Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Better Than Perfect Blog Tour: Derek's Phone & Chapter Three Extract!

I'm super excited to be part of Simone Elkeles' Better Than Perfect tour!  It's a really cool tour, as well: the posts are like snapshots of the character's texts, which give extra insight into the attached extracts!  Awesome!  And, of course, all this in celebration of one amazing author and one of her brilliant books!  So I hope you enjoy!! :D

Uprooted to Chicago, Derek is missing the company of his old roommate Jack back in California. Just what is with this mad new family he has been forced to live with? Find out in the extract...

Don't forget to stop by the rest of the blog tour!
Previous Stop On The Better Than Perfect Blog Tour: Uncorked Thoughts
Next Stop On The Better Than Perfect Blog Tour: Escapism From Reality


Thank you Bloomsbury for letting me be part of this awesome tour!  I'm loving the book!!  I hope you all read it and love it - oh, and that you love the new paperback cover!  :)
And you can check Better Than Perfect out on Goodreads and Amazon, as well as following Simone on her Blog, Twitter and Facebook!


Blurb From Goodreads!
Ashtyn's life just got complicated. Her boyfriend is being distant and her sister's back at home after ten years - with a stepson in tow!
Derek has a perfect body, THE sexiest smile and a car - Ashtyn's only way to escape from her crazy life. But Derek likes to play by his own rules and is keen to take Ashtyn on a ride she'll never forget. As they spend more and more time alone together, will Derek's flirty games drive Ashtyn wild?
A sweet and steamy romance from New York Times bestselling author Simone Elkeles.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Echo Boy by Matt Haig

Series: Echo Boy, Book One
Publisher: Random House
Format: Hardback
Published: 27th March 2014
Number of Pages: 416
Book: Bought
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopia, Suspense, Action Adventure, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 13+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing
No Alcohol References
Author's Site: Matt Haig

Audrey has always surrounded herself with books and music, philosophy and dreams.  It’s what makes her different to the Echos: eerie, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters.
Daniel is an Echo – but he’s not like the others.  He feels a powerful connection to Audrey; a feeling he was never designed to have, and cannot explain.
But he’s determined to try.
A powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.

'What was he?
Savior, or monster?'
The year is 2115.  Much of the environment has been destroyed.  Technology has come on in leaps and bounds and the world is full of Echos: machines built to look like humans, to serve humans, emotionless and blank.  
Audrey Castle's father is anti-Echo, anti-technology.  He taught Audrey how to stay human in this inhuman world.  Castles in their castle, building a moat of thought to protect them from the technology…
But the moat isn't enough.  Audrey finally understands what he was talking about thanks to a devastating incident, after which she finds herself living with her uncle - Alex Castle, the biggest distributor of technology in Europe, who owns a house crawling with Echos.
One is a boy named Daniel.  But he isn't like the others.  His eyes are too bright, too alive.  He can feel pain.  He's... more.  More than just an Echo.  More… human
They could not be more different and yet they also could not be more alike.  Alone, they stand no chance.  Together, they might just have a shot...
I don't really know what I was expecting from Echo Boy.  I've read a few things by Matt Haig in the past, but Echo Boy... it was just so very different.  And not just from his other books - but also from similar-ish books I've read in the genre.  I was absolutely hooked from the very first page and was utterly absorbed from start to finish.  I cannot wait for the second book!
As for the characters, in sci-fi futuristic books like this, for some reason I tend to find it hard to relate to the characters.  But in Echo Boy, it was easy.  Audrey, for example.  Despite her futuristic world, she felt like someone who could exist today.  She loved her classics, hurt terribly and had a mistrust of the things that had taken her old life from her.  Saying this, however, I felt the way she suddenly came around to Daniel a little unconvincing – if I'd been through what she had, I would be way more jumpy, untrusting and resentful.  Nonetheless, I really liked Audrey.
I wasn't expecting that much from Daniel: he is, after all, a cyborg, an Echo.  But I loved him and was thoroughly intrigued by his character.  His chapters were slower than Audrey's to begin with, but I enjoyed them more.  I loved him and loved seeing him struggle with his humanity, struggle with discovering who and what he was.  He fascinated me and I was one hundred percent behind him. 
I also liked the relationship between Audrey and Daniel.  The beginning did feel a little unrealistic but I liked how their connection grew.  I also liked that the feelings between them weren't the typical YA feelings.  They were deeper, different, complex.  Beautiful.  
I don't really want to say too much about the other characters, because I really don't want to give anything away.  I liked that no one - not even Audrey and Daniel - were how they first appeared, how I always had to be on my toes.  I like that in a thriller!
A Special Echo Boy FanPic By Me!
The writing was also brilliant, although the lack of contractions bugged me a little.  I got the formalness in Echos and even adults, but teenagers?  Not so much.  Even so, I loved how we got to see through both Audrey and Daniel's eyes.  And I also loved how each word felt important, necessary and true – how they all had significance and opened up my imagination, as well as slowly painting the full picture.
I also loved the philosophical side of Echo Boy, all the moral issues, the deeper meanings and the emotions – it all just blew my mind!  I was just shocked by how utterly deep this book was: the more you think about everything brought up, the more there is to ponder.  I also seriously want to talk all things Echo and philosophical, so let me know if you're game for this!
However, I must admit that the beginning of the book felt weird for some reason - I don't really know why…  But I soon got over that, because this plot is brilliant.  It's like... a puzzle: we're given tiny snippets, piece by piece, until the whole picture slowly unravelled before our eyes.  I loved that.  And whilst the pace could be slow at times, it just added to the.  But that final quarter... wow!  The pace of that last bit was so different and makes me so excited for what is to come next!  So, people, if you're feeling like it's lagging, just hold on because Echo Boy really fights back with that last bit and it makes everything so worth it!
But the world building may have been my favourite part of the whole book: it is amazing!  This world... it's full of advantages, but they covered up a huge question: how can you hold onto your humanity when the world around you is so thoroughly lacking it?  The world, the technology and all the questions these raised intrigued me and I can't wait to read more about the world of Echo Boy.
So yes, Echo Boy was really not what I was expecting.  It was a million times better.  It’s the best sci-fi futuristic book I've read in a long, long time.  It is clever, thought-provoking, different, emotional, real.  It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me it was amazing.  It was made of the exact right amount of marvellous world-building, suspense and thought-provoking questions.  I loved Echo Boy and I honestly can't wait to get my hands on the second book.  I have a feeling that it'll be like the Empire Strikes Back...  

