Monday, 28 February 2011

Guest Post: Karen Mahoney - The Iron Witch

Hello all you lovely, lovely people. I hope you're well having a brilliant start to the week and a happy Monday wherever you are! I'm here today with a bit of a treat - a guest post with the gorgeous Karen Mahoney, writer of The Iron Witch (but you already knew that).

I reviewed The Iron Witch earlier in the year (in a bit of a cringeworthy vlog) and, like everybody else in the blogosphere, I loved it. If you've ever met or spoken to Karen you know how absolutely lovely she is so I'm really happy to host her here at Writing from the Tub. I asked Karen to tell me about how music influences her as a writer, so, over to the lady herself:


'I know it’s quite popular among writers to have playlists/soundtracks for the books that they write, but I’m one of the non-musical authors. Wow, this could be a pretty short blog post! ;)

Don’t worry, there is some music involved in my process, and the thing that I think is always worth saying is that every book is different. What works for one project may not work for another. I’ve known authors who always listen to music while they’re writing – they are constantly plugged into a playlist that helps them to shape each scene – but then they begin a new book and suddenly… music gets in the way. Gasp! They wonder if they’ve lost their ability to write, because this is the way they’ve always done it before – what could have gone wrong?

And then they decide to try something new. They switch off the music and suddenly – almost as if by magic – the writing flows again, the only background noise a blissful silence and the peaceful sound of fingers on the keyboard.

For me, I think I’m somewhere in the middle. Music can form part of my preparation for writing, but when it comes to the actual writing itself I – generally – prefer silence. Or just the generic café ‘mood music’ that plays in the background of my favourite writing spots in and around London. Yeah, I’m a café writer – I know, it’s a cliché! ;) But that kind of music just sort of forms a background noise that helps keep me focused; a bit like the background murmur of voices and chatter from the other café patrons. Those sounds don’t distract or inspire – they are just… there.

However, something different did happen while writing the sequel to The Iron Witch. I’ve just finished an early draft of The Wood Queen (which should be out around January 2012), and that was the first time in a while that I’ve actually written to music. I didn’t intend to; it sort of happened by accident. During the last year or so I’ve become a bit obsessed with The Pierces – two American sisters with a unique blend of folk/rock/pop, who write their own stuff, play their own instruments, and have a wide variety of styles and a macabre sense of fun that runs through some of their songs and videos. One day I was preparing to settle into a good writing session, with one of their songs playing in the background (‘Secret’), and I suddenly tuned into the words and realised that there was something relevant in them to what I was working on.

I ended up writing a couple of chapters with that one track as the background.

This new musical theme continued when progress on the novel picked up towards the end of last year. I wrote whole chapters to a constant repeat of The Pierces’ ‘How Can I Love You More’ – something about the dark passion and deep bass rhythm stirring up emotional scenes in the middle of the writing.

Kaz meeting Allison Pierce (Feb 2011)

So, am I writer who writes to music? My first answer would be, “no.” And yet I do spend a lot of time writing in cafés (where there is background music) and the music of The Pierces definitely permeates The Wood Queen – to the extent that I’ll be putting them in my Acknowledgements to that book. :)

Maybe I write more to music than I thought! And that’s okay, because I’m nothing if not flexible, and every project is different. Perhaps next time I’ll be back to the silence – but even silence is a ‘sound’ of sorts, and it’s one I often treasure.'

*

To listen to the songs mentioned:

Secret
Love You More

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So there we have it! Thanks so much for stopping by, Kaz!

Review: Jekel Loves Hyde - Beth Fantaskey


Published: May 3rd 2010, Harcourt Children’s Books
Pages: 282 pages, paperback
Acquired: Sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents rules; especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father's office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be the key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To improve her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen's sanity. Maybe his life.

But Jill's accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything, even Tristen's love just for the thrill of being . . . bad.


My review: I’d heard a lot of good things about Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Fantaskey’s first YA novel so I was excited to read Jekel Loves Hyde and see what all the hype was about.

Fantaskey’s writing shows her years of experience and her prose flows brilliantly. It’s clear Jekel Loves Hyde has been edited to perfection and I was really impressed at the high quality of the writing itself. I think she made an incredibly brave choice to attempt a reimagining of such a classic and beloved story but I think she managed to pull it off.

Jill is our heroine in the story and Tristen the inevitable love interest. I do wish these two had been a little more unique as I think this is where the story fell down somewhat. As I said before, the writing was really strong the characters just didn’t live up to my expectations.

I’ve said before that I wish writers would be a little more adventurous with male leads and I feel the same about Tristen. He was fine, he was likeable but there was just nothing special about him (well, apart from the obvious). Unfortunately the same goes for Jill as well. I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell her apart from hundreds of other protagonists from recent YA paranormal novels, which is a shame.

Putting that aside, I think paranormal fans will really enjoy this one and I’ve read many five star reviews on various blogs. I’m not convinced this will bring new fans to the genre but it’s certainly a solid novel and I look forward to reading Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.

First line: ‘I buried my father the day after my seventeenth birthday.’

Read if you liked…: Claire de Lune – Claire Johnson

Rating:
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5
Total: 14/20 (B)

Alternative covers:

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Giveaway: The Lost Hero (signed)!


Hello everybody! I hope you're all okay and have had lovely, relaxing weekends.

So, I'm here today to bring you a very special giveaway for a signed copy of The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I have heard SO many amazing things about this book so what are you waiting for? Head down to the bottom of this post to enter!


