Wednesday 31 August 2011

Book Trailer: Stealing Phoenix - Joss Stirling

Stealing Phoenix by Joss Stirling has got to be one of the books I've most been looking forward to this year so I had to share this trailer with you!

Stealing Phoenix is released in the UK this month so if you haven't read the first book Finding Sky yet I'd highly recommend picking it up now so you can read it before Stealing Phoenix (you can read my review of Finding Sky here).  I've included the Finding Sky trailer below in case you need a little more encouragement:

Tuesday 30 August 2011

ARC Review: The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater

This review was originally written by me as a guest post for Carolyn at Book Chick City and can be found here.

Stay alive, stay astride, stay out of the water...

Every November, the Scorpio Races are run beneath the chalk cliffs of Skarmouth.  Thousands gather to watch the horses and the sea that washes the blood from the sand.  The mounts are savage water horses.  There are no horses more beautiful, more fearless, more deadly.  To race them can be suicide but the danger is irresistible.

Sean and Puck both enter the Races hoping to change their lives.  But first they'll have to survive.

The Scorpio Races is released in the UK on the 19th of October 2011.

Visit Maggie Stiefvater's website for more information

As a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series I was really excited about reading The Scorpio Races.  Although the books couldn't be more different in terms of the worlds Maggie has created they both have her beautifully descriptive style and you are fully pulled into the story.  I did find that The Scorpio Races was a bit slow to get started, I struggled a little to get into the story and found the mythology of the sea horses confusing at first but once it gets going I was completely gripped.

Maggie has created something totally unique and I loved that it was so different to anything else I've ever read - flesh eating sea horses? Yes, that's something I've not come across before!  These aren't seahorses in the traditional sense - no curly tails here - they look like normal land horses but live in the water, only coming out to feed.  Every November the horses start to come ashore in Thisby and the islanders are at risk of death or serious injury if one of the horses find them.  Although they live in fear of the Cappaill Uisce they also celebrate them and hold an annual race across the cliffs and beach.  People come from all around the world to watch the races and the participants face all kinds of dangers, even trying to capture a horse to race on could cost them their lives.  The chances of surviving to the finishing line are low but the rewards for the winner makes it worth the risk. 

I have to admit that I found it frustrating trying to figure out the pronunciation of the Cappaill Uisce (said COPple Ooshka) / Capall Uisce (said CAPple ISHka).  For the first half of the book I was confused every time I came across the words and had to flick back to the pronunciation guide at the front of the book to remind myself how they were said.  I was especially confused every time the word Uisce was used on it's own - was it supposed to be Ooshka or ISHka?  In the end I gave up and just mentally pronounced them they way they are spelt, after that I found reading the book much easier as I wasn't thrown out of the story every time they were used.  That would be my major niggle with the story though and probably wouldn't bother most people as much as it bugged me.

The story follows two of the competitors in the race.  First we have Sean Kendrick who is an expert when it comes to the Cappaill Uisce and four time winner of the races.  His horse Corr is known to be the fastest one on the island and he is easily the favourite to win the race again this time.  Sean has very good reason to enter the race, he is hoping to win his freedom and desperately wants Corr to belong to him.  I loved Sean from the beginning and found it fascinating watching him training the water horses, he was the island's expert and someone that everyone turned to whenever there was a problem with any of the horses.  Sean was the only one who seemed able to calm the horses down and he really had a magical connection with them.

The other competitor we spend time with is Puck (Kate) Connolly, orphaned when her parents were killed by water horses she has every reason to avoid the races but due to circumstances beyond her control she feels like the only way to keep whats left of her family together is to enter.  Puck is such a brave and plucky character that you can't help but warm to her even though you're thinking she must be crazy to even consider racing.  She is the first woman ever to enter the race and this doesn't go down well with the other riders but she stands up for herself and refuses to be pushed aside.  There is a sweet and slow building romance between Puck and Sean but I loved that this didn't take over the whole story, the focus was definitely on the horses and the race.

Anyone who has ever had an interested in horses or riding will love the descriptions in the story.  It really is beautifully written and I felt like I was riding along the cliffs with Puck and Sean as they were training for the race.  It was easy to picture the island and although the idea of flesh eating horses is terrifying they are strangely beautiful animals in my imagination.  If you're a fan of Maggie Stiefvater or have a passion for horses then I would definitely recommend reading The Scorpio Races.  It makes a refreshing change to read a stand alone novel (I seem to be starting so many different series at the moment!) but I would happily re-visit Puck and Sean's world if Maggie did decide to write a sequel.

Source: Received from Carolyn at Book Chick City for a guest review on her blog

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Monday 29 August 2011

Review: Blood Bound - Rachel Vincent

US Cover
By blood, by word, by magic . . .

Most can't touch the power.  But Liv Warren is special - a paranormal tracker who follows the scent of blood.

Liv makes her own rules, and the most important one is trust no one.

But when her friend's daughter goes missing, Liv has no choice but to find the girl.  Thanks to a childhood oath, Liv can't rest until the child is home safe.  But that means trusting Cam Caballero, the former lover forbidden to her.

Bound by oath and lost in desire for a man she cannot have, Liv is racing to save the child from a dark criminal underworld where secrets, lies, trauma and danger lurk around every corner . . . every touch . . . every kiss.

And more blood will be spilled before it's over . . .

Unbound Trilogy:
Blood Bound
Shadow Bound
Oath Bound

Visit Rachel Vincent's website for more information

I'm a massive fan of Rachel Vincent's Shifters series so I couldn't wait to get my hands on Blood Bound and as soon as it arrived it jumped immediately to the top of my to read pile.  The world she has created in this new series couldn't be more different from the Shifters books, the story is much darker but it has everything you would expect from this author - strong characters, plenty of action and twists that will knock you sideways.  Blood Bound is a must for any urban fantasy fan and this has the potential to become one of my favourite series, my only disappointment is that I'll have to wait a year before I can get my hands on the next book!

