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Zombies Don't Cry Blog Tour: Rusty Fischer's 5 Top Tips For Writing A Zombie Novel


5 Tips for Writing A YA Zombie Novel
By Rusty Fischer, author of Zombies Don’t Cry 


So, what does it take to write a young adult zombie novel? The fact is, it’s harder than you think. Don’t get me wrong; it’s fun creating a world of the living dead, making your own rules and forging new ground, putting human characters alongside the undead, perhaps even treating the undead like they’re human, but like any genre fiction, it’s not without its unique challenges.

Take it from someone who’s endured his fair share of one- and two-star reviews for his own “living dead love stories,” writing a YA zombie novel is not for the faint of heart. But if you’re up for this particular living dead challenge, these five tips can help you achieve your ghoulish goal:

1.) Know your audience: Young adults are supremely sophisticated and know their stuff. They’re likely zombie “fans,” devouring every story of the undead they can get their hands on. Don’t underestimate or insult them by creating a sloppy world (see below), breaking your own rules (also see below) or just trying to cash in on a quick genre trend. Zombie fans are really open to new things, but they have to be interesting, believable and enjoyable new things.
2.) Know your world: Create a specific world unique unto you. Is it a dystopian, where lonely people roam the ravaged planet running from zombies? Is one town under quarantine and folks are stuck behind a giant wall? Or is it just another high school when zombies decide to attack? There are so many worlds to discover, but it’s important to fully inhabit your world for awhile, to feel around its borders, to make a mental or even physical map, to know what it looks like, feels like, sounds like, before you commit to writing about it.
3.) Know your rules: What can your zombies do? What can’t they do? Can they talk? Eat human food? Drink a soda? Drive? Text? Read? Write? In the world of YA, all of these questions need to be answered because your main characters, living or dead, will likely spend a lot of time doing all of the above. There’s no real wrong or right answer. My zombies talk, drive, text, etc. In that, they’re like the vampires in modern YA books. But there are things they can’t do, too, like eat human food or sleep or run really fast. There are limits, rules, that I have to constantly remind myself to abide by.
4.) Know your story: Forget zombies, forget brains, forget grave stones and cemeteries. Zombie novel or no, you should always tell a good story. Zombies should never be just a backdrop or a set piece; they should always be main characters like in the Generation Dead series or, at least, driving what the main characters do, like in The Walking Dead. Otherwise, it’s not really a YA zombie story.
5.) Know yourself: Finally, explore *why* you want to write a zombie story. Is it just to “be gross” or type “BBBRRRAAAIIINNNSSSS!!!”? If so, that’s great, but is there enough there for a book? Can you sustain that enthusiasm and curiosity about zombies for a full 50,000- or 60,000-words? Instead, find something more interesting to say about zombies; something that hasn’t been done, or a twist on what has, or a combination of the two. Writing a book, writing any book, is a long haul and you want to enjoy the ride while you’re doing it.

I believe that writing should be, first and foremost, fun. These tips are only a guide, of course, but the most important, always unwritten “tip” is to follow your instincts, have a good time and write something new and unique to you. That pretty much works for any genre, not just zombies, by the way!

Yours in YA,

Rusty

About the Author

Rusty Fischer is the author of Zombies Don’t Cry, as well as several other popular zombie books, including Panty Raid at Zombie High, Detention of the Living Dead and the Reanimated Readz series of 99-cent living dead shorts.
          Rusty runs the popular website Zombies Don’t Blog @ www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com. At Zombies Don’t Blog you can read more about Rusty’s work, view his upcoming book covers and read – or download – completely FREE books & stories about… zombies! 


Lu Reviews: The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark by Jill Thomlinson

Lu's Reviews is a new feature where my almost eight year old daughter and I talk about the books we're reading together. Some are bought, some may have been sent to myself from publishers for review. In all cases they have been pulled down from the book shelf by Lucy herself and read for no other reason than she wanted to.  


Plop, the Baby Barn Owl, is like every Barn Owl there ever was, except for one thing—he is afraid of the dark. "Dark is nasty" he says and so he won't go hunting with his parents. Mrs. Barn Owl sends him down from his nest-hole to ask about the dark and he meets a little boy waiting for the fireworks to begin, an old lady, a scout out camping, a girl who tells him about Father Christmas, a man with a telescope, and a black cat who takes him exploring. He realizes that through these encounters that dark is super after all. (from Goodreads.com) 

Age range: 5-8 year olds

Our copy was published by Egmont UK 2004 




Lucy Says: 

Why did I choose this book? I chose this book because it is My mum’s favourite.    
And I liked the sound off the title.