Summary (from press release): HEROES OF OLYMPUS: THE LOST HERO sees Rick returning to Greek mythology and to Camp Half-blood itself, where we meet three new heroes – Jason, Piper and Leo. The new heroes have been chosen to embark on a terrifying new quest, which they must complete by the winter solstice in just four days’ time. The sequence reintroduces some of readers’ favourite characters from the original PERCY JACKSON books. As for Percy himself… well, you’d better read for yourself.

Rules:

- This one is a UK only giveaway so I'm sorry to my international readers but I'll you another international giveaway soon, promise!

- The contest will run from today (27/2/11) until next Saturday (6/3/11) and will close at midnight (London time)

- I'll email the winner to notify them 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

- 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 by any means

So that's it! Click here to fill out the form! Good luck :) x

Review: Across the Universe - Beth Revis

Published: 22nd March 2011
Pages: 398 pages, ARC
Series?: Yes, this is the first installment
Acquired: Picked up at the Penguin Media Presentation

Summary (from Goodreads): A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.


My review: I’d heard from so many bloggers that the first chapter of Across the Universe is something special and I have to agree. It completely blew me away and made me sit up and pay serious attention to this debut novel. Revis’ ability to build tension is fantastic and her descriptions are beautiful and subtle.

I’m so impressed with this as a debut novel as it’s feels like the work of an accomplished author who has been writing in the genre for years. It’s clear that Revis has worked and worked at her writing to make it the absolute best it can be and I think Across the Universe is a cracking start to the series.

There is so much to take in while reading Across the Universe so it is one you need to concentrate on, rather than pick up and put down casually. The whole civilisation onboard Godspeed is complex, with its own rules and way of life. Life on Earth is rarely discussed and the details celebrated and remembered from history are all a bit skewed – Hitler is celebrated as a great leader who the Eldest on the ship should take great inspiration from. Oh my.

I liked the murder mystery element of the book as well – though I stopped paying too much attention to it after a few chapters as I was convinced I knew who the culprit was. Um, I was wrong. Completely wrong and I bet you will be too! It was a nice little twist at the end of the novel and I think it was revealed at the perfect time, I was really impressed with it as I definitely didn’t see it coming.

As far as characterisation goes, I was a big fan of Amy and Elder and thought both were great. I instantly liked Orion and think he’s a fantastic character (I would love to see him brought to life on the big screen) and, while Eldest was brilliantly well-rounded I can’t say I liked him at all as he was just a little bit creepy. However, I think Revis did really well with the main characters but I’d have liked to have seen just a few more secondary characters – aside from those I listed above we’re hardly introduced to anybody else who says more than a couple of lines so I hope the cast is expanded in the next two books.

Another slight grumble I had is that Elder and Amy, while I liked them, were prone to becoming a little bit emo at times, especially at the ends of the chapters. I do like a wistful last line every now and then but I have to say I think this was a little over the top. My case in point:

Elder: ‘And if I have been, I wonder if it was enough.’
Amy: ‘‘I’ll be okay,’ I say, but we both know I’m lying.’
Elder: ‘And in her smile I see something more beautiful than the stars.’
Amy: ‘Because sometimes the dreams of the new world turn into nightmares.’

I mean, the extracts I’ve posted above are pretty but every single random chapter I just flicked to had a random emo statement as the final sentence so by the end of the novel it was a bit much.

That said, I loved Across the Universe and am genuinely excited about the next book in the series. Unfortunately we have a lonnnnng time to wait. Sad face.

First line: Daddy said, ‘let Mom go first.’

Rating:
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 5/5
Total: 16/20 (B+)

Saturday, 26 February 2011

In The Sea There Are Crocodiles - Fabio Geda

Happy Saturday everybody! I just wanted to post up a quick note about an upcoming release from the always marvellous Random House - In The Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda. It's due out in July 2011 (the 7th, I believe) and it looks like an absolutely beautiful story.

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC when I went to see Random House last month so I can't wait to get cracking on it. Interestingly, this one is being released simultaneously as an adult and a YA book - each has a different cover which I've posted below. If you haven't heard of In The Sea There Are Crocodiles yet then read on for more information because this isn't one you want to miss.

(The YA cover)

(The adult cover)

Summary (from Goodreads): One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah's mother tells him three things: don't use drugs, don't use weapons, and don't steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn't there. Ten-year-old Enaiatollah is left alone in Pakistan to fend for himself.

In a book that takes a true story and shapes it into a beautiful piece of fiction, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah's remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally managed to claim political asylum aged fifteen. His ordeal took him through Iran, Turkey and Greece, working on building sites in order to pay people-traffickers, and enduring the physical misery of dangerous border crossings squeezed into the false bottoms of lorries or trekking across inhospitable mountains.

A series of almost implausible strokes of fortune enabled him to get to Turin, find help from an Italian family and meet Fabio Geda, with whom he became friends. The result of their friendship is this unique book in which Enaiatollah's engaging, moving voice is brilliantly captured by Geda's subtly simple storytelling. In Geda's hands, Enaiatollah's journey becomes a universal story of stoicism in the face of fear, and the search for a place where life is liveable
.

So which of the covers do you prefer? Are you looking forward to the release of In The Sea There Are Crocodiles?

Review: My Love Lies Bleeding - Alyxandra Harvey

Published: December 22nd 2009, Bloomsbury
Pages: 248 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, this is the first installment
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by Bloomsbury

Summary (from Goodreads): The Drakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen.

Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer.


My review: Now I’m not usually a fan of modern vampire novels. Yes, yes I’m one of those who didn’t enjoy Twilight and the whole host of watered down sparkly male lead vampires who seem to be cropping up all over the YA scene are seriously turning me away from wanting to read vampire novels. However, luckily there are a few diamonds out there and I have to say My Love Lies Bleeding is definitely one of them.

