Friday, 30 December 2011

My Top Ten Reads of 2011, The One that got away in 2010 and the One I'll be reading in 2012!

Here's a list of the books I loved the most in 2011, the 2010 book that missed out on last years list, but which I had to include this time around and the 2011 release that I really need to read next year!

Want to see my 2010 list of faves? Click here.

Here are my favourites of 2011 from 1 to 10.

The Top Five:

Click on cover images to read my reviews.


 What I said:  

A powerful and heartbreaking book...one that details a defining, but often overlooked period of history.

Sepetys prose is simple and sparse...marvelously suited to this story that although harrowing, is also somehow beautiful.


This is a story that deserves to be told, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.



 What I said:


Ghostly, gothic, haunting and menacing, this book reeled me in and didn’t let me go until I was done.

 Tighter is spooky, shocking and unputdownable. It will play on your mind long after you finish it. A must read!




What I said

...an intense, exciting slice of apocalyptic awesomeness...

A survival story with chaos, anarchy murder and mayhem at its core, Dark Inside is not for the faint of heart, but since horror is my first love, I couldn’t get enough of this book! 



What I said

The boys of Unearthly are to die for.

In Unearthly, Cynthia Hand combines romance, mystery, intrigue, wonderful plot twists that I so didn’t predict, and great characters that I truly warmed to.




What I said: 

If you loved Angel, you will adore Angel Fire.

An intoxicating blend of action and romance, Angel Fire is an impeccably researched and beautifully written book which is an emotional rollercoaster of a ride from start to finish.


#6 - Clarity by Kim Harrington

#7 - Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

#8 Passion by Lauren Kate 

#9 - Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

 #10 Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Click on links to read my reviews. 


The One that got away in 2010:

Released in late 2010, I didn't get around to reading ANNA until 2011 and it fast became one of my all time favourite books, hence the honourable mention! 


What I said:


Read this book... It will make you so happy!


The One I'll be reading in 2012:

Whenever I admit I haven't read Divergent my book buddies tend to react with complete shock, disbelief even, and at this point I really feel like I'm missing out. Dystopian fiction isn't a huge favourite genre of mine (even though it's so hot right now, I know, I know!), but I've heard such good things about this one that I'll just have to check it out!




What do you think of my choices!

What was your favourite book of 2011?

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Guest Post: Debut Author Ruth Warburton on her Top Reads for 2012!


Ruth Warburton's A Witch in Winter is one of those books I've been looking forward to for ages and ages! Not long to go now until it releases at the beginning of January! In the meantime, Ruth has stopped by the blog today to share her Top Reads for 2012 with you. You can also take a look at the great book trailer for A Witch in Winter!


A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release date: January 2012

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

Although a perfect fit for the paranormal romance genre, A WITCH IN WINTER avoids fangs, excessive body hair and submissive female leads, and tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart. Seth is utterly irresistible and Anna is an empowered, proactive young woman with unimaginable magic inside her. This is fast-paced, sensuous writing with believable incantations inspired by Warburton's research into witchcraft legend and old English.


Ruth Says:  In January I can't wait for Night School by CJ Daugherty. CJ is a friend and, weirdly, her book comes out on the exact same day as mine. It's about Ally, who is in trouble with the police (again) and is packed off by her parents to the creepy Cimmeria Acadamy. But Cimmeria isn't your regular boot-camp for troubled kids, there's something strange going on behind the scenes, and Ally gets in a lot of trouble trying to figure it out. I can't say any more without spoiling the plot but it's a gripping thrillerish read - I've had a sneak peak already but can't wait to read the real thing.

I've also heard a lot of good things about Cassandra Clare's Clockwork series. I realise I'm coming late to this party, but I've put Clockwork Angel on my Christmas list and hope that might be a New Year read. It sounds brilliant - Victorian London with demons and shadowhunters - what's not to like?

In 2011 I really enjoyed Delirium by Lauren Oliver and the sequel - Pandemonium - is out in 2012. Delirium is set in a futuristic, slightly Margaret Atwood world, where love has been designated a disease and "cured". The main character, Lena, is just days away from her own "cure" when she does the unthinkable: falls in love. Delirium ends on a real cliff-hanger (hope this is not a spoiler?!) so I can't wait to find out what happens.

