Tuesday 31 January 2012

GoodRead - The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

I'm not 100% sure how I became aware of this book. I'm not sure if I discovered it first on another blog - Portrait Of A Woman - when she was doing a joint "Japanese YA Novel Week" with another blog (called Death, Books and Tea) and then saw it on sale on Amazon's 12 Days of Kindle at the start of the year. Or, if it was the other way round: Amazon sale then saw it on Portrait of a Woman's blog.

Not sure but I bought it and, after reading the awesome Hollow Pike by James Dawson and not wanting to read another book I had high hopes on (Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan), I decided to read this as I wanted something fast, light and quite different from both Hollow Pike and Daylight Saving. Plus, if you read my New Year's Eve message, I said I wanted to be more brave and expand my reading so this seems perfect (I want to read more translations and I do have one or two in my pile so this was a nice starting point...)

Anyway, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is, actually, two novellas in one volume: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of, which was originally published in Japan in 1967 (and was translated into English last year by, according to Wikipedia, David James Karashima). Both of them are written by Yasutaka Tsutsui, who is hugely popular in Japan and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is one of his most popular works. No pressure for me as I usually stay away from classics...

But the two stories are quite different. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is about Kazuko, who faints in her school science lab after smelling a lavender-like scent. When she wakes up, she feels different but thinks about it. Over the crash of three days, there is an earthquake, a fire at one of her friends' house and she and her friend get nearly run over. But at the exact moment of it happen, Kazuko time-leaps 24 hours in the past...

The other story, The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of is about Masako who has an irrational fear of Prajna masks and heights, and she decides to find out why she has these fears. At the same time, she helps her little brother, Yoshio, with his night terrors.

Now, these were fast. I started this late on Tuesday night and finished it on Thursday afternoon. And, sometimes, you want a fast read. And I liked the ideas that these two stories tackled - time travel and fear. But I felt that these issues weren't tackled property, or in a way which would have been interesting. Both these stories felt lacking as they could have been very interesting and very engaging novels in their own right. It felt like there could have been more...

Also, there were times I found the language used (either when characters spoke or prose) that I felt was quite tweed and, because of that, threw me out of the story and took a while to get back into it.

But the main problem I had with this was the lack of depth. It felt like you skimmed over the characters, their emotions and the events that could have been explored more. But, I have been told that a movie (trailer below with a fan video) tackled character developement, but with these two stories, they lacked depth and they lacked punch. Not my cup of tea, but glad I read them.

Friday 27 January 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Book 2 Title Reveal!

After the excitement of Daughter of Smoke and Bone (with it receiving a stupid amount of love from bloggers and readers worldwide [and it going to be turned into a movie]), Laini Taylor has FINALLY revealed the title of the second book within this trilogy on her site.

Also on her site is a tiny teaser (which might not be in the book as "... this book is unedited and unfinished. It is not a book at all. It is a manuscript, a work in progress. Bear all that in mind."). If you want to read it, go to Laini's website.

Now, to reveal the title... Ready? Oh, before I go any further, Laini has asked that, if we use the image below, we must thank the US publisher, Little Brown. So, now that's out of the way, the reveal...!

So, guys, what do you think? I really like it. Another mouth-full, but there's something so cool about it. A beautiful horror of a title (blood is horror, starlight is beautiful [this is my logic talking so bear with...]).

We have to wait till autumn to get our hands on this book and, for now, we will wait with excitement (or till the cover has been reveal...)

Tuesday 24 January 2012

GoodRead - Daylight Saving

I've been excited about this book since Walker Books did their Bloggers Events (not read that, read it here!) where the people from Walker and the author himself, Edward Hogan, chatted about it and I thought it sounded right up my street. But then I discovered that the setting of the Daylight Saving is held at a Center Parcs type resort and all I could think of was "Am going to Center Parcs in a few months time! That can't be good..."

When Daniel goes to Leisure World Holiday Complex with his dad, his exceptions are low. He doesn't like sport and he's uncomfortable with his body. And let's not get started on his dad's issues. So when Daniel meets Lexi, a mysterious girl, by the lake, things look like they're on the up. She's smart and makes him laugh. But, is it his imagination or does Lexi's wounds look worse every time they meet? And why does Lexi wear a watch that goes backwards?