I started this book with trepidation and really wasn’t convinced I was going to enjoy it but from page one I was hooked. The dialogue is snappy and laugh out loud funny and the characters are brilliant. It’s not often I can finish a novel and be able to name pretty much the entire cast of characters like I could with this one.

Solange is absolutely adorable and I loved her love/hate relationship with Kieran, which I did actually find to be quite a realistic depiction of a teenage friendship/relationship (well, ignore the fact one of them is a vampire). They didn’t meet on page one and fall instantly head over heels for each other; it was a more gradual process for them to become friends (and more? Well, you’ll see) and that’s something I really appreciated.

There is a dual narrative in My Love Lies Bleeding so we have alternating chapters from Lucy and Solange’s points of view. Even though the girls are best friends and the same age, it was never confusing about who was narrating the chapter so that proves how great the characterisation was, in regards to both of the girls.

Harvey’s writing is excellent and she’s fantastic at building tension – towards the end of the book there was so much suspense I literally couldn’t stop turning the pages and in my opinion that’s always the sign of a good book. While I do usually prefer standalone novels I’m so glad this is a series as I can’t wait to find out more about Solange, Lucy and the rest of the Drake family.

First line: ‘Normally, I wouldn’t have been caught dead at a field party.’

Read if you liked…: Buffy!

Rating:
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Total: 16/20 (B+)

Other links:

Author’s website
Goodreads page
Amazon.co.uk link
Book Depository link

Alternative covers:

Friday, 25 February 2011

Chris Priestley Blog Tour!

So I have a bit of exciting news to bring you today! Starting next Monday and running until Friday, the wonderful Bloomsbury have organised a blog tour to celebrate Chris Priestley's fantastic series of short story collections. As you all know I'm an absolutely massive horror fan so I've always loved Chris Priestley's books. When Bloomsbury asked me to be part of the blog tour I have to admit I did a little squeal; it's just such a huge honour as I'm such a fan of his work. Yay!

Check out the brilliant button below that Bloomsbury have designed for the tour - creepy, right? My stop is on the Wednesday (March the 2nd) so please stop by to have a read of the guest blog Chris is writing for me. I can't wait!

Blog Tour: The Big Show Stopper - Ken Dalton

Published: September 16th 2010
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by Tribute Books

Summary (from Goodreads): The Big Show Stopper opens in a packed concert arena with everyone waiting for the entrance of Brady Blackstone, the richest, and premier concert performer in America. But before Brady sets his foot on the stage, a tragic accident takes his life in front of Bear and a devastated Flo.

However, it does not take Bear and Flo very long to question if the death was it an accident or murder?
Once again, in the pursuit of a pile of money and a little justice, Pinky travels to an exotic site while Bear and Flo end up in one of the least desirable locations in California.

The Big Show Stopper brings back Pinky, Bear, Flo, along with a gaggle of quirky characters. A beer swilling wacko. A naked old fart. A couple of downright dangerous folks. And concludes on a dark night with the dynamic trio spread eagle counting down the final seconds of their lives.


My review: I'm normally quite fixed with the genres of books I review (YA and horror, please) but sometimes a book comes along and reminds me that I should expand my horizons every now and then. The Big Show Stopper is such an enjoyable read and, as a mystery, it's not the kind of thing I would normally choose to read at all.

The characters in The Big Show Stopper are instantly likeable and have brilliant chemistry from the outset. I loved the way Pinky and Bear bounced off of each other and had such snappy dialogue, it kept the pace moving throughout the novel and I didn't feel as though any words were wasted.

I'm not an expert on mystery novels but I felt like this was a fresh story and I didn't find it at all predictable, which is something I have felt with other mystery novels I've tried. Every time I thought I knew who the culprit was there would be another clue that would completely throw me off - it was great and I was gripped the whole time.

There is another book in this series that comes before The Big Show Stopper, which is called The Bloody Birthright and I'd definitely be interested in checking this book out too. I do think The Big Show Stopper worked brilliantly as a standalone novel and I wouldn't hesitate this to any fans of the mystery genre.

Rating:
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Total: 15/20 (B)

Blog Tour web site: http://thebigshowstopper.blogspot.com/

Ken Dalton's web site: http://www.kendalton.com/

About the author: Ken Dalton was born in 1938. In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus found Ken. At the end of World War II, Ken's family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year where he learned how to live through snow blizzards, avoid walking through the large pile of coal in the basement, and how to survive life as an Army Officer's brat on a base called Fort Warren.

By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces, Ken's luck changed dramatically when he met the girl of his dreams at a party. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken, who worked as a technician for Pacific Bell, and his family left Southern California for the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home in Sebastopol surrounded with apple trees. A few years later, Ken and Arlene built a new home on three and a half acres. They raised cows, pigs, and learned how to build outstanding fences. While their children grew, they hosted two exchange students, Eva Reimers from Sweden, and Tanja Wuttke from Germany, both of whom are still loved members of the Dalton clan. Also during those years, Ken was promoted to management at Pacific Bell. He eventually ended up responsible for all the central offices, sixty-three, in an area that covered five counties.

In 1977, Ken, Arlene, Bob Wiltermood, and his wife Norma, designed, built, and operated a 2000 case winery named Pommeraie Vineyards. They produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, after Bob died, the winery was sold. Ken and Arlene moved to a hilltop in Healdsburg.

