Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Author/Book News

So I decided to write a post about recent author/book news as I've been hearing tidbits on the internet about various things and thought I should share the info...

First up is news from Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder. The Sequel entitled Desires of the Dead has a cover and boy is it pretty! Like The Body Finder cover art, it has a similar design only this time it's pink and I think it's gorgeous! Desires of the Dead is officially released on 15th March, 2011 and it's so on the wishlist already! Look out for a review of The Body Finder some time soon.

Speaking of covers, the sequel to The Dark Divine by Bree Despain is called The Lost Saint and the cover will officially be released on July 20th, presumably on Bree's blog. The Lost Saint is officially released on 28th December, 2010 so make sure you save a bit of your christmas money for that! It's been added to my wishlist.

Sarah Rees Brennan has a THIRD demon book coming out next year (possibly May time) but that's all the details I have on that for the moment. This is on the wishlist too!

Have you read Swoon by Nina Malkin? I have had this book for so long but still haven't read it yet due to the ever growing TBR pile. If you liked it then you'll be pleased to know that a sequel is coming soon but no further details at the moment. Added to wishlist!

How about If I Stay by Gayle Forman? ANOTHER book that's in the TBR pile but I haven't got round to reading yet *sigh*. I've just heard that Gayle has recently finished writing the sequel entitled Where She Went. Wishlist!

Now, a lot of you know that one of my favourite author's is Maggie Stiefvater and Shiver holds a very dear place in my heart. Have you checked out the Shiver micro site that has just been put up by Maggie? Click here to check it out. You can find out about the series and I'm sure that news will be posted there as soon as it becomes available. I'm especially looking forward to seeing what the cover will look like for the third and final book in the series entitled Forever. DEFINITELY on the wishlist.

I also have some very exciting news about the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. The rights have been optioned for film which means we could see a movie in the near future! Am beside myself with excitement over this!! If you want to read the full article about it then click here . I've only read and reviewed the first book although I have more of the books. I really want to start reading them and find out what happens soon!

I absolutely love Fallen by Lauren Kate and am about to post my review of this soon. The UK trailer has officially been released so check it out.

Torment is the sequel to Fallen and comes out in September, 2010. I was lucky to get an ARC of this which I will be reading soon. I won't post my review until September though. If you can't wait until September however and absolutely MUST sneak a peak, then go the Fallen facebook page to read the first 18 pages. Also, check out the trailer below.

Waiting On Wednesday (and it's actually Wednesday!)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

"Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance—even her closest friends—and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions—for Hell—and she possesses a unique skill set that has the King of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he’s as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn’t get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay…for all of them".

OMG I'm ridiculously excited for this book! It has invaded my soul, really. Lisa has been posting excerpts from the book and now you can read chapter one in its entirety on her blog. I can't stop thinking about it and I'm thinking that Luc may have possessed me or something! Unfortunately I couldn't be at BEA or ALA as I live in the UK but I'm still desperately trying to get hold of an ARC.

On a writerly note, Lisa posted a video recently on her blog describing a typical day in her life as a writer. I have to say that I was seriously impressed and also humbled. I realise that my excuses for not writing are so lame, they're not even worth mentioning. This lady writes WHEREever and WHENever she can. It was inspiring so thank you Lisa.

If you want to read chapter one of Personal Demons and then start involuntarily drooling for it like me, then click here . I defy you NOT to want this.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Penitence Review

Penitence is the sequel to Heavenly, one of my favourite books of all time written by the very lovely Jennifer Laurens. I kept on entering Jennifer’s weekly contests but never won any so one day I posted that I didn’t care about the other prizes, I just wanted the book! To my complete joy and surprise, Grove Creek Publishing agreed to send me a review copy and I was elated!! HUGE thanks to Grove Creek Publishing and their random act of kindness.

So you should all know by now that I’m a HUGE fan of Jennifer Laurens and I LOVED Heavenly (click here for my review). So what do you think I’m going to say about Penitence? Well, you’re right. I LOVED it just as much as Heavenly. Let me just post a reminder that if you haven’t read Heavenly, you should stop right here and go and read it before you look at this review. I don’t want to spoil it for you.


Are only readers left that have read Heavenly?

Then I shall begin. Penitence picks up right where we left off in Heavenly. At the end of Heavenly, Zoe finally got a chance to be with Matthias properly as she was in between heaven and earth whilst her life still hung in the balance following a car accident. Penitence begins with Zoe waking up in a hospital room, having been dragged back down to earth with a bump. And now Matthias, her guardian angel has disappeared. As her family situation worsens, Zoe feels more alone than ever.