Now, I feel I have to say this before I go any further. When you hear the words "Thriller Ghost Story", you imagine a fast and scary read involving ghosts, right? Well, Daylight Saving isn't that. If anything, Edward came to this seeing it in a different way and, because of that, it's quite a refreshing read.

I mean, I was expecting something like the above, but instead, I had two stories unfolding side-by-side and each took their gentle time to unfold. No rushing - a bonus! First, you have Daniel and his family problems. And second, you have Daniel and Lexi's friendship unfold (and yes, it is a friendship, not a instant "I'm in love with you" that happening more and more in YA paranormals).

And this story, I think, won't sit well with some YA-paranormal readers. But, when I read this, it didn't feel like a paranormal read. There was something natural about it, and I think that's quite interesting for Edward to do. To make something paranormal quite normal. And this, for me, is one of the reasons I found this book compelling. I just wanted more.

Another thing that's cool is Daniel himself. He's not your typical male lead in a YA paranormal. He's not hot or good-looking or stereotypical. Daniel worries about his family, his weight and he has flaws (nose-picking to cause a nosebleed, for example) but, throughout the course of the book, he grows and becomes a strong character.

Lexi... I liked her but there were times I thought "Huh? A seventeen year old won't know that, would they?" (which threw me out of the story sometimes) but she was an interesting, if sometimes complex, character.

This book isn't perfect, I'm going to admit that (the use of & amount of times the word "said" was used will have English teachers up and down the country tearing their hair out! [and yet, I think I get why Edward did it]), but there was something compelling about it. Something that had me up till half past midnight and go "Ok, I have to stop now! I need to sleep!"

I like this book. There's something understated and quietly-compelling about Daylight Saving. And I say to you, if you're going to read it, go to it with an open mind and it might surprise you.

Monday 23 January 2012

SMILE - Should This Have Happened?

I saw these and laughed. And, after my initial reaction of Eclipse (still not my fave out of the four, FYI!), it seems like other people thought the same...

(Quick thank to Anna Tells All tumblr & F**kYeahMiranda tumblr.)

Thursday 19 January 2012

GoodRead - Hollow Pike

I have no idea how I became aware of James Dawson and his debut novel, Hollow Pike. I think we met via Twitter where we randomly chatted about the casting of Peeta and Gale in the upcoming Hunger Games movie. I think we both agree that, while the two male actors were good choices, they really should have the others role. Random trivia (which I am surprised that I actually remember) but after random tweets, I discovered he had a novel in the works and I got excited. Then, at Indigo's launch party, I discovered the cover and, also, that I wasn't the only person excited about this book. Several book bloggers were quite excited about this book. YEAH! And then, in late November, James threw a contest. Nominate a cool book blogger and they will win an ARC of the book. I nominated Emma from Book Angel Booktopia (here's her review of this book). And my nomination won. And then, James turned round and said "Oh, by the way. As an Xmas present, both nominator and nominatee will win a copy!"

So, I got my copy SUPER EARLY! (I feel I have to explain the whole, slightly weird saga as... well... you guys should know that, in my life ATM, this is exciting!)

So, the story of Hollow Pike. Lis London is moving from her home in Wales to Hollow Pike. But that doesn't seem to help her. She keeps having a nightmare that she's going to murder. And when she sees the copse, she realise that this is the place in her nightmares.

But she doesn't believe in nightmares nor the local tales of witchcraft. Until a terrible thing happens that forces herself to think again...

Now... what can I say? I EFFING LOVE THIS BOOK! Not going to swear, but this book is so great! And it's a debut novel and the fact that this has such a strong reaction from me is amazing!

I want to talk about the subject that this book raises: bullying. This book very much shows the effects of bullying. Lis left her home in Wales because of terrible bullying she faced. Only to walk again into bullying, and it's nasty bullying. There were scenes that some people might find shocking (the use of fake emails, for example) but it doesn't surprise me and just reflects the levels some people will go to. But I think James tackled this issue with a good amount of care but was unflinching over it. I found this brave.

And then, James turns the book on its head and throws us a murder mystery. And not just a typical murder mystery, but the idea of witchcraft being involved. And he seems to blend the genres of this book together with the greatest of ease, and it was always interesting to see where he took me next as the twists were always there, lurking in the darkness of Hollow Pike's copse...