Finally on the adult side I've just started A Game of Thrones. I haven't seen the HBO adaptation but reading the reviews of the TV series made me want to try the books. It's a marathon, rather than a sprint, but you can only marvel at the breadth of the fantasy world George R. R. Martin has created. It's a masterclass in world-building and a sustained vision of a chilly, brutal alternate reality. I'm halfway through book 1 and I think the sequel, A Clash of Kings, might be a good holiday read for summer 2012 (I will certainly need some warmth to drive out the chill if things head the way I think they're going). Reading the books has also made me really want to try the series!




Watch the trailer for A Witch in Winter:








Thanks so much to Ruth for the great guest post. Can't wait to read A Witch in Winter!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Guest Post: Debut Authors Jodi Meadows & Megan Miranda on their Top Reads for 2012!

Their upcoming debuts Incarnate and Fracture both made the list of the YA debut novels you most want to read in 2012. Now find out what these Delightful Debutantes have put on their reading wish lists for 2012!

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release date: January 2012

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Jodi Says: I'm excited about so many 2012 books we'd be here all day if I tried to mention all of them. But here are a few: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, a debut that looks both romantic and scary; Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins, the final book in a series I utterly love; Timepiece by Myra McEntire, the second book in a wonderful series involving time travel and kissing; and Defiance by C.J. Redwine, a debut fantasy that sounds like it's right up my alley.






Fracture by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Walker & Co.(US)/Bloomsbury (UK)
Release date: January 2012.

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

Megan Says: There are so many books I’m looking forward to in 2012. Actually, there are so many books I hope to read in January alone. But here are three 2012 books that I know I’ll be grabbing as soon as they’re available.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I wanted to read this book even before I knew what it was about. This is because I will read anything and everything ever written by John Green. Then I found out what The Fault in Our Stars was actually about, and…yeah, this book shot straight to the top of my wish list. Actually, that’s a lie. It’s not even on my wish list anymore. I preordered this book months ago.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth: Divergent was a book the caught me by surprise last year. It really captivated me, and I found myself thinking about it long after I put it down. I loved the story, I loved the writing, and I loved the characters. I’m really looking forward to the continuation of Tris’ story in Insurgent.

Slide by Jill Hathaway: I’ve been lucky enough to follow this book through the publication journey. I read (and loved) this book in draft-form. I have since read (and loved) this book in ARC form. I cannot wait to read it again as a finished product when it debuts in March. It's a great mystery with strong characters and a killer premise.




Thanks so much to Jodi & Megan for sharing their top reads for 2012!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Holidays!



Wishing you all the best of times this Christmas!

I'll be taking a break from blogging over Christmas, but I have some great guest posts lined up next week and I'll also be posting my top books of 2011 then.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who took time out to read the blog this year and to chat about books with me! Here's to more of the same in 2012!

x



Image source: We Heart It

Lauren Oliver's 2012 Reading List, Christmas Treats & a new Short Story!

Lovely Lauren Oliver has popped by the blog today to tell you what she'll be reading in 2012...and that's not all! If you click on the banner below or in the sidebar you'll find a heart-shaped extract of Lauren's exclusive ebook HANA - set in the world of the best-selling Delirium, Hana tells the story of Lena's best friend, who you might remember from Delirium.  If you're counting down the days until the release of Pandemonium, this short story might just be the quick fix you need and it's available to buy for the special price of just 99p over the festive season! You'll also find a cuter than cute paper heart decoration by clicking on those banners I mentioned before. So many treats and just in time for Christmas!

The Books Lauren Can't wait to read in 2012!

Reading for the first time:
Venom, by Fiona Paul
The Invention of Hugo Cabret (I know, I know, I should have read it already!)
Swamplandia, by Karen Russell


Rereading
Jane Eyre  by Charlotte Bronte
Books 5-7 of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Happy holidays!
--Lauren



 Merry Christmas - Lauren Oliver - Hodder & Stoughton<







In the world of Delirium, love is a disease. And like all eighteen-year-olds, Lena and Hana must take the cure.At the start of their last summer of freedom, they were the closest of friends. Until Hana made a decision that tore them apart . . . In Delirium, we heard from Lena. Now, Hana gets to tell her side of the story. And nothing is what we first thought. Hana is a powerful, moving and beautifully told original eBook short story, with a shocking twist that will leave you with your heart in your mouth.


