Thursday, 30 April 2015

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Synopsis (from Goodreads

My thanks go to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for providing me with this e-Arc. 

Pages: 192
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: 19th of May 2015

Olivia Grace is completely average. Or so she thinks . . . until Her Royal Highness, Princess Mia Thermopolis turns up at her school one day and whisks Olivia away to New York City! In a limo, no less! Where you can eat all the cookies you want and the ceiling lights up pink and purple - like a disco! But discovering that your father is actually the Prince of Genovia is quite a shock. Especially since it means you're a descendent of the Kingdom of Genovia, and a princess. Olivia's got a lot to learn about her long-lost family - and everyone's got a lot to learn about her!

Olivia chronicles her transformation from ordinary girl to princess in her notebook, with illustrations from Meg Cabot, who studied Fine Arts as an undergraduate.

What I Have to Say 

I grew up with Princess Diaries. I have very fond memories of buying the books and reading them on the same day and just loving them. So obviously I was going to be excited about this book. 

Olivia is very different from Mia, but she was so sweet. I felt that maybe the book was written a bit young, but I loved her naivety and excitement. It was a nice contrast to Mia's story and the way she found out about being a princess. 

I really want to make a big deal about the fact that Olivia is black as well. Although I do wonder about the fact that she is accepted without question as the princess of a European country, as it's a middle grade book, maybe the tales of Olivia and the fight against racism in the government of Genovia is something for another book. The fact is, this is wonderful and having a black character so clearly on the cover of an American Middle Grade book is a brilliant step for diversity. 

The illustrations were also adorable. They tied in so beautifully with Olivia's ambition to become an animal illustrator. I also love the detail that was put into making the drawings with a subject more detailed and advanced than the ones of things done from imagination/memory. 

This book was completely adorable and I adored every second. I only wish it had taken me less than one night to finish it!

Monday, 27 April 2015

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 343
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Released: 25th April 2015

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "the Duff," she throws her Coke in his face. 

But things aren't so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. 

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. And eventually, through this realization, Bianca begins to see how harmful her unhealthy way of dealing with her problems has been, and finds a way to confront them head on. 

What I Have To Say 

I have very mixed feelings about this book. My first thing is the fact that the character is not like other girls, because she doesn't like dancing or flirting or other things that her friends like. At first I was completely against it. I'm sick of every book being about girls who are special and unique and feel completely different from every other girl. But then I got thinking. Actually, that was exactly how I felt in high school. In fact I think a lot of teenagers feel the same way. So in the end, I don't know what to feel about it. 

The title is something that I sort of feel weird about though. It's been a few years since I've been in high school, so maybe it's a commonly used phrase nowadays. But if it's not, the author is giving teenagers another thing to bully each other about. Especially because people do pick up on these things and they do use them against each other (anyone else short sighted been told they should've gone to spec-savers?).

The one thing I did like about this was how it treated sex. I'm not saying that books should encourage young people to have sex, but there is a big lack of books where they treat sex like it's no big deal, because sex is something that people put too much importance into. This is a book that actually debates whether sex defines a person. It looks at words such as slut and whore and what they mean about people. 

I really think that this book looks at issues that need to be address. It's good that it looks at words and labels and what they really mean. But I'm not sure it pulled it off quite as sensitively as it should have been. 

This book was not for me. 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Book Haul #8

Got lots of books this week, some paper some electronic. All very exciting.

Synopsis from Netgalley or Goodreads.


A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz

Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies. But when Beckan's clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn't have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected. This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.

I feel this book could go either way. It's an interesting concept and I'll be interested to see whether it's pulled off well or not. 

Physical Copy

Read Me Like a Book  by Liz Kessler

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling - that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It's enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents' marriage troubles. There's just one thing bothering her . . .

Shouldn't it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way - not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

This book looks so interesting and such a pretty cover! I'm really looking forward to reading it. Thank you Indigo! 

The Snow Kimono by Mark Henshaw

On the same day that retired police inspector Auguste Jovert receives a letter from a woman claiming to be his daughter, he returns to his Paris apartment to find a stranger waiting for him.

That stranger is a Japanese professor called Tadashi Omura. What's brought him to Jovert's doorstep is not clear, but then he begins to tell his story - a story of a fractured friendship, lost lovers, orphaned children, and a body left bleeding in the snow.

As Jovert pieces together the puzzle of Omura's life, he can't help but draw parallels with his own; for he too has lead a life that's been extraordinary and dangerous - and based upon a lie.