The world may have known about the Skilled for 30 years but governments and the law still refuse to publicly acknowledge they exist which has created a black market for anyone with enough money who wants to use their abilities.  Some of the Skilled have the ability to track anyone by either a name or a tiny sample of their blood, some of them can travel through shadows to any destination and others have the ability to bind you to a magical contract that will cause you physical pain and even death if you try to break it.  As you can imagine these skills are highly sought after and 2 main crime syndicates will do whatever it takes to have control of the most powerful Skilled and earn money by using them. 

Liv is one of the most powerful blood trackers, going on her official range she can track anyone in an 80 mile radius using just a drop of their blood but in reality she can find you even if you are much further away.  Liv has been running from her past for 6 years now but it is about to catch up with her when her ex Cam arrives on the scene bringing with him one of her oldest childhood friends.  Thanks to a blood oath between Liv and her friends she is unable to refuse Anne's request for help even if getting involved is the last thing she wants to do.  Liv resents her friend for forcing her into something but as much as she hates the position she finds herself in she does feel sorry for Anne and deep down she wants to help her.  What she really doesn't want is to accept Cam's help to do it, although Cam is the love of her life she walked out on him 6 years ago without giving him any kind of explanation and Cam is determined to win her back.  That is something that Liv can't risk but it takes a while before the reason for this becomes clear.

The story is told from both Liv and Cam's perspectives and I loved that we get to see both of their sides of the story.  Liv is a strong character but she also has a vulnerability to her that makes you feel protective of her.  She is keeping a lot of secrets but as you learn more about her past her actions become much more understandable.  Cam is someone I loved as soon as I met him, he is so sweet and protective of Liv but he sees her how she truly is and knows she doesn't need to be looked after.  He has never gotten over her leaving him and is still crazy about her, he can tell she has feelings for him too and doesn't understand why she keeps pushing him away.  He uses her bond with Anne as a way to get back in her life and isn't going to let her get away from him this time, he wants an explanation and will do whatever it takes to get it.  The chemistry between Liv and Cam was fantastic and I loved watching these two together.  There is just enough sexual tension and romance for an urban fantasy - it never takes over the main storyline though, just enhances it.

When it comes to the plot I have to admit I found things a little confusing for the first few chapters but this is often the case when you're starting a new series and trying to become familiar with a new world.  Once the story takes off it will have you gripped to the pages and you won't want to put it down.  Liv and Cam find themselves caught between the two main crime syndicates and there isn't going to be an easy way for them to resolve things.  While they care for each other they both have big secrets and if they are revealed it will change everything.  Can they find a way to help Anne and a way to be together again or are they destined to be pulled in different directions?  You'll have to pick up a copy of Blood Bound to find out, in the meantime I'll be sitting here desperately waiting for Shadow Bound!

Source: ARC received from Rachel Vincent in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
Tynga's Reviews
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

US Cover
Paperback / Kindle:

Sunday 28 August 2011

News: Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor

I think one of my most anticipated autumn releases has to be Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, I really can't wait to read this book!  Hodder started teasing us about this one back in July with a series of mysterious postcards

Ever since then the buzz has been building and I've been looking forward to picking up the book.  So now that the final cover image has been released I thought I'd share it with you here.

There once was a young artist called Karou who drew tales of monsters and demons that delighted and enthralled those around her.

But she has a secret, a secret that ties her to a dusty subterranean chamber, where her beloved guardian brokers dark deals in a place that is not here. A place that is Elsewhere.

Living with one foot in each world, Karou has never really known which one is her true home.

Now the doors to Elsewhere closing . . .

What do you think?  Isn't it beautiful and the blurb sounds fantastic!

I spotted the US trailer on YouTube and thought I'd include that too.

If you'd like more information you can visit the Daughter of Smoke and Bone website, follow the DoSaB Twitter page or visit Laini Taylor's blog here

The book is released in the UK on the 29th of September so watch out for my review coming soon!

Saturday 27 August 2011

ARC Review: Nightshade - Maryrose Wood

Sixteen-year-old Jessamine Luxton is heartbroken.  Her true love, Weed, the strange and intriguing young man who came into her life so suddenly, has disappeared.

Jessamine suspects that her own father, Thomas, may have been involved.  Thomas was obsessed with poisons and discovering Weed's secret understanding of dangerous plants. 

This suspicion and her own growing expertise with poisons have changed her.  She is no longer innocent.  So when Jessamine learns that Weed is alive and in danger, she will do whatever it takes to be reunited with him, including killing whoever gets in her way

Poison Diaries Trilogy:
The Poison Diaries
Nightshade (1st September 2011)
No title is currently available for the third book in the trilogy

The Poison Diaries series is written by Maryrose Wood and based on an idea by the Duchess of Northumberland. Visit Maryrose Wood's website or The Poison Diaries website for more information

After really enjoying The Poison Diaries I have to admit I was excited to get my hands on an advanced copy of Nightshade and I couldn't wait to start reading it.  Although Nightshade goes in a completely different direction to the one I was expecting and is a lot darker than The Poison Diaries I still really enjoyed it.  In fact I think I liked it even more because it managed to surprise me!  The story is a quick read and one I was able to whizz through in one day, the action is fast paced and you never know quite what will happen next which definitely kept me turning the pages.

Jessamine has done a lot of growing up since the first book, the discoveries she made about her father have changed her dramatically and I was pleased to see her stand up for herself more this time around.  Although there were times I wanted to shake her for listening to Oleander it was easy to see why she turned to him.  With Weed missing and her trust in her father destroyed she has nowhere else to turn and this makes her an easy target for the prince of poisons.  If Jessamine is to have any chance of finding Weed she has to hope that Oleander will help her but he has plans of his own and it isn't going to be easy for her to remain focused on her goal.

