Tuesday, 31 May 2016

May Wrap Up


May is over already!? How did that happen? I've had quite an interesting month to say the least and I did a few things that really excited me! At the start of May I was in London for a few days seeing James and we decided to go on the Cable Cars over the Thames. As I am claustrophobic it was a challenge but it was something that I'd always wanted to do, so I was brave. I'm so glad I did it as it was amazing! The views were spectacular and I was in awe. The picture above is of one of my views whilst going across. It was beautiful. 

I also went to a gig this month! I went to see a Japanese band called Coldrain at The Borderline in London and it was brilliant! I came out a sweaty mess but it was amazing! Also met some really lovely people too! I had a week off at the end of May and spent it with James. We had a week of doing awesome things! He took me out for a lovely meal, we went bowling, went to the cinema to see Captain America Civil War (which was so good!) and caught up with some old friends which was great! 

I also went to MCM Comic Con in London and it was amazing! I go every May and October and I never get bored of it! I love releasing my inner nerd. I didn't cosplay, sadly. However, I am planning to in October. Whilst I was there I managed to meet two of my favourite youtubers - Lukeisnotsexy and Doddleoddle. They were both so lovely and I did fangirl a tiny bit, but not so much as to scare them. I also treated myself to a few bits which is always nice. 




Books I've Read/Reviewed


I read seven books in May and they were all on my May TBR list, apart from one. Pretty pleased with that! The Books I read/reviewed were:

EVO Nation by K.J. Chapman
The Flood by Steven Scaffardi
The Second Love of my Life by Victoria Walters
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything Inbetween by Jennifer E. Smith
Under my Skin by Zoe Markham
The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith
The Hustle by Elizabeth Roderick

May Book Haul


I had a pretty impressive book haul for May with a mix of Digital and Print. I can't wait to read all these books:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Timebomb by Scott K. Andrews
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle
Second Lives by Scott K. Andrews
Wrecked by Maria Padian
One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison
Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield
Elemental Secrets by Elle Middaugh
Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

June Plans

I haven't really got any plans for June at the moment, as I'm working throughout it. However, I am hoping to get through my June TBR list and start to enjoy the weather (that's if it does get better). Me and James are also going to be looking into going away at the end of July, so will hopefully be booking that.

I'm just going to go with the flow in June and see what happens.

Have a great month!

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads for those who don't like typical 'Beach Reads'.

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about Beach Reads. I'm not a beachy kind of person. I definitely prefer city breaks to beach holidays. However, I have been on a few in the past and I obviously had books with me. So I thought I'd share with you the top ten books that I have read either on a beach holiday in the past or a city break. Enjoy!

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 


2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan


3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


4. Dream a Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher


5. All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher


6. Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan


7. The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini


8. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson


9. The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs


10. The Drought by Steven Scaffardi



Friday, 27 May 2016

Stacking the Shelves #2


Hosted by Tynga's Reviews. I missed out on last week's Stacking the Shelves so this week I shall be sharing books that I received last week as well as this week. I have only received a few but I can't wait to get stuck into them! 

Physical

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Nanette O'Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bugglegum Reaper--a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic--the rebel within Nanette awakens. 

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.





The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle
Tom Hope is broken. Ever since his wife Laura died he hasn't been the same man, and definitely not the same father. Luckily for Tom his mother-in-law Linda is around to pick up the pieces and look after his two struggling daughters, Evie and Lola.
But Tom getting arrested on the first anniversary of his wife's death is the last straw for Linda.
In a last bid attempt to make Tom reconnect with his daughters she takes drastic action and leaves for Australia. With two fast-maturing daughters Tom has to learn how to accept his responsibilities and navigate the newly dicovered world of single fatherhood - starting immediately.
With only himself to rely on, will Tom fall back into grief or finally step up and be the father his girls need?
Digital
Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters - but none like the one she's just received: 

'Dear Amy, 
I don't know where I am. I've been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I'm afraid he'll kill me. 
Please help me soon, 
Bethan Avery'

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . . .

Elemental Secrets by Elle Middaugh
Valerie Moore was a beautiful, headstrong girl with below-average social skills and above-average anxiety (including a flair for over-analyzing). 

With her mother long deceased, and her father recently deployed, she ends up being sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But, being a Navy brat had made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends certainly wasn’t her strongest suit. As if the life of a typical teen wasn’t hard enough. 

But Valerie soon discovers she’s not a typical teenager. Not by a long shot. 

