Friday, 30 November 2012

Cover Reveal: School Spirits By Rachel Hawkins

I love Rachel Hawkin's Hex Hall Series so I'm very excited about the spin off series! She's just revealed the cover for School Spirits and I freaking love how well it ties into the Hex Hall series cover! Check it out now:
School Spirits
Series: Hex Hall Spin Off #1
Release Date: 14th May 2013
Synopsis: There's no offical synopsis yet but this is what Rachel had to say about it:
"As the book features one Izzy Brannick dealing with a haunted high school, it felt like a pretty apt title. ;)

Of course, Izzy also has to deal with a missing sister, an annoying warlock in a mirror, a potentially dangerous Ghost Hunting Club (with the unfortunate name of The Paranormal Management Society- imagine the acronym), and an asthamtic boy named Dex who favors cravats and just confuses the ever living heck out of poor Izzy."
I love this new cover and cannot freaking wait for this book! Rachel Hawkins is one of my favourite authors!! She's fabulous!
What do you think of the cover?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Explorer By James Smythe

The Explorer
Release Date: 3rd January 2013
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 260
Synopsis: A tense, claustrophobic and gripping science fiction thriller from the author of The Testimony.

When journalist Cormac Easton is selected to document the first manned mission into deep space, he dreams of securing his place in history as one of humanity’s great explorers.

But in space, nothing goes according to plan.

The crew wake from hypersleep to discover their captain dead in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. They mourn, and Cormac sends a beautifully written eulogy back to Earth. The word from ground control is unequivocal: no matter what happens, the mission must continue.

But as the body count begins to rise, Cormac finds himself alone and spiralling towards his own inevitable death … unless he can do something to stop it.
Review: This a really hard book to review. I don't want to spoil anything but at the same time I want you to know how complex and finely detailed this book is. James Smythe is a incredibly talented writer. The plot is very intricate and complex but it's finely woven to form this sci-fi masterpiece.
The Explorer follows Cormac Easton, a journalist, who was one of the very few people on earth picked to go up into deep space. Once the crew wake up in space, they find their captain dead. One by one the crew die until Cormac is all alone. Stuck in the claustrophobic spaceship, he begins to realise that things aren't what they seem. When the spaceship begins to blare warnings at him and the oxygen level's begin to plummet, he knows there is no going back. Panicking he tries all he can to save himself, but he's just a journalist, he doesn't know how to control the ship despite all of his training. Time really is running out for him.
Cormac is our main character and he grows a lot throughout the novel, he really does change to a large extent. At first he was annoying, he was a whiny man, who was obsessed with his wife. That is until some events make this change. We then see him experience true pain and slowly he begins to understand what's been happening around him. I think he finally realises that the world does not revolve around him. The small being he is, is a minute part of the universe. The universe would not feel a disturbance if he died. He realises that the whole idea of him going to space to explore and be remembered is silly, he was selfish and didn't realise until way too late. There are much bigger choices to be made that could save all of humanity, not just himself. He realises that a sacrifice will benefit the earth more than his return.
The rest of the crew are all thought out and real. Some were annoying like Guy, others I loved, especially Wanda, I just wanted to hug her! There was a rather large variety of characters and each bought something new to the page.
This is a very complex book and it could get confusing at times but that's what Sci-fi is all about. The book is told from a combined first and third person perspective which is really interesting and must have took a lot of time to master. It does work well though and once you read the book you will know why. We get flashbacks from Cormac all about his past and how he managed to get on the trip to space. The Explorer is a modern Sci-fi novel that grips the reader from the start. It traps you inside a spaceship and does not let you go, you feel the oxygen levels plummeting, you're cold and starving, while a error message keeps popping up on the screen. There isn't much time left. What would you do? To find out what Cormac does get this when it's released in January!

Friday, 23 November 2012

'Salem's Lot By Stephen King

'Salem's Lot
Release Date: 17th October 1975
Publisher: Hodder
Format: Paperback
Pages: 751
Synopsis: 'Turn off the television - in fact, why don't you turn off all the lights except for the one over your favourite chair? - and we'll talk about vampires here in the dim. I think I can make you believe in them.'Stephen King, from the Introduction.