-------------------
 Hana is available to buy in eBook format from all the usual places (Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). I just bought a copy and would like to inform any Irish readers who can't get it on UK sites because of territorial restrictions - it's available from Easons!  Treat yourself to an early Christmas gift and get a copy today! Let's make Lauren Oliver number ONE in the eBook charts for Christmas! :)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Top Five YA Debuts of 2012 according to...You!

It's the time of year for wish lists! While I will be taking a blogging break for Christmas, some lovely authors will be popping by the blog to tell you what books they'll be wishing for in 2012. In the meantime though, here are the results of your hot picks for 2012 in YA debuts.  Last years list was heavy on angel mythology and dystopian fiction, but this year, while dystopian is still a hit, the number one must read YA debut for you guys is Brodi Ashton's Everneath, which has it's roots in ancient Greek mythology . Time travel and witches also feature amongst your hot picks for 2012!

Did your most anticipated debut for 2012 make the list? If not, tell me what it is. I might find a new book to add to my never-ending TBR!

If you've already read any of these, let me know your thoughts! 


Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Harper Collins (US)/Simon & Schuster (UK)
Release date: January 2012/February 2012.

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...


Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release date: January 2012

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.


Tempest by Julie Cross
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (US)/Pan Macmillan (UK)
Release date: January 2012.

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.


Fracture by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Walker & Co.(US)/Bloomsbury (UK)
Release date: January 2012.

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?
 
Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?


For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.


A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release date: January 2012

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

Although a perfect fit for the paranormal romance genre, A WITCH IN WINTER avoids fangs, excessive body hair and submissive female leads, and tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart. Seth is utterly irresistible and Anna is an empowered, proactive young woman with unimaginable magic inside her. This is fast-paced, sensuous writing with believable incantations inspired by Warburton's research into witchcraft legend and old English


Great list, guys! I can safely say that all of these books are on my 2012 wish list! Hopefully I'll have some of the authors along to feature in Delightful Debutantes too!


Other books that almost made the Top Five list but just missed out were...
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Article 5 by Kristen Simmons and Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Reviewed by Jen: Blood Red Road by Moira Young.


Product details:
Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books
Release date: June 2nd 2011
Paperback, 492 pages.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Jen.


In a lawless future land, where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba has been brought up in isolated Silverlake. She never sees the dangers of the destructive society outside. When her twin brother is snatched by mysterious black-robed riders, she sets outon an epic quest to rescue him. The story's searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious lovestory make this a truly sensational YA debut novel.


Moira Young’s Blood Red Road is a haunting novel that stays with the reader long after the last page is finished.  The dystopian world that Young creates is a stark, raw landscape that serves as a warning about what the future may possibly hold if we continue to abuse our natural resources.  Ignorance and violence are recurring themes that make this survival story shocking and at times hard to stomach. 

Saba lives a simple life in a barren desert. Since her mothers death the only people she has are her Pa, her twin brother Lugh, and little sister Emmi.  Life at Silverlake is not easy.  Food and water are scarce and rarely has Saba ever seen another human.  Until one scorching day when a group of four horsemen bearing black robes appear and everything goes horribly wrong.  Pa is dead and Lugh is gone, leaving Saba and Emmi alone to fend for themselves.  Yet, Saba has no intention of losing the one person who means the most to her and immediately sets off on a treacherous journey to rescue her brother. 

