Currently Reading

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

In My Postbox #8

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to The Book Depositary

I think this has to have been one of the best weeks for me for a while. I got 3 books that I have been dying to read for a while, and one that, although not my normal style, I'm looking forward to reading. In order of dropping through my postbox we have...

For Review:
My Soul To Keep by Rachel Vincent.

"Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them.

Until something does.

Demon breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked.

And so is someone else…"

Not my normal style, I'll admit, but I am openminded about what I read. And it's signed by Rachel! :D Thank you Rachel for the copy!

Angel by L. A. Weatherly.
Advance Readers Copy/UK proof.

"In a world where angels are beyond redemption, Alex thinks he's found one that might deserve mercy. Alex is a ruthless assassin - of angels. Forget everything you've heard about them before. Angels are not benign celestial creatures, but fierce stalkers whose irresistible force allows them to feed off humans, draining them of their vitality until there is barely anything left. As far as Alex is concerned, the only good angel is a dead angel...until he meets Willow. She may look like a normal teenager but Willow is no ordinary girl. Half-angel, half-human, Willow may hold the key to defeating the evil angels. But as the hunter and the hunted embark on an epic and dangerous journey and Willow learns the dark and terrifying secrets of her past, Alex finds himself drawn to Willow...with devastating consequences. Eoin Colfer reinvented the fairy, Stephanie Meyer reinvented the vampire, L.A. Weatherly reinvents the angel! This is a heart-pounding, knuckle-whitening, paranormal romance action-adventure for fans of the "Twilight" series. This is the first in a devastating new trilogy."

Now I am very excited to read this. The cover on the poof is brilliant. I'm about half-way through this now and loving it so far. Thank you to Anna at Usborne for this!

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver.
Advanced Readers Copy/UK Proof

"'What is it? What does it want? Why is it angry with me?' January 1937 Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he's offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year. Gruhuken. But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice. Stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return - when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. And Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark."

When this came through my postbox on Thursday, I pretty much freaked out. Was so excited! As a result, I had to begin reading it straight away and finished it the next morning. Absolutely loved it. Best book I have read this year. I'm not publishing my review on here till October, as it'll be used for a special themed month I am planning. However, my review has been sent to Orion via e-mail, and I will probably post it on GoodReads.

Won:

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

"Nora's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, she is drawn to him against her better judgement. But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and knows more about her than her closest friends.And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For Nora is right in the middle of a centuries-old battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and sooner or later, she's going to have to pick sides..."

I've wanted to read this for a while, but never got round to it. And now I have won a paperback copy thanks to Jenny on Wondrous Reads! :D And Simon & Schuster UK for sending out the copy! Can't wait to read it!

A good week for me. Hope everyone else has an amazing week this coming week, despite the epic fail at the World Cup! Happy reading!

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Radleys [Review]

Written by: Matt Haig.
Published by: Cannongate (Adult ed.), Walker Books UK (YA ed.)
Format: Paperback.
Released: 1st July 2010.
Rating: 4.5/5

Official synopsis: "Meet the Radleys . Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in an English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content. But as their children have yet to find out, the Radleys have a devastating secret. From one of Britain’s finest young novelists comes a razor-sharp unpicking of adulthood and family life. In this moving, thrilling and extraordinary portrait of one unusual family, The Radleys asks what we grow into when we grow up, and explores what we gain – and lose – when we deny our appetites.

You know when you read a book that is so insanely good you just do not want it to end? Well The Radleys is one of these books! Right from the start it's engaging, hugely entertaining. With some bits that make you roar with laughter (well I did anyway!) and bits where you have to stifle and gasp and read faster.

Peter and Helen have kept the fact that they are vampire well hidden from their two teenage children, Clara and Rowan. They just believe that they are freaks. School is a nightmare, particularly for Rowan, who is mocked on a daily basis. Their blindness to the fact that they are vampires often brings about some highly comical situations. Enter roaring laughter.

One thing that I loved about this book, is that it is very very different to other vampire novels. The way it's written. The way it's laid out in particular is fantastic. Each chapter ranges from about half a page to 3 or 4 pages. This is a plus because it's easy to break off, but still come back to the story without any confusion. And the extracts from "The Abstainer's Handbook" are brilliant. The vampires in this book are also your traditional vampires. Pale skinned. NO SPARKLING! And fangs. Proper vampires!

I don't want to give too much away if I am honest, because I think that everyone needs to enjoy this book as much as they can. It is so fun, so refreshing. Definitely one of the best books I have read this year so far!

Thank you to Walker Books for sending me the copy to review! A very happy reader right here. And thank you Matt Haig for writing such a corker of a book!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

News: Cover art for Michelle Paver's Dark Matter

Click picture to enlarge!