However, all is not lost as Zoe begins to see other spirits and meets a mysterious man who she thinks is her new guardian angel. Only there is something not quite right about him. He’s definitely there for Zoe. But not to protect her. Zoe needs Matthias now more than ever. But where is he and will he show up in time?

I love the Heavenly series and this book is just as good as the first one. I loved the fact that I was about a third of the way into the book and I still couldn’t figure out what was going on. I had trust in Jennifer’s writing though that all would become clear eventually.

I love Zoe as the narrator and I’m in love with Matthias (obviously) but you know what? One of my favourite characters in this story was Weston and I absolutely love what Jennifer did with his character. You may remember that Weston was with Brady when they tried to rape Zoe in Heavenly. Weston finds his conscience and is desperate to talk to Zoe about what happened that night. Quite rightly, Zoe is reluctant (to say the least) but eventually hears him out. Their relationship grows and the reader goes from hating him to liking him, learning to trust him and then lusting after him! I couldn’t believe it when I realised my change in feelings for him! I’m practically in love with him at this point but I also love Matthias and feel a sense of loyalty towards him. As difficult as the situation is, you still understand why Zoe has a relationship with both characters.

So yes, Weston’s character definitely grew on me which left me torn because if Zoe stays with Weston then she gets the human experience but then what about Matthias? Does she actually have a chance with Weston or is it a doomed relationship? I have an awful feeling that Matthias is going to try and say goodbye in the third one and to be honest, I’m not sure a) how it’s going to go and b) who I want her to choose. I just KNOW that whatever happens, I’m going to be in floods of tears!

I’m super impressed with Jennifer’s writing style and clever portrayal of the characters. Penitence ends on a cliff-hanger which has left me practically chomping at the bit for the final book in the series, Absolution. I would sell a kidney to get my hands on this book (hey, you only need one right?)

Penitence was released in April, 2010 and Absolution is officially released in October, 2010. As a special treat, I’ve not only included the book trailer for Penitence but also for Absolution. If you can watch the trailer for absolution and NOT cry, then you are a harder person than I am.

Jennifer Laurens has also written other novels such as Falling for Romeo, Magic Hands and Nailed. She has her own website which you can visit by clicking here and from there you can access the blog for Jennifer's musings and regular contests. Jennifer is also active on Twitter and facebook. As if that wasn't enough for you, Heavenly also has its own website which you can visit by clicking here to get more information about the book and its sequels.

The Moonstone Legacy Review

The Moonstone Legacy is the debut novel by authors Diana de Gunzberg and Tony Wild and was sent to me by Pushkin Press for review. The story centres on the Abercrombie’s, an aristocratic family living in Yorkshire, England. Lizzy (our main protagonist) is a 14 year old girl who lives with her father in a rented cottage on the Shalimar estate. Her mother was killed two years ago in very mysterious circumstances which are somehow linked to the equally mysterious disappearance of her ancestor Great Uncle George.

Most of the story is set in or around Shalimar, a grand mansion built as a replica of an Indian palace by great Uncle George. He spent a lot of time in India and wanted to bring a piece of it home with him. Shalimar now belongs to Lizzy’s Uncle William who lives there with his wife and the twins who are incredibly spoilt and selfish.

Lizzy finds out about a family curse that she thinks is responsible for her mother’s death and is somehow linked to Uncle George. A curse that she too may be part of one day. In order to find out the truth, she travels to India where she learns about the past and unwittingly uncovers a deadly enemy who wants something that does not belong to him.

To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book and so I hesitated when I was offered the chance to read and review. Eventually though, I decided to give it a go as you don’t know until you try right? I think one of the biggest turn off’s however was the cover art. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but how many times have you been drawn to a book because the cover art was gorgeous? The cover art for The Moonstone Legacy was dark and dismal. I feel it could have been so much more enticing.

It took a little whilst for the story to get going and for me, the most interesting parts were of the British Colonial history and the stories of India. I found that part of it fascinating. To be quite honest, there were a few times when I simply lost interest and forgot about the family curse Lizzy was supposed to be investigating. There wasn’t enough tension to keep that idea alive for me.

I think that basically I agree with everything Becky said over at The Bookette especially when she said that it might appeal to a younger reader.

Whilst I didn’t LOVE this book and at times struggled to get to the end of it, I didn’t dislike it completely. I just think it would have worked so much better VISUALLY. I’d love to see this as a Sunday afternoon family drama as I think it would be perfect for it. I just hope someone out there in TV land agrees with me!

