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Books in the Post: January 2013

Because time isn’t always on my side when it comes to reading books and writing reviews, here’s a list of some of the awesome books I’ve bought or been sent recently. Despite one of my New Years Resolutions being to read more books from my to-read pile, I couldn’t resist making a few purchases this month. 

And be ‘a few’ I mean ‘so many it’s taken me half a month to write the post about them’.




“Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print” by Renni Browne, Dave King. I was in a ‘writing reference book’ kind of mood. It shows.

Write To Be Published” by Nicola Morgan. Recommended to me by the Hi-Arts Work in Progress scheme, and it had been on my to-read list for a while, so I finally bought it.

“The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers” by Betsy Lerner. I’ve been a long-time reader of Betsy’s blog, so I’m looking forward to reading this one.

“Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life” by Lamott, Anne. Not so sure about this because I’ve heard it has some heavy spiritual and Christian leanings to its advice, and I’m not sure how I feel about bringing religion into a craft reference book, but we’ll see how it goes.

“Requiem” (“Delirium Series, Book #3) by Lauren Oliver. Review copy supplied by the publisher. Looks great, but I need to read Pandemonium first.

“Pandemonium” (“Delirium Series, Book #2) by Lauren Oliver.  Bought this so I can read Requiem, reviewed it here.

“Angels’ Blood” by Nalini Singh. Recommended to me on the AbsoluteWrite forums.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. A present from Dave. I CAN FINALLY READ THIS. I’m so excited!

“A Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin. Another present from Dave. I really want to read this serious, but I’m careful because they seem like a big time commitment.


“Batman: Hush”, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” and “Batman: A Death In The Family” A present from Dave. These are very popular Batman comics and I’m looking forward to them, since the Batman comics have some of the best writers in the industry.

“Death Note Vol 2” Another present from Dave. Death Note has some of my favourite manga artwork, it has a really nice realistic edge. “Megatokyo Vol 4” and “Watchmen” Dave was on an absolute present buying spree last month. He knows how to make a bookworm happy. 🙂

“Saga” by Fiona Staples, Brian K Vaughan. When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. I read this last month, and it’s already one of the best comics I’ve read in a while.

On Kindle

“Teeth” by Hannah Moskowitz. I’ve had this one on pre-order for months, and it’s finally out!

“Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry. I hadn’t noticed this book because of the terrible Kindle edition cover, but the plot sounds really good.

“Life Of Pi” by Yann Martel. I have this in hardback already, but for 20p I thought I might as well pick up a Kindle copy.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Bought this so I could join in with Crash Course Literature but I don’t think I’m going to be able to get round to it anytime soon. 🙁

“The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson” by Emily Dickinson. Same as the above, a Crash Course book.

Jeez, I really got a lot of books last month. February definitely won’t be as crazy.

Books in the Post: September

Because time isn’t always on my side when it comes to reading books and writing reviews, here’s a list of some of the awesome books I’ve bought or been sent recently.

Above, we’ve got:

A red moleskine sketchbook: These hardy, reliable things are what I use to jot down writing ideas when away from my PC. This one’s a present to myself because I’ve filled up my black one. This was purchased by myself.

“What’s Left of Me” by Kat Zhang: This was a prize for winning the contest over at Once Upon a Bookcase! Can’t wait to read this.

“On The Day I Died”: A short story collection, just in time for Halloween. This copy was unsolicited, sent by Random House.

“Witch Crag” by Kate Cann: Another unsolicited book, sent by Scholastic. Absolutely gorgeous cover.

“Noughts & Crosses” series by Malorie Blackman: I requested these books (recently updated with new covers) from Random House and I can’t wait to start reading them! Did you hear the drama over the racism in the “Save the Pearls” book? N&C has a similar concept, but executed properly.

“Tiger’s Destiny” by Colleen Houck: Unsolicited copy sent by Scholastic. I have the whole series of these, and their cover art is fantastic, but for some reason I haven’t picked them up to read yet…

I’ve also had a very e-heavy month, buying all the following for myself:

“Mockingbird” by Chuck Wendig, “Zoo City” by Lauren Beukes, “Empire State” by Adam Christopher and “The Alchemist of Souls” by Anne Lyle: Angry Robot’s e-book store had a buy-one-get-one-free offer on, which I gleefully took advantage of to tick a few books off my to-buy list.

“Angel Dust” by Sarah Mussi: I have a publisher-crush on Hot Key Books (and Angry Robot, in case you didn’t notice) so I’ve been picking up a lot of their work to read. These is a great urban fantasy novel set in the heart of London.

“The God Engines” by John Scalzi. One day I will get round to reading a Scalzi novel. One day.

“Leviathan” Series by Scott Westerfeld. Lots of fun, I need to get round to writing a proper review of this trilogy.

Books in the Post: July

Because time isn’t always on my side when it comes to reading books and writing reviews, here’s a list of some of the awesome books I’ve bought or been sent recently.

Book: Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

How did I get it?: Advanced Review Copy from Random House

Genre: YA/Sci-Fi/Time Travel

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate—and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

A YA take on The Time Traveller’s Wife, with a teen boy who goes back in time to watch rock concerts. This book sounds awesome.

Book:  Ocean of Secrets by Aimee Friedman

How did I get it?: Review Copy from Scholastic

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance

Many are drawn to Selkie Island.
Few know why.

When Miranda Merchant escapes her lonely, hot summer in New York City, little does she know what awaits her. She steps off the ferry on to an island rife with legend and lore.

She isn’t expecting to feel a connection to this unusual place. And when she meets Leo, a mysterious local boy, she finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship, reality . . . and love.