I had very high standards for this book. And Hollow Pike met each and every one of them. And excelled them all. Keep an eye on James Dawson. He is going to be huge! I demand his next book AT ONCE!

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Dark Days Of January - What Are You So Afraid Of?

As part of the Dark Days of January, Sara Grant takes over the blog and chats about fear. And, before we get scared, want to quickly thank Sara for writing this and Nina at Indigo for allowing me to take part in this blog tour. So, take it away, Sara!

What Are You So Afraid Of?
US President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself". Seriously? He must not have had an active imagination or Sky TV.

I hate being frightened. I don’t watch horror movies and even refuse to watch Dexter – and American TV drama that focuses on a serial killer – after 8 p.m. I don’t think of myself as a scaredy cat, but responding to this question has revealed this chronology of fear...

Needles. When I was a kid, I hated needles. I have a vivid memory of being held down by multiple doctors and nurses to be given a shot before I had my tonsils removed when I was four. When I was old enough, I decided to donate blood to help overcome my fear of needles. I was so terrified that my blood pressure sky rocketed and the volunteers made me wait until I’d calmed down. I was eventually able to give a pint of blood. Needles don’t scare me anymore.

Fire. Not fire in general, but very specifically my house burning down in the middle of the night. When I was probably ten years old, I saw part of a TV show on home safety. The image of a house engulfed in flames stuck with me. My bedroom was on the second floor and I was terrified of a fire starting at night. I kept a fire extinguisher under my bed and – for some strange reason – the bathroom light on. (Yeah, I can’t explain in now but it somehow made me feel better.)

Sharks. Jaws kept me away from the swimming pool the summer it came out. I must admit that to this day I probably never dive into a body of water – from a chlorinated swimming pool to a lake or the ocean without hearing those ominous opening notes from the Jaws soundtrack.

Snakes. I shut my eyes or turn the page if an image of a snake appears. Just the idea of Snakes on a Plane freaks me out. There’s something about their slithering hissing ways that – even if they aren’t the deadly variety – I just can’t bear.

But the only thing I truly fear is losing my family and friends. I think I could survive being hurled into a pit of rattle snakes while set alight before being dunked into shark-infested waters if I knew that my family and friends were safe and waiting for whatever was left of me.

The main character in Dark Parties must face the loss of her beloved grandma. She risks everything to find out what happened to her. Dark Parties tapped into my fear of losing my family and friends. I can’t imagine being faced with the decision Neva must ultimately make: her life, her freedom, or her family and friends?

So what’s your biggest fear?

Tuesday 17 January 2012

GoodRead - Night School

Late in November last year, I went to the Atom Books Bloggers Event (not read my report? Here you go!) where Atom talk to us about exciting books that was coming out in the next few months. One of which was Night School by C.J. Daugherty, and I had high hopes with this book as it was a thriller and it wasn't paranormal! AT LAST! A non-paranormal read!

Allie's world is falling apart around her. Her older brother has vanished without a trace. She hates school where she's been arrested for graffiti and her parents have had enough. They have sent her to a boarding school, much to Allie's shock.

But Allie finds that she's happy at Cimmeria Academy. She's making friends, doing well in her classes and then there's both Sylvian and Carter...

But Cimmeria Academy has a secret. And it seems everyone is aware of it expect Allie. So, be careful, Allie... Cimmeria Academy could be more dangerous than you first thought...

Before I go any further, I want to state that I read this as if this was a standalone novel, not the first book in a series, which is it (as I forgot). Also, the cover is very pretty, isn't it? It's the same photographer and model that was used for the cover of Entangled by Cat Clarke so I kept compare the two books together (which I shouldn't have as these two books are very different creatures).

It's a slow thriller. It takes its time before stuff happens and, while I like the gradual build-up, I know some of you won't. You want to hit the ground running! If you want that, you might want to avoid this (I seem to be saying that alot with books recently...).

But I think I like this gradualness as you get to know Allie and some of the friends she make at Cimmeria Academy, all the while, you know that something is happening and the feeling of foreboding is always with you.

While I read this from an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) so I could see that there needed to be some polishing, there was a few things I did go "Huh?" over. But I think this is because I saw this as a standalone. If I saw this as the starting book in a series, all the questions that were left unanswered or were hinted at wouldn't have bothered me as much as they did. At least I could go "Oh, that would be answered in book 2" and it won't have bothered me as much. But I didn't so I felt let down (and that's not the author's fault. It's mine as it clearly stated "THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES" on the back of the book!)

