Monday, 31 October 2011

Mel's Random October

Happy Halloween!

I hope you've wrapped up warm, pulled those curtains tights and have plenty of books to keep you going through the long nights...unless you're in the southern hemisphere - in which case enjoy the long days and the sunshine! :-)

October has been a busy month for me personally so I haven't got around visiting other blogs as often as I'd like, but I have tried my best! I ended up travelling for work a lot - even getting to spend a few days in Paris... I just wished I'd had the opportunity to see more than La Defense (the business area) and the hotel! I wish I could say November will be better but it looks to be even busier - and I'm off to Dublin as well. Again for work so it's not as fun as it sounds. Still it's been an amazingly mild October and the trees still have plenty of leaves. Have a look at this picture taken this weekend at Greenwich Park

So how did this impact the reading situation?

The Last Vampire: Red Dice - Christopher Pike (BV's YA of 80s and 90s Challenge)
The Last Vampire: Phantom - Christopher Pike (BV's YA of 80s and 90s Challenge)
Shift - Jeri Smith-Ready

Sarah's Reviews
Sarah's been a reading reviewing machine this month having reviewed Big Machine - Victor LaVille as well as Black Swan Rising - Lee Carroll  and Teacher, Teacher! by Jack Reacher  as part of the Transworld Book Group.

Other Posts
Same Book/Different Cover looked at The Devil You Know by Mike Carey this month.
Having been a proud Kindle owner for over a year now, I looked back at how the positives and negatives of e-reading.
In addition there were the usual wishlist posts, in my mailbox and Throwback Thursdays.

Last month I had a giveaway for the Eli Monpress series and I forgot to annouce the winner. Luckily I didn't forget to contact the winner and send out the books, so slightly late but not forgotten, the winner of The Spirit Thief, The Spirit Rebellion and The Spirit Eater is...

I also hit 600 followers so I had giveaway for two followers to win a book of their choice and the winners are...


Glad from A Love Of Books 

And this is the last day to enter my Spooktacular Giveaway! Chance to win a book of your choice - good luck!

So with all that in mind my reading challenges status looks like this:
BCC's Mystery & Suspense Challenge - 11 Read, 1 Left to read. I know I can finish this soon!
FTC Speculative Fiction Challenge - 20 Read - officially I've completed this! Yay! However, I'll continue to post reviews and see how I can do in the second half of the year.
BV's YA of 80s and 90s Challenge - 14 Read, Although officially finished I'm still going with this challenge!   
Personal Classic Challenge -  6 Read

Highlight of the month: Succubus Revealed - a great end to a fun series! I really enjoyed following Georgina's adventures and this was the perfect ending!

Honorable Mentions: I enjoyed discovering Jennifer Estep with Karma Girl and Mary Hooper with At The Sign Of The Sugared Plum. Both are new authors to me - I now have a lot of back catalogue reading for both authors to catch up on!

So what was your month like?

Sunday, 30 October 2011

My Book Haul/ In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!
So I went into central London this week and had a little bit of a splurge around my favourite book stores - and see what goodies I picked up!

Soul Beach - Kate Harrison
Publisher: UK - Orion
When Alice Forster receives an email from her dead sister she assumes it must be a sick practical joke. Then an invitation arrives to the virtual world of Soul Beach, an idyllic online paradise of sun, sea and sand where Alice can finally talk to her sister again - and discover a new world of friendships, secrets and maybe even love . . . . But why is Soul Beach only inhabited by the young, the beautiful and the dead? Who really murdered Megan Forster? And could Alice be next?

I thought this sounded mysterious and intriguing!

I Am Not A Serial Killer - Dan Wells
Publisher: Tor Books
John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.He?s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.He?s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn't want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he?s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don?t demand or expect the empathy he?s unable to offer. Perhaps that?s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there?s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can?t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Carolyn from Book Chick City has raved about this series over the last year or so so when I spotted it in Forbidden Planet I couldn't resist!

