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I'm a librarian based in the UK who loves books. I'm happiest when I'm either talking about them, reading them or buying them. This blog is dedicated mainly to my addiction to YA fiction but you will also find some adult and non-fiction book reviews as well.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Review: Dead Silence - Kimberly Derting

Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting, published by Headline on 16th April 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Violet thought she’d made peace with her unique ability to sense the echoes of the dead and the imprints that cling to their killers…that is until she acquired an imprint of her own. Forced to carry a reminder of the horrible events of her kidnapping, Violet is more determined than ever to lead a normal life. However, the people who run the special investigative team Violet works for have no intention of letting her go.

When someone close to Violet becomes a suspect in a horrific murder, she finds herself pulled into a deadly hunt for a madman with an army of devoted followers. Violet has survived dangerous situations before, but she quickly discovers that protecting those closest to her is far more difficult than protecting herself.



Review:
'Dead Silence' by Kimberly Derting is the fourth book in what is proving to be one of the most gripping and exciting YA series around.  I always look forward to every new instalment and I'm never left disappointed by the quality of the writing or the twists and turns of the plot.  There are always new revelations to be explored and more to learn about Violet's unique ability.

The story picks up with Violet still struggling with the repercussions of her actions in 'The Last Echo'.  Having to deal with having her own imprint is tough but she still has her friends and boyfriend Jay by her side, even if they don't always understand what she is going through.  I love the fact that the focus of the story is back solely on Violet again and not quite so much on the team she's been a part of.  There's still a fair amount of Rafe in the book but this time the majority of the action centres around Violet and her personal experiences.  There are also lots of wonderful Jay moments in the book, so if you're a fan of one of the cutest and sweetest couples in YA then you will love reading this.

Although by now, you would think that the reader knows everything there is to know about Violet's ability to find the dead, it turns out that there are still things to learn about exactly how this works.  A lot of this is brought to light when Violet starts reading her Grandma's old journals and I enjoyed these extracts which were interspersed throughout.  I still really have no idea which direction Kimberly Derting is ultimately going to take the story in but little by little I'm enjoying finding out.

A trademark of the series are the chapters told from the killers' point of view.  These were truly creepy and disturbing and gave me chills when I was reading them.  The level of suspense is so high and the tension so tightly strung, that I found it hard to put the book down.  The ending is also incredible!  I can't believe that I've got to wait to find out what happens next. 

Fans of the series will be pleased to know that there is another book planned which I'm sure will provide readers with plenty more shocks and surprises.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

News: The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey

'The 5th Wave' by Rick Yancey is one of my most highly anticipated books of the year.  Mark the 7th May 2013 on your calendar and in your diaries now because that's when Penguin will be publishing this title for UK readers to enjoy. 

Here's the incredible trailer and synopsis of the book:



After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.


If you can't wait to find out more then here is an extract from 'The 5th Wave' to enjoy!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed - Page Morgan

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan, published by Hot Key Books on 2nd May 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Ingrid Waverley is a young woman to be reckoned with. Faced with her brother's mysterious disappearance after an abrupt move to Paris, she is determined to discover what has happened to him. Soon she and her sister Gabriella are drawn into a Parisian underworld more terrifying than they could ever have imagined, but watching over them are two impossible (and impossibly handsome) young men.
 
Review:
I will confess to not knowing much about this book before I picked it up but the cover art grabbed my attention and I knew immediately that I wanted to read it.  I was expecting it to be a modern day supernatural story but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the action actually takes place in Paris in 1899.  I love the fact that Page Morgan has combined so many different genres which means that historical elements are interweaved with the gothic, alongside touches of romance, fantasy, adventure and the supernatural.  There is something to appeal to lots of different readers and I already know I'll be recommending this to several of my friends. 

The story opens with two sisters, Ingrid and Gabby, arriving with their mother at a rundown Abbey in Paris.  The Abbey is particularly intimidating because of the grotesque gargoyles which adorn it's exterior.  Shortly after their arrival, they discover that their brother Grayson has gone missing.  Determined to find him, they stumble across secrets which have long been kept hidden and a world which they never knew existed. 