What I liked about this book: It was full with laughter. Plop is cute and fluffy.
I liked the way plop fell off the top branch on purpose. It was exiting when he met lots off people and found out lots about the dark. I learnt lots as well.    

What I didn't like: There was nothing I didn’t like. It was all really good.

This book made me feel: It made me feel like I was going to cry because it was so sweet.

Would I read it again and recommend to my friends?  I would definitely read it again I would send it to my friends that liked  animals.

I rate this book:  5 out of 5. It was amazing!

Mum Says: 

I've been trying to get Lu to read this for ages, but maybe my eagerness put my stubborn little miss off a bit. Anyway, we finally got round to it recently and it was every bit as delightful as I remembered it to be. It's a lovely book to either read together (with lots of fun voices to do) or as a first chapter book to read alone. I dare anyone not to fall head over heels in love with Plop. Adorable!

Book Review: Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell


Having grown up on the quiet island of Guernsey, Betty Dean can't wait to start her new life in London. On a mission to find Clara Pickle - the mysterious beneficiary in her grandmother's will - she arrives in grungy, 1990s Soho, ready for whatever life has to throw at her. Or so she thinks...

In 1920s bohemian London, Arlette - Betty's grandmother - is starting her new life in a time of post-war change. Beautiful and charismatic, Arlette is soon drawn into the hedonistic world of the Bright Young People. But less than two years later, tragedy strikes and she flees back to Guernsey for the rest of her life.

As Betty searches for Clara, she is taken on a journey through Arlette's extraordinary time in London, uncovering a tale of love, loss and heartbreak. Will the secrets of Arlette's past help Betty on her path to happiness? (from Goodreads.com)


I'd probably site Lisa Jewell as my favourite author and have thoroughly enjoyed every single one of her books. Before I Met You is no different.

The book has a duel narrative, one from Betty in the 1990's and the other from Arlette in the 20's. Lisa proves she is just as comfortable with an historical setting as a modern one and I loved both ladies stories.

Like many of Lisa's book there's a theme of looking for something/someone that runs through the story, and with evocative descriptions of both past and present Soho brought wonderfully alive it's easy to become fully immersed in both eras. I love the way Lisa Jewell can describe a feeling or thought, without being dramatic or flowery, so perfectly I can conjure the feeling myself when reading.

I also love how her characters are real, flawed, strong and interesting. I adored the relationship between Betty and Arlette. It's sweet without being sappy. Both are feisty, slightly prickly characters and it's a mutual respect that draws them together.

Before I Met you is different to any of Lisa's other books, but I think that's certainly often the case with this author who grows with each new novel. Fans and new readers alike shouldn't be disappointed with Before I Met You and I recommend it highly!

Published July 2012 by Century (UK)
My copy was a proof received from the Amazon Vine program for review purposes


Book Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond


On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance (from Goodreads.com)

With so many books cramming under the YA paranormal/fantasy genre it takes something with a stroke of originality to stand out. Gwenda Bond's Blackwood certainly has that. Whilst unfamiliar with the centuries old mystery of Roanoke Island, I was intrigued by the synopsis and idea of a creepy island where so many people can just vanish into seemingly thin air.

And Blackwood is very creepy. Right from the beginning Bond creates a tense and sinister atmosphere that has the hairs standing up on the back of your neck. It reminded me a little of the Lois Duncan books I read years ago. As a story it grips you, giving very little information and keeping the reader firmly in the dark which results in the 'one more page' syndrome. 

Gwenda Bond's characterisation is pretty spot on too. I really like Miranda who is genuinely strong, brave and compassionate. I liked how the author wasn't afraid to give her flaws, for instance her feelings towards her father were believable and human considering the circumstances. It could have seemed cold, but I think we're given enough background to empathise with Miranda and understand her feelings. It was fascinating to see Miranda come to terms with her ancestors history and thus understand herself. I also quite enjoyed the romance in this book, which seemed to develope rather than just happen. You got the impression that the chemistry between Miranda and Phillips had history without it being spelt out. And as far as villains go, Blackwood has a good one with an authentic motive.

So, mainly I really enjoyed Blackwood. However I have one small quibble. I was left a little confused a couple of times...in particular with Phillips and his 'gift'. He apparently hears voices of the dead, but in no coherent manner and ends up being pretty useless from what I could tell. I'm not convinced that it was wholly necessary the way it was executed.  I also found the switching narrative a little annoying and jumpy. Usually I love this technique but it didn't work as well for me this time. Maybe it's just me who failed to fully concentrate or maybe it was the formatting of the e-book proof I read...in which case is no fault of the book itself.

