Wednesday 28 November 2012

From Page to Screen in 2013

There are some fantastic young-adult books currently being adapted for the big screen and lots of exciting releases to look forward to next year.  Here are some of the page to screen titles that I'm especially thrilled about with release dates for when the films are due out.

'Beautiful Creatures' is released in the UK on 13th February 2013.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

The Host is released in the UK on 29th March 2013.

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

City of Bones is released in the UK on 23rd August 2013.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Catching Fire is released in the UK on 22nd November 2013.

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are still alive. Katniss should be relieved, but now there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol -- a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped crate.

As the nation watches Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. One false move and the consequences will be unimaginable.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is also set to hit the big screen in 2013 but there is no release date for it yet. 

There's also the film of Veronica Roth's bestselling novel 'Divergent' to come in 2014, as well as an adaptation of 'Delirium' by Lauren Oliver and 'Fallen' by Lauren Kate!

Comment and let me know which book you would love to see made into a film.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Review: Eve and Adam - Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate, published by Electric Monkey on 1st October 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.

While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.

'Eve and Adam' is written by husband and wife team Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate.  As well as being a huge fan of Grant's Gone series, I have to admit that I was obsessed with the Making Out series by Applegate when I was about 13 or 14.  I still have the complete set and one day I will get around to giving them all a re-read.  Understandably I was therefore pretty excited about this title which combines the writing talent of both authors in one book. 

The premise was intriguing and spiked my interest as soon as I read the synopsis. Eve is involved in a terrible car accident which leaves her with severe injuries.  While recovering in her mother's research facility she discovers some disturbing secrets about her mother and the genetic experiments that she has been carrying out.  She also meets a mysterious boy called Solo who lives at the facility and who wants to expose the truths that Eve is only just discovering for herself.  The story was a little slow in the beginning but got much better in the second half of the book and as the plot began to unravel and things got turned on their head.

I really enjoyed the part of the story dealing with Eve's creation of Adam.  This blends in elements of science and genetic modification as well as the possibility of being able to create another human being to your own specifications.  In theory this sounds incredible!  I would love to be able to make someone who has the exact looks and personality that I've chosen.  In reality, Adam doesn't turn out quite as Eve was expecting.

My main criticism of the book was that the characters fell quite flat and I felt so much time was put into the science side of things that the character development suffered.  Personally, I also wasn't feeling the romance which begins to develop between Eve and Solo or even the friendship between Eve and her best friend Aislin.  They were too one-dimensional and I didn't particularly click with any of them.

While 'Eve and Adam' may not have had that 'wow' factor which I was expecting, it was still an enjoyable read based around a great concept.  I definitely want to read the next in the series 'Adam and Eve' when it is published next year.

I'm giving away a paperback copy of 'Eve and Adam' to one lucky winner.  This is open internationally but you must be a follower of my blog to enter.  Just fill out the form below.  Good luck!

Giveaway rules.
  • There will be one winner.
  • Open to UK and international entrants.
  • Please fill out the form completely - including email address
  • You must be a follower of my blog
  • Deadline for entries will be on 7th December 2012
  • Winner(s) will be drawn by
  • Winner(s) will be contacted via e-mail, and will be given 48 hours to response. Otherwise, a new winner will be drawn.
  • Any details will be deleted after use and will not be passed on to any third party.

Monday 26 November 2012

News: Blackwood - Gwenda Bond

I'm a little late posting this but I have some exciting news from Strange Chemistry.  'Blackwood' by Gwenda Bond is going into development with MTV!  I was thrilled to hear about this because I enjoyed reading Gwenda's novel so much and I think it would be amazing translated to the small screen. 
You can read my review of the book here
MTV has put in development Blackwood, a drama from Lionsgate Television and Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Prods. It is based on the young adult book of the same name by Gwenda Bond, which was published this past September on the Strange Chemistry YA imprint of UK-based science fiction publisher Angry Robot Books. DC Comic book and television writer Peter Calloway (Brothers & Sisters) will write the adaptation.
Blackwood centers on 19-year-old Miranda Blackwood who, when 114 people, including her father, suddenly vanish off Roanoke Island, begins to investigate the mass disappearance, teaming with her high school sweetheart. But she makes a chilling discovery when she uncovers that she’s at the center of not only this mystery, but one that traces back to the first American mystery: the disappearance of 114 people at what would be called The Lost Colony.
Follow Gwenda on Twitter @Gwenda or check out her website

Thursday 22 November 2012

Review: Sweet Venom - Tera Lynn Childs

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs, published by Templar on 4th September 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful Gorgon maligned in myth, must reunite and embrace their fates.