But is Leo hiding something she never could have imagined?

Books In the Post: June

Because time isn’t always on my side when it comes to reading books and writing reviews, here’s a list of some of the awesome books I’ve bought or been sent recently.

Book: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (“Divergent” Series)

How did I get it?: Bought as e-book (partly because I really don’t like the UK covers)

Genre: YA/Dystopian

One choice can transform you–or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I’m a few chapters in to this and loving it so far, it seems like a big improvement on Divergent. I’ve had to put this to the side while I read through my awesome writing partner’s manuscript, though.

Book: Maus

Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel/Biographical

How did I get it?: Bought

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents.

This is a classic graphic novel, and it’s been on my to-read list for a while so I decided to buy it. I haven’t worked up the guts to read it yet, though. I know it’ll be heartbreaking.

Book: Understanding Comics by Scott McLeod

How did I get it?: Bought

Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel/Non-Fiction

This is an exploration of the history, meaning, and art of comics and cartooning. Using comics to examine the medium itself, the author takes the form of a cartoon character and explains the structure, meaning, and appeal of comics, and provides a running analysis of comics as art, literature, and communication. He reaches back to pre-Columbus picture manuscripts and Egyptian monuments to trace the history of the comics and examines their place in today’s pop culture.

It’s a comic about making comics, and I’ve heard wonderful things about it.

Book: The Spook’s Blood (The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles, Book 10)

Genre: Children’s Fantasy

How did I get it?: Sent by Random House

 ‘I am Siscoi, the Lord of Blood, the Drinker of Souls! Obey me now or you will suffer as few have suffered.’ 

Time is running out for Thomas Ward. His final battle with the Fiend is drawing near, and the Spook’s apprentice has never felt more alone in his task.

The Fiend is set to send the greatest of his servants against him – Siscoi, a vampire god more ferocious than anything he has yet faced. Isolated and afraid, Tom must risk his life to prevent the evil beast from entering this world, even as he learns that the final destruction of the Fiend may involve a sacrifice more terrible than he can imagine . . .

This is from the middle of a series, which is always a little off-putting. The cover art is fantastic, though.

Book: Rapture (Fallen, #4)

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

How did I get it?: Sent by Random House

I’ve already spoken about Rapture over in this post.

Book: Fallen in Love (Fallen series, #3.5)

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance/Short Stories

How did I get it?: Won in a Fiercebook Facebook group competition.

Unexpected. Unrequited. Forbidden. Eternal. Everyone has their own love story.

And in a twist of fate, four extraordinary love stories combine over the course of a romantic Valentine’s Day in Medieval England. Miles and Shelby find love where they 
least expect it. Roland learns a painful lesson about finding-and losing love. Arianne pays the price for a love so fierce it burns. And for the first -and last- time, Daniel and Luce 
will spend a night together like none other.

Book: Rebel Heart (Dust Lands #2)

Genre: YA/Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

How did I get it?: Sent by Scholastic

There’s a price on Saba’s head.

They call her the Angel of Death. She defeated a tyrant, but victory has come at a cost. Haunted by the ghosts of her past, she needs Jack. His moonlit eyes, his reckless courage, his wild heart. But Jack has left, and a ruthless new enemy searches for Saba across the Dustlands…

I’ve read the first few pages of this, and the voice is fantastic — it hooked me instantly. Imagine a cross between Stephen King’s “The Gunslinger” and Fallout 3. This book seems a bit like that.

Book: The Raven Boys 2 Chapter Sample (Raven Cycle)

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal

How did I get it?: Sent by Scholastic along with an awesome ‘Love Maggie’ keyring! Scholastic send brilliant things to their book bloggers.

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

This isn’t out until September 2012, and I’m already excited about it! So it was lovely of Scholastic to send over the first two chapters, though I know they’ll make me pine for the full book.

What’re you reading? I’d love to hear what books you’re excited about, so feel free to let me know in the comments. 🙂

My TBR Pile

That image is of my current To Be Read pile. Sorry for the blurry picture, my cameraphone decided “Crop” was a synonym for “Destroy” and deleted all the steadier shots I’d taken. We’ve got…

  • Lindsey Barraclough’s “Long Lankin”, a haunting story of murder, witchcraft and revenge.
  • “Blood Magic” by Tessa Granton, an eerie story about an angry city boy and a curious young girl who find a book of dangerous magic. It’s got a gorgeous paperback cover, and it’s nice to see a white cover when black is the current tred.
  • Becca Fitzpatrick’s “Hush, Hush” sequel” Crescendo”
  • “Boy Don’t Cry” Malorie Blackman’s latest novel about a boy left holding the baby. I’ve read the first chapter of this, and the voice is great – very British and very relatable.
  • One of the first copies of Lauren Kate’s “Passion” to reach the UK – an advance copy specifically for review.

Is there anything above you’re particularly excited about? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to get a review up for it ASAP. Or you can suggest a novel you’d like me to review. 🙂

My “Passion” review should be up in the next week, to let you know what to expect out of the latest installment of the “Fallen” series. Then, on th 10th of June, Lauren Kate will stop by with a guest post on editing. I’ve had a peek, and she’s got some brilliant advice. I’m so excited for that post to go up!

Once the details are finalised I’ll put a banner up on the right-hand side listing the other savvy UK bloggers who’ll have Lauren Kate posting.

I’m deep in redrafts for the WIP and moving house at the start of June, so blogging time may be scare while we move everything. If you’d like to write a guest post for, feel free to drop me an e-mail using the ‘contact’ button above.

Disclaimer: With the exception of “Crescendo”, which was bought for personal reading, all of the above books were provided for review by Random House.