Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Review: Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse likes living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and she likes working as a cocktail waitress at Merlotte's.  But she is having a streak of bad luck.  First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care.  Then she comes face-to-face with a beastly creature which gives her a painful and poisonous lashing.  Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it).

The point is: the vampires saved her life.  So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favour, she obliges - and soon Sookie's in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire.  She's supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed.  But that's easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly . . .

Sookie Stackhouse Series:
Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone
Dead in the Family
The Sookie Stackhouse Companion
Dead Reckoning
Playing Possum (Short Story in the An Apple for the Creature Anthology)
Deadlocked
Dead Ever After
After Dead: What Came Next in the world of Sookie Stackhouse

Visit Charlaine Harris' website  for more information

Review:
If you read my review of Dead Until Dark then you'll know I was disappointed by the start to this series.  Being a big fan of the True Blood TV show meant I had high expectations when I picked up the book and I thought that might have been why I felt so let down when I read it.  The only reason I decided to continue with the series is that I already had the first 8 books on my shelves and a lot of people have told me that the series gets a lot better from book 3 onwards.  Considering my low opinion of the first book I wasn't expecting much from Living Dead in Dallas but I still found myself struggling to finish the book.  This is such a popular series and I know I'm in the minority but I think I'm going to have to face the fact that Sookie and I aren't meant to get along.

The story has two distinct plot threads going on but I didn't feel like there was any cohesion between them.  The first involves the death of one of Sookie's co-workers and an attack on Sookie herself by a strange paranormal creature and I felt that this part of the story could have been really interesting.  However, it felt like the author finished writing it and realised there wasn't enough material for a full length novel so she wrote a completely separate story and just plonked it in the middle of the book.  The second plot thread involves Sookie heading to Dallas on a task for Eric who has hired her out to another vampire who needs her unusual mind reading talents.  Again this side of the story could have been interesting, it introduces the vampire hate group The Fellowship of the Sun but although there is some action I still felt like something was missing.  I can't help feeling that True Blood manages to do a better job with both story lines than the book did.  Perhaps that is part of my problem with this series though - I shouldn't have watched True Blood until after reading the books and then I may have enjoyed them more.

When it comes to the characters I still can't stand Bill, I want to see Sookie haul his coffin out into the sunshine, open the lid and leave him there.  I don't feel the slightest bit invested in their relationship and don't see any evidence that either of them are in love.  I'd much rather see Sookie stand on her own two feet rather than let Bill treat her like a walking buffet.  I have to admit that I'm really falling for Eric though, I love his character in the TV series and am enjoying his interaction with Sookie even more in the books.  If there is any reason to keep reading the series then Eric would be it.

I'm not sure if I will continue with the series though.  I'm torn because I did find the writing better in Living Dead in Dallas, I thought there was a lot less pointless information included which made it much easier to read.  Also, I already have the next 6 books so it seems a shame to not at least try reading them, especially when everyone tells me book 3 is where the series really starts to kick off.  I think I'll take a break for a bit and then I'll probably give Club Dead a try but I'm not going to keep banging my head against a brick wall and if I don't enjoy it more than the first 2 books then I'll have to give up on the series.  I will continue to watch True Blood though so at least that way I'll hopefully get to watch Sookie kick Bill to the kerb and hook up with Eric (well I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that to happen anyway!).

Source: This book was given to me as a Christmas present.

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, 28 February 2012

Winner: This Is Not Forgiveness - Celia Rees


With the help of Rafflecopter I am happy to announce the winner of a SIGNED copy of This is not Forgiveness by Celia Rees is:

Kirsty (email address starting pukkapad29@...)

Congratulations Kirsty!  You should have already received an email from me asking for your addresses so please make sure you look out for it.  If I don't hear back from you within 48 hours then a new winner will be chosen.  Your prize will be sent out by my contact at Bloomsbury so you'll need to give permission for me to forward your address to them.  I'd like to say a massive thank you to Bloomsbury for allowing me to host this giveaway for them.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Video: Mark Grist on Girls who read



You've probably already seen this a million times as it's been posted all over the blogosphere & twitter but I think this video is fab so I had to share it here too!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Review: Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists - Gideon Defoe

It is 1837, and for the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain and his rag-tag pirate crew, life on the high seas has become a little dull.  With nothing to do but twiddle their hooks and lounge aimlessly on tropical beaches, the Captain decides it's time they had an adventure.

A surprisingly successful boat raid leads them to the young Charles Darwin, in desperate need of their help.  And so the pirates set forth for London in a bid to save the scientist from the evil machinations of a diabolical Bishop.  There they encounter grisly murder, vanishing ladies, the Elephant Man - and have an exciting trip to the zoo.

The Pirates Series:
Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
Pirates! In an Adventure with Moby Dick
Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists
Pirates! In an Adventure with Napoleon
Pirates! In an Adventure with the Romantics (September 2012)

Visit Gideon Defoe's website for more information.  You can find out more about the Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists movie here.

Review:
I don't really know where to start writing a review for Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. When I was sent a review copy I have to admit that the cover didn't really catch my attention, in fact I doubt I'd have picked it up if I hadn't realised that the book is the inspiration for the new Aardman animation.  As soon as I saw the movie trailer I knew that I had to read the book and I'm really glad that I did.

What other book are you going to find that includes pirates, Charles Darwin, the elephant man, a man-panzee and a dodgy Bishop?  The Pirate Captain and his loyal crew are getting a bit bored of sitting around enjoying their spoils and are looking for a new adventure.  They get a little more than they bargained for when they raid a boat full of scientists and end up agreeing to help Charles Darwin.  In an adventure that takes them from the Galapagos Islands to the heart of London they must try to foil the plans of the devious Bishop and if they're lucky figure out who is behind the spate of murders before one of their own becomes the latest victim.

Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is a completely crazy but laugh out loud funny read.  You'll have no hope of figuring out where the plot will take you next as it wanders off in completely unexpected directions.  Amusing, fun and light hearted this book doesn't take itself seriously and at under 200 pages can easily be read in a couple of hours.  I'm looking forward to my next adventure with the Pirate Captain and his crew!