Overall Blackwood is a great, unputdownable read and the occasional confusion was far outweighed by the good. With a tantalising combination of witchcraft, alchemy, legend and a quest for eternal life, it's a book to keep you up late into the night. If you're looking for an original, creepy book then you won't go wrong with Blackwood.

Published by Strange Chemistry (UK) September 2012
My copy was an e-book arc sourced from Netgalley.

Lu Reviews: Goddess Girls- Athena The Brain by Joan Holub / Suzanne Williams

Lu's Reviews is a new feature where my almost eight year old daughter and I talk about the books we're reading together. Some are bought, some may have been sent to myself from publishers for review. In all cases they have been pulled down from the book shelf by Lucy herself and read for no other reason than she wanted to. 


Athena has always been above average. She has never quite fit in at Triton Junior High, but who would've guessed that Athena is actually a goddess? Principal Zeus's daughter, to be exact.

When she's summoned to Mount Olympus Academy, Athena thinks she might actually fit in for the first time in her life. But in some ways, school on Mount Olympus is not that different from down on Earth, and Athena is going to have to deal with the baddest mean girl in history: Medusa! (from Goodreads.com)


First Book in the Goddess Girls series
Age Range 8-11 years
Published May 2012 by Atom (UK)


Lucy says: 

Why did I choose this book?: It sounded good from the title and I liked the picture of Athena on the front. 

What I liked about this book: I really liked Athena because she was very talented and how she thought she wouldn't win the invention competition but she did. I liked her school because it had lots of strange teachers. I liked Pallas because she was funny and liked Poseidon. It made me laugh when Athena found out her mum was a fly. I liked finding out about Ancient Greece.

What I Didn't Like: I didn't like that some of the words were very hard to read.  

Would I Read It Again?: No because it was a bit hard to read and I didn't like the way people talked.

Would I read the next book in the series?: Maybe when I'm 10

I score this book: 3. It was ok. I liked a some of it but didn't like the hard words.

Mum says: 

Goddess Girls was a fun introduction to Greek Mythology...although it did seem to presume kids would already know something of characters such as Zeus, Aphrodite, Medusa, Persephone and Ancient Greece itself. Lucy had a LOT of questions while reading this book and I'll be looking for a kids non fiction book on the subject. The names in particular caused a bit of frustration, Lu's a very capable reader for her age...but even I struggle with some of them! This book is probably better suited to a slightly older child, as Lu say's 10 would be perfect. The age old favourite Boarding School setting with a new twist definitely caught her imagination though.

We received this book from the publisher for review purposes.

Book Review: 666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce


What if your mother-in-law turned out to be an evil, cold-blooded witch . . . literally?

Ever since fabulously wealthy Malcolm Doran walked into her life and swept her off her feet, fledgling architect Jane Boyle has been living a fairy tale. When he proposes with a stunning diamond to seal the deal, Jane can't believe her incredible luck and decides to leave her Paris-based job to make a new start with Malcolm in New York.

But when Malcolm introduces Jane to the esteemed Doran clan, one of Manhattan's most feared and revered families, Jane's fairy tale takes a darker turn. Soon everything she thought she knew about the world—and herself—is upended. Now Jane must struggle with newfound magical abilities and the threat of those who will stop at nothing to get them. (from Goodreads.com) 

This book only came to my attention last week, when I spotted it at a train station on the way home from visiting family. I'd only gone in to look (you know how it is...there's a shop, it sells books...you can't NOT pop in) but I was drawn to the cover (and the word Witches which I zoned in on straight away...nothing's going to grab my attention like Witches at the minute) Alas I was pretty poor and had to leave it sitting prettily on the shelf, but once on the train I called up Amazon on my phone to add it to my wishlist and found it was currently only 99p on Kindle. Win!

666 Park Avenue is like an old fashioned bonkbuster mixed with the supernatural. You have the orphan girl wooed by a charming, rich and sexy guy. But he doesn't come alone, his family are old socialites of New York, filthy rich, influential and feuding with other wealthy family dynasties. And they're all witches. Seriously, I don't know if anyone's mixed the two before (I generally don't read adult paranormal romance...maybe I should) but what a PERFECT match. It makes for an addictive, guilty pleasure read and I enjoyed every word!

Lynne was by far my favourite character...she's EVIL! Gabriella Pierce may clichĂ© the characters a little, but it works perfectly and she gives the reader exactly what you want from this type of book. It's fast, glamorous, and full of shocking revelations about the family. Because the two themes went so well together, I had no problem with accepting witchcraft in this story...it's done very well in my opinion. It's quite subtle in the detail but powerful in the execution!