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it's also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters. . .

I loved this book which was a fun and enjoyable read.  I adore stories which weave in elements of classic mythology and Tera Lynn Childs has done such a good job of it here.  I was intrigued by the idea of three girls who are the teenage descendants of Medusa and I couldn't wait to find out what their fates were going to be.  I ended up taking this with me to read in bed as it was so gripping and engrossing that just reading a few chapters wasn't enough.  I stayed up half the night so I could finish it!

The opening chapter from the point of view of Gretchen was fantastic.  It hooked me into the story and really whet my appetite for the rest of the book.  It kept getting better and better from that moment on with so much fantastic action and adventure.

I thought the three main characters, Gretchen, Greer, were all brilliant.  They have distinct and very different personalities but I enjoyed seeing how they were drawn together by a common goal.  My absolute favourite was Grace who seems to be the glue that brings the sisters together but I also liked Gretchen who is very sharp and witty and comes out with some of the best lines in the book.  She comes across as tough and independent but I enjoyed seeing her mellow slightly as the story progressed.  The narrative alternates between them and this worked really well in allowing each girl to establish herself to the reader, as well as tell her part of the story.

There are some intriguing boys in the book too who I'm dying to know more about.  There's the enigmatic Thane, the too hot to handle Nick and sweet Milo.  I'm betting that there's a lot more to all the boys than originally meets the eye and I'm sure Tera Lynn Childs has plenty of surprises up her sleeve which she'll unveil later in the series.

The ending was explosive and left me on the edge of my seat.  I can't wait now for the sequel 'Sweet Shadows' coming in 2013. 

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Cover reveal + Giveaway: Beautiful Creatures film tie-in

On 13th February 2013 the internationally best-selling novel Beautiful Creatures becomes a major Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros blockbuster, directed by Oscar nominated Richard LaGravenese (P.S I Love You) and featuring an all star cast including Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davies and hot young Hollywood talent Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich and Emmy Rossum.

Check out the awesome trailer for the film as well as a book to screen featurette:

The gorgeous new tie-in edition of 'Beautiful Creatures' will be published by Penguin on 3rd January 2013.  Beautiful Creatures: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion is due to publish alongside the film tie-in paperback edition and The Manga will follow on 5th February 2013.

In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets…

There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes. There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And in the end, there is a grave. Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming…

For the latest film updates visit the Beautiful Creatures Movie Facebook page and follow @RavenwoodManor.

The lovely people at Penguin have very kindly provided me with a complete set of all four books in the series to giveaway.  This is for UK entrants only and you must be a follower of my blog.  Good luck!

Giveaway rules.
  • There will be one winner.
  • Open to entrants with UK addresses only. International entrants may enter, provided they have a UK address to send the books to.
  • Please fill out the form completely - including email address
  • You must be a follower of my blog
  • Deadline for entries will be on 2nd December 2012
  • Winner(s) will be drawn by
  • Winner(s) will be contacted via e-mail, and will be given 48 hours to response. Otherwise, a new winner will be drawn.
  • Any details will be deleted after use and will not be passed on to any third party.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Review: Lovely, Dark and Deep - Amy McNamara

Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara, published by Simon and Schuster on 8th November 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somehwere she can be alone.

Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.
'Lovely, Dark and Deep' is a poignant and deeply moving book. It is one to read slowly and to savour, letting the emotional intensity of the story wash over you.  Every word on the page is carefully crafted and designed to tug at the heartstrings of the reader.  This is a novel but at times it has the beauty, grace and lyricism of a poem.  I was moved to tears on a number of occasions throughout the book and there were a couple of times when I almost felt like my heart was being wrenched out of my chest.

Amy McNamara's story deals with the aftermath of a terrible accident which has left the main character, Wren, grieving and isolated from the world around her.  Cut off from her friends and disconnected from her parents, she's struggling to make sense of her life.  Bereavement is a huge issue in the book and is touched upon with great sensitivity and understanding.  In the acknowledgements the author mentions that she wrote the the book after the death of someone she loved.  This infuses the story with tangible feelings of a grief too terrible to bear.  Wren wants to shut down her emotions and close herself off from life because she is no longer the person she was before one day changed everything for her.  Wren seeks comfort through the poetry of Philip Larkin and identifies particularly with a poem called 'Aubade'.  Not being particularly familiar with Larkin's work, I felt inspired to go out and buy a collection of his poetry and this added another layer of richness to the story.    