Weed is also searching for Jessamine but even the plants don't seem to know where she is.  Weed is having to try and fit into the human world while he tries to find his lost love and I enjoyed seeing things through his eyes, he actually becomes much more comfortable around people which was nice to see.  I still love Weed's character but I was a bit disappointed that we don't really get to see as much of him in this installment.  While this was understandable considering what is happening I missed reading about him and hope he is more prominent in the next book.

Nightshade is a much faster paced read than the first book but it is still a beautifully descriptive story and I loved the setting of the gardens that Weed finds himself in during his quest to find Jessamine.  I can't say too much because I don't want to give spoilers but I liked the contrast between the new garden and Thomas Luxton's poison one.  The story ended on a killer cliffhanger and I can't wait to read the final book in the series and see how things turn out, I wonder if the author will manage to surprise me again with the direction the story takes next? 

If you haven't started this series yet I'd highly recommend picking up your copy of The Poison Diaries now, the series is totally different to anything else I've read and stands out all the more because of that.

Source: Received from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Friday 26 August 2011

Guest Post: Top YA Series Recommendations

Today's guest post is from the lovely Sophie from So Many Books, So Little Time.  Sophie is one of the first bloggers I ever met and she has a lovely blog that I'm sure you're already following but just in case you aren't make sure you go over and say hi! 

So I'll hand you over to Sophie so she can tell you about some of her favourite YA series . . .


There are lots of things that are hugely common in YA: love triangles, gorgeous boys, angsty girls, impossible situations, and supernatural beings. And we fall in love with them all, usually over the course of a series. Now, I’ve been reading YA for a very long time and so I’ve managed to get myself hooked on far too many series. And, especially for Sarah while she’s hoarding books in the US, I’m going to highlight the series’ that never fail to keep me coming back for more.

The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine

As the title of this series suggests, it’s about vampires. But these vampires are hardcore. They feed only on human blood, burn in the sun, sleep during the day and run the town of Morganville, Texas. Our protagonist Claire is trying to survive studying at Texas Prairie University with the help from her friends and Morganville residents Shane, Eve and Michael. Rachel Caine’s novels pack a serious punch with non-stop action, life-threatening situations and lovable, relatable characters. But I should warn you: this series is seriously addictive and there are a mammoth ten books of this series on the shelves out of a proposed twelve.

(Glass Houses, The Dead Girls’ Dance, Midnight Alley, Feast of Fools, Lord of Misrule, Carpe Corpus, Fade Out, Kiss of Death, Ghost Town, Bite Club, Last Breath (11/2011), Black Dawn (2012))

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

I fell head over heels for Clary’s story within a few pages of City of Bones. The mythology of the Shadowhunters - humans with angel blood - and their demon killing antics is a unique and beautifully drawn world that captured my imagination. Clary is a completely kick-ass heroine who you’ll be rooting for all the way and Jace is, well, pretty much to die for, really. And then you have awesome action sequences, vivid and energetic writing and cliff-hangers that are truly evil. I was so excited when Cassandra Clare extended the trilogy to include another three books last year as I really can’t get enough of The Mortal Instruments series.

(City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls (5/2012), City of Heavenly Fire (2013))

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Man, I love this series! Richelle Mead has created a fantastically unique and complex mythology that is perhaps the best, and my favourite, of all the vampire lores I’ve come across in YA. It has so many tangents and dimensions that it feels so very real. But a mythology like that has no ground without brilliant characters to carry it and the Vampire Academy series revolves around a favourite of mine: Rose Hathaway. There are very few heroines who are as kick-ass as Rose. The hero, Dimitri, isn’t too shabby either; in other words, he’s a god. Even if you’re not a vampire fan, pick this up for the sizzling chemistry between Rose and Dimitiri. You won’t be disappointed.

(Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice)

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies was my foray into dystopia. A friend had recommended the series to me many times and each time I told her that ‘it’s not my thing’ and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Scott Westerfeld created a dystopian world so far away from our world and yet so close to it that it blew my mind. In Tally’s world, at age sixteen you undergo an operation to make you ‘pretty’, because no one cares about you when you’re ‘ugly’. Tally struggles to overcome this society will resonate with everyone trying to fit in. And Tally is a heroine who would stand up next to Katniss Everdeen and Rose Hathaway with ease. What’s not to love?!

(Uglies, pretties, Specials, Extras)

Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black

Tithe was a book I bought on a whim because of the stunning cover. I’d never read about faeries before and I hadn’t even heard of urban fantasy, let alone read any, and I was intrigued. Holly Black’s writing is sparse, yet vividly descriptive and she paints a picture of the dark and dangerous world of Faery beautifully. When Kaye returns to her childhood home, a staggering secret about her identity is revealed and she becomes embroiled in faery politics in a way that will change her forever. Kaye’s life with her mother is grim and gritty and was miles away from what I was used to and I fell hard. This book triggered a love of the fey and their world.

(Tithe, Valiant, Ironside)

Diary of a Crush by Sarra Manning

This was one of the first YA novels I got my hands on when I was around eleven or twelve and just breaking out of Jacqueline Wilson and Karen McCombie. I never really looked back. I devoured this trilogy in days and fell in love with quirky, stylish Edie and the gorgeously toxic Dylan. Diary of a Crush also began a love affair with diary-style books that still holds strong now. This trilogy is so easy to get lost in and it feels so REAL! I’ve read them so many times that there are phrases of Edie’s that are ingrained in my vocabulary and I can’t thank Sarra Manning enough for such a brilliant introduction to the world of contemporary YA.

(French Kiss, Kiss and Make Up, Sealed with a Kiss)

There are still so many more that I love: Harry Potter of course, the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, The Luxe series, the Wicked Lovely series, The Hunger Games trilogy, Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and I could go on and go...


