Currently Reading

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Top 10 Books of 2013

Wow! 2013 is almost at an end, with just a few hours to go, and by golly gosh it has been a strong year as far as books have been concerned. We've seen trilogies end, we've seen new authors explode on to the scene and we've seen some awesome sequels too, so lets see what my favourite 10 books of the year are...

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10) The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness.
The first of two appearances in my Top 10 for Mr. Ness! This book is so beautifully written and it's such an enchanting story that although I have an unwritten rule that I only include one book by each author on my Top 10, it still has to be included, so that rule has to be broken. It's a great little book that I recommend big time!











9) Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood.
A book both beautiful in design and in content. It is a wonderfully written tale of first love, ill-fated from the start and of tragedy all in one summer. It is great and I cannot stress how much I love this book. It's only little, about 200 pages but it packs a punch!













8) The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
A chilling tale of an alien invasion on Earth that left me feeling cold and terrified. Surprisingly though it is freaking awesome. If you haven't read it yet, be sure to check it out soon. The sequel, The Infinite Sea is out in September 2014!













7) Phoneix by Elizabeth Richards.
The second book in the Black City trilogy. The stakes are higher than ever and with Purian Rose building death camps for the Darklings action needs to be taken. I cannot express how much I love this trilogy. It's a disgrace that no one over here publishes them yet, but with the third and final book, Wings, due out in June hopefully it won't be too long. I cannot wait to see how it ends!











6) More Than This by Patrick Ness.
Ah. Mr. Ness' second appearance on my Top 10. And this book is a stunner, both to the eye when you look at that beautiful cover, and when you read it. It's a great story that is difficult to summarise without spoiling it. Just read it. That's all I have to say about this wonderful book. Just read it! That's all you need to know anyway! Just do it!











5) Allegiant by Veronica Roth.
This book had a bit of a controversial entry in to the world back in October. A lot of long term fans of the trilogy were unhappy with the way that it ended, but I for one thoroughly enjoyed it and understand why it ended the way it did. It's just sad to see another trilogy go. Please write more Veronica! Please!












4) Taken by Erin Bowman.
So from an ending of a trilogy, to the beginning of another. And this time it's fronted by a male character! Yes! A male protagonist! How long have we been waiting for one of those in a dystopian setting? Quite a while. Taken is a well crafted book centred around Grey whose brother has been taken, just like all the men before him, on his eighteenth birthday, and Grey is determined to get to the bottom of why it happens before it is his turn. A page turner that I cannot recommend enough and I am so pumped for the second book, Frozen to come out in April!!








3) ACID by Emma Pass.
A stunning début that took a hold of me right from the word go and it just would not let me go until I'd read the very last word. It's pacey, it's addictive and it's so energetic and fresh and wonderfully written. A dystopian affair set in England. Yes please, and thank you! I mean, who doesn't want to rad that? I do! Emma has hit the ground running and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next. Her next book, The Fearless is out next year and I am so excited to read it!










Ooh... It's getting closer!!!

2) Department 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill.
It was close. Oh so close, let me tell you! In fact I hadn't decided which book would get 2nd and which would get first until I've just written the post up. I've been tossing and turning them over and now I think I have it right. Battle Lines, for those of you who would have to be living under a rock not to know, is the third book in Will's phenomenal series. It's electric. His writing is incredible. His knack of getting you to think you know where the story is going and then yanking the carpet right from under your feet at the very last moment is inspiring and incredible. That would be why The Rising, book two of the series was number 1 last year. He is awesome and he should know it by now, I know I've said it enough times to count for everyone. His monsters are real, tangible, scary. Something that I personally don't think we see a lot of these days. People dumb down the monsters, make them on the same level as stroppy teenagers, make them all angst-ridden and lovesick and while there is an element of romance in there it is secondary to the actual story and the brutality which is something I love and applaud Will for! The penultimate book in the series is out in March and it is called Zero Hour. You better not miss it!

And finally then, the top spot. My number 1 book of 2013... It is, without further ado...