So here it is. The cover art for Michelle Paver's brand new book, Dark Matter, out on 21st October. What you think? I love it!

Here's the synopsis: 'What is it? What does it want? Why is it angry with me?' January 1937 Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he's offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year. Gruhuken. But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice. Stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return - when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. And Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Cover VS Cover: The Radleys

I'm currently reading this, The Radleys by Matt Haig. It's being published next month (July 2010) under two publishers in a joint publication deal. Cannongate will be publishing the adult edition, which you can see on the right, and Walker Books will be publishing the children's edition, on the left.

I really like both of these covers. I think they're both quite quirky. The blood running down the fence post on the adult edition. The red house standing out on the children's edition. The sin city feel of the children's edition is brilliant.

For me, I have to go with the children's edition. Not just because that's the one I own, but because it's the best of the two, or at least the one I prefer. It's a lot more intriguing and artistic.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

In My Postbox #7


In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to Amazon.

Another good week for me this week! Some very exciting things came through my postbox so without further ado...

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

"In 1943 Max Carver's father - a watchmaker and inventor - decides to move his family to a small town on the Atlantic coast. They move into a house built for a prestigious surgeon, Dr Richard Fleischmann and his wife but abandoned when their son drowned in a tragic accident. Behind the house Max spies an overgrown garden surrounded by a metal fence topped with a six-pointed star. When he goes to investigate, Max finds statues like troupe fill the garden. In the centre is the large statue of a clown set in another six-pointed star. Max has the curious sensation that the statue is beckoning to him. As the family grows increasingly uneasy when they discover a box of old films belonging to the Fleischmanns, his sister Alicia has unsettling dreams while little Irina hears voices whispering to her from an old wardrobe. But Max spends most of his time with his new friend Roland, who takes him diving to the wreck of a boat that sank close to the coast in a terrible storm. Everyone on board perished except for one man - an engineer who built the lighthouse at the end of the beach. During the dive, Max sees something that leaves him cold - on the mast floats a tattered flag and on it is the symbol of the circle and six-pointed star. As they learn more about the wreck, the chilling story of a legendary figure called the Prince of Mist begins to emerge . . ."

Signed copy! Pic below... Read it. Loved it. Reviewed it. See below! Thanks to Waterstones and Nina at Orion Books!



Witch Breed by Alan Gibbons.

"When Paul arrives in 17th century London, he expects to be thrown into a life or death struggle for the three gates that imprison the ancient King Lud. But the battle doesn't come. Instead, Paul roams alone, learning how to survive in a city where all the talk is of the savage civil war that rages beyond its ramparts. Somewhere underground, Lud is waiting in his crypt, preparing to rise again. War, fear and want are his tools. But Paul too has his own weapons and is gaining strength and losing inhibitions about using it. Meanwhile, beyond the city, innocent women are being killed for it is so easy to claim that they are witches. One woman - whether innocent or guilty - possesses the only power available that can help Paul in his quest."

Never read any of these before but it sounds and looks amazing. Can't wait to read it! Thank you to the amazing Nina Douglas at Orion for this!

The Radleys by Matt Haig.

"Meet the Radleys: Peter, Helen and their teenage kids Clara and Rowan. An everyday family who live in a pretty English village and juggle dysfunctional lives. So far, so normal. Except, as Peter and Helen know (but the kids have yet to find out), the Radleys happen to be a family of abstaining vampires. When one night Clara finds herself driven to commit a bloodthirsty act of violence, her parents need to explain a few things: why is their skin is so sensitive to light, why do they all find garlic so repulsive, and why has Clara's recent decision to go vegan had quite such an effect on her behaviour...? But when mysterious Uncle Will swoops into the village, he unleashes a host of shadowy truths and dark secrets that threaten to destroy the Radleys and the world around them."

Now this sounds fantastic. And that cover! Wow. Now reading this and I have to say I am loving it so far. Thank you to Walker Books for this!

The Prince of Mist [Review]

Written by: Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Published by: Orion Children's Books.
Format: Hardback (Children's Edition. Adult edition also available with red jacket).
Released: 27th May 2010.
Rating: 4/5.