In case you haven't already seen it here is the trailer for the Pirates! In an adventure with Scientists animation which hits cinemas in the UK on the 23rd of March.  I know it's one I want to go and see!



Source: Received from Bloomsbury 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.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Simon & Schuster Philippa Gregory YA Book Launch - 22nd February 2012

Philippa Gregory

On Wednesday I was invited to a very special event hosted by Simon & Schuster to celebrate the launch of Philippa Gregory's first ever YA book.  Along with 5 other bloggers I was lucky enough to get the chance to meet Philippa to get an exclusive sneak peak at the cover of her new book just before the worldwide press release.  We had been asked to send over some questions in advance and on the day we got to ask them in a press conference style.  It was a very different format to anything I'd been to before but it worked really well.

I think we were all a bit nervous before the event started but Philippa was so friendly that it didn't take long for us to relax.  I made loads of notes while Philippa was talking but I have to admit that I was writing so quickly I'm struggling to make sense of my handwriting.  I know I haven't captured everything that was talked about but hopefully I caught enough to give you a good overview of the event.  I'll include the questions and as much of the answers as I can but any mistakes are down to me being unable to decipher my own writing!

Back Row: me, Sammee, Jennie, Philippa & Carly
Front Row: Becky & Viv

1. Feeling Fictional (me) - What made you decide to write your first story aimed at the YA market and did you find it any different to writing adult books?

Philippa said she already knew that she had a lot of teen readers - at some events she has met fans as young as 7 or 8 years old who are reading her books with their mothers! - so it made sense to write a book specifically aimed at them.  She said that the difference between writing for teens and adults is that you are writing for people who have less world experience.  She wanted to make sure that the story she wrote contained strong female role models which is something she feels can be missing from some YA novels.  She wants to challenge the negative views of women and show the importance of women's education.  

The time period that Changeling is set in also has relevance to issues we face today.  The Crusades can be compared in some ways to modern day terrorist attacks.  She wants to give readers something to think about and in some ways her YA book is actually deeper than her adult ones.  Philippa said she is a feminist, she was a young woman once, she has a daughter and she thinks that it is important to think about how you write for young women.

2. Bookgeeks (Jennie) - When researching your novels, do you find it more difficult to find original sources that directly describe a female historical experience?  How do you deal with source documents that may often be written from a male point of view?

Philippa confirmed that there is almost no source material available written from a female perspective.  There is modern research available though.  Philippa said you can reconstruct a woman's life based on what the men she knew were doing.  She compared it to a jigsaw puzzle taking lots of little pieces of information and then using your personal knowledge of how women generally behave to make sense of the final picture.  It is even harder to find source material about children - they are hardly mentioned at all and much more guess work is required.

3. Writing from the Tub (Carly) - Do you have an audience in mind when writing, or do you just write for yourself?

Philippa doesn't have an audience in mind when she is writing, she writes purely for her own pleasure and for her interest in the topic.  She thinks about the writing process not about how it will be published or who it will be marketed to.  That's the best way to remain honest to the story.  She believes that all good writers are on their own in a room with their characters when they are writing.

4. Bookgeeks (Jennie) - Do you have a favourite era of history?  What draws you to write about the past?

Philippa said she is the type of person who always wants to know what happened first.  She is very interested in cause and effect and she always questions what led up to a certain event occurring.

The medieval period is her favourite historical era.  She said that people were just starting to come up with scientific theories but there was still a deep belief in magic and the supernatural.  It was a period of time when people were very ready to believe that the end of days were coming (although humans still seem quite quick to accept that everything will end - like with the recent cult in America).  One of the main characters in Changeling, Luca, is hired by a secret organisation who investigate strange occurrences that could signify the end of the world.  He will investigate plague outbreaks, dancing trances and cases of mass hysteria throughout the story.

5. Serendipity Reviews (Viv) - If you could meet one person from history, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Philippa would love to ask Richard III if he killed the princess in the tower (she doesn't believe that he did but she has always wanted to know for sure).  She also thinks it would be interesting to meet Elizabeth I or Queen Isabella of Spain who was a real crusading queen.

Vlad Tepes (also known as Vlad the Impaler) probably wouldn't be a good person to meet - she doesn't think he'd be a very good host - but she thinks he would be fascinating to study from a distance.  Vlad actually makes an appearance in Changeling so I'll be really interested to see Philippa's version of him!

6. The Bookette (Becky) - Are there any significant benefits or drawbacks to writing about historical figures?  Does it present any particular challenges as a writer?

The advantages include the pleasure she gets from writing about something that she is so interested in.  Challenges are caused when she has to decide between historical accuracy and where her creative side would like to take the story.  It can be hard to tie the two sides of the story together but she said that she always goes for historical accuracy when she has evidence to prove something.  When there is no evidence she is able to let her creativity fill in any gaps.

7. Feeling Fictional (me) - Have you ever thought about writing a contemporary novel or do you think you'll always stick to writing historical fiction? (Yes, I did feel like an idiot when I heard the answer to this question!  I could have sworn Philippa had only written historical fiction!)

Philippa has already written some contemporary fiction (The Little House, Perfectly Correct, Alice Hartley's Happiness and Zelda's Cut).  She said that in some ways they are a lot easier to write as there is less research needed.  However, in her most recent contemporary (Perfectly Correct) she still ended up with a link to the suffragettes that meant she had to do a lot of research so she does tend to be drawn to historical fiction even when she isn't attempting to write it!

8. I Want to Read That (Sammee) - Are there any authors that have been a strong influence on you / inspired you?

Philippa said that you can't be a writer without being an avid reader.  She was influenced by a childhood spent reading and she grew up in a bookish house.  She read a lot of classic children's literature and then moved on to reading Jane Austen (who she said has a beautiful writing style).  

At the moment she is reading a lot of Charles Dickens, she tried reading his books when she was younger but didn't get on with his writing style then, now she has grown into it she is really enjoying reading through all of his books.  Dickens was very committed to social change and got very angry about social injustice and Philippa finds it interesting to read his work from a historical point of view.

9. Writing from the Tub (Carly) - What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever been given (and do you follow it)?

