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

Friday 22 November 2013

Book Addicted Boys: S.F. Said

I was talking on Twitter to a bunch of awesome bloggers – only one of whom was a boy. We were talking about how few male bloggers there are. And so I thought: Why not create a feature specifically designed to get boys into blogging – and reading? And so Book Addicted Boys was born!
Today we have the amazing SF Said here today, author of the brilliant Phoenix and more.  He's here to talk about space, space stories and beyond!! :D 

I've always loved space.  As a child growing up in the 1970s, I was addicted to TV shows like Star Trek and Space 1999, and films like Star Wars.  My favourite books were the Star Trek novelizations, but I remember feeling frustrated that there weren't enough children's books about space out there.

I also remember camping in the desert with my dad when I was about ten, and realising for the first time just how many stars there were.  It wasn't a handful, like I was used to seeing in London.  The whole sky was alive with burning points of light!

The idea that each of these stars was a sun, around which were planets like ours… and that there were hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy, and hundreds of billions of galaxies… it was absolutely mind-blowing to me, and still is.  So perhaps it was inevitable that I'd end up writing a space story of my own one day.

The stars pose the biggest questions imaginable, making us consider our place in the universe, and what it means to be alive in it.  It's fascinating to me that so many early mythologies begin with the stars; it seems there's always some kind of connection between gods and stars.  Themes like that, I think, offer the potential for fiction with all the richness and resonance of ancient myth.

Of course, just being about space doesn't necessarily make a book interesting!  There's certainly been plenty of bad space fiction, like any other genre.  But I don't know anyone who's not interested in stories with memorable characters facing huge choices; gripping stories about love and friendship, life and death; stories full of big ideas and beautiful landscapes...  And I don't know anyone who doesn't want to feel a shiver of wonder when they read a book.

And space stories allow you to do all that in an entertaining way.  Writers like Iain M Banks have shown that it's possible to write space fiction that is intelligent, compassionate and meaningful, while offering a brilliant rollercoaster ride at the same time.  I love stories that have all those elements.  And in Phoenix, I hope I've brought them all together in a way that book-addicted boys and girls alike can enjoy – even those who don't think they're interested in science fiction!


Thank you so much!  This was an awesome post - I really enjoyed it!
Guys, check out Phoenix on Goodreads.  Also go find S.F.'s Site and Goodreads Page!  :D
Oh and enjoy this awesome Phoenix video!! :D



SF Said is an award-winning author. He was born in Lebanon in 1967, but has lived in London since he was 2 years old. He wrote his first novel, Varjak Paw (2003), while working as a speechwriter for the Crown Prince of Jordan, and then as an arts journalist and film programmer.
Varjak Paw won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for Children's Literature, as well as regional book of the year awards in Gateshead, Stockton and West Sussex. It has since been adapted as a stage play and an opera, and a film version is in development. It has been translated into 12 languages, and UK sales are now over 275,000.
The sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw (2005), won the BBC's Blue Peter Book Of The Year, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and won the Leicester Teenage Book Of The Year. Varjak Paw is currently featured on the CLPE's recommended reading list for primary schools, and both books are being taught in classrooms around the UK.
SF's third novel, PHOENIX (2013), is an epic space adventure for readers of 9 and up. It is nominated for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal. Like the Varjak Paw books, it is illustrated by Dave McKean, and published by David Fickling Books.
SF Said is also active in the wider world of literature. He has judged the Whitbread Book Awards (now the Costa Book Awards), and writes widely about children's and young adult fiction. His work has been published in both the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

Friday 8 November 2013

Tinder Blog Tour: Book Extract

I adored Sally Gardner and have since I was really young - she is amazing! And I'm sooo excited to have her here today, reading us an extract from Tinder!  Yay!  I love this book so much!  So... Enjoy!!  :D

Now, I hope you enjoyed the awesome extract! And that you all go and find a copy of Tinder - you won't regret it, seriously!

If this extract hasn't convinced you, though, here's a bit more information...

Tinder by Sally Gardner
Blurb From Goodreads:
A young soldier, a captive princess, witches, wolves and Death walk hand in hand in COSTA AWARD winner Sally Gardner's exquisitely written new novel inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, THE TINDERBOX, illustrated by David Roberts.
Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?
Fairy tales are often the cruellest stories of all; in this exquisite novel Sally Gardner writes about great love and great loss.