While I am very much in the middle on how I saw this book, I am very intrigued over what will happen next to Allie as this is very much a book that laid down all the groundwork so book 2 should be more exciting, more tense and more dark & twisty!

Saturday 14 January 2012

SMILE - A Random Saturday Edition

This video popped up earlier this week and nearly every blogger I know tweeted it. And so, I am going to show you it now. Enjoy!

Thursday 12 January 2012

GoodRead - Eleven Minutes

I have been meaning to read Fracture for a while and, I promise you, I will read it in a month or two! So, when I saw this (and all you have to do to get a copy is tweet or facebook message FOR FREE!), then I was going to read this as...well... (To get your copy, go to Megan Miranda's Facebook page and go to "Read the Exclusive Tie-In!" tab)

So, we know the vague outline of Fracture. Delaney fell through the ice of an ice-covered lake and woke up 6 days later. She was under the ice for 11 minutes.

What happened in those eleven minutes? What happened in those six days when Delaney is in a coma. That's Decker's story to tell. Because, while it's terrifying to be trapped under the ice and drowning, it's a different form of terrifying watching this happen to your best friend... And it being your fault...

I have to say this but OH MY GOD! The first part of the story, my heart was in my mouth! It was gripping yet horrifying at the same time! And the second part of the short story was on the edge of your seat... it's like being watching one of my fave medical dramas unfold...

As a taster for Fracture, I am VERY excited and it's gone up in my To Read pile! This is a good short for those who are going to read Fracture and those who have read Fracture and want more. And for those who haven't read Fracture but read Eleven Minutes... I sense they will be rushing to get their hands on the novel and to find out what happens next to Delaney (though now, when I do read Fracture, I'm going to have Dana Delany in my head being Delaney... thanks Megan Miranda and Body of Proof!)

Wednesday 11 January 2012

GoodRead - Hana

As some of you MIGHT be aware if you've been reading my blog since early last year, I tried (and failed) to read the much-hyped and the much-loved Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I found it very hard work, which was a huge let-down as the idea behind the story - that love is a disease that needed to be cured - was such an shocking and interesting idea. And I know I am one of the few in the blogging world that didn't like or click with this book.

So, when I was told that Lauren Oliver had released an eBook short story, based on Lena's best friend, Hana, I had my doubts. I didn't like Delirium so why should I read this short story? But, after thinking it over, I decide to try one last time with this series. This was it: make or break time.

In Delirium, Lena and Hana were best friends. But with months before they take the cure, Lena begins to fall in love and Hana made a decision that tore them apart. In this original short story, we hear from Hana's point of view and we discover why she made that decision...

Now, am going to be honest, I read Delirium till about midway through the book so some of the events that happened, I remembered and I went "Oh! That happened!" so this is very much a story for the fans of the series! If you are reading this to get a taster of the trilogy, you might want to read this after Delirium and before its sequel, Pandemonium.

But the story was interesting. I always like these stories where the point of view has changed so you see what happened from the other side. And with Hana, you do see what happened and why she made the choices she made.

The twist ending. Right, this is about 75% of the eBook (the rest is a taster of Pandemonium so if you're excited about it, it's there!) and it took me several days to go "Oooh!" over it. I got very confused as it wasn't stated. It was, to me, hinted at and I felt I had to read the taster for Pandemonuim to get it.

Now, I am glad I went back into this world and read this as it set my mind at rest with this series. While Lauren Oliver's writing is unique and the idea that love is a disease that must be cured is an interesting idea, I won't be returning to this series. But at least I went back and gave it one more shoot, as sometimes we are very quick to judge books and sometimes, we need time to go past before we can make a real decision.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

GoodRead - Treachery

As you guys know, I love the Nightshade/Witches War series by Andrea Cremer. I simply love this series! I adore Nightshade, devoured Shadow Days and loved Wolfsbane (even though most people called this a "information dump" book). But I love this series. So, when I discovered (randomly) on Twitter that Andrea had released an ebook Novella about Calla's brother, Ansel, I got very excited.

Now, this novella takes place between the end of Nightshade and when Ansel appears in Wolfsbane. So if you're starting this series or don't want to know about what happens as I do touch on all the books, SPOILERS!