Amazon Ink - Lori Devoti
Publisher: Pocket Books
Meet Mel: Business owner. Dedicated mom. Natural-born Amazon.
It's been ten years since Melanippe Saka left the Amazon tribe in order to create a normal life for her daughter, Harmony. True, running a tattoo parlor in Madison, Wisconsin, while living with your Amazon warrior mother and priestess grandmother is not everyone's idea of normal, but Mel thinks she's succeeded at blending in as human.
Turns out she's wrong. Someone knows all about her, someone who's targeting young Amazon girls, and no way is Mel going to let Harmony become tangled in this deadly web. With her mother love in overdrive, Ms. Melanippe Saka is quite a force...even when she's facing a barrage of distractions -- including a persistent detective whose interest in Mel goes beyond professional, a sexy tattoo artist with secrets of his own, and a seriously angry Amazon queen who views Mel as a prime suspect. To find answers, Mel will have to do the one thing she swore she'd never do: embrace her powers and admit that you can take the girl out of the tribe...but you can't take the tribe out of the girl.

This just sounds like my kind of UF story...a kick-ass heroine who's an amazon! Why aren't there more Amazons in UF!

Grave Dance - Kalayna Price
Publisher: Roc
After a month of down time, Grave Witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But when her new case forces her to overuse her magic, it might be the last mystery the Grave Witch ever gets to solve...

This is the second of Alex Craft books - and while I haven't read the first book I do own it and think I will really like it!

Department 19 - Will Hill
Publisher: Harper Collins
In a secret supernatural battle that's been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised -- and they're not wooden anymore. When Jamie Carpenter's mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government's most secret agency. Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can't stand up against!

This had a lot of publicity when it was first released and when I spotted it was out in paperback I couldn't resist! :)

So what have you picked up? :)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

On My Wishlist #61

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track! This week I'm feeling in a fantastic mood!
The Kingdom of Gods - N.K. Jemisin
Publisher: Orbit
For two thousand years the Arameri family has ruled the world by enslaving the very gods that created mortalkind. Now the gods are free, and the Arameri’s ruthless grip is slipping. Yet they are all that stands between peace and world-spanning, unending war. Shahar, last scion of the family, must choose her loyalties. She yearns to trust Sieh, the godling she loves. Yet her duty as Arameri heir is to uphold the family’s interests, even if that means using and destroying everyone she cares for. As long-suppressed rage and terrible new magics consume the world, the Maelstrom — which even gods fear — is summoned forth. Shahar and Sieh: mortal and god, lovers and enemies. Can they stand together against the chaos that threatens the Kingdom of the Gods?
I enjoyed the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms last year and while I haven't read The Broken Kingdoms yet, I do have it and I'm looking forward to finishing the trilogy!
Incarnate - Jodi Meadows
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 2012)
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
This has been doing the rounds and I have to join in because a) how gorgeous is that cover? b) how fabulous does it sound? Reincarnation and dragons? I'm there!

Wizard Undercover (Rogue Agent 4) - K.E. Mills
Publisher: Orbit 
There may be trouble ahead ...Wedding bells are ringing for the constantly battling nations of Splotze and Borovnik, and the upcoming royal nuptials could at last put an end to their dangerous hostilities. But in a development that hardly bodes well, one of Gerald's fellow janitors goes missing - after delivering a dire warning of danger surrounding the marriage treaty. So Gerald must embark on a dangerous mission to uncover the troublemakers, before wedded bliss becomes international war. But going undercover isn't as easy as it looks, even with Melissande and Emmerabiblia for camouflage. Soon Gerald finds himself fighting for his life as well as world peace.

I adore KE Mills Rogue Agent series - they're fun fantasys with a lot of heart and serious backbone under the banter. The last one Wizard Squared had me in tears so I'm looking forward to seeing what Gerald and the rest of Witches Inc are getting up to now!

