31 December 2012

2012 Wrap Up and 2013 Starting Line

So December wasn't the best reading month, in fact it was probably my least productive month of 2012. I'd imagined I'd read more in December as I had time of work and being on the other side of the world I tend to have pretty low-key Christmases, but in the end I just didn't read much. Oh well, there's always next year ;-)

Books Read in December

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
A Streetcat Named Bob by James Bowen
Breakers (Breakers #1) by Edward W. Robertson
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart
Every Day by David Levithan
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

The final tally for 2012

Books Read: 176
Pages Read: 51968

Some random reading facts

Apolcaypses without Zombies: 26 (14%)

Books Featuring My Undead Friends: 39 (22%)

Young Adult Books: 78 (44%)

Books That Are Part of a Series: 71 (40%)

Review Books: 62 (35%)

When I saw these numbers it really made me think about what I want to achieve in 2013, so here's my New Years Reading Resolutions!

1) Finish reading more of my review books. The goal is to make it to 50% in 2013.

2) Finish reading series that I already own, or only have the final book left to read - must learn to let go!

3) More zombies! One in three should be an easy target.

150 Books will be my challenge again for 2013, but I'm going to increase the page count to 60,000 - what better motivation to read those long books?!

I've not signed up for any other challenges for 2013 - I know that I'm terrible at them so I'm not going to put that pressure on myself.

What are your goals for 2013?

Happy New Year everyone!

30 December 2012

Showcase Sunday #18

Showcase Sunday is hosted by the fabulous Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea and is all about sharing our new books - beg, borrowed or bought.

I was going to do a vlog today, but after a few too many pre-New Year drinks last night, I'm not really feeling like showing my face!  Plus they are all ebooks (my groaning shelves sigh with relief whilst Kindle has steam coming out his ears!).

For Review
The Ambassador's Daughter by Pam Jenoff 
The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
Kiss River by Diane Chamberlain
Shattered Hourglass (Day by Day Armageddon #3) by J.L. Bourne
Exiled (The Protector #1) by M.R. Merrick
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (audio)
14 by Peter Clines (audio)
By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham (audio)

What did you get this week?  Link me up!

Top Cuddles of 2012 Giveaway Hop

Hosted by the fabulousness that is Cuddlebuggery, it's time to celebrate those fantastic 2012 reads with a giveaway hop.

These are my eight favourite books of 2012, and the winner can choose one book from the list below, to be shipped from The Book Depository.

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Partials (Partials #1) by Dan Wells
The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa
If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman
Every Day by David Levithan
Dark Inside (Dark Inside #1) by Jeyn Roberts

a Rafflecopter giveaway

29 December 2012

Review: The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

Published: 14 February 2006 by Pantheon

Pages: 252 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic

Source: Owned

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository


From Kevin Brockmeier, one of this generation's most inventive young writers, comes a striking new novel about death, life, and the mysterious place in between. The City is inhabited by those who have departed Earth but are still remembered by the living. They will reside in this afterlife until they are completely forgotten. But the City is shrinking, and the residents clearing out. Some of the holdouts, like Luka Sims, who produces the City’s only newspaper, are wondering what exactly is going on. Others, like Coleman Kinzler, believe it is the beginning of the end. Meanwhile, Laura Byrd is trapped in an Antarctic research station, her supplies are running low, her radio finds only static, and the power is failing. With little choice, Laura sets out across the ice to look for help, but time is running out. Kevin Brockmeier alternates these two storylines to create a lyrical and haunting story about love, loss and the power of memory.

My Thoughts

Set sometime in the not too distant future, The Brief History of the Dead is a mixture of post-apocalyptic and fantasy, with alternating chapters between The City and the real world.  Normally I'm not a huge fan of this structure, but here I thought it worked quite well.  I loved the idea and the execution of The City's parts, and I actually liked Laura more the more time I spent in her part of the story.

