Friday 30 November 2012

A Diary Entry by Margaret Adler: Dance of Shadows

I don't know if you guys have heard of it, but next year Bloomsbury are publishing one of the most amazing and anticipated books ever.  The name of this book?  Dance of Shadows.  Don't believe the pure-awesomeness of this book?  Well, check out the Facebook page Dance of Shadows - and keep on checking it!  Loads of amazing things will be going up in the run up to publication in 2013.  Also check out Yelena Black's Twitter Account and the amazing Book Trailer of Dance of Shadows.   Now, to promote the book we have an amazing extra teaser for the book - an extract of Margaret Adler's diary.  Keep an eye out for clues, everyone, and always keep this one question in your mind:

Where Is Margaret Adler...?

Dear Diary,                                                                                                       [October 1]

Another first for me: I’ve at last ridden the subway without one of my parents there.

Maddy, it turns out, is a serious rare record junkie and likes to shop for vinyl. As in LP records. Like our parents used to play back before, when the world was new (How can someone who still sleeps with a teddy bear have such a seriously hipster hobby?) We don’t even have a turntable here, but that doesn’t matter to her: She wants “the 180-gram vinyl of the new Jack White” and there is nothing that will stop her from going to get it. And because I’m her roommate, and because I was looking for any excuse to go shopping, I tagged along with her to Academy Records, which it turns out is pretty near Barneys. Not that my roommate was interested in a cutting-edge clothing store.

Here’s the thing about living in New York: There are a lot of people here. And if you go anywhere, you are just surrounded by them, sitting on top of each other. I think that maybe having to be in such close contact with so many different kinds of people makes a person more tolerant.

And the subways are where you really get to meet people in all their grumpy glory. The trip downtown to the record store was no big deal, but on the way back, there was a homeless guy in our car. You’d think everyone else would shy away from him, but that’s the great thing about New York: You just accept that, whatever his problems, a homeless man has as much right to a subway seat as anyone else. And so everyone in the car was pretty chill.

And then he started talking. To me. “You’re a dancer,” he said. He was six feet away, but Maddy and I could both smell the alcohol on his breath.

“Um, yeah,” I said, just as Maddy said, “Was it the leotard that gave it away?”

But he wasn’t really listening. He waved his fingers toward my head and said, “You have an aura of . . .  darkness around you. Darkness!”

“You have an aura of crazy around you,” Maddy said. “Did I say aura? I meant odor.” Just then the doors opened at 50th Street, and she pulled me out of the train and steered me up to the street, saying, “Don’t let that bother you! I’ve ridden the train like, three dozen times, and that was the only time I’ve been accosted by some pervy weirdo. Anyway, we can walk from here.”

I acted like I didn’t care, but I did. All I could think about were those missing girls and the voices that I sometimes hear when I dance.

One thing was clear, though: I’m not going to ride the subway anymore.

xoxo, Margaret

[October 1, later]
Dear Diary,                                                  

I’ve been thinking. Sometimes friends come in the strangest packages. Maddy has turned out to be not a bad girl at all. In fact, she may be my best friend in this weird place. She’s not as competitive as Anna and Chloe; I think we’re a good team against those two haters. Life’s too short to spend cutting others down, you know?

xo Margaret


Whoa!  Guys, don't forget to check out Margaret's other diary entries - keep on looking for clues!  We need to know what happened to Margaret!  Keep an eye on the Facebook Page to keep up with it all and look at the other diary entries!
And watch this space - we'll be having more Dance of Shadows stuff on this blog leading up to the big release date.... :D

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Deal BreakerSeries: Myron Bolitar, Book One
Publisher: Orion
Format: Paperback
Published: 5th April 2006

Number of Pages: 368
Book: Borrowed
Genre: Mystery, Crime-Thriller, Suspense, Humour, Action-Adventure, Gritty Realism, Adult
Recommended Age: 15+
Contains: Swearing, Lots of Violence Whenever Win's Around, Death, Alcohol and Drug References and Sexual Reference/Scenes
Author's Site: Harlan Coben