Find Sally on her site, Facebook and Twitter!  And head over to Choose YA tomorrow for more Tinder goodness!!
And thank you Sally and Indigo for the extract!!  :D x

Thursday 7 November 2013

Sean Williams Twinmaker Blog Tour: Book Addicted Boys

I was talking on Twitter to a bunch of awesome bloggers – only one of whom was a boy. We were talking about how few male bloggers there are. And so I thought: Why not create a feature specifically designed to get boys into blogging – and reading? And so Book Addicted Boys was born!
And this week we have the amazing Sean Williams here to celebrate the publication of his new book Twinmaker!  Enjoy! :D

Sean Williams' Top 10 Writing Tips

1.      Read a lot.

This is the most important one, because the best way to learn what makes a good book is to read books. That sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Like, if you want to play football you should watch lots of football. But reading is something we do every day, and I guess some people think that ordinary reading is enough to know how to do it right. It’s not. Books are special. Eat them up.

2.     Write a lot.

We’re back to football. If you want to play, you have to practise. Same with writing. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. There’s a wonderful Japanese saying: “Even a thief takes ten years to learn her trade.” Be that thief. Learn to steal our hearts with your words.

3.     Write what you love.

Always do that. Why slog away at something if you don’t like it? Writing is hard work, but it should be fun too.

4.     Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Nobody’s perfect first time. Or second time. Or the third. (Repeat until the page is full.) It’s okay to be imperfect – in fact it’s good, because who knows what “perfect” is anyway? You have to miss a thousand goals before you make the perfect shot in a final. You’ll probably have to get caught a few times before you make off with the Mona Lisa, too. (Tip: don’t steal.) It’s the same with writing. Making mistakes proves you’re learning.

5.     Don’t be afraid to show it to other people.

When you’ve worked on something to the point where it’s the best you can possibly make it, but you know it’s not right yet, how do you fix it? The best way is to give it to someone else to read. Most people want to love your work as much as you do, but you’re bound to find someone who will also tell you how to improve it. If you never show it to anyone, how are you going to become the next J. K. Rowling?

6.     Listen to other people.

Whether you’ve asked them for advice or not, if they’re telling you what they honestly think of your work it’s probably a good idea to listen. Even if you disagree with them. Remember it is (or should be) about the work, not you, so don’t take it personally.

7.     Ignore other people.

Sometimes you have to do what you want no matter what people say. No one reads novels about time-travelling soccer players from a future where sport is illegal? Who cares! I’m doing it anyway because it’s what I love.

8.    Experiment.

There’s always something to learn. There’s always something to un-learn. The better we think we are at something, the easier it is to slip into bad habits without realising. Every book I write I try to shake things up a little by attempting something new and weird. It keeps things fun, too.

9.     Keep reading!

There are always new books. There are always old books. There’s way too many books ever to read them all, which means there’s always something that’s exactly right for you, right now. I use the books I’m reading to inspire me to write better. Some people use it as an escape from what they’re writing. Either way, it keeps reminding us what a book is and what we’re doing all this typing for. And so . . .

10.Keep writing!

The best way to succeed at anything is never to give up. Be stubborn. Be persistent. Don’t let anyone stop you, including/especially yourself!


Thank you so much, Sean!  I hope this has helped any aspiring writers out there!!
Find out more about Twinmaker: here.  And check out Sean's site, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads Page. :D


#1 New York Times bestselling Sean Williams lives with his family in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s written some books--thirty-nine at last count--including the Philip K. Dick-nominated Saturn Returns, several Star Wars novels and the Troubletwister series with Garth Nix. Twinmaker is the first in a new YA SF series that takes his love affair with the matter transmitter to a whole new level. You can find some related short stories over at Lightspeed Magazine.

Friday 25 October 2013

The Girls of YA Presents: All Hallows Halloween!

Hi everyone! Emma and me have been getting into the Halloween spirit lately, reading loads of paranormal books and obsessing over paranormal shows and, of course, paranormal guys. And so we decided to launch our blog The Girls of YA in the biggest and most awesomely Halloween-y way. Everyone, get ready for All Hallows' Halloween!

We're going to kick the event off with:
  • The Girls' Paranormal Guys!
  • The Girls’ Favourite Spooky Legends
  • She Says She Says – Joint Review of The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black
  • She Says She Says Halloween Edition – Our Favourite Paranormal Movies, Shows and More!
  • From Girl to Girl Halloween Edition - Our Best Shows recommended to each other.
Well, we’re definitely getting into the mood of the spookiest holiday out there! We hope you’ll all stop by and celebrate All Hallows Halloween with us!! :D

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Silly Gif-Review of Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout's Ending...