SECRETS are revealed… 

…About her family, about her newfound friends and relationships, and about her whole world… Things that have been kept from her for her entire life… 
But the biggest secret of all is revealed when Valerie discovers that she has Elemental powers, and a chain of inexplicable and irrevocable events unleashes throughout the little town… 

Caroline Cairn Guest Post and Excerpt (Forever and One Week Blog Tour)


Today is my stop on the Forever and One Week blog tour and I have a guest post by author Caroline Cairn about becoming a writer and following your dreams and an exclusive excerpt to share with you! A big thank you to Lola's Blog Tours for letting me be a part of this. 


Becoming a Writer - Caroline Cairn

Like most, if not all authors, I thrived in writing my own stories as a teen. I remember using one of those spiral bound notebooks and let my imagination flow. I also loved the prompts they gave us at school to write our own essay.
But at the time, I never dreamt of becoming an author. The field was riddled with obstacles, low pay and no guarantees. So as I grew up, I followed a well-ordained path of a safe career, and forgot all about my writings.
Then 2014 came along, and threw a spanner in my life. A big one. And it made me reassess my priorities.

From then on, I had one mantra: life is too short.

So I thought that not only I would re-discover my long lost passion, but I would also have a serious go at it. I didn’t expect success and talent overnight. I know I’m a better writer than I was last year, but I’ll also be a better writer next year. And the year after. I’m learning every day, improving every day. As long as I enjoy writing, I will continue to do so.

Okay, I might also pray to the Almighty God of Authors for a small nudge towards decent success.

I have no aspirations of full on glory, but having a small, loyal following would thrill me. Other than my mother and my husband, that is. J

So what can I tell you if you’re dreaming of becoming a writer?
  •  Inform yourself. I thought writing simply meant putting your ideas to paper without grammar or spellings mistakes. Wrong. Writing is so much more than this. Go visit blogs, buy self-help books. There are lots of tips, dos and don’ts out there. Read them, and learn.
  •  Read. You’ll notice something straight away: your reading will be different. You’ll appreciate the author’s prose more, you will remark on vocabulary and remember some key sentences that sound perfect. You won’t only react to a book by gut instinct anymore. And you’ll learn from it.
  • Find yourself a mentor. I was lucky to find a seasoned indie author, who was friendly, patient and lovely. She showed me the ropes, and answered all the questions I had. And I had a lot, particularly about what happened after writing “the end”. Someone’s real experience and guidance is worth all of the internet, magazines and books articles.
  • Decide early on if you want to try to be traditionally published or not. It’s not as easy a decision as you may think. Again, inform yourself, then pick what feels right for you.
  • Be patient. Your first story won’t be as good as you think. Many authors return to their early work and cringe, despite their high pride at the time. And unless you are J K Rowling and Stephen King’s secret baby, you’ll have to brace yourself for criticism. Don’t ask your best friend, or Auntie Margaret. Ask perfect strangers, on beta readers forum. They will tell you like it is. Some will be tactful, others will throw your work at your face then slap you with it. Same thing with readers and reviewers. I still have to develop the thick skin needed, but I guess that one depends on your personality.
  • Focus on the good. You can only get better.