The novel that introduced Myron Bolitar – from the No.1 bestselling author
When a woman who everyone, including the police, believes is dead, makes a phone call to a young sportsman about to hit the big time, it seems that more than just his career is on the line.
Myron Bolitar investigates, and is plunged into a baffling mystery of sex and blackmail.  Trying to unravel the truth about a family’s tragedy, a woman’s secret and a man’s lies.  Myron soon realises that image and talent might make you rich, but the truth can get you killed…

'He leaned back and wondered how to handle his three big problems: Chaz Landreaux's sudden departure, Kathy Culver's possible re-emergence, and the Toronto Hilton's plumbing.  He decided to forgo the last.  Only so much one man can do.'
Myron Bolitar is a sport agent.  His clients are all pretty uneventful. 
Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar, #1)All except Christian Steele, an up-and-coming American football superstar quarterback. 
So when Christian rings Myron in a panic, Myron rushes to his star's aid. 
Turns out the athlete's missing-presumed-dead girlfriend could be very much alive.  After all, how does a dead girl make a phone call?
But as Myron begins to dig, he realises Christian's career might not be the only one on the line.  Can he unravel the web of secrets surrounding the missing girl - how, for instance, she ended up posing in a porn magazine - and discover the truth?
With other sports agents circling like sharks, it doesn't look promising.  Not even with the slightly unhinged Windsor Horne Lockwood III on his side - and watching his back...
Because let's face it.  With this case, Myron will need all the help he can get...
My aunt told me I had to read this series.  She adores Coben and said I would too.  Man, was she right!  I was hooked from the first page, cracking up at the wit and wry humour.  And, oh, it just got so much better from there.  Even though I seriously avoid any sport-related books like the plague, I found myself loving Deal Breaker to pieces. 
The characters were all so brilliant.  Admittedly, some were kinda stereotypical or flattish or whatever, but all the main characters were so real and brilliant and most?  So funny!  Like Myron: he was so brilliant - witty, smart, brave.  He constantly had me cracking up!  His wisecracking was addictive - so witty and just hilarious.  As for Win, he was just classic!  Is it wrong that my favourite character is a slightly unhinged, maybe-a-little-psychopathic millionaire?  Maybe.  But I don't care!  Sure, he was totally crazy and a little scary, but he literally killed me - in a really, really good way!  Jessica was a good character too.  She was strong and smart and determined, but there we too many "beautiful" references - I was like, ok, I get it already!!  But my opinion based mostly on personally issues aside, Jessica was a strong woman - not an idiot airhead or anything, which was a good thing. 
Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar, #1)And I adored the relationship between Myron and Win.  I just loved the banter and quips and how Win always had Myron's back.  The two of them killed me!
I loved Coben's writing - it was so witty and gritty!  I loved how at times it was almost like Coben was making fun of himself.  He said things like: "Clever interrogation techniques.  Pay attention" and stuff, which obviously had me cracking up.  I'd die to possess the wit Coben so effortlessly writes. The plot was so, so awesome.  I wasn't really sure what to expect - I mean, how do you write a crime thriller when your main character is a sport agent?  But it really, really worked.  More than that - it blew my socks off!  I loved the fast pace, all the subplots and the secrets.  Yay!
Now, I must admit, I'm not a sport fan.  I barely know the rules of the games in my own country, let alone American football.  So I didn't get many of those references.  Luckily, though, after the first few chapters there were very few of them at all - it was all action.  So yay again. 
Ok, so this book had its shortcomings – namely the frequent bad language and some minor character clichés – but overall it was such a fun read because of our two main characters, the humour, and the suspense.  It was just so freaking addictive and suspenseful and more than I'd suspected.  I'm wishing my aunt had made me pick it up sooner – ‘cause it was awesome.  And I loved that even though it was a crime book with action and violence and whatever it wasn't completely scarring or damaging.  Whoopee!
A book full of action, suspense and wisecracks, Deal Breaker had me hooked from start to finish.  It was twisty, and gripping and shocking.  I loved it to pieces!  Forget deal breaking - it was a complete deal maker in making me desperate to read the rest of the series!  I can't wait for more Myron and Win!