It isn't the most life changing book you'll come across, but it's fun from beginning to end. It's also quite steamy at times, so one for the grown ups I think! This is the type of book you'll enjoy when you need some good old comfort reading...accompanied by wine and chocolate to make a perfect evening of indulgence. With a cliff-hanger ending, I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, released in September!

Published by Canvas UK July 2012
My copy was purchased by myself in e-book format.

Book Review: The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

'It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophies are always different - unimagined, unprepared for, unknown...' 

What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day becomes night and night becomes day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on an eleven-year-old girl, grappling with emotional changes in her own life..? One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-day life must go on. Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself. (from Goodreads.com) 


This is an incredibly difficult book to review and give a definite opinion of. On the one hand I flew threw it and fully appreciated the beautiful writing. Seriously one of the best I've read this year. In that respect it's a massive success. The problem perhaps lies with the marketing. I picked up this book expecting an end of the world dystopia. The premise is intriguing and the implications fascinating. I didn't get it.

Instead, this is a coming of age story of a twelve year old girl, with the earth slowing only a background, and at times a very vague one. It is beautifully written. The author captures exactly the pain and awkwardness of it's main character Julia. BUT this could have been just as easily achieved in a normal setting, because the stand out moments are those of a childhood friend drifting away, a first crush and the realisation that our parents aren't perfect.

There is very little explanation of the cause and solutions of the slowing and even the implications such as food production, gravity and the effect on human sleep rhythms or behaviours are only very vaguely touched upon. Even the cover of this book gives a sci-fi feel. It's absolutely NOT. Interestingly, the US cover has a very different cover suggesting more of a contemporary feel. 

I did enjoy this book, but couldn't help feel that it just wasn't what it promised. Fortunately I was able to appreciate it for what it actually was and can absolutely see that Karen Thompson Walker is an author to watch in the future. However, not everyone is going to be as accepting as I am and I think it's only fair to warn you that this book may not be what you think.  

Published by Simon & Schuster UK June 2012
Copy received from the publisher for review purposes

Book Review: Revived by Cat Patrick


As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency's true goals, she realizes she's at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined. (from Goodreads.com) 

Last year I read and raved about Cat Patrick's debut novel, Forgotten (my review here if you're interested!) So when second book, Revived, landed on my door mat recently I was excited. Especially when I saw myself quoted in the front pages! I picked it up as soon as I finished the book I was reading and settled down.

Like Forgotten, Revived is fast paced, page turning and original. Cat Patrick definitely has a style of writing which immediately pulls you into the story and keeps you there until the very end. Her writing just flows from page to page, making them one sitting books. You really need to make sure you have a spare few hours when you pick up one of Cat's book...you've been warned!

I loved the idea behind Revived, sadly though I did think it was a little vague and under explored. The sci-fi element to this book is very much the back story here, and there is a more contemporary feel to this book which focuses more on Daisy's relationships. While I did really enjoy this it made the premise somewhat unbelievable and left me with far too many questions as I was reading.

I did really like Daisy's blossoming romance with Matt, which was incredibly sweet and touching. However it wasn't Matt who got my heart fluttering...but Daisy's fake 'Dad' Mason! Don't judge though until you read....secret agent type is all I'll say :P I really want to read HIS story!

Revived was a book of mixed feelings for me. On one hand I felt very let down and under-whelmed by  the story of  Revive and wanted so much more. On the other-hand, I was surprised at how touching, sweet and at times sad (really, tear-makingly sad at one part) the more 'contemporary' elements were. This book could have almost stood up without the Revive storyline at all. So while it didn't match up to the brilliance of Forgotten by quite a mark, it's still an enjoyable enough read to pass a few hours.

Published by Egmont UK July 2012
Copy recieved from the publishers for review purposes.


Book Review: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

A captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both. Only a few years before becoming a famous actress and an icon for her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip. She has no idea what she's in for: Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous blunt bangs and black bob, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will change their lives forever. For Cora, New York holds the promise of discovery that might prove an answer to the question at the center of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in a strange and bustling city, she embarks on her own mission. And while what she finds isn't what she anticipated, it liberates her in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of the summer, Cora's eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive (From Goodreads.com) 

I don't think there's any other period in time as enticing as the 1920's, and that's certainly what drew me to this book. I hadn't heard of Louise Brooks (a real actress of the period who this fictional story is centred around) but I was looking forward to reading about the glamour of New York during this exciting time.

