you must buy this year it’s Divergent, I whole-heartedly recommend it and then some. Just make sure you have a spare few hours because I’m warning you, once you start you won’t be able to stop.






Published by HarperCollins May 2011
Many Thanks to the publishers for providing me with a copy for review.

Waiting On Wednesday: Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine and allows us to spotlight books we are eagerly anticiapting

This weeks book we can't wait for: 

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard


Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?

Expected publication: July 21st 2011 by Razorbill/Penguin (US)

Seriously loving the sound of this one and the cover is gorgeous!

Book Review: Fever by Amy Meredith


Fever is the third book in the Dark Touch series by Amy Meredith. It was released on 3rd February by Red Fox (Random House) and the book is 240 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy!

Plot
After some crazy demon killing, Eve, Jess and Luke thought they might get some peace and quiet for a while. No such luck though. Deepdene residents have come down with some kind of killer flu and there is a heat wave going on that is unheard of for the time of year. Eve and Jess are more than healthy though and plan on making the most of topping up their tans.

When teenagers begin to disappear and the flu epidemic gets worse, Eve knows there is more going on than just people getting sick. The symptoms are worsening and there aren’t that many people left unaffected. When the whole town is put on lockdown, Eve, Jess and Luke decide it’s time to do something. It’s time to hunt down the demon causing this illness and get rid of him for good. The only problem is that he can take on the form of anyone or anything. Not having anywhere else to go means that the demon has to be found and quick before Eve, Jess and Luke become more of its victims!

What I thought
When I first started this series, I hated it with a passion. Seeing as I got the second book for review, I was persuaded to give it a chance and I am bloody glad I did now. The second book was so much better than the first and now the third book was even better!

Eve and Jess have come a long way as characters. In the beginning, all I could see were shallow, spoiled, rich girls but not anymore. Yes, some of those aspects are still there but it is not nearly as in your face as it was in the first book and now, I kind of like this about them both. Their obsession with clothes, shoes and accessories annoyed me to be begin with but now it is quite funny because of Luke being around a lot and getting annoyed with the girls. Eve has probably come the furthest though, finding out she is the Deepdene Witch and having to kill demons. I guess having this responsibility really makes a girl think about what is really important although it was nice to see that she didn’t lose all of herself when she realised what she was.

I love Luke. He’s adorable. The new, non demon kid in town has finally settled in and made some great friends in Eve and Jess. He still has a bit of a reputation as a player but I like the cheeky side to him, even though he has feelings for Eve. I really wish that Luke would get to some more ass kicking than he does though, considering the huge sword he has but instead, he seems to get stuck with doing most of the research. Something has been building up between Luke and Eve since the first book and I was sooooo happy to see this finally go somewhere this time around. Ok, it was exactly what I wanted but at least it was better than nothing at all.

Fever had a quicker pace than the previous two books in the series and this was something that I really liked. Because of the nature of the flu epidemic, people were dropping like flies and I think this is why the pace was so fast. Just as one person would get the illness, another would, and then another. All the time, someone new was getting sick and it was getting to the point where I was wondering how many people would be left before Eve, Jess and Luke figured something out. The story, although not quite as exciting as book 2, was still exciting enough to keep me reading. I wanted to know who the demon was this time and how it was going to be stopped. I wanted to know what was going on with Eve and Luke and I wanted to know some stuff about Jess but if I tell you what it was, I might spoil some things.

Fever is a great third book in the series and I just hope future books keep getting better, as this one did. It is quite a short and easy read but one that is thoroughly entertaining. It’s funny, exciting and has demons and witches. What more could you ask for?

Book Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?
This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most? (from Goodreads.com)


Something about the cover of this book really caught my attention. I think it was the girl’s eyes…they’re so intense, like she could see right into your soul. I also really liked the sound of the book from the synopsis too, a girl with a paranormal gift and a murder mystery..I’m in! It kind of reminded me of Lois Duncan’s book ‘The Eyes Of Karen Connors’(which I read years ago) a little and went straight on my 2011 wish list.

Clarity gets off to a fantastic start with a short first chapter where our heroine is facing death at the hands of a mysterious attacker, then quickly switches to nine days earlier. This absolutely hooked me into the story, I loved being thrown into the deep end on the very first page, then immediately snatched away from the action and desperate to know what had happened. There was little chance I was going to put the book down after that.

I really, really liked Clare/Clarity and warmed to her right away. Labelled a freak at school due to her psychic abilities she’s pretty lonely but has built up a protective and seemingly fierce and snarky shell, though quite early on we see this is just an act and deep down she has a vulnerable and compassionate streak too. I liked how she very much knew her own mind, and the way she deals with her love rat boyfriend gained my utmost respect. Despite admitting to being lonely, she comes across as a girl who’s comfortable and confident with herself, and I liked that. It was really refreshing.