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Mikey Bolitar Series by Harlan Coben
Crusher by Neil Leonard
Sid Halley Mysteries by Dick Francis
 Lacey Flint by S.J. Bolton

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading

Wednesday 21 November 2012

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

Introduction By: Matthew Beaumont
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Format: Paperback
Published: 31st March 2011
Number of Pages: 224
Book: For Review*
Genre: Classic, Mystery, Crime-Thriller, Fantasy, Spy-Thriller, Philosophical, Literature
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Alcohol References
No Drug References

“We dig deeper and we blow you higher.  We wish to deny all those arbitrary distinctions of vice and virtue, honour and treachery, upon which mere rebels base themselves.”
The Central Anarchist Council is a secret society sworn to destroy the world.  The council is governed by seven men, who hide their identities behind the names of the days of the week.  Yet one of their number – Thursday – is not the revolutionary he claims to be, but a Scotland Yard detective.  And, the question soon becomes, who and what are the others?  G.K. Chesterton unravels this unique fantasy in his own inventive and exuberant way, and uses this nightmare of paradox and surprise to probe the mysteries of human behaviour and belief.
Matthew Beaumont’s introduction examines the book’s themes of identity and confrontation, and explores its intriguing title.  This edition also contains a chronology, notes and suggested further reading.

"I am a destroyer.  I would destroy the world if I could."
Our story begins with two poets.  Lucian Gregory argues that an artist is an anarchist and vice versa.  Gabriel Syme just as emphatically argues otherwise. 
Which do you believe? 
The New Anarchists are dedicated to changing the world.  To stay hidden, they are highly, highly secretive. 
But, pride can eclipse secrecy, as one undercover detective discovers. 
The detective becomes Thursday, one of the seven most powerful men in the group. 
Now, the detective knows who and what he is – definitely not an anarchist, that's for sure. 
But who are these six men who hide behind days of the week?
Who is the all-powerful and mysterious Sunday, the man in charge of them all?  And can the anti-anarchist detective shut down the New Anarchists - before they manage to end the world?
This book has such an unusual name.   The Man Who Was Thursday.  Weird, right?  I mean, how can a guy be a day of the week.  It's got to be a typo, doesn't it?  But it isn't.  And the story got more and more mad from there.  It was definitely a gripping read, one that kept me hooked.  But the plot gave me a wee bit of a headache: the language was very complex and Dickens-esque, very good for visualisation but with loads of references I'm pretty sure went over my head.  I think it's a book I need to read a few times before I get its full effect.  Nonetheless, I did enjoy it. 
Chesterton's characters were all so wonderfully written – so weird and varying and real. All of them could be mentioned and I'd love to ramble about them, but I can't, just in case I give anything away.  But I will say all are intriguing and not at all what you first expect them to be.  As for Thursday, he was a sneaky one, that's for sure.  He was so clever and analytical and intuitive.  He was just a very likeable sorta character.  He was also totally and utterly off his freaking rocker. 
On second thought, I will also mention the head of the anarchists.  I mention him why, you make ask.  Well, I mention him because he scared the heebie-jeebies outta me.  I think it was because he was constantly made out to appear as a godlike figure that got to me...  Or maybe just cause we had no idea who he was. 
As I said, the writing was very Dickensian – super detailed so you could see everything.  I liked how lyrical it was but sometimes it felt a little bit heavy.  I really liked the witty banter between the characters, even though much of it was very wordy.  But the visualisation was intense, amazing.  The plot was so complex and twisty.  Much of it was completely nonsensical - a dream: a really freaking weird dream.  It was also really fast paced and addictive, but parts made no real sense.  It seemed to get more bizarre as the plot went on – and more addictive too.  The end?  Well.  Weird.  Really, really odd actually...
And it's kind of shocking how relevant the events in this book are, even today.  Anarchists, religious fanatics doing horrible things in the name of someone holy, bombings, terrorists.  Admittedly, the New Anarchists were hard-core - no mind games or disruptions for them.  Oh no, blowing things up, killing, dynamite stuff.  Basically, anything violent.  They were driven by personal beliefs.  Much like today. 
I'm pretty sure much of the book's themes and messages went over my head.  There were loads of religious and mythical messages - like, loads of them.  It's the sorta book you can imagine being picked to pieces in A Level English Lit – the kind of book you pick and pick and pick at.  Because this isn't an easy book.  It's heavy - the kind of book you probably need to read a few times to really understand everything and let it sink in.  
The Man Who Was Thursday was a brilliant and bizarre book.  Almost as confusing as it was compelling, I sped through the book.  It was definitely surreal but was also exciting and addictive too.  I will read it again sometime soon – maybe when I'm not reading to find the answers to the plot I'll get a fuller experience of the book.  Maybe it will even be one of my favourite classics.  For now, I'll say a barmy but thrilling spy-ish book that had me guessing to the end. 