What are you wishing for this week? :)

Friday, 28 October 2011

Shift Review

Shift (Shade 2)
-       Jeri Smith-Ready
Publisher: UK – Simon Pulse
Aura's life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can't deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she's not sure that she wants to. Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift. As Aura's search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.
Last year I read Shade and really enjoyed it (review here) so I couldn’t wait to see what Aura, Logan and Zach would get up to next. After Shading at the end of Shade, Aura manages to bring Logan back to his ghostly self and once more finds herself caught between former long-term boyfriend and new ghost Logan and sexy, living Scot Zach. I have to admit I am totally on Zach’s team – Logan is a little too selfish for my liking. J
As well as the usually YA love triangle, Aura and Zach are trying to discover their connection to the Shift – the time when everyone born after could see ghosts and what it means to their positions as the Last person born pre-shift (Logan) and the First born after (Aura). As such, Shift does suffer a little from the middle book syndrome with the main arc moving forward but very slowly with most of the revelations in the final quarter of the book. This made the first half of the book quite slow – especially as I was annoyed with Aura & Zach’s will they/won’t they two step. They seemed to just invent obstructions to them being together for the tension. However, both of them retained some charm and vulnerability so while I was a little frustrated, I still wanted them to get together! The final quarter though was a fast moving adventure with plenty happening and some exciting chase scenes.
Overall, though the writing was like a fluffy pillow – you just fall into it and struggle to leave it behind. I adored the world that Jeri Smith-Ready built with the split between pre and post-Shifters and how the ability for all the young to see ghosts impacts society. The mystery behind what caused the Shift is fascinating and I really can’t wait to see how this is solved in the final book of the trilogy, Shine. The only trouble is – it’s not out until next year!
Recommended for fans of Rachel Vincent and Kristin Cashore. 8 out of 10
Go Team Ghost!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Counterfeit Magic Review

Counterfeit Magic
-       Kelley Armstrong
Kindle Book
The first rule of a supernatural fight club? Don't kill your opponent.
When the fighters come with lethal spells, werewolf strength and half-demon powers, that can be a lot tougher than it sounds. It's hard to attract talent if they know they might not leave the ring alive. So when fighters at a California club start dying -- it's bad for business. Witch detectives Paige Winterbourne and Savannah Levine take the case. Going undercover in the power-heavy arena of the fight club is a welcome change of pace for Paige, relegated to the role of The Wife as her husband struggles to find his place in his family's Cabal--the corporate Mafia of the supernatural world. As Paige is drawn deeper into new and dangerous corners of her world, she quickly discovers the greatest threat isn't the killer in her sights. It's something much, much closer to home. And this is one fight she can't afford to lose. 
Any regular followers know that I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong. Bitten was the first ever Urban Fantasy book I ever read and still one of my favourites. So I get very excited whenever a new Otherworld book is released – and disappointed when I can’t get my hands on them straight away. Counterfeit Magic isn’t a full novel, but a novella that was originally a limited edition release complete with beautiful art work. I wasn’t able to get my hands on a copy, but a couple of years later and the magic of e-books means I can finally read this story, set shortly before Waking The Witch with the focus on Paige and Savannah – two of my favourite characters!
While we spend the most time with Paige and Savannah, this equally has both Lucas and Adam in starring male roles. I’ve always liked Lucas and the emotional core of this story is how Paige and Lucas are adapting to his unique role in the supernatural world – heir to one of the most powerful sorcerer cabels – but would prefer to be fighting for the underdog. Together they have always been a favourite couple of mine because I could always relate to them. And this time their marriage is struggling to cope with real life.
While the initial investigation was interesting, it was soon dropped in favour of the relationship exploration and afterwards solved off-screen which was a little disappointing. I would really like a full length novel based on one of Paige and Lucas’s investigations! In general though this was a great taster of one of my favourite series and has only made my more desperate to pick up the latest book!
As a side note - the kindle versions does include some of the original artwork and can I say even in black and white they are beautiful. So gorgeous. I love them so much.
Recommended for fans of Patricia Briggs and Rachel Vincent. 7.5 out of 10.

Go Team Witch!