The ending of the book impressed me too, along with the author's courage at not giving into the need to wrap everything up into a neat parcel by the final page.  I thought that was a good choice to make because it is reflective of life which continuously throws obstacles at people and consists of countless ups and downs. 

The writing is gorgeous, the story is moving and the characters are often troubled, imperfect and tormented but very real.  This is one of the most impressive debuts of 2012 and a book to savour.  I loved it and would heartily recommend it to anyone. 

Monday 19 November 2012

Review: Poison Princess - Kresley Cole

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole, published by Simon and Schuster on 2nd October 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes her hallucinations are actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. But she can’t do either alone.

Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate, the gorgeous and dangerous Jackson Deveaux, for help.

As Jackson and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call and discover that Evie is not the only one with special powers. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and as the battle between good and evil intensifies, it is not always clear who is on which side.

This is the first book in Kresley Cole's new young adult series The Arcana Chronicles

When I come across a book with a cover as striking and gorgeous as the one which 'Poison Princess' has, I always desperately hope that I'm going to love it because so much prettiness should be sitting on my bookcase as a keeper and future re-read.  Sadly, I have to say that when I started this book, I knew after the first few chapters that although all the essential ingrediants for a terrific story were there, they just weren't coming together for me.

I was expecting a phenomenal plot which would have me gripped from start to finish but instead I found that I couldn't get excited or involved in the story.  And it does sound a good one too - a teenager who has visions of a future apocalypse which actually come true.  Sounds amazing right?!  But it fell flat and didn't thrill me at all.  I struggled particularly with the opening section which seemed to unravel at such a slow pace that I almost gave up waiting for something really good to happen.

I think my biggest issue with this book were the main characters.  Again, I thought I would love the feisty teenage heroine and her bad boy saviour but in reality I didn't really like Evie much and I'd go as far as to say that I ended up quite disliking Jackson.  I wasn't keen on the way that he spoke to Evie or the way he initially treated her and I failed to warm to him on any level.  There are a couple of scenes in the book were his character does not come across in a good light

I'm disappointed that a book packaged so beautifully didn't live up to my expectations.  By the end I was really struggling to finish this one.  As always however books divide opinion and I have come across some incredible reviews of this title from some of my fellow bloggers so if it sounds like your kind of thing then give it a try.

Friday 16 November 2012

Trailer: Everbound - Brodi Ashton

One of the books I'm most looking forward to next year is 'Everbound' by Brodi Ashton, the long-awaited sequel to her incredible debut novel 'Everneath'. It's being published in the UK by Simon and Schuster on 1st February 2013.

It’s been two months since Nikki’s boyfriend Jack sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the underworld. She’d do anything to bring him back, including making a deal with Cole, the sinful immortal who tempted her to give up her soul in the first place and who still wants to make her his queen. Together, they will journey to the very heart of the Everneath, a more dangerous place than either of them could possibly have imagined. Is Nikki willing to risk it all for Jack?

You can now watch the trailer exclusively on Entertainment Weekly

Thursday 15 November 2012

Trailer: Reached - Ally Condie

The wait is nearly over for the final part of Ally Condie's Matched trilogy.  The third and final instalment 'Reached' is due to be published by Penguin on 30th November 2012.  I'm really looking forward to finding out how the story is going to end as this is one of the first series I read when I started blogging. Take a look at the fabulous trailer and start getting excited now!

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times-bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Review: Unspoken - Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, published by Simon and Schuster on 13th September 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met - a boy the rest of the world is convinced is imaginary. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she doesn't complain. She runs the school newspaper and keeps to herself for the most part - until disturbing events begin to happen.

There has been screaming in the woods and the dark, abandoned manor on the hill overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. As Kami starts to investigate for the paper, she finds out that the town she has loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets- and a murderer- and the key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy who everyone thought was imaginary may be real...and he may be dangerous.

I was really looking forward to this new release by author Sarah Rees Brennan. I loved the sound of the plot and the cover art is so gorgeous that it drew me in before I’d even turned the first page. I was therefore extremely disappointed when this book didn’t turn out to be half as good as I was expecting.  This has actually proven quite a difficult review to write because I've found it hard to put my finger on exactly what let me down about the story. 