(If you're still here, it's means you want to know what happens. Ok. Here goes...)

Ansel has been held hostage. He and his fellow Nightshades are being tortured. His mother was violently murdered (which kinda destroyed his father). His wolf form as been taken away from him and destroyed in front of his eyes. All because his sister, his pack leader, Calla, ran away. Leaving him and his fellow pack mates to suffer for her crimes. He is losing everything he ever loved. And the only way out is to form an alliance with his tormentors, and repaying Calla in full for her treachery.

But can he really betray his own sister?

Now, this is a good read as I like reading about Ansel and it was interesting to get inside his head and understand what happened to him in those dark days. And it added an extra layer to the story as it revealed the cold ruthlessness that the Keepers went to after this defiance and, on some levels, the brainwashing effects that happened on one character (ok, Ren. He's been, in my eyes, brainwashed to think this is all Calla's fault).

But, this wasn't perfect. I wanted more. Maybe I overhyped this in my head but I expected more. When I heard about this story, I thought we were going to see what happened to Ansel. How he was tortured and see why he did what he did. But we can to Ansel at the very end. And Andrea has never been afraid to show us violence, so I wonder if she was showing us Ansel's fragile mind. How and what happened to him effected him. But we saw that in Wolfsbane, when he was close to self-harming and self-loathing himself.

But still, I expected more. It was nice that it took 100% of my kindle (I have fallen fowl with short stories and they lasted 50 or 60%. The rest is chapters from their upcoming novel [am looking at you, Karin Slaughter]) but it was, according to Amazon, only 34 pages long and it cost £1.49. For that money, I want MORE! I wanted more story, more information! In Shadow Days (which was free), we got more story and more background information whereas with Treachery, it felt like something was lacking...

But, I am going to admit, this has tide me over till Bloodrose comes out next month (as this is a story for fans of the series. If you're reading this before you read Nightshade, DON'T!) And I have heard that the ending to that is surprising. But Treachery... I liked it. But I wanted more, and I think that's why the story fails for me.

Monday 9 January 2012

NIGHT SCHOOL BLOG TOUR - Location, Location,... Sound

A new week, a new blog tour! Today, C.J. Daugherty takes over the blog to chats about how she writes and her playlist to Night School (all the music will be at the bottom of the post so you can have a listen and discover something new...). So, let's go!

Every writer will tell you that they should be able to write anywhere. And every writer will probably tell you that they can’t. Most of us need a bit of quiet and a bit of space to set up our computers and think up a story.

I live in a fairly small house, so finding space to work wasn’t easy.

I did a lot of moseying around my own house and considering spaces. First the spare room – too bedroomy, and needed by guests – then the stairwell, but it’s a STAIRWELL, for god’s sake, and … well.

There’s not much else here, to be honest.

In the end I settled on the dining room. A dining room table makes a rather spacious desk, I must say. With LOTS of chairs for visitors to sit in, should I ever have a visitor while I’m writing. Unlikely, I know. And that brings up another issue…

Writing at home can be a lonely business. When you’re a fiction writer you don’t spend a lot of time working the phones. People don’t come around very often for meetings. Everything’s done by email and post. If you’re a bit of a social type you’ll soon go a bit crazy. Talking to the coffee maker crazy. Scaring the postman by refusing to let him leave until he’s heard a thorough explanation of your feelings about the weather crazy.

Given that I am a social type, I’m extremely lucky about two things. First, that my husband works from home most days, so I can go upstairs and discuss the weather with him (until he gives me that really patient ‘darling-I-have-work-to-do’ look).

And second, that we also have several four-legged housemates.

When I’m working my cat, Maybe, is almost always sitting on her throne – I mean, cushion – beside my computer, occasionally reaching out one delicate claw to remind me that petting is compulsory. And, Fulcrum, my fluffy beast of a dog, accompanies me on the afternoon walks where I work out sticky plot issues along with shoulder kinks. She bounds along and looks for squirrels as I wander through the woods near my house. Which, come to think of it, are a lot like the woods around Cimmeria Academy.

Then there’s music. When my thoughts get a bit stuck, I blast out a few tunes that remind me of the characters and where they are in their lives. And that can help me get going again.

Night School Playlist
These are the songs that always help me get the plot moving again.