Throwback Thursday #28 - Sixty-One Nails

This is a great feature that Melissa at My words and pictures has been doing for a while and I wanted to jump on board! There are plenty of books out there I desperately want...

But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on my shelves?

Sixty-One Nails - Mike Shevdon
There is a secret war raging beneath the streets of London. A dark magic will be unleashed by the Untainted...Unless a new hero can be found. Niall Petersen, goes from a suspected heart attack on the London Underground, into the hidden world of the Feyre, an uncanny place of legend that lurks just beyond the surface of everyday life. The Untainted, the darkest of the Seven Courts, have made their play for power, and unless Niall can recreate the ritual of the Sixty-One Nails, their dark dominion will enslave all of the Feyre, and all of humankind too.
I picked this up a long while ago based on the blurb on the back and the fact that it was set in London (yes, I know, but as my home town and the best city in the world I'm allowed to be biased!). It sounded like Neverwhere, which I've not read either but I liked the TV show back in the 90s. As we are coming up for Halloween, I think I need to dust this out...or perhaps have a London theme fortnight - what do you think? :)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Necropolis Review

-       Michael Dempsey
Publisher: Night Shade Books
E-Arc with thanks to netgalley and Night Shade Books
In a world where death is a thing of the past, how far would you go to solve your own murder? NYPD detective Paul Donner and his wife Elise were killed in a hold-up gone wrong. Fifty years later, Donner is back: revived courtesy of the Shift. Supposedly the unintended side-effect of a botched biological terrorist attack and carried by a ubiquitous retrovirus, the Shift jump-starts dead DNA and throws the life cycle into reverse, so reborns like Donner must cope with the fact that they are not only slowly youthing toward a new childhood, but have become New York''s most hated minority. With New York quarantined beneath a geodesic blister, government and basic services have been outsourced by a private security corporation named Surazal. Reborns and infected norms alike struggle in a counterclockwise world, where everybody gets younger, you can see Elvis every night at Radio City Music Hall, and nobody has any hope of ever seeing the outside world. Lost in a sea of nostalgia, NYC becomes an inwardly focused schizophrenic culture of alienation and loss. In this backwards-looking culture where only some of the dead have returned, Donner is haunted by revivers guilt, and becomes obsessed with finding out who killed him and his non-returning wife. Little does he know, strange forces have already begun tracking him. Donner isn''t the only one obsessed with the past.
Forty years in the future and in New York a bio-weapon was released, allowing the dead to come back to life. Not as traditional zombies, but as humans who are de-aging. They start at the age they were when they died and then they get younger – shocks, alcohol, smoking all contribute to literally take years off their life until they regress through childhood and disappear as a newborn. This is the world that Paul Donner returns to after he and his wife are murdered on a night out. Struggling to adapt he decides to investigate his own murder forty years before...
The premise of this book is what initially attracted me. The idea of investigating your own murder may not be original, but Dempsey’s take on zombies is unique and I loved the idea of them de-aging – getting younger and younger. After all, they say youth is wasted on the young! How this impacts society is fascinating – with a husband de-aging and a wife growing old – how long can they make a relationship last? Entertainment dominated by re-animated stars – Elvis truly lives again!   
However, the investigation side was very much a start/stop plot for me. Things would move in one direction so I felt like I was reading a hard-boiled noir detective novel set in the future, then it took a left turn and I was reading a freedom-fighting rebellion story and then it changed again and I was in a semi-mystical, family drama. This did provide twist and turns that made the story unexpected – but meant I never fully relaxed into the story. The writing was excellent and inventive. However, at times I wasn’t quite sure how this future worked. There is a lot of nostalgia for the past but in some areas I never quite got the future elements.
The ingenuity and originality is entertaining but massive story changes and some blurry details on the future world meant I couldn’t quite enjoy the story as much as I wanted too.
Recommended for fans of Christopher Fowler and Philip K. Dick. 6.5 out of 10
Go Team Zombie!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Undead and Unworthy Review

Undead and Unworthy (Undead 7)
-          Mary Janice Davidson

Publisher: UK – Piatkus

Nobody reigns over the undead with more savvy than her heroine Betsy Taylor, back to rule the nights as Vampire Queen and survive the days as a new suburban bride. But it's not all marital bliss. Betsy's husband, Sinclair, has been perusing The Book of the Dead, Betsy's being hounded by a ghost who's even more insufferable in death than in life, and a pack of formerly feral vampires has decided to pay an unwelcome visit.