I was excited about the fact that gargoyles feature in the story.  I knew very little about them prior to reading this book, so it was great to see gargoyle lore being explored.  I loved Page Morgan's interpretation of them and the way that she gave them real character so you ended up seeing them as much more than just stone statues. 

The opening of the book immediately piqued my interest and although I was only planning to read a few chapters, I found myself absorbed in the sisters' adventures.  Although the pace slowed slightly in the middle, it picked up again at the end, which was truly exciting and gripping.     

This was an intriguing start to the series and will appeal enormously to readers who are perhaps getting tired of vampires, zombies and ghosts and looking for something a little different.  The second book in the series will be called 'The Sweet and the Savage'.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Review: Janie Face to Face - Caroline B. Cooney

Janie Face to Face by Caroline B. Cooney, published by Random House Children's Books on 1st February 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
In this riveting and emotional conclusion to the thriller-romance Janie series, that started with The Face on the Milk Carton, all will be revealed as readers find out if Janie and Reeve’s love has endured, and whether or not the person who brought Janie and her family so much emotional pain and suffering is brought to justice.


Review:
'Janie Face to Face' is the fifth book that Caroline B. Cooney has written about the girl who discovered her face on a milk carton, leading to revelations about who she is and who her real family are.  I remember reading this series and being both gripped and horrified by Janie's story.  I couldn't even begin to imagine how you would feel to find out that you had been kidnapped when you were a child and the people you have called Mum and Dad all your life, aren't your real parents after all. 

I didn't realise that another book in the series had been planned and although I was a little dubious at first about yet another instalment, I'm now glad that Caroline B. Cooney finally provided Janie and her readers with the closure that they've been looking for.  I feel satisfied that not only has her story been properly concluded but also that we now know what happens to her and to her kidnapper. 

The narrative alternates between the point of view of Janie herself, as well as the notorious Hannah; the person who was responsible for taking a little girl away from her family all those years ago.  It was interesting to see how Hannah viewed her own actions but these sections of the book also gave me chills because of what I knew she was capable of.      

The story is about Janie finally coming to terms with what happened to her and learning to put herself first for once, instead of worrying about her parents from both sets of families.  After so many years of questioning her own identity, she has now grown into a mature and responsible young woman who wants to put the past behind her and focus on her future.  Without wanting to give anything away, Reeve, the boy next door turns out to be a huge part of that future and I enjoyed seeing him and Janie reconnect.

When I was a teenager I read all of Caroline B. Cooney's books and now I'm an adult I can truthfully say that I still enjoy them and appreciate her writing enormously.  Fans of the series will definitely want to read this concluding book about the girl on the milk carton, not only for nostalgic reasons but also to put to rest the terrible events that happened to Janie so many years ago. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Review: Just For Now - Abbi Glines

Just For Now by Abbi Glines, published by Simon and Schuster on 25th April 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
The day Preston Drake figured out that wealthy women paid well for a set of tight abs and a pretty face his life turned around.  The run down rat-infested trailer he had shared with his alcoholic mother and three younger siblings was now only a place he visited to pay the bills and stock the pantry with food.

He no longer worried about his family starving or living without electricity. The money he made entertaining rich older women more than covered his family’s needs and his own. He had it all figured out. 


Amanda Hardy wished her knees didn’t get weak when Preston walked into a room. She hated the fact her heart raced when he flashed his smile in her direction. He had a different girl in his bed every night. He was the kind of boy a smart girl ran from. So, why was she coming up with ways to get close to him? Even when it was obvious he wanted to keep her at a distance.

Maybe her heart knew something the world didn’t. Maybe Preston Drake was more than just a pretty face.

 

Review:
Abbi Glines delivers another dose of Sea Breeze in the fourth book in the series.  This time around it's the turn of bad boy Preston Drake to find out that true love may not be so impossible after all.  Although I knew a little about Preston before starting his story, namely that he is the best friend of Marcus Hardy and seems to have a different female hanging off his arm every night, I didn't know much about the real Preston and who he is underneath his confident exterior.  I love the fact that Abbi Glines can take a character who on the surface may appear to be slightly one-dimensional and make you stop and think twice about them.  By the end of the book, he'd really grown on me and I'd changed my opinion about him completely. 