Rock and Roll High School, The Ramones
Because I’m Awesome, The Dollyrots
Pot Kettle Black, Tilly and the Wall
Always Looking, Dum Dum Girls
When I’m With You, Best Coast
The Light is You, Said the Whale
New Slang, The Shins
When I Grow Up, First Aid Kit
Such Great Heights, Iron and Wine
Comptine d’un autre été, Yann Tiersen

Saturday 7 January 2012


On Wednesday, Cassandra Clare (and USA Today) revealed the cover for CITY OF LOST SOULS, the fifth book in the Mortal Instruments series. And here is it:

Now, on screen, it looks prettier than the City of Fallen Angels (remember Clary and her super-photoshopped green eyes?) and, while I still need to read that (soon, ok? SOON [with the kick-start from Mundie Moms - oh, I love those guys!]) this looks like a more natural cover! And for a pretty cover, this is apparently the darkest book so far! May can't come soon enough!

But what do you guys think? Yea to this cover or na?

PS - in case you don't know, USA Today always revealed the prologue of City of Lost Souls. Now, I haven't read it (and I won't till after I read City of Fallen Angels) but if you do, here you go! ENJOY!!!

Friday 6 January 2012

HarperCollins Signs Chris Columbus For New Book Series

Just received a press release from HarperCollins revealing the news the following:



New York, NY/ London (January 5, 2012)—HarperCollins Publishers announced today that it has preempted rights to a three-book middle-grade series, House of Secrets by iconic Hollywood director and producer Chris Columbus, co-authored by acclaimed young adult novelist Ned Vizzini. This is Columbus’s debut series for young readers with the first book slated for global publication in Spring 2013.

The three-book North American deal was negotiated by Alessandra Balzer, Co-Publisher of the Balzer + Bray imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books, with Dorian Karchmar at William Morris Endeavor. UK & Commonwealth rights were acquired by Rachel Denwood, Publishing Director from Cathryn Summerhayes at William Morris Endeavour. Rights have been sold in twelve foreign territories so far.

“Master storytellers Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini have created a high-stakes fantasy,” said Balzer. “From the very first page I knew we had to publish this series. It’s an incredibly imaginative adventure with clever plot twists and nonstop action—not to mention a family that readers will immediately fall in love with. House of Secrets has all the hallmarks of a new classic."

Denwood added, “Combining classic adventure with sublime offbeat humor, and with three brilliant siblings at its heart, this has the potential to be the next big series. It's going to be epic.”

“The opportunity to write this novel is a dream come true," said Columbus. "I have lived with the characters of this novel and their world for many years, and was saving them for something very special. Working on House of Secrets with Ned has been a thrill.”

The Pagett kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games... But everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff's dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family's secret history and save their parents... and maybe even the world.

For over twenty-five years, Chris Columbus has written, directed and produced some of the most successful box-office hits, which have established him as a major force in contemporary Hollywood filmmaking. Columbus directed and produced the first two films in the blockbuster Harry Potter series and produced the third. More recently, Columbus has directed features such as the hit film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, based on the bestselling children’s book series, and will begin producing the sequel Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Sea of Monsters later this year. As a director, Columbus has been at the helm of such films as Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Mrs. Doubtfire, Nine Months, Only the Lonely, and Stepmom. As a producer, Columbus was also behind the highly successful family/adventure/comedy film, Night at the Museum and its sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. And as a writer, he launched his career with the legendary films Gremlins and Goonies. This past summer, Columbus released his latest film, The Help, starring Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Jessica Chastain and Viola Davis though his 1492 Pictures banner.

Ned Vizzini is the author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story (also a major motion picture), Be More Chill, Teen Angst? Naaaah..., and the forthcoming The Other Normals. Ned has spoken at over 200 universities, schools, and libraries around the world about writing and mental health. He has written for The New York Times, The Daily Beast, and season 2 of MTV's Teen Wolf. His work has been translated into seven languages. You can visit Ned online at www.nedvizzini.com.

The Pledge UK & US Covers

As you guys know, I love Kimberly Derting. I simply love the Body Finder series and I know I have got several people into this series! So, when I discovered that Kimberly had written a dystopian novel, The Pledge, I got very excited, but could find no information on if this book was coming to the UK.

Recently, the UK cover has been revealed (the UK publisher is Allison & Busby, the UK home for the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine) and I thought I would do a compare of the UK & the US covers!