I'm not sure if this will be a little too literary for me, but I'm really looking forward to it. 

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

London, 1884. When Thaniel Steepleton comes home to find a new watch on his pillow, he has bigger things to worry about than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, where he has just received a Fenian bomb threat. But six months later, the watch saves his life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, and at last, he goes in search of its maker. 

He meets Keita Mori, a Japanese immigrant who remembers the future. As Mori begins to tweak daily life in Thaniel’s favour, everything seems to be going well – until physicist Grace Carrow, attracted to Thaniel’s refreshingly direct, unstuffy nature, unwittingly interferes. Soon, events spiral beyond Thaniel’s control, and nothing is certain any more…

This looks so good! And it's so pretty and I'm incredibly thrilled to have it. Thank you so much, Bloomsbury! 

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . . 

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

This looks really creepy and dark and it's probably going to keep me up at night, but I just couldn't resist it! Thank you, Indigo! 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Day 21 and Homecoming by Kass Morgan

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Released: 25th of September 2014
Other Books in the Series: The 100,

It's been 21 days since The 100 landed on Earth. They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries... or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 222
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Released: 24th of February 2015

Humanity is coming home.

Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space.

These new arrivals are the lucky ones - back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone -but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS's luck seems to be running out. CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can't stop thinking about her parents who may still be alive. Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he'd left behind.

It's time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they've found on Earth, or risk losing everything - and everyone - they love.

What I Have to Say 

I have to say, I feel that the TV series has improved, at least in plotline, over time, but the books? They are completely different. During the second book, the plotline goes in a completely different direction, so much so that the third book has pretty much nothing to do with the tv series except the original concept and some of the character names. 

As far as the plotlines go, I like both in different ways. I'm still loving the stuff with Glass, especially during these two books with her character changing and struggling. I also loved what happened in the third book with Rhodes and a certain plot point that seems to have been forgotten in the TV series. 

And I'm still loving all the background stuff about the characters. The fact that Clarke actually had medical training. The class system that they had on board the ship and the society that the 100 built on earth. I think the book focused a lot more on what the 100 had achieved and how the adults come and try to change it and take it back to the way things were on the ship than they did in the series. 

Honestly, if it's an either/ or? I would say go for the books. They are so much better. But I like both. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Disappearance of Emily H. by Barrie Summy

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 256
Publisher: Random House Children's Books 
Released: 12th of May 2015

A girl who can see the past tries to save the future in this compelling tween mystery.
A girl is missing. Three girls are lying. One girl can get to the truth.
Emily Huvar vanished without a trace. And the clues are right beneath Raine’s fingertips. Literally. Raine isn’t like other eighth graders. One touch of a glittering sparkle that only Raine can see, and she’s swept into a memory from the past. If she touches enough sparkles, she can piece together what happened to Emily.
When Raine realizes that the cliquey group of girls making her life miserable know more than they’re letting on about Emily’s disappearance, she has to do something. She’ll use her supernatural gift for good . . . to fight evil.
But is it too late to save Emily? 

What I Have to Say 

This was actually really good. I wasn't sure after reading the blurb which way it could go, especially since I've had some really bad books from Netgalley. But apparently I've gotten better at finding the good ones, because I really enjoyed reading the Disappearance of Emily H. In fact, I think the only complaint I really have of it is that it was too short! 

I found Raine's character really intriguing and really enjoyed the parts were she was exploring her gift. It's strange that it's quite a common gift that is used by psychics, but in literature I haven't seen that much of psychometry. It seems like the sort of thing that would thrive in YA especially. 

I also found the mystery element was done really well. At first I thought that it was a bit predictable, since it seemed that everything that happened to Emily was presented from the very start, but it really surprised me. 

 This book is a lovely Middle Grade mystery. 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mini- Interview and Giveaway! The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Last week I went to I blogger event in London. The event was a wonderful Afternoon Tea with a bunch of Bloggers and the author Ryan Graudin, kindly organized by the ever lovely Nina Douglas of Orion Books. The event was exciting and some of you may have seen pictures (seen below)  from the cover reveal we did of Graudin's new book Wolf by Wolf, which I was thrilled to be a part of.

Probably the most exciting thing (other than getting a proof copy of Wolf by Wolf)  was that I got a few moments alone with Ryan Graudin to conduct a mini- interview. I kept it short out of respect for the other bloggers (and that I couldn't think of that many questions). I also didn't have the forethought to record the interview so everything is going to have to be paraphrased. 