Thanks so much for taking the time to write this post for me Sophie!  The only one of your favourites that I've read is Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series which I absolutely loved (I can't wait for Bloodlines to come out!!).  Quite a few of the others you mentioned are on my to read pile though (The Morganville series, The Mortal Instruments series and The Modern Faerie Tales series) so I really need to find the time to get started on them.  My trouble is I have way too many books that are waiting for me to read them, which I'm sure is a big problem amongst bloggers lol.  I love the sound of the Uglies series too and even though I don't tend to read much contemporary YA I'm very tempted to give the Diary of a Crush series a try too.  Thanks for the great recommendations :o)

Are there any other series tht I need to get started on?  What would your favourites list include?

Thursday 25 August 2011

Book Trailer: Life: An Exploded Diagram - Mal Peet

A few weeks ago I had a guest review from the lovely Kirsty from The Overflowing Library for Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet.  Her review really made me want to read the book and now I've watched the trailer I'm even more keen to give it a try.  What do you think?

Wednesday 24 August 2011

ARC Review: Fury - Elizabeth Miles

Sometimes sorry is not enough . . .

Em loves the winter holidays.  And this year, things are really looking up: the guy she's been into for months has finally noticed her.  But if she starts something with him there's no turning back.  Because he's going out with her best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase's home life is stressful and his social life's unravelling.  But that's nothing compared to what's really haunting him.  For Chase has done something cruel - something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do.  And it's only a matter of time before he's exposed.

Mistakes can be deadly.  And three beautiful, mysterious girls are about to make them pay . . .

Fury Trilogy:
Fury - UK release date 1st September 2011
This is the first book in a trilogy but titles for the next 2 books have not been released yet.

Visit Elizabeth Miles' website for more information

I have been looking forward to reading Fury for ages, as a massive paranormal fan this one was added to my wish list as soon as I first heard about it.  I don't think I've read anything aimed at the young adult market that is about furies so I was excited about reading something different from all the other paranormal stories currently out there.  Unfortunatley I ended up feeling a bit disappointed with the story and I'm not sure if I would continue reading the series.

Right from the beginning I found it really difficult to like any of the main characters.  I was really annoyed with Em that she was moving in on her best friend's boyfriend, she made excuses to herself that her friend Gabby would forgive her when she realised how much Em loved Zach but that stupid thinking really annoyed me.  Em was acting like a selfish brat and wasn't the kind of friend anyone would want to have in their life.  I suppose I should have felt more sorry for Gabby but she came across as spoilt and self obsessed and I really didn't care about her either.  As for Zach, he was a complete rat and I couldn't see why either of the girls was attracted to him in the first place.

Then you have Zach's best friend Chase who is from the poor side of town but has done everything he can to get in with the popular crowd.  He's the star of the football team and uses his popularity to score with as many girls as he can, happy to string several along at the same time.  Not really an attractive characteristic.  When Chase meets Ty he is immediately drawn to her but I couldn't understand why he didn't find any of her behaviour strange or suspicious.  I got to the point where I thought both Em and Chase deserved whatever they got and was actually looking forward to seeing the furies get their revenge.

Unfortunately I had to wait a long time to find out what they had planned.  As you're reading you know that something will happen but it seems to take forever for the supernatural events to take place.  I wanted to find out more about the furies and the mythology surrounding them but that never really happened, hopefully that is something that will happen in the next book.  As much as I didn't like Em and Chase I felt that their actions didn't merit the revenge that the furies had in mind and I couldn't understand why they had been picked as targets when some other characters in the book seemed to get away with worse actions.

I've said before that I'm not a big fan of the mean popular kids who get away with doing whatever they like so I think that's probably a big part of the reason that I didn't like Fury.  I'm sure this story will be popular with some but unfortunately it wasn't for me and I would struggle to recommend it.

Source: Received from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Guest Post: Bloomsbury Titles to get Excited About

Today I'm very excited to welcome the lovely Emma from Bloomsbury who is going to tell us about the titles she is most excited about publishing in the next few months.  Thanks so much for writing a guest post for me Emma!


Thanks for inviting me to do a guest post Feeling Fictional. I have to confess this is my first post on a blog EVER, so go easy on me readers.

I am a publicist at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. As part of my job I get to meet lots of amazing authors and read loads of incredible books long before they hit the bookshops. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to give you a bit of a sneak peek at a few of my favourite YA Bloomsbury books coming this autumn.

Velvet by Mary Hooper, 5th September

I’m going to go a bit gushy fangirl over Mary. In fact I will probably do that for all of the authors I mention, but I am very fond of the lovely Mary. Not only does she write the most wonderful, romantic, evocative, insightful (too many adjectives?) books, she is also great fun to hang out with. As well as work, we usually manage to gossip about handsome men, family, good books and good food when we’re on tour. She’s an absolute pleasure to be around.

Onto the book itself: Velvet is set in Victorian London at the height of the spiritualist craze. It tells the story of a young orphan girl working in a steam laundry. Struggling to earn enough to survive, she is thrilled when a client, the mysterious and glamorous medium, Madame Savoya, offers her a job in her house. Life couldn’t be more different for Velvet: she is living in comparative luxury, Madame feels more like a friend than her employer, she even trusts her to assist with the séances, and then there’s the handsome butler George . . .

But if things seem too good to be true, it’s often because they are. Soon Velvet finds herself embroiled in a kidnap plot and Madame Savoya is close to discovering the truth about the death of Velvet’s father. Velvet’s life is in jeopardy, but will she realise what’s happening in time . . .

Mary won over a lot of new fans with her last book Fallen Grace. Velvet is sure to do the same!