I stopped reading this series a while ago as I found it a little repetitive after a while with far too many characters for such a small number of pages. However, a break is as good as a change and coming back after a couple of years means I was able to look at the series with fresh eyes.

Betsy is the vampire queen – able to go without blood for longer than other, take god’s name in vain, see and hear ghosts and some strange magical powers that allows her to be invulnerable to stakes and pretty much everything else people throw at her – and for some reason someone always wants to kill her. Not that she cares much – she just wants to go show shopping! This is very mucha a light hearted romp through the crowded urban fantasy genre. There are many similarities to a typical UF book: hot vampire lead – check, loyal but human best friend – check, heroine with mysterious, unknown powers that make her special – check, bad guys who are evil for the sake of it – check. But rather than heavy angst or soul searching Betsy and her gang seem to take everything in their stride with the focus more on the banter than any investigation or research.

The plot moves forward through conversations and heavy snarking at each other rather than action. And while I did enjoy the banter at first, I found myself missing character development and getting a little tired from all the talking. There are at least ten main characters and Mary Janice Davidson attempts to squeeze in some character development for at least four of them  - but without explaining too much of what they were like before, during or after. This made it difficult for me to connect to any them – especially as for the most part the book is told in first person from Betsy’s point of view.

The short page count and easy style meant I whizzed through this book quicker than a teenager on a scooter on the pavement! There is minimal thought needed and while I wouldn’t add this series to my must read list, if I get the chance to pick up the next couple of books in the series on the cheap I would read them for some light hearted relief from my usual UF fare.

Recommended for fans of Victoria Laurie and Shanna Swendson. 6 out of 10.

Go Team Vampire!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

The Back to the Books Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm - thank you both!

So the nights are drawing in, daylight is running scared and there are strange noises outside - I'm sure that screech is just a fox or a racoon...isn't it...?
I love being scared and the supernatural is a regular visitor to my don't worry if your keyboard starts to bleed, I'm sure it's nothing...afterall you're safe at home or work and nothing can creep up behind there...nothing can breathe down your neck or crawl up your shoulder...can it? :)

Enough creepiness - I've had my fun trick so now it's time your treat - what can you win here at Mel's Random Reviews?

Prize: Book of your choice from The Book Despository (up to £10 or $10) as such this is open internationally!

Rules: (without which there will be chaos!)
- Fill in the form below
- That's it! No complicated extra entries, no bribes, no favourites :-)
- Closes at Midnight 31st October 2011
- If you win, you'll have 72 hours to reply my email, otherwise I'll pick another winner
- You don't have to be a follower, but I won't object if you are! :)
- Check out my 600 Followers Giveaway as well for more chances to win!

Good luck...and don't forget to check the back of the cupboard and under the bed before you go to bed...just in case...mwhahaha...

Check out some of the other blogs taking part in the hop - and good luck!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!
This week a parcel of books I ordered from Amazon turned up plus I found a couple of true bargains!

Dust and Decay (Benny Imura 2) - Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
It's six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny's zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny's best friend Lou Chong are going with them. Sounds easy; sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. And as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland. Because in the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything. And not everyone in Benny's small band of travellers will make it out alive.

I loved Rot and Ruin (review here) so I'm really excited to start this as soon as I can. I just hope I'm not disappointed, but somehow I don't think I will be!

