Friday, 26 August 2011

Triple Review Bonanza Time!!!

Have got three amazing reads to share with you - There Is No Dog by Meg Rosoff, Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson, and VIII by HM Castor. All are pretty different with regards to genre, but all will give you a great read this bank holiday weekend. 

There Is No Dog by Meg Rosoff
Oh My! The wonderful Meg is back on form! I say that only because I found The Bride's Farewell a little tough going - it was a very horsey book, and I'm not much of a horsey person. I am, however, a  'style and whimsey' person, and There Is No Dog has plenty of that! Every sentence is a delight. There weren't many pages where I wasn't smiling with joy for the way Meg weaves her words. The premise is easy: What If God Were Actually a Teenage Boy? It would certainly explain all the weirdness and bad planning in the world. And then: What If Teenage God Fell In Love? Well it would probably cause all sorts of chaotic havoc. And it does. 
This isn't a novel that asks you to fret over consequences or mull over possible apocalypses - all it wants you to do is sit back and enjoy yourself. Moments of gorgeous romance sit with improbable poker games, plus it features a curiously adorable, penguiny creature called an Eck. The Eck is particularly wonderful. This isn't a novel for those who need a good plot to assist them in turning the pages. Plot is a little inconsequential here. But if, like me, you get your kicks from reading words conjured from a magical imagination, then please do read this book, because you won't be  disappointed.
There Is No Dog is out now in hardback.

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
If you're looking for a plot-thick page-turner, then this is it! Confused by psychic powers that allow her to move objects with the power of her mind, Lila runs away from London to America to spend some time with her brother and his best friend, Alex. They work for some secret government operation - the purpose of which you are able to guess pretty early on, but don't worry about that. There are plenty of other plot twists to keep you guessing! This is a superb, fun read. A well crafted thriller with a little bit of X-Men and Heroes chucked in - it's like reading a cinema blockbuster. Plus there is Alex. Let's take a moment to consider Alex. Because he is awesome. OK - where were we?! 
This is teenage escapism at it's very best, and Sarah Alderson is a writer I'm really looking forward to following in the future. 
Hunting Lila is out now in paperback.

VIII by H.M. Castor
Well I promised you three contrasting reads, and here is something else entirely different! VIII follows the life of renowned king Henry VIII, highlighting key moments in his life from early childhood to death, a bit like a best-bits compilation video. And like any good best-bits editor, Castor picks her moments carefully to create an image of a boy, then a man, troubled by the ghosts of his, and his family's past. Creepy spectres crop up throughout the book, always a precursor to something entirely horrible, and by the end I was left thoroughly chilled. 
This is a very satisfying read. I can completely buy-in to Castor's theory that Henry was a young man psychologically troubled enough to develop a devastating superiority-complex that leaves death and disaster at every turn. The burden of the past is certainly not anything I had ever considered before when it came to the Tudors. When you learn about kings and queens in school, and all the plots and murders that surround them, you rarely get the chance to think about the emotional connections between them all. For example, despite knowing lots about 'The Princes in the Tower', for some reason I never connected them to Henry VIII, who was their nephew, their sister's son. The scars of countless wars and battles must have flowed down the royal line like a genetic illness, and it is this powerful idea that Castor explores. 
Castor has written other novels, but I believe that this is the first that has been marketed to a younger audience. I use that phrase carefully, for I believe that this is one of those novels that could easily and happily be picked up by anyone. Give this book your full attention, it deserves it. 
VIII is out in hardback in October


Feel free to send me your reactions and comments, especially if you have read or are planning to read any of these great titles!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

In My Mailbox - 20th August 2011

Another bumper week of awesomeness! So much to read and so little time!!! (especially when so much of it is spent sleeping...)

Tempest by Julie Cross
Today: Jackson and Holly are in love.
Tomorrow: She will lie dying in his arms.
Yesterday: Jackson must undo it all.
Released: January 2012

Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan
When Daniel Lever accompanies his dad to the Leisure World Holiday Complex, his expectations are low. But then he sees a mysterious girls by the fake lake and everything changes. Lexi is funny and smart, but why does she have wounds that get worse each time they meet? And is her watch really going backwards?
Released: February 2012

After the Snow by SD Crockett
Living in the haunting and barren landscape of a new ice age, fifteen year old Willo is a straggler kid who loses his family in the opening pages of this story. Completely alone, he is immediately flung into an icy journey of survival, adventure, friendship and self-discovery - with only the dog spirit inside his head to guide him.
Released: February 2012

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
New York 2082. When Anya is arrested for attempted murder, the DA offers her a choice: stay away from his son or watch him destroy her family. It should be an easy decision. Except Anya is falling for the son of the DA and her family is at the dark heart of the city's criminal underworld. 
Anya must choose between love and loyalty, knowing that whatever she decides will have shattering consequences for somebody.
Released: April 2012

The Horse Girl by Mary Finn
1757 - When Thomas Rose discovers a girl concealed in a ditch outside his rural village, she looks drab as a lark. Yet she enchants Thomas with her tales of the circus, and of dancing on the back of her horse, Belladonna. But the leader of the troupe has sold the pure-white mare with a tail the colour of barley. Now Thomas joins Ling, determined to find Belladonna.
Released: Out Now

Naked by Kevin Brooks
London, 1976: it was the summer of so many things.
Heat and violence, love and hate, heaven and hell. It was the time I met William Bonney - the boy from Belfast known as Billy the Kid.
I've kept William's secrets for a long time, but now things have changed and I have to tell the truth. But I can't begin until I've told you about Curtis Ray. Hip, cool, rebellious Curtis Ray. Without Curtis, there wouldn't be a story to tell.
It's the story of our band, of life and death... and everything in between.
Released: October 2011

Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Princess Elisa is a disappointment to her people. Although she bears the Godstone in her navel, a sign that she has been chosen for an act of heroism, they see her as lazy, useless and fat.
On her sixteenth birthday she is bartered off in royal marriage and shipped away to a kingdom in turmoil, where her much older and extremely beautiful husband refuses to acknowledge her as his wife. Devastated, Elisa decides to take charge of her fate and learn what it means to bear the Godstone.
As an invading army threatens to destroy her new home, and everyone at court manoeuvres to take advantage of the young princess, Elisa becomes convinced that not only is her own life in danger, but the whole world needs saving. But how can a young girl who has never ridden on horseback, never played the game of politics, never attained the love of a man, save the world? Elisa can't be sure, but she must try to uncover the Godstone's secret history before the enemy steals the destiny nestled in her core.
Released: September 2011


There you have it, another bumper blockbuster of a week for me! Let me know your thoughts, what you fancy reading, and what you think really stands out.

Hugs and High Fives

Saturday, 6 August 2011

In My Mailbox - 6th August 2011

As if I didn't have enough to read already, my huge stack of books has just got huger and more awesomer. Check out the fab titles I received over the past week:

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Beauty really does lie in the eye of the beholder.
Seventeen year old Bianca Piper is smart, cynical, loyal - and well aware that she's not the hot one in her group of friends. But when high-school jock and all round moron Wesley Rush tells her she's a DUFF - a Designated, Ugly Fat Friend - Bianca does not see the funny side.
She may not be a beauty but she'd never stoop so low as to go anywhere near the likes of Wesley... Or would she? Bianca is about to find out that attraction defies looks and that sometimes your sworn enemies can become your best friends...
Funny, thoughtful and written by the author when she was only 17, this novel will speak to every teenage girl who has ever thought they were a DUFF...
Released: 5th April 2012

A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
When love is tangled up in magic, how do you know what's real?
Fast paced, sensuous writing from exciting debut talent Ruth Warburton. A Witch in Winter tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart.
Released: 5th January 2012

The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor
An intense, edgy thriller for readers who love suspense, action and romance.
Believing she is possessed, Genie Magee's mother has imprisoned her all summer. Beautiful Rian, love of her life, sets her free, but their escape washes them up at a remote farmhouse.
Why are there newspaper clippings of missing kids pinned to the walls? And should they believe the stories about the experiments at the Fortress, an underground research station nearby?
Released: 1st March 2012

Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger
Not such a long time ago, in a Middle School not so far, far away...
Something amazing happened. A weird kid named Dwight made an origami finger puppet of Yoda. (That wasn't the amazing thing - just typical Dwight weirdness) The amazing thing was that Origami Yoda gave great advice. He could predict the date of a pop quiz, tell a guy if a girl liked him or not, and keep kids from embarrassing themselves in a dozen different ways. Most of the sixth graders were convinced he was using The Force. 
But now, a year later, it's a dark time at McQuarrie Middle School. Dwight has been suspended and may be expelled, which means no more Origami Yoda. Even worse, Darth Paper, a puppet created by Dwight's nemesis Harvey, has taken Yoda's place. He spews insults and evil and just may be responsible for getting Dwight kicked out in the first place. Now the kids of McQuarrie are trying to build a case to save Dwight. This is their case file.
Released: very soon!

Heaven by Christoph Marzi
The night that Heaven lost her heart was cold and moonless.
But the blade that sliced it out was warm with her dark blood.
An utterly compelling urban fairy tale where love, death and the stars collide.
Released: February 2012

The Killables by Gemma Malley
Evil has been eradicated. The City has been established. And citizens may only enter after having the 'evil' part of their brain removed. They are labelled on the System according to how 'good' they are. If they show signs of the evil emerging, they are labelled a K... But no one knows quite what that means. Only that they disappear, never to be seen again...
Released: March 2012

VIII by H. M. Castor
Destined for greatness... tormented by demons.
VIII is the story of Hal: a young, handsome, gifted warrior, who believes he has been chosen to lead his people. But he is plagued by the ghosts of his family's violent past and, once he rises to power, he turns to murder and rapacious cruelty. He is Henry VIII.
Released: October 2011

Right, I'm off to get reading! So much goodness on my shelves right now!

Monday, 1 August 2011

In My Mailbox: July Part 2!!!

Happy Monday folks!

Yes, it's the very first day of August 2011, but I received the following lovely books in the latter part of July, so this still counts as a July IMM. Enjoy!

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. After a night with Rubys friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers a dead body floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away - away from home, away from Ruby.
But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home at last, she finds a precarious and deadly balance waiting for her. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.
Released: out now in the US

POD by Stephen Wallenfels
PODs - strange alien spheres - hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside.
Will is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food... Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...
When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself.
Released: September 2011

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
When Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of her sworn enemies, she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer, one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack - and the boy - she left behind.
Ben is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side, no matter what?
Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can survive.
Released: Out Now

Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have) by Sarah Mylnowski
2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house - parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.
In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mylnowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart... one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.
Released: Out Now in the UK under the title Ten Things We Shouldn't Have Done

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
A forbidden romance. 
A deadly plague.
Earth's fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future. 
Released: 5th January 2012

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio... and failed.
There are six of us left. And we're ready to fight.
Released: 23rd August 2011