As I've mentioned before, one of the main things that makes a book into a winner for me, is a central character who I can engage with and care about. I felt neither of those things for Kami Glass, the main protagonist of ‘Unspoken’. I’m not sure if it’s the way she talks (she sounds much older than a typical teenager) or the way she acts but I couldn’t identify with her at all.  She's quirky and different and I initially liked the bond she had with the voice in her head but as the story went on and she met him in real life it all seemed to fall a bit flat.  

On the plus side there is some eye candy to enjoy in the shape of bad boy Jared. He’s both hot and gorgeous and I enjoyed seeing his character develop throughout the story.  He has many secrets which he's hiding but that just meant that it was all the more intriguing waiting to find out what they were.  I would have liked to have seen more of a sense of romance between him and Kami but they have a rather strange first meeting which puts them on the defensive against each other from the start. 

Overall, I thought the story started well and I enjoyed the opening but it seemed to drift a bit as the plot got more convoluted.  All the ingrediants I look for in a good story were present with plenty of magic, mystery and intrigue, but not enough to really keep my attention. 

The sequel 'Untold' is due out in 2013. 

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Review: Falling to Ash - Karen Mahoney

Falling to Ash by Karen Mahoney, published by  Corgi on 27th September 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Trapped between two very different worlds, newly made vampire Moth is struggling to find her place in either. Not only does she have to answer to her strict Irish-Catholic Dad, but her over-protective maker, Theo, is intent on making her the star attraction in his powerful Boston vampire clan. Moth will have to pull off the double-act of the century to please both of them...

Adding to her problems is the dangerously attractive Jason Murdoch, a trainee vampire hunter who loves to play cat and mouse in his spare time (Jace = cat; Moth = mouse). But when the teenagers of Boston’s wealthiest families start to disappear, it forces Moth and Jace into an uneasy truce. Will they be able to solve the mystery behind the disappearances—before someone winds up undead?

I enjoyed Karen Mahoney's two previous books (The Iron Witch and The Wood Queen) so I jumped at the chance to read and review her newest offering, the first title in a brand new series about vampires.  The cover is gorgeous and the story sounded brilliant, just the kind of thing that appeals to my reading tastes, but unfortunately it didn't turn out to be quite as good as I was expecting.  I normally love vampire stories but 'Falling to Ash' didn't tick all the boxes for me.

The story is about Moth, or Marie as she was previously known.  A teenage girl turned vampire who is still coming to terms with her new existence and struggling to adapt to her relationship with her Maker, Theo.  I didn't particularly like Moth and felt little connection to her as a character.  I immediately wanted to know more about her back story so that I could understand why she is how she is.  This was gradually revealed through flashbacks to how she was turned into a vampire but I would have liked to have seen this dealt with much earlier on in the book.  There is a prequel to this title called 'Moth', so maybe it would have helped me if I'd read that first. 

I felt uneasy in the scenes between her and Theo and I wasn't feeling the growing romance between her and Jace a.k.a vampire hunter in training, either.  For me to really love a book, I have to feel that I care about the characters and what happens to them but sadly this wasn't the case with any of the main protagonists in the story.

One aspect of the book I did like was the family bond between Moth and her sisters which I would have liked to have seen developed even more than it was.  Although she's now a vampire, she still feels enormous love for her family members, particularly her little sister and she's willing to protect her whatever the cost. 

I know there are a lot of Karen Mahoney fans out there and I've already read a number of positive reviews of this book, so although it didn't necessarily appeal to me, I'm sure many others will enjoy it.  All that aside, it is refreshing to read something by a British author for a change who has definitely brought something different to the vampire genre. 

Monday 12 November 2012

News: Mira Ink BlogInk competition

Mira Ink have just launched an amazing competition offering one lucky person a 12 month paid contract as MIRA Ink's book-reviewing blogger.  Wow!  This is an incredibly opportunity for someone to spend a year doing something they love and getting paid for it too.

Here's more information about it:

"Mira Ink is searching for the new worker purely through social media, targeting fans of Mira books for a year-long blogging contract on BlogInk.

Hopefuls must first submit a 500-word sample blog to be posted on the MIRA Ink Tumblr feed before 25th November, before participants are narrowed down to 10 and asked to create a 60-second YouTube video on 29th November “to show how enterprising they are at generating likes”.
The winner will be announced on the 14th December, gaining a laptop and a blogging contract on MiraInk to begin in January.

Claudia Symons, brand manager for MIRA Ink, said: “Our huge and passionate teen audience has a wealth of talent waiting to be unlocked. Until now we have always focused on traditional channels to find new talent but we’re looking for someone who will be as passionate and enthusiastic about the brand as we are and we know social media is the perfect way to find and showcase this talent.”