To tie in with the giveaway, most of the questions are about her previous book The Walled City. 

Were there any parts of the book that you found particularly emotional to write about? 

Yes. The scenes in the brothel with Mae Lin and Ambassador Osamu were particularly difficult. At times she found herself physically reviled. Some of the things that Jin had to go through were hard to write about, but nothing was as hard as Mae Lin. 

Were there parts of the book that you embellished to make the story work better? 

A lot of names were changed for the book, including not using the name of the city that The Walled City was based on. The Brotherhood are symbolically the Triad. She tried to keep checking the facts as much as she could, but it was hard to keep everything accurate. There were things that she got wrong in drafts that she hadn't even thought about (such as the fact that cicadas cannot grip bamboo wood as it's too hard). She also change a lot of names during the process because she found they weren't Cantonese. 

One instance where she took creative license was the fact that she wasn't sure if Jin could really get to the city on her bike as it's a long way, but as it works best for the story, she kept it in. 

Alternatively, was there anything you didn't include? 

She was careful not to make things too graphic as she wanted to impact on her readers rather than shock them. 

Also, as she knew a lot of women are constantly going through the things Mae Lin goes through, she made an effort to be careful with what she was writing. 

I asked her if there was anything she wanted to say about Wolf by Wolf. 

She found it hard to find the right niche for it as she hasn't seen much alternative World War Two literature in YA before, especially ones involving the supernatural elements that she included. She spoke about the American tag line "Inglorious Bastards meets Code Name Verity" which she hadn't seen or read respectively. She also talked about the X-men similarities. 

Giveaway - Signed Copy of The Walled City 

- UK entries online. Sorry guys! But I can't afford international postage! 
- Will end on 2nd of May (two weeks from now) 
-I'll probably throw in some origami bookmarks. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 512
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: 26th of March 2015 (First Published 1993) 

Twenty-year-old Ruth Berger is desperate. The daughter of a Jewish-Austrian professor, she was supposed to have escaped Vienna before the Nazis marched into the city. Yet the plan went completely wrong, and while her family and fiancĂ© are waiting for her in safety, Ruth is stuck in Vienna with no way to escape. Then she encounters her father’s younger college professor, the dashing British paleontologist Quin Sommerville. 

Together, they strike a bargain: a marriage of convenience, to be annulled as soon as they return to safety. But dissolving the marriage proves to be more difficult than either of them thought—not the least because of the undeniable attraction Quin and Ruth share. To make matters worse, Ruth is enrolled in Quin’s university, in his very classes. Can their secret survive, or will circumstances destroy their love?

What I Have to Say 

I wish I could have gotten into this, I really do. The first Eva Ibbotson book I read was The Secret Countess. I adored it. The writing was beautiful and the story was enchanted and it's left me with the feeling that I want to grab and read every other Eva Ibbotson book that I've found. But it's hard. This and the other one I've tried, Magic Flutes, have been so slow and hard to get through and though the prose is absolutely beautiful and the stories are gorgeous, I just can't get past the slowness. 

As I said though, this was a beautiful. Set against the backdrop of WW2 there was plenty of potential danger as Ruth tried to flee Vienna. And her character was beautiful. Her joy in everything new that she experienced. Her love for everyone and everything around him. I think Ruth is someone that everyone can learn from when it comes from optimism and the beauty of the world. 

In the end, it was a lovely story but just far too slow for me so my search for another Eva Ibbotson book that I like continues. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Worry Magic by Dawn McNiff

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 192
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 5th of February 2015

Courtney is a worrier - she's worried about EVERYTHING, from her mum and dad's constant fights, to her Gran being ill to the fact that her best friend Lois suddenly seems to be more interested in growing up and hanging out with mean girl Bex. 

But then one day, during a particularly bad argument kicked off by her dad's discovery of a pig in their lounge (don't ask...) Courtney begins to feel a bit funny... a bit woozy... a bit like a dream is coming on - and then when she wakes up everything is better! Mum and dad are being nice to each other, the pig is going back to the animal shelter (really, don't ask...) and even Kyle, her older brother, seems to be making an effort. 

Courtney becomes sure that each time she feels woozy and has her dreams, she's magicking her problems and worries away. Her mum, dad and brother aren't so sure though. Can Courtney convince everybody that her worry magic dreams are the perfect way to solve her problems? Or should she learn to worry a little less and to ask for help in some non-magical places more? 