With the winery gone, and time on their hands, Ken and Arlene started to perform with the Camp Rose Players. Twenty years and forty productions later, both are still acting and singing.

Life was good. All Ken had to do was learn some lines and bow when the audience applauded.

Then, ten years ago, in a moment of madness, Ken started to write. His first article was published in Golf Illustrated in August 1996. More golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens.

After a two-year stint on the County Grand Jury, Ken felt the need to begin his first novel.

Now, after a decade of struggle to learn the craft of writing, Ken has become the publishing world's latest overnight sensation.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Favourite Covers: Feet 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... FEET! Yes, feet. Scrolling through my Goodreads books I couldn't help but notice how many feet and legs crop up on YA covers so here are my picks...

Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Books - Abby McDonald

Reckless - Cecily von Ziegesar

The Unwritten Rule - Elizabeth Scott

The Dark Divine - Bree Despain

Jumping off Swings - Jo Knowles

Cupidity - Kimberly Garner

I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone - Stephanie Kuehnert

Gingerbread - Rachel Cohn

Someone Like You - Sarah Dessen

The Au Pairs: Skinny Dipping - Melissa de la Cruz

*

So have you read any of these books? Which cover is your favourite?

Review: Reckless - Cornelia Funke

Published: September 6th 2010, Chicken House
Pages: 345 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, Restless is the second installment
Acquired: Sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): For years, Jacob Reckless has been secretly disappearing to another world, a world behind a mirror, a world for which his father abandoned his family. The mirror world is Jacob's escape from reality. It's a place for treasure hunts and magnificent quests. A world where witches haunt the forests and giants and dwarfs roam. A world locked in a deadly war.

Jacob's secret seems safe, until one day his younger brother Will follows him, with disastrous consequences. Faced with a curse that is quickly turning Will to stone, the Reckless brothers are thrust into a race against time to find a cure before Will is lost forever.


Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, master storyteller Cornelia Funke introduces a lush, enchanting world where fantasy meets reality. Reckless is a thrilling adventure, a tale of heroism and loyalty, filled with danger, mystery, and magic--with fairy tales and legends re-imagined as never before.


My review: It’s been a long time since I read a book that began with the traditional line ‘Once upon a time’ and it was like coming home to an old friend. Inspired by fairy stories, Cornelia Funke takes us on an amazing adventure to another world and I challenge anyone to read it and not be instantly drawn into the wonderful world Funke creates.

The world building in Reckless is absolutely fantastic. We get glimpses of the fairy stories we know and love and are introduced to so many incredible characters. The Goyl were brilliant and I really hope we see more of them in the second book in the series, Restless.

My only slight quibble is that I found it difficult to warm to both Jacob and Will. Jacob was a little lacklustre and stereotypical of protagonists in YA fantasy – the typical shining hero. He’s not a character I think I’ll remember and neither was Will, who I found it difficult to warm to. To be honest I think the secondary characters are much more interesting than the Reckless brothers.

I’m a big fan of YA with dark undertones and Reckless definitely delivers a whole dollop of creepiness. Fans of the macabre will be delighted and I was certainly unsettled, which is something I love. It shows that the book made an impact on me and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Reckless to any YA reader.

First line: ‘The night breathed through the apartment like a dark animal.’

Rating:
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Total: 15/20 (B)

Alternative covers:

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Stolen Nights - Rebecca Maizel

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.

This week I've chosen 'Stolen Nights' by Rebecca Maizel. 'Stolen Nights' is the eagerly anticipated sequel to last year's 'Infinite Days' and I'm excited to see if it lives up to the hype!

Publication date: March 15th 2011
Published by: St Martin's Griffin

Summary (from Goodreads): Thought you loved Infinite Days? Well, just wait until you read the sequel and second book in the Vampire Queen trilogy, Stolen Nights.
So what books can't you wait for? What's your pick this week?

Review: Diary of a Chav: The Fame Diaries - Grace Dent

Published: October 16th 2008, Hodder Children’s Books
Pages: 283 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, this is book five and there are six in the series
Acquired: Purchased myself

Summary (from Goodreads): After the nightmare that was Ibiza, Shiraz is overjoyed to be home in Goodmayes, back with her family, her friends...and Wesley of course. Wes and Sooz are finished and it's not long before he's a regular fixture round at 34 Thundersley Road - much to Diane Wood's delight.

But Shiraz knows herself...and she knows that there's a big wide world out there, just waiting for the unique charms of SBW. Soon she's writing off for college applications and spending the rest of her time trailing after Carrie Draper, who's hellbent on infiltrating the celebrity circuit.


Things get tricky when Shiraz ends up getting a job as PA to a Premier league footballer and his wife - Carrie had her heart set on it and she's furious, but how could Shiraz turn it down? She's not long into the job before Shizza realises that this celebrity lark isn't all it's cracked up to be...And at the end of the day, she really, really wants to be a writer. But what about Wesley? Can she really leave him behind for good?


My review: I’ve said it four times so far and I’ll say it again, I am absolutely in love with this series. Shiraz Bailey Wood is by far one of the most memorable characters I’ve come across in a long, long time and I’m so sad that there’s only one book in the series after this one. I really don’t want it to end!

In The Fame Diaries we see loyal Shiraz accompany her best friend Carrie to a variety of auditions for various reality TV shows. Carrie’s determined to become famous at any cost but Shiraz finds herself feeling more and more uncomfortable about the world Carrie so desperately wants to be a part of.