The reason why Preston behaves the way he does can be partly traced back to his family who we finally get to see.  The scenes which he shared with his younger brothers and sister were some of my favourite in the book and I like the way that these chapters showcased the caring and compassionate side of him.  He has had to be responsible for their welfare because his mother is unfit to look after them and therefore he tries to be both brother and father to them. 

There were subtle hints in 'While It Lasts' that something may have been brewing between Preston and Marcus's younger sister Amanda.  She has had a huge crush on him for what seems like forever but doesn't think he could ever be interested in her properly because she doesn't fit the mould of the type of girl that usually turns his head.  I have to say that while I adored Willow and Eva from the start, I wasn't quite so keen on Amanda.  I felt like it took me a long time to see the compassionate side of her and not just respond to her as the little sister who needs looking after.

I would never have thought that Preston and Amanda would make a good match but again Abbi Glines works her magic and turns their relationship into a budding romance which was all kinds of wonderful.  He opens up to her about his past and his family and she in turn is there when he needs her the most.  I thought they became a great couple who genuinely bring the best out in each other.

This was yet another fabulous instalment of a series which has become a huge favourite of mine.  I adore the romance and the characters and the fact that I can get completely lost in these books.  I believe that there will be another story to come and I can't wait because I know already that I'm going to love it! 


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Review: While It Lasts - Abbi Glines

While It Lasts by Abbi Glines, published by Simon and Schuster on 25th April 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Cage York has a free ride to college for baseball - or he did, until he got in trouble for drink-driving. Now he has to give in to his coach's demands and spend his summer baling hay. No hot babes in bikinis waiting to meet a Southern boy to make her vacation complete. Just him and the damned cows. Oh and an uptight, snarky brunette with the biggest blue eyes he's ever seen.

Eva Brooks planned out her life step by step when she was eight years old. Not once over the years had she lost sight of her goals. Josh Beasley, her next door neighbour, had been the centre of those goals. The moment she'd received the phone call from Josh's mother saying he'd been killed along with four other soldiers just north of Baghdad, Eva's carefully planned life imploded in the worst way possible. Now she has to deal with the arrogant Cage York and his irritating smile.

But as the summer bailing hay rolls by, Cage and Eva learn that what they want (and need) may be something they never saw coming.


Review:
Just when I thought that Abbi Glines's books couldn't get any better, I read 'While It Lasts' and was blown away.  Several days later and I'm still obsessing about it and can't wait to read it again.  I love the fact that it connects up several of the characters from earlier books in the Sea Breeze series, although the focus is mainly on the romance between Cage and Eva.

Unlike a lot of people I don't normally fall for the bad boy in books but I was intrigued from the start by the gorgeous Cage York.  He has a reputation as a ladies man and a womaniser but then he goes and falls for farmer's daughter Eva and everything changes.  There were hints in 'Because of Low' that there could be a softer side to Cage's character but this aspect of his personality is developed much further in the story.  When he discovers real love for the first time, it changes his perspective completely.  He's always had girls throwing themselves at him but now there's only one girl that he wants.  Don't get me wrong, he still likes to talk dirty, flirt and show off his very muscled chest, but as he gradually opens himself up to Eva, a lot is revealed about why he is the way he is.  There's also a warmth about him that is genuinely attractive and I loved the way he is so protective towards Eva.

What I particularly loved about the story was the fact that when I was reading it, I was completely swept away from reality and ended up totally engrossed in the characters' lives.  I enjoy realism in books but sometimes I just want a break from real life and 'While It Lasts' delivered that for me. 

Even steamier than Abbi's previous books, you will need to go and cool off after reading this one.  It certainly left me rather hot and bothered.  Abbi Glines writes such fantastic male characters that you really wish they weren't only fictional!

