Sunday, 30 January 2011

In My Mailbox - 23

Hello all! Here’s my In My Mailbox for this week – I hope you all had a good book week and received lots of lovely book shaped packages. This week's a bit of a bumper IMM for me as I'm also posting up the brilliant review copies and ARCs I got given at the Random House brunch and Penguin media presentation last week/this week. I have event posts coming up for both of these events next week so do look out for those!

In case you haven't taken part before, In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by Kristi who's over at the awesome blog, The Story Siren.

This week I received:

For review:

- Sequins, Stars and Spotlights - Sophia Bennett
- Firelight - Sophie Jordan
- The Queen's Lady - Eve Edwards
- A Year in Girl Hell (omnibus) - Meredith Costain

From the Random House brunch:

- Long Lankin (ARC) - Lindsey Barraclough
- The Kissing Game (ARC) - Aidan Chambers
- In the Sea there are Crocodiles (ARC) - Fabio Geda (I have the ARC cover, not pictured below)
- The Emerald Atlas (ARC) - John Stephens (my cover is different from the one below)
- The Iron Witch (signed - thanks, Kaz!) - Karen Mahoney
- Boom! - Mark Haddon
- Strictly Friends? - Jo Cotterill
- The Black Tattoo - Sam Enthoven
- Beauty - Robin McKinley
- From Where I Stand - Tabitha Suzuma
- Deep Water - Debi Gliori

From the Penguin media presentation:

- Across the Universe (ARC) - Beth Revis
- Between Shades of Gray (ARC) - Ruta Sepetys
- I Am Number Four (paperback) - Pittacus Lore
- Timeriders: The Doomsday Code - Alex Scarrow










So that's my mailbox this week - what did you guys receive?

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Coming up on Writing from the Tub


So I've got quite a busy week blog-wise next week so I thought I'd post a little something up just to let you know what's in store. Hopefully it'll also help to keep me organised... we'll see! I won't be around much today or tomorrow as I'm away down in Dorset at a friend's birthday (happy birthday my lovely Harriet!) but I'll be back tomorrow afternoon to catch up with everyone!

Coming up next week:

- Two new contests for signed books!

- Reviews of Hunger by Michael Grant, Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, The Magician by Michael Scott, Beads, Boys and Bangles by Sophia Bennett and others

- Event reports for the launch of Entangled by the gorgeous Cat Clarke, the Random House blogger brunch mark two and the Penguin media presentation

- All the news, interesting bookish articles and cover reveals from the last couple of weeks

- The usual couple of memes, plus a book trailer and cover feature

- A January round up and update on the challenges I'm taking part in this year

Oh, and here's a picture of me with some Entangled cup cakes at the launch party, yay!


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So it's set to be a busy week over at Writing from the Tub next week, phew! What do you have planned for next week?

On My Wishlist - 2

So every week I take part in Waiting on Wednesday but I’ve decided that, in addition to this, I’m also going to start posting up a few weeks a week that are on my wishlist but have already been published.

I love reading previously published books just as much as new releases and I have a huge list of older books that I’m desperate to get my hands on. What about you guys – what books are on your wishlist?

A Note of Madness - Tabitha Suzuma

Published: February 15th 2007, Definitions

Summary (from Goodreads): Life as a student is good for Flynn. As one of the top pianists at the Royal College of Music, he has been put forward for an important concert, the opportunity of a lifetime. But beneath the surface, things are changing. On a good day, he feels full of energy and life, but on a bad day being alive is worse than being dead. Sometimes he wants to compose and practise all night, at other times he can't get out of bed.

His flatmate Harry tries to understand but is increasingly confused by Flynn's erratic mood swings. His friend Jennah tries to help, but Flynn finds it difficult to be around her as he struggles to control his feelings and behaviour. With the pressure of the forthcoming concert and the growing concern of his family and friends, emotions come to a head. Sometimes things can only get worse before they get better.


Why it's on my wishlist: I read and reviewed Tabitha Suzuma's Forbidden last year and absolutely loved it so I'd really like to try one of her other novels.

Tell Me a Secret - Holly Cupala

Published: June 22nd 2010, HarperCollins

Summary (from Goodreads): In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.


Why it's on my wishlist:
I missed out on this one last year and I've heard so many brilliant things about Cupala's writing so I'm desperate to read it!



Slice - Steven Herrick

Published: June 1st 2010, Random House Australia

Summary (from Goodreads): Darcy can cope with parents, parties and punch-ups. He can handle his infatuation with the beautiful Audrey, spending quality chess-time with his nerdy friend, Noah, even the misadventures of kayaking on a school excursion. He's a teenage boy, he can deal with it.

If only he'd learn to keep his mouth closed.