The City itself is intriguing.  The people that exist there only exist while someone still living remembers them, but they live like people in the real world - they eat and sleep, work and go to school but never age, staying the same as they were when they died.   The tie-ins that they have to the living world gradually shrink as time passes and less people remember them, until ultimately they disappear.   The only thing I questioned was the distinct lack of famous people - celebrities, movie stars, singers - as the people that Laura remembers range from her parents and ex-boyfriend, right down to her childhood friends and people that she saw on a regular basis, such a shop clerks that she only knew by sight, so would that not have applied to actors she had seen in movies?

I didn't think I would actually enjoy Laura's POV as much, but I was surprised to find that I was continually looking forward to her part of the story - surviving in the Antarctic alone, with no real clue of what has happened to the rest of the human race as her supplies disappear and she attempts to make it to the nearest big station, I felt an overwhelming sympathy for her and the situation she was in.

There are hints of what has happened to the outside world, told thought news headlines and connected to what was going on in the world before Laura left for the research station, and although its pretty obvious what happened, its therefore never disclosed quite how or why it happened.

Stylistically, this is a haunting, lyrical story, particularly towards the end and it really made me think about my own memories of people and how they tie them to me, although they are no longer in this world.   Overall, despite a few questions about the world-building and plot, I liked The Brief History of the Dead, and I will definitely be checking out more of Kevin Brockmeier's work.

28 December 2012

Top Ten of 2012 - Bring On 2013!

Hosted by Fiktshun, A Life Bound by Books, Confessions of a Bookaholic, Two Chicks on Booksand Magical Urban Fantasy Reads the next five days are all about celebrating 2012 and looking forward to 2013. I had a blast doing this event last year and I'm so excited it's back again!

Ah it's the final day of Top Ten of 2012 and what more fitting way to end the year than looking to 2013 - here's the books I'm anticipating the most next year.

The Ward by Jordana Frankel

Expected Publication
: 30 April 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books

Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.
However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface.

Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman

Expected Publication: 16 April 2013 by HarperTeen

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Expected Publication: 7 March 2013 by Putnam Juvenile

First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa

Expected Publication: 23 April 2013 by Harlequin Teen

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma

Expected Publication: 2013 by Definitions

Why? is the burning question on everyone’s lips. Why would a guy like Mathéo Walsh want to die? At seventeen, he is Britain’s most promising diving champion. He is a heartthrob, a straight A student and lives in one of the wealthiest areas of London. He has great mates and is the envy of everyone around him. And most importantly of all, he is deeply in love with his girlfriend, Lola. He has always been a stable, well-adjusted guy...

Until one weekend. A weekend he cannot seem to remember. All he knows is that he has come back a changed person. One who no longer knows how to have fun, no longer wants to spend time with his friends, no longer enjoys diving. Something terrible happened that weekend – something violent and bloody and twisted. He no longer knows who he is. He no longer trusts himself around people: he only wants to hurt, wound and destroy. Slowly, he begins to piece back the buried, fragmented memories, and finds himself staring at the reflection of a monster.

Tormented, Mathéo suddenly finds himself faced with the most devastating choice of his life. Keep his secret, and put those closest to him in terrible danger. Or confess, and lose Lola forever..

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman

Expected Publication: 8 January 2013 by Dutton Juvenile

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Linked by Imogen Howson

Expected Publication: 11 June 2013 by Simon & Schuster

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Fragments (Partials #2) by Dan Wells

Expected Publication: 26 February 2013 by Balzer + Bray

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence--it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what's left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira's journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn't even know existed.

Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

Expected Publication: 5 March 2013 by HarperTeen

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Expected Publication: April 2013 by Scholastic

A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake—and facing a terrible tragedy— Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi’s mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn’t there…but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus’s fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.

But then Lexi’s ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it’s Lexi’s own future that’s thrown into question…

Ah so many exciting books coming up!  I can't wait to get back into the worlds of Partials, Blood of Eden and Delirium, immerse myself in Gayle Forman, read Tabitha Suzuma's new book and enjoy a whole bunch of new authors with some awesome sounding books.

What are you looking forward to most in 2013?