What I Have to Say 

As a compulsive worrier myself, I wasn't sure how this book would be. In fact, I was worried it might glorify worrying, considering the title. But what I found was an rather accurate portrayal of anxiety and panic attacks. I feel like a lot of people who don't suffer from it don't realize how much it can put the body through. 

Courtney was a really interesting character as well. She was naive and just young enough to genuinely believe that she was doing magic, while still old enough to know that maybe it would be best not to tell many people. I also like how she develops through the book and learns about her worrying and fainting as well as the fact of her believing in the Worry Magic. 

All in all, I think this a really insightful look inside of the mind of a young teenager experiencing the things that young teenagers often experience (changing schools, growing apart from their friends, having to stop playing playground games ect.) as well as ones that come from the character (parents arguing, rat disappearing, mother bringing a pig home) and beginning to experience panic attacks and fainting. 

A good book to promote mental health. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Happy UKYA day!

Since it's UKYA (young adult books written by UK authors) day, I thought I'd share a few UKYA books I've read recently which I've really enjoyed but haven't gotten around to posting a proper review of yet.

Jessica Cole: Model Spy Series by Sarah Sky 

I've read both of the books in this series now and I am absolutely in love with them. Jessica is an awesome character and is a strong character both in that she has a good personality and that she literally kicks ass. Both her modelling and her spying seem believable (as much as any other teen spy books do anyway) as she has family connections to both.

If you like spy books or anything with strong action-y heroines then this is a great series.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Okay so I know that everyone is going on about this book, but I wanted to add my own voice to the mix, because it really is an excellent book. It's great for showing the voice of Transgender. But if you want to know more about that go and read someone else's blog, because I only have a little bit of space here and I want to talk about the bullying in the blog. The portrayal of bullying in this book was so good that it made me angry. Because of how the teachers react to it. 

There are so many reasons to read this book. I may have to do a proper review of it later. 

A Dream of Lights by Kerry Drewery

This book shook me up. It is not a read for people who aren't looking for something a little dark, but for those who like books like that (like me!) it is a must read. It frightened me most because it read so much like a dystopia. Except it isn't a dystopia. It's a book about North Korea. And I think that is the most terrifying thing of all. 

There is also a lot of beautiful writing and an excellent plot. 

So there are some of the UKYA books I've really loved lately. What about you? Have you been reading UK authors lately? Feel free to post some of your favourites in the comments. 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The It Girl by Katy Birchall

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 352
Publisher: Egmont
Released: 7th of May 2015

Everybody wants to be a famous It Girl. Don't they?

Anna Huntley's aims in life:

1) Must keep my two lovely new (and only) school friends by not doing anything in usual manner of socially inept dork and outcast.

2) Train Dog (my labrador) to high-five. This is probably the most ambitious life goal on this list.

3) Do not set the school's Deputy Queen Bee mean girl's hair on fire (again).

4) Work out whether 2) and 3) constitute being socially inept or outcastish.

5) Go to Africa and give out rice.

6) To hide in a cupboard FOR LIFE with Dog now Dad is engaged to one of the most famous actresses EVER, the paparazzi want to spash my face all over the papers and everyone in school (and The World) is soon to discover the level of my social ineptitude.

7) Is rice a bit done now? Maybe I can give out chocolate in Africa too. I do like chocolate. Must work out how to do it from the cupboard... 

What I Have To Say 

I don't know about anyone else, but I would love to have a friend like Anna! I think she's wonderful and hilarious and I would gladly have someone to act out scenes from the Lion King with. My dog may even be small enough to life up like Simba during the Circle of Life! Although she might be a bit too wriggly and over-excited... 

The book was quirky, funny and full of lists (I like lists in books). It was full of hilarious happenings from a very quirky characters, who I loved. Although it had a bit too much of the ideology that nerdy equals bad, I loved it from start to finish. 

Some of the background characters didn't really have much personality, or were stereotypes (school mean girl and her friends), but Anna certainly had enough personality to carry the whole thing. I have never seen a character quite like her. She reminded me very much of myself as a teenager. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a nice quirky funny book as it's definitely very uplifting. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

The Bomb by Sarah Mussi

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

 My thanks goes to Netgalley and Hachette Children's books for providing me with this e-Arc.

Pages: 336
Publisher: Hodder Children's Book
Released:  7th of May 2015

When Genesis goes on an internet date she is only anxious that this latest guy won't be 'The One'. She's not at all worried about meeting a dodgy bloke or getting in too deep. And when her date appears she texts her best mate, Jackson, to let him know that she thinks this time, he just might be 'The One'. And he texts her back with a huge: I LIKE.