One of my favourite aspects of this book was Clare’s family, who play a huge role. Both her Mother and Brother also have psychic abilities, although different to hers, and together they use them to earn a living entertaining tourists in their seaside town. While Clare is often frustrated at her occasionally over bearing Mum, they have an openness and trust with each other which was lovely to read. The sibling loyalty between Clare and her brother, Perry, was a joy too and a real highlight of the book. It was nice to read about teen characters who, while at times get irritated with each other and their parent, still really pull and work together. The Fern family are a real unit and I liked that a lot, and with their previous life hinted at I’d love to know more about their heritage.

I also thought the murder mystery was really well written. I was kept on my toes for the majority of the book, with plenty of red herrings to lead me up the wrong path. Some of the police work Clarity gets involved in might seem a little far-fetched for a teenager and not all together believable but I was willing to let it go for the sake of the story, and it actually works really well. It’s not the most thrilling or terryfing mystery and it won’t keep you up at night, but it was enough to keep me gripped, if a little tame for my usual tastes.

One thing I didn’t really like though was the love triangle between Clare, ex boyfriend Justin and new hunk on the scene, Gabriel. In all honesty it didn’t seem necessary. Despite finding out Justin cheated on Clare, I really liked him and thought their relationship would have been interesting enough. I didn’t warm to Gabriel at all and didn’t really believe there was any attraction between Clarity and he. I’m not against love triangles in general, but they have to be believable and not there just for the sake of it…which this one kind of felt like.

Overall Clarity is a nice easy read, with a fantastic leading female character and a gripping enough plot to keep you hooked without scaring you witless. At just over 240 pages it’s a quick read, one sitting if you have the time (which I did). By the end I felt that while I hadn’t been completely blown away and could have done without the half hearted love triangle, I’d enjoyed it enough. I’d definitely read more from Kim Harrington in the future and would love to know if we’re  going to find out about the interesting family of Clarity’s, which was pretty heavily hinted at, in the sequel (perception) due for release next year.








Published March 2011 by Scholastic Point (US)

In My Mailbox (#10)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren

Books we welcomed into our homes this week (either bought/won/gifted/borrowed or for review)




So yay! Another awesome week with some exciting books we both can't wait to read. Actually, this list should have been a bit shorter, but it's become a regular thing for me (Vicki) to take my daughter to the library on a Saturday. Now normally I am strict and don't even venture over to the YA shelves, I mean I have an out of control TBR pile as it is, BUT, I remembered The Bookette singing the praises of Song Quest last year, so I decided to reserve it and it was ready to pick up today. Then right next to the checking out desk, not even in the YA section but on a quick pick shelf I saw The Forbidden Sea and Outside In and couldn't resist. I'm going to have to wear blinkers from now on!



Also Can I just wish Lyndsey, my fabulous blogging partner a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY for 19th March! She's been having laptop problems recently and hasn't been around much recently...hopefully she'll be back next week!

Guest Post: 'So I Say Thank You For The Books..' Featuring K. M. Grant

'So I Say Thank You For The Books...' is a regular feature where we invite Authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.

Find out more and how to get involved HERE



Today's post is from K. M Grant author of historical YA, with her most recent novel Belle's Song being published in the UK February  2011

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Hello!  My name's Katie Grant, also known as K. M. Grant (I've always liked initials - so formal, with their full stops, yet so mysterious), and I write historical fiction - or epic adventures set in the past - for anybody who likes, well, epic adventures set in the past.  

I was brought up in a creaky, leaky old house on the edge of a wild moor in northern England, about 11 miles as the crow flies to the parsonage in which Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte lived.  Inside our house, through which the wind whistled and groaned much as Emily Bronte describes in Wuthering Heights, were hundreds of books, all written by authors already dead, which is why, for years, I thought you couldn't be an author until you were dead yourself.  


The seven of us (six girls, one boy, I'm number 3) were looked after by a succession of nannies, some nice and some perfectly horrible.  But though there were strict rules about Sitting Up Straight and Saying Please and Thankyou, we could read anything we liked, from anywhere, so long as we put it back.  Anything, that is, except Enid Blyton (whose books we devoured surreptitiously, under the bedclothes, when Nanny had turned out the light). 


 I read all the time, so it's as hard to choose favourite books as it is to choose a favourite pet.  Yet I suppose because I longed to be a brave rider, I especially loved Mary O'Hara's My Friend Flicka series.  I sat with Ken, in the brook, willing Flicka to live;  I clung to Thunderhead's mane as he battled with Banner.  I was dead jealous of Carey. Those books are on my shelf still.  Then, how could I not choose Ursula Moray Williams' The Little Wooden Horse, when the little wooden horse was just as real to me as my own, naughty piebald pony?  And finally, though I'm long grown up, every year I still read The Black Riders by Violet Needham, which is nothing to do with horses at all;  it's about a boy who gets caught up in a revolution. Stormy Petrel is his code name, and the password, my dear fellow-readers, is 'Fortitude'.