What was surprising is this isn't what the book is about. I was expecting stories of Flappers and Speak-easies, glitz and glamour. Instead, this is a very quiet yet thoughtful book about a woman's journey in finding herself in a time when the very essence of the society she has grown up with is changing at lightening speed.

Told through the eyes of Cora, the actresses 36 year old chaperone, we see through her eyes the changing attitudes in both her small town in Kansas and New York with themes including class division, poverty, women's rights, racism and homophobia. I love the way Cora developes throughout this book, from typically narrow-minded to a pioneer and champion of the underdog. It's all very quiet and subtle, and spanning decades rather than set in only in the 1920's you really get a feel of the shifting changes. I think in this respect, Laura Moriarty really grasps and evokes history.

So, was I disappointed in the lack of glamour of the roaring twenties? Slightly...I must be honest. After all, that's what I went into the book expecting. I also thought the book lacked a little drama at times and lost pace in the middle, with the final third spanning fifty years a little too quickly. Nonetheless once I finished it, I did have plenty to think about and in turn appreciate it. The Chaperone is a story of one woman's journey of acceptance, both of herself and others. Who without people such as her, we wouldn't have the far more accepting and diverse world we have today. She's a normal woman, who does nothing particularly heroic...but she's quietly brave in her fight against repression and I very much enjoyed her story.

Published by Penguin UK April 2012
My copy was an advanced readers copy from the Amazon Vine program.

On My Wishlist (3/5/12)

This is a weekly event, originally created by Book Chick City and now hosted right here, where we showcase the books which are currently top of our wishlists. Old, new or yet to be released titles are all welcome. And why keep it to books? Spot some awesome book accessory or related item that you can wait to own? Share that with us too. Feel free to take the meme button below for your post and don't forget to come back and add your post to the linky every Saturday so others can visit. 

On My Wishlist This Week 

I don't think my choices this week could be any more different. I'm definitely finding a variety keeps me a happier reader (after I read my fifth dystopian YA in a row!) Anyway, one YA one adult this week...

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles Like his brothers, Luis Fuentes is a risk taker; whether he's scaling the Rocky Mountains or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis is always looking for the next thrill. Nikki Cruz lives her life by certain rules -, don't trust a boy who says "I love you", boys lie to get their own way and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Then she meets Luis at his brother Alex's wedding and suddenly she's tempted to break all her rules. Getting Nikki to give him a chance is Luis's biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by the head of the gang that nearly destroyed his brothers' lives. Will Luis's feelings for Nikki be enough to stop him from entering a dark and violent world that could prove to be the ultimate risk? 

This one's already out in the US and due for publication in the UK this July. I've loved the previous two books and can't wait for more from the delicious Fuentes brothers (phew at that cover!):D  

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones A sinister tale of haunting beauty, from The Outcast author Sadie Jones.

She was obeying a prompt, an instinct: the instinct that makes a dog lying by the fire tremble of a sudden, and whimper, when there is no one near to see.

The cake is iced. The wine decanted. The house gleams invitingly. But as Sterne prepares for Emerald Torrington's birthday supper, who are the pale strangers struggling silently up the drive?

A supernatural comedy and spellbinding thriller, The Uninvited Guests strips away the respectable layers of Edwardian society to reveal the dark secrets beneath.

'What a delicious read! Like something written by a wicked Jane Austen. Passing like a spring fever, here is a fairy tale that stays with you long after it is gone.' Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress 

This one came up on my Amazon vine list a few months ago, but was snapped up so quickly I missed it :( I read The Outcast by Sadie Jones a few years ago and really enjoyed it. This one sounds very different though. I love the cover, the setting and the fact it sounds so unusual. 

So what's on your Wishlist this week? 






Book Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.
She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's... (from Goodreads.com)

I honestly don't know what to make of this book. Or rather my feelings towards it. I'd heard so many positive things about it that I picked it up specifically when I needed a guaranteed good read. Sure, it's an easy read and I got through it in just a couple of days but I was just so underwhelmed by it.

The biggest issues I have with this book is believability. I did not believe Nikki's reasons for going to the Everneath. I did not believe she spent a hundred years there (six months of our time). And I certainly didn't believe in the romance that she supposedly couldn't forget during that time. It was all so insipid and unconvincing.

I really didn't enjoy Nikki as a character either and couldn't muster any sympathy for her at all. She's given six months back in her old life and completely wastes it as far as I could tell. She pretty much completely ignores her family and best friend, who only get brief occasional mentions and seems to spend an amazing amount of time doing homework alone in her room for someone whose time is limited! It wouldn't be what I'd be doing anyway! Jack, the boyfriend she loves so much is equally as dull. I can't think of anything much more to say about him.