Mary Hooper

See Mary this autumn:

6pm, Tuesday 20th September
Just Imagine Story Centre, 64-68 New London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 0PD
Tel 01245 267748
Tickets: £5

2pm, Sunday 25th September
Guildhall, high Street, Bath BA1 4BX
Tel: 01225 463 362
Tickets: £5

Find out more about Mary at:

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, 3rd October

Andi lives in New York and is dealing with the disintegration of her family and the guilt she feels following her younger brother’s death. Alex lives in Paris and is a maid to the royal family as the French Revolution rages. Both girls are struggling with their responsibilities and their place in the world.

When Andi is dragged to Paris by her father, their two stories collide, and Andi finds a way to reconcile herself not only to her past but also to her future.

I first read Jennifer’s Carnegie Medal winning debut, A Gathering Light, in 2003 when I was working as a bookseller in a branch of Ottakar’s (a brilliant chain of bookshops, which is sadly no more). It blew me away and is one of my all time favourite books. Fast-forward seven years and I was thrilled to discover I would be working on Jennifer’s long-awaited second book for Bloomsbury. This is a title we published in hardback last year, but it’s such a heart-breakingly wonderful book that I have to mention that the paperback edition is coming in October.

If you haven’t yet discovered Jennifer you are in for a treat. This lady writes so beautifully, even her emails have reduced me to tears (in a good way, she’s not mean or anything). Although I have been emailing Jennifer for the last year I have never met her before. So I’m very excited to tell you that Jennifer will be flying over from New York to visit the UK this October!

Jennifer Donnelly

You can catch Jennifer at:

8pm, Wednesday 5th October
Topping & Co. The Paragon, Bath BA1 5LS
01225 428 111
Tickets: £6

6:30pm, Thursday 6th October
Earls High School, Furnace Lane, Halesowen, W Midlands B63 3SL
01384 818 406
Tickets: free

7pm, Friday 7th October
County Hall, Fishergate, Preston, Lancashire PR1 8XJ
01772 683 444
Tickets: £2

5pm, Saturday 8th October
Ilkley Literature Festival

11:45am, Sunday 9th October
Cheltenham Literature Festival

Find out more about Jennifer at:

Bleeding Hearts by Alyxandra Harvey, 3rd October

Now there’s a nasty rumour going around that paranormal romance is yesterday’s news. I beg to differ. Alyxandra Harvey’s butt-kicking vampire series, Drake Chronicles, is still going strong. No matter what the current trend, you have to read this series. If you’ve ever cheered for Buffy, drooled over a hot boy and stood by your best friend when times have got tough, you’re going to love these books.

Bleeding Hearts is the fourth of the Drake Chronicles. This time Alyxandra takes a closer look at what’s going on with Connor Drake.

Lucy’s cousin Christabel has come to live in Violet Hill, and adjusting to the difference between life in a small mountain town and her home in the city is difficult. The strict curfew that Lucy’s parents enforce is hard to respect. Surely noting really dangerous could happen in this tiny town.

When Christabel starts to notice some mysterious happenings it seems like Lucy, her boyfriend Nicholas and his brother Connor are all in on a secret that Christabel doesn’t understand – one that seems deadly serious. When Christabel is kidnapped by the Hel-Blar vampires, Lucy and Connor finally fill her in on all the undead drama. Together that must find a way to stamp out the Hel-Blar for good.

I was lucky enough to meet Alyxandra in person when she came over to the UK from her home in Canada in May. We spent a week touring in the south of England to promote Haunting Violet. Alyxandra is as smart and sassy as any of her female characters. She’s also full of fascinating historical anecdotes and I think her love of history comes through in all of her books. I have my fingers crossed that Alyxandra will be back in the UK in 2012 to promote her next stand-alone title, Stolen Away.

Alyxandra Harvey

Find out more about Alyxandra at:

Thanks for having me Feeling Fictional. If anyone wants to ask a question or just say hi, feel free to tweet me @EmmaCBradshaw


Thanks so much for the lovely guest post Emma, I'm really looking forward to reading all of these books!  Mary Hooper won a new fan in me with Fallen Grace and I can't wait to try Velvet.  I love that you get to gossip about handsome men when you're on tour with Mary - such a hard job lol.  I've not read anything by Jennifer Donnelly before but after a recommendation like that I'm going to have to pick up A Gathering Light :o) I really liked Alyxandra Harvey's Haunting Violet so and have been planning on starting her Drake Chronicles series so I'll have to try and get caught up before Bleeding Hearts comes out.

Which of these books are you most looking forward to?  If you've read anything by these authors I'd love to know what you thought of them so please leave a link to your reviews in the comments!  Don't forget to go and say hi to Emma on Twitter here

Monday 22 August 2011

Guest Review: The Memory Cage - Ruth Eastham

Today I have a guest review from the lovely Kirsty at The Overflowing Library.  Kirsty is a fab blogger and a great friend so if you've never visited her blog make sure you drop by and see her.  Thanks for letting me post this as a guest review Kirsty!  This review was originally posted on The Overflowing Library here.

Alex's Grandfather keeps forgetting things. Desperate to help him remember, Alex starts collecting old photographs. Bust as Alex digs into his grandfather's past, he stumbles across secrets that have been buried since World War II. Uncovering the truth could save Grandad ... but it might also tear Alex apart

Visit Ruth Eastham's website for more information

Kirsty's Review:
I wasn't sure what to expect when I received this book but I was drawn to it initially because it was compared to Michael Morpurgo's work in its style. While it's wise on some occasions to take such comparisons with a pinch of salt in this particular case it was totally justified. The story is both beautiful and multi-faceted.