'Salem's Lot is a small New England town with the usual quota of gossips, drinkers, weirdos and respectable folk. Of course there are tales of strange happenings - but not more than in any other town its size.

Ben Mears, a moderately successful writer, returns to the Lot to write a novel based on his early years, and to exorcise the terrors that have haunted him since childhood. The event he witnessed in the house now rented by a new resident. A newcomer with a strange allure. A man who causes Ben some unease as things start to happen: a child disappears, a dog is brutally killed - nothing unusual, except the list starts to grow.

Soon surprise will turn to bewilderment, bewilderment to confusion and finally to terror . . .
Review: I think most people have heard of Stephen King, even more so of Salem's Lot the horrifying vampire novel. I've had this book on my shelf for a while but never found the correct time to read it until the evening of 31st October. I wanted a spooky book to read for Halloween and this was the perfect choice. I knew the reputation this book had, King is the King of horror after all, so I was fully prepared for the frights it held inside. What I wasn't expecting was to love the book as much as I did. I found the characters were all really strong and realistic, I was rooting for them all the way. The antagonists were cold, dark and cruel, there was no good left in them. They were followers of the devil and the darkness practically flowed from them. King has created his own sort of vampires which are incredibly freaky. They were devils with an alluring charm, a facade of kindness that would crumble with your refusal. They were true vampires and ones I would never like to meet. 'Salem's Lot is a classic horror novel that will make you question the supernatural and yourself, if faced with the true existence of vampires would you believe or just turn a blind eye, even though the evidence is right in front of you? King raises lots of questions that will make the reader thing about the unknown. It will change your views on things and make you never want to go outside after dark.
'Salem's Lot joins Ben Mears, a writer who returns back to the town he grew up in, where he needs to confront his past fears. One terrifying memory from his childhood still haunts him now and he believes the only way to make it go away is to return to Salem's Lot and confront it. But Salem's Lot is very different. The previously vacant Marsten House has new residents, and with them comes strange happenings. The Marsten House has always scared Ben but now that someone has moved into that horrifying house, it has set him on edge. While doing research for his new novel things start to go wrong in the Lot. A dog is found brutally murdered hanging upside down on the cemetery gates, then a child disappears and the body is never found. These are just the first of a few strange happenings and Ben believes it's all connected to the new residents. While getting to know the town people, things get worse and it isn't long until Ben is forced to face his fears.
Ben Mears is the main character, he's a decent fellow with a career choice that the town people look down upon. He doesn't care what they think he just wants to get his work done while battling his personal demons. I really got to like Ben as the main character, at first I was a bit weary but in the end we saw his strength. He pushed through even when his fears were right in front of him. He confronted these fears while saving his town. He was very realistic, he had his flaws just like anyone else. Susan was his love interest from the very start, I really didn't like her, it was just too convenient that she was always there to listen to Ben spill his secrets. The only time I liked her was when something happened to her but I shall leave it at that. We also had Matt the Scholar of the group, he was the leader even though he was mostly bed bound, he found all the information and formatted the plans. Jimmy was the doctor, he and Ben had a great brotherly relationship going on. Then we come to Mark, the little boy who is wise beyond his years, I loved him. He was only a child and he had to face things that even the adults couldn't stand. He was a strong being.
The enemies were the baldly elegant Straker the side kick to devil's Prince Barlow. Straker was very creepy even though he wasn't a vampire. He had the piercing eyes, The cold voice and a hysterical laugh. He himself would have made a scary villain but King went even darker with Barlow. Barlow is the main villain, he is the vampire, the king of mind games and everything evil. He has the elegant black flowing hair and the piercing red eyes and pale skin. He was a horrifying villain, one who would play with your mind and body until you submitted to his whims.
'Salem's Lot is a very widely read novel and therefore has varying reviews across the Internet. I think people need to go into reading this with a clear mind, instead of comparing it to all over novels and reviews. This is a classic in its own right. It's a chilling horror novel that will be read for generations. I really recommend it. I'm not normally one for horror novels but I've already purchased more of King's novels because I loved Salem's lot that much. If you're looking for a read full of suspense and terror then read this. Be prepared when you start the book, lock all the doors and windows and do not let any strange person in. Oh and don't venture out after dark, I'm afraid you may meet your end.