27 December 2012

Top Ten of 2012 - Top Ten Book Boyfriends

Hosted by Fiktshun, A Life Bound by Books, Confessions of a Bookaholic, Two Chicks on Books and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads the next five days are all about celebrating 2012 and looking forward to 2013. I had a blast doing this event last year and I'm so excited it's back again!

My take on this is probably a little different from the norm - I'm not one to gush about boys in books, so instead this is my list of the Top Ten Guys from 2012 that I want on my side in an apocalypse.

Jimmy from Blood Fugue by Joseph D'Lacey
Characterisation is something that is often lacking in horror books, but Jimmy was a great main character, and if there's freaky-arse vampires around, I want him on my team.

Bryan & Pookie from Nocturnal by Scott Sigler
Apart from their amazing monster-slaying skills, their banter is a must-have!

Vincent from Until I Die by Amy Plum
I know I said this was just about guys I want on my side in an apocalypse, but Vincent would also be a good distraction, especially with a bit of a French accent - oh lala!

Cian from Pretty When She Kills by Rhiannon Frater
Dude is one hot vampire! And as long as he didn't kill me, I think he'd be pretty useful!

Zeke from The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Ah such a good guy. OK, again this is one I just want because he'd be a good distraction.

Marcus from Partials by Dan Wells
Although he's not a stand out tough character, I liked his quiet strength.

Gene from The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
The guy can pretend for his whole life that he's a vampire and hide all the things that make him human, he's tough!

Cas from Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Ghost hunter extraordinaire with an awesomely sarcastic sense of humour!

Benny from Rot & Ruin / Benny Imura series by Jonathan Maberry

Despite a rocky beginning with Benny, I grew to like him quite a lot, and he has a very strong sense of right and wrong. Plus he's quite funny - entertainment is a must in an apocalypse! (Yes I cheated a little with this one because I've only read the first book, but I was running out of choices!)

Who were your favourite book guys of 2012?

25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe and happy Christmas!  Don't forget to eat yourself stupid and then relax!

Top Ten of 2012 - Book Covers

Hosted by Fiktshun, A Life Bound by Books, Confessions of a Bookaholic, Two Chicks on Books and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads the next five days are all about celebrating 2012 and looking forward to 2013. I had a blast doing this event last year and I'm so excited it's back again!

Today it's Top Ten Covers - these are all 2012 releases that I read in 2012 (except Outpost), but you'll notice a distinct lack of girls in pretty dresses. Now, I do like a good pretty dress cover, but honestly, if I'm in a bookstore picking out a book, the darker, atmospheric covers are what really grab my attention, and so my list is full of post-apocalyptic goodness!

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Partials (Partials #1) by Dan Wells
Outpost (Razorland #2) by Ann Aguirre
Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne
Nocturnal by Scott Sigler

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake
Breathe (Breathe #1) by Sarah Crossan
Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Happy Holidays everyone!

24 December 2012

Top Ten of 2012 - Top Books

Hosted by Fiktshun, A Life Bound by Books, Confessions of a Bookaholic, Two Chicks on Books and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads the next five days are all about celebrating 2012 and looking forward to 2013.  I had a blast doing this event last year and I'm so excited it's back again!

I've read more than 175 books in 2012 which makes choosing just ten really hard.  But these are the books that I enjoyed reading the most, broke my heart, gave me some awesome characters and introduced a whole bunch of new authors to me.

In no particular order, these are my Top Ten Books of 2012.

Every Day by David Levithan

Although I haven't published my review yet (I'm still trying to write one that does the book justice!), the writing swept me up, gave me a big hug and then smashed my heart into a million pieces.  The plot, the characters, the excess of beautiful quotes - I could go on and on.  Read this book!

Dark Inside (Dark Inside #1) by Jeyn Roberts

Want a dark, intense, action-packed, nail-biting read?  Then look no further than Dark Inside.  I devoured this book in just a few short hours because I just couldn't put it down.