It's the one all right. But not in the way she expects.

For when Genesis wakes up the next day, she can't remember a thing. She can't remember where she is, or how she got there. And she can hardly move because she is strapped into some kind of body armour ... and then a voice sounds in her head: 'Get on to the 37 going north. You are strapped to a vest made entirely of explosives. At the push of one button I can detonate you right where you stand.'

To her horror, Genesis has become an agent of mass destruction. The countdown to detonation begins now...

What I Have to Say 

I absolutely adore Sarah Mussi's books. They have so much suspense and drama to them, while dealing with the big issues that our society is worried about. I enjoyed Riot so much and now I've enjoyed Bomb even more. Although the ending! Why do books do that? They make me so emotional. I really have to stop reading books that end like this in public.

The religion created in the book was really interesting. Obviously based in part on Islam, or at least the more radical Islam/ ISIS, I like how she made it more Westernised, made it so that it was a threat from home that was threatening the country. It made an impact on me.

All the twists and turns were surprising, except one that I saw coming from the start. I expect if you've read the book, you saw it too. But I felt so emotional for poor Genesis despite knowing from the start. I think I may have been crying on the train for that bit too....

If you haven't discovered Sarah Mussi yet and you like suspenseful thrillers, then you have to find her now!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Book Haul #7

I am so terrible at doing this, sometimes because I get one or two books and it doesn't seem worth doing a whole post for one book.

But this week, the Netgalley gods have smiled on me.... or punished me for requesting too much, I'm not sure which. Either way, I have far more books than I expect.

All books, covers and synopses are from Netgalley.

The Morning Gift by Ibbotson

Ruth lives in the beautiful city of Vienna and is wildly in love with Heini Radik, a brilliant young pianist. But her world is about to change forever.

When Hitler's forces invade, Ruth's family flees to London, but she is unable to get a passport. Quin, a young professor and friend of the family, visits Ruth and, in an effort to bring her back to London, he offers a marriage of convenience. As Ruth throws herself into her London life, Quin begins to fall desperately in love with her. Things are further complicated by the arrival of Heini . . .

I adored Eva Ibbotson's The Secret Countess when I was younger so I'm really happy to have this. Especially since I find books about the World Wars very interesting. Thanks PanMacmillan!

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn 

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family's California vineyard estate. Here, she's meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she's meant to do a lot of things. But it's hard. She's bored. And when Sadie's bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate's a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That's why Emerson's not happy Sadie's back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won't ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That's what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it's all of theirs.

This looks really interesting! Thanks St. Martin's Press!

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!

Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and MYSTERIES around every corner. WONDER at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! TREMBLE as the most DASTARDLY criminals in London enact their wicked plans! GASP as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, CRACK CODES, DEVOUR ICED BUNS and vow to bring the villians to justice…

This book looks wonderful! I can't wait to read it. Thanks Egmont!

The Memory Hit by Carla Spradbery

On New Year's Eve, Jess's life is unrecognizable: her best friend is in the hospital, her boyfriend is a cheater. A drug-dealing cheater it would seem, after finding a stash of Nostalgex in his bag.

Nostalgex: a drug that stimulates memory. In small doses, a person can remember the order of a deck of cards, or an entire revision guide read the day before an exam. In larger doses it allows the user detailed access to their past, almost like watching a DVD with the ability to pause a moment in time, to focus on previously unnoticed details and to see everything they've ever experienced with fresh eyes. As Leon, the local dealer, says 'it's like life, only better.' What he fails to mention is that most memories are clouded by emotions. Even the most vivid memories can look very different when revisited.

Across town Sam Cooper is in trouble. Again. This time, gagged and bound in the boot of a car. Getting on the wrong side of a drug dealer is never a good idea, but if he doesn't make enough money to feed and clothe his sister, who will?

On New Year's Day, Jess and Cooper's worlds collide. They must put behind their differences and work together to look into their pasts to uncover a series of events that will lead them to know what really happened on that fateful New Year's Eve. But what they find is that everything they had once believed to be true, turns out to be a lie ...

Another book by Carla Spradbery! I enjoyed the last one a lot so I'm looking forward to it. Thanks Hatchette!