Someone told her that if you get blocked you need to find a way to get your unconscious mind working on the problem.  They suggested setting an alarm clock for 4am, getting up and immediately starting to write - it helps to get your dream self working.  She has tried that a few times but over the years she has developed her own methods to reach her unconscious.

Now when she gets stuck she will take the dog for a walk, she picks a direction and tells herself that no matter how long it takes she isn't going to turn around and walk home until she has solved the problem - even if it takes her all night.  For some reason she always manages to come up with an answer before it gets dark!  She said there have been a few close calls but she thinks that her unconscious mind is scared that there might be wolves out after sunset so it will do anything to come up with an answer before dark.

10. I Want to Read That (Sammee) - Where do you write, and why?

Philippa confirms that she writes anywhere and everywhere., writing an average of 2 books a year means she has to keep writing but she mainly does it because she enjoys it.

11. The Bookette (Becky) - What do you read for pleasure?

I'm sure it won't come as a surprise to hear that Philippa reads a lot of historical fiction for pleasure.  She also mentioned that when she goes on holiday she tends to pick an author and will then read through their books back to back.




Changeling is the first book in Philippa's new Order of Darkness series.  Philippa confirmed that the agreement is currently for 4 books but the series length may be extended in the future, she has already started writing book 2 and knows the plots for books 3 and 4.  There has already been interest in turning the books into a TV series but nothing is confirmed at this time.  I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for that one!

We got to read an extract from Changeling and I have to tell you I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the book - I already know I'm going to love it!  What do you think of this cover?  It's absolutely stunning isn't it?!


The year is 1453 and all signs point to it being the end of the world.

Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old, Luca Vero, is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe.  Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom, and travel to the very frontier of good and evil.

Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her claiming her rich inheritance.  As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and driven to accuse her.  Outside in the yard he can see a pyre being made ready to burn the guilty . . .

Changeling will be published in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and India on the 24th of May 2012.

I'd like to say a massive thank you to Simon & Schuster for arranging the event, I had a fabulous time and it was great to find out so much about Changeling.  I'd also like to thank Philippa Gregory for happily answering all of our questions and for taking the time to pose for pictures on such a busy day.

Who was there:
Kat & Venetia - Simon & Schuster
Philippa Gregory - Website
Jennie - Bookgeeks

Review: Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Hunger Games Trilogy:
Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay

Visit Suzanne Collins' website for more information.

Review:
In this futuristic world the country Panem (the area once known as North America) has been divided into 12 Districts, all under control of the main city called Capitol. People in the Districts live in poverty and under constant fear of punishment from the wealthy citizens of Capitol. After a rebellion in the past caused the destruction of a thirteenth district the Capitol created the Hunger Games as a way to control the population. Every year each District must supply two children (one male and one female) between the ages of 12 and 18 to take part in the televised games. 24 children go into the games but only one will be alive at the end, they must kill or be killed in the ultimate fight for survival.

I feel like I must be one of the last people on the planet to actually start reading the Hunger Games series. I've had so many recommendations for the series over the last few years but for some reason never found the time to read it. Having seen the film trailers and desperately wanting to watch it I decided I really should read the book before it comes out in March. Well at least I can now understand what all the hype is about, I was completely hooked on the story and can't wait to read the next two books.

The story is told from the point of view of 16 year old Katniss who has been looking after her mother and sister ever since the death of her father five years ago. Her mother was completely unable to cope with her loss and it was up to Katniss to learn to hunt and gather food to keep them from starving. Katniss would do anything to protect her sister so when Prim is selected as one of the District 12 Tributes she immediately steps forward to take her place. She knows she has hardly any chance of surviving the games but she can't let them take her sister. It was easy to like Katniss, she is loyal to her family and friends, courageous enough to stand up for what she believes in and at times a bit of a rebel even in a society where rebellion can be the death of you. She is also intelligent enough to realise that she has to play the game and give the viewers what they want if she has any hope of making it through the games in one piece.

There were times when I felt the story was a little on the predictable side, some things were obviously going to happen and although I didn't always know how you would get from point A to point B I did know what point B would be. Having said that I still thoroughly enjoyed the journey and found it difficult to put the book down once I'd started reading. I was rooting for Katniss to find a way to beat the system, I wanted to see her come out on top and thoroughly enjoyed watching her beat the odds. The story line moves at a good pace and makes for an addictive read.

I'm looking forward to finding out more about the side characters in Catching Fire. While Peeta was a nice character I have to admit I'm a lot more interested in Gale so I'm hoping we get to see much more of him in the next book. I'm very curious about how the series will play out and am even more excited about watching the film than I was before. If you're like I was and nervous that Hunger Games won't live up to the hype then stop worrying and grab your copy today - I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Source: Purchased

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.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Review: Shadow Bound - Erin Kellison

Death
Some people will do anything to avoid it.  Even trade their immortal souls for endless existence.

Wraiths
Secretly, inexorably, they are infiltrating our world. sucking the essence out of unsuspecting victims with their hideous parody of a kiss.

Segue
Adam Thorne founded the Segue Institute to study and destroy his monster of a brother, but the key to its success is held in the pale, slender hand of a woman on the run.  There is something hauntingly different about Talia O'Brien, her unknowing sensuality, her uncanny way of slipping into Shadow.

Twilight
This is the place between life and what comes after - a dark forest of fantasy, filled with beauty, peril, mystery.  And Talia is about to open the door.

Shadow Series:
Shadow Bound
Shadow Fall
Shadow Touch (Novella)
Shadowman
Shadow Play (Novella) (April 2012)
Fire Kissed (July 2012)

Visit Erin Kellison's website for more information

Review:
Adam started the Segue Institute after his brother Jacob was turned into a wraith and killed both of their parents.  Adam is set on revenge and will do anything to find a way to destroy his immortal brother and the wraiths that seem to be multiplying in numbers at a horrifying rate.  Humanity may not be aware of it yet but it looks like we are on the brink of a supernatural war with Adam's team our first line of defence.  After reading Talia's thesis Adam is convinced that she has information that could help him beat the wraiths, he just has to track her down and get her to help him.  But Talia is in hiding and when Adam manages to find her it quickly becomes clear that she is hiding something.  Why are the wraiths so determined to capture her?  Can Adam convince her to use her unusual abilities to help him?