If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman

This was so close to being the second book that made me cry this year - likable but flawed characters and a plot that would move the hardest of hearts to melting, I became an instant Gayle Forman fan - and as soon as I was finished reading I purchased the next book, Where She Went, because I just couldn't step away from the story that she created.

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa

I hate vampire stories.  I always have, so why I even picked up this book is still a mystery to me.  But combined with intense world-building, no sparkles and a main character that wasn't all sweetness and light, I loved this book, and I can't wait for the next one in the series to be released so I can jump back in.  With vampires!

Partials (Partials #1) by Dan Wells

Yeah, the apocalypse, baby!  Amazing world-building, a distinct lack of insta-love or love triangles, a dystopian regime and some creeptastic scenes, Dan Wells blew me away.  Not long until Fragments comes out so I can immerse myself in his world again.

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

You may not have guessed it, but I love zombie books ;).  So when I heard about This is Not a Test, I was desperate to read it, and even did something I rarely do and requested a review copy from the publisher.  The same day they sent me an e-ARC, I sat down and read it from beginning to end on my laptop.  It's still the only book that has enthralled me so much that I've read it completely on my laptop, in one day.  It was completely different than I expected, but I loved every single word.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden features on almost every Top Ten list I've made this year, for two main reasons:
- The subject matter is one of the greatest taboos, but Ms. Suzuma's writing and characters are so sympathetic, it was impossible for me not to get completely caught up in their story and forget about why the plot itself is so controversial.
- It was the first book ever to reduce me to sobbing tears.

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

A Young Adult horror story with some of the best characterisation I've come across in a very long time, coupled with a spooktastic plot, an unlikely heroine and dripping sarcasm, this book was my perfect match in 2012.

Jenny Pox (The Paranormals #1) by J.L. Bryan

There's many reasons why I loved Jenny Pox - a heroine that has had a tough lot in life, a boy that is her perfect match and an evil heroine, written by an author with some amazingly unique ideas all combined to make Jenny Pox my favourite paranormal read of 2012.

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Ah this book was so addictive!  I loved The Hunger Games, but Battle Royale was a whole other level of intense and despite the 20+ characters with very similar Japanese names, I was absolutely enthralled by this book.

That's my Top Ten of 2012 - what were your favourites this year?

23 December 2012

Showcase Sunday #17

Showcase Sunday is hosted by the fabulous Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea and is all about sharing our new books - beg, borrowed or bought.

Bloggers Mentioned
Giselle @ Xpresso Reads
Jenni @ Alluring Reads
Christina @ A Reader of Fictions
Nikki @ Foil the Plot

Books Mentioned
Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi (despite what I said, I DO have the first book!) 
Taking Chances by Molly McAdams
Revolution 19 by Greg Rosenblum
Mind Games (Mind Games #1) by Kiersten White
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Wasteland by Susan Kim & Lawrence Clavan
Pretty Girl 13 by Liz Coley
Period 8 by Chris Crutcher
Ex-Heroes (Ex-Heroes #1) by Peter Clines
Breed by Chase Novak
The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab
Every Day by David Levithan (I hadn't finished reading this when I recorded my vlog, but I finished it afterwards!

Thanks to HarperCollins Children & Random House.

This Week

I reviewed When the Storm Passes by Julie Jett, Breakers by Edward W. Robertson & Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz, posted my 2012 End of Year Book Survey and a Book Blitz for Fang Girl by Helen Keeble.

Next Week

Pretty much the whole week will be Top Ten of 2012 Posts - Books, Covers, Characters and more!

Books Read Last Week

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier, Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart & Every Day by David Levithan

What I'm Reading Now
Zombie Fallout 3 by Mark Tufo and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Happy Holidays everyone!  Link me up to your book hauls!

22 December 2012

Review: Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Expected Publication: 1 January 2013 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 288 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Magical-Realism

Source: Publisher for review


Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.

My Thoughts

I always thought a mermaid book would be a little too romanticised for me to actually like them.  Memories of The Little Mermaid and a rash of mermaid books that were either loved or hated by the book blogging community had me feeling pretty jaded when I started reading.