After an audition to be a part of a Next Top Model style show goes horribly awry, Shiraz tries to convince Carrie that she doesn’t need to be famous to feel beautiful and I think this is a bit of a turning point for Shiraz. We really see her grow up in The Fame Diaries and it was lovely to see her develop like this. She’s grown so much from the Shiraz we saw in the first book and even Carrie managed to grow up a little, at last.

I won’t reveal too much about the plot for fear of any spoilers but I will confirm that the on-off relationship we know and love between Shiraz and Wesley is as complex and frustrating as ever. Will they, won’t they? Who knows!

My only disappointment is that we didn’t see much of Uma in this instalment – fingers crossed she’s more prominent in the last book!

First line: ‘I’m not usually made up on being the centre of attention.’

Rating:
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Total: 16/20 (B+)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Cracked Up to Be - 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 Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers and here are my sentences!

Teaser sentences (from page 20): ‘It’s one of my better entrances. Dad lowers the paper and Mom drops the potato she’s peeling over the sink and they look at me like I’m certifiable, but I’d rather be certifiable than perpetually boring, which is my parents in a nutshell.’


So, what's your teaser this week?

Review: Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen

Published: February 4th 2010, Penguin
Pages: 424 pages, paperback
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

My review: I’ve been a fan of Sarah Dessen for years and years. Her books were always me go-tos during my teenage years for a great read and that hasn’t changed a bit. Dessen is an absolute master of contemporary YA and Along for the Ride is another one of her brilliant stories.

I feel like the strength of Dessen’s books is that her characters are always completely relatable, especially the heroines of the books. Each protagonist seems unique from book to book and Auden is one of the best, in my opinion. I felt for her from the outset and was rooting for her to experience the teenage years she missed out on due to her oppressive mother and constant battle with insomnia.

When she spends the summer with her father and his new family, everything changes for Auden. She gets a job and learns how other girls her age live; it’s at this stage she realises everything she missed out on while trying to please her mother. And when Auden meets Eli she feels as though she’s finally met somebody who understands her.

Eli was a great male lead and he was a refreshing change from the usual perfect boys we find so often in YA fiction. I loved how his and Auden’s relationship flourished and they complimented each other so well. I think their relationship is one of the more realistic I’ve come across in a contemporary novel in a long while, which was great.

So, Sarah Dessen has done it yet again with Along for the Ride. If you’re a fan of her novels then this one’s sure to please and if you haven’t tried one of her books before then I’d recommend this one as a great starting point.

First line: ‘The emails always begin the same way.’

Read if you liked…: This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen

Rating:
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Total: A solid 16/20 (B+)

Alternative covers:

Monday, 21 February 2011

News: Haunting Violet - Alyxandra Harvey

So I just wanted to talk to you guys today about the upcoming release from Alyxandra Harvey, called Haunting Violet. I'm a big fan of Harvey's books so I'm super excited about this one. It's due out July this year so quite a while to wait! The summary sounds absolutely cracking, don't you think? Also, check out the gorgeous cover below. What do you think?


Summary (from Goodreads): Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural.

Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.
Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret.

The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

Review: Black Swan Rising - Lee Carroll

Published: July 22nd 2010, Bantam Press
Pages: 396 pages, paperback
Acquired: Sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, her life is about to be turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, commissions her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to her by her deceased mother. Garet can’t believe her luck and this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening. . .

That evening, the precious silver box is stolen. When Garet begins to investigate, she learns that she has been pulled into a prophecy that is hundreds of years old, and opening the box has unleashed an evil force onto the streets of Manhattan and the world at large. Gradually, Garet pieces together her true identity—one that her deceased mother desperately tried to protect her from. Generations of women in Garet’s family, including her beloved mother, suffered and died at the hands of this prevailing evil. Does Garet possess the power to reclaim the box and defeat this devastating force?


On her journey, she will meet the fey folk who walk unnoticed among humans and a sexy vampire who also happens to be a hedge fund manager that she can’t stop thinking about. But the fairies reveal a desire to overpower mere humans and the seductive vampire has the power to steal the life from her body. Whom can Garet trust to guide her? Using her newfound powers and sharp wit, Garet will muster everything she’s got to shut down the evil taking over her friends, family, New York City, and the world.


My review:
The first in a planned trilogy, Black Swan Rising is the story of Garet, a jewellery designer who finds herself drawn into a parallel world after trying to open a mysterious silver box for a client. While this kind of synopsis would normally turn me away from a book (I’m a contemporary fan through and through) I was drawn to Black Swan Rising so wanted to give it a go.

Garet is an interesting narrator and it was great getting to know her gradually as the story progressed. I found her backstory intriguing and liked how we learned a little at a time. However, she did fall down in some respects as I found some aspects of her personality increasingly frustrating throughout the novel. I would have though a New York girl would have some street smarts about her but Garet seemed so naïve for a woman her age. She trusts strangers instantly and something about that didn’t ring true for me, especially considering her background.

That aside, I did really enjoy Black Swan Rising and it was a nice break from the fiction I usually read. This book has reminded me yet again how great it is that blogging has broadened my horizons so much. A year and a half ago I never would have picked up a book like this and I hate to think how many books I’ve already missed out on.

The world building in Black Swan Rising is really strong and I loved the inclusion of historical characters in the story – it was a great addition and didn’t feel forced at all. It’s clear the writers (a husband and wife team) are at the top of their game and know their target audience inside out.

I imagine hardened urban fantasy fans adore this book and there are so many positive reviews for this one out in the blogosphere. I’ll look out for the next book in the series (which I believe is due out this year) with interest and hope it lives up to the great start Black Swan Rising provided.

First line: ‘I’d never been in the antiques store before.’