The only interesting character was the villain, Cole, although I'd have liked to have known a lot more about him and his world. Oh and I was also quite intrigued by minor characters Meredith/Mary and her Mother and would have loved to hear more of their story. I did like the splashes of Greek mythology based around Hades and Persephone. I was prepared to fully hate this book, but felt it redeemed itself towards the end somewhat, surprising me a little and making me a teeny bit curious about what will happen in book two.

I'm not sure if I've just reached the end of the road with paranormal YA, but this really was just a 'meh' book for me, although I appreciate I'm in the minority there! If you like a lot of angst but not much action then you may like it more than I did.

Published by Simon & Schuster Children's Books (UK) February 2012

Book Review: Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid

Penguin Cover
'They tried to make me go to my sister's funeral today. In the end I had to give in ... I'd been walking in her shadow for sixteen years and I liked its cool darkness. It was a good place to hide.' 

Rebecca's twin sister Hephzibah was beautiful and daring. She was the one who always wanted more. The one who wouldn't listen. Now she's gone, Rebecca is alone.

While there were two of them, they stayed silent about their home life. But Rebecca, who knows the truth about how her twin died, suddenly finds herself keeping too many secrets. Hephzibah dreamt of escape, but failed. Could Rebecca be the one to find freedom?

Original and unforgettable, Black Heart Blue is not just Rebecca and Hephzibah's story. It's a story about all of us: a story about the lies we want to believe, the truth we sometimes can't, and having the courage to discover the difference. (From Goodreads.com)

I knew very little about this book when I started it, mainly attracted by the story of twin sisters ripped apart. I certainly wasn't prepared for the dark, emotional and heartrendingly sad story inside.


Written in alternating chapters of before and after from each sister, Louisa Reid blends a tense tale of abuse and religious extremism with courage and hope. I felt we really got to know both sisters, who were scarily believable and uncliched (as characters in books covering similar stories can often be) My heart ached for them both. Beautiful, lively and naive Hepzi, as she longed to break out of the claustrophobic and cruel clutches of their vicarage home. Rebecca, who is quietly brave and loyal to her sister, even when she is suffering the brunt of her fathers anger at her sisters actions. Louisa Reid creates both characters perfectly, so while they are victims they also have flaws. This adds a true sense of 'realness' to the situation. 

Puffin Cover
The Father is a terrifying character who manages to get right under your skin. We see stories in the papers all the time and ask 'how did nobody know?' This would be one of those stories, and Reid encourages the reader to not only think about the twins situation, but as people how we often find it easier to look the other way and how easy it is for a person to present themselves as something completely different in public. 

I was gripped to this book right from the beginning and read it in just two sittings. It's all consuming and I couldn't stop thinking about it for a long time after. With some very dark themes and scenes of violence, it's not the very fainthearted, but despite that there's an overarching feeling of hope throughout. Highly recommended by me. 

Published in the UK by Penguin/Puffin as both Adult and Childrens (May 2012)



On My Wishlist (#3)

This is a weekly event, originally created by Book Chick City and now hosted right here, where we showcase the books which are currently top of our wishlists. Old, new or yet to be released titles are all welcome. And why keep it to books? Spot some awesome book accessory or related item that you can wait to own? Share that with us too. Feel free to take the meme button below for your post and don't forget to come back and add your post to the linky every Saturday so others can visit. 

Guys, I must apologise for both the lack of activity and commenting on your posts this weeks. My poor old laptop has just about given up and my netbook needs a replacement screen (which is being done this weekend ...woop! Very hard to see anything with a shattered screen!)

On My Wishlist This Week  

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne Girl, Interrupted meets Beautiful Creatures in this fast-paced thriller

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.

Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller. 

Published by Putnam February 2012

So what's on your wishlist this week? 



On My Wishlist (#2)

This is a weekly event, originally created by Book Chick City and now hosted right here, where we showcase the books which are currently top of our wishlists. Old, new or yet to be released titles are all welcome. And why keep it to books? Spot some awesome book accessory or related item that you can wait to own? Share that with us too. Feel free to take the meme button below for your post and don't forget to come back and add your post to the linky every Saturday so others can visit. 


I've been thinking about On My Wishlist, as I want to make it as diverse and interesting for everyone (and hopefully attract more participants! I'd love to start featuring other bookish stuff too such as book accessories ( I have a thing for those!) and other stuff. What do you think? I'm also thinking about including some books from my seven year old daughter's wishlist ... any idea's/thoughts or opinions?