Official synopsis: "In 1943 Max Carver's father - a watchmaker and inventor - decides to move his family to a small town on the Atlantic coast. They move into a house built for a prestigious surgeon, Dr Richard Fleischmann and his wife but abandoned when their son drowned in a tragic accident. Behind the house Max spies an overgrown garden surrounded by a metal fence topped with a six-pointed star. When he goes to investigate, Max finds statues like troupe fill the garden. In the centre is the large statue of a clown set in another six-pointed star. Max has the curious sensation that the statue is beckoning to him. As the family grows increasingly uneasy when they discover a box of old films belonging to the Fleischmanns, his sister Alicia has unsettling dreams while little Irina hears voices whispering to her from an old wardrobe. But Max spends most of his time with his new friend Roland, who takes him diving to the wreck of a boat that sank close to the coast in a terrible storm. Everyone on board perished except for one man - an engineer who built the lighthouse at the end of the beach. During the dive, Max sees something that leaves him cold - on the mast floats a tattered flag and on it is the symbol of the circle and six-pointed star. As they learn more about the wreck, the chilling story of a legendary figure called the Prince of Mist begins to emerge . . ."

Originally written and published in Spanish in 1993, Zafon's first ever published novel. Now, 17 long years later it has been translated into English and released by Orion Books in both adult and children's editions. The adult edition has a cool red cover, but my personal fave is the children's edition. A stunning blue jacket!

The Prince of Mist, in short, is a stunning book and I can't help wonder why it's taken so long for it to reach our shores. It is a fantastic story. It flows well, the characters are intriguing and the plot is rich in supernatural goings on. From the mysterious death of little Jacob Fleischmann to the horror of The Prince of Mist himself!

I really don't know what I can say that won't spoil the book for everyone. There's always something happening. Not always major. Just little events that on first read seem insignificant, but the further on you go, the more it all makes sense. I'll admit, towards the start of the book I suffered from some confusion, but the nearer I got the the end, it all fit together.

Such a good read. Scary in places as well. I don't want to give too much away but there was a bit involving young Irina in her bedroom, a wardrobe that won't stay locked and the stairs. Probably one of my favourite scenes from the book in a tense and scary sort of way. Quite unsettling really. It definitely made me want to make sure my own wardrobe was firmly closed and thankfully my bedroom door doesn't have a lock on it. As for the stairs, there was some careful steps taken!

And that cat! Creepy. I am now scared if my cat gives me a funny look or side glance!

People definitely need to read this! It doesn't seem nearly 20 years old, and that for me is important for reading. Stories should age well and not seem too dated. And this certainly doesn't.

One very happy reader. Thank you to Carlos for answering my question and deeming it interesting enough to win a signed copy! :D And thanks to Waterstones and the brilliant Nina Douglas at Orion!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Sea Wolf [Review]

Written by: David Miller.
Published by: Oxford University Press.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 7th January 2010.
Rating: 4/5.

Official synopsis: "HUNTED. TRAPPED. DESPERATE. Shipwrecked after a ferocious storm, Hanna, Ned and Jik come face to face with a murderous foe. They must escape or die. But how do you outrun a bullet . . . Or out swim a shark?

Sea Wolf is the sequel to Shark Island which I absolutely loved (you can read my review here) and so when I was offered the chance to review this, I jumped at it. And boy was I pleased I did!

Sea Wolf is even more jam-packed full of adventure, danger and bad guys than Shark Island was, and there was plenty to begin with! I was gripped to each and every page, and read it faster than i read Shark Island.

Miller definitely doesn't disappoint with this sequel. It just as, if not more, engaging than the first book. He continues to share his knowledge of the world, little tidbits about the lands, survival tactics.

There are storms. Shipwrecks. And sharks! This book reminded me of my fear of Jaws as a kid. Truly terrifying in some places. More cliff hangers and tension than a reader can dream of. And we get to learn more about the characters.

It's gotten me very very excited for the next book in the series, Leopard's Claw, which publishes next month! Thank you very much to the amazing Michelle Harrison at OUP for sending me the copy! And isn't that cover art amazing? Blue is my favourite colour, and this definitely stands out.

Monday, 7 June 2010

In My Postbox #6

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to Amazon.

A good week this week!

Sea Wolf by David Miller.

"HUNTED. TRAPPED. DESPERATE. Shipwrecked after a ferocious storm, Hanna, Ned and Jik come face to face with a murderous foe. They must escape or die. But how do you outrun a bullet . . . Or out swim a shark?"

I loved the first book in this series, Shark Island, so I'm looking forward to reading this. Again, the cover art is excellent!







The Hidden World by Henry Chancellor.

"Tom is back at the Scatterhorn Museum, looking forward to spending some time there while his parents are away on one of their adventures. But an unexpected visitor called Pearl Smoot throws everything into disarray when she arrives with an incredible story. She says Tom's old enemy, Don Gervase Askary, has taken her father and brother - and what's more, she claims he has Tom's parents too. Together Tom and Pearl set out on a perilous journey to rescue their families - a journey that will take them in and out of time, to exotic foreign lands, and finally into the secret hidden world of Scarazand, stronghold of the terrifying Don Gervase himself . . . It's non-stop action in this breathtaking sequel to the first fantastic Tom Scatterhorn book, The Museum's Secret."