Star Rating:
3¾ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Challenges It's Taking Part In:

Happy Reading
* This book was received from Spinebreakers in exchange for an honest review

Friday 16 November 2012

Reached by Ally Condie: Book Trailer

The End Is Here...
The finale of the amazing Matched triology is nearly upon us.  
It is nearly time for us to know how it all ends...
On November 30th, you can find out.
Until then?  Enjoy the trailer...

Reached (Matched, #3)Reached by Ally CondieSynopsis From Goodreads:

The stunning finale of the acclaimed, international bestselling Matched trilogy by Ally Condie.
After leaving the Society and desperately searching for each other -- and the Rising -- Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again.
But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again . . .
In the gripping conclusion to this dystopian trilogy, will Cassia reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without?

I can't tel lyou guys how excited I am for this book!!  And how gorgeous is that cover?!?!

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Teaser Tuesday (#37)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Here are the rules:
  • Open your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers!
  • Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser!

    A teaser from an awesome book I got for my birthday that I can't seem to stop reading!

     Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben, Chapter Twelve, Page 9
    "And if I say no?"
    "We hope it won't come to that."
    "But if it does?"
    Aaron sighed, stood, leaned on Myron's desk.  "I'll be forced to make you disappear."
    "Like in a magic trick?"
    "Like in dead."
    Myron put his hand to his chest.  "Gasp.  Oh.  Gasp."

    Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar, Book One) by Harlan Coven

    Synopsis From Goodreads:
    Sports agent Myron Bolitar is poised on the edge of the big time. So is Christian Steele, a rookie quarterback and Myron's prized client. But when Christian gets a phone call from a former girlfriend, a woman who everyone, including the police, believes is dead, the deal starts to go sour. Trying to unravel the truth about a family's tragedy, a woman's secret, and a man's lies, Myron is up against the dark side of his business—where image and talent make you rich, but the truth can get you killed.

    In novels that crackle with wit and suspense, Edgar Award winner Harlan Coben has created one of the most fascinating and complex heroes in suspense fiction—Myron Bolitar—a hotheaded, tenderhearted sports agent who grows more and more engaging and unpredictable with each page-turning appearance.
    I'm loving this book - the humour is brilliant!  I'm really enjoying all the wittiness and snark.  Is it wrong I love the perhaps-psychopathing Win?  Maybe.  I don't care though! ;)

    Hope you like the teaser! :D

Thursday 8 November 2012

Betrayal by Gregg Olsen

Series: Empty Coffin, Book Two
Publisher: Splinter
Format: Paperback
Published: 22nd September 2011

Number of Pages: 352
Book: For Review*
Genre: Murder Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Action-Adventure, Supernatural, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Violence, Murder, Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Blog: Gregg Olsen
Series Site: Empty Coffin Series

It happened so fast, the way awful things almost always do.  The mattress sagged under the weight of another person kneeling on the bed.  The first cut wasn’t the deepest.  It was tentative, a slight jab. 
Her manicured fingertips found her abdomen.  She barely had time to process the fact that her hand was wet.
The blade of a knife flew at her, burying itself in her throat.  It came with speed and fury.  Only her killer knew the irony of her last words.  That bloody hurts.