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Thanks Katie, and wow your childhood home sounds amazing!

Belle's Song by K M Grant When Belle meets Luke, son of an alchemist and Scribe to the famous poet Chaucer, she is determined to travel with him to Canterbury on a pilgrimage. She hopes for a miracle: that her father will walk again. She also hopes to atone for her own part in his accident. It is a time of unrest across the country and the young King Richard II is just hanging on to his throne. A malign character on the pilgrimage suspects Chaucer of treason and slowly winds Belle into a political intrigue. At the same time, the impulsive Belle is drawn towards both Luke and to Walter, the wealthy son of a Knight. But Walter himself is in love with Luke...As the uprising against the King starts to draw pace and the web of intrigue around Belle and Chaucer tightens, Belle and her friends must risk everything to save their country and themselves... (Goodreads.com)


Book Review: Everybody Jam by Ali Lewis

Danny Dawson lives in the middle of the Australian outback. His older brother Jonny was killed in an accident last year but no-one ever talks about it.
And now it's time for the annual muster. The biggest event of the year on the cattle station, and a time to sort the men from the boys. But this year things will be different: because Jonny's gone and Danny's determined to prove he can fill his brother's shoes; because their fourteen-year-old sister is pregnant; because it's getting hotter and hotter and the rains won't come; because cracks are beginning to show . . .
When Danny's mum admits she can't cope, the family hires a housegirl to help out - a wide-eyed English backpacker. She doesn't have a clue what she's let herself in for. And neither do they. (From publishers site)

The first thing to say about this book is that it is so authentic in language it will have you reading in an Australian accent (albeit not a very good one from me) From the very first page the character of thirteen year old Danny Dawson is so expertly crafted, reading his story is like actually becoming him for a while.

And what a fantastic character Danny is. Brought up on an isolated outback cattle station, he’s undergoing a period of intense change both within himself as he grows from child to man and within his own family. His older brother Jonny died in a tragic accident last year, and the family are clearly traumatised but don’t talk about leaving Danny confused and lonely. His Fourteen-year-old sister is pregnant, adding further stress to the family and baffling Danny even more. Everything he knows is changing and no-ones talking, so he’s left to try and work it all out alone. The dynamics Ali Lewis creates within this broken family are painfully believable and raw and I found myself caring for all of them deeply, wishing they would reach out a little to each other.

When the hired English house girl, Liz, or The Pommie as she’s called, arrives things take an interesting turn. She’s from suburban England and hasn’t a clue about life in the Australian desert or working on a cattle ranch. There were hilarious scenes as she adapts to life on the station, she’s dizzy, skinny and weak and a vegetarian. But the developing friendship between Danny and Liz was so sweet as she became the friend he desperately needed. At the back, British born Ali Lewis explains the inspiration for the book was due to spending a month as a house girl on a cattle ranch during muster, and it's clear how the experience created a lasted impression on her. 

I knew very little about life on a cattle ranch in the outback until reading this book and found the details fascinating. It’s not always pleasant, Lewis doesn’t shy away from showing the harsh and brutal side of rearing cattle and at times I was cringing and shocked, much like Liz.  One thing the author does get across is how tough a life this is, and all the people had my absolute respect. I have no idea when Everybody Jam is set, it’s kind of timeless in a way and could have been anywhere in the last fifty years. The attitudes in particular seem dated, but then this is an isolated life where your neighbours are fifty miles away and the nearest town is a four-hour drive.

The book is written in the first person from Danny and as I mentioned above is incredibly authentic and believable. The one difficulty I found with the style of writing was it at times felt a little stilted and didn’t flow well. While I enjoyed reading Danny’s story, this wasn’t a book I could sail through easily. If you’re looking for a quick, easy read then I wouldn’t recommend this book. I would however recommend it as a book worth reading and that little extra effort is certainly worth it for the wonderful story and insight into a fascinating life. There are also some pretty graphic scenes of death to the cattle and talk of sex, so it probably is suited to over Twelve year olds and not to the extremely squeemish.

Everybody Jam covers many issues within it’s 300 pages including teen pregnancy, racism, death and bereavement. But most of all this is a Danny’s coming of age story, about a young boy who struggles between wanting to be a man and being involved with the hard work of the muster and the childish feelings he can’t quite suppress. A boy confused about the trauma’s his family have endured but doesn’t know who to talk to about it. An emotional, thought provoking and completely involving book, it’s funny and sad, beautiful and brutal; one I’m glad I had the opportunity to read. 






Published by Andersen Press March 2011
Thanks to the publishers for providing me with a copy for review.
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