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1) Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.
It's been a big year for me personally. I, myself, only came to terms fully with my own sexuality at the very end of this year, partly helped by reading this book which for me was life changing. It moved me, it showed me that it is okay to be gay, that I don't have to be ashamed any more and that I am not alone. Since reading this book I've come out fully, and the response has been amazing. I honestly don't think it would of happened yet, were it not for this book. It's beautiful. I don't know how else to describe it. Published in October, the stories encased within it's cover (which is big too for YA fiction, two guys kissing, who would of thought it, huh?) are so touching and some of them are pretty close to how I am, or I should now say was. Thank you Mr. Levithan for crafting this beautiful book. I like to think that it will help others out there too, just like me, and maybe that was Levithan's idea. Either way, it was a great book that I have only seen praise for elsewhere too. So there it is. My favourite book of 2013.

So guys, what do you think of my choices? What is your favourite book of 2013?

Either way, I am so pumped to see what 2014 has in store for us all. Happy New Year, and Happy Reading!

Top 10 Covers of 2013

So it is that time of year again. A time for end of year lists where we get to look back at the year, wonder where it went and look at all the amazing cover art we saw this year. From a gay kiss on David Levithans aptly titled, Two Boys Kissing, to a rose with a bullet hole through it on Marie Lu's Champion, 2013 has had its fair share of amazing covers. So without further ado, here are my top 10...

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10) The Eye of Minds by James Dashner.
This cover has a feel of Inception about it. It's dark, moody, the way the building is all splintered and folding in on itself. I love it. And it looks amazing in its physical form as it's all foiled and cool, and blue and shiny! Awesome stuff!

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9) Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano.
What a beautiful cover, huh? It's so cool physically as well. All the etching and the stars are foiled. It looks so cool. I love the colouring and everything! 

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8) The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock.
Following in the same vein as the first book in the trilogy, The City's Son, this books cover is stunning. I love the way the London skyline is used and the font used for the title. Perfection!

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7) Origin by Jessica Khoury.
I remember when I first saw this cover being a little breathless because it's so beautiful. The jungle, the figure coming out of it and the fact that we cannot see their face or who they are adds some mystery to it which I love and it means we still get to use our own imagination as to who this character is.

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6) Champion by Marie Lu.
Ahhhhhh... Every time I see this cover I want to touch it, frame it, hang it out for the world to see. It's simple. Beautiful. Stunning, even. The rose, the bullet hole, the colouring. I love this cover so much. A great cover for the ending of a trilogy!

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5) More Than This by Patrick Ness.
Another cover that needs to be framed for the whole world to see. It's so cool. So beautiful. And on the actual book the door is cut out and the title is printed on the page underneath. It's a very cool little effect that I love. I like little things like that, it shows that some real thought has gone in to it.

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4) Angelfall by Susan Ee.
I love how dirty it looks. The grungy background. The wings. Just so cool and it reflects what is going on in the story perfectly.

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3) Taken by Erin Bowman.
The colours. The reflections in the floor. The tree. I love this cover so much. If you get the actual book you have to check out the spine. It is so cool. It's matte black, and then the title is in colour like the front cover and it's shiny and just awesome! The cover for the second book in the trilogy, Frozen which is due out in April 2014, is even better! AMAZING!!!

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2) Zom-B City by Darren Shan.
This cover still, to this day, gives me the creeps despite that fact that it was unveiled over a year ago now and released in March. It's so creepy. Every time I look at it I notice something new, something different. That's the thing with a lot of Darren's covers, there are several layers, things that catch your eyes immediately like the fact it's a creepy ass clown, with an eye for a nose. Then there are things you notice later like the spiders, the entrails wrapped around his arm. Ugh. It's a disgusting cover really, but so effective and so cool at the same time! BRAVO!!

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And finally, in first place...

1) Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.
This has to be my favourite cover I've seen all year, obvious I guess, seeing as it's made number one. Haha. It's just what is needed at the moment I think. We need more people to become familiar with this image. It's important, it's powerful and I feel it'll help normalise being gay. This year was a big year for me as I think I finally accepted my own sexuality, partly helped by reading this book, and came out to everyone in my life this month. So this cover and the book itself hold a special feeling and memory for me. So for several reasons this is my favourite cover of 2013!

So, do you agree with my choices? What was your favourite cover of 2013? Comment below and let me know!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

ZOM-B Gladiator cover unveiled and ZOM-B 7 gets a name!

Ooh! This week has been a very exciting one for fans of Mr. Darren Shan. On Thursday, Halloween no less, the master of horror revealed the cover on his official facebook page!