Why it's on my wishlist: I'm going to be reading this one as part of the Aussie YA Challenge 2011 and it sounds great, plus, I want to read more books this year written by male authors







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(Note: Apologies if somebody has already coined this feature title but I honestly couldn’t think of anything else more appropriate – if you named a feature ‘On My Wishlist’ and want me to credit you or change mine then just let me know!)

Friday, 28 January 2011

Favourite Covers: Peppy Edition

So I know we're not supposed to judge books by their covers but I just can't help myself! My laptop is full of folders of pretty covers so I've decided to post a few of my favourites up - this week doesn't exactly have a theme but these are all bright, peppy covers that don't ever fail to cheer me up :).

Zombies vs. Unicorns - Holly Black

You Wish - Mandy Hubbard

The Snowball Effect - Holly Nicole Hoxter

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood - Eileen Cook

The Cupcake Queen - Heather Hepler

Geektastic - Stories from the Nerd Herd

A Match Made in High School - Kristin Walker

How to Say Goodbye in Robot - Natalie Standiford

Pop - Aury Wallington

Last Dance at the Frosty Queen - Richard Uhlig

So that's all for this week - what do you think? Which is your favourite?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Trailer Thursday: Leviathan, Hunger, The Graveyard Book, Wintergirls

Hi everyone! So, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love book trailers. I think they’re absolutely fascinating and I love to see the different wants books are promoted through their trailers. I’m starting a weekly feature on a Thursday, where I’ll be bringing you a few trailers that I’ve found on my travels. Enjoy!

Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld


Hunger - Michael Grant


The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman (who also narrates the trailer!)


Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson


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So what do you guys think about book trailers? Which are your personal favourites?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Revisiting Waiting on Wednesday: Choker – Elizabeth Woods

So I've decided to start up a feature where I look back at my past Waiting on Wednesday posts and catch up on what books I was looking forward to last year and what I thought of them once I did read and review them. Some of my Waiting on Wednesday picks have become firm favourites of mine but, looking back, there are a few that didn't quite live up to the hype.

This week I'm looking at Choker by Elizabeth Woods.

When I posted: November 3rd 2010

What I was looking forward to: "Mysterious, right? I can hardly find any information about this one on the Internet and only a couple of very brief reviews. That said, I'm absolutely fascinated by it. And look at that cover, seriously! Completely gorgeous. I'm so intrigued, I cannot wait for this one!"

What I actually thought: "Choker is absolutely brilliant, second to none. Hands down it’s my favourite book I’ve read in the last year and it’s definitely made it into my top ten of all time. Yes, that’s how great it is. From page one I was addicted. I read it in one sitting and could not stop turning the pages. When I finished I sat my boyfriend down and ranted for at least fifteen minutes about how amazing it was, I told my nan (an avid reader) she *had* to read it."

Did it live up to my expectations?: Absolutely!


So there you have it! What about you guys? Do you normally end up enjoying your Waiting on Wednesday picks when you get to read them?

Waiting on Wednesday: Chain Reaction - Simone Elkeles

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine and is a post detailing an upcoming book you can't wait to read.

My choice for this week is Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles, the third installment in the Perfect Chemistry series.

Publication date: May 24th 2011
Published by: Walker Books

Summary (from Goodreads): Luis Fuentes is a good boy who doesn't live with the angst that his big brothers, Alex and Carlos, have always lived with. Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when he falls for the wrong girl, Luis enters a dark world he's never known, and just when he thinks he's got life all figured out, learns some disturbing news about his family that destroys his positive outlook on life. Will that Fuentes bad boy streak come out with a vengeance and lure Luis to live on the edge like his new girlfriend and his own father?

Continuing all the steamy romance of the first two books, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Simone Elkeles gives fans one more satisfying taste of the irresistible Fuentes boys.


So what about you guys? What are your picks for this week?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Fall for Anything - Courtney Summers

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The book I'm reading right now is Fall for Anything by the amazing Courtney Summers and here are my sentences!

Teaser sentences (from page 29): ‘Beth’s luggage precedes her, which is horrifying, and as soon as she steps through the door, she immediately throws herself into making the house a “more positive place”.
“It’s all about how you choose to be,” she tells me as she sticks magnets with inspirational quotes all over the fridge.’


So, what's your teaser this week?

Monday, 24 January 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - 12

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? This is a weekly meme to list the books completed last week, books currently being read and the books to be finished (hopefully!) this week.

This meme was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books.

Read last week:

Hunger – Michael Grant
The Lying Game – Sara Shepard
The Iron King – Julie Kagawa
The Lipstick Laws – Amy Holder
Debugging Tori Redding - Jason Ancona


Currently reading:

Slice of Cherry – Dia Reeves


To read this week:

XVI – Julia Karr
Water Wars – Cameron Stracher
In the Bag – Jim Carrington


So what books are you hoping to read this week?