This is the US cover:

And this is the UK cover:

I love both of them. I have a copy of the US (I didn't know till a few weeks ago that we were going to get this in the UK and am going to read soon!) and I love the gothicness of the US cover. However, I love how the UK cover is white. It feels rare to see a white book cover!

But what do you guys think? Do you prefer the dark US cover or the white UK cover?

Thursday 5 January 2012


Yesterday, the lovely Rosi sent out the new UK covers for Divergent and its sequel, Insurgent, by Veronica Roth. And here they are!

Now, I love the original cover of Divergent and I am really like the US cover for Insurgent. But, I get why Harper Collins decide to change the UK covers. These covers look more Hunger Games-like and as most of us bloggers raved that Divergent is the next Hunger Games, it's easy to understand why HarperCollins went down this route.

I do like the new cover of Insurgent with the burning leaves. Though I do think this is a grower of a cover.

But what are your reactions to the new UK covers?

Wednesday 4 January 2012


I am thrilled and honoured that I am taking part in the Book of Blood and Shadow blog tour as this book is a very smart yet utterly gripping read (if you haven't read my review,click here)!

Today, the author of this book, Robin Wasserman, takes over the blog and chats about the playlist she listened to while writing this book! All the songs are at the bottom of the post so you can have a listen! Now, am handing it over to Robin...


I wish I was the kind of person who wrote well to music – not least because I usually write in coffee shops with annoyingly loud songs playing in the background, and it would be convenient if I were the kind of person to be inspired by this rather than annoyed. Unfortunately, music I like tends to drown out the words in my head, while music I hate just drives me nuts unless I can drown it out by a sheer act of will (or my well-padded noise-cancelling headphones).

But that’s not to say music plays no role in my writing life. Some books, like The Book of Blood and Shadow, have such a distinctive atmosphere and feel to them—an atmosphere and feel completely removed from the cheerfully petty concerns of daily life—that listening to the right songs before I start to write can be the perfect way to ease me from the real world into the world of my mind.

Here are some of the songs that I could count on to make me forget my grocery list and my unmade bed—songs that could, each morning before I sat down to the computer, transport me to the world of The Book of Blood and Shadow.

Gravity/Falling Down Again - Alejandro Escovedo
It was the melody paired with the singer’s gravelly voice that first drew me to this song, but it was the lyrics that held me (for reasons that, if you’ve read the book, will seem obvious): “The wheel is spinning / going round and round / No angels hanging from the ceiling can save you / No no St Jude can’t pull you out” and “No use in running from the / shadows of strangers / the odds are they let you down / No words written in the songs can save you / the silence drowns you there’s no way out.” There was something in there that felt familiar to me: The desperation and loss of faith in those lines, paired with what becomes a strangely upbeat melody and the haunting laughter of children. And that title, “Falling Down Again,” which implies that though the fall might be inevitable, so is the rise that follows it. And that’s the story of Nora, the protagonist of The Book of Blood and Shadow: She comes to understand that she will fall, and fall again, but somehow, she will stand.

Breathe Me - Sia
This song was crucial for writing Part II of the book. (You can tell this just from reading the section’s opening lines.) I must have listened to it a hundred times. In many ways, this is a book about grief, and finding a way to go forward in the face of loss—and I’ve never heard a song that so perfectly captured that sense of numb, frozen confusion that follows the death of someone you love. The lyrics are simple, but somehow, right: “I am small, I’m needy / warm me up and breathe me.” What’s interesting is that Sia has actually written a song that’s explicitly about grief (“Healing is Difficult” written after her boyfriend’s death), but that one leaves me cold.

Let Go - Frou Frou
For me, this song has always been about finding the comfort and security you (or at least an uptight control freak like me, as well as my protagonist) need to find in order to completely let yourself go. This is what Nora finds with Max, and longs for so desperately when he disappears. The song is equal parts joy and melancholy and that constantly repeated line, “There’s beauty in the breakdown” is the thing that most terrifies Nora, as well as her renaissance counterpart, Elizabeth. Both girls fear the darkness and power inherent in letting yourself go, in wild emotion, in love, in hate, in desire, in faith…but both girls eventually see the tempting beauty in it as well, and that’s the scariest part of all.