Read if you liked…: The Alchemyst – Michael Scott

Rating:
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Total: 14/20 (B)

Alternative covers:

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Giveaway: More Bloody Horowitz (signed)!

Hello everybody! I hope you're all okay and have had lovely, relaxing weekends.

So, I'm here today to bring you a very special giveaway for a signed copy of More Bloody Horowitz by the absolutely incomparable Anthony Horowitz. I'm so jealous that I can't enter this myself as I'm a massive, massive Horowitz fan.


Summary (from press release): MORE BLOODY HOROWITZ is a mischievous collection of witty and macabre tales, guaranteed to thrill and disgust in equal measure. As you’d expect from Horowitz, the subject matter completely taps into the zeitgeist.

There’s the ultimate Reality TV show – “Bet Your Life”, and the story of the parents hit by the credit crunch who auction their daughter on “SheBay”. There’s the tale of an MP3 player which drains the life out of its young user (sound like anyone you know?) and the opening story, “The Man Who Killed Darren Shan”, in which Horowitz deftly dispatches fellow bestselling children’s author Shan.

As you may have gathered, horror and humour make devilish bedfellows in this must-have new collection. This is Horowitz at his most wicked.

Rules:

- This one is a UK only giveaway so I'm sorry to my international readers but I'll you another international giveaway soon, promise!

- The contest will run from today (20/2/11) until next Saturday (26/2/11) and will close at midnight (so, technically Sunday 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

- 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 by any means

So that's it! Click here to fill out the form! Good luck :) x

Thursday, 17 February 2011

News: 13 Reasons Why movie update and Wereworld news

I've got a couple of exciting pieces of news for you all today: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher is going to be turned into a movie and Puffin have signed up two more Werewold novels (by the brill Curtis Jobling).

So, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher is being adapated for the big screen! I wasn't a huge fan of the book but I loved the story so I'll be really interested to see how this one turns out. Disney Princess Selena Gomez is set to star and the rights have been acquired by Universal. Click here for more info!


I know so many of us have read and loved Curtis Jobling's Wereworld novel, that was relesaed at the beginning of the year so I'm sure you'll all be pleased to here that Puffin have signed up two more Wereworld novels, yay! From the booktrade.info website:

'Due to the instant success of Rise of the Wolf published on 6th January 2011, the first volume in the Wereworld series by British author and artist Curtis Jobling, Puffin is very excited to announce that they have moved fast and acquired a further two titles in the fantasy YA series.

As a result of the fantastic initial performance of the first book, shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize, Puffin is moving the second volume from an early 2012 publication date to the summer of 2011. The two new novels will follow in 2012.'

Click here to read the rest of the article.


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Clarity - Kim Harrington

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.

This week I've chosen 'Clarity' by Kim Harrington. 'Clarity' is a 2011 debut - yay and looks like a really interesting novel. It doesn't sound like anything I've read before but while reading the synopsis I did think of Ghost Whisperer. I do like to read outside of my comfort zone so I think 'Clarity' will be a really interesting one.

Publication date: March 1st 2011
Published by: Scholastic Point

Summary (from Goodreads): Clarity "Claire" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch an object and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Claire's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case — but Claire is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Claire's brother — who has supernatural gifts of his own — becomes the prime suspect, and Claire can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Claire must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?


So what books can't you wait for? What's your pick this week?

Cover Reveals: Rise, Radiance and a bonus book trailer!


Hello everyone, hope you're all well and looking forward to the weekend. I'm sorry if I haven't been around much on Twitter etc this week - I'm a bit busy with novel-related shiz and looking after my cone-head puppy (I posted full details last weekend if you want a bit more info).

Anyway, today I have a couple of newly announced covers to share with you. The first is Rise by Stefne Miller and the second is the French cover for Radiance by Alyson Noel. I think both are pretty, neither blow me away but I prefer Rise - how about you guys?



Finally, I saw a tweet about this earlier in the week and wanted to share it - click below to watch the new book trailer for Cloaked by Alex Finn. What do you think? I love it :).



So I hope everyone's doing good and enjoying some brill books. Speak to you all soon!

Review: Debugging Tori Redding - Jason Ancona

Published: December 20th 2010
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by The Teen Book Scene

Summary (from Goodreads): Fed up with her peers and their loose morals, Tori starts a new school program, the Not So Fast club, a group dedicated to keeping teens from doing everything they want to do--drink, have sex, and rush to grow up.

A severe toothache interrupts her plan, sending her to the dentist, where she's given an emergency root canal. During the surgery, she's electrocuted and ends up blacking out. When she awakes, her brain has the ability to function like a computer.

Tori uses her new skills and aggressive personality to charge up the club.
Hated by the entire school, she discovers that NSF now stands for: Narcs Suck Farts. Game on. Tori memorizes every school rule, issuing tickets for every little infraction.

After a serious crime occurs, Tori must use her talents to save a life, all while trying to free herself from her mind.


My review: Oh, isn't it so disappointing when a book you're really excited about leaves you with a distinct 'meh' feeling upon finishing it? Sadly, 'meh' (plus a shoulder shrug) is exactly how I felt about Debugging Tori Redding, despite being initially excited to read it. The premise sounded interesting and I'd heard great things about Ancona's writing so I was really keen on this one. It's a little outside my comfort zone so I thought I'd stretch my wings and try something I usually wouldn't.

I should mention before I begin my grumbles that I do seem to be on my own with my opinion and all of the reviews on Goodreads are three or four starred. However, it just didn't work for me, not this time. I have heard many good things about Ancona's other book (Covert Youth Agency) so may well give that a go in the future.