Another book I am very excited to read, as I loved the first one! OUP have brilliant artowork, I love this cover too!

Thanks to Michelle Harrison at OUP for the above! :D


"Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by the riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion. 'I'm as surprised as anyone about this novella,' said Stephenie Meyer. 'When I began working on it in 2005, it was simply an exercise to help me examine the other side of Eclipse, which I was editing at the time. I thought it might end up as a short story that I could include on my website. Then, when work started on The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide, I thought the Guide would be a good fit for my Bree story. However, the story grew longer than I anticipated, until it was too long to fit into the Guide.'"

Already read and reviewed this. Loved it! :)

Hope everyone has a great week.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner [Review]

Written by: Stephenie Meyer.
Published by: Atom.
Fortmat: Hardback.
Released: 5th June 2010.
Rating: 4.5/5.

SPOILER WARNING FOR ECLIPSE AND BREAKING DAWN!

After a lot of waiting since the announcement that this would be released, I was so excited to finally get my hands on a copy. I adored Eclipse, and so another chance to enter that story again, but from a completely different perspective was an exciting prospect.

And I have to say that Stephenie Meyer really does not disappoint! Bree’s story is engaging and entrancing from the very beginning. As Meyer herself confesses in the introduction, the series is written in first person from Bella’s perspective, and so this causes some blindness to the story as a whole. She can only see what is apparent to her and so doesn’t really get to see things going on behind the scenes that build up to the conclusion. She can only see what is going on around her, and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner provides just the insight that I think a lot of Twilight fans have been waiting for. We finally get to see what life is like as a newborn vampire.

And not just from memory. I can’t quite remember, but there must have been mentions in the saga of life beginning as a vampire, and Bella’s beginning is very controlled by the Cullens. This is fresh, new and completely out of control.

I personally loved this book. It was fun and really does give a good insight to the world of Eclipse.

However, I do have a few downsides. It’s all one long text. No breaks at all, and this annoyed me when it came to having to put the book down. There was no definite point at which you could take a break. And also I felt that some bits were a bit rushed towards the climax of the book. I felt that the fighting was completely missed out on. In Eclipse we got to see a lot of the fighting where Bella was, but not with the rest of the Cullens, and for me, that part was over far too quick.

Overall though, it was a brilliant book that I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend for Twilight fans. It made me really like Bree and wish that she didn't die.

Buy from Amazon UK

Friday, 4 June 2010

Calling A Dead Man [Review]

Written by: Gillian Cross.
Published by: Oxford UP.
Format: Paperback.
Released: New Edition - 6th May 2010 (Orignially published September 2001).
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "John Cox is dead, killed in an explosion while at work. His younger sister Hayley can't believe he's gone. Determined to see the place of his death, she flies to Moscow with John's fiancée, Annie-but the site they're shown isn't where John died. Suddenly it seems that there's more to his death than a tragic accident. Using a tracking system to locate John's mobile phone, Hayley and Annie find the real site of the explosion . . . but they are completely at the mercy of John's former Russian boss and his English speaking son, who have taken them there. Upon recovering the phone, it's clear that John is still alive. Meanwhile, in the Siberian forest, John is being nursed back from the brink of death by a village woman. As he slowly recovers he begins to piece together the truth: he's at the heart of a dangerous power struggle between two brothers who are desperate to silence him-for good."

When I picked up this book and began to read it, I regretted it big time. But not because it was bad. Because it was so good, so thrilling, that I actually could not put it down! I carried it with me around the house like a mad man. Mum asked me to do something, the book went with me. I had to feed the cats, the book went with me. I read this in one sitting, although a lot of walking was involved as well, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I even read late in to the night, a habit I had once broken.

Hayley and Annie are distraught when they find out that John, their brother and fiancée respectively, has been killed in Russia. But the more they delve into trying to find out what happened, the further they delve into danger and corruption.

Gillian Cross, best known for her Demon Headmaster series, adapted into a BBC series that I myself loved as a kid, has produced an absolute corker with Calling A Dead Man. The writing is top notch. The plot is intricate and it wasn't until near the very end that everything slots together. More tension and suspense than you can shake a stick at. Simply brilliant.

I can see why it was awarded the Carnegie Medal!

And the cover art is amazing. Definitely stands out! Thank you to the amazing Michelle Harrison over at OUP for sending me the copy! :D