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Starters by Lissa Price
Partials by Dan Wells
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Happy Reading

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Giveaway (UK ONLY)! Win 4 Signed Sets Of Easy And Breakable By Tammara Webber!

Hi fellow book addicts!  So nice  to catch up with a few of you at YALC - hope you had as brilliant a time as I did!!  But back to the present - I have presents!!  Four of you lucky ducks can win a signed set of Easy and Breakable, courtesy of Penguin!  How can you resist?!  To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter widget below!  
I'm really, really sorry to any international followers, but this is UK only!  It ends Saturday 26th July - just one week from now!!  So enter ASAP for your chance to win!!   Oh, and check out my Giveaway Policy before entering please!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Messenger Of Fear UK Cover Reveal And A Quick Question For Michael Grant!

I was so excited to be asked to take part in the UK cover reveal of Michael Grant's new book Messenger Of Fear!  This book looks awesome - if slightly terrifying!  You can read the first few chapters: here!  But first I present the amazing UK cover for Messenger of Fear!!

I don't know about you guys, but I love it! The perfect amount of beauty and terror, if I say so myself! What do you guys think of it?  Do you prefer it to the USA edition, which you can see: here?  You can see Michael's reaction to the UK cover in the video below!  Let me know your reactions in the comments, too - or tweet them via #MessengerOfFear!

To celebrate the cover reveal, I also got to ask Michael a quick question, via Egmont.  This is the result...
Me: What made you want to write books that are so fantastically terrifying?Michael: My basic inspiration for MESSENGER OF FEAR was that I wanted to write something scary. I realize that’s not a very profound answer, but the truth is I like to have fun with my work. I thought MESSENGER OF FEAR would be fun to write, and I was correct. It’s a kick to write. I have fun doing it. I hope readers have as much fun reading as I do writing.
Well, if Michael's new book is anywhere near as amazing as his previous ones, I am very exciting and just know I'm going to love Messenger of Fear!!

Find out more about Messenger of Fear on Goodreads, tweet your thoughts to #MessengerOfFear@EgmontUK and @EMTeenFiction!  

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Mutant City Blog Tour: Inspiration

I'm a huge, huge Marvel fan and so I was over the moon when I saw Steve Feasey was writing Mutant City - and even more overjoyed that they wanted me for the blog tour!  For those of you who haven't had a chance to get their hands on MC yet (it's out TODAY: buy it now - you won't regret it!!), it's the perfect book for X-Men fans (like me) and I just can't recommend it enough!  But, enough rambling from me.  Steve has done us a post about Mutant City's inspirations - enjoy!!  :D

