Sunday, 16 May 2010

Books I Adopted This Week (plus giveaway!)

Oooh, Sunday - and I am hungover to high heaven. What better way to ease me through than to show off the books I have received this week? (Most of them, to be fair, were received through the beneficence of various relatives and the provision of book tokens for my birthday which I blew this week *grin*)

Received for review

April Dunne is not impressed. She's had to move from Edinburgh to Highgate, London, with her parents. She's left her friends - and her entire life - behind. She has to start at a new school and, worst of all, now she's stuck in a creepy old dump of a house which doesn't even have proper mobile phone reception. Ravenwood, her new school, is a prestigious academy for gifted (financially or academically) students - and the only place her parents could find her a place, in the middle of term, in the middle of London, on incredibly short notice. So she's stuck with the super-rich, and the super-smart ...and trying to fit in is when the rest of the students seem to be more glamorous, smarter, or more talented than she is, is more than tough. It's intimidating and isolating, even when she finds a friend in the conspiracy-theorist Caro Jackson - and perhaps finds something more than friendship in the gorgeous, mysterious Gabriel Swift. But there's more going on at Ravenwood than meets the eye. Practical jokes on new students are normal, but when Gabriel saves her from ...something the Highgate Cemetery, and then she discovers that a murder took place, just yards away from where she had been standing, April has to wonder if something more sinister is going on. ..and whether or not she's going to live through it...

This was received from Gollancz (will be published 15th July 2010). It is one of their YA titles and I am pretty excited about reading it! Although the teen vampire books seem to have flooded the market, and some are definitely more miss than hit, I am hopeful that this one will provide a spooky new angle.

Books purchased by me

Nick and his brother Alan are on the run with their mother, who was once the lover of a powerful magician. When she left him, she stole an important charm - and he will stop at nothing to reclaim it. Now Alan has been marked with the sign of death by the magician's demon, and only Nick can save him. But to do so he must face those he has fled from all his life - the magicians - and kill them. So the hunted becomes the hunter...but in saving his brother, Nick discovers something that will unravel his whole past...

Recently Ana of The Book Smugglers wrote a spectacularly good review of the second book in this series. I merely scanned the review, trying to avoid the spoilers (which Ana was very clear about the review containing) and the sheer enthusiasm about the book encouraged me to go book shopping! I hope it lives up to its billing!

The Berry family are different. Love abounds - both healthy and incestuous. It is the overwhelming desire of the Berry father to run a hotel, which he does, with dubious success, in both a former girls' school in New Hampshire, and in Vienna. It is the Berry children who grab the readers' attention, sympathies and love - all five of them: Frank (the eldest), Franny (the weirdest), John (the narrator), Lily (the writer) and Egg (the youngest). When Irving, or rather John, writes 'Frank's queer, Franny's weird, Lily's small and Egg is Egg' the initiated reader can do no other than shout a deafening 'yes, I know what you mean!' From there on, the reader is held spellbound as the family Labrador, Sorrow, is first stuffed then becomes the cruel victim of a plane crash; and as John and Franny realise their incestuous desires.

I have only read A Widow For One Year by this author and have been keen to try more. A chap I have been talking to regularly swears by this book - saying it is both twisted and funny - so I decided that I would give it a go.

Tormented and racked with guilt over the brutal slaying of his wife and daughter, Charlie Parker, ex-cop with the NYPD, agrees to track down a missing girl. It is a search that will lead him into an abyss of evil. At the same time, he is warned by an old black woman in Louisiana that 'The Travelling Man' is about to strike again. Multiple strands converge with a horrific confrontation in which hunter and hunted are intimately connected by guilt.

I have read and enjoyed Michael Marshall and Sarah Pinborough - who both write supernatural thrillers with a crime bent. I have heard John Connolly's name mentioned in the same breath a couple of times, so I figured it was high time I gave him a go. So I brought the first Charlie Parker novel, and I am looking forward to having to keep the light on for a few nights!

Susannah and Rob were childhood sweethearts. But as with most early love affairs, they broke up, moved on and now find themselves in very different places. And not entirely happy - who is? A chance meeting between them sends shockwaves through their lives. What happens when your first love makes a surprise reappearance? Is fate telling you it's time for a second chance ...or should you simply walk away and let the past become ancient history? But Susannah and Rob just aren't able to forget the way they were ...and the world is about to realize the consequences of their reunion.

I have read a few of Elizabeth Noble's novels, and I love them. She has become an author who I will instantly buy the new book of (others include Freya North, Fiona Walker and Marian Keyes). I was stoked to discover that her latest book is now out and it sounds perfect to save for a lazy summer afternoon!

Young pioneer, Micah, enters Wrymeweald full of hope to return home having made his fortune. But this is a land where wyrmes, fabulous dragon-like beasts, roam wild and reign supreme. In Wyrmeweald man is both hunter and hunted - and seventeen-year-old Micah may never return alive, let alone a hero...After a near-brush with death on the edge of a canyon, Micah soon finds a chance to prove his worth when he meets with Eli, a veteran tracker of Wrymeweald. They choose to defend a rare whitewyrme egg and its precious hatchling before it falls into the hands of a band of evil Kith. But the fledgling wyrme has its own guardian in the shape of the beautiful, brave and dangerous Thrace. Thrace, a Kin and a highly-skilled wyrme rider-assassin; and Micah, a would-be Kith, should never mix - but the magnetism between them is strong. Together they join forces on a mission to rescue the hatchling and seek vengeance for loved-ones lost at the hand of Kith bandits. Meanwhile the glorious whitewyrme colony of Wyrmeweald looks on as its land is encroached by gold-diggers and ravaged by bounty hunters. Is Exodus the only option? And if so, when - and where - will they flee too?

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell have already written the successful children's series of The Edge Chronicles. This is their first YA novel. I love the cover of the book and I really can't resist tales about dragons - I think this could be great fun.

Okay, people, that was my little haul for this week - thanks for reading!

If you managed to get this far, and you fancy getting a copy of By Midnight by Mia James, then please drop me an email to magemanda AT gmail DOT com with the subject line MIDNIGHT GIVEAWAY. The giveaway is open worldwide and will close next Sunday.

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