“’I'm not going to die here, am I?’ she thought, though the answer seemed all too clear.  ‘Am I?’”
Olivia Grant didn't come to America for this.  She didn't leave England to die.
But that's what happens.  Olivia is drugged and stabbed to death in her friend's bed at a Halloween party. 
Twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan are pulled into investigating another death - both by their unique supernatural abilities and by the fact their best friend Beth Lee is the prime suspect in Olivia's murder...
But as they dig into the circumstances around her death, long hidden secrets about the bus accident that left the girls comatose twelve years ago and the mysteries surrounding their family and their abilities...
Could one of those closest to them be the worst betrayer of all?
And can they catch the killer - before they strike again...? 
I absolutely adored Envy, so when Betrayal landed on my doorstep, I actually did a happy dance.  And from that first utterly and amazingly terrifying chapter, I just knew Betrayal would exceed all my expectations.  And it did.  Because, oh, it just got so much better from there!   Suspenseful, mysterious, thrilling and so totally addictive, Betrayal was everything I hoped it would be and more
The characters in this book are always so real.  The teens are totally teen and the adults totally believable.  Again, I've gotta say how much I love the twins - I loved them even more in this one actually.  Taylor and her snark really made me giggle and I loved it when she stood up for her herself.  I loved it even more when she got Hayley to do what she didn't want to by saying "You're older".  Yes, even among twins this is an argument.  She's the more creative, social loving twin, I think.  Hayley, the precision-loving twin, was awesome - I loved learning all her quirks and OCD tendencies.  She's definitely the stronger, harder twin - she's not afraid to stand up for herself or shy from confrontations like Taylor.  I think Hayley is my favourite twin - maybe because she's the quirkier twin.  Or maybe because sometimes she kind of reminded me of me.  So yes, I adore Hay-Tay and I loved watching them grow in Betrayal.  I love their dad too.  And I loved that lots of this book was through other characters POVs.  We revisited some from Envy and got to know new characters - I loved getting to know them, even if I didn't really love the characters themselves.  I also loved seeing how my favourites grew ad changed - the twins especially. 
I fell in love with Gregg's writing in Envy - in Betrayal, I fell even more in love.  While the twins are definitely the main characters we also have lots more POVs in this one - something I adored.  And there were these chapters written by the killer.  And my God were they terrifying!  I was literally shuddering at them!  An man do I love Gregg's plot lines!  They are so addictive it's untrue, so twisty and suspenseful.  And I never know who did it!  I must have had a million suspects.  What is it with Gregg and getting me to suspect freaking everyone?!  He really rocks at making me so totally paranoid.  And then there was all the family stuff - all the secrets surrounding the twins.  And that was just as, maybe even more, intriguing as the murder.  It was also not completely resolved - which makes me quite frankly DESPERATE for the next in the series - the LAST in the series...  I'm going to go off and have a minor breakdown now...
I do love the twins but I also loved that so much of the book was about the crime, police stuff.  I love police dramas and what not so I was over the moon at the CSI feel to the book.  And I loved the totally real, authentic feel about the whole crime side of the book.  I don't really remember the Amanda Knox case - before my time maybe? - but from what Gregg said and a quick Google showed me was enough to turn my stomach.  And all that negative media, twisting of words stuff totally came through in Betrayal.  But this is its own story, not a copycat of the case. 
The Empty Coffins Series is without a doubt one of my favourite series ever.  It's scary, gritty, suspenseful, exciting, intriguing, amazing, thrilling, dark, emotional, stunning.... and about a million more adjectives - and all very, very positive.  I honestly can't think of a single thing I don't like about this series.  I could read about the twins forever and a day, though with all the suspense, I'm not sure if my nerves would enjoy that as much as my heart and brain would!  And even though I know it will be the last about the twins, I seriously need the next book as soon as possible!  I may not want the series to end, but I need all the answers - desperately!  Anyway, if you haven't read this series yet - what are you waiting for?!  It's beyond amazing, something all YA readers simply have to read!  So what are you waiting for?!  Check it out yourself and be hooked - just like me!  You'll love it to pieces too - trust me!

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Knock Down by Chris Ould
Virals by Kathy Reichs
The Medusa Project by Sophie McKenzie

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Splinter in exchange for an honest review