Next up for me is the fourth title in the series 'Just For Now' which features bad-boy Preston and Marcus's younger sister Amanda. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Review: Because of Low - Abbi Glines

Because of Low by Abbi Glines, published by Simon and Schuster on 25th April 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Marcus Hardy had hoped to enjoy a year away at college while he put the summer he'd rather forget behind him. But instead, he's jerked right back his home town of Sea Breeze due to a family crisis. His dear ol' dad found himself a girlfriend only a few years older than Marcus. So now his sister needs help dealing with their mother who is falling apart. The only bright spot to returning is the fascinating red head who sleeps over at his place several times a week. There's just one thing though - she's sleeping in bed with his new roommate, Cage York.

Review:
'Because of Low', the second book in Abbi Glines Sea Breeze series, is a steamy New Adult romance that was so good I devoured it in one sitting and then went back and read all my favourite parts again.

Having previously read 'The Vincent Boys' which I utterly loved, I wasn't sure if any fictional guy was going to be able to steal my heart away from Beau and Sawyer, and yet when Marcus Hardy entered the picture, I was a goner.  Gorgeous, adorable, well mannered and sexy as hell, Marcus sure knows how to treat a girl right.  After he falls head over heels for Willow, or Low as she's known, it seems that romance may be on the cards, except for the fact that his roommate Cage has declared that Low is the girl he's going to marry.

I absolutely adored seeing how the romance between Marcus and Low developed throughout the course of the book.  Sparks fly when they are together and the attraction they feel for each other is evident from their first meeting.  Of course there are a lot of ups and downs for them to go through first but I think in the end, all of that actually makes them stronger as a couple and proves that if they can survive their own hang-ups, as well as the problems caused by their families, then they are meant to be together.

I enjoyed the fact that the narrative alternates between the two characters, so we get a male and female perspective on events.  Abbi Glines writes both points of view equally well which is something that must be very hard to do.  It was interesting to see how one situation could be viewed so differently, as well as how both characters feel about each other at various points in the story.

There are some seriously steamy moments in the book, definitely making this a read for a slightly older audience.  There were times when my heart was thumping out of my chest and my palms were sweaty.  But I loved it as the romantic parts were so genuine and real. 

This was a scorching ten out of ten star read!  Abbi Glines is one of my favourite authors at the moment and I'm desperate to get my hands on all of her books.  I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the Sea Breeze series which features the gorgeous Cage and bad boy Preston.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Cover reveal: Crown of Midnight - Sarah J Maas

Take a look at the stunning UK cover for 'Crown of Midnight' by Sarah J Maas which Bloomsbury will be publishing later this year.  This is the second book in the Throne of Glass series.



After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Review: Burn For Burn - Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, published by Simon and Schuster on 28th February 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.



Review:
'Burn For Burn' is a contemporary young-adult collaboration by authors Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, although it  does have a supernatural twist.  I have to say that I didn't actually realise that this was the first book in a trilogy, I thought it was a stand-alone, but that may explain the fact that the story itself was quite slow and strung out.  A lot of time was spent on establishing the characters, without anything significant actually happening to them. 

The plot centres on three girls, Lillia, Kat and Mary who are brought together by their need for revenge on various people in their lives.  With a common aim to focus on, it doesn't seem to matter that they are very different people who perhaps wouldn't normally have become friends.  All that matters to them is payback.  My favourite character was Kat, who has a tough exterior but has been hurt in the past.  She won't take nonsense from anyone but she isn't necessarily as strong as she appears on the outside. 

I absolutely adored the setting for the story, Jar Island.  It reminded me of one of my favourite series of books ever, Making Out by Katherine Applegate where the characters also lived on a small island.  I love the idea of everyone knowing each other and having grown up together with only some of the residents staying there all year round.  It also lends a sense of claustrophobia to the book which worked well to create an atmosphere where it feels like no one can escape. 

