25 March 2012


Here is a snippet of some of the hot new books coming out in April, in the US or UK....Anything here on your wishlist?

Immortal City by Scott Speer (Razorbill) 
The Calling by Kelly Armstrong (HarperCollins)
Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) by Holly Black (Orion/Gollancz)
The Shape of Desire by Sharon Sinn (Ace)
Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole (Marshall Cavendish)  
Summoning by Carol Wolf (Night Shade Books)
The Return Man by V.M. Zito (Orbit)
Losers in Space by John Barnes (Penguin/Viking)
Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand (Penguin/Viking)
Starters by Lissa Price (Doubleday Children's)
Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw (Walker Childrens YA)
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle (Simon & Schuster Children's Books)
Angels of Vengeance by John Birmingham (Random House) 
Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem (Solaris)
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris (Balzer + Bray) 
The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)


22 March 2012


Author: Nikki Jefford
Series: Yes, #1
Release date: February 2012
Genre: YA

Twins Graylee and Charlene are both secret witches with magical powers. Like the rest of their coven they hide their talents from others. Which for Graylee isn’t so hard as her powers are practically nonexistent. But when her life changes dramatically she will discover that not everyone she knows and loves can be trusted, and that she may be stronger than she thinks. When the help of a banished warlock she may just get her life back.

Well I have to say Entangled was full of surprises and wasn’t what I expected at all, partly because I won the e-book so hadn't really read the synopsis. When I started reading, I thought it was going to be some light hearted, unsuspecting, teen-coming-of-age story about young twins with magical powers. But the further into the story I got the darker it got. Graylee discovers that her twin is more hateful and evil than she thought, and characters surprise you with their acts of betrayal or support. This was a roller coaster of plot twists and turns.

When I realised what had happened to Graylee, I initially thought oh please don’t turn out to be one of those stories where they wake up and find out that they were dreaming the whole time and none of its real. The reason being, the story took a sharp detour from my realm of expectations for what I thought was a light hearted story. (If this all sounds very vague, its because I don't want to spoil the story for you, although if you want to know what happens mid way through you can read the Goodreads synopsis.)

I liked the fact that the Perez twins were such different characters. I really liked Graylee, she was sweet and although she wasn't purposely mean she wasn’t afraid to fight back to win. On the other hand Charlene was viciously mean, slutty, petty and selfish, and the more I learnt about the her the less I liked her. The notes she left Graylee were so selfish and unsisterly, I loved it when Graylee rebelled against her sister and tried to maintain her independence and sense of self. Plus you gotta love a girl that eats burgers and not shakes! The tension and battles between the two was fabulous - a great hero versus villain.

Lots of the other characters weren’t what they seemed either. The dangerous, threatening Raj turned out to have a past and history that made him vulnerable. And when it came down to it, he had the strength and commitment to help Graylee. I think they made a great pair!

A surprising and delightfully dark read, that will certainly keep you entertained and spellbound.

Rating: 4*

21 March 2012


I am obviously seriously behind on 'book to film' news, because I didn't realise until today that Stephenie Meyer's book The Host will be made into a movie that will hit theaters nationwide on March 29, 2013! 

Once I got into it, I really did love this book. I don't care if you love or hate the Twilight books, give this book a chance if you like dystopian stories with a sci-fi twist and strong lead female characters!

I'm really curious to see what the movie will be like, despite my reservations on some of the actors... Stars of the film will include: Saoirse Ronan, Jake Abel, Max Irons, William Hurt, Diane Kruger, Chandler Canterbury, Boyd Holbrook.
For more info you can visit The Host Movie news website.

16 March 2012


Author: Allison Rushby
Series: No, Standalone
US Publisher: Walker
US Release date: February 2012
Genre: YA
Kindly given by the author for an honest review

Josephine Foster is only 16, but already she is following in her father's footsteps as a Los Angeles paparazzo. With her petite height and youthful looks, she is able to sneak into places most paps can't reach, making her a valuable commodity to magazine editors looking for exclusive snaps of celebs. Which is why the tenacious editor Melissa has offered Jo a lot of money to go undercover in a retreat to snap famous young celebrity Ned Harnett. But as Jo learns more about the young people at the retreat and is forced to share her own deepest secrets, can she go through with it? Will she follow her father or will she forge her own path in photography?

For me, young paparazzo ZoJo was the star of the book; she was funny, witty, blunt and always wanted to get straight to the point. I admired her determination and direct approach, which didn't come across as abrupt or pushy but was more humorous and honest. In the retreat though, everyone has to share their problems and issues, and I found it interesting that Jo needed to fake a reason for being at the retreat despite having some real issues hidden away under her bravado. I liked seeing the real Jo as she develops through the book, but I'm glad she kept her unique personality and wit.