Ooh! Look at that! Nice! It's kind of hard to tell what's going on, it's quite up close, isn't it? There looks to be some time of fabric under the face, something being stuck on it? I don't know. All I know is I like it, and while it's a little quieter than the previous six covers in the sense that we can't actually see who it is or anything like that, it's still so striking and you just know it's going to look amazing next to rest of the series!

And then on Friday, Darren also revealed the title for the seventh book.

Zom-B Mission

ARGH! I cannot wait! Darren teased us with a little info about Zom-B Mission on his blog saying that while he can't say much, it's the start of the second half of the series and that from here on in there are no pauses for breath, that the first half is all about setting up the major players in the story that's about to unfold in the latter half. Lordy, that sounds so exciting!

Zom-B Gladiator is published in January, and Zom-B Mission will follow in April.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth [Review]

WARNING: Allegiant is the third and final book of the Divergent trilogy. That said this review WILL contain spoilers. I'm sorry but it's just so unavoidable, for reasons that, if you've read the book, you will understand. It is practically impossible to review this book without talking about major plot points that take place. If you have yet to read Allegiant, or even the first two books in the series, Divergent and Insurgent, then I beg of you, please do not read this review or you will have an awesome reading experience ruined and that sucks! Honestly, HUGEMONGOUS spoilers! Turn away!!!

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US // UK

Written by: Veronica Roth.
Published: HarperCollins.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 22nd October 2013.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent."


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Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Where on earth do I start? Please bear with me, there is just so much to talk about and process, it's unreal. 

So, for those that follow me on twitter, you'll know I have been banging on about the impending release of Allegiant for ages. I have been so excited about it, as I get for most concluding parts of a series or trilogy. Something about the wait for Allegiant though found me more impatient than I've been for the finale of a series since I read Mockingjay and the wait then was just a mere month as I was only introduced to The Hunger Games in the July as Mockingjay came out in the August. But with Divergent and Allegiant I've been there since the beginning. In fact, since before the book even came out! I was lucky enough to recieve a proof copy of Divergent from HarperCollins UK way back in March 2011 and at the time I thought it looked amazing but the idea didn't really grip me. And then like millions of others I actually started reading and instantly fell in love with this world of factions, serums and war.

Fast forward to May 2012 when Insurgent came out and it was even better, in my opinion of course, than the first book. Cue massive hysteria when it was announced that the third book in the series wouldn't come out right until the end of 2013... 18 months of no Tris, no Four/Tobias, no factions, no nothing. How would we cope? How would we survive? Well we did and that time went pretty darn fast.

So I guess I should talk about the book itself since that's what we're here for...

I'm not going to lie to you. Allegiant isn't perfect. It isn't and that is a fact. There has been a huge, massive, colossal backlash surrounding the book and I'll be honest I don't get why... Yes, the book's middle is kind of boring. Not incredibly boring, only slightly. I still felt the need to read on, to turn the page to find out what was going to happen next. Tris, Four and the gang leave the city to see what exactly is going on in the outside world and they're introduced to a world where war has raved America. An organisation has been tasked with working out where humanity went wrong and as fare as they're concerned it's all down to genes. Bad genes. They believe there is an answer in human DNA as to why war destroyed so much of the population and they believe that there is a way that they can fix it. That's exactly what the city is. It's an experiment and they've been under surveillance the entire time, their whole lives monitored in the name of science. Suddenly, Tris learns what it truly is to be a Divergent. Being honest, it's not as exciting to be a Divergent as I thought it would be, but overall it actually makes sense in the grand scheme of things and it does work with the story.

The whole science aspect of the story is kind of brushed over pretty quick and sometimes I did find myself getting a little confused. I think the science part was one thing, if the only thing that annoyed me about the book a bit. I'm not a huge science-fiction fan, I'm not. I just don't really get it that much. Sometimes it's good but other times it's not. It just felt a bit out of place in Allegiant. I get that it was part of the story and in a way it makes sense but at the same time it just felt weird. For the past two books it's been a strictly dystoian affair, so to throw a bit of sci-fi in at the last minute kind of threw me off a bit. It made the book seem a bit less dystopia which I didn't like.

Something I loved about the book though was the dual narrative. Now, I love Tobias, can't get enough of him, so it's perfect that he has a time to really shine in Allegiant. In fact, the narrative is pretty much 50/50 so we get to see both Tris and Tobias' opinions on everything. It also works because there are times where the couple are split up, doing different things, on their own little missions so to speak, so it's good that we don't just have to follow one thread and then hear about the other in past tense, a re-telling or whatever. It just made it feel so much more immediate which I liked.