Although the book was a little protracted and it took me a while before I became hooked, the ending was unpredictable and left me wanting more.  I can't wait to see what acts of revenge the three girls have in store next.  Fans of these two authors should definitely check out 'Burn For Burn' which is a promising start to the trilogy. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Review: By Any Other Name - Laura Jarratt

By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt, published by Electric Monkey on 1st April 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Nobody can know the truth - her life depends on it. I picked up the book and thumbed through the pages. Names in alphabetical order, names with meanings, names I knew, names I'd never heard of. How to pick? Nothing that would stand out, nothing that would link me to the past - those were the instructions. The past. As if everything that had gone before this moment was buried already. Holly is fifteen years old, but she's only been "Holly" for a matter of months. Because of something that happened, she and her family have had to enter witness protection and have all assumed new identities. All, that is, except her sister Katie, who is autistic. Starting at a new school mid-term is hard enough at the best of times, and Holly has no clue who she is any more. Lonely and angry, she reaches out to friends - new and old. But one wrong move will put all their lives in danger...



Review:
This is the second book by Laura Jarratt and like her first title 'Skin Deep', explores different territory to many other contemporary young-adult novels currently on the market.  The main theme is about making sense of who you are as a person and developing your own identity, rather than being labelled by everyone else around you.  The main character Holly struggles to do exactly this, when her family is entered into the witness protection programme and she has to leave everything familiar behind.  Starting over is difficult and it was interesting reading to see how Holly coped with establishing herself in a new town and having to make new friends.

The secret of why Holly's family are in witness protection is hinted at throughout the book but the big reveal doesn't come until near the end.  I didn't guess the real reason why and so found the truth when it was gradually unveiled, quite shocking.  It made me go back and think again about many things that had happened in the story and gave me even more admiration for Holly.

Laura Jarratt writes complex and layered characters.  There is often more to them than first meets the eye.  Holly's new friend Joe is an example of this - someone with a lot of layers whose outward appearance doesn't tell you everything you need to know about him.  Her younger sister Katie is another.  Katie is autistic and I think actually the first character with autism that I've seen in a young-adult book.  I liked the bond between the two sisters and the way that Holly is so protective towards her. 

Although I didn't enjoy 'By Any Other Name' quite as much as 'Skin Deep' which I was literally head over heels for, it was still a thought-provoking and excellent read, which was well-written and proves once again what a brilliant writer Laura Jarratt is. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

Review: Hidden - Marianne Curley

Hidden by Marianne Curley, published by Bloomsbury on 14th March 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
For as long as Ebony can remember, she's been sheltered. Confined to her home in a secluded valley, home-schooled by her protective parents, and limited to a small circle of close friends. It's as if she's being hidden. But something is changing in Ebony. Something that can't be concealed. She's growing more beautiful by the day, she's freakishly strong, and then there's the fact that she's glowing.

On one fateful night, Ebony meets Jordan and she's intensely drawn to him. It's as if something explodes inside of her--something that can be seen from the heavens. Ebony still doesn't know that she's a stolen angel, but now that the heavens have found her, they want her back.




Review:
I really enjoy reading angel stories so I thought that I was going to love Marianne Curley's new book 'Hidden'. The premise sounded right up my street and I delved into it as soon as I got my hands on it.  All the key ingredients were there for this to be a five star book but sadly it didn't quite manage to meet my expectations and on the whole I had quite mixed feelings about it.

The story itself was very slow in the beginning and my interest waned a little after the first couple of chapters.  I feel like everything was pointing towards a possible romance between the two main characters Ebony and Jordan but this was eventually turned on it's head which I have to say threw me quite a bit.  Although I enjoyed seeing events unfold through Ebony's eyes, the chapters which were focused from the point of view of Jordan weren't quite as good.  He seemed at times to be unnecessary to the story, so I'm intrigued to know what part he will end up playing in the next book in the series.

I liked the overall angel mythology at the heart of the plot and the idea of the four dimensions: Earth, Skade, Avena and Peridis.  Curley makes a good job of weaving this into the story and explaining things clearly to the reader. 

One of my main issues with 'Hidden' was the dialogue between the characters which often seemed rather stilted.  It meant that I never felt a strong connection to any of the lead protagonists although I had warmed to Ebony by the end.  I was however pretty happy with the introduction of Thane, who provided some of my favourite moments in the book and I'm looking forward to seeing how his relationship with Ebony will develop.