Monday, 19 November 2012

UK Cover Reveal: Sever By Lauren DeStefano

Last week Lauren DeStefano revealed the UK cover to the higly anticipated final book of her Chemical Garden Triology, Sever. I have to say that I prefer the colour scheme of this one a lot more than the US cover. There is also a new paperback cover for Fever which is also gorgeous! You can find them below.
Series: The Chemical Garden #3
Release Date: 12th February 2013
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Synopsis: Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.
I just love the colours so much better than the green US cover! Here's the US cover for comparison.
Now here's the new UK cover for Fever!
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy #2
Release Date: 16th February 2012
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback
Pages: 341
Synopsis: Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion. But danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago―surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous―and in a world where young woman only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion… by any means necessary.

In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price―now that she has more to lose than ever.
Right I freaking love this new cover! The colours look so much better and fit the book so well! Is it red for passion or betrayal? You'll have to read to find out!
What do you think of the new covers?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Letterbox Love (#24)

Letterbox Love is a weekly meme hosted by narratively speaking. The UK book bloggers have joined together and made a British version of IMM, and here it is. I'm proud to be a UK book blogger so this seemed like an excellent new meme to participate in.
I keep saying I'm going to get this back on track but I will do soon! Thanks for hanging on! I've got loads of work due in this coming week but I will schedule some post! Thank you for sticking around!
Here's what I got this week:
The book links will take you to the book's Goodreads page.
For Review:
Weekly Wrap Up:
I would love to see what you received this week, please leave your links in the comments!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Simon and Schuster Blogger Event Report!

A few weeks ago, I received my first invite to a blogger event at a publishing house. The invite was for a blogger event at Simon and Schuster in London. I was over the moon that I had been one of the lucky few to get invited and jumped at the chance. I couldn’t confirm my attendance until the very last minute and it was literally a few hours before when we got tickets and planned the trip. It was a rush but totally worth it.
I arrived half an hour early so I was allowed to sit in Simon and Schuster’s little library and browse their titles while waiting for other to arrive. At half four we were ushered into a meeting room all set out with the tables all set out for the panel at the front. Once we were all seated the authors came in and Alice Murphy, Simon & Schuster's Digital Marketing Executive, introduced herself, and the authors in turn. The four authors we all had the pleasure to meet were:
Ali Harris is a magazine journalist and has written for publications such as Red, ELLE, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Company and was deputy features editor at No.1 women's magazine Glamour before leaving to write books and have babies. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and their two children. Ali was at the event to talk about her second novel, The First Last Kiss which is released on the 17th January 2013.
Wendy Wallace is an award-winning freelance journalist and writer based in London, whose articles have appeared in the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Scotsman. The Painted Bridge is her first novel. Wendy was there to talk about her debut novel The Painted Bridge which was out earlier this year.
Robert Ryan is an author, journalist and screenwriter. He was born in Liverpool and moved to London to study natural sciences at university. He began his writing career in the late 1980s for The Face, Arena and the US edition of GQ, before moving to a staff job in the Sunday Times. In 1999, after the publication of his first novel, Underdogs, he left to go freelance, although he is still a frequent contributor to the newspaper. He has published a total of twelve novels under his own name, the latest being Death on the Ice, and two (Steel Rain and Copper Kiss) as Tom Neale. The latter have been optioned by Fremantle TV with a view to creating a TV series. Ryan is currently working on his next novel and a variety of television projects. Robert was there to talk about his next novel Dead Man’s Land which is released in January 2013.
 Dean Crawford began writing after his dream of becoming a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force was curtailed when he failed their stringent sight tests. Fusing his interest in science with a love of fast-paced revelatory thrillers, he soon found a career that he could pursue with as much passion as flying a fighter jet. Now a full-time author, he lives with his partner and daughter in Surrey. Dean was there to talk about his third novel Apocalypse which was published yesterday.
After introductions Alice began asking the authors question us bloggers submitted before the event. We got to learn about their new books and what it’s like to be a writer, the good and the bad side of things. We got to understand each authors writing day and how they stay motivated. It was very interesting and each author was different from the other. For a more in-depth look at the questions asked and the answers given, check out Caroline Hooton’s post. (A fellow blogger who also attended the event)
Once all questions had been answered we went into another room, where there were refreshments in the middle. What was even more exciting was that at the sides of the room there were tables filled with books that were either newly released or upcoming releases in the end of 2012 to the beginning of 2013. It was so cool! I was geeking out at the sight of all these new books. There were Simon and Schuster book bags ready for us to fill up with all the books we wanted! And fill it up I did! I then spent some time talking to some fellow bloggers who were all lovely and it was brilliant to meet the people behind the awesome blogs.
  I left slightly earlier than others as I had to get the train home. I was sad to go but it was a lovely event and I really enjoyed it. Huge thanks to Alice and the rest of the S&S team for the invite, but also for creating a very successful event. Also thanks to the authors who took their time to meet us bloggers, it was brilliant to meet you all!
You can find all the swag I came home with over on my Letterbox Love - Simon and Schuster edition.
To end this post I will leave you with information about the authors books!
The First Last Kiss
Release Date: January 2013
Synopsis: How do you hold on to a love that is slowly slipping away from you?
Can you let go of the past when you know what is in the future?
And how do you cope when you know that every kiss is a countdown to goodbye?