I was hooked into Shadow Bound from the prologue where we are introduced to human Kathleen and the mysterious Shadowman.  We don't spend much time with the couple but you get a really good sense of how much they mean to each other.  Skip forward 26 years and the story picks up with their daughter Talia.  She knows she is different but she doesn't understand why and her parents were never available for her to find out.  All she wants is to live a normal life so she keeps her ability to wrap herself in the shadows a secret and knows nothing about the supernatural world.  It comes as quite a shock when she is attacked by a wraith, she doesn't know what this creature is but she manages to escape using the shadows.  Her first instinct is to run and hide and I can't really blame her for that.

When she meets Adam and starts to learn more about both what she is and the enemy that she is facing it takes her a while before she decides to fight.  I wanted her to be a bit more proactive and work harder at learning how to use her powers but it takes quite a while before she stops trying to run.  I did find her a likable character I just wanted her to be a bit more kick ass.  I found it easy to sympathise with Adam but there were times when I found it very difficult to like him.  His attitude and the constant lies and secret keeping were a real turn off for me and at first I struggled to see what Talia saw in him.  I liked the chemistry between them though and I do feel he'd redeemed himself by the end of the book.

I enjoyed the world building in the story, the mythology was a bit different to most of the paranormal romance stories I've read and it was woven into the story well so you weren't overwhelmed with info dumps.  I did find myself getting confused at times though, a couple of characters had very similar names and for a while I wasn't sure if they were the same person or not.  Despite the minor problems I really enjoyed the story overall and I'm looking forward to continuing the series.

Source: I was given a copy of this book at AADPhilly 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, 21 February 2012

Hunger Games Movie Teaser Trailers

Most of my blogging friends have been raving about Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series for as long as I can remember. In fact some of them (I think Lynsey from Narratively Speaking and Caroline from Portrait of a Woman were the main instigators!) insisted I bought the whole trilogy back in 2010 but for some reason I never got around to reading it.  I think I was probably a bit nervous because everyone had raved about it so much - I didn't want to be the only one who didn't like it! 

Well, it's only a month until the Hunger Games film releases and I've been dying to see it ever since I first saw the trailer so I thought I really should get around to reading at least the first book.  I finished it last week & guess what - it lived up to the hype!  I'll be posting my review later today but in the meantime I wanted to share the movie trailer here (it gives me a good excuse to watch it again lol). 



Make sure you keep an eye on the Hunger Games Facebook page for all the latest information.  There will also be updates on both the Scholastic Twitter page and the UK Hunger Games Twitter page.

So who else is dying to see this film?  I'm sure I'm not the only one!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Quick Review: Winning the Wallflower - Eloisa James

Lady Lucy Towerton:
Plain and tall (according to the lady herself). Titled, and irreproachably proper (according to her fiancé).

Until, overnight, she becomes . . .

Lady Lucy Towerton:
Heiress (thanks to an aged aunt’s bequest). Belle of the Ball (so say the fortune hunters of the ton).

In charge of her own destiny (finally!), Lucy breaks her engagement and makes up her mind to never be proper again . . .

NOTE: This novella is related to "The Duke is Mine" and includes Olivia Lytton





Happily Ever Afters Series:
A Kiss at Midnight
Storming the Castle (Novella)
When Beauty Tamed the Beast
Winning the Wallflower (Novella)
The Duke is Mine
The Ugly Duchess
Seduced by a Pirate (Novella)
Once Upon a Tower (2013)


Visit Eloisa James' website for more information

Review:
Lucy doesn't hold out much hope for her chances of marrying for love, she is taller than most men and rarely even gets asked to dance at the balls she attends.  When Cyrus asks her to marry him she knows it is only because he wants her title.  His mother caused a scandal when she married a mere solicitor and Cyrus is determined to win back the family status.  Lucy is attracted to him though and secretly quite pleased to be marrying him.  Everything changes when she becomes an heiress, suddenly she has people queueing up to marry her and her mother wants her to break off her engagement and find someone more suitable.  Lucy has other ideas though, she has absolutely no intention of marrying someone who wants her for her title or for her money - she'd rather wait for love.

I've really been enjoying Eloisa James' Happily Ever After series and Winning the Wallflower was no exception.  This was a really sweet romance and one I'd definitely recommend to fans of the series.  Although it does include a brief appearance from Olivia Lytton, the main character in The Duke is Mine, this story doesn't include spoilers for that or any other book in the series so far and could easily be read as a stand alone.  This is one of my favourite historical romance series though, especially when I'm looking for a fun, light hearted and saucy read, so I would highly recommend checking out the rest of the books too. 

Source: Received from Piatkus Entice 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.

Cover Reveal: Inbetween - Tara Fuller

I'm excited to share the cover for Tara Fuller's novel Inbetween with you today.  This is the first book in her new Kissed by Death series and will be available in the US on the 7th of August from Entangled Publishing.

Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.

It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn't let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.

Visit Tara Fuller's website for more information.

So what do you think? Now you already know what a massive fan I am of Tod (from the Soul Screamers series) but there is definitely room for another reaper or two on my list of favourite fictional boyfriends so I'm looking forward to meeting Finn!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Publisher Spotlight: Walker - January - August 2012 & Undercover 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 December I was lucky enough to be invited to an event hosted by Walker to talk about some of their 2012 Undercover 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!  If you'd like more information check out the Walker website or their Under Cover Reads blog.

5th of January:

First we have a new thriller from author Tim Wynn-Jones called Blink & Caution.  I have this one on my to read pile and it sounds fab so hopefully I'll get my review posted soon.  You can visit Tim Wynn-Jones' website for more information.

Two street kids get tangled in a plot over their heads - and risk an unexpected connection - in this heart-pounding thriller by Tim Wynne-Jones.