The ending was a real cliffhanger and ended on a high, so although I wasn't completely won over by the first in the series, I'm suitably intrigued enough to want to find out what happens next.
   

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Blog Tour: Light - Michael Grant

I'm extremely lucky to be hosting one of the stops on Michael Grant's first ever UK blog tour.  I'm a massive fan of the Gone series and can't believe the epic adventure is finally over.  I have a fantastic giest post to share you with from Michael, about one of his favourite characters in the series, Edilio, as well as news about a brand new online game to accompany the books. 
 
 
 
Every GONE fan has their favorite character. And everyone has characters they can’t stand. I’m no different.

Of course as the writer I have different criteria. For me a “good” character is one that’s fun to write and does good work for me in the story. For readers the characters are closer to being friends, while for me they’re more like employees.

 No one was more fun for me to write, or did better service, than Diana Ladris. I love Diana. I like her snark and her vulnerability. I like that she’s not afraid of Caine, even when she should be. I had fun edging her ever-so-slowly toward the good side of the equation over the course of six books.

I also had a lot of fun writing Brianna and Dekka and especially Lana. I think I must like tough chicks. I never quite knew what to do with Mary -- she was just too good. I mean, if you set aside the fact that she went nuts and tried to kill all the little kids, she was a saint. A saint aside from the attempted mass-murder. So, a saint by GONE standards. All that caring, all that self-sacrifice: I pretty much had to kill her. She was getting on my nerves.

Who else can’t I stand? Brittany. I didn’t dislike her, exactly, I just never did figure out how to write her. Dahra was another. I tried, but meh. Usually when a character became useless to me I’d kill them off. But I was kind of stuck with Brittany. She became the person I wanted to fire but couldn’t. And Dahra . . . well, read LIGHT.

The character I’m most proud of actually is Edilio. I wish I could remember where I first read that the real hero of Lord Of The Rings was not Frodo but Sam Gamgee. It struck me as a bit of a revelation at the time. So with the GONE series I wanted to create a character like that, a character who would only very slowly be revealed as central and important and even heroic.

Edilio is from a family of undocumented migrant workers. Throughout the early books he’s often denigrated as Sam’s “sidekick.” Unlike our obvious hero, Sam Temple, Edilio has no special powers. He’s not a genius like Astrid, he’s not charismatic like Caine, he’s not the best-looking or the funniest. What he is is the guy who gets it done. He doesn’t brag, he doesn’t swagger, he doesn’t demand anything, but again and again and again he gets it done.

Edilio, in addition to being brave, selfless, decent and loyal, is competent. Sometimes you’ll hear people use that word almost as an insult, because we’re all supposed to want to be extraordinary, we’re all supposed to want to be stars. You might hear that someone is merely competent. Very inexperienced people say that, people who don’t know enough to understand how precious and rare competence is.

Now, if you happen to combine brave, selfless, decent and loyal with competent? Then, wow. You have everything it takes to be a real man or real woman.

So I raise a glass to Edilio. (Literally, because I’m in a Sausalito bar called Poggio as I write this. Cabernet Sauvignon, not that it matters.) Because Sam Temple might be the good-looking guy who can shoot light out of his hands, but Edilio is the man
 
 
To celebrate the release of 'Light', Egmont have created an online game based on the books.  It can be played at http://www.goneonlinegame.com/ over a six-week period.  Starting with four games at launch - Zeke Zap, Word Search, Hacker and a Gone quiz - there will be further games and challenges released on a weekly basis until the winner is announced.  Highly addictive, the games are designed to challenge, infuriate and test your skills, and to get you completely hooked.  The winner of the game - the highest scorer at the end of the six weeks - will win an iPad and the chance to meet Michael Grant in a private capsule on the EDF Energy London Eye on 4 May. Participation will also be rewarded with prizes along the way, including signed editions and book tokens as well as never-before-seen content such as extra chapters and video messages from the author.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Simon and Schuster's Month of Men - Abbi Glines Q&A

Today, I'm taking part in Simon and Schuster's epic Month of Men blog tour.  I'm thrilled to have a wonderful Q&A to share with you from one of my favourite authors, Abbi Glines.