Review: Choker - Elizabeth Woods

Published: January 4th 2011, Simon & Schuster
Pages: 233 pages, hardback
Series?: No, this one’s a standalone
Acquired: Purchased myself

Summary (from Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they're not really her friends. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her, and avoiding the popular girls who call her "Choker" after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria.

Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in.


But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?


My review: I’ve been excited for the release of Choker for months now. I preordered it from The Book Depository back in September and have purposely kept myself away from most reviews of it, for fear of spoilers. Honestly, I can’t get across how desperate I was to read this one. My expectations were ridiculous. Somehow, it managed to soar above them.

Choker is absolutely brilliant, second to none. Hands down it’s my favourite book I’ve read in the last year and it’s definitely made it into my top ten of all time. Yes, that’s how great it is. From page one I was addicted. I read it in one sitting and could not stop turning the pages. When I finished I sat my boyfriend down and ranted for at least fifteen minutes about how amazing it was, I told my nan (an avid reader) she *had* to read it.

This is one of those novels that I just have to talk about, to tell people about. Sometimes I’ll finish a book, I’ll enjoy it but I’ll be able to set it down and walk away from it. Not Choker. I finished it on Thursday night and have thought of it constantly since then. I want to reread it right now and I know I’d enjoy it just as much.

Cara is a fantastic narrator with so much to her personality. She’s bullied by the ‘mean girls’ at her high school and longs to see her best friend, Zoe, again. Cara’s family moved away when she was younger and she hasn’t seen Zoe since – the girls kept in touch but gradually began to grow apart and Cara hasn’t heard from Zoe in years.

However, one day Zoe appears at Cara’s house. She’s scared, shaken up but still the beautiful, lively girl that Cara remembers from her childhood. Zoe’s running from something but, at first, she doesn’t open up and tell Cara exactly what happened. Delighted to have her best friend back, Cara tells Zoe she can stay with her for as long as she needs and together they’ll work through whatever happened.

But then strange things start to happen. Girls start to go missing. Then something happens to Zoe – she’s almost the same as before but something’s not quite right. Cara can’t quite put her finger on it but something about Zoe has changed.

Zoe is fantastic. Honestly, she’s absolutely terrifying and I’d love for Choker to be made into a film just to see Zoe’s character brought to life on the big screen. She will creep you out and have you looking over your shoulder, I promise.

I should say that I don’t think Choker is for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend this one for the faint hearted as it is genuinely unsettling in places. I loved that but then again you may not.

I’ll stop now because I could easily let this review run on for another page or so but I’m sure my unerring praise will get a little boring! If you like your young adult books a little edgy then you’ll love Choker. It’s just flawless.

First line: “Come out, come out, little frog.”

Rating:
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Total: 19/20 (A)

Goodreads page

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Cover Announcement: Trial By Fire - Jennifer Lynn Barnes


So as you may (or may not) have seen the cover of Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes has just been released.

What do you think? I think it's pretty - it doesn't blow me away but then I wasn't blown away by the cover for Raised by Wolves either. I don't know, it is a really nicely designed cover but I don't think it particularly jumps out. There are so many gorgeous covers out there for 2011 releases that I think cover art this year has to be really special to demand attention on the shelves.

So without further ado, here it is:

Giveaway: Concrete Operational box set!



Hi everyone! Hope you're all having a lovely weekend. I'm up in London right now at lots of publisher events and seeing lots of you gorgeous bloggers! Hooray! I've got a bit of a treat for you as well as I have a box set full of Concrete Operational goodies to give away to one of you.

The set includes an art book, CD and the novel itself, Concrete Operational by Richard Galbraith. I've read the book myself and it's fascinating. I absolutely guarantee you won't have read anything like it and if you enjoy your fiction a bit avant garde I'm sure you'll enjoy this. I've got a review of the book coming soon and an interview with Richard so do look out for those.

Concrete Operational is really unique in that the book is accompanied by an art book and CD, created by various artists who were inspired by the emotions in the book. Interesting, right? I thought so too.

To enter the giveaway click here to fill out the form and please see below for the rules and a summary of the novel.


Rules:

- This contest is open to everybody - it's international, yay!
- It will run from today (23/1/11) until next Sunday (30/1/11) and will close at midnight (so, technically Monday morning I guess)
- I'll email the winner to notify then so please make sure the email address you leave is correct
- If I don't receive a response from the winner in 72 hours I'll choose another winner
- I will send this out as soon as I can but it's quite big so it may take a big longer to reach you than a regular book would (plus, my post office is a little slow!), I'll take a tracking number though as proof of posting so we can check up on it if anything goes amiss
- Please check out the privacy policy at the top of the page if you have any concerns about Internet safety and data protection.
- Following is appreciated but not essential - the same goes for Tweeting about this contest; it won't get you any extra entries but I'll send good karma your way.