The Moonstone Legacy was released in May, 2010. Thank you to Pushkin press for sending me the book for review.

Check out the website here where you can read the first four chapters.

Firespell Review

"Boobs and earthquakes?" I asked. "That's quite a change."

Firespell is the first book I have read by Chloe Neill and it's book one in the Dark Elite series. I’d been interested to read it for some time now but it’s been hiding in my ever growing TBR pile. The hardback version was released recently in the UK and as a huge fan of hardbacks; I got myself a copy and started reading. You’ll be pleased to know that I have since given the paperback to a good home!

I was drawn to the book by both the title Firespell (ooh that sounds interesting, what’s firespell?) and also the cover art which is dark and mysterious. The premise sounded interesting too although I was a little concerned as there are A LOT of YA books at present set inside a boarding school that the main protagonist has just been sent to. Thankfully, my concerns were pulverised as I read the story and decided that this book was different and when you read it, you’ll see why. I enjoyed every minute of reading it and was thoroughly entertained throughout.

Firespell is about Lily Parker, a teenage girl who is sent to St. Sophia’s, a boarding school in the heart of Chicago as her parents move away with work. There, Lily becomes firm friends with her roommate Scout who seemingly disappears late into the night and comes back exhausted and covered in mysterious bruises. Scout refuses to fess up the truth about what she’s up to and so Lily decides to take matters into her own hands and follows her. She finds out that Scout is part of an elite group of teens with magical powers who have formed an alliance to protect the citizens of Chicago from other magical beings who have been corrupted by their own power. Lily treads a dangerous path as she wants to help but has no magical powers of her own. When she meets a reaper who attacks her with firespell, Lily can no longer sit on the sidelines and becomes part of the dark elite but will the group accept her and more importantly how can she survive being part of the group without magical powers?

Scout was one of my favourite characters and I really enjoyed the dialogue between her and Lily as they had some hilarious conversations which include one of my favourite lines from the book (see above). You’ll have to read it to find out the context but it had me laughing out loud!

Lily is a great protagonist who is strong willed and strong minded. She isn’t afraid to fight for her principles and beliefs, to stick up for friends when they need help and she can give as good as she gets in the snarky stakes. I’m excited to see how her character develops through the Dark Elite series. There were hints at a love interest in the form of Jason but the relationship aspect was a subplot that only really got going towards the end of the book leaving lots of room for development in the next book. This is something that I’m especially excited about! Bring on the next book!

Firespell was released in January 2010. The next book in the Dark Elite series is entitled Hexbound and it too has a beautiful cover. This will be released in January 2011.

Chloe Neill is also the author of the Chicagoland Vampires series (Some Girls Bite, Friday Night Bites and Twice Bitten). You can find her website and blog here. She is also active on facebook and twitter.

Impossible Review

Recently, I signed up to participate in an ARC tour for Impossible, a New York Times bestseller by Nancy Werlin. I had not heard of either the author or the book before but I liked the premise of the story and thought I would give it a go. I have to say that overall I enjoyed reading it.

Impossible is a book about a curse that affects the daughters of a family. Lucinda is 17 and lives with her adopted parents as her own mother went mad shortly after having Lucinda at 18. Her mother left her information about the curse that was lost until recently – Lucinda finds out everything and it’s a race against time to complete the impossible tasks in order to save both herself and her unborn child.

I read recently that Impossible was inspired by the ballad “Scarborough Fair” and this song features heavily throughout the book. You could say that it was the core theme as the impossible tasks are part of the song. Lucinda has only 9 months to complete these tasks and the tension was certainly present throughout the book. I enjoyed the budding romance between Lucinda and Zach (which I saw coming a mile away but still enjoyed nonetheless) although I became frustrated with Lucinda’s attitude with him towards the end of the book. I realise though that she was dealing with A LOT of difficult things in such a short period of time and so I can’t blame her for being a bit confused and unsure.

There is a difficult and sensitive scene in the beginning of the book which I think was handled really well. It wasn’t graphic as it didn’t need to be and the reader understood what happened.

This is a standalone book (as far as I know) and overall, an enjoyable read. It’s made me want to check out Nancy’s other books including her recent one Extraordinary which is released in September, 2010. Impossible was released in 2008.

Nancy Werlin is the award winning author of several novels. She is active on facebook and you can visit her on her website here . Check out the book trailer below (featuring different cover art).