Source: The Bookseller

You can also find out more about the competition on Mira Ink's Facebook page .

Thursday 8 November 2012

Review: Spark - Amy Kathleen Ryan

Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan, published by Macmillan Children's Books on 2nd August 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancĂ©? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

I loved Amy Kathleen Ryan’s debut novel ‘Glow’ which I read last year and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the next book in the series ever since.

The story catches up with the crew of the Empyrean who are still trying to rescue their parents from onboard the New Horizon. In the meantime, Kieran is in charge of the ship and Waverly is still trying to come to terms with what happened to her onboard the enemy ship.

I ended up feeling very differently about a lot of the characters in this book. My opinion of Seth and Kieran almost changed around completely. Seth is now the one who seems strong and noble and good, whereas Kieran’s actions are often questionable. I went from wanting Kieran and Waverly to be together, to wishing that she would see the real Seth as he seemed much more suitable boyfriend material. I loved the way that Amy Kathleen Ryan isn’t afraid to turn things on their head. Her characters may not always be likeable but that is a quality to be admired because they are always real and like real human beings they make mistakes. They don’t always do the right thing or behave in the correct way.

‘Spark’ is brilliantly plotted, imaginative and original. Every single detail is covered and the plot is forever leading you down a path you are not expecting. The story is also shocking at times and some events had me on the edge of my seat and tearing through the pages to find out what was going to happen next.

The ending was fantastic and has left me eager for the next book, 'Flame' which should be out in 2013.  ‘Spark’ was an out of this world read and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Sky Chasers series to anyone looking for a gripping and exciting series of books!

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Review: Devil's Bargain - Rachel Caine

Devil's Bargain by Rachel Caine, published by Mira Ink on 5th October 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
What's the price of a deal with the devil?

Playing by the psychic underworld's rules has cost.

Jazz Callender's whole life just got turned upside down. Her friend Ben's been convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and Jazz is determined to clear his name, even if it means enlisting the help of dark forces.  Enter James, a stranger with a mysterious offer. If Jazz pledges to work for The Cross Society, a shadowy secret organisation, he'll help her save Ben.

But as she's thrust into a world of psychic powers and dangerous magic, Jazz isn't just bargain for her friend's freedom. She's bargaining for her soul too.  And how high a price is she willing to pay?

I’m a big fan of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series so when I saw she had a new book out I wanted to read it immediately. I admit that I didn’t actually realise that ‘Devil’s Bargain’ had originally been published in 2005 but has been repackaged and published by Mira Ink with a brand new look. Although aimed at a young-adult audience, I think that because of some of the slightly more adult content in the book and the fact that the two central characters aren’t teenagers themselves, that it’s really more suitable for older readers.

The story focuses on two initially unconnected characters, Jazz and Lucia, who are offered a hundred thousand dollars to set up a detective agency together by a private law firm. After some obvious trepidation on their part, they agree and begin to receive a number of special cases which they have to carry out. The instructions for these cases are concealed and delivered within mysterious red envelopes, which turn out to be hugely significant to the plot.

What I love about Rachel Caine stories are her trademark heroines. They are quite often a little bit rough around the edges but are always tough, determined, strong and capable. They are more than a match for the men who have to take a back seat for once. I liked Jazz and Lucia straight away. They seem an odd pair to begin with but as I learnt more about them I could see that they perfectly complimented each other’s strengths and weaknesses and I liked the friendship which developed between them. ‘Devil’s Bargain’ was mainly centred around Jazz so I wonder if Lucia will take the reins in the next book.

I enjoyed the slightly supernatural element to the story which developed late on. This took me by surprise but was an interesting dynamic to introduce. I think it’s also made things very intriguing for the sequel where I imagine this will now be explored in even more depth.

There’s plenty of gritty action in the book which I loved and there’s lots of twists and turns to the plot. I thought this was a great read and I’m eager to read the next in the series now, ‘Devil’s Due’.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, published by Mira Ink on 5th October 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
I've left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you dont, put the book back on the shelf, please.

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

I thought I would adore this book because a) I love New York, b) I love Christmas and c) I do indeed believe that romance can blossom in the most unexpected of places. Unfortunately it didn’t quite match up to my very high expectations. I liked elements of the book but as a whole I’m not sure that it was the right read for me.