This is the story of a love affair, of Ryan and Molly and how they fell in love and were torn apart. The first time Molly kissed Ryan, she knew they'd be together forever. Six years and thousands of kisses later she's married to the man she loves. But today, when Ryan kisses her, Molly realises how many of them she wasted because the future holds something which neither of them could have ever predicted…
The Painted Bridge
Release Date: 24th May 2012
Synopsis: Outside London behind a stone wall stands Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, recently-married Anna Palmer becomes its newest arrival, tricked by her husband into leaving home, incarcerated against her will and declared hysterical and unhinged. With no doubts as to her sanity, Anna is convinced that she will be released as soon as she can tell her story.

But Anna learns that liberty will not come easily. The longer she remains at Lake House, the more she realises that -- like the ethereal bridge over the asylum's lake -- nothing is as it appears. She begins to experience strange visions and memories that may lead her to the truth about her past, herself, and to freedom - or lead her so far into the recesses of her mind that she may never escape…

Set in Victorian England, as superstitions collide with a new psychological understanding, this elegant, emotionally suspenseful debut novel is a tale of self-discovery, secrets, and search for the truth in a world where the line between madness and sanity seems perilously fine.
Dead Man's Land
Release Date: 3rd January 2013
Synopsis: Deep in the trenches of Flanders Fields, men are dying in their thousands every day. So one more death shouldn't be a surprise.
But then a body turns up with bizarre injuries, and Sherlock Holmes' former sidekick Dr John Watson - unable to fight for his country due to injury but able to serve it through his medical expertise - finds his suspicions raised. The face has a blue-ish tinge, the jaw is clamped shut in a terrible rictus and the eyes are almost popping out of his head, as if the man had seen unimaginable horror. Something is terribly wrong.

But this is just the beginning. Soon more bodies appear, and Watson must discover who is the killer in the trenches. Who can he trust? Who is the enemy? And can he find the perpetrator before he kills again?

Surrounded by unimaginable carnage, amidst a conflict that's ripping the world apart, Watson must for once step out of the shadows and into the limelight if he's to solve the mystery behind the inexplicable deaths.
Release Date: 8th November 2012
Synopsis: In the notorious Bermuda Triangle a private jet vanishes without trace, taking with it scientists working for world-famous philanthropist Joaquin Abell.

In Miami, Captain Kyle Sears is called to a murder scene. A woman and her daughter have both been shot through the head. But within moments of arriving, Sears receives a phone call from the woman's husband, physicist Charles Purcell.

"I did not kill my wife and daughter. In less than twenty-four hours I too will be murdered and I know the man who will kill me. My murderer does not yet know that he will commit the act."