Boy, did Blink get off on the wrong floor. All he wanted was to steal some breakfast for his empty belly, but instead he stumbled upon a fake kidnapping and a mobile phone dropped by an "abducted" CEO, giving Blink a link to his perfect blonde daughter. Now Blink is on the run, but it'll be OK as long as he's smart enough to stay in the game and keep Captain Panic locked in his hold. Enter a girl named Caution. As in Caution: Watch Your Step. She's also on the run, from a drug-dealer boyfriend and from a nightmare in her past that won't let her go. When she spies Blink at the bus station, Caution can see he's an easy mark. But there's something about this naïve, skinny street punk, whom she only wanted to rob, that tugs at her heart, a heart she thought deserved not to feel. Charged with suspense and intrigue, this taut novel trails two deeply compelling characters as they forge a blackmail scheme that is foolhardy at best, disastrous at worst - along with a fated, tender partnership that will offer them each a rare chance for redemption.

2nd of February:

I've already read Edward Hogan's debut YA novel Daylight Saving (read my review here) and it's definitely a story I'd recommend picking up.  If you're in the UK don't forget to enter my current giveaway for the chance to win a copy!

When Daniel Lever accompanies his dad to the Leisure World Holiday Complex, his expectations are low.  But then he sees a mysterious girl by the fake lake and everything changes.  Lexi is funny and smart, but why does she have wounds that get worse each time they meet?  And is her watch really going backwards?

As the end of British Summer Time approaches, Daniel has to act quickly.  Their souls depend on it.









Another February release is Girl, Stolen by April Henry which sounds like it is going to be a gripping read.  I just realised that I've already read one of this authors adult books called Hand of Fate that she co wrote with Lis Wiehl (read my review here).  I enjoyed Hand of Fate and I have a feeling that Girl, Stolen will be just as good.  Visit April Henry's website for more information.

How do you escape when you can't see the way out?

Sixteen-year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mother fills her prescription. Before Cheyenne realizes what has happened, the car is being stolen from the car park. Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia – she is also blind. Griffin, the teenage driver, hadn't meant to kidnap her – he was just stealing a car for the gang. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne's father is the president of Nike, everything changes – now there's a reason to keep her. Will Cheyenne be able to survive this harrowing ordeal, and escape? And if so, at what price?


Now this next book is one that I'm really excited about, I didn't think it was published until April but according to Amazon UK it's already shipping.  I absolutely loved Peter Cocks' debut novel Long Reach when I read it last year (my review is posted here) so I can't wait to read the sequel Body Blow!  Visit Peter Cocks' website for more information about the series.

Once you're in the business, there's no going back...

Eddie Savage is hiding out in the West Midlands after his near-fatal shooting during the Kelly affair. But while the physical wounds are fading, the emotional scars are taking longer to heal. And when Eddie finds himself heading for the south of Spain with an unlikely travelling companion, it is as if, by some magnetic force, he is being drawn back into the criminal underworld. Tommy Kelly may be safely locked up back at home, but on the Costa del Sol the Kelly organization is still alive.






1st of March:

Kill You Last is a new thriller from Todd Strasser and has been described as having the glamour of Gossip Girl and the suspense of James Patterson.  Check out Todd Strasser's website for more information.

Local model wanted: must be tall, gorgeous ... and not afraid to die.

Are you dying to be famous...? It seems that every girl in Soundview wants to be a model, singer or actress. They all need super-glam photos for agents and scouts - which works out perfectly for Shelby's photographer dad. He makes a fortune taking pictures of these wannabes ... until the girls start to disappear and he is accused of murder. Shelby knows her dad is innocent and is determined to prove it, and that means finding the real killer.







3rd of May:

May sees the release of The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald.  I don't read a lot of contemporary YA but I know that this is one that Carly from Writing from the Tub was really excited about.  Visit Abby McDonald's website for more information.

They've spent years at the same high school without speaking a word to one another, but that's all about to change. Popular Bliss has the perfect boyfriend, the perfect prom dress - and now the perfect case for revenge after finding her best friend and boyfriend making out in the back of a limo. Bad girl Jolene wouldn't be caught dead at the prom, yet (due to her mother's ultimatum) here she is, trussed up in pink ruffles, wondering whether boot camp might have been the better choice. And shy, studious, uber-planner Meg, ready to stop being a wallflower and start experiencing life firsthand, never counted on her date's standing her up and leaving her idling in the car park outside the prom. Get ready for The Anti-Prom, Abby McDonald's hilarious, heart-tugging tale about three girls on one crazy night.

7th of June:

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina is another one I'm really excited about, I love fantasy stories and I think this is going to be a fabulous read.  Please note that the UK cover isn't available yet so the cover pictured is the US version - I'll post the UK one as soon as I can.  Visit Meg Medina's blog for more information.

A poignant and passionate tale about the risks people will take for a new and better life, and the sacrifices they will make to protect the ones they love.

On the night Sonia Ocampo is born, the village folk of Tres Montes survive the most horrific storm they have ever seen. Immediately they believe Sonia must possess a special gift to heal and protect. But after a young boy dies despite her prayers, sixteen-year-old Sonia is filled with shame and a sense of utter powerlessness. The hundreds of tiny gold symbols pinned to her shawl now only seem like empty, superstitious charms. At once she longs to escape a life built on lies. With the help of her aunt, Sonia takes a train to the city to begin a post in the household of a wealthy woman. Perhaps all their fortunes will now improve? However, a short time later Sonia hears the devastating news that her brother has gone missing from the village. It is not the first time a young man has disappeared in the region, and everyone knows all too well what his fate may be. Sonia must now risk absolutely everything to find him, and find a way to bring him home.

5th of July:

I think Zoe Marriott's new novel FrostFire has to be one of my most anticipated 2012 novels - I can't wait to get my hands on this one!  I absolutely adore Zoe's writing, I loved The Swan Kingdom (read my review here) but was blown away by Shadows on the Moon (read my review here) which was definitely one of my favourite books of 2011.  If FrostFire hadn't already been at the top of my wish list then this cover would have put it there for sure, Zoe seems to be really lucky with the fabulous covers that Walker create for her!  Check out Zoe Marriott's website for more information.

Frost has left her homeland to travel to the neighbouring country of Ruan in the hope of finding a deity she believes will rid her of a curse: at the sight of her own blood, a berserker rage in the form of a wolf overtakes her and kills everyone within reach. On her journey, Frost meets Luca and Arian, two members of the Ruan military force sworn to protect the country's borders from neighbouring rebel fighters. Over the coming months, under Luca's guidance, Frost learns to overcome the Wolf within. She also begins to fall in love with Luca - while Arian falls for her.