Onto characters! Tris is her usual, unfathomable self. One minute I'd find myself liking her again, agreeing with what she was saying and doing. And then others I was squirming in my seat as I read, almost not wanting to turn the page to see what stupid thing she'd do next. If anyone has seen the trailer for the movie adaptation of Divergent, due for release in March, then you'll see Janine (played by Kate Winslet) saying that she is a mixture of impurities and impulses and she's damn right. Something that is shown even more so in Allegiant is her impulses. She doesn't seem to think about the effects her actions will have on others. Not even Tobias. She just seems to act and then thinks later, oops, maybe I shouldn't of done that. She's so selfish. So obnoxious and you have to wonder at times when she does certain things why people want to be around her. It can be tiring to read as I so want to like Tris, I do. She isn't a particularly likeable character but this can be a good thing. It does make her real and it shows that even a supposed hero isn't perfect, no matter what it is they do. It is in turn something that does make her kind of likeable in a weird way. She's full of flaws and that's something that people need to learn.

Tobias now... Well, what is there to say about Tobias? He just exudes this masculinity that's needed, he's so different to Tris that they kind of work together. He's quiet, thoughtful and as he has been in the previous two books, brooding. He seems to think a lot more than he says, never giving too much away, and the fact that we get to read the book partly from his voice too adds to this and is something I personally loved, getting to see his internal thoughts, seeing that he's even more complex than we already know. He's not as strong as he seems, and this is a part of the story that does make me with it was just Tris narrating the story. He kind of loses some of his tough guy exterior and we see even more that it's just a front. I love Four and Tobias seems so far away from the guy that we first met during Dauntless initiation in book one. That said he still my favourite character in the trology. He doesn't share the selfish nature that Tris has, he contemplates everything before he does it, even when he helps rebels in the compound outside of the city who are determined to bring down the Bureau who are running the experiments - they've treated his life as entertainment, a problem that needs solving, and he has the power to do something about it, but still he thinks before commuting  And something I love about Tobias that Tris doesn't really have that much of is a conscience. Yes, she feels guilty about killing Will, but it kind of stops there. After things go wrong with the rebellion against the Bureau, Tobias is so full of guilt.

So much of Allegiant and indeed the trilogy itself is about choices. The choice to do what is right for one person, or the choice to do what is right for thousands of people. 

I like that we get to learn more about Tris's family and their history, stretching back to Edith Prior, or Amanda Ritter as she was known before she was entered into the experiment - I also liked the twist surrounding her mum and where she came from, what her purpose was in the city. Although I do wish we had seen more fighting in the book, more of a battle. Yes, there was a bit of battle, but nothing on the scale of those in Insurgent and at the end of Divergent. In places, I guess Allegiant was a little anti-climatic, just because everything kind of slotted in to place without have to be moulded to fit kind of thing.

And I guess I should also talk about the ending. The whole reason for the backlash. Now... there are those of us out there who believe that every book, every trilogy, series, and indeed every story, be it written or film, should end with a happy outcome. I've seen a lot of comments the last few days, in particular when I went looking for them after finishing the book about how Veronica has betrayed her readers. That she led us into a false sense of security only to pull the matt out from under us and leave us out to dry. I've seen comments that it is an authors DUTY to end a story happily as it gives people hope, in particular that YA fiction should he full of hope and happiness after the sadness that's proceeded it. Well I have one thing to say about that. I think it's bullshit. Absolute rubbish. I HATE that everything ends with a happy ending. It gets so boring, so repetitive. Yes, it's nice to know that love conquers, that good wins over evil and that everyone lives in the process but that's not giving people hope, it's giving people a false sense of reality. What I think people need to realise is that Veronica owes people no happy ending at all. It's her book. Her trilogy and she can end it as she see's fit. The way that any writer should be able to. 

In fact, I admire Veronica. It's a brave decision to kill of your main character. Big time. I doubt she did is flippantly and thought, well I wanna shock people. I bet she did it because it's the way she saw the trilogy ending. What people need to realise is, with these books and with books in the same vain, dystopian books, stories about war, is that bad things happen when you are at war. And people die. It's a fact. I don't see, personally, why that should be shied away from. Yeah, it would of been great if Tris hadn't of died and that her and Four lived a happy life after the factions and everything they've been through, that they had children and continued their lives. But the ending we got is just as good, I feel anyway. It's true to Tris' character. She acts on impulse and it's impulse, and her lack of consideration for what her actions do to others, that leads to her death. She sacrifices herself because she can't bear to see other people die for her, not after her parents, and I for one admire Tris as a character for that. She kind of redeemed herself although now poor Tobias has to go it alone.