So, what did I think? Well, for starters I coudn't stand Tori. For me, she came across as so judgemental of her peers that it was impossible to warm to her. The book opens with a class discussion of Catcher in the Rye, which escalates into an argument that ends with Tori calling one of the school cheerleaders a slut. Nice. Also, where did this generalisation come from that all cheerleaders in YA novels must be whores? I don't like it and I think it's getting to be a lazy cliche. I used to be a cheerleader, BY THE WAY.

Anyway, I digress. Tori continually preaches that the girls in her class are sluts and the guys are interested in nothing but drinking and sex. So? Live and let live. For me it just felt like Tori was on a crusade to bring everybody down. Sure, some teens do have reckless sex and drink too much but that's their choice, surely. It just felt a little uncomfortable that our protagonist seemed to be condemning everybody around her for not living their lives the way she deems appropriate.

I don't know, it just didn't gel well with me. Maybe I would have liked it more if Tori had been funny or sweet about it but it just seemed as though she was an angry girl who wanted her voice to be heard, whether her opinions were right or wrong. It also didn't seem like she had anything to actually back up what she was campaigning against with the NSF Club - she wanted to start the club to stop teens 'growing up too fast' but there was absolutely no evidence at any stage that 'growing up too fast' was doing anybody in the book any harm at all. In fact, everybody in Debugging Tori Redding seemed quite happy, except Tori herself.

I had a few issues with the writing and structure of the novel as well. From a structural point of view I wish the story had flowed a bit better. It seemed like every event in the novel was put in purely to get the story on to the next stage, if that makes sense. The whole 'toothache' episode just felt so forced to me - Tori was fine one moment, then had a random tooth pain and immediately had to get to the dentist. Of course all of this was in order for her to obtain her super powers but it just seemed plonked in there to move the story forwards, rather than fitting in with the natural flow of things.

I couldn't take to the writing style either. I think it's probably down to personal taste (so again it's probably just me, rather than there actually being an issue with the author's writing skills) but the narrative just didn't seem at all natural to me. Plus, I'm a big fan of showing not telling, which I think was another issue with the writing. My case in point (taken from page 24 of the Kindle copy):

'"If you don't believe me, kiss me right now." Geo looks over at her, waiting for her reaction. "I believe you," Tori says. She wonders if Geo is trying to make a point or if he's using this conversation so he can kiss her because he really wants to. She hopes he's just making a point, as he's her best friend and he {sic} doesn't see him in an amorous way."

Wow, looks like I found a typo there as well. I found that section just a little bit cringeworthy, I have to say. Well, maybe I'm being too harsh. There were some comical elements to the story and I did like the relationship between Geo and Tori but, all in all, this one really didn't do it for me. Sorry guys.

Rating:
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Cover: 3/5
Total: 11/20 (D)

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Interview: Lauren Beukes - Moxyland/Zoo City

Hi everyone! Today I've got an interview with the fabulous Lauren Beukes to share with you all. Lauren's a South African urban fantasy writer and her latest book, Zoo City, is just great. As you know I'm not a huge fantasy fan but every so often a fantasy book will come along with grab me and this definitely happened with Zoo City. I loved it.

If you are an urban fantasy fan then I'm sure you'll have read either Moxyland or Zoo City but if you haven't yet then go, go, go and grab a copy! I just want to say thanks again to Lauren for agreeing to the interview and giving such brilliant answers and thanks to Angry Robot for making me aware of this fab author.


1. In case any readers haven’t read the book yet, can you tell me a little bit about Zoo City?

It’s a noir set in the slumlands of inner city Johannesburg where magic is real and the criminals have symbiotic animal companions that might be guardian angels or the monkey on your back. Part-time email scammer Zinzi has a Sloth on her shoulders and the magical ability to find lost things, but when she gets asked to help find a missing pop star, she’s drawn into a mystery that’s much bigger – and much nastier.

2. Talk me through an average day when you’re working on a novel. Do you have a set number of words you have to write per day or do you set yourself different targets?

I have a day job as a TV scriptwriter, so I spend a lot of time writing proposals, writing scripts, editing other people’s scripts and I’m currently directing a documentary. At the moment I’m doing most of my writing at night. I try to get 500-1000 words a night. But I also try to take off about three months every year to be able to work on the book full-time. I work best if my husband hides the ADSL modem or if I go work in a café somewhere with no Internet.

3. In young adult fiction in particular, it’s important that readers bond with the characters - what do you think is the most important thing to get right when you're creating a character?

I’m interested in writing real people, who are complicated, who have issues, who don’t always do the right thing or are still trying to figure out what the right thing is, but are still, hopefully, likeable in spite of all that or perhaps because of it. I find earnestly heroic vanilla good guys painfully dull.

4. Can you describe how you felt in the moment when you heard that your first novel had been accepted for publication?

Shock and disbelief and a deep suspicion that it wasn’t real. It took some convincing to persuade me otherwise.

5. I absolutely love the covers for both Zoo City and Moxyland – how much of a say (if any) did you have in their design?

I was incredibly lucky that my publishers Angry Robot and Jacana allowed me a say in choosing the cover designer. Artists John Picacio (US Zoo City) and Joey Hi-Fi (everything else) are insanely talented but also insanely generous in that they let me be part of the process. A lot of authors get no say in the cover design at all.

Having been through it a couple of times now, what’s interesting is that I’ll come to the first meeting / email with specific ideas of what I think will make a great cover. The artists will listen politely, ignore me completely and then come back with something amazing that I couldn’t have imagined, which is really why they’re the artists and I’m just the writer.