2nd of August:

Last but not least we have the fourth book in Cynthia Leitich Smith's Tantalize series Diabolical.  This is another one of those series that I've heard fantastic things about but haven't actually started reading yet.  I have been told that each of the stories works as a stand alone book but there is some cross over with the characters.  I can't bring myself to read books out of order though so I'm going to have to pick up a copy of Tantalize soon!  Check out Cynthia Leitich Smith's website for more information.

When "slipped" angel Zachary and his werewolf pal Kieren are summoned under suspicious circumstances to a mysterious New England boarding school, they quickly find themselves in a hellish lock-down with an intriguing assortment of secretive, hand-picked "students." Plagued by demon dogs, hallucinatory wall décor, a sadistic instructor, and a legendary fire-breathing monster, will they somehow manage to escape? Or will the devil have his due? Best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith unites heroes from the previous three novels in the Tantalize Series - including Zachary's girl, Miranda, and Kieren's love, Quincie - along with a fascinating cast of all-new characters for a suspenseful, action-packed clash between the forces of heaven and hell.

So Walker have some pretty exciting books coming out this year don't you think?  Which ones are you most excited about?

I briefly mentioned the Undercover event at the top of my post, along with getting to find out a bit more about all these fabulous books we were also spoilt with lots of delicious cakes.  It was really interesting to find out a bit more about the process behind the cover design for Daylight Saving and the highlight was getting to meet Edward Hogan!




We had a fab time and I'd like to say a massive thanks to everyone at Walker for organising it for us!

Who was there:
Sean, Ruth, Jack, Eve and Jo - Walker
Edward Hogan - Twitter
Casey - Dark Readers
Leanne - District YA

News Roundup: New Covers and a couple of Publisher Contests

It's time for another roundup post to share some of the bookish news that has come through in the last week or so.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First I have a quick reminder about the Faber & Faber Glimpse contest.  I haven't been online to share this sooner and the closing date is tomorrow so you don't have much time left to enter but here are the details just in case you want to do a last minute entry!

ONE DAY LEFT TO ENTER THE GLIMPSE COMPETITION - COULD YOU BE TAMSIN?

Calling all young aspiring actors!

Our first project is for 13 -18 year olds, we’re looking to find a young actor to play one of the characters in Claire Merle’s debut YA novel, THE GLIMPSE, in a series of web films. Entrants are invited to film themselves performing one of two audition scripts available at www.facebook.com/theglimpse and all entries will be showcased on THE GLIMPSE You Tube Channel.

Competition closing date is MONDAY 20 FEBRUARY. The winner will be announced in March 2012 and the web films will be broadcast online around publication of THE GLIMPSE in June 2012.

Look out for more competitions on THE SPARK www.facebook.com/thesparkpage - Take part in an exciting new online community where books provide the inspiration for your talent.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have you seen the cover for Michelle Harrison's next novel yet?  Michelle is known for her children's 13 Treasures series but Unrest will be her YA debut.  I really enjoyed The 13 Treasures (read my review here) so was already looking forward to Unrest but having seen the cover and blurb I'm now even more excited!  Unrest is being published in the UK on the 26th of April by Simon & Schuster.


Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Sometimes he half-wakes, paralysed, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. His doctors say sleep paralysis and out of body experiences are harmless - but to Elliott they’re terrifying.

Convinced that his brush with death has attracted the spirit world, Elliott secures a job at a reputedly haunted museum, determined to discover the truth. There, he meets the enigmatic Ophelia. But, as she and Elliott grow closer, Elliott draws new attention from the dead. One night, during an out of body experience, Elliott returns to bed to find his body gone. Something is occupying it, something dead that wants to live again . . . and it wants Ophelia, too . . .

A chilling new novel for teen readers from the best-selling author of the widely-acclaimed 13 Treasures sequence.  (Description taken from Goodreads)

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You may remember me mentioning a new Delirium short story called Hana by Lauren Oliver that was released as an ebook exclusive in December.  I loved Delirium (read my review here) so it was nice to see some of the story from Hana's point of view (read my review of Hana here).

To celebrate the fact that it is only 2 weeks until the release of Pandemonium (book 2 in the series) Hodder & Stoughton have announced a very special competition.  Here are the details:

We know that lots of you have read and loved Lauren Oliver's short story HANA on ebook, but those of you without access to an e-reader have so far missed out. SO... we are going to print FIVE COPIES ONLY - super, super exclusive bound manuscripts - and are ...offering them to you as competition prizes.

All you have to do is answer the following question:
What is the first name of the main (female) character in Delirium?

Just send your answer to competition@hodder.co.uk  putting HANA in the subject line.

Visit www.facebook.com/lovedelirium for more information about the series.

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I'm a massive, massive fan of Jana Oliver's Demon Trappers series I loved both Forsaken (read my review here) and Forbidden (read my review here) so can't wait to read Forgiven which is released in the UK in March.  I'm not sure why but I was convinced that this series was a trilogy so I was incredibly excited when the press release for Forgiven mentioned that a 4th book - Foretold - is being published in August!  Thanks to the lovely Laura at SisterSpooky: Book Fangirl I've now seen the Foretold cover so I thought I'd share it with you here.


What do you think?  It's fab isn't it!  If you haven't started this series yet then trust me it is one you need to pick up now!

So that's all the news I have to share today, I hope you found some of it interesting!  Good luck if you decide to enter either of the contests & let me know what you think of the covers.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Review: Sword of Light - Katherine Roberts

It is the darkest hour of the darkest age.

King Arthur is dead and the path to the throne lies open to his evil nephew, Mordred.  But there is one with a better claim . . .

Introducing Rhianna Pendragon: Arthur's secret daughter and Camelot's last hope.

Pendragon Legacy:
Sword of Light
Lance of Truth (October 2012)
Crown of Dreams (Release date TBC)
Grail of Stars (Release date TBC)

Visit Katherine Roberts' website for more information.