Initially, I had a difficult time connecting with Saba.  In the first chapters she appears much younger than eighteen.  I was expecting her to be no more than fifteen given her words and actions.  Once she is left on her own she does mature and continues to do so throughout the entire book.  My other problem with Saba in the beginning was her seething hatred for her sister Emmi.  Saba’s mother died two days after Emmi’s birth and Saba openly hates her sister for it.  I felt a much stronger connection to Emmi and found Saba to be unlikable during the first four sections of the book.  Then Saba makes a horrible mistake.  Ignoring Emmi’s warnings Saba accepts a ride across the Sandsea from Rooster and Miz Pinch.  Suddenly Saba is stripped of all her weapons and chained to a bunk.  The Pinch’s have taken her captive in order to force her into entering the cage fights in Hopetown, a city ruled by a brutal king who keeps his subjects oppressed through ignorance and drugs.  If Saba refuses to do what Miz Pinch tells her it is Emmi who will be abused.  This is the turning point in the sister’s relationship and where the story really turns intense.  Saba is given no choice, but to fight to the death in order to save herself.  Although her situation seems hopeless Saba never loses her determination to find her brother and save her sister.

The writing in Blood Red Road is unique as the story is written in Saba’s voice. Her dialect is very basic and the writing itself is phonetic.  I was leery of this when I first began reading, afraid that the dialect would become cumbersome and difficult to wade through.  I was happy to find that the words flowed smoothly and added to the imagery of this world where very few can read and write. 

Blood Red Road is not a story for everyone.  There is little joy and light within the pages that are so laden with death and violence.  Yet, once I finally connected with the main character I was captivated by her struggles.  I wanted to see Saba beat those who had destroyed her life, save her brother and sister, and find happiness in a world that offered little to smile about.  Moira Young is a very talented new writer whose series is guaranteed to make an impact on the young adult dystopian genre.  I cannot wait to see what she has in store for her fierce heroine next. 

Friday, 16 December 2011

UK YA 2012 - January to June highlights! (Part Two).

Want to see Part One? Click:  here.

Tempest by Julie Cross is the big January release from MACMILLAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS. Dealing with all things time travel, this one is a very entertaining read! Author Julie Cross will also be my first Delightful Debutante of 2012 when she stops by the blog on January 2nd!

February sees the release of Mice by Gordon Reese. I noticed this one while browsing the publishers catalogue, and the description 'a gripping unique suspense thriller with a chilling twist...' has really piqued my interest. This one is also said to have major crossover appeal, and I have a feeling it will be good!

Were you a fan of The Immortals series by Alyson Noel? If so, you're in for a treat as Alyson's new series Soul Seekers launches in May 2012 with the first book Fated.

Another big summer release is Dreamless by Josephine Angelini, the second installment in her Starcrossed trilogy. Can't wait to see what lies in store for Helen and Lucas in this summer sizzler!


PUFFIN BOOKS  have lots and lots of goodies in store for 2012.  February sees the release of Legend by Marie Lu, the first book in a dystopian trilogy, this is a retelling of Les Misérables. Also releasing in February is The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg.  I love the sound of this book. It's blurbed by none other than Lauren Oliver and tells the story of a girl called Brie who's life ends at age sixteen when her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her and the news breaks her heart - literally.

April sees the release of Fever by Dee Shulman which is described as time travel with a romantic twist, while May sees the release of two books I am really excited for.  First up is Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid, the story of twin sisters, this is described as Jodi Picoult for Young Adults and promises to be a compelling read.  Also out in May is Eighteen Kisses, the follow up to Angel Kiss by Laura Jane Cassidy. I loved Angel Kiss when I read it last year and can't wait to find out what's in store for Jacki in this one!


RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS  have so many treats in store for 2012 that I almost don't know where to start, so I'll just go with what I'm most excited about and that the two new books from Lauren Kate. Fallen in Love and Rapture will publish in February and June respectively. I'm so excited to read the fourth and final installment of Luce and Daniel's story in Rapture, and also to read the short stories of Fallen in Love. 

Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja and it sounds so fun! What if you could change your friends' lives and loves through the settings of a computer game...? What a great idea for a book! Can't wait to read this one! 

March sees the release of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The Random House girls can't say enough good things about this book and my blogger friend Jess has been gushing about it too, so I can't wait to start reading my copy. This one sounds like a very special book indeed!

Coming in June is The Circle by writing duo Sara B. Elfgren and Mats Strandberg.  This title, first published in Swedish, is the first in the Engelsfors Trilogy and deals with all things witchy!