I’m often asked where I get my ideas from, so here’s the truth - I steal them. Alright, I don’t actually copy anyone’s ideas (plagiarism will only land you up in court surrounded by lawyers), but every book or article or short story I read, every movie or TV show I watch and every console or PC game I play might just be a little kernel of an idea that grows into something much bigger. That’s not really stealing, but sometimes it feels like it.
Mutant City was no different in this regard. I had an idea for a book about a boy with telekinesis – the ability to move matter with one’s mind – but the idea was a bit ‘sketchy’, and certainly not a story. It wasn’t until I thought about the type of books I’d like to write after my Changeling series, I wanted something with a science fiction feel to it, that I knew how the book could work. Two of my great loves when I was growing up were science fiction and fantasy books (I, like lots of fans of these genres, don’t like to lump them together) and I thought it would be great to merge some of my favourite aspects of these two genres to create a post-apocalyptic world in which a ruling elite, with all the power that advanced technology can give, ruthlessly oppresses their mutant neighbours. Into this mix are thrown five children with special mutant powers; powers that the ruthless President of the technocrats wants. Thus, the battle lines for Scorched Earth are drawn.
To pretend that comics like 2000AD, Spiderman and Marvel’s X-Men didn’t have an influence on Mutant City would be foolish. I adored, and still do love, these stories, and some of the most original story ideas ever have originated in the panel-and-bubble comic book format (you only have to look at some of the top-grossing movies of the last ten years to see how appealing these narrative and the ideas behind them are).
Mutant City wasn’t any easy book to write. Some of the ‘bad science’ I had to employ to make the world and the societies in it jarred with me, and I’m already anticipating emails from people keen to point out various scientific anomalies I’ve included. Also, telling the book from multiple viewpoints was hard at times, and restricted my ability to really explore the characters in way I would have liked.

Having said all that, I think it is a good book, with the right mix of world-building and action. I really hope it sparks the imagination of the vast majority of readers, and leaves them wanting more. 

It's definitely left me wanting more - I can't wait for Mutant City 2!  Thank you so much for stopping by, Steve - I hope you all enjoyed the post!  And that everyone picks up a copy of Mutant City!!  Oh, and take the Mutant City quiz and discover what your Mutant power would be!
I'm having a bit of trouble with Goodreads at the moment, but you can check Mutant City out on Amazon, check out Steve Feasey on his Site and Blog and on Twitter
Mutant City is out today so support the Mutants and pick up a copy now!  #StayMutant!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Daughters of Time Blog Tour: Adèle Geras on Eleanor of Aquitaine

I am so thrilled to be part of this blog tour - I just want to say that now.  I've been intrigued by Daughters of Time ever since we heard about it at last years' Hot Key-Templar-Piccadilly bloggers brunch and I was so thrilled to have a chance to read it and be a part of this blog tour!  And I'm so pleased to have author Adèle Geras here today!!
Daughters of Time is an anthology by The History Girls; it has thirteen stories of inspirational women throughout time.  It is definitely worth a read - so pick it up ASAP!!
Now, I hope you enjoy the post!! :D

When the idea for what became Daughters of Time first emerged, I was very keen to write about Florence Nightingale. At school, our houses were named after Famous Women: Jane Austen, Sarah Siddons, Elizabeth Fry and Florence Nightingale. I wrote a play about Nightingale's life and her work in the Crimean War for us all to perform. We must have been about twelve at the time and all the things we subsequently learned about that war and what Florence really did and didn't do, came much later. In those days, the image of a kind woman carrying a lamp into the darkness and starting off the education of nurses struck me as most romantic and maybe if there's a follow-up to Daughters of Time, I can write about this unusual (possibly autistic, according to some people) and fascinating person.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
But I had to choose someone else and I had no notion of where to begin. I reckon Elizabeth Fry wouldn't have been a bad choice either....the thing about Daughters of Time is: we were spoiled for choice because there are so many women throughout history who have not been properly appreciated.
Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is the subject of my story, is a figure I think of as immensely glamorous. I studied French at University and the whole troubadour culture was something that appealed to me. When I think of the times Eleanor lived through, it's in very unscholarly terms. I imagine myself in a field of embroidered flowers, with a unicorn and a couple of pretty rabbits dotted around and me of course wearing a pointed hat with a veil hanging from it. I have, as anyone can see, been heavily influenced by Books of Hours, the hangings in the Musée de Cluny of the Lady with the Unicorn, etc etc. Another strong influence was a movie called The Lion in Winter. This starred Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn. She was Eleanor and her performance stayed with me for decades.
Hepburn came into my mind when we were choosing the women about whom we wanted to write. One thing you couldn't say about Eleanor was that her life was lacking in incident. Everything happened to her: love, loss, war, imprisonment, being a queen, being a mother, being an educated woman at a time when women (and most men) could not even read. She was a traveller. A Crusader. She was clearly most attractive to men and more than any of this, she lived to a very ripe old age at a time when most people died young by modern standards.
My friend, the writer Sally Prue, suggested that Eleanor might have a treasure chest filled with souvenirs from this eventful life and I liked the idea so much that I took it and used it as the basis for my tale. Because the intended readers of the book are young people, I have made the young protagonist of my story, The Queen's Treasure, about twelve or so. I wanted her to be as dazzled by Eleanor as I had been when I first heard about her.
I hope everyone who reads the book enjoys the young Juana's adventures.