The Unwritten Rule Review

The Unwritten Rule is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Scott and I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed it. We’ve all read books that feature the awesome best friend, the sidekick who doesn’t really get to be in the spotlight. Well, no more. The Unwritten Rule is the story of the best friend. Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years only now he has become her best friend’s boyfriend and she has to try and put away her feelings for the sake of her best friend. One night, Sarah and Ryan find themselves alone and something happens between them. It’s very bittersweet for Sarah as whilst she finally has her moment with Ryan, she’s also racked with guilt about Brianna. Not only that, but now she’s had a taste of what it’s like to be with Ryan, Sarah isn’t sure she can pretend he doesn’t mean anything to her anymore.

I have to say that at first, I made a judgement that cheating is cheating. Period. And that there is no excuse for breaking “the unwritten rule” of not crushing on your best friend’s boyfriend and certainly not trying to get with him. Let me tell you, after reading The Unwritten Rule, things aren’t so black and white. You’ll just have to read to find out what I mean as I don’t want to give the game away and spoil it for those who haven’t read the book yet.

This book is definitely a character driven novel as the initial plot is quite straightforward. It’s the characters that are more complex! I did enjoy seeing things from Sarah’s point of view though (as the main protagonist) and learning about her relationships with both Brianna and Ryan.

I found Brianna to be the most interesting character as she is complex and ultimately flawed. She is definitely not very likeable in the beginning as her bad behaviour demonstrates what an awful friend she is. She insists on Sarah being present when spending time with Ryan which makes Sarah feel like a third wheel. To make matters worse, she likes Ryan and so it’s even more uncomfortable to spend time with both of them together. Brianna comes across as arrogant, selfish and cruel by putting her friend down at practically every opportunity. But then we get a glimpse into her family life and potential reasons why she acts the way she does. She isn’t a bad person – it’s just her behaviour that is bad. As the book progresses, we come to understand her better although this does not excuse her behaviour. I consider Brianna to be a toxic friend and I’m sure we’ve all experienced our fair share of them, I know I have. It’s a difficult friendship to maintain as you want to be loyal, forgiving and a friend to them but ultimately they hurt you and the relationship becomes toxic.

What I loved about all of the characters was that they were utterly believable and that’s important.

I’m not going to tell you how it ends, you’ll just have to read it for yourself but like I said, it’s not black and white; there are many shades of grey to be considered. If you like flawed characters and complex relationships then this is the book for you. A quick and easy read as Elizabeth’s words flew off the pages. I was certainly drawn into the story.

The Unwritten Rule was released in March, 2010. Elizabeth Scott is the author of several novels such as Living Dead Girl, Perfect You, Bloom, Something Maybe, Stealing Heaven, Love You Hate You Miss You and her latest novel Grace which comes out in September, 2010 and is on my wish list! You can visit Elizabeth’s website by clicking here . She is also active on facebook and twitter.

The Healing Spell

Have you heard of The Healing Spell by Kimberly Griffiths Little? I've only just found out about it and it looks interesting. It's officially released in July, 2010 and here is the blurb from Goodreads:

"Twelve-year-old Livie is living with a secret and it's crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone. It's up to her to find a way to wake her momma up.

Stuck in the middle of three sisters, hiding a forbidden pet alligator, and afraid to disappoint her daddy, whom she loves more than anyone else, Livie struggles to find her place within her own family as she learns about the powers of faith and redemption. Livie's powerful, emotional, and sometimes humorous story will stay with readers long after the last line is read.

Set in the lush bayou of Louisiana, Kimberley Griffiths Little brings Livie's story to life with power and grace."

Matched Review

I first heard about Matched by Ally Condie through Melissa Marr who posted on facebook a couple of months ago that she had read it and highly recommended it. I immediately loved the cover art and when I read the synopsis, I KNEW I was going to love this book. I KNEW that this was right up my street and I needed to read it. I tried desperately hard to get an ARC – entering every contest I could find and even requesting one from Penguin but alas to no avail. I was also extremely disappointed that I couldn’t go to BEA since I live in the UK.

I tweeted my frustrations and how I would just “drop my life” to read this book. Out of the blue I got a DM from an extremely kind fellow book blogger who offered to let me borrow her ARC of Matched. I was dumbfounded. I’ve done some nice things for bloggers before but it was so nice to be on the receiving end. I can’t tell you how grateful I was to get this book and I’m not going to name the person (just in case they don’t want to be named) but I will always be grateful and I sure do owe them one.