What I liked about this book is that even though it is aimed a a younger teenage audience it deals with a few issues in an accessible way. The first issue it deals with is adoption and how a child who has been introduced to a family might cope with such a situation. I can't say I've seen this done in any other title. I liked that the boy in question wasn't a nightmare tearaway nor was he perfect and I thought the portrayal was realistic and heartfelt. The book hinted on issues sounding refugees and the impact of the reasonably recent atrocities in Bosnia giving the readers in insight to what happened from a personal perspective. I liked that it was highlighted as it is an event in our more modern history that is overlooked. The story also dealt with the impact of Alzheimer's on both the suffer and their family which was done in a sensitive way. Finally the author brought in ideas about the nature and morality of warfare and the impact participating in conflict had on the people involved, focusing in particular on the events surrounding Dunkirk.

Not only did the author address all these issues and do so in a sensitive way the story that held it all together was wonderful. I loved the relationship between Alex, the main character, and his grandfather and was totally absorbed in Alex's quest to help his grandfather with his memory and play detective and piece together his family's history. I loved how the story flowed and how the author weaved all the threads together.

An awesome read from a UK debut author and well worth a look especially if you have previously enjoyed the work of Murpurgo.

Source: I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Review: Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton

I don't date vampires.  I kill them.

My name is Anita Blake.  Vampires call me the Executioner.  What I call them isn't repeatable.

Ever since the Supreme Court granted the undead equal rights, most people think vampires are just ordinary folks with fangs.  I know better.  I've seen their victims.  I carry the scars ...

But now a serial killer is murdering vampires - and the most powerful bloodsucker in town wants me to find the killer ...

Anita Blake Series:
Guilty Pleasures
The Laughing Corpse
Circus of the Damned
The Lunatic Cafe
Bloody Bones
The Killing Dance
Burnt Offerings
Blue Moon
Obsidian Butterfly
Narcissus in Chains
Cerulean Sins
Incubus Dreams
Danse Macabre
The Harlequin
Blood Noir
Sin Trade
Hit List

Visit Laurell K. Hamilton's website for more information

I have to admit I was wary about starting the Anita Blake series, it's intimidating starting a series that is already 20 books long!  Especially when I've seen so many people say that the later books in the series don't live up to the earlier ones, I've lost count of the number of friends I have who have given up on the books.  In fact, the only reason I own this one is because a friend gave me the first 14 books because they refuse to read any further, not really a glowing recommendation.  Having said that a lot of people have told me how fantastic the earlier books are and I've been curious to try them for myself for a while now.  I'm not sure if it was because my expectations were too high or if it was that I subconsciously don't want to like the series but I didn't feel that Guilty Pleasures lived up to the hype.

There were a lot of things I liked about the book, it was nice to read about old school scary vampires for a change - you don't seem to see as many of those in more recent urban fantasy stories.  I also liked Anita, she is quite kick ass but there is also a vulnerability to her that makes her seem more real.  She cares a lot about her friends and will put herself in harms way to protect them but she does that in spite of her fears rather than because she is fearless.  I'm curious to find out more about Jean-Claude and the connection between him and Anita but I don't know what to make of him at the moment and I'm not sure if I'll grow to love or hate him.

My main problem was with the world building, well not exactly with the world building because the author had included a lot of interesting ideas - around the fact that vampires are living in the open and humans are aware of them - that I enjoyed reading about.  The trouble was it felt like I wasn't reading the first book in a series, there were loads of times when I had to re-read pages just to try and figure out if I'd missed something but even then I was still left with questions.  I wanted to know more about Anita's animator abilities and why she raised people from the dead and I would have liked to find out more about her past history with vampires and why she hates them so much.

Although I didn't think Guilty Pleasures was the strongest start to an urban fantasy series I am curious to see where the story will take me next.  I'm hoping the next book will answer some of my questions and am looking forward to spending more time in the world Laurell K. Hamilton has created.

Source: Given by a friend

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Guest Post: Top Recommendations for Autumn Fantasy & Science Fiction Releases

Today I have a guest post from the lovely Amanda from Floor to Ceiling Books.  Amanda is a fab blogger who is very passionate about fantasy and science fiction so when she offered to write a guest post for me the first thing that came to mind was books that she is looking forward to reading this autumn.  She really has some fabulous recommendations for us and I have added all of these books to my wish list!

Lets hand you over to Amanda so she can tell you about new books to drool over . . .


Forthcoming Books to Get Excited About!

2011 has already been an absolutely incredible year for those of us who read fantasy and science fiction – but especially fantasy. Not only did we get the long anticipated sequel to The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, but we also got A Dance With Dragons by George R R Martin! These are two huge books and, while the rest of the year probably won’t live up to that excitement, there are still some rather long-awaited novels being released, such as The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan and The Islanders by Christopher Priest, his first novel since 2002!

Instead of focusing on the well-known big hitters in the rest of 2011, I thought instead I would take the five best publishers of genre fiction in the UK and highlight the novel that I am most excited to read. Hopefully this will showcase some of the mid-list novels that should be piquing your interest.


A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

“Rosalinda Fitzroy had been asleep for 62 years when she was woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically-induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose - hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire - is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes - or be left without any future at all.”

This sounds like an absolute beautiful mash-up between dystopian science fiction and glorious fairy tale. I think it is very unusual, and could be one of those cross-overs between YA and adult fiction.

A Long, Long Sleep is due from Gollancz on 18th August 2011.


Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

“Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle's body bears the telltale marks of a comarre - a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility and control their hungers. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the darkness of the mortal world ...and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks. Chrysabelle's secrets, though, are about to put her life - and those around her - in even greater jeopardy. She possesses a powerful ring, the key to unlocking an ancient prophecy destined to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. A chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen threatens to reign unless she and Malkolm can stop the noble vampire behind the merciless plot.”

Vampires again? But, somehow, this premise intrigues me – and the cover is truly stunning. Orbit have quietly been publishing some very strong urban fantasy, and this could be one of the successes from their imprint.

Blood Rights is due from Orbit on 1st September 2011.


Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

“Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local folklore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead - keeping annoying things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, and kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas' life.”