Ok, here is my silly gif post of what Origin, the fourth Lux book, did to me - well, what that ending did to me.  Cause yeah.  There was yet another evil twist at the end.  Jennifer is the master of cliffhangers.  Seriously...  
This series is still one of my favourites and I've read all the books at least four times each.  But Origin...  Well.  Let me try and get my feels down...

Ok, so I was nearing the end of Origin.  And at first I was happy, this this:

And then.... then The Twist came.  Then I finished the book.  And at first I was like:

and finally I was like: 

Because it's just like..

I didn't know what to do.  Jennifer had done it again.  Totally shocked me.  Possibly scarred me.

And now I'm just like:

Because it is so freaking long until Opposition comes out - too too TOO long, ok?!

Ok?  Especially when all I want to do is this:

An Armentrout cliffhanger that left me like this:


Monday 21 October 2013

Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Lux, Book Three
Publisher: Entangled
Format: Paperback
Published: 11th September 2012
Number of Pages: 542
Book: Bought
Genre: Science-Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Thriller, Suspense, Action-Adventure, YA
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Violence, Swearing, Death, Alcohol and Sexual Reference
No Drug References
Author's Blog: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Warning: This review will be an excited rambling of a fangirl who is totally in love with a certain boy from this book.  You could read it and laugh, or, the recommended option, you could go and buy the book and then ramble yourself.

No one is like Daemon Black.
When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around.  Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well…  There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.
But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.
After everything, I’m not longer the same Katy.  I’m different… And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end.  When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of.  The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back.  Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.
Together we’re stronger… and they know it.