Onto SIMON & SCHUSTER who are really going to spoil us in 2012! First up is Fated a paranormal romance from Hunting Lila author Sarah Alderson. If you haven't already heard, Sarah writes books fast - really fast, so she doesn't have just one book out in 2012! Losing Lila, the sequel to Hunting Lila, will be released later in 2012, but for now we have Fated to tide us over will we await another Alex fix! I'll also be taking part in a fun blog tour for this book, so keep an eye out!

February sees the release of Everneath by Brodi Ashton. I  can't wait to read that one, along with edgy contemp Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale.

In March Simon & Schuster will be publishing Choker by Elizabeth Woods. I read this one last year when it published in the US, and I can tell you it is all kinds of twisted - in a good way! March also sees the UK release of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I can't wait to get started on this one!

June sees the release of Morgan Matson's second novel Second Chance Summer. I LOVED Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, so I'm making this one of my my top summer read for 2012. Can't wait! Next summer will also see |Jeri Smith-Ready's popular Shade series conclude with the third and final book Shine to be released in June.

I have just a few titles left to share now. I could include so many more, but I'd be here all day, and everybody would have exploding wish lists...or something! So, from TEMPLAR PUBLISHING we're being treated to the follow up to Don Calame's hilarious Swim the Fly when Beat the Band releases in February. I've never laughed so much while reading a book as I did while reading Swim the Fly. I'd recommend it! March sees the release of Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer where strange things are happening in Sicily...

p.s: Hope you have a wonderful time in the new job, Leo, and thank you for fun books and fun blog tours! x


USBORNE have some treats in store for next year too with the highly anticipated dystopian novel The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker releasing in February and Life Eternal, the follow up to Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon releasing in May. I love the UK cover for this one. Also, special mention to Angel Fever (Angel #3) by L.A Weatherly which will be releasing later in 2012 from Usborne. Can't wait, can't wait!!

And last but not least  in my 2012 highlights is Daylight Saving  by Edward Hogan a spooky ghost story which is releasing from WALKER BOOKS in February.


So concludes my 2012 January-June highlights list! I hope you all found some great books to add to those wish lists!







*Please Note: Cover images may not be final and may be subject to change.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

UK YA 2012 - January to June highlights! (Part One).

If you're anything like me you've already added a whole lot of books to your 2012 wish list, and if you're anything like me even if that wish list is overflowing with books, you'll always have room for one or two more. Right?

Over the next couple of days I'll be highlighting a whole bunch of 2012 releases from UK publishers. See anything you like here? Can you make room on your wish list for these?


Readers can always count on ATOM to send their wish lists into crazy territory. With so many great books releasing from Atom in 2012, I don't really know where to start, but, I'll give it a go!

January sees the highly anticipated release of The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. Billed as an international thriller with all the nail biting appeal of Dan Brown, this book immediately appealed to me when I first heard of it and it's one that at the very top of my 2012 wish list.

Night School by C.J. Daugherty is another one I just can't wait for in January. Boarding school paranormals are my great weakness and this one, described as The Secret History for the YA reader sounds right up my street!

 Releasing in March Bunheads by Sophie Flack  invites readers into the lives and loves of the dancers at a prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company.  Billed as Ballet Shoes meets Black Swan this one sounds like such a treat for fans of contemporary YA.

Rounding up the Atom highlights are two books I can't wait to to get my hands on. I've always loved a good thriller so I can't wait to read  Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe. This one releases in May along with Until I Die the sequel to Amy Plum's wonderful debut Die for Me, which was one of my favourites of 2011. I can't wait to catch up with Kate, Vincent and Co!

BlOOMSBURY have a whole lot of great titles in store for 2012 . Here are just some of the highlights...

January sees the release of Fracture by Megan Miranda. Described as a chilling thriller about life after death I've heard great, great things about this one already and I can't wait to get to it! January also sees the release of Stolen Away by the ever popular Alyxandra Harvey. In this dark romance, Alyx is moving away from the world of vampires and embarking on the world of the Fae.

Coming in May is stylish thriller Dead Time, the first in the new Murder Books series by Anne Cassidy. Love the sound of this fast paced thriller!

Burn Marks by Laura Powell described as Spooks meets The Sopranos meets Witch Child is a book I've been hearing great things about for the past while. As a big fan of all things witchy, this one is on my June 2012 wish list!  

June also sees the release of Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen an inventive retelling of the Robin Hood story with Will Scarlet portrayed as a young woman. This one definitely sounds like an interesting read!


2012 sees the launch of Electric Monkey, the new YA imprint from EGMONT, which means just one thinglots and lots of exciting new books in store! Since I can't include them all, here are my highlights!

While everyone else crushed on Tucker after reading Cynthia Hand's brilliant debut Unearthly, I crushed on Christian, so it'll be interesting to see if he can win any of you over when the second book in the series Hallowed releases in January. This is one of the books I've been most excited for throughout 2011. I've been saving it for Christmas reading and can't wait to get to it soon. The countdown is on...

Electric Monkey promises an eclectic list of titles with launch highlights ranging from sinister psycholoical thrillers and edgy contemps to a work of historical fiction set in World War II.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein releases in February and tells the tale of two young women from very different backgrounds who are thrown together during WWII.  Skin Deep  by Laura Jarratt is one of those topical, thought provoking and edgy contemps that you just know is going to teach you a few life lessons, while Shift by Australian author Em Bailey is described as a psychological thriller dealing with toxic friendships, and sounds perfect for me. This one releases in May and it's one that is high on my wish list already! If any Aussie friends have already read this one (I think it released there a while back?) I'd love to know what you thought!

 The Haunting of Tabitha Grey by Vanessa Curtis sports the chilling tagline ' What happens when you can't tell the difference between the living and the dead?' Egmont will also be releasing talented author Cat Patrick's second book Revived in summer 2012. I loved her debut, Forgotten, so I really can't wait for this one! 


 
HEADLINE have lots of goodies in store including one of my most anticipated books of 2012, The Last Echo (The Body Finder #3) by Kimberly Derting. It also looks like they're going for a whole new look for the series with this book.  Can't wait to see what lies in store for Vi and Jay in this one! 

Also publishing from Headline is the highly anticipated contemp The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith which a whole load of bloggers have already been raving about. This one is coming up soon on my TBR and I can't wait to get to it!  

Headline also have a treat in store for fans of dystopian fiction with the release of Pure by Julianna Baggott.




January sees the release of A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton from HODDER CHILDREN'S BOOKS. I'm super excited for this one. Inspired by Warburton's research into witchcraft legend and old English, this one sounds right up my street! Also releasing from Hodder Children's is The Repossession (March 2012) by Sam Hawksmoor which features possessions, hauntings and 34 kids missing. Vanished without a trace. Sounds good!

The big release from HODDER & STOUGHTON in the first half of next year is Pandemonium, the sequel to Lauren Oliver's dystopian hit Delirium. That one ended on quite the heart-wrenching cliffhanger, so I can't wait to see how things turn out there.

HARPER COLLINS CHILDREN'S BOOKS have a stellar line up for the first half of 2012 including Slide by Jill Hathaway, (March 2012) a murder mystery where the protagonist, Vee, can see through the eyes of  the killer. Love the sound of this one! March also sees the release of Fateful by Claudia Grey, a paranormal romance set on board The Titanic.

My top pick from INDIGO Orion's new YA imprint is Hollow Pike by James Dawson. I've heard there are strange things happening in the woods...

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Check back tomorrow for Part Two of my 2012 round up when I'll be highlighting great new books from Random House, Simon & Schuster and more.








*Please Note: Cover images may not be final and may be subject to change. 
** Links lead to Goodreads

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie.


Product details:
Publisher: Doubleday Children's Books.
Paperback, 383 pages.
Release date: December 8th 2011.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything.

Broken families, ageless grudges, forced alliances, and love that blooms in the darkest night—welcome to Wolf Springs.


Slow burning paranormal romance meets Shakespeare’s King Lear in a town full of legends, secrets, lies and hot guys.

Welcome to Wolf Springs, the atmospheric small town setting of writing duo Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie’s latest venture, Unleashed which sees recently orphaned Katelyn McBride unceremoniously uprooted from sunny California to a place she sees as little more than Hicksville middle-of-nowhere USA. It just so happens though, that in a town where nothing much ever happens strange things have been going on in the weeks leading up to Katelyn’s arrival. A missing teenage girl has been found dead, and it looks as though there is something strange and mysterious lurking in the woods…could Katelyn be its next victim?

Well, not if she had actually listened to the advice given to her by her Grandfather and the other locals she encounters in Wolf Springs. But guess what? Katelyn, who suffers from Stupid Heroine Syndrome, decides that they are all pretty much inbred hicks, and so she decides to do whatever she damn well wants in those woods.  You’ve probably already guessed that this lands her in all sorts of trouble. Yep, Katelyn’s stay in Wolf Springs is going to be an eventful one, and although something of a vacuous character (she bemoans her lack of cell phone service at least a dozen times), she does at least try to make the best of her life in Wolf Springs.   She crushes on Trick, a hottie who chauffeurs her to school every morning, and is drawn to Justin, a hottie who practically pounces on her every time she’s within sniffing distance. Popular girl!  Katelyn also makes friends with Cordelia Fenner, a nervous, shifty girl who lives in fear of her domineering father and bitchy sisters.

The Fenners are a strange, strange bunch as Katelyn finds out when she meets Cordelia’s weird sisters, one of whom is called Regan and her father Lee who is a little odd to say the least. Are those names ringing a bell? The Fenner family story, integral to the plot of this book, follows the path of Shakespeare’s King Lear, so if you know how that all pans out, it looks like things could get very interesting indeed as this series progresses. Also staying at the Fenner household are Cordelia’s cousins, Jesse who is described as being ‘special’, and the aforementioned hottie, Justin, who thinks he’s something special.

I can’t say that either of the boys who caught Katelyn’s eye in this book appealed to me. Justin is the sort of guy who’s hot and knows it, does what he wants with who he wants and  doesn’t seem to care that he already has a girlfriend, while Trick is prone to extreme mood swings, and is obviously keeping secrets from Katelyn and everyone around him. He also decides that he’ll start calling Katelyn ‘Kat’ on her first day in Wolf Springs, even though she introduces herself by her full name, and even though nobody has ever called her Kat before. But Kat doesn’t object too much. She’s just not that kind of girl…

YA paranormal romance is what I love, but for die hard fans of books of this type, Unleashed doesn’t offer anything very new or different from anything you’ve read before. Following the new girl in a strange new town/love triangle formula Unleashed is also very much a first in a series book which asks a whole lot of questions, but doesn’t give very many answers. That said, while it took me while to warm to this book in terms of both plot and characters, and while my overall reaction to the story was lukewarm, I’ve still been left wanting more because of the almighty cliffhanger at the end of this book. In a way I was just starting to warm to the story when it all stopped, so I guess I’ll be back for more!
******************

I somehow ended up with two copies of this book for review, so I'm giving away my extra copy!
Giveaway is International & ends December 31st 2011.
There are no extra entries for this one, but if you'd like to show your appreciation for the giveaway by following the blog or spreading the word about the giveaway via twitter etc, that would be very cool! :)




COMPETITION CLOSED! WINNER ANNOUNCED SOON!

Monday, 12 December 2011

UK Book Trailer: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand.

As we all know by now Unearthly by Cynthia Hand is totally made of awesome! If you haven't read this one, you need to get to it, because the second book in this addictive series, Hallowed, is releasing soon.  I was just sent this great trailer for the book, so I thought I'd share it with you!

In Hallowed Clara must choose between love and destiny...


Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand.
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd.
Release date: January 2012.
Ages: 13+

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Giveaway! Win a 2012 YA Debut of Your Choice!

2011 is drawing to a close and so it's time for lists, lists and yes, more lists!

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting lots of lists including my favourite books of 2011, 2012 highlights from UK publishers and some lovely authors will be dropping by to talk about what they'll be reading in 2012.

I also need your help! Last year I posted a list of the 2011 debuts readers of this blog were most looking forward to, and I'd like to do that again!