This just sounds gloriously demented! It could be brilliant – or it could be terrible. I am very much hoping for the former. Ghosts haven’t really been explored massively in recent novels published (unless they were straight-up horror) and this dark fantasy could be the start of something huge.

Anna Dressed in Blood is incoming from Tor on 17th October 2011.


The End Specialist by Drew Magary

“John Farrell is about to get “The Cure.” Old age can never kill him now. The only problem is, everything else still can . . .

Imagine a near future where a cure for ageing is discovered and – after much political and moral debate – made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems – including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors. Witty, eerie, and full of humanity, The End Specialist is an unforgettable thriller that envisions a pre-apocalyptic world so real that it is completely terrifying.”

Thriller, science fiction, whatever you want to call it, this sounds awesome. Exploring the consequences of *everyone* experiencing immortality is right up my street – and something that isn’t entirely out of the realms of possibility.

The End Specialist is due from Voyager on 29th September 2011.

Angry Robot

Debris by Jo Anderton

“In a far future where technology is all but indistinguishable from magic, Tanyana is one of the elite.

She can control pions, the building blocks of matter, shaping them into new forms using ritual gestures and techniques. The rewards are great, and she is one of most highly regarded people in the city. But that was before the “accident”.

Stripped of her powers, bound inside a bizarre powersuit, she finds herself cast down to the very lowest level of society. Powerless, penniless and scarred, Tanyana must adjust to a new life collecting “debris”, the stuff left behind by pions. But as she tries to find who has done all of this to her, she also starts to realize that debris is more important than anyone could guess.

Debris is a stunning new piece of Science Fantasy, which draws in themes from Japanese manga, and classic Western SF and Fantasy to create this unique, engrossing debut.”

Angry Robot always tend to publish books that have an element of WTF? about them. Some of them I have adored (Zoo City by Lauren Beukes); some of them I have disliked (King Maker by Maurice Broaddus) – but you cannot deny that EVERY release from Angry Robot has something interesting about it. This one is no exception – an odd blend of science and fantasy, technology and magic. I’m hopeful!

Angry Robot are publishing Debris on 27th September.

So there you have it! My five picks for the rest of the year. What are you most looking forward to?


Thanks so much for a fabulous guest post Amanda!  I actually got a copy of A Long, Long Sleep from Gollancz this week and am very excited about it, the cover is beautiful and I'm a sucker for fairytale retellings!  All of the other books you've mentioned have definitely been added to my wish list though.

What fantasy and science fiction novels are you all most looking forward to reading?

Friday 19 August 2011

Guest Review: The Silent Girl - Tess Gerritsen

Today I have a guest review written by the lovely Andy from The Pewter Wolf.  Despite his claims not to be a proper book blogger Andy has a lovely blog and is passionate about books and reading so if you aren't already following him make sure you go and check out his blog!  Thanks for taking the time to write such a lovely review for me Andy!

In a Chinatown alley in Boston, a severed human hand is found. On a roof in the vicinity is the decapitated head of a woman. Nearby is a body, and on the corpse are found strands of non-human hair. Involved in the investigation of the crime are Rizzoli and Isles, who quickly discover some starling facts about events that preceded the murder: nearly two decades before, a grim assault on a restaurant in Boston claimed the lives of five people, with only one survivor of the carnage -- a woman skilled in martial arts who is party to a dark secret. Rizzoli and Isles realise that there is something malign and ancient in Chinatown – and that more lives are at stake.

The Rizzoli & Isles Series:
The Surgeon
The Apprentice
The Sinner
Body Double
The Mephisto Club
The Keepsake
Ice Cold
The Silent Girl

Visit Tess Gerritsen's website for more information

Andy's Review:
I would to, quickly, thank Sarah for allowing me to do a quick guest review for her site while she is away. It was kind of her to say yes to my offer, seeing as she knows my blog isn't exactly what most people would call a "standard book blog".

In a Chinatown alley in Boston, a severed hand has been discovered. On the roof above the alley is a decapitated head and, on another roof, a body of a woman. Missing a head and hand? Found with the body is hair that isn’t human. Investigating the case is Jane Rizzoli and Dr Maura Isles, both who discover that near 2 decades ago, a terrible murder-suicide that happened in a small restaurant that took five lives. And it's strange that the families of the victims have started to receive notes saying that the truth is about the come out.

All bar one. An elderly woman who's a master in martial arts. A woman that might know more than she is willing the share. And now, it looks like the Monkey King from Chinese myth has come to life and wanting justice. The truth is going to come out in a way no one could possible imagine…

Now, I listened to the abridged version of this audiobook, which has its advantages and its disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is the story itself. It focuses so much on the crime story at hand, that we never see Jane and Maura's lives outside of work, and when we do, it is very brief in an almost "Blink and you miss it" kinda way. So, if you want to see Jane and Maura out of work, get the unabridged version.

Also, because of this, we don't see Maura a lot. She's there for the body and then she's gone. Only to appear right at the end. Isn't this a "Rizzoli and Isle thriller"? If it is, where was she?

I nitpick over this point as this is an "abridged" audiobook and I have issues with abridged audiobooks. If I had the cash, I would have got the unabridged version, but that's me for you. So, ignore my biasness on audiobook length.

Although the reader – Tanya Eby - I'm not 100% certain she was the right person to read this. I know that, in the past another reader, Laurel Lefkow, has read a few Tess Gerritsen novels and I quite like her voice (I never listen to her read a Rizzoli and Isle audiobook but I have heard her read other audiobooks). But this Tanya Eby sounds odd. She does the voice of … well and I like that. But it's hard to warm to a voice when you have what Rizzoli and Maura sound like in your head. Plus, if you live in America and have seen the TV inspired by these books (no news on if it's coming to the UK), you have the actresses voices in your head as the characters.

Now, the story as a whole. Now, I love Tess Gerristen. She's not as crime as she was when I first read Body Double, Vanish or even The Mesphio Club, but she knows how to get your pulse rate going and get you on the edge of your seat. You get pulled into the dark world of assasins, murder and conspiracy theories and, because of that, while you're in the story, you don't sit there and go "Wait? That makes no sense" or "That's impossible! That won't happen in real life!". It's only afterwards when you return to real life that you go "Huh. Ok. That might not happen in real life. But it could. Maybe."

But the problem I have is that so much happens, you feel that a lot of things are happening that you feel that you're not having a "calm" moment where you see Jane and Maura's private lives. These moments are sometimes what you need to get your head round all the information.

If you are a fan of fast-paced thrillers that get the pulse going, then this will be good for you. But if you are going to listen to this, I would suggest that you get the unabridged version or go get the book/eBook.

Source: Andy's own copy

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Book Trailer: The Poison Tree - Erin Kelly

After really enjoying Sister, the psychological thriller by Rosamund Lupton, I've been thinking I'd really like to read more in this genre.  I spotted The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly on YouTube and it sounds great so it's definitely one that has been added to my wish list.

Here is the trailer:

And here is a clip I found of Erin Kelly talking about the book, it's another one that is set in the UK and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Guest Post: Hot Boys in YA

I Want To Read That

When the lovely Sammee from I Want To Read That offered to write a guest post for me one of the first topics that came to both our minds was Hot Boys in YA (something we've had quite a few discussions about in the past lol).  I'm going to pass over to Sammee now so she can share her list with you, I have to say she's made some pretty good choices!


Honestly, there are so many hot boys in YA I have no idea where to start! But having done extensive research (*sniggers* ) I have narrowed it down to the following …

Ben from Texas Gothic (Rosemary Clement-Moore)
A chat on twitter about his hotness is the inspiration for this post! Ben, aka Mr Cranky Pants is definitely hot – he’s a cowboy for one. From Texas - I can just imagine that accent! And he has some great one liners!

Alex Fuentes from Perfect Chemistry (Simone Elkeles)
Okay, so this one is definitely a no brainer! Tough and sexy but also sweet and sensitive! Just totally hot! And he held her hair when she was sick so major plus points there. And hello!  Just check out the cover - that tattoo?  Hoootttt!

John After from Going Too Far (Jennifer Echols)
Going Too Far is one of my favorite books and a certain John After is one of the main reasons why! He’s such a complex character, and that combined with the chemistry between him and Meg – major hot!

Dimitri from the Vampire Academy series (Richelle Mead)
Do I really need to justify this one? Hot, hot and major hot *swoons* He fights like a god and loves Rose with such intensity and passion how could he be anything but completely hot? But I guess the definition ‘boy’ is being kind of stretched here…

Conrad Fischer from Jenny Han’s Summer series
At the beginning of this series it was Jeremiah I warmed to the most. But there is just something about Conrad that I can’t put into words that just makes him incredible hot! I craved his scenes and those with Belly are heart-stoppingly good.

Alex from Angel (L A Weatherly)
It’s the ‘Dean Winchester’ thing he has going on that really did it for me. Again it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is about him but yep, definitely hot!

Patch from the Hush Hush series (Becca Fitzpatrick)
A definite bad boy! I had no idea whether to trust him or not but he is just so hot I think my pages sizzled as I read! So mysterious and intense I couldn’t get enough!

Archer Cross from the Hex Hall series (Rachel Hawkins)
That make out scene in Hex Hall? Do I need to say more?

Mac from Rockoholic (C J Skuse)
He’s just awesome! He’s so comfortable in himself, funny and kind that he can’t be anything else but hot! And he’s incredibly sweet to his baby sister so major plus points there!

Adam from If I Stay /Where She Went (Gayle Forman)
He’s even hotter if you listen to the audio of Where She Went! That voice! *sighs*

Alex from Hunting lila (Sarah Alderson)
I appear to have a thing for Alex's don't I? But man, this one is HOT! He's protective, fit, good in a dangerous situation and well, apparently very easy on the eye! In other words H.O.T!

Of course I could go on! Those Benedict boys, the Drake brothers, Gale, Peeta and a certain Edward. Oh, also Jace (Mortal Instruments) , Xan (The Iron Witch) and then there’s Beck from the Demon Trappers series! Plus Dan Bailey (Della Says:OMG!) and Albie and David from Luisa Plaja’s Kiss series…

Hmm… maybe it’s just impossible to narrow them down!

What do you think?

Anyone you would add?


Thanks so much for writing this guest post for me Sammee, I have to say I'm impressed with your list!  There are quite a few here that would make my list too - especially Ben from Texas Gothic (I still need to start my campaign for more hot cowboys in YA!!), Dimitri from Vampire Academy (*swoon*) and Alex from Perfect Chemistry (although I'd have to include his brother Carlos too!).  I think I must have a thing for the name Alex as well - I loved the Alexes in Hunting Lila and Angel too hehe. 

Others on my list that you haven't mentioned would include Otieno from Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott (those tattoos *sigh* - I don't need to say anything else!), Ren from Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck (an Indian prince who spends most of his time as a tiger but is adorably romantic when in human form), Jay from The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (he is such a sweetie and romantic too, especially in the second book - I'm a sucker for a friends to lovers romance), Will from Firelight by Sophie Jordan (he has a very intense connection with Jacinda that practically sizzles the pages), Zed from Finding Sky by Joss Stirling (he has a sweet and funny romance with Sky) and last but not least you have two very different hot boys in Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers, I can't choose between Luc (the bad boy demon) and angelic but sexy Gabe!  I could go on forever, I've only really included boys from books I've read this year!  As you can see I take my hot boy research seriously :o)

There are a few books you mentioned that will definitely be going on my wish list though, I need to read about more hot boys - purely for research you understand!  If anyone has any other recommendations please leave them in the comments


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