I was really drawn to the premise of ‘Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares’, which features a kind of secret hunt/quest across the city of New York. I was excited by the possibility that almost anything could happen and I wanted to climb inside the book and join in! There’s a sense of magic and wonder throughout the book and that came across throughout the whole story.

My main problem with this title was that the characters of Dash and Lily didn’t click with me at all. The chapters are alternatively penned by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, leading to two distinctive narrative voices but I’ll admit that I just couldn’t warm to them. They are unlike any other teenagers I’ve ever known. I mean does anyone that age really talk like they do except in television shows? I found the language they used a bit pretentious and this started to irritate me after a while. I also didn’t really get some of the humour they used which passed me by a lot of the time. I think if I could have found some common ground with the characters then I would have enjoyed the book a lot more.

Fans of these two authors will probably enjoy this offering but although I thought the plot was original and quirky, on the whole the book left me feeling distinctly underwhelmed. 

Monday 5 November 2012

News: Simon and Schuster signs Abbi Glines

Simon and Schuster  have just signed author Abbi Glines to their UK list.  They will be publishing her Sea Breeze series – firstly in eBook, and in paperback in 2013. The good news is the first two books in the series are now available as e-books from Amazon for just £2.99.  Find out more about the first two titles in the series below. 

Set in the steamy coastal Alabama town of Sea Breeze, an interconnected group of older teens hook up, break up . . . and much, much more. 
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.

Willow "Low" Foster needs a place to live. Running to her best friend Cage's apartment every time her sister kicks her out isn't exactly a long term solution, but juggling her courses at college and a part-time job doesn't produce excess income. But Cage has a new roommate and suddenly sleeping over at his apartment isn't such a bad thing. Not when she gets to see those sexy green eyes of Marcus's twinkle when he smiles at her like he wants her there.

There's one problem though, Cage is under the disillusion that when he's through sowing his wild oats, he's going to marry Low - an assumption Marcus intends to change. But when his carefully laid plans come crashing down with a revelation he never expected, Marcus will have to choose between Low or his family. Because once the truth comes out . . . there's no other choice.

Set in the steamy coastal Alabama town of Sea Breeze, an interconnected group of older teens hook up, break up . . . and much, much more.

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. He'd been her first boyfriend at seven, her first kiss at ten, her first date at fifteen and her first tragedy at eighteen. 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.
Find out more about Abbi on her website or follow her on Twitter @AbbiGlines

Thursday 1 November 2012

Review: Mystic City - Theo Lawrence

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence, published by Corgi on 11th October 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

I was initially attracted to this book because it was described as a cross between Romeo and Juliet and the X-Men with a twist.  The twist being that it is set in Manhattan, but a Manhattan unlike anything you've ever seen before.  The Rose family rules over the population with an iron fist but rebel mystics lie in wait beneath the city, preparing to seize power.  An alliance is being formed between two influential families thanks to the future marriage of Aria Rose to Thomas Foster, the only problem being that Aria has had an accident and can no longer remember who Thomas is and why she ever loved him.    

When this book arrived I couldn't wait to pick it up but when I started reading I thought that it was a little slow to get going and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it judging from some of the unusual language and turns of phrase used.  However, I needed have worried because as soon as the main character Aria met rebel mystic Hunter, I was absolutely hooked.  From then on I raced through the story and found it impossible to put down.

The relationship between Aria and Hunter was definitely one of my favourite things about the book.  All the scenes between the two of them were so sweet and adorable.  I loved the way he was so protective of her and the fact that everything he does is designed to keep her safe.  As the story progresses she begins to learn more about him, as does the reader and everything I discovered only made him more appealing.  Just like Romeo and Juliet some of their meetings take place outside of her bedroom window where there are plenty of opportunities to whisper sweet nothings to each other!

I enjoyed the fact that the author has woven into the story elements of one of my favourite plays of all time.  There's the warring families who are supposedly to be reunited by true love, the starcrossed lovers, the hero and his best friend and the go-between servant who tries to being the young lovers together.  It is ingenious and clever and the story was extremely engaging.  It just kept getting better and better as I read on.

I was also impressed that although the book is written by a male author, he has managed to capture brilliantly the female voice of the main character, Aria.  I couldn't wait to see how she was going to unravel the truth about what had happened to her and when she did, I was intrigued to see which direction she would decide to take next.  

Mystical, magical, adventurous and romantic, I loved it!  I will definitely be adding this book to my keeper shelf and I'm itching to get my hands on the sequel 'Renegrade Heart' which is set for a summer 2013 release date. 
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