Thanks guys and good luck :) x

Concrete Operational summary (from Goodreads): Germany Germany, a man who was free, a man who loved, now an instrument in their machine. They have turned him into the very thing he hates, what he and everyone he loved fought against, the world's greatest celebrity, a tool in the subjugation of man.

But the memories of freedom and love remain, and he will fight and change the course of human history for the better, but at what end?

As humanity progresses and turns to face the eternal black of the universe, the questions of free will and fate, of love and peace, of the riddles of time itself will arise, and Germany will be called upon. But is his will strong enough, is his mind ready to breach the void and provide us with salvation?

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Cover Announcement: Shattered Souls - Mary Lindsey

So as you may (or may not) have seen the cover of Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey has just been released.

What do you think? I absolutely love this cover, I think it's beautiful. You all know I'm a sucker for dresses so I'm sold on this one! I really, really do like it and it's made me really keen to check out a book I hadn't been aware of until now.

So without further ado, here it is:

On My Wishlist - 1

So every week I take part in Waiting on Wednesday but I’ve decided that, in addition to this, I’m also going to start posting up a few weeks a week that are on my wishlist but have already been published.

I love reading previously published books just as much as new releases and I have a huge list of older books that I’m desperate to get my hands on. What about you guys – what books are on your wishlist?

Geektastic - Holly Black

Published:
August 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Young Readers

Summary (from Goodreads): Acclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside)and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.

With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you're a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on.

Why it's on my wishlist: Well, just look at the list of authors involved! This should be on everybody's wishlist!

Love You, Hate You, Miss You - Elizabeth Scott

Published: June 1st 2009, Harper Teen

Summary (from Goodreads): "Get this, I'm supposed to be starting a journal about "my journey." Please. I can see it now: Dear Diary, As I'm set adrift on this crazy sea called "life" . . . I don't think so."

It's been seventy-five days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her.
And she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone now, and she doesn't want to talk about it. They wouldn't get it, anyway. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to have your best friend ripped away from you. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to know it's your fault.

Amy's shrink thinks it would help to start a diary. Instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia.
But as she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past wasn't as perfect as she thought it was—and the present deserves a chance too.

Why it's on my wishlist: I've just started reading my first ever Elizabeth Scott novel (yes, I know, I'm behind the times!) and I'm already in love with her writing style so I'm eager to try out a few more of her books.

Jumping off Swings - Jo Knowles

Published: August 11th 2009 by Candlewick Press

Summary (from Goodreads): One pregnancy. Four friends. It all adds up to a profound time of change in this poignant, sensitively written YA novel.

Ellie remembers how the boys kissed her. Touched her. How they begged for more. And when she gave it to them, she felt loved. For a while anyway. So when Josh, an eager virgin with a troubled home life, leads her from a party to the backseat of his van, Ellie follows. But their "one-time thing" is far from perfect: Ellie gets pregnant.

Josh reacts with shame and heartbreak, while their confidantes, Caleb and Corinne, deal with their own complex swirl of emotions.
No matter what Ellie chooses, all four teenagers will be forced to grow up a little faster as a result. Told alternately from each character’s point of view, this deeply insightful novel explores the aftershocks of the biggest decision of one fragile girl’s life — and the realities of leaving innocence behind.

Why it's on my wishlist: This sounds brilliant. Right? I'm super excited about it so I think I'm definitely going to crack and order it soon. Plus, I really love the cover.

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(Note: Apologies if somebody has already coined this feature title but I honestly couldn’t think of anything else more appropriate – if you named a feature ‘On My Wishlist’ and want me to credit you or change mine then just let me know!)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Favourite Covers: Edgy Edition

So I know we're not supposed to judge books by their covers but I just can't help myself! My laptop is full of folders of pretty covers so I've decided to post a few of my favourites up - the theme for this post is edgy covers that creep me (and hopefully you) out a bit. Most of them are horror novels but there are a few YA titles thrown in there!


The Dust of 100 Dogs - A.S. King

The Replacement - Brenna Yovanoff

The Dead Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan

The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli - Ginnetta Correli

Snuff - Adam Huber & Eric Enck

The Rebels - Sandor Marai

It - Stephen King

A Certain Slant of Light - Laure Whitcomb

I Am Legend - Richard Matheson

Scare Crows - Tom Upton

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So, that's it for this week - what do you think? Which is your favourite?