'Now it was do or die time.  All these months had led up to this…'
What do you do when someone you thought was dead suddenly reappears and comes home?  Only, they aren't the person you lost – not anymore.  Not after all they've gone through...
And they want to go back.  They were forced to leave behind the person they love more than anything, and not even family will stop them from going to rescue their love.
But Katy needs to try – for Daemon.  He's struggling to get by, and all the Luxen are waiting for the Department of Defence to strike back, to take them all down.
Meanwhile, they all just need to get by and act normal.
Which isn't easy when your boyfriend and his family are aliens and you aren't really human anymore either.  And when everyone is trying to deal with the terrible loss they've been hit by, and all the devastating outcomes.  And when people you hoped were long gone reappear and start causing complete chaos. 
Still, Katy's boyfriend is Daemon Black, the hottest person ever to walk the earth.  
Yeah.  The situation may be totally unstable and likely to blow up any minute and they are trying to pull off the biggest prison break since Mission Impossible was invented, but it has its perks... 
But seriously:  "You really shouldn't trust a soul in this game.  Not when everyone has something to gain or lose…"  Just a warning, guys…
My God, just when I was thinking the Lux series could not possibly get better: BAM!  It goes and increases the awesomeness by infinity.  And yes, just like all my reviews of this series, my review of Opal will be the pure rambling of an obsessed and infatuated fan girl.  Sorry, but what else can a girl do when she's head-over-heels in love?  Because that's what I am: totally in love with the Lux series – and, of course, the pure hotness-incarnate that is Daemon Black.  *swoon*
Alright, I'm back.  Back with my one and only criticism of Opal.  And what is that, you may ask?  Well, the fact that Jennifer is now officially THE QUEEN OF ALL EVIL, HORRIBLE, DREADFUL CLIFFHANGERS!!!  I mean, REALLY?  HOW CAN YOU LEAVE IT LIKE THAT?!?!  Do you WANT me to go COMPLETELY CRAZY?!  Cause if you do: YOU HAVE BEEN FREAKING SUCCESSFUL!!!!  Plus, YOU MADE MY HEART LITERALLY STOP!!!!  HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!?!!!!
Ok.  I am so sorry about that.  I just can't get over that ending - check out my gif post and you'll understand.  I am officially in total and utter shock – think of the worst cliffhanger ever (the end of Shadow Kissed, The Golden Lily, all the Supernatural season finales, plus the Buffy Season Five finale all rolled into one) and then multiply it.  By like a squillion.  Add in a major heart attack, hyperventilating and an almost comatose state of shock.  Cause, you know, I'm pretty sure that cliffhanger is meant to give you a heart attack and then break it into a squillion pieces all at once.  Cause that's where my heart's at: seizing and broken beyond repair.  Imagine all of this and then you'll be where I am right now.  Good luck getting over it.  God knows I can't...  Like, ever.  I'm pretty sure – no, I am certain – that I have now been scarred for life.  Jeez, my heart hurts...
Onto better and brighter things though.  Namely: Daemon Black.  My newest, bested, favouritest book boyfriend.  Sure, he's prickly and obsessively protective and a bit macho-patriarchal-boy like, but man do I love him.  He's so sweet and cheeky and charming and gorgeous and loving and caring.  And all he has on his shoulders – all I wanted to do was wrap him up and take him home and never, ever let him leave.  That sounded really creepy, but that's not how I meant it.  I wanted to protect him like he protects everyone else, because everything he had to deal with... I just wanted to give him a break, y'know?  Keep him safe for a little while.  Plus, he really is perfect. And amazing.  And I love him.  Something Katy says about him amuses me:
"Who needed a flashlight when you had Daemon?"
My reaction amuses me more: Who needed freaking anything if they have Daemon?! 
As for Kat, may I say I love the new her.  She's strong and kickass and brave.  She had these moments where she was the strongest ever and willing to do absolutely anything to keep the people she cared about safe – these scared her, but I thought it just proved how much she loved Daemon.  Plus, again gotta mention her love of books: I love it when she goes squee-ey over books! 
Dee – god, poor Dee!  She wasn't in it much, which I don't blame her for, and we saw this whole new, kinda scary side of her.  But in the end, she's Dee and I'll always love her, strange, hyper alien she is.
And, 'cause I don't wanna give anything away, we'll just say that someone we thought was dead is really alive – and back.  We will call said someone X, for no real reason other than to be all mysterious.  And X was so, so damaged – I wanted to protect them too, bless X.  Sure, X was kinda weird and damaged and a little scary at times, but I loved X none the less.  Plus the conversation X had with Kat about zombies and surviving the zombie apocalypse was freaking hilarious!
As for Blake... I just can't make up my mind about that guy.  One minute, I'm feeling sorry for him.  The next minute?  Well, he's creepin' the heck outta me.  I seriously don't know what to do with the guy...
Have I mentioned yet that I adore all of these characters?  Like, seriously and totally love them all to pieces?  I have?  Oops.  Well, I'll tell y'all again.  I love them THIS MUCH!!!  By the way, I just held my arms out as wide as I can.  It's not enough.  I think I need to multiply it by a zillion to show how much I love Daemon – I mean, them: all of them...  Maybe a million zillion squillion...  
But most of all, I love the relationship between Katy and Daemon.  FINALLY they are together – which leads to many yummy kissing sessions.  HOT yummy kissing sessions.   And their love is so sweet and real and emotional and hot.  They are my new favourite book couple in the history of ever.
Opal was shaping out to be my fave yet.  I mean, we – I mean, Katy – was kissing Daemon more, there was more of everything I love about this series.  And then... well, it ended. Horribly.  As my afore-mentioned yelling revealed.  I had this feeling like halfway through that it wasn't going to end well.  That coupled with the fact that the next in the series doesn't come out til way too long meant I slowed right down in my reading, savouring every word and rereading my favourite passages over and over.  But this going slow did not work for long.  Oh no, Jennifer's writing is far too magic and funny and her plotlines are way too exciting and addictive and freaking awesome for that.  So I raced for the end... And, well, you know how that went down...
Still, this is my favourite in the series which is now, I think, my favourite series ever.  It has more action, more romance, more suspense, more humour and more Daemon than ever before and it has left me absolutely, deliriously, desperately desperate for more.  Like, right now.  I am going to literally go crazy waiting for the fourth – Origin.  *sniffles and goes to have a mental breakdown*
But seriously guys: if you haven't read the Lux series, you just have to.  Right now.  It is the most amazing series you'll ever read – there is literally nothing I can complain about, cliffhanger aside.  It's just so much fun, but is also more than just fun at the same time.  It's just more than I ever thought it would be when I bought Obsidian and more than I ever could have hoped for.  And I am now so in love I don't think I'll ever get over it, not that I want to.
So yes.  Please.  Read it.  Love it.  Ramble about it.  Scream at Opal's cliffhanger.  Just enjoy the ride – love every moment.  Series like this don't come along often and you should all be a part of this one. And even with all this rambling, I still haven't done it justice. 

P.S. Oh, and Obsidian, the first in this series, has been optioned for a film!!  A freaking FILM, people!!  FINALLY!!!  I am sooooo excited!!  
Hey, maybe I should do a new gif post about it...  Ok, I'm off to look for excited Supernatural gifs now... ;)

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5
It loses a star for the cliffhanger, and yet it's still on five whole stars - well, really it's about 5 billion.  That shows the amazingness, people.

Read this book if you liked:
Covenant by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Vampire Academy and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Grisha by Leigh Bardugo
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading