Sunday 11 March 2012

Publisher Spotlight: RHCB - March - September 2012 Highlights & Event Report

I thought it would be fun to start spotlighting new releases that different publishers have coming up over the next few months for us to look forward to.  I'm constantly looking for new books to add to my wish list and thought it would be a nice way of spreading the bookish love with other bloggers.  So stepping into the spotlight today we have . . .

Back in January I was lucky enough to be invited to an event hosted by RHCB to talk about some of their 2012 releases.  I'll talk more about the event at the end of this post but first I want to showcase some of the titles they mentioned - they have some very exciting books coming out this year!  I've already highlighted the early 2012 releases in a Publisher Spotlight last December so if you'd like to see more about their February - May 2012 releases click here below you'll find more about their June - December 2012 books.  If you'd like more information check out the RHCB website or the RHCB blog.


First we have a debut novel Itch written by radio presenter Simon Mayo.  This is the first book in a new series that was described as a young James Bond with Alex Rider-esque action and adventure, sounds fab doesn't it!  I'm definitely adding this one to my wish list.  Visit Simon Mayo's blog for more information.

Meet Itch - an accidental, accident-prone hero. Science is his weapon. Elements are his gadgets. This is Alex Rider with Geek-Power!

Itchingham Lofte - known as Itch - is fourteen, and loves science - especially chemistry. He's also an element-hunter: he's decided to collect all the elements in the periodic table. Which has some interesting and rather destructive results in his bedroom . . .

Then, Itch makes a discovery. A new element, never seen before. At first no one believes him - but soon, someone hears about the strange new rock and wants it for himself. And Itch is in serious danger . . .
(Description taken from Goodreads)


Black Arts by Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil is a very dark story with vivid descriptions and a Dickens feel to it.  It's the first book in a new series and I'm really curious about a story set in Elizabethan London - that doesn't seem to be an era I've seen much of in YA fiction.

Elizabethan London: a teeming city of traders and thieves, courtiers and preachers, riff-raff and quality, cut-throats - and demons. When scrunty Jack the "Judicious Nipper" picks the wrong pocket at the Globe Theatre, he finds himself mixed up in an altogether more dangerous London than he could have imagined - a city in which magic is real and deadly.

An outbreak of devil-worship has led to a wave of anti-witch fervor whipped up by the Elect, a mysterious group of Puritans recognizable from their red-stained right hands, led by the charismatic Nicholas Webb, a growing power at Court. Rumour has it that he wants to purge the city entirely and build a New Jerusalem. Jack has his own reason for hating him: he saw him kill his mother.

Helped by Beth Sharkwell the Thief Princess of Lambeth, Kit Morely the Intelligencer and Dr Dee the Queen"s Wizard, Jack pits himself against Webb"s Puritans. But this is no straightforward struggle. Things are not as they seem. In fact, ever since his encounter with Webb, there has been something wrong with Jack"s vision. He keeps seeing things. Demons.

Black Arts is the first in a series of thrilling time-travel adventures, each bringing the past to glorious life, as Jack and his companions hurtle from one epic struggle to the next.
(Description taken from the David Fickling Website)


I have been excited about Jennifer Bosworth's debut novel Struck since I first heard about it at the RHCB bloggers brunch last summer and it has felt like a very long wait but the release date is now in sight.  This is a natural disaster dystopian story set in LA with a main character who is addicted to getting struck by lightening.  I have a feeling I'm going to love this one and I can't wait to read it!  Visit Jennifer Bosworth's website for more information.

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a travelling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revellers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.
(Description taken from Goodreads)


RHCB publish some fantastic emotional and heart warming reads and I think that Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams

Meet Deo: a great footballer, a fierce protector of his older brother, Innocent

Meet Innocent: easily nervous, easily happy and good at keeping score on the dusty fields of Zimbabwe where they boys play.

When the soldiers come, they destroy the only home they've ever known. Now, Deo has nothing but his brother, and a football stuffed with billions of worthless dollars. And so starts their journey to find their father. But with soldiers everywhere, they have only one chance to cross the border, one chance to escape.

Now is the time for courage. Now is the time for running.
(Description from Amazon UK)

If you're a fan of Joseph Delaney's Spooks series then I'm sure you're already looking forward to the 10th book The Spook's Blood.  I have heard a lot of great things about this series but I have to admit that it isn't one I've started reading yet.  I really should get around to giving it a try though, especially since they start filming a movie based on the books in September and it will be hitting the cinemas in February 2013!  Visit Joseph Delaney's website for more information.

Time is running out for Thomas Ward. His final battle against the Fiend is drawing near, and the Spook's apprentice has never felt more alone in his task.

Isolated and afraid, the Fiend is set to send the greatest of his servants against him - Siscoi, a Vampire God more ferocious than anything he has yet faced. Tom must risk his life to prevent the evil beast from entering this world, even as he learns that the final destruction of the Fiend may involve a sacrifice more terrible than he can imagine . . .

(Description taken from Amazon UK)


I'm very excited about Victoria Lamb's debut novel Witchstruck that is being published in July.  This is the first in a new 5 book series set in Tudor England and mixes historical fiction with supernatural elements.  Sounds like just my kind of read!  We were lucky enough to meet Victoria at the blogger brunch and she was absolutely lovely so make sure you visit her blog here.  This one is at the top of my wish list and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy, check out the beautiful cover below.

Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.

Sent to the ruined, isolated palace of Woodstock to serve the disgraced Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister of Queen Mary, Meg discovers her skills are of interest to the outcast princess, who is desperate to know if she will ever claim the throne. But Meg's existence becomes more dangerous every day, with the constant threat of exposure by the ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent, and the arrival of a young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo, to whom Meg is irresistibly drawn - despite their very different attitudes to her secret.

Thrilling and fast-paced, this is the first unputdownable story in a bewitching new series.

(Description taken from Goodreads)

If you enjoy dark and creepy reads then you definitely want to keep an eye out for Diana Hendry's next book The Seeing.  This sounds like a gripping and disturbing read tackling themes of bullying and just how far two teenage girls will take things.  Having gone to an all girls school I have a pretty good idea of just how horrible some teenage girls can be which makes me a little bit nervous about reading this one!  Visit Diana Hendry's website for more information.

"What gave me a sudden shiver was the notion that there were two of me. The little sister me, who was good and mostly kind; the girl Alice and Dottie knew. And then there was this other me, the one lurking inside me, eager for danger and risk, for something that could be as wild as the sea in winter. For Natalie."

Nothing ever seems to happen in the quiet, respectable seaside town of Norton. The war is over, and everyone's thrilled to be living peacefully - everyone but thirteen-year-old Lizzie, who's so bored she feels like she could scream. Until wild, dangerous, break-all-the-rules Natalie arrives. Lizzie is drawn irresistibly to the exciting new girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and as the girls grow closer over the summer, Lizzie discovers a new side to the town - and to herself - that she had never imagined before.

Natalie and her young brother, Philip, let Lizzie in on a secret. Despite what everyone thinks, the danger of war is still hanging over them. Philip has a 'second sight', and all around him he sees evil: apparently innocent people, hiding in this quiet town until the time is right for revenge. Natalie and Philip call them 'Left-Over Nazis'. It's up to them to root these people out and force them out of Norton. Lizzie is swept up in what begins as an exciting game, but as the children begin to target their neighbours, the consequences of Philip's 'gift' spiral quickly out of control.

A chilling, powerful tale that will linger with you long after the final page, from Whitbread Award-winner Diana Hendry.

(Description taken from Amazon UK)

Now if you enjoy dark humour, funny stories and graphic novels then you're sure to love Grymm by Keith Austin.  This sounds like such a fun read and is supposed to have a Grimm's fairy tales feel to it.  Visit Keith Austin's blog for more information.

Something stirred in the gravelly yard beneath their window . . . A soft slippery nuzzle, the sort of sounds you'd expect a pig to make with its snout in a trough . . .

The small mining town of Grymm perched on the very edge of the Great Desert is the kind of town you leave - but when Dad gets a three-month contract in the mine there, Mina and Jacob, unwilling stepbrother and sister, are reluctantly arriving.

From a grotesque letting agent who seems to want to eat their baby brother, a cafe owner whose milkshakes contain actual maggots and the horribly creepy butcher, baker and candlestick-maker, Mina and Jacob soon realize that nothing in Grymm is what is appears to be.

And then things get seriously weird when their baby brother disappears - and no one seems to even notice! In Grymm, your worst nightmares really do come true . . .

(Description taken from Amazon UK)

Another 2012 debut I'm really looking forward to is Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.  I absolutely love books about dragons and have had this one on my wish list forever!  The release date has been changed from May to July but I can't wait to read it.  You can find out more at Rachel Hartman's website.

A gripping new fantasy adventure - Eragon meets Game of Thrones - by an exciting debut author.

The kingdom of Goredd is populated by humans and by dragons who fold themselves into a human form. Though they live alongside each other, the peace between them is uneasy.

But when a member of the royal family is murdered, and the crime appears to have been committed by a dragon the peace and treaty between both worlds is seriously threatened . . .

Into this comes Seraphina, a gifted musician who joins the royal court as the assistant to the court composer. She is soon drawn into the murder investigation and, as she uncovers hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace in Goredd for good, finds herself caught desperately in the middle of the tension.

For Seraphina hides a secret - the secret behind her musical gift - and if she is found out, her life is in serious danger . . .


I don't have much information about this one yet but August sees the release of Theresa Breslin's new historical novel Spy for the Queen of Scotts.  I really enjoyed her book Prisoner of the Inquisition (read my review here) so I'm looking forward to reading this one too.  Visit Theresa Breslin's website for more information.  The cover image isn't available yet but here is the description:

As lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots, the beautiful Ginette - known as Jenny - is the young queen's closest childhood friend. Growing up in the elegant but ruthless French court, surrounded by enemies and traitors - not least the jealous, manipulative Catherine de Medici, and Mary's own scheming half-brother, James - Jenny has always been fiercely loyal to her mistress. But when she overhears a mysterious whispered plot, closely followed by several unexplained deaths at court, she puts her own life in danger and turns spy for Mary.

Jenny quickly realises not a soul at court can be trusted, and when she and Mary return to their Scottish homeland for Mary to claim her throne, they face even greater peril. Desperate to protect her friend from those who would slit her throat to steal her crown, while battling her feelings for the charismatic nobleman Duncan Alexander, Jenny becomes embroiled in a dangerous web of secrets, betrayals and lies.

(Description taken from Amazon UK)

Another debut to watch out for is Turf from British author John Lucas which tackles the difficult subject of gang violence.  The story sounds very gritty and we were lucky enough to meet John Lucas at the event and be able to chat to him about the book.  I'm really looking forward to this one and think it will have an important message for teens about the choices they make and the effects they will have on the future.  John has also written a short story that will be published at the same time as Turf and features the main characters during the London riots last year.  Readers will have to make a choice about the actions the characters take and there will be multiple endings so I'm looking forward to reading that one too!

Jay is fifteen years old and a member of the Blake Street Boyz gang. With a knife in his pocket and his best friend Milk by his side, he spends his time fiercely defending their turf. He takes his lessons from the streets and thinks he knows everything about choices.

Choose the right gang, and they will protect you. Choose the right clothes, the right chat, the right snacks and you will be respected. But now he's coming of age and he's being given the chance to step up. He must stab and kill a member of a rival gang... and there are no choices left.

This is a story set against the backdrop of London's inner-city tower blocks, where killing can be easier than choosing a chocolate bar; where gang violence rules, and where loyalty can cost you your soul.

(Description taken from Amazon UK)


I'm a massive fan of Karen Mahoney's Iron Witch series (read my reviews of The Iron Witch here and The Wood Queen here) so I can't wait to get my hands on Falling to Ash, the first book in her new Moth series.  The cover has only just been released and isn't quite the final version but I have to say I LOVE it!  So pretty and it matches well with Karen's other books while looking different enough to make it obviously from a separate series.  I was excited to find out that RHCB will be releasing a short story ebook prequel called Beautiful Ghosts before Falling to Ash is published.  Check out Karen Mahoney's website for more information.

You can’t choose your family …living or dead.

Trapped between two very different worlds, newly made vampire Moth is struggling to find her place in either. Not only does she have to answer to her strict Irish-Catholic family, but her over-protective Maker, Theo, is intent on making her the star attraction in his powerful Boston vampire clan. Moth will have to pull off the double-act of the century to please both of them…

Adding to her problems is the dangerously attractive Jason Murdoch, a trainee vampire hunter who loves to play cat and mouse in his spare time (Jace = cat; Moth = mouse). But when the teenagers of Boston’s wealthiest families start to disappear, it forces Moth and Jace into an uneasy truce. Will they be able to solve the mystery behind the disappearances – before someone winds up undead?

(Description taken from Amazon UK)

Also released in September is Bali Rai's new fantasy dystopian book Fire City.  This is an intense, action packed book with a Gotham City feel to it and is full of demons and zombies - sounds fab doesn't it!  Definitely another one going on my wish list!  Bali was also at the blogger event and it was great to get to chat with him about Fire City and his other books.  Check out Bali Rai's website for more information.

Twenty-five years ago the world changed forever. A great war, which had raged for three years ended, and the reign of the Demons began...

Within the crumbling walls of Fire City, fifteen-year-old Martha is a member of the resistance, a small band of humans fighting for freedom in a lawless and horrifying new world.

Amidst the chaos of battle arrives Jonah, a handsome stranger with a thirst for revenge and a power to destroy the Demon rulers.

As Martha and Jonah’s lives collide, the future of the resistance is altered forever. The battle for humankind will now begin...

An epic story of catastrophe, survival and the power of humanity.

(Description taken from Amazon UK)

So RHCB have some fantastic books coming out this year don't they!  Which of these books are at the top of your wish list?

I've mentioned the bloggers brunch briefly throughout this post but I'd like to say a massive thank you to RHCB for inviting me to their offices again.  It was fantastic to see everyone again (and meet the new team members), and we were given a fab goodie bag with some of the upcoming releases.  Not to mention the delicious cakes & homemade whoopie pies we got to snack on and the fact that we got to meet authors Victoria Lamb, John Lucas and Bali Rai!  We all had a fab time & here are a few pictures from the morning:

The lovely RHCB Ladies

Back: Bloggers - Hayley, Alice, Casey, Viv, Jo, Rosy, Michelle, Lynsey, Sammee, me, Kirsty, Carly, Caroline, Essjay, Liz & Darren
Front: Authors - John Lucas, Victoria Lamb and Bali Rai

After the brunch quite a few of us had arranged to meet up with Non (from Catnip) for a pub lunch and an afternoon of gossipping.  We had a lovely relaxing time and ended up eating way too much and setting the world to rights!  Here is a picture taken at lunch (Michelle is missing as she was behind the camera!):

Sammee, Kirsty, me, Carly, Non, Caroline & Jo

What a fantastic day & thanks again to everyone at RHCB for organising it!

Who was there:
Lauren, Clare, Emily, Parul, Stephie, Lauren, Lisa, Harriet, Alex & Annie - RHCB
Bali Rai - website
John Lucas (I couldn't find a website for John, if you know he has one please leave me the address & I'll add it)
Victoria Lamb - blog
Caroline - Portrait of a Woman
Casey & Hayley - Dark Readers

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