So, just fill in the form below, and you'll be entered in to win one of these fab 2012 debuts!

Everneath by Brodi Ashton | Tempest by Julie Cross | Fracture by Megan Miranda | A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
Hollow Pike by James Dawson | Incarnate by Jodi Meadows | Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne | Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale.

One winner will win one book from the choices on offer.
Competition is International (wherever The Book Depository Ships).
Competition closes: December 18th 2012.
One entry per person.
Following the blog is not required to gain entry to the competition, but is always appreciated.
If you need some help:
Here is a list of some 2012 YA debuts on Goodreads: Clicky.
Here is the Kirkus round up of best YA in 2011: Clicky.


COMPETITION CLOSED! WINNER ANNOUNCED SOON!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Book Review: French Lessons by Ellen Sussman.

Product details:
Publisher: Corsair.
Paperback, 256 pages.
Release date: November 3rd 2011.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Ages: Adult.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world.

As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.


A day in the life of three French tutors and their American students, Ellen Sussman’s French Lessons is a fun and flirty romp through the streets of Paris. Perfect for guilty pleasure reading, French Lessons is however light on plot and populated with characters that are an acquired taste to say the least, making this one best saved for holiday reading or sometime when you want a little something extra light.

We are first introduced to French tutors Nico, Philippe and Chantal as they share a morning coffee before they go to meet their respective students. We soon learn that these three have tangled love lives, and that their students, Josie, a heartbroken twenty-something, Riley a bored, neglected expat housewife, and Jeremy, the troubled husband of a well-known actress, are each at a crossroads of their own. What follows is a walk around Paris in which we learn of the dark secrets and hidden desires that each of these damaged people is hiding.

While a lack of plot usually wouldn’t bother me in such a book – I am a huge fan of conversational movies, for example, which feature nothing more than two people sharing their thoughts as they walk around beautiful cities (Before Sunset, Before Sunrise) -  the characters in French Lessons are simply unlikeable, their conversations mostly mundane.  While Paris acts as a pretty backdrop to this book, in never takes center stage, which is a shame.  In a book that could have been romantic and charming, the characters are instead driven by lust, passion and fantasies, and while it’s fun for a while, it soon becomes rather bland as turning each page just brings more of the same.

A book on the theme of infidelity and the different forms it can take, French Lessons could have been something special but with its one track mind and one-dimensional characters, it fell a little flat for me. However, if I had read this on a sunny spring day in Paris instead of a rainy winter’s day in Ireland, my thoughts might be entirely different, so I wouldn’t totally rule out adding this one to your holiday reading list!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 - I'm a Winner!!


 Yay! I did it!

NaNoWriMo 2011 proved to be third time lucky for me. This is the first time I've ever actually written a word towards NaNoWriMo but I first signed up in 2009, and then I thought about it again last year. I guess this year I was ready!


To everyone who got to 50k this year - Congratulations! It was touch and go with me for a while, but I got a writing spurt a few nights back and wrote 5k in two hours and that's what saved me.  Then, and yes, you'll laugh, when I went to validate my novel yesterday I missed a chunk of paragraphs at the end of my WIP (this tells you what a mess my WIP is!) and ended up with 48,000 words instead of 50,000. Panic stations! It was pointed out to me on twitter though that this shouldn't have really happened, so I went and double checked, and phew, I made it!


If you didn't get to 50k this year - then better luck next year and be proud of those words you did write!

What do I do now?

I'm going to re-read my 50k in a few days and see if it all makes any sense to me. I know it's a total mess right now, and the story is totally unfinished but maybe there's something there...you never know. I'll keep working on it!


Also, now the search for the hot boys name begins. I've already brainstormed with my sister and we came up with nothing that suits him just right. My boyfriend told me to call him Ernest(?!!) I think naming him could take forever!


Will I do NaNoWriMo 2012?

Yes, I think so! I thought it was a lot of fun! 


Did you participate in NaNoWriMo 2011?
How was it for you?
What's next for your novel?


Oooh, and look! I got this pretty certificate too.
I think I should frame it! ;)



To anyone who left encouraging comments and helpful advice on my NaNo progress reports - Thank You! It all helped! :)
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