When I first started reading I was a little sceptical because of my wariness around the paparazzi. I wasn't sure if I could ever like a pap. But Jo's own internal monologue looked at the different sides to the story, from celebrities seeking out the limelight in the early stages of their career before shunning it as they become famous. She also made a great point that the need for celeb pics is driven by the public who buy celeb magazines and not necessarily driven by the paparazzi who are doing a job, albeit a slightly unscrupulous one. Jo did win me around quite quickly showing me that not all paps are underhand and evil, and I think it was down to her witty personality and relationship with the caring pap Mannie. It is certainly a different and interesting viewpoint and lifestyle than other YA books look at, and one that is possibly misunderstand.

There were lots of questions hanging in the air and plot twists that kept me reading on; I wanted to see inside Ned's celeb lifestyle and what he was like as a real person in the retreat - what was his reason for being there? What kind of issues would he have to deal with as a superstar? I liked the fact that there were 'normal' people in the retreat, with different problems and family situations - it gave the story a lot more depth and reality to it and subtly addressed mental health, family life, privacy, and trust issues. Although the second half of the book slowed a little with Jo struggling how to deal with her moral dilemma, the end is certainly an interesting resolution to the problem.

What surprised me about the story was how driven Jo was around money. I did think it was a real fixation for her and it made her seem extremely money obsessed - yes, I worked to save my own money, but I would never dare to ask my parents for $50,000 let alone $50! The fact that she needed it to fund her studies made the money issue more understandable, and that she found a much more moral way to solve her dilemma was a big plus point.

Without giving any spoilers, I think Ned definitely deserved more credit and praise. As Jo gets to know him in the retreat we find out some juicy, interesting facts about the smouldering young star, but also how much he sacrifices for family. Selfless, handsome and with a forthright personality to match Jo's, I can see why Jo fell for him. The fact that she has to take undercover pics of him, only adds to the drama!

Rushby's debut Shooting Stars is a fab light read with some serious undertones, subtle messages about media and morals, lots of wit, and a winning main character.

Rating: 4*

14 March 2012


Today I am really excited to have author Meredith Zeitlin joining me on the blog to kindly answer a few questions about her contemporary young adult novel Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters and her writing method. (If you've read the book, you'll understand where Kelsey's easy sense of wit comes from!)

Released earlier this month, you can read my review of it here or you can watch the trailer below, head on over to Meredith's website or go to Amazon to grab yourself a copy. Be sure to check the bottom of the post for the links!

Your first book, Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters, came out earlier this month. Can you tell us a little bit about it?  
It's the first-person account of Kelsey Finkelstein's totally disatrous freshman year. She has huge plans to make a mark in high school, but unfortunately everything she tries to do backfires. It's a story about friends and crushes and parents and tough choices and self-esteem and figuring out who you are - or who want to be. And it's awesome. You should totally read it. 

What sparked the idea for this story?   
I decided to write the book because I was really dissatisfied by the YA books out there at the time - not that they weren't enjoyable, but I didn't understand why they were all about super rich, sophisticated girls who were drinking martinis and having sex in hotels and things like that. I loved the books about awkward girls like me when I was that age, so I decided to write one myself. 

Did your own experiences in high school help you write the characters and plot?  
Definitely! Most of Kelsey's experiences are based on things that happened to me around the same time, and many of the characters are based on attribute of people I know. 

Were you like Kelsey in high school?  
Yes and no. I certainly had lofty goals and ended up in plenty of ridiculous situations, but because it was real life and not a book there was a lot of boring stuff in between. So I wasn't quite as crazed as Kelsey is. Also, I was never a sporty girl, but I was a huge theatre geek. And I wrote for the paper and was eventually the Editor In Chief - as opposed to Kelsey, who is featured in a very different way... 

Who was your favourite character to develop and write for? 
Hm, that's a tough one. JoJo's story changed the most from the time I started writing the book (you'll know what I mean if you've read the book) to when I finished the last draft, and it was really important to me to get it exactly right. Her character was always one of my favorites though, right from the beginning - I love her easy confidence and love of being different.

If you were to 'sell' Freshman Year using a single quote or line from the book, what would you choose? 
Oh dear - that is really hard! I guess I'd want it to be something that kind of gives and idea of the book... so how about (from page 179): "I said I was going to make my mark this year, and this is what I've got to work with. No one ever said it would be easy."

What is your ideal writing environment?  
Someplace with a lot of natural light and, depending on what I'm working on, total silence or showtunes in the background. Oh, and definitely some candy within reach. That's essential. 