They were open to discussing ideas and making tweaks and both used the references I sent them of cell phone camera pics I’d snapped on my recce through Hillbrow and photographs I’d ripped from magazines of people.


6. What are the three most important things you need to be able to write?

A meaningful deadline.

Discipline to face the terror of a blinking cursor waiting for words.

Lonely hermit time behind my keyboard balanced with lots of friends and social time to off-set the cabin fever.

7. Some writers relate take great inspiration from music while they’re writing. Do you listen to music while you’re writing? If so, what artists/bands do you like to listen to while you write?

I like interesting electronica, lush and dark and twisty, but also upbeat. If there are lyrics, it throws me. Amon Tobin, Barry Adamson, Ladytron, Massive Attack as well as South African artists like The Real Estate Agents, 37 MPH, Markus Wormstorm, Sibot, Krushed & Sorted (Who all contributed tracks to the official Moxyland and Zoo City soundtracks from www.africandope.co.za). But if I’m working through a particularly knotty scene, sometimes I have to have dead quiet.

8. Can you tell me a bit about your journey with Zoo City? When did you first come up with the idea and what were the timescales involved between the first draft and the novel being accepted for publication?

I had this image of a girl opening up a closet and pulling on a Sloth like a backpack. I knew it was both a burden and the possibility of redemption. I knew she lived in Hillbrow, that she could find lost things and that she was going to have a run-in with a woman with a stork strapped to her back like angel wings and a dandy with a maltese poodle. So the seedling of the story was already hanging around when Angry Robot signed me on for a two book deal. While Moxyland took four years to write because I messed around a lot inbetween, Zoo City took a year from start to finish because I had a real and looming deadline written in cold ink on a contract.
9. Did Zoo City always have this title or was that something that came later on?

It had another title, but I can’t tell you what it was because it’s spoilerific. Zoo City was a better fit.

10. What advice would you give to writers who want to make the leap from writing as a hobby to actively pursuing a career in writing?

Stop mucking around with the first three chapters and finish the book already. Then get feedback from people you trust. Be humble, be open to criticism. Take the advice that works, ignore the advice that doesn’t. Rewrite it. Rewrite it again. Then and only then start looking for an agent and a publisher and get ready to face a lot of rejection. Bounce back from that rejection. Keep trying. Most importantly, keep writing.

11. There is a lot of argument within the young adult market as to what is appropriate for teens to read. Where do you stand on this matter? Do you think teens should be protected from reading about taboo subjects or do you think they should have the freedom to choose their own reads?

Adults shouldn’t be arbiters or taste or subject matter. Teens will read what they like and they should read books that challenge and provoke them.

12. Thank you so much for your time, Lauren. Before you go, could you tell me about any projects you have in the pipeline we can look out for?

I’m working on a new book loosely based on South Africa’s real-life Occult Crimes Unit, directing a documentary called Glitterboys & Ganglands about South Africa’s biggest female impersonation beauty pageant and I have three short stories due as of last week. And about four new novel ideas simmering quietly on the backburner.

Teaser Tuesday: The Treasure Map of Boys - E. Lockhart

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 The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart (one of my favourite YA writers) and here are my sentences!

Teaser sentences (from page 33): ‘Because this was a chance, actually. A chance to reject the dominant Tate Prep aesthetic of marshmallow sculpture in favour of my own roly-poly agenda.’


So, what's your teaser this week?

Monday, 14 February 2011

News: Foyles in Bristol, work for The Book Depository

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE.

So as I'm sure you're either blissfully or painfully aware, today is Valentine's day. A day of celebrating the ones you love etc etc *simper*. Nah, I love Valentine's day. Don't we all? You either get spoiled rotten by your dashing beau or lovely lady and if you're single you get to sit down with a bucket of ice cream, a box of wine and The Notebook. Everyone's a winner, I say. Hooray!


I'm actually writing the post in advance so I have no idea what I'll be doing today - perhaps the boyf will have some romantic plans and I'll be off sunning myself on a surprise holiday. Orrr maybe not. Maybe he'll have completely forgotten and I'll be settling down to The Notebook with my pals Ben and Jerry. Either way, I reckon ice cream will be involved.

Anyway, I'm here with some news!

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Foyles are opening in Bristol! Cue massive excited scream from me. About bloody time is all I can say. Hurrah hurrah hooray - I love Foyles so to be able to hop on over to Bristol instead of legging it up to London will be brill. I can't wait!

If you happen to live down in the Westcountry like myself then there are also job opportunities ahoy - exciting, yes? Well, if you're looking for a job and you're close to Bristol then work for Foyles, damn it, it'd be awesome. Click here to find out more and apply (do it!).


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See, here at Writing from the Tub I don't just give you reviews and covers with pretty dresses on them. Oh no, I also bring you job opportunities! Not only are Foyles hiring - The Book Depository (bow down) have a few positions open as well. They're looking for a new customer services manager, web developers and a sys admin (I abbreviate because I know my geek vocab).

I have to admit I did tell my manager (who doubles up as my boyfriend - yes, office romance, I am a stereotype) I was handing in my notice the very next day to become the customer services manager of The Book Depository. He laughed. My dream was over. Alas, apparently five months spent answering calls FOR a customer services manager does not qualify you for that position. Well BOO on you, boyfriend.

Anyway, if you're slightly more qualified than myself or can code like a biatch then click here for all the details. Plus, if any of you get the job I get to use your discount...right? Right?!


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So that's all the news I have today, folks. Hope some of it tickled your fancy and you're all having a grand Valentine's day!