The Last Dragonslayer - Jasper Fforde
Publisher: UK - Hodder & Stoughton
In the good old days, magic was powerful, unregulated by government, and even the largest spell could be woven without filling in the magic release form B1-7g. But somewhere, somehow, the magic started draining away. Jennifer Strange runs Kazam!, an employment agency for state-registered magicians, soothsayers and sorceresses. But work is drying up. Drain cleaner is cheaper and quicker than a spell. Why trust a cold and drafty magic carpet when jetlines offer a comfy seat and an in-flight movie? And now potions are eligible for VAT . . . But then the visions start. The Last Dragon is going to be killed by a Dragonslayer at 12.00 on Sunday. The death will unleash untold devastation on the UnUnited Kingdom, setting principality against dukedom and property developer against homesteader. And all the signs are pointing to Jennifer Strange, and saying 'Big Magic is coming' ...

Jasper Fforde is one of my favourite writers - he is just so inventive and original. There really is no-one out there writing books like his and as soon as I heard he was writing a YA book based on Dragons and could I resist? :)

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey 2) - Julie Kagawa
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

This is another series that I haven't started yet but have leapt in and bought more than one book in the assumption that I will like it! The Iron King sits and stares at me in the corner so I will have to start this series soon. :)

The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins
Publisher; UK - Scholastic
The extraordinary, ground breaking New York Times bestsellers The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, along with the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay.

Okay, so I already have Hunger Games on my TBR (and regular urges to read it from a friend), but while browsing in The Works they had the whole trilogy in paperback for £5.99 so how could I resist? And it does mean that I now have a spare copy of The Hunger Games which I will be putting up for someone to win in the near future...assuming that there are others out there that haven't read it either! :)

Jenny Pox - JL Bryan
Kindle Book
Jenny has a secret. Her touch spreads a supernatural plague.
She devotes her life to avoiding contact with people, until her senior year of high school, when she meets the one boy she can touch, and she falls in love. But there's a problem--he's under the spell of his devious girlfriend Ashleigh, who secretly wields the most dangerous power of all. Now Jenny must learn to use the deadly "Jenny pox" she's fought her entire life to hide, or be destroyed by Ashleigh's ruthless plans.

This was free on Amazon last week and I've read enough positive reviews to think it was worth checking out!

The Spellman's Strike Again - Lisa Lutz
Publisher: Pocket Books
At the ripe old age of thirty-two, former wild child Isabel "Izzy" Spellman has finally agreed to take over the family business. And the transition won't be a smooth one. First among her priorities as head of Spellman Investigations is to dig up some dirt on the competition, slippery ex-cop Rick Harkey--a task she may enjoy a little too much. Next, faced with a baffling missing-persons case at the home of an aging millionaire, Izzy hires an actor friend, Len, to infiltrate the mansion as an undercover butler--a role he may enjoy a little much. Meanwhile, Izzy is being blackmailed by her mother (photographic evidence of Prom Night 1994) to commit to regular blind dates with promising professionals--an arrangement that doesn't thrill Connor, an Irish bartender on the brink of becoming Ex-boyfriend #12. At Spellman headquarters, it's business as unusual. Doorknobs and light fixtures are disappearing every day, Mom's been spotted crying in the pantry, and a series of increasingly demanding Spellman Rules (Rule #27: No Speaking Today) can't quite hold the family together. Izzy also has to decipher weekly "phone calls from the edge" from her octogenarian lawyer, Morty, as well as Detective Henry Stone's mysterious interest in rekindling their relationsh...well, whatever it was. Just when it looks like things can't go more haywire, little sister Rae's internship researching pro bono legal cases leads the youngest Spellman to launch a grassroots campaign that could spring an innocent man from jail--or land Rae in it.

This was a complete suprise, turning up in the post on Thursday from one of my most favourite people in the world! A friend who wanted to cheer me up - and cleverly chose a book I've been after for a while which has been difficult to find in the shops. I can't wait to start reading it! :-)

So what have you picked up this week? :)

Saturday, 22 October 2011

On My Wishlist #60

This is a meme from Book Chick City. There are so many books out there that I want to read that this is the only way I can keep track! This week is a bit of zombie in YA theme...
The Enemy - Charlie Higson
Publisher: UK - Puffin
They'll chase you. They'll rip you open. They'll feed on you ...When the sickness came, every parent, police officer, politician - every adult - fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry. Only children under fourteen remain, and they're fighting to survive. Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide.