Symphony #25 in G Minor, K 183 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (from the Amadeus soundtrack)
Though most of The Book of Blood and Shadow is set in the present, there is a Renaissance narrative threaded through the book, and the prospect of writing this terrified me, as I’d never written historical fiction before. (I’d barely read historical fiction, since as a general rule, I hate it. In fact, don’t tell anyone, but when I come across novels with “historical letters” in them, I usually just skip those parts and hope I haven’t missed anything.) So on the days I was writing about the Renaissance, I needed something to take me back in time, something that would shake me out of my contemporary mindset, and while Mozart is both geographically and chronologically way off base, I happen to own and love the Amadeus soundtrack, so Mozart it was.

Galileo - the Indigo Girls
Speaking of the Renaissance, while this song doesn’t in any way capture the feel of the book itself, I listened to it a lot anyway, claiming it as a good luck charm. The Book of Blood and Shadow came partly from my desire to write an adventure/mystery novel that incorporated the history of science (since I have two degrees in that and not much to show for it but a lot of books about dead astronomers on my bookshelf). Listening to this song was reassuring at the moments I was sure there was no way I could pull it off. (And there were many.) The Indigo Girls managed to turn Galileo into a hit song—surely, I told myself, I could write Kepler into a book.

Die, Vampire, Die - [title of show] soundtrack
When Galileo didn’t manage to stop me from having a nervous breakdown, I turned to this song — as every writer or artist of any kind should turn to this song when in the throes of creative anxiety. A vampire, in this case, is “any person or thought or feeling that stands between you and your creative expression,” and this song offers instructions for how to bash their heads in, stake them through the heart, and bury them in the ground where they belong. Pro-tip: In truly dire times of self-doubt, I suggest locking the door, turning the volume up to eleven, climbing on top of whatever piece of furniture is most available and least precarious, and belting this out at the top of your lungs. Trust me, it works.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

GoodRead - Fated

My first review of 2012! And we start with Fated by Sarah Alderson!!!

As some of you guys know, I loved Sarah Alderson's debut novel, Hunting Lila. So, when I was asked if I wanted to read this, Sarah's second novel and the maybe-start of a new series, I jumped at the chance. And I dropped several books in my To-Read pile to read this, so...

Evie Tremain is a seventeen year-old waitress who, one night, finds herself thrown into a war that she didn't know exist. A war between Hunters and Unhumans (aka Demons). As she tries to find her feet in this dangerous world, she discovers a dangerous prophecy that might be talking about her...

Meanwhile, Lucas Gray is an Unhuman. Well, half. He's half human, half Shadow Warrior. Member of the Brotherhood, a group of Unhuman assassins tasked to kill the last true Hunter. How can he get close to the last Hunter, who calls herself Evie Tremain?

Now, this is very different to Hunting Lila. I feel that I should say this now as it is!

But, saying that, this is a fast read with action. I mean, when you have a prologue that starts with "Her name is Evie Tremain. She's seventeen years old. She lives in Riverview, California. Now go and kill her.", you know that it's going to have fast action scenes that will have you racing through the pages.

Also, Sarah throws a good amount of lush in the story. Unlike Lila and Alex love story in Hunting Lila, this is more lush-driven and when they do realise that they're in love, it's very close to the end of the book and we get the pay-off with that kiss...

Now, I did lost my temper with this book. I told Sarah this via twitter (sorry again, Sarah) and this is over something a small character, Tom, says (I ranted it on GoodReads). I don't want to say what it is, but I was shocked over angry that he even asked this question and not gone "Oh, wait! I remember why." I still stand by my statement over this character and why I got angry.

Now, if you remember from the start of the blogpost, I said that Fated was a "the maybe-start of a new series". I said that as this is meant to be a standalone novel, but Sarah has written two books with these characters, but these haven't been picked up by the publishers as of yet. Now, usually, I am very "THIS IS A SERIES! GET THEM NOW!" but Sarah cleverly written Fated so, if Simon Pulse doesn't pick them up, it's all tied up but there is leeway if Simon Pulse picks up books 2 & 3...

But, apart from that (and me losing my temper with Tom), I did like this book. Not as much as Hunting Lila (oh, how I ADORE that book) but it's still a great paranormal read that is filled with action, lush and a hell of a lot of twists. Oh yes... those twists...! Sarah definitely knows how to pull those twists off!

Sunday 1 January 2012


HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! To celebrate, here is a song that we should do more this year!