It took me more than a few chapters to really get into the story and to want to know more about the characters, but once I was into it, the author's intense, almost erratic writing style really pulled me in.

Rudy is a difficult character to put into words, simply because he was so much of a contradiction.  At one moment he was the doting older brother to Dylan, the next he was an aloof slightly odd teenager and I really couldn't predict where he was going next.  But as the book progressed I started to like him more and more, and by the end, I really appreciated what Ms. Moskowitz was trying to do with him.

Teeth is a far more fascinating character, and his story is revealed gradually, and had me swinging from overwhelming compassion to morbid curiosity.

One character I didn't really connect with, and although I'll freely admit I may have missed something, nor see her real relevance to the story was Diana, although I enjoyed her passion for books, and the occasional bookish pop-culture reference that she bought into the story.

The plot itself is a mixture of magical realism and contemporary, and at times I almost believed that this could be a true story - an isolated, secret island where magical fish really do exist.  At other times I felt like I was living in a dark fairy tale and it was a fantastic, if slightly overwhelming combination.  There are some tender, poignant moments particularly towards the end of the book, where Rudy has to make some difficult decisions, and comes to realise that it's hard to balance family, friends and his own feelings.

World-building wise, I thought Ms. Moskowitz did a fairly good job in creating an isolated island community, the feeling of small-town gossip and secrets, although I did wonder how they managed to keep their secrets just so secret.

I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about this book, which I know is completely unhelpful, but I did like the intensity, the fact that it wasn't a cheesy, cliched romance and the fact that I was almost convinced the magical gay fish could actually be real.  I'll definitely be checking out some more of Ms. Moskowitz's work because I enjoyed her style, and if you're looking for a unique, dark mixture of magical realism with a good dose of food-for-thought then I can certainly recommend Teeth.

21 December 2012

Book Blitz Exceprt Giveaway: Fang Girl by Helen Keeble

Thanks to the fabulous Xpresso Book Tours, I've got an excerpt from Helen Keeble's Fang Girl, and a giveaway!

Fang Girl by Helen Keeble 

Published: 11 September 2012 by HarperTeen

Things That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:

1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie.
2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires.
3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead.
4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets.(Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.)
5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.

And finally:
6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.

Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined....

Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.

About the author

Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.

Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen.

She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.

Author Links: Website ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Purchase Fang Girl from Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ The Book Depository

Extract from FANG GIRL by Helen Keeble
In which Our Heroine, Xanthe Jane Greene (unexpectedly undead vampire fangirl), is beset by vampire hunters. Fortunately, help is close at hand…