Matched was everything I expected it to be and so much more. I think my very words were “I want to marry this book and have its offspring”. If THAT doesn’t tell you how good it is, then nothing will. I will admit that this is the first dystopian novel I’ve ever read (yes I’m ashamed to say that I have not tackled The Hunger Games or The Mortal Instruments books yet although they’re sitting on my shelves, giving me the eye). I got lost in the dystopian world of Matched and more than that, I WANTED to get lost in that world. I find myself even now; days later wanting to dive back into the book just so I can visit Cassia and her world again.

Let me tell you a bit about the world of Matched and what the story is about. Matched is set in a futuristic, dystopian world where everything is controlled by “The Society”. Choice is taken away as everything is decided for you in order to live a healthy, extended life. The main protagonist is Cassia, who is approaching her 17th birthday and on that date she is to be matched. The Society will choose a match for her, one that fits her physical and psychological profile. Obviously nervous, Cassia is reassured when her best friend Xander is chosen as her match but what happens when another face flashes on the matching screen then vanishes just as quickly? Faced with impossible questions and impossible choices, just who is her match? And does she dare to find out?

I think this book has huge potential to become a classic. Because it is set in the future, not one part of the text dates it in any way – no texting, no teen speak and no stereotypes. The characters were very well fleshed out and I felt like I bonded with them easily. I loved seeing the world from Cassia’s eyes although it might have been interesting to see things from alternative points of view. I was certainly curious to know what Xander and Ky were thinking at times!

As for relationships, there were some extremely sweet and touching moments between the main characters which made me pull funny faces and say “awwww” out loud. Luckily, I didn’t have an audience so no explanation was necessary!

There’s so much more I would love to say about this book but I don’t want to give any spoilers away so I’ll reserve those thoughts for Ally herself. I have to say that this is definitely in my top three favourite books of all time and believe me when I tell you that the ending will leave you breathless for more! I’m so glad to hear that there is a sequel in the works as I am now DYING to read it and would definitely drop my life to read that too!

Matched is officially released in November, 2010. I am pre-ordering it RIGHT NOW and I urge you with every fibre in my being to do the same as I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Allyson Condie is the author of several YA novels such as Being Sixteen, Freshman for President, Reunion, First Day and Yearbook. Visit her website and blog by clicking here . Ally is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

For The Writers...

Cassandra Marshall is a freelance editor and intern at a literary agency in NYC. She is giving away a FREE substantial edit (including plot, pacing, character development, etc, up to 100k words) to one lucky reader! Enter by clicking here. The good news is that the contest is international and the deadline is 2nd July. If you are serious about your writing, ENTER NOW. I am. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

ANGELFIRE contest (Win an ARC)

So I've just found out about this awesome new book called Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton and she is giving away an ARC on her blog. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

"When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember."

Ooooh this sounds good and now I want to win an ARC too! Especially as the book isn't officially released until February 2011! Just head over to the blog by clicking here to enter. It's international and the deadline is 15th July. Good luck!

Waiting on Wednesday (except it's Thursday)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. Only lately, I've been posting on Thursday and this is becoming a habit (one which I intend to break). Anyway, this week's pick is AFTERLIFE by Claudia Gray. If you are a fan, you will know that this is the 4th book in the Evernight series which does not come out until March, 2011. My heart breaks a little as I realise this is a long way away yet. If you didn't know already, I'm a HUGE fan of Claudia's and have read and reviewed all of her books so far. I'm hoping you've already checked out my reviews for Evernight, Stargazer and Hourglass. I'm EAGERLY anticipating Afterlife and will be doing everything I can to get my hands on an ARC when they become available. I realise this may result in some begging or borrowing! The cover was just released yesterday and I think it's just as gorgeous as the others in the series.

I cannot find any descriptions for Afterlife yet but you know what? It doesn't matter, I'm sure it's still going to be awesome and it's on my MUST READ list already. Who else is excited?!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

13 to Life Review

As most people know by now, in 2008 Shannon became the winner of the first ever mobile phone contest in the western world with 13 to Life and out of this contest, she landed a book deal with St. Martin’s Press. 13 to Life is Shannon’s debut novel and an impressive debut at that. I had never heard of or had the opportunity to read snippets of what was to become 13 to Life although I quickly became excited about the story when I found out the premise. I was also immediately drawn to the beautiful cover art and loved the snappy title. Then it became a book I lusted after and desperately wanted to read. Fortunately, I managed to convince Carla from The Crooked Shelf that I should be on their ARC tour and to my utter delight, she agreed to include me. THANK YOU!

To say I was hungry for the story is an understatement and what I was presented with was a literary feast. Continuing the food theme, this is the recipe for 13 to Life...