 

Can you tell me a little bit more about your route to publication?

After I wrote my first book, I sent out a few query letters to agents and then a couple small indie publishing houses. Wild Child Publishing contacted me first and offered me a two year contract for my book, Breathe. I agreed. Once that book released (18 months later), I started reading some self published ebooks and realizing I could do that too. I was having to do all my marketing for my published book so there really was no difference... except I got to keep all my profit. I self-published The Vincent Boys. Seven months, four self-published books, and over five hundred thousand ebook sales later, Jane Dystel contacted me. She was interested in representing me. I had only heard great things about Dystel & Goderich literary management and I agreed. Weeks after I signed the contract with Jane I was signing a contract with Simon Pulse a division of Simon & Schuster for The Vincent Boys and The Vincent Brothers. My Sea Breeze series shortly followed.

I absolutely love ‘The Vincent Boys’ and ‘The Vincent Brothers’. I know Sayer and Beau have captured many readers’ hearts. Is there any chance that you’ll be writing more books about these characters? 
A month ago this answer would have been, no. As much as I love Beau and Sawyer I was finished with that storyline. However, one night I was trying to go to sleep and the back story to Beau, Ashton and Sawyer kept playing out in my head. What were they like as kids? What really happened the day Sawyer asked Ashton out on a date? How real was Beau's heartbreak? What was high school like with Beau loving Ashton and not being able to do anything about it? Did he ever have feelings for anyone else? Was Sawyer always perfect? Did he have secrets? Those questions started running through my head and I decided that I would write a prequel to The Vincent Boys. Not sure yet on the release date. But I have to write it because I can't get it out of my head.

How do you approach writing some of the ‘steamy’ bits in your books?

Well... I spend a good bit of time thinking about those two characters. I decide what kind of "lover" they would be and I then focus on them as if I am watching a scene in a movie. I translate what I am seeing to words.

The New Adult genre has really exploded onto the publishing scene. Why do you think this has appealed to readers and how do you feel about your books being given this label?

I think that Twilight started this in a way. I hadn't read a young adult novel in over twenty years when Twilight was released. Like many women over the age of twenty-five, I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much. I then started reading more young adult books and I loved the excitement in first loves, the angst and drama that I'd once experienced but was now a part of my past. Something was missing... I wasn't sure what it was. Then I picked up Jamie McGuire's Beautiful Disaster and I was enthralled. What was missing in young adult romances was the sexy. The edgy. All the steam that is left out of most young adult books because of the age the books are written for and the age of the characters in the books. I was an adult and I wanted that main character just a little older and I wanted sex in the book. Obviously I wasn't alone. New Adult was born and it has dominated the charts. It appeals to such a broad range of readers. I'm honored to be considered part of this new genre.

Can you tell me anything about what you are currently working on?

Fallen Too Far and Never Too Far have a side character in them by the name of Woods Kerrington. He managed to snag a fan base in the Too Far books. I decided to write a spin off book for Woods. It is called Twisted Perfection. Woods tends to be the protective kind of guy but he isn't one to stay in relationships because he has so much responsibility from his father to prove himself. Della Sloane blows into town one day and her wild carefree spirit is just what Woods wants as a distraction. He just has no idea just who he is dealing with or just how fragile the girl he sees as unbreakable truly is.

Fans in the UK, myself included, are very excited that you are coming over to visit us. Do you have any must-sees while you are here?

I've never been "over the pond" but it has always been a dream of mine to get to go to London or really anywhere in the UK. I honestly don't have a must-see. I need some locals to give me some must-sees because I haven't had time to sit and think about it. My one must see is meeting my UK readers. I'm honored to have such a strong fan base in the UK and I can't wait to hear all of you talk!

Finally, do you have any books and authors you can recommend to people who have enjoyed your work?

Yes! Here are a list of my favorites.