I liked the epilogue at the end as well. It was good seeing Tobias a few years down the line, now that he's made a niche for himself in the world. He's still angry with Tris for leaving him, but he's trying to move on, to forgive her and the scenes at the very end are so beautiful that after the tears had already started a few chapters earlier with Tris' demise (yes I cried a bit because it was very beautifully written and emotional, so what...) they just flowed. I wish that there'd been more about the way people were adapting to life without the factions - that bit felt kind of rushed, they way no one was really bothered about it any more, that life went on with no questions asked. I felt that Evelyn's changes were very out of character but they were well written so that kind of makes up for it. But over all the ending was very good and I for one am satisfied. I know that in years to come I will re-read the trilogy again and again because my love for it is so great that even if I had hated the ending I would of still loved the trilogy regardless.

I know so many others will dislike the ending, but then I guess it's that way with every series, right? Some people hated the way JK Rowling ended the series with Deathly Hallows. Some people hate the end of Mockingjay. And now some people hate the way that Veronica ended the trilogy with Allegiant. But for those people there will be countless others that realise that at the heart of it all is a book that is well written and gives a good sense of closure, that no matter what their opinion of a book is, there is no good reason to give an author death threats like Veronica has been receiving this week. And that no matter what, an author only has a duty to themselves to write the story as they believe it and that will have to be good enough.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Banished by Liz De Jager gets cover art!

Anyone who's been around in the blogging universe for the last few years will know of Liz who originally ran her own book blog and is now flipping sides from blogger to author with her debut novel, Banished, due for release next year. It's the first book in The Blackheart trilogy and now we have a stunning cover to gawp at and covet. I for one love the cover and think it'll look amazing on the shelves in Waterstones. I actually cannot wait to see it there and I bet Liz can't either! Congrats Liz on such a beautiful cover! The cover gods have blessed you and from the synopsis it sounds rightfully so as it sounds like it's going to be an awesome read too! Roll on 2014!


Beautiful! The fact that Liz has gone from blogger to author is a very exciting prospect as it gives hope so many of us, me included, who dream of being published! Cannot wait to read this!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (25): Frozen


Frozen by Erin Bowman.

"Gray Weathersby escaped from the primitive town of Claysoot expecting to find answers, but what he discovered shook him to the core: A ruthless dictator with absolute power. An army of young soldiers blinded by lies. And a growing rebellion determined to fight back. 
Now Gray has joined a team of rebels on a harsh, icy journey in search of allies who can help them set things right. But in a world built on lies, Gray must constantly question whether any ally-or enemy-is truly what they seem...."

If you've read my blog before you may of seen me gush uncontrollably earlier in the year about a book called Taken by Erin Bowman which had a cover so stunning you just can't help but drool whenever you see it! Well thankfully it was just the first book in a trilogy and Frozen is the second book, due for release on 15th April next year, and the cover is just as beautiful if not more so! I for one cannot wait to read it! You can check out my review for Taken here, and you should really check the book out for yourself so you can see what I mean. It's just so awesome and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (24): Vitro


Vitro by Jessica Khoury

On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.
                        
Sophie Crue is determined to visit Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. She enlists hunky charter pilot Jim Julien to take her there. But once on the island, Sophie and Jim encounter more than they bargained for, including a charming, brilliant Vitro named Nicholas and an innocent, newly awoken one named Lux--Sophie's twin.  
In a race for their lives, Sophie and Jim are about to discover what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.

Now this sounds so freaking awesome, I cannot wait to read it. I've been wanting to read Jessica's first book, Origin, for quite some time and I've finally gotten around to ordering it so I'm looking forward to that!

Vitro is out January 2014!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Taken Novella due February 2014 - Cover revealed!

I've run on and on and on and on about Taken by Erin Bowman. Both on twitter, my review (which can be found here) was a massive gushfest and I am so excited to read the second book, Frozen which is due next April so the news that there is going to be a novella set in the Taken world has me one very happy and excited boy! 