Add one teenage girl called Jess trying to return to normal life after the loss of her mother + unrequited love with a popular high school football player called Derek. Spice it up by sprinkling a hot, new, mysterious Russian boy called Pietr into the mix and add lashings of annoyance. Keep stirring and eventually this will soften the mixture and said annoyance will diminish into feelings of like, lust and then To add flavour, throw in the Russian mafia and pepper with a well kept secret. Stir in some family issues and add a touch of guilt for good measure. STIR, STIR, STIR.

Shannon Delany’s excellent command of the English language, rich descriptions and impressive writing style has inspired me to write a fantastical review. I had intended to sound formal and highly educated but then I changed my mind and decided to go with my first thoughts... OMG I LOVED IT! One should always go with their first thoughts don’t you think?

I sincerely think that Shannon has a real talent for description and the opening scene was a nice introduction to this. I found myself reading passages aloud and then telling myself how wonderful they were. I of course agreed. I knew from the very first page that I was in for a real treat.

What I liked most about the book was Jess and Pietr’s relationship. It wasn’t forced or unrealistic. It didn’t just appear out of nowhere. It started as nothing but an assignment, an annoying duty to become a guide for the new student and then gradually it developed into something else. And actually, their relationship became something else long after I WANTED it to be something else which substantiates my point about the fact that it wasn’t rushed. This was the reader’s first introduction to transformation – a theme that runs like a current throughout the book. I also liked the fact that Derek (the jock) was ever present and I could understand how Jess could have feelings for both of them at the same time. Again, realistic.

The main protagonist Jess was a likeable character and one that you could project yourself onto. However, I can’t say I would have minded showing the hot, new guy around school and would have happily taken over those duties given the opportunity. Pietr is appealing in a way that doesn’t allude to “the bad boy” persona and I found this somewhat refreshing. My boyfriend is part Russian and in some bizarre way, I feel this legitimises my feelings of lustiness for Pietr. What?! I’m obviously attracted to Russians, nothing wrong with that ;)

I read 13 to Life in a staccato like fashion, giving myself allocated snippets of time to read, and then when the time was up, I would go and do something essential like iron a uniform or make a packed lunch for work. After each little task was accomplished, I would return to the book. Apparently, reading is also essential to my being! Although arguably not when it keeps you up until the early hours of the morning when you have to go to work the same day (it is however the sign of a good book).

13 to Life not only appeals to the reader but also the writer in me. Its rich descriptions and strong narrative inspire me to improve as a writer which is more than I could have asked for when I started reading this book. I highly recommend that you add 13 to Life to your reading pile IMMEDIATELY.

I’m so impressed with this book that I think I want Shannon to adopt me. I may just have to start calling her “mom” from now on.

13 to Life is released in the US on 22nd June but unfortunately us Brits will have to wait until August (unless you buy the US version of course and then you can sneakily read it way before your friends). As an aside, I loved the subtle hints in the book towards all things British from the word “daft” (it makes me grin to see this word appear, not once but twice in the text) to great British bands like Queen.

Find out more information about Shannon and 13 to Life on her website – click here to visit.

For the writer in you, Shannon has a section over on the Mundie Moms Forums called “Writing 101” where she will answer your writing questions. It’s definitely worth checking out and I’m going to make a concerted effort to visit there more often from now on! Click here to see what it’s all about.

You can also find Shannon on Twitter and Goodreads.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

How to Combine Waiting on Wednesday (Only it's Thursday) With a Contest

Sarwat Chadda (author of Devil's Kiss) has a sequel coming out entitled Dark Goddess. Here is the blurb from Amazon (warning: contains spoilers if you have not read Devils Kiss):

"After the death of her soulmate Kay by her very own sword, Billi SanGreal has thrown herself into the brutal regime of Templar duties with utter abandon. There is no room for feelings any more - her life is now about hunting down the Unholy. But when Billi and another Knight Templar are caught at the heart of a savage werewolf attack, only Billi survives - except for a young girl at the scene who Billi unthinkingly drags away with her as they escape. But Vasalisa is no ordinary girl. She is an avatar with an uncontrollable power - and it's not only the werewolves who want her. Billi has to flee to the frosty climes of Russia, with a human timebomb who, it seems, could destroy the world . . ."

The paperback is released in the UK on 1st July and it looks like the hardback is not set for release until January 2011. Unfortunately, as a die hard fan of hardbacks it means that I'll be waiting a little longer for this one.

Interested? Well guess what, you can win a copy over on Sarwat's blog. Click here to enter. There's no real details about whether it's international or not but I believe Sarwat is based in London. No deadline but I assume it's soon (before the official release date). Good luck everyone!