Do you prefer to plan out the plot line and scenes or do you just write and see where you end up? 
I am NOT a planner. Even in school I'd do the outlines for papers after I wrote them... and then only if I absolutely had to hand them in. (Don't tell my teachers, okay?) 

As a debut author, what one particular element to the writing and publishing process has been the most exciting? 
I think I'd have to pick two things: the first, the day my editor told me that the most recent draft was the FINAL draft. That was a long time in coming, and a huge relief. And the other is the day I got the first real copy of the book in the mail - it was amazing and perfect. 

Thank you so much Meredith for taking time to answer my questions! If you would like more information on Meredith or her first book Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters, you can find it here:

Meredith's website

12 March 2012


Author: Meredith Zeitlin
Series: No, standalone
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release date: March 1st 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

Kelsey Finklestein is fourteen years old and starting freshman year. This is the year for Kelsey to make an impact and assert herself in the school's social pecking order. But Kelsey attracts disaster, like honey attracts bees. This year will certainly make Kelsey stand out, but maybe not the way she wanted.

Review: First off Kelsey was hilarious. I absolutely adored her, and wished she was real so that I could be her friend. She would easily be the kind of girl everyone loves hanging around with because she's funny, although not always intentionally, and witty and just herself. Whilst Kelsey tried to get noticed in football and drama, she ended up being the centre of attention for the most embarrassing reasons with all the evidence spread across the school newspaper. Despite this she always came out on top, and this was down to her fab and strong personality, and sense of humility and humour. I warn you now that you will fall under Kelsey's spell, quite literally. I pretty much embarrassed myself on the bus whilst rolling around in fits of laughter!

Although Kelsey and her friends were only 14 years, they did seem older in some ways (either that or I was a very slow bloomer!) as Freshman Year gently touched on issues of friendship, first kisses, sexuality, bullying and figuring out who you are. This stage in everyone's life can be turbulent and stressful, yet Zeitlin managed to touch on these issues without making a big fuss and turning the story into a lecture on being yourself. For younger girls, Kelsey would be a great example and role-model of how to deal with difficult situations by picking yourself and carrying on with a laugh and a lot of determination.

Not to be overshadowed by Kelsey, the secondary characters are also really interesting and each with their distinct personalities. I loved Em, who is reliable and caring. And there is Kelsey's mum, overprotective and thinking she knows best (which includes picking out some hideous items of clothing for poor Kelsey). A typical mother, trying to do her best but struggling to let go of her 'baby', she does the exact opposite of what Kelsey would like, but it certainly added in some humorous mother-daughter exchanges that add element of reality and cringing.

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is a fast, fab and hilariously funny read with real insight into the pressures teenage girls face today. I think every teenage girl should read this, along with their parents to help them remember what its like to be a teenager when every little thing is a big drama and life is full of discovery, uncertainty and excitement.

Rating: 4*

11 March 2012


In My Mailbox was started by the lovely Kristi over at Story Siren - check out her blog for more information on this meme.
I don't do IMMs often, because I'm either saving my money or don't have many books to show. This weeks is really a 2 or 3 weeker IMM, as I've been collecting up a few books over the past few weeks. I am excited to read them all as they look so fab! Any of these take your fancy or do you have something different on your wishlist?


Fateful by Claudia Gray (kindly given by HarperCollins)
Partials by Dan Wells (kindly given by HarperCollins)
Burn Mark by Laura Powell (kindly given by Bloomsbury)
Dead Time by Anne Cassidy (kindly given by Bloomsbury)
Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby (kindly given by author)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (bought)
A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warbuton (bought)
Exiled by RaShelle Workman (bought)
Ink by Isabelle Rowan (via NetGalley)
Replication by Jill Williamson (via NetGalley)
Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear (via NetGalley)
Jane Vows Vengeance by Michael Thomas Ford (via NetGalley)

10 March 2012


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.
My choices this week are both ones that come out this month.

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
To be published 20th March 2012 (US Release) by Dial Books

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.


Bewitching by Alex Flinn 
To be published 14th March 2012 by HarperTeen

Bewitching can be a beast. . . . Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t. I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I’m not still here because I’m stupid; I just don’t age. You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out. I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it. Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn’t an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching.

What's on your wishlist?

4 March 2012


Author: Celia Rees
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury
UK Release date: 2nd February 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

Brothers Rob and Jamie are nothing alike; Jamie is young and niaive, whilst Rob is still suffering from the traumas of being injured in the war against Afghanistan. But they do have one thing in common. The charismatic, elusive Caro. Jamie falls head over heels for her, despite warnings from his sister. And for good reason - Caro goes days without calling him, has a secret past and a dangerous taste for radical politics. Both boys will find themselves under Caro's spell and making decisions that will change things forever.