On My Wishlist This Week 

Changeling by Philippa Gregory Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of the first-ever teen series from #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl.Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.      Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.     Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.      The first in a series, this epic and richly detailed drama is grounded in historical communities and their mythic beliefs. It includes a medieval map of Europe that will track their journey; and the interior will include relevant decorative elements as well as an interior line illustration. And look for a QR code that links to a note from the author with additional, detailed information about the setting and the history that informed the writing. With Philippa Gregory’s trademark touch, this novel deftly brings the past—and its salacious scandals—vividly and disturbingly to life 

Published May 2012 by Simon & Schuster I'm really looking forward to Philippa's YA debut!

The Boy With The Cuckoo Clock Heart by Mathius Malzieu
Edinburgh, 1874: Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation — the implantation of a cuckoo-clock in his chest. From then on his days all begin with a wind-up, in this dark, tender fairy tale spiced with devilish humour. 

There's not that much information on this book. But with a cover like that...who cares? *swoons* Amazon reviewers describe it as a retake of Pinnochio for adults with a hint of steam-punk. It's been on my wishlist for absolutely ages, but was always very expensive! I've just noticed it's gone down a bit in price though so I may own a copy very soon.

First published 2005, various publishers around the world.






So what's on your wishlist this week? 










Book Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out. 


When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask. 


Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival. (From Goodreads.com)

Partials sounded right up my street and I was really looking forward to it, even the size of it didn't put me off. At over 450 pages it's pretty huge, but I was sure the action packed plot would see me fly through the pages. I think maybe I picked it up at the wrong time though, when I had lots of other stuff on my mind, because while I liked it, I wasn't hooked and it ended up taking me nearly two weeks to read.

I really loved the premise of Partials and thought the small society of humans on the brink of extinction was very realistic, including the leadership/government who force pregnancy on girls in a bid to save the population. Dan Wells made it just the right amount of sinister and chilling. I also really liked the idea of the Partials, created by humans to serve as soldiers in a terrible war who have now turned on us themselves. And there's lots of rebelling in this book. I like nothing more than a good rebellion against corrupt leaders, of which there's plenty of here.

Main protagonist Kira is a great heroine. Strong, determined, Kick ass...the type of character I like best.I didn't really connect with any of the other characters and thought they were a little flat. I would have liked to see more emotional depth to Kira's relationships with them. Maybe it was just me, but I thought despite having these people around her she was very much alone and isolated. Partials also has plenty of action, if that's your thing and you love books like The Hunger games and Divergent, then you're probably going to really like this book too.

I think the main problem I had with this book however was the medical/genetic aspect. It's not that I hate this kind of stuff, I actually find it quite fascinating and it was one of the things I was looking forward to in this book. I think it was maybe a little too much at times and I did find myself skipping a few pages here and there when my mind started to wander. Partials took quite a bit of concentration from me, which leads me back to my first paragraph. It probably required more than I could offer it at the time. I also thought it was a little predictable and guessed pretty early on the way things would go. Will I carry on with the series? Yes absolutely...despite the problems I had it's still an intriguing enough book and the possibilities are fascinating. I really do want to know what's in store for Dan Wells world.

Published March 20th 2012 by HarperCollins (UK)
thanks to the publishers for sending a copy for review.

On My Wishlist (#1)



This is a weekly event, originally created by Book Chick City and now hosted right here, where we showcase the books which are currently top of our wishlists. Old, new or yet to be released titles are all welcome. And why keep it to books? Spot some awesome book accessory or related item that you can wait to own? Share that with us too. Feel free to take the meme button below for your post and don't forget to come back and add your post to the linky every Saturday so others can visit. 

On My Wishlist This Week 

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley 'We've got at least seven hours to get what we want before the sun comes up.'
School is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. Somewhere in the glassy darkness, he's out there, spraying colour, birds and blue sky on the night. And Lucy knows that a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for - really fall for.
The last person Lucy wants to spend this night with is Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since punching him in the nose on the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells Lucy he knows where to find Shadow, the two of them are suddenly on an all-night search to places where Shadow's pieces of heartbreak and escape echo off the city walls. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes. 

I've heard so many great things about this book I may not be able to wait until it's UK release this summer! 

The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realises that mysteries aren't solved in Mullaby, they're a way of life. Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbour, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, offering them to satisfy the town's sweet tooth - but also in the hope of rekindling a love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily's backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in. 