Stolen will be published on 4th February (and I have it straight from Erin it will be released in the UK at the same time too, thank heavens because I couldn't wait a second longer than I already have to!) and the cover is so beautiful, just like those of the main books in the trilogy...


AHHHHH! Just look at it. So beautiful. It's a shame Kindles don't have colour screens but it'll still look epic!

A brief synopsis has also been released to whet the appetites of those ravenous readers like me who can't wait to read it...

"Before Gray Weathersby uncovered the truth about Claysoot and the Laicos Project, a girl named Bree came of age in the coastal settlement of Saltwater—and made her own surprising journey to the world beyond its borders. In Stolen,discover the story of Bree’s life before she was Snatched from her home, before she joined the rebellion, and before she met a boy named Gray…"
I for one shall be sat with my Kindle in hand come release day just waiting for it to download!

Department 19 Book Four update...

So, as you may have seen I've been a bit quiet lately so there are some things to catch up on. And one is the title announcement and cover for the fourth book in Will Hill's incredible Department 19 series. I'll be honest, I was a bit scared when new covers started popping up for the series and was so pleased when Will said that the hardbacks will stay in the same style through to the fifth and final book in the series. Phew! Thank goodness for that... so... the title for the latest instalment is... Zero Hour. I had kind of expected this for Book Five as it's what we've been counting down to the last few books. The moment when the good vs evil battle will truly commence. So this has me even more excited for what we might see in the final instalment... Anyway, back to Zero Hour...

Thankfully, as I have already said, the cover remains in the style of the previous covers which are stunning in their own right... So here it is...


I mean... Look at it... I just need a moment...

It's so cool! I love it and just know that like the previous books, it'll look even better in the physical form. It's out in March 2014 and I can't wait! Knowing Will, it's sure to be another knock out instalment!

And for good measure... the synopsis!!

Department 19 still stands against the darkness. But for how much longer? Book 4 in the explosive series from bestselling author, Will Hill. 
As Dracula continues his rise, the men and women of Department 19 wait for good news. But hope is in short supply – the country is beginning to fall apart as the public comes to terms with the horror in their midst; a cure for vampirism remains years, even decades away; and their supposed ally Valentin Rusmanov has not been heard from in weeks. 
Jamie Carpenter and his friends are working hard to keep the forces of evil at bay, but it is beginning to feel like a lost cause…Until familiar faces from the past bring news that could turn the tide. News that takes Matt Browning to America on a desperate search for a miracle, and sends Jamie and Larissa Kinley into the darkest corners of eastern Europe, where something old and impossibly powerful waits for them. 
Something that could stop Dracula for good. 
But the clock is ticking. 
Night is falling. And Zero Hour is almost here…

Cover revealed for Say Her Name

In May next year, Hot Key Books will publish Say Her Name, the third book to come from the brilliant James Dawson. After Hollow Pike and Cruel Summer I am a massive fan of James' work and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next, and from the looks of the cover it's something pretty darn scary! I cannot wait! The design team have done an AMAZING job. I can already imagine it on the shelves in the bookshops, standing out a real treat and just begging to be read!


Monday, 9 September 2013

The Transfer by Veronica Roth [Review]

Written by: Veronica Roth.
Published by: HarperCollins.
Format: eBook.
Released: 3rd September 2013.
Rating: 4/5.

Official synopsis: "More Four! Fans of the Divergent series by No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by ‘The Transfer’, the first of four new short stories told from Four’s perspective. Each brief story explores the world of the Divergent series through the eyes of the mysterious but charismatic Tobias Eaton, revealing previously unknown facets of his personality, back story and relationshops."

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The Transfer is the first of four short stories in an episodic series about one of our favourite characters to come from Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy. Four, or as he is also known Tobias, himself.

It is, as I've already mentioned, a short story. Amazon says it comes in at about 24 pages, but there's quite a bit packed in to this little volume. We meet Tobias back in his Abnegation life, with his father terrifying the life out of him. I really like that, and it looks like we're going to get more, we get an insight in to his thinking, his mind. We see the internal conflict going on as he tries to decide between factions and whether or not he can bear to stand the rest of his life under his fathers gaze and fists.

This is well written and very good, and whilst it is quite similar to Tris' own entrance to Dauntless life, it's great to get someone else's perspective, and well, you can never get enough of Four. I'm really looking forward to seeing how he develops into the character we meet in Divergent.