The Undercover Book Lover (not really) is having yet ANOTHER awesome contest over on their blog at the moment. You can win ARC's of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, Halo by Alexandra Adornetto, Pegasus by Robin McKinley, and The Eternal Ones by Kristin Miller. WOW. All of these are on my wishlist that's for sure.

The good news is that the contest is international and the deadline is 15th July so plenty of time to enter! Click here to visit the site. Good luck!


Want a free copy of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Luxe by Anna Godberson or The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman? Then sign up to receive "Between the Lines" which is Penguin Australia's dedicated space for young adult readers, writers and books. They will keep you up-to-date with information about their books and you'll be the first to hear about contests. What are you waiting for? Go now!! Click here to visit the site.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

120 Follower Giveaway

Cry havoc Reviews are having an impressive contest to celebrate getting 120 followers. There are lots of brand spanking new books to be won such as Sister's Red (Jackson Pearce), 13 to Life (Shannon Delany), and Raised by Wolves (Jennifer Lynn Barnes) amongst many more. There will be two winners although more will be added as the number of followers increase. It's international and the deadline is 15th July so plenty of time to enter.

Click here to visit the site and as always good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Win Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

Would you like an opportunity to read Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala before it's even released? The very lovely Amy Brecount White is having a contest at the moment to win an ARC of the book. Just click here to enter. You must be 13 years old to enter and it's US only I'm afraid although I'm wondering if you can still enter if you have a US mailing address.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Super Huge Mega Crazy Birthday Contest

Hooked on YA Books are having a super huge mega crazy birthday contest over on their blog where you can win some AMAZING books. It is international and the deadline is 30th June, 2010. Seriously, you don't want to miss this as the list is far too long to post here but includes Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick, Torment by Lauren Kate and 13 to Life by Shannon Delany (I've read this and it is FANTASTIC - review coming soon).

Click here to enter the contest. Good luck everyone!

Win an ARC of Hunger

My friends over at Lafemme Readers are having an amazing contest to win an ARC of Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler. This is a much anticipated novel that is not officially released until 18th October, 2010.

The contest is international and the deadline is 7th July, 2010. All you have to do is click here to enter. As always, good luck to everyone!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Win Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Vicarious Reader is currently having a contest to win an ARC of Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Delirium is a Dystopian thriller which does not come out until February 2011. There is no official cover art for it yet. This is a book I've been dying to get my hands on and I recently heard that it's been optioned for film! Not sure if this is international (as not stated) but the closing date is 25th June. Click here to enter and good luck!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Michelle Hodkin Contest

Michelle Hodkin is a YA author who publishes her debut novel The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer in Autumn, 2011. She is having a very special, celebratory contest to win 4 ARCs and wait until you read what they are...One winner will receive BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl and MATCHED by Ally Condie, and another winner will receive THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger and MATCHED by Ally Condie.


I'm dying to read all of these books - I'm sure I am probably boring people with telling them how much I want to read Matched by Ally Condie. So anyway, enter the contest here. It's international (Woohoo) but you will have to be quick because it ends June 9th (midnight, EST).

Good luck to everyone and p.s. if you win, please let me borrow them *bats eyelashes*

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Interview with Jackson Pearce

Having just reviewed Sisters Red by the fabulous Jackson Pearce, I was recently given the chance to interview her! This is my first ever interview with an author and I'm very honoured that it's Jackson. Welcome to the blog Jackson and here are your questions:

I've been dying to know how you came up with the idea for Sisters Red? What was your inspiration?

JP: I’d been thinking about writing a book about sisters for ages—a book about what it means to be the older sister and what it means to be the younger sister. I also had this idea for a badass Little Red Riding Hood, one who was the hunter instead of the prey. One night the two slammed into one another!

I really enjoyed the book – especially the relationships between the three main characters. I was wondering if Sisters Red is a standalone novel or can we expect to see a sequel? If not, do you think you will ever revisit these characters?

JP: SISTERS RED is the first in a series of companion novels, all of which are fairytale retellings. I’m not sure if I’ll return to the characters of SISTERS RED for a direct sequel—I’d certainly love to, but I want to make sure the story and characters are ready before I start writing!

What do you think of the cover art for Sisters Red? And do you prefer the US or UK cover?

JP: I LOVE the cover art. It was done by an amazing artist named Allison— is her website. The UK and US covers are so similar that I don’t really have a preference. I love both the matte red on the US cover, and the foil on the UK cover. I’m thrilled with the cover in any incarnation.

I understand your next book is entitled “Sweetly”, can you tell us more about it?