Review: The story started at the end, making it very intriguing as I wanted to know what happened to get to the end point. Told from each of the three characters perspective, each voice was presented in a different font and style, which was such a simple way to distinguish each of the characters. Having said this, Rees has written the characters so that each has their own distinct style and format, such as Rob's web pages and Caro's diary. Although Jamie primarily tells the story, I liked knowing what Rob and Caro were thinking and how they felt they could justify their behaviour.

I instantly liked Jamie. He was sweet and innocent, and far too nice for Caro. Despite being a manipulative, scheming and selfish girl, it's hard to deny that Caro was alluring and magnetic. She's the kind of girl that other girls would envy and boys would all idolise.

I did feel sorry for Rob. Yes, he seemed predisposed to enjoy violence and that's probably why he went into the Army in the first place, but after being injured he was mentally unstable with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and didn't seem to have enough support to cope with normal, civilian life. I didn't think he would have taken the path he did without manipulation and steering, and it seems such a shame that he was used for someone else's agenda.

This story touches on some serious issues such as mental trauma and post traumatic stress disorder, as well as political ideologies and radicalism. It's also very relevant to today's current political climate, with students and teenagers protesting and rioting. It will make you think though, about people that join the army, what it's like to live constantly under such duress, and the morals behind bold political statements and radical actions.

Having seen a few average reviews for this book, I figure you either have to be in the right mood for this book or its a bit like Marmite - you either get it or you don't. I really enjoyed it and read it really quickly. I thought the characters were interesting and the plot was like a rolling stone, gathering momentum.

This is not forgiveness is a compelling and compulsive read, with a thought provoking ending.

Rating: 5*

3 March 2012


This week I had the amazing opportunity to meet with author Celia Rees at Bloomsbury's gorgeous offices. It's always nice to learn where someone's ideas came from and what their individual writing style is, and in this case it was really interesting to hear about Celia's writing history as well as the development of her latest book This is not Forgiveness, a compelling and thought provoking contemporary YA book.

During the event Celia explained how when she started writing, she was writing contemporary fiction such as Every Step You Take. Being a teacher, Celia wanted to write that the young people she was working with would want to read - something gritty and real and thrilling, and about teenagers like them. But when she had the idea for Witch Child, a magic-based story set in the 1600s, that was when she started writing more historical YA stories. Having spent the past 10 years writing historical fiction, Celia came up with the idea for This is not Forgiveness when she watched the French film Jules and Jim and realised it could be updated to fit with current teenagers and issues. Although she admitted it was a challenge to fit the idea into a current situation, as soon as she decided the older Rob would be a soldier the whole story opened up for her.

I think it's fascinating to hear where a story developed from. But it's also lovely to meet other bloggers! Some the other lovely bloggers that were there included Sarah - Feeling Fictional, Sammee - I want to read that, Laura - Sister Spooky, Raimy - Readaraptor, Vivienne - Serendipity reviews, and Megan - The Book Addicted Girl.

My review for This is not Forgiveness will be posted tomorrow, however if you want a taster you can read an extract of This is Not Forgiveness here at the Bloomsbury website and here is the brilliant trailer:

1 March 2012


Sword of Light (Pendragon Legend)
Author: Katherine Roberts
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Templar
UK Release date: February 2012
Genre: Historical MG
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

As the secret daughter of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, Rhianna Pendragon has been kept hidden in the faery world of Avalon since her birth. But now that Arthur has been defeated by Mordred and his army of Saxon invaders, young Rhianna must come out of hiding to rescue Excalibur, the Sword of Light, and bring her father back to life to regain the throne. In a world of men, Rhianna will need to be brave and bold to find Excalibur before the Saxons or Mordred discover who she is.

Review: Sword of Light has given an old legend a new and interesting twist. Elements of Arthurian legend including the holy grail and excalibur have been incorporated into the four lights - weapons which give ultimate power to any man that holds them all. The story also explores what happens after Arthur's reign, taking the legend further than ever before.

In a time when men fought battles and ruled kingdoms and women were vulnerable damsels, Roberts has created a spirited young female lead. Rhianna is spontaneous, fearless and quick thinking but is often led into trouble with her reckless and adventurous nature. She does however show that not all battles have to be fought with swords, and its not just the men that can stand up, defiant and fight for what is right and good.

Suitable for a young girls and boys alike the story has great characters that would make good role models, particularly young Prince Elphin who is so sweet and always there to help Rhianna. The plot is interesting and captivating with plenty of opportunities for Rhianna to get into a spot of bother and need good friends and some courage to help her win her way out.

Sword of Light is a magical and delightful read that ventures into the medieval world of King Arthur and the legend of the knights of the round table.

Rating: 4*