With uncanny accuracy, Charles goes on to predict the immediate future just as it unfolds around Sears, and leaves clues for a man he's never met before: Ethan Warner

The hunt is on to find Purcell, and Ethan Warner is summoned by the Defence Intelligence Agency to head up the search. But this is no ordinary case, as Warner and his partner Nicola Lopez are about to discover, and time is literally everything.
Thanks again!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Letterbox Love (#23) - Simon and Schuster Edition!

Letterbox Love is a weekly meme hosted by narratively speaking. The UK book bloggers have joined together and made a British version of IMM, and here it is. I'm proud to be a UK book blogger so this seemed like an excellent new meme to participate in.
Hey, I hope you guys had a lovely Halloween! This week I went to the Simon and Schuster blogger event in London and came home with lots of goodies! So this week most of the books will be from the brilliant publishers who are Simon and Schuster. Later on in the week, I will post a report of the event, so check back then. Now onto my haul.
Here's what I got this week:
The book links will take you to the book's Goodreads page.
Here's the gorgeous bag we received to take the books home in!
Ok, Here's the rest of the books I received this week, not from the Simon and Schuster Event:
Thanks to Jim at YA Contemporary for these!
Weekly Wrap Up:
I would love to see what you received this week, please leave your links in the comments!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Rage By Jackie Morse Kessler

Series: Riders of the Apocalypse #2
Release Date: 4th April 2011
Publisher: Graphia
Format: Paperback
Pages: 213
Synopsis: Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different. That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control. A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.
Review: I was a huge fan of Hunger, book one in the Riders of the Apocalypse series, so I was very excited to start the second book, Rage. Once again, I find the idea of Riders of the Apocalypse very interesting and the way Kessler weaves them into the modern world is fantastic. I think that this series is one of my all time favourites, the supernatural elements and human emotions mixed together make a super unique idea for a novel. Where Hunger was focused on an eating disorder, Rage was focused on self harm. Hunger focused on Famine, the black rider of the apocalypse, where as Rage focused on War the Red rider of the apocalypse.
I loved the idea behind Rage, Missy, a self harming teenage girl who uses a blade to relieve her pain, is chosen to personify War. War the one who controls and unleashes anger upon the world. Missy needs to come to terms with her own rage and embrace War so that the world remains in balance. Missy's life is already spiralling out of control but one night puts a stop to it all. One night she cuts too deep. The only thing that stops her from dying is Death himself. Here he tells her that she needs to embrace War and take up her role and arms of office. She will need to learn to control war, before war persuades her to do more harm to herself. Will she be able to accept the horrors that lie within or will it be to late?
Missy is the main character, she is cutter. She cuts to relieve herself from the pain that other people cause her. It's the only way she knows how to cope and she's been doing it for a while. She isn't doing it for attention or to fit in, she is mentally ill and believes this is the only way to cope. She has no one to talk too so she takes comfort from the blade. Missy is an outcast, she doesn't fit in anywhere in the high school cliches. As a reader we get to know her personally, we don't see her as the black goth wannabe that everyone else sees. We see Missy as teenager girl who is ill. For everyone else she wears a cold mask, held in place by sheer will, but behind it she is crumbling and the blade is calling her name. Missy is full of anger and pain, yet she has an attitude and could if she wished beat the crap out of the others. That's what makes her the perfect War, the violence is there waiting at the surface but instead she needs to find a balance. She needs to be able to live her life knowing she can cope without the blade and not caring what others say about her. Missy really grows in this book and it's incredible to see the realistic way the author has done this.
Jackie Morse Kessler has a real talent as a writer. She tackles some harsh subjects in such ways that make the reader understand and feel sympathetic towards the characters. She handles the subjects brilliantly, she doesn't shy away from the harsh reality of things such as self harm. Instead she makes others understand the pain these people are going through. These are very powerful books and it really does give you an insight into a sufferers mind. She shows the reader what it's really like, she doesn't fluff it up with rainbows or overdo it dramatically, she does it realistically. That way many people can relate and learn life lessons from her books. Rage is an incredible book in it's own right, so much talent went into it and you can tell. Rage is the powerful and insightful second novel in the Riders of the Apocalypse series and I can't wait to see what's next!