JP: SWEETLY is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, about a girl named Gretchen who is trying to make sense of her twin sister’s disappearing in the forest when they were little. When she meets a young and beautiful chocolatier owner, the mystery of Gretchen’s missing twin combines becomes darker, and combines with other vanishing girls, family secrets, and life-threatening betrayals.

What genre would you love to write next? (presumably still within YA)

JP: I’m about to start working on a historical fantasy, but I’m not sure it’ll be something I publish—I’m just writing it for fun at the moment!

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process for the writers out there – e.g. do you outline? Write scene by scene?

JP: I am a BIG fan of outlining. I usually outline for weeks before I start a book, if not months. Outlining helps me figure out character arcs and plot snags before I’m fifty thousand words into a book.

I can’t do an interview with you and not mention the infamous music videos – how long did it take you to do Writer’s Block? And are you secretly a frustrated pop star?! P.s. the video was amazing!

JP: Oh man, that video took FOREVER. You know the confetti in the end? I had to go back to the site the next morning and vacuum it up with a lawn blower. That by itself took almost two hours. The video was still a lot of fun though. I’m definitely a wannabe pop star—but I can’t sing at all. The Tik Tok parody is very, very auto-tuned.

Who are your favourite literary couple?

JP: Ron and Hermione!

Who is your fictional crush?

JP: At this very moment? Mark Twain. I know, I know, he’s technically not fictional, but he’s literary! The man was a genius, I tell you. And very good looking in his youth…

Tell us one thing we don’t know about you

JP: I hate wearing pants, because I think it feels like they’re eating my legs. I wish I could wear sundresses year round.

What’s the one question you’re never asked but want to be asked? (also please answer it)

JP: How many My Little Ponies do you own?

93 (toys from the 1980’s are the BEST). You are free to think I’m a loser now.

A big thank you to Jackson for answering my questions and happy book birthday for Sisters Red. Please check out my review below (then go and get yourself a copy!)

Sisters Red Review

I’d been especially excited to read Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce for various reasons. Firstly, I knew it was about wolves and I definitely call myself a wolf girl. I knew it was being officially released in the US on 7th June which is my birthday (thus automatically making it special and red is my favourite colour). Also, I love Jackson’s VLOGs but had never actually read any of her books so I was excited to see how her personality would translate into the written word.

I actually received an ARC of this but I also bought a US copy as I’m currently on vacation. I love the cover art and have only just seen the UK copy which is all shiny (I wish I’d held out for the UK copy now as I love shiny things) but no matter, at least I got to read the book and I really enjoyed it!

Sisters Red has three main characters – sisters Scarlett and Rosie March and their childhood friend Silas. Scarlett and Rosie take turns in being the protagonist. As children, they were introduced to the dangerous and terrifying world of monsters when werewolves attacked their family. Following the attack, Scarlett and Rosie are driven to hunt werewolves and destroy them before they can kill and devour any more innocents. The rest of the world is of course blissfully unaware unless they have had the misfortune to witness any attacks and survive. Silas is also in on the secret and on returning from his sabbatical, he rejoins the hunt. Only this time, something has changed and he sees one of the sisters in a whole new light. Something big is happening in the world of the werewolves and the three of them have to piece together what’s going on and then find a way to stop it. Little do they know how much they will have to sacrifice to find out.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was pleasantly surprised how drawn into the novel I was considering there were really only three main characters. I had often wondered about the title of the book but before completing the first chapter, I realised why the book is called Sisters Red. Firstly, it’s about two sisters and their names are SCARLETT and ROSIE (both derivatives of the colour red). Secondly and more importantly, they wear red capes and hunt werewolves so it’s all a bit reminisce of the classic fairytale Little Red Riding Hood only this time there are three” Little Red’s” and they are badass!

There are a lot of books out there at the moment where wolves are usually hot boys who don’t mean any harm but can’t help transforming into a wolf at any given moment. This is not one of those stories. Jackson has turned this idea on its head and brings us back to a time when werewolves were monsters. They’re still hot though but any relationship with them is not going to last very long or indeed favourably – well not for the human anyway.

I really enjoyed the sweet blossoming romance within the book and I thought the complicated relationship between the three main characters was compelling and very interesting to analyse. Overall, a big thumbs up from me and another male hero to swoon over. I’d love to see more from these characters and that’s one of the questions I’ll be asking Jackson when I interview her in the next few days.

Visit Jackson on her website here. She is also active on facebook and twitter. Jackson is the author of another book entitled “As You Wish” and is currently working on a novel called Sweetly which is due out next year.