We all jumped, my attackers whirling round. Someone stood poised on the roof of the parked Range Rover, silhouetted against the starry sky. In a breathtaking arc, he leaped ten feet, landing crouched in the middle of the road. He unfurled back to his full height, his velvet frock coat billowing around him, the moonlight turning his hair to pure silver. His high-cheekboned, elegant face was set in an expression of icy determination. As he faced my stunned attackers, his lips drew back in a contemptuous snarl . . . exposing jagged, sharp-edged teeth.
He was a vampire.
His pale eyes flicked to me. “Run, ma chérie,” he said. His voice was as light and golden as honey, with a rich French accent that made the simple phrase sound like an invitation to unspeakable immoral delights. He dropped into a combat crouch, empty hands spread. “I shall take care of these—”
And that was as far as he got, because as my attackers had been conveniently distracted by his appearance, I punted them fifteen feet down the road.
I hadn’t actually intended to do so. I’d only hoped to knock them off balance to give my unexpected rescuer an opening—after all, a dramatic pose was no match for two guns. So I’d kicked them, with all the strength I could muster.
Which, as it turned out, was quite a lot of strength.
“Quick!” I yelled as they skidded away, trailing shocked swear words. I dashed past the suddenly slack-jawed vampire. “Get them before they escape!” One of my attackers was already rolling to his feet—without thought, my blood roaring in my veins, I leaped for him. We crashed back to the ground, him flailing, me desperately trying to work out some way to subdue him. I grabbed for his hair, yanking upward with the vague thought of slamming his skull back down against the road—
I’d forgotten my vampiric strength again.
“AIEEEEEEEEEE!” I shrieked, reaching a high enough pitch to stun bats. I flung the severed head away with all my strength. “AIEEEEEEEEE!” I hopped from foot to foot, overcome with utter squick.
“Shh, hush, it’s all right!” The other vampire’s hands captured my flailing wrists. “Xanthe!” Lights were coming on in the nearest house; with a quick look around, he grabbed the corpse by the back of its collar. “Quick, back here.” He dragged us both into the shadow of the garage. After a few moments, the lights clicked off again, leaving us in darkness. I felt the vampire tension in the vampire’s muscles ease. “Well, that went . . . differently.”
I managed to get enough of a grip on myself to speak, though my voice came out in a Mickey Mouse squeak. “Is he dead? Is he dead?”
The vampire looked down at the headless corpse. “Yes,” he said. “He is very, very dead.” He cleared his throat. “You must be wondering who I am.”
My legs didn’t want to support me anymore. I sat down hard. “What . . . what happened to the other guy?”
“I believe that he has fled, rather understandably. Now, my name—”
“Oh God, he escaped?” Even though I didn’t need to breathe, I was starting to hyperventilate. “Is he coming back?”
“No,” the vampire said firmly, catching my hands between his own. “Because I will not let him. I’m here to protect you.”
I looked at him. I looked down at the corpse. I looked at him.
“Ah . . .” He appeared mildly embarrassed. “I can also help you dispose of bodies?”
“Okay,” I said, still feeling a bit shell-shocked. “You sound very useful. Um. Who are you, exactly?”
He let go of my hand and stood, clearing his throat again. “In life, I was the Comte Ebène Bellefleur. Now, I am simply Ebène de Sanguine.” He bowed deeply, sweeping back his long, black frock coat with perfect grace, as though this was his customary attire. “I would be pleased if you would call me Ebon. I have come to bring you home.”
The best I could muster was a heartfelt “huh?” I was lagging about two minutes behind the conversation. I kept thinking of that horrible crunch through my hands.
“I must deeply apologize from the bottom of my soul that it has taken so long for us to send one of the Blood to welcome you,” Ebon said, somehow managing to enunciate the capitalization. “I must confess that we were unprepared for your Transfiguration”—once again I could hear the capitals clanging into place—“but I can assure you that you will be a treasured jewel among us. Now, ma chérie, we must make haste.” His face turned serious, and he held out a long, white-fingered hand. “This place is not safe. As you have discovered, the hunters are closing in. I will protect you with my very life, but I cannot hold this place secure for long. You must come.”
I struggled to get my brain to concentrate. “Come . . . with you? Where?”
“To your true home,” he said—and suddenly his face was only inches from mine. I froze, transfixed by the pale blue of his eyes, as clear and cool as the light at the heart of a glacier. “Come, Xanthe,” he murmured, shaping the hated sound of my name into something beautiful and wild. “I long to teach you. To show you who you are, and the power you will become. It is time for you to learn everything.”
I stared at him, and he didn’t become any less real. There was an actual gorgeous vampire aristocrat in velvet on his knees in front of me, vowing to lay down his life in my defense. All I had to do was take his hand.
“Okay,” I whispered, my throat dry. “First let’s hide this body somewhere, and then . . .”
“And then?” he whispered back, his breath cool on my lips. His pale eyes gazed into mine, wordlessly promising to whisk me away from all my troubles.
Or, to put it another way, a very strange man with predator’s teeth wanted to get me alone.
“And then,” I said firmly, taking his hand, “you’re coming home to meet my parents.”

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20 December 2012

2012 End of Year Book Survey

I love surveys and lists! So when I saw that Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner was running her End of Year Book Survey, I had to jump in!

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

One? Nope, not possible! 

Best Heart Breakers: Every Day by David Levithan and Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Best World Building: Partials by Dan Wells 

Best Apocalypse/Dystopian: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts and Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Best Zombies: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry and This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Best Adult and Best Audiobook: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Breathe by Sarah Crossan - it sounded so good but I was so underwhelmed.