Sarah Addison Allen's latest book, The Peach Keeper, was my first experience of this author. Certainly won't be the last. I have all her books on my wishlist, but this one is right at the top.

So what's on your wishlist this week? Link up your post below.

March Recap and Where I've Been...

March started off so, so well! By the 17th I'd read 8 books...which for me is a big deal...and had big plans for the next couple of weeks of reading. Then my Nan got taken into hospital and I've kind of not been here since.

She's ok, well she has Alzheimer's which is totally hideous, but physically she's fine. She's stuck in hospital now waiting for a care package. I've mentioned before on the blog how my Nana is the biggest influence on me as a reader, ever since I was tiny. Even as confused as she has been, she was most worried about getting the library books she checked out recently back on time. (Which I did for her and had a gawp at the pretty awesome YA Section while I was at it)

So I've had very little time for the last couple of weeks. In fact, it's taken me that two whole weeks to read one book. I also failed to take part in my own challenge of reading one of the oldest books on the shelf *sigh* Two in April to make up? We'll see. 


But although March has ended up being pretty horrible, I did still fit in some great reading and bloggish stuff before it all went to pot! There seems to have been a witchy theme going on with my reading and my favourite book this month was Hollow Pike by James Dawson, closely followed by Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake & Bunheads by Sophie Flack.  



I also took over the popular weekly meme, On My Wishlist, from Book Chick City which I officially start hosting this Saturday! I'm looking forward to that and hope you'll join in. 



Of course I managed to fit in a visit to the cinema to catch The Hunger Games. I thought it was good, but not as emotional as it should have been. If that makes sense? Anyway my friend who'd never read the books said she thought it was sweet. I sent her on her way with a copy of the book. 

So how was your March? Hope you all managed to make the most of that week of gorgeous weather!

Book Review: Poison Heart by S. B Hayes

An idle glance through the window of a bus changes everything for Katy Rivers. 

A mysterious girl, with luminous green eyes, stares back and from that moment on she haunts Katy and appears to know her every move, even what she is thinking. What is the strange connection between them? And what is the power of the emerald pendant which the girl bestows on her? 

‘I’m everything you’re not and I’m going to take over your life… I’m your worst nightmare.’ 

These chilling words mean that Katy is gradually backed into a corner, alienated from everyone she holds dear, even her own mother. Only her best friend Luke, keeps faith and together they must find a way to defeat the girl who is determined that she will be with Katy...even until death. 

POISON HEART combines psychological suspense with teen romance and makes for a thoroughly chilling read. (from Goodreads.com)    



I'll be honest. I hadn't even heard of Poison Heart until it dropped through my letter box but it certainly looked interesting.  The cover is gorgeous and the synopsis intriguing without giving much away. 

And it turned out to be pretty good. It's certainly different to any other YA I've read recently. I liked the suspensefulness of it and not knowing where it was going to go for the most part. S.B Hayes writing kept me hooked and wanting to know what was going to happen and all in it was an easy read mixing a bit of a thriller with a hint of supernatural. 

I liked main characters Katy and Genevieve, who was just creepy enough to be sinister without being over the top. I did think that people turned against Katy far too easily, especially her mother and didn't understand that. I also loved the relationship between Katy and her neighbour and long time friend Luke and was glad she had him to turn to at least. My one major problem with this book though was katy's boyfriend, Merlin. Seriously?  He isn't even magical by the way, just a bit of a patronising twit. 

Overall Poison heart is a good quick read which didn't blow me away but passed a couple of hours easily. I did spot the major twist before it was revealed, but it's still a good one and I enjoyed the lead up to it. The other plus with this book is that there's no hint of a cliffhanger ending or possibility for a sequel and reading a story you can wrap up in one go is always a pleasure these days. 

Published by Quercus February 2012
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.

New To Cosy Books: On My Wishlist - A Weekly Meme

Carolyn at Book Chick City has passed over the reigns to weekly meme, On My Wishlist and I'll be hosting it right here at Cosy Books every Saturday!

This is a weekly event where we showcase the books that are top of our wishlists. Old, new or yet to be released titles are all welcome. And why keep it to books? Spot some awesome book accessory or related item that you can wait to own? Share that with us too. Feel free to take the meme button below for your post and don't forget to come back and add your post to the linky every Saturday so others can visit. 



I'll be taking over properly next week with my own post and a linky, but for anyone who finds their way here today via Book Chick City and would like to leave a link to their post in the comments please feel free! 

I look forward to seeing your posts next week! 

**Announcement**

I've moved ... you can now find this blog at CosyBooks.Blog ...same content, different place!

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