Review:
Rhianna Pendragon is the secret child of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, so secret that even she doesn't know who her parents are.  She has been raised in the fairy realm of Avalon but has always dreamt of visiting the world of men.  When Merlin arrives in Avalon with Arthur's body it looks like Rhianna will get her wish.  Arthur was killed by his nephew Mordred but there is a chance he can be saved - if Rhianna can find the Sword of Light and bring it back to Avalon.

Rhianna sets out for the human realm to search for the sword with her friend Prince Elphin and their magical horses.  They aren't the only ones searching for it though and Mordred is determined to do whatever it takes to stop them.  He can't risk Rhianna taking control of the Knights of the round table and becoming accepted as King Arthur's heir. Mordred will stop at nothing to claim Camelot and it is up to Rhianna to make sure that doesn't happen.

Although I don't read many children's books I couldn't resist Sword of Light, I've always loved the legend of King Arthur so was looking forward to reading Katherine Roberts' take on it.  It was great to see characters we already know and love alongside new ones like Rhianna. She is a strong heroine and I loved the friendship between her and Elphin.  It's nice to see how much they care for each other and how they always stand together to fight. 

Add in magical horses, knights and a dragon and you have a magical tale full of adventure that is hard to put down.  This is the kind of story I would have absolutely loved as a child and still thoroughly enjoyed even as an adult.  I'd definitely recommend Sword of Light and I'm looking forward to reading the next instalment of the Pendragon Legacy when it comes out later this year.

Source: Received from Templar 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.

Q&A With Katherine Roberts & UK Giveaway of Sword of Light

To celebrate the release of her latest children's fantasy novel Sword of Light I'm delighted to have author Katherine Roberts here today to answer some of my questions.  Also, thanks to the lovely people at Templar I have 10 copies (yes, you read correctly TEN copies!) of the book to give away to some of my UK readers.  I've already read Sword of Light (my review will be posted later today) and it is such a fun read - definitely one I recommend for fantasy fans!

First let me share some information about the book:

It is the darkest hour of the darkest age.

King Arthur is dead and the path to the throne lies open to his evil nephew, Mordred.  But there is one with a better claim . . .

Introducing Rhianna Pendragon: Arthur's secret daughter and Camelot's last hope.

Pendragon Legacy:
Sword of Light
Lance of Truth (October 2012)
Crown of Dreams (Release date TBC)
Grail of Stars (Release date TBC)

Visit Katherine Roberts' website for more information.



Now I'd like to give a warm welcome to Katherine Roberts, thanks so much for visiting today Katherine!

Katherine Roberts

What gave you the idea of writing a story based on the legend of King Arthur?

I’ve been a fan of Arthurian fiction since I first discovered Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment) in the school library. For a while back in the 80’s it seemed nearly every fantasy author was writing something Arthurian, and I read my way through most of them, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually write something Arthurian myself after I became an author.

I didn’t want to retell the old stories, though, so I avoided having Arthur or Merlin as my main character and instead invented a warrior princess – King Arthur’s daughter Rhianna Pendragon – who could pick up the story where the legends left off, the day after Arthur died in battle at the hands of his evil nephew Mordred…

Can you describe Sword of Light in 5 words?

Ah, only five words! That sounds a bit like a competition I once entered to describe “The Lord of the Rings” in 50 words… but I won that competition, so let’s have a go…

“Heiress of Camelot seeks Excalibur.”
or
“Arthur’s daughter returns from Avalon.”
or
“Rhianna battles Mordred for Camelot.”

(Which one works for you?)

Can you tell us a bit more about how many books you have planned for the series?

There are four books in the Pendragon Legacy series altogether, so it is a fantasy quartet rather than the more usual trilogy. This is because I based the series around the four magical talismans that occur in Celtic myth:

Book 1: Sword of Light (Arthur’s sword, Excalibur)
Book 2: Lance of Truth (Arthur’s lance Ron, based on the spear used to wound Jesus on the cross)
Book 3: Crown of Dreams (which hides a magic stone/jewel sometimes called the Lia Fail)
Book 4: Grail of Stars (the Cauldron of Plenty, or the Holy Grail in Christian legend).

Rhianna needs to find all four of these magical “Lights” before she can bring her father back from the dead to sit on the throne of Camelot once again… but King Arthur never actually managed to bring the Grail to Camelot, so can a damsel succeed where Arthur’s brave knights failed? (You’ll have to wait until Book 4 to find out!)

Do you have the whole series plotted out or do you prefer to see where the story takes you as you're writing it?

I had a very basic plan (about a paragraph for each book) before I began. But I prefer to leave it up to my characters to work out the details, and they are getting more wilful as the series progresses. So if they decide to change the ending when I get as far as Book 4, I might have a major battle on my hands!

How long did it take you to write Sword of Light? Have you finished writing Lance of Truth?

If you look at the publication date of my last book (“I am the Great Horse” about Alexander the Great’s warhorse Bucephalas), you’ll see that one was published back in 2007. So I expect everyone thinks I’ve taken five long years to write “Sword of Light”… but that’s not quite true!

I suppose it took me about a year to come up with the concept for the Pendragon series, develop the characters, write the first book and find a publisher for it. It took me about another nine months to write “Lance of Truth” (which is finished, yes, and with my editor now – it’s due out at the end of this year). For the remaining three years I was writing a novel about Genghis Khan, so my published books are out of order now. But that often happens. Fashions come and go, and King Arthur is obviously more popular than Genghis Khan at the moment.

Who is your favourite character? Where they also the easiest character to write?

I’ll have to say Rhianna, because I wish I had a telepathic fairy horse like Alba and a sword like Excalibur. But I have a soft spot for her friend Prince Elphin with the violet eyes. Cai and Arianrhod are quite interesting, too, though their characters come out a bit more in later books.