Fall Guy and Perfectly Unmatched by Liz Reinhardt
Easy by Tammara Webber
Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Hopeless; Slammed and Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
That Boy and That Wedding by Jillian Dodd
Up In Flames by Nicole Williams
Thoughtless, Effortless, and Reckless by S.C. Stephens
Avoiding Commitment and Avoiding Responsibility by K.A. Linde
Reason to Breathe; Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan
Lengths and Depths by Liz Reinhardt and Steph Campbell

Thank you so much Abbi!  I can't wait to read some of these books.

Check out the full schedule for the Month of Men on Facebook.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Blog Tour: By Any Other Name - Laura Jarratt

I'm taking part in the blog tour for Laura Jarratt's new book 'By Any Other Name' and I have a fantastic guest post to share with you from Laura herself.


Holly in By Any Other Name is hiding a huge secret from everyone in her new life. But she’s not the only character in the book with something to hide. Joe’s covering something up too, and that kind of gets to Holly. What is going on with him and why should she care anyway? She’ll have to wait a while to find out…

She’s not alone in finding a boy with a secret intriguing – who doesn’t like a little mystery? I can’t resist that lure so love to these fictional guys (in no particular order): 

1.      Alec Lightwood from Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones

Alec with his hopeless dress sense and stabbing jealousy of Clary is one of Cassie Clare’s most endearing characters. Forever trying to do the right thing and never quite managing it, life and sexuality confuse him. And Magnus Bane confuses him most of all…

2.      Four from Veronica Roth’s Divergent

Four probably wins my vote for most adorable male mc in YA fiction right now. And he’s an enigma from the start. Oh, we know before Tris does why he doesn’t want to watch her fight but for the rest he’s a gorgeous bundle of mystery you can’t wait to see unwrapped. Actually you’ll still love him just as much when you know his secrets in Insurgent, the next book in the series.

3.      Ronan Lynch from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys

I never go for the bad boys – never! So I’m defending Ronan as a good boy with extreme issues. I just don’t know what they are yet as Maggie Stiefvater is stringing us all out on just what Ronan’s secret is. However you can’t not love a character described as ‘a soldier in a war where the enemy was everyone else.’ I have faith that Ronan will turn out to be a secret gem eventually.

4.      Nick Ryves from Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Lexicon

Now Nick is a bad boy, but he is too funny to dismiss and his complete lack of understanding of the motives of everyone around him mean he’s one of the most original characters in urban fantasy. And his secret…I couldn’t possibly give anything away but my jaw hit the floor. I did not see that coming at all. Kudos to Sarah Rees Brennan for one of the best and most surprising revelations in YA fantasy.

5.      Lucas from Kevin Brooks’ Lucas

The beautiful and completely mystifying Lucas turns up on Caitlin’s island and by contrast shows just how ugly other people can be. All the grit of a usual Kevin Brooks novel paired with a fairytale-like quality that works – probably no one but Kevin Brooks could get that particular combination right. You never will entirely understand Lucas but not everything is life can be understood.

6.      Sirius from Diana Wynne Jones’ Dogsbody

A departure from YA to venture into children’s book territory. Sirius is a luminary punished for a crime he didn’t commit and forced to hide in the body of a dog until he can prove his innocence. An absolutely beautiful piece of characterisation inside one of the defining books of my childhood. To be able to create the personality of a star inside a dog and stay true to both requires staggering talent.

7.      Mr Rochester in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

My favourite Bronte male. Well, he just made a real mess of things when he was younger, didn’t he? And pays the price and tries to make it as right as he can. Until he falls in love and gets himself in another pickle. Completely fallible and so very human because of that, Rochester is a decent guy who wants to be loved. Aww, come on, how can you not have a soft spot for him?

8.      Magnus Bane from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series

Ah, Magnus – just a walking ball of secrets. He unfurls them slowly, showering glitter as he goes, through all of Cassandra Clare’s books. The thing about Magnus is he’s so gloriously outrageous and also so wise – I guess immortality can do that to you though it doesn’t seem to have worked so well for some of the vampires – and at times so very, very sad you want to cry for him. I love at lot of Cassie Clare’s secondary characters (oddly not her main characters so much), especially the kick-ass Isabelle, but Magnus is her finest creation.
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