Gone by Michael Grant - it feels like I'm the only one that didn't like this series - it took me over a month to finish it!

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

Zomblog II by T.W. Brown - I didn't like the first book at all, but the author convinced me to give the second book a try, and I was converted!

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, but I'm also going to push Every Day by David Levithan on everyone I know!

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Benny Imura by Jonathan Maberry

The Paranormals by J.L. Bryan

Partials by Dan Wells

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Tabitha Suzuma, John Green, David Levithan, Kendare Blake, Courtney Summers - I read so many new-to-me authors this year the list is almost endless!

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa - A Young Adult Vampire book? 18 months ago I would have laughed myself sick at the suggestion I would even read, let alone LOVE this book.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts - I devoured it in a couple of hours, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time!

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, 
Partials by Dan Wells and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  All for a variety of reasons but I loved them all so I'd love to go back and revisit them!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake - I loved the creepiness of it!

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Amaliya from Pretty When She Dies and Pretty When She Kills by Rhiannon Frater - she was the best heroine - dark, troubled, funny, tough.

Flynn Laukonen from A Note of Madness & 
A Voice in the Distance by Tabitha Suzuma - oh I just wanted to take him home and hug him!

Cas from Anna Dressed in Blood / Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake - sarcastic yet sweet, clever, ah the list could go on and on!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Every Day by David Levithan, it was like reading expensive chocolate.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma vs. Every Day by David Levithan - they both made me cry, and I even wrote down quotes from Every Day, which I almost never do, but Forbidden was about such a taboo subject but it was so good I didn't get hung up on it.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - I tried reading it last year and just couldn't, and I'm so glad I went back to it.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

''This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world.  It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot.  The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible.  And when it's just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.''

Every Day by David Levithan

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest - The Winds of War by Herman Wouk - 896 pages

Shortest - Not counting the serial episodes that I've read, the shortest is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - 107 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The ending of both Every Day and Forbidden, but especially Every Day! I just wanted to sit down and pick that book apart with like-minded people (whilst passing tissues around!).

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Adam and Mia from If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman - oh it was just *sigh*.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry and Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater.  Love 'em both!

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?

Every Day by David Levithan, which I bought after Nikki at Foil the Plot flogged it out in her End of Year Book Survey. I knew if she loved it, I most probably would too!

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?
Oh there's SO many - Christina at A Reader of Fictions, Jenni at Alluring Reads, Karin at My Life, Kara from Great Imaginations, Giselle from Xpresso Reads, Nikki from Foil The Plot, Smash from Smash Attacks Reads.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 

Oh my reviews of Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma and Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

Umm probably the one about being an International Book Blogger.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

I'm terrible at keeping track of these, but the best discussion post I've read recently was at Smash Attacks Reads talking about what makes a good villain. Good bad characters are awesome!

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I really enjoyed Armchair BEA - chances are I'm not going to get to the real thing anytime soon (unless anyone wants to sponsor me to go *flutters eyelashes*) so doing it from the comfort of my sofa was the next best thing. And I found loads of awesome blogs because of it!

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

Ah there was so many! Probably my favourite was being blurbed in Phillip W. Simpson's new book Tribulation. Oh and getting a signed copy of Zombie Fallouthttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8167001-zombie-fallout from Mark Tufo!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My review of Zombie Fallout 2 by Mark Tufo, I love that series!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Ah, such hard questions! Honestly, it's more the quality of the comments than the quantity, so if one person leaves a meaningful or funny comment, I'm happy!

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Edelweiss, but not just for review requests, I also use it for checking out upcoming releases and catalogs!

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Ugh I'm so bad at keeping track of challenges! But I did finish my Goodreads goal of 150 books, hurrah!

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

Just One Day by Gayle Forman and Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma.  Stalking them like mad!

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Just have fun! Put less pressure on myself, and make a dent in my TBR rather than encouraging its growth!


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