But I have to admit my villain, Mordred, was the easiest character to write! In fact I often find it easier to write about villains than heroes/heroines. I was discussing this with my editor the other day, and she says it’s because you always know exactly what the villain wants – normally to kill everyone and destroy everything good! Mordred wants the throne of Camelot, and he’ll stop at nothing to get it…

Rhianna, Elphin, Cai and Arianrhod

******************************

Katherine Roberts won the Branford Boase Award for her first children’s novel Song Quest (reissued this month in paperback by Catnip Books). She is the author of the Seven Fabulous Wonders series, translated into 11 languages worldwide and now available as ebooks for Kindle, and the Alexander the Great novel “I am the Great Horse. Her new children’s fantasy series about King Arthur’s daughter Rhianna Pendragon is published by Templar with the first book SWORD OF LIGHT now available in hardcover.

Katherine’s website can be found at http://www.katherineroberts.co.uk/
and you can follow Rhianna Pendragon on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PendragonGirl

******************************

Thanks so much for answering my questions Katherine, I can't wait to read more of Rhianna's adventures in Lance of Truth!

Giveaway Details:

Now how would you like the chance to win a copy of Sword of Light
  • Courtesy of Templar I have 10 hardback copies of Sword of Light to giveaway to 10 lucky UK winners.
  • The winner's prizes will be sent out directly by my contact at Templar so the winners must give me permission to pass their addresses on.
  • The winners will be chosen at random from all entries received. 
  • To enter please use the rafflecopter below to confirm that you are a UK resident, there are optional extra entries for following or tweeting about the giveaway but these are not required to enter.
  • The giveaway will close at 12:01am EST on the 3rd of March 2012 and the winners will be contacted soon afterwards.  You will have 48 hours to reply to me with your address or new winners will be chosen.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Review: The Other Life - Susanne Winnacker

3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world.

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.

When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.

But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

The Other Life series:
The Other Life
The Life Beyond (2013)

Visit Susanne Winnacker's website for more information.

Review:
Sherry and her family have spent over 3 years living in their underground bunker and it has been months since they last had any contact with the outside world.  They were sent into hiding by a rabies outbreak that infected most of the population of LA.  Sherry's family have run out of food and they're getting desperate, forced to go in search of supplies she leaves the safety of the bunker with her father.  They had no idea what to expect but they find a very different city to the one they left behind - deserted and practically destroyed there appear to be no survivors.  But then they come under attack and Sherry's father is taken.  Sherry is rescued by Joshua who explains that the people infected by the virus were turned into Weepers - frightening zombie like creatures who are intent on death and destruction and who can't be reasoned with despite their obvious intelligence.  With Joshua's help can Sherry track down her father and get the rest of her family to safety?

The Other Life is one of those books that had me gripped from the moment I picked it up, Sherry has a great voice and you can see how hard it has been for her whole family being stuck in their tiny bunker.  I could feel her desperation just for a change of scenery and I thought that the tension between family members was captured really well.  No matter how close you are to your family just imagine spending 24 hours a day 7 days a week with them, stuck in close quarters and with no other company.  Yes, that's my idea of a nightmare too and it's a wonder they haven't killed each other!  Apart from the fact that I don't have a bunker hidden away in my garden what struck me most about the story was how realistic it felt, it was easy to imagine these events actually occurring and that is what makes it even more scary to read.

Sherry shows incredible bravery in her determination to find her father and the more contact she has with the Weepers the more you fear for her safety.  This really is quite a creepy book and there are a few heart in mouth moments while you're reading it.  Once the action gets started it is pretty non-stop but I also enjoyed the sections showing Sherry's life before the virus hit.  I liked the slowly developing relationship between Sherry and Joshua, this is no case of insta love and the romance doesn't overshadow the main story line but is a nice added extra. 

The Other Life was a fast paced read that I didn't want to put down and is a great debut from Susanne Winnacker.  Although the story doesn't end with a major cliff hanger I'm really looking forward to the sequel, especially after developments at the end of the book!  This is definitely a story I'll be recommending to fans of dystopian or post apocalyptic fiction and zombies.

Source: Received from Usborne in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
Lindsay Cummings YA Author
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.

The Other Life Launch Party - 1st February 2012

 1

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch party for Susanne Winnacker's debut novel The Other Life hosted by UsborneThe Other Life is a fabulous dystopian read (watch out for my review which will be posted later today) so I was really excited to meet Susanne.  I met up with Sammee and we made our way to The Soho Hotel where we were greeted by Amy, Rebecca & Anna from Usborne who introduced us to Susanne.

Me with Susanne Winnacker

I have to say Susanne was absolutely lovely, she is so friendly and was happy to answer all of our questions.  I was excited to hear that she has already finished the sequel to The Other Life (called The Life Beyond) but I'm afraid we're going to have to wait until 2013 to actually get our hands on it.  Susanne confirmed that there will only be two books in the series so The Life Beyond will be the resolution to Sherry and Joshua's story.  She has already written her third novel too which she said is something completely different to The Other Life but we weren't really able to get much more information from her about it yet.

I found it really interesting that Susanne said her German publisher is currently translating the novel into German.  I had assumed that she would have written the novel in her native language and was really impressed when she said she wrote in English.  I can't imagine how hard it is to write a book, let alone to write one in a foreign language!  Talking to her you can tell how fluently she speaks English but there is a big difference between speaking a language and writing in it.  Susanne said that she has always been interested in American and British cultures, she has spent a lot of time travelling in the states and would love to move there if it wasn't for her husband's job.  When she started writing she met her critique partners online and (I think) they are all American so it seemed logical for her to write in English.




Along with getting to spend time chatting with Susanne and the lovely Usborne ladies we were well and truly spoilt with delicious sandwiches and cakes to nibble on along with a beautiful cupcake to take home that had the red butterfly from The Other Life cover on the top.  I have to confess my cupcake was rather battered by the time I got it home (it didn't like being bashed around in my bag!) but it still tasted just as delicious.

Back: me, Sammee, Casey, Leanne, Nicole & Hayley
Front: Susanne Winnacker

I'd like to say a massive thanks to everyone at Usborne for a fabulous afternoon and to Susanne for spending so much time chatting to us.  If you haven't already picked up your copy of The Other Life it's definitely a book I'd recommend so make sure you come back later to read my review!

Who Was There?
Amy, Rebecca & Anna - Usborne
Susanne Winnacker - Website
Casey & Hayley - Dark Readers - Event Report
Leanne - District YA

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