One of my friends has been bugging me for ages to try this series - and when I finally got around to looking at it, the idea of adult becoming zombies...? I love it! Now I really want to get my hands on this and probably the rest of the series! :-)

Undead - Kirsty McKay
Publisher: UK - Chicken House
Being new at school bites. But at least it doesn't kill you. Mostly.
Bobby thinks she might well be on the School Trip from Hell. Too bad she's a noob, too bad her classmates don't rate her weirdo accent and too bad that Scotland is having the worst blizzard since the Ice Age. Looks like she's going to be on this school bus for a quite a while; could things get much worse?
Yep. They could.
Inexplicably, her classmates start dying...and then they come back to life again...and what's more, they're very, very hungry. With nowhere to run and no contact with the outside world, Bobby is thrown together with a raggle-taggle group of survivors at a roadside café. There's indie kid drop-out Smitty, the class beauty queen Alice, dweeby Pete and two near useless adults: a half-conscious bus driver and a volatile petrol station attendant. The frenemies struggle to stay alive - through explosions, deadly battles and a breakneck chase through the snowbound wilderness. Somehow they have to make it to safety - and get some answers - no matter what the cost. Can they survive the Undead? And each other?

 I read Jules from The Great, The Good and The Bad review of this a couple of weeks ago and I can't get it out of my mind! It sounds great - plus it's a UK based zombie outbreak so immediately I think of the wonder that was 28 Days Later. Me want! :-)
The Dead-Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan
Publisher: UK - Gollancz
Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she's ever known and, and all she needs for happiness. But life after the Return is never safe and there are threats even the Barrier can't hold back. Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but, like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling.
One night beyond the Barrier . . .
One boy Gabry's known forever and one veiled in mystery . . .
One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry knows only one thing: if she has any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past.
I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth last year and enjoyed it so I would like to see what else was happening in that world.
What are you wishing for this week? :-)

Friday, 21 October 2011

At The Sign Of The Sugared Plum Review

At The Sign Of The Sugared Plum
-       Mary Hooper
Publisher: UK – Bloomsbury
It is 1665 and Hannah is full of excitement at the prospect of her first trip to London. She is going to help her sister, Sarah, in her candy shop, 'The Sugared Plum'. But Hannah does not get the welcoming reception she expected from her sister, because the Plague is taking hold of London. However, Hannah is determined to stay and together the two young women face the worst-with the possibility of their own demise, growing ever closer.
This is the second book in two weeks I’ve read set in the 1600s and I have to confess this is the book that most vividly invokes the period. Mary Hooper is celebrated for her historical YA books and after reading my first book from her I can understand why. The writing is simple and elegant, effortless painting pictures, sounds and smells of the period. In fact I just fell in love with Mary’s style of writing and descriptions!
The story focuses on Hannah, a young girl from the country who moves to London to help her older sister in her sweetmeats shop just before the Great Plague hits London in 1665. Hannah is new to the city and through her eyes we can experience the everyday life of people at the time living in a crowded, prosperous city. I loved Hannah’s naivety and wonder at seeing the city for the first time. People are not frightened at first but slowly the tension mounts as rumours and disease spread. I loved the descriptions of preventatives and how the dead are dealt with as the situation slowly gets worse and the fear mounts. My usual read in both YA and adult involves the supernatural in one way or another, but this gracefully written historical story moved me more than many  supernatural stories have recently – I think I’ve been missing out on some truly wonderful story-telling. J
This is a truly enchanting tale with plentiful historical detail for those who care. There is creepiness from the disease acting as a menacing figure towering over Hannah and her sister. I’m so happy I have a selection of other Mary Hooper books to work my way through as I have found a new favourite!
Recommended for fans of Peter Dickinson and Cat Patrick. 9 out of 10.