Adèle Geras

Daughters of Time by The History Girls, edited by Mary Hoffman 
£6.99 Templar Publishing. Out now.


Thank you so much, Adèle!  I loved your story and post and the anthology as a whole - and I hope everyone else loves them too!!  :D
Everyone, check out Daughters of Time on Goodreads - and check out The History Girls, too: there's loads of awesome authors on this site and so many awesome posts too!  
Check out Adèle Geras' site as well - and her Twitter! :D
Thank you again, Adele!  And everyone, continue with the Daughters of Time Blog Tour by hopping over to Winged Reviews tomorrow for an interview with Katherine Roberts!! :D

Monday, 2 December 2013

After Eden by Helen Douglas

Series: After Eden, Book One
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Published: 7th November 2013
Number of Pages: 288
Book: For Review*
Genre: Science-Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Suspense, Action-Adventure, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Swearing, Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Site: Helen Douglas
Author's Twitter: @helenmdouglas

Blurb from Goodreads:

Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.
As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

“Although it seemed impossible, the evidence was staring me in the face…
Ryan Westland was from the future.”    
Ryan Westland shows up at Eden Anfeild's school.  He's gorgeous and American, but seems like a normal teenage boy.
So why doesn't he know things everyone knows?  He doesn't recognise pizza or burgers – he’s never even heard of Hitler.  And, even though all the girls are hanging onto his every word, the only one he seems to pay any real attention to is Eden. 
As a puzzle-lover, Eden is determined to crack all of Ryan's secrets.
She starts to fall for him instead. 
Until she finds a book in his home – a book that was written decades after her time.  A book that is a biography about her best friend.  A book that is impossible.
As the pieces fall into place, Eden is forced to confront Ryan.  The truth... it's life-changing.  Maybe... maybe even world-changing...
After Eden landed on my doorstep in the morning, I began to read (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun).  I finished it in one sitting – in a matter of hours.  It was seriously freaking addictive.  It was also really not what I was expecting!  It was sweet and exciting and so easy to read.  Younger teens will just love it and gobble it up!  Heck, even older ones will, given the speed I zoomed through it!  It may not have been stunningly unique, but it was good fun.
Ok, Eden...  She was seriously naive.  A bit like Clary - I mean, hello!  Could it be any more obvious that your best mate is into you?  And yet she didn't see it – even after Ryan pointed it out!  Le sigh.  But, other than that, I liked her.  She was sweet and clever and funny and took the news really well.  I liked her sense of humour and her strength.
I really liked Ryan – he was funny and mysterious and sweet.  But his mission dedication was a bit weird.  Yes, I'm here to save everything, but hey!  Cute girl.  Forget the world – let's get my flirt on!  And yet even as I say this...  He was really sweet and I really did like him.  What can I say – apparently, I like time travellers! 
The romance in this was really sweet and quite subtle.  It wasn't The Main Thing, if you know what I mean.  Despite Ryan's tenuous mission dedication, the main point of the book was World Saving.  And I liked that.  I also really liked Ryan and Eden's relationship – it was really sweet and kind of innocent.  It was just really cute!
I loved a whole bunch of the other characters in the book, even if they weren't in it all that much.  Especially Connor – I think I have a thing for surfers.
I liked Eden's voice – it was really quite simple and easy to read.  But the dialogue at times...  I've gotta say, sometimes it felt a bit... forced.  I don't know why...  But other than that I loved Eden's voice – she felt like a real teenager and, being the same age, I could relate to her.  But younger people will relate to her, too, because I've gotta say, I'm not quite as... naive as her, to put it nicely...  Which doesn't make any sense, but still.  Relatable and easy-to-read writing.  Win-win!
Moving on... To the plot, which was pretty much always awesome.  I did see a few of the twists coming but I was hooked nonetheless.  It was so fun and exciting and really quite fast-paced!  
And I loved that After Eden was set in England at the beach.  So few books I read are British – especially sci-fi/time-travel books like this!  I literally did a happy dance when I saw the setting!  But on the topic of time-travel, the book really did make all the sci-fi things seem real.  I like that.  Stupidly farfetched sci-fi books get on my nerves.
All in all, After Eden was a brilliant little book that I loved.  It was sweet and fun and a brilliant escape.  It also didn't end on a horrible cliff-hanger – yes, the ending was a little bit... conveniently predictable, but it was cute and I liked it, so there.  I'm excited for Chasing Stars – I'll be looking forward to my fun beach-y British book next summer!  And for those of you who want a cute, fun, Doctor-Who-ish, addictive, read-in-one-sitting book, you've gotta pick up After Eden.  You won't regret it!

Star Rating:
3¾ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Timedance Series by Susan Waggoner
Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris
Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading

* This book was received from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review