Shadow, Shadow by V.B. Marlowe

 "The four of you have been blessed with a great gift. Well, it's a gift for you, but a curse for someone else." Harley receives a mysterious gift on her sixteenth birthday--a shadow box. The box gives her the power to trade someone to the shadows, meaning they will disappear and cease to exist. Harley can't imagine doing such a horrible thing and is warned that using the box comes at a price. Unfortunately, not using the box can be even more costly. Harley must make this life-altering decision as she discovers frightening revelations about the town she calls home. 

I'm not sure about this book, but I'm hoping it will be an interesting read, thanks All Night Reads! 

Ghost of Shanghai by Julian Sedgwick

Obsessed with martial arts and ghost stories, Ruby is part of a gang of Chinese and ex-pat children who hide out in ruined White Cloud Temple. But the world of Shanghai in the late 1920s is driven with danger: disease, crime, espionage and revolution are sweeping the streets. And since the death of her younger brother Thomas, Ruby is stalked by another anxiety and fear.

Faced with a series of local hauntings, and armed with a lucky bookshop find - The Almanac of Distant Realms - Ruby forms the Shanghai Ghost Club to hunt down restless spirits. When best friend Faye is kidnapped by the Green Hand, Ruby must trust a mysterious stranger - and face her worst fears - in order to save her friends, and her own life. And in the ensuing fight she will catch a glimpse of the one spirit she has longed to see ...

The secrets that Ruby's father and friends have kept from her are coming back to haunt them all.

This looks really interesting, thanks Hatchette!

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of a man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush, who calls Bianca the Duff - the designated ugly fat friend - of her crew.
But things aren't so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a secret enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly wrong. It turns out Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

With a wry and tell-it-like-it-is voice, New York Times Bestselling novel The DUFF is a witty and poignant story of a teenager struggling with the rules of high school attraction, along with the breaking down of her relationships with family and friends. It is a novel about what it means to be sexy, in a world where we feel we have to be perfect!

I don't know how this will be but, people are talking about it and I'm a sheep, so I'll give it a go! Thanks Hatchette!

The Disappearance of Emily H. by Barrie Summy 

A girl who can see the past tries to save the future in this compelling tween mystery. A girl is missing. Three girls are lying. One girl can get to the truth.

Emily Huvar vanished without a trace. And the clues are right beneath Raine's fingertips. Literally. Raine isn't like other eighth graders. One touch of a glittering sparkle that only Raine can see, and she's swept into a memory from the past. If she touches enough sparkles, she can piece together what happened to Emily.

When Raine realizes that the cliquey group of girls making her life miserable know more than they're letting on about Emily's disappearance, she has to do something. She'll use her supernatural gift for good . . . to fight evil.
But is it too late to save Emily?

This looks really interesting, thanks so much Random House!

Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani

The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

I wasn't sure about this one, but I thought it could potentially be good or very bad. I've started reading it and actually it's quite good so far. Thanks Purple Monkey! 

So that's my haul for this week. Did anyone else get anything good this week? 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Storm by Virginia Bergin

Synopsis (from Goodreads

My thanks go to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for providing me with this E-arc. 

Pages: 304
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Released: 29th of January 2015
Other Books in the Series: The Rain

"I'll tell you a weird thing about apocalypses - a thing I didn't even know until I was in one: they seem pretty bad, don't they? Well, take it from me: they can always get worse."

Three months after the killer rain first fell, Ruby is beginning to realise her father might be dead . . . and that she cannot survive alone. When a chance encounter lands her back in the army camp, Ruby thinks she is safe - at a price. Being forced to live with Darius Spratt is bad enough, but if Ruby wants to stay she must keep her eyes - and her mouth - shut. It's not going to happen. When she realizes what is going on - the army is trying to find a cure by experimenting on human subjects - Ruby flips out . . . and makes an even more shocking discovery: she's not useless at all. The Storm begins . . . 

What I Have to Say 

I don't know what it is about this series that keeps me interested. I find the writing very basic, the voice a little annoying at sometimes, very immature. Though it just works. The voice really suits the main character. She sounds maybe a little too young for the age that's stated, though I feel that Ruby is very young for her age. I really don't know why but it just works for me. 

It's nice to see Ruby developing, finding her uses when the army has deemed her useless. This really does seem a much more realistic take on the apocalypse, because she's a character who isn't skilled, who is naive. Who is a real teenager who just wants to be with her family and not go out getting into fights and getting what she wants (well at least at first). But she's learning. She's reading survival guides and books about clouds in the library in order to learn how to survive. I love this. 

And we got to see what happened to the Princess! I'm so happy to see her again. I'm really looking forward to the next book.