I for one cannot wait to read the next three parts of this little collection to get more of an insight into Tobias. There's a break in the release of these novellas next month because we get the biggie itself, the final book of the trilogy, Allegiant, and there's nothing in November so I'm guessing HarperCollins and Veronica think we need a month to calm down after reading the finale! So... The Initiate follows in December, The Son in January and finally The Traitor in February and then there'll be a bind up of all of them released in physical form, which I for one cannot wait for. I love the US cover because it looks exciting so I'll definitely be importing that in when it comes out in February!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan [Review]

Written by: David Levithan.
Published by: Random House.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 27th September 2013.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS. While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other."

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I've been very excited and also very anxious to read Two Boys Kissing for quite a while now. The premise sounds amazing, and correct me if I am wrong but this is the first time there have been, well... two boys kissing on a book cover for YA literature? And for me that marks something massive, something so exciting and liberating: acceptance. And I like that a lot! But I have also been anxious because I really didn't like Levithan's début novel which also featured young gay characters, Boy Meets Boy. In fact, I disliked it a lot. And I mean a lot. I just couldn't gel with it. The characters. The style. The stereotypical nature of the characters that made me a little scared because I wasn't like them.

But I have to be honest that all those feelings of anxiety disappeared as soon as I started to read the book. The narrative is very strange to start with. It's written in a Greek chorus, as the synopsis confirms, and it's all the men who have died from AIDs over the years, looking down on our generation, commenting on how free we are compared to how they had to live their lives as young gay men and so on. It did take a good fifty pages for me to really get into the narrative and I did feel at the start as if it was going to annoy me, but then for some reason it just clicked and it makes the book all the more poignant and thoughtful. 

We meet a host of characters in Two Boys Kissing covering the LGBT spectrum. This is something that I think the narrative lends itself to very well. We get to see all views, that of the narrators and the characters themselves - it kind of gives the characters a more 3D feel and I liked this. There are Ryan and Avery who meet for the first time and all is not as it seems at first. There's Neil and Peter who are both in an established relationship. There's Cooper who takes advantage of the digital age to become whoever he wants to be, talking to men all across the country in a way he'd never speak to them if they were face to face, he's struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and his parents finding out. And then there are Craig and Harry, the central characters the... well... the two boys kissing. They used to go out but don't any more but they want to set a world record and raise awareness for the gay community so decide to go for it.

All of the characters have different aspects to them that I feel, personally, could relate to anyone. I saw myself in Cooper, sometimes hating the fact that I'm gay and just wishing that I wasn't, scared of the whole coming out process and consequences. And then I'd find myself relating to Ryan and Avery, in the whole attraction bubble that comes when you first see a guy you like. And so on. There are so many parts to this novel although it is only a 200 page read, it sure does pack a punch.

And the quotes! I've never been one for quoting really. I get quotes and I sometimes read something and think wow... that's amazing! but with Two Boys Kissing there are so many bits that I want to remember, that I want in a frame hanging on my wall, that I want to scribble in notebooks and just think about for years to come. One that really stood out to me and felt quite powerful whilst I was reading it was:

"This is the power of a kiss: It does not have the power to kill you. But it has the power to bring you to life."

Sigh. It just made me feel all gooey inside and I just loved that sentence.

Two Boys Kissing is, I feel, a very important book. We're at a crossroads when it comes to equality and the scales are tipping in the right direction. For me the book highlights the fact that we are normal people, just like everyone else and it's very thought provoking. I think that every LGBT teen or young adult or even adult should read this book. If you're struggling to come to terms with things - kind of like myself - or if you just want to get a bit of perspective you should read it. But I also think that straight teens, young adults and so on should read it too. It's very easy for people to write off gay people and think they know them before they actually do. Just the word gay brings up an idea of a person and it's wrong. A person shouldn't be judged upon their sexuality, just as they shouldn't their colour, size or anything else for that matter - just the one thing that counts, their personality. That's what it's all about and Two Boys Kissing showcases that brilliantly.

I cannot express how thankful I am to David Levithan for this book. It has genuinely helped me and come at a time I needed it most. I no longer feel so much like an alien and it was an entertaining, addictive and downright emotional read to boot. I love it and I plan to re-read it again, and again, and again.

At the moment you can't get the book in the UK. It is being published over here, by Egmont UK, but not until next June, so if you cannot wait that long just do what I did... BOOK DEPO!