Excerpt

“What the hell do you want?”
The sharpness of his voice didn’t shock her as much as him turning up in her dining room. She presented the coffee tin to the Spirit lurking in the shadowed corner. She didn’t notice herself pressing on the metal until it created a dent.
“I would like a full one, please.”
If he could fill the can with the same beans he had used the last time he had granted her wish, she would cry in happiness. His coffee had tasted like smooth chocolate with a hint of bitter nuttiness. The fruity flavour of her usual brand had suddenly vanished to blandness.
“Are you asking for freaking coffee again? Are you serious?”
Her extended arm began to ache. “Please, and I need some painting supplies, too.”
He crossed his arms. She couldn’t watch the expression on his face as it was bathed in darkness, but his posture was relaxed. “I thought you didn’t need me.” The sarcasm was drenched in triumph.
She brought the empty tin to her chest. He hadn’t been cross at her for her lack of reaction yesterday. He had been cross because he had been unable to rebuff her. “I take it you won’t give me anything.” She threw the tin in the bin.
Feet spread out in front of her fridge, she opted for the last of the yoghurts, the lemon flavour one she hated. Why the supermarkets insisted on using this vile fruit in their value range, she had no idea. Paper lid removed, she tucked into her breakfast without enthusiasm, standing in the middle of the room. 
“Are you kidding me?”
She carried on eating, bracing herself for what was to come.
“Hey—” He grunted with annoyance. “Hell, I don’t even know your name.”
“Tessa.” The slightly acidic and too-sweet yoghurt churned her stomach.
“Well, Tessa, you need to wish for it. I can’t get you anything until you use the proper word. Say it.”
She plunged her spoon in the foul creaminess. “What’s the point? You’re going to refuse me anyway.”
His arms unfolded as he levitated, crossed-legged, elbows wide. His fingertips drummed his thighs with increasing speed. “Try me.”
She didn’t bother replying. She knew his kind. People who had to have their way because they considered themselves so much smarter than others. Tessa dealt with them with casual indifference, because that meant they wouldn’t search for trouble. They would leave her alone.
But him?
He grated that part of her she had put to sleep a long time ago.
She didn’t like it.
Not one bit.
Yet it compelled her, like a chickenpox itch you know you shouldn’t scratch but can’t resist.
Once she had dropped the empty yoghurt pot in the bin, she proceeded to wash her spoon, aware of a glare cutting a hole at the back of her head. She wiped the cutlery dry with slow movements, blew on it then polished it. The sound of fingertips on denim was getting louder in her ears. So he was getting frustrated.
She couldn’t wait for his next move.
Water running from the tap, she rinsed her sponge, soaked it in a lavender-scented cleaning spray and wiped every nook and cranny, from the sink to the kitchen counter, with deliberate fussiness. She lifted her kettle and her toaster, pushed her plant to the left, then back to its place, and scrubbed those pesky corners. The cupboard doors were next, after a few more sprays of lavender.
If I started singing, would that be too much?
His hoarse breathing had turned into a low growl.
But she was too far gone to stop. So when her wrist got captured by a powerful hand, an unexpected thrill coursed through her.
“Say it,” he ordered. “Say how much you wish for coffee.”
His grip was painful. Implacable. It brought her back to reality, chased away that stupid excitement she never should have pursued. Logan was just like everyone else. No doubt he would resort to violence because she had taunted him. Because she hadn’t done as she was told.
So she shut herself down, and let him pull her to face him.
“Jesus Christ, not again.” He yanked his hand away from her.
Images of her mother flashed like a nightmare. She had to concentrate to keep her vision focused on him.
“How can you go from provoking me to this lifeless thing?”
She rubbed her wrist, where his print had marked her flesh. He could scream as much as he wanted and take out his anger on her. A calm resolution had flooded her senses. It shielded her soul. Nothing would hurt now. The soft glow of his eyes had intensified to blazing gold, a sheer contrast to his reddening face. His eyebrows were so low they could cast their own shadow over his cheeks. And his lips…
A painful twinge hit her in the throat.
His bottom lip was cut, the blood dried up as a crust. But it was his neck that had her stumbling back against her sink. It had two perfectly parallel, crimson crevices crossing from one side to the other. She was no expert, but these scars were fresh, and made by a razor-sharp blade. She could swear it.
His tirade halted abruptly.
He seemed to hesitate between retreating in the corner and standing his ground. That he chose the latter didn’t surprise her.
“That’s none of your business,” he replied to her silent question.

Synopsis

The Spirits of Saoradh, who carry the guilt of a crime they committed when they were alive, now spend their ghostly days in the Void, dark nothingness where time and space are distorted. Until they get bound to a human. As often as needed, that human can call them to the real world, ask them to grant a wish, then send them back to the Void. The Spirits also have to follow strict rules or be punished, unaware that they can earn their redemption through a selfless sacrifice.

Spirit Logan despises the obedience he has to show to his humans, and prefers the enjoyable solitude of the Void. For three years, he has managed to threaten them into severing their bond, thus having his memory wiped of their existence. Except his latest human, an emotionless woman with a secret past, isn’t scared of him. Worse, she doesn’t care about his ability to make wishes come true.


Start reading this series now for free! Grab your free copy of Forever Hers here

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about books I feel differently about after time has passed (more love, less love etc). I am going to split this into two parts - one part for books I have less love for now and one part for books I have more love for.

Books I have less love for

1. The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer: When I was a young teenager I was obsessed with Twilight and anything to do with it. However, now that I am older I have realised how bad it actually was. I have realised that Edward was basically a stalker and that Bella was a pretty one sided heroine.

2. The House of Night Series by P.C Cast and Kristin Cast: This was another series which I loved when I was a teenager. Nowadays I have pretty much forgotten about it, which I never thought would happen.

3. The Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine: I was pretty obsessed with anything to do with Vampires when I was younger. This series was one that I was pretty into but have since grown out of. I know the series is still ongoing but I won't be reading them.

4. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: I remember when I first read this book. I was hooked! But a few years have passed and I just don't really remember it or find it at all mesmerising like I used to. 

5. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: I loved this book when I first read it, but after a while I realised how needy the character of Isla was and how flat and predictable the plot line was.

Books I have more love for

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: This was obviously going to be on the list. I loved it when I first read and I have grown to love it more every time I have re read it.

2. All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher: All I Know Now is literally amazing and I always go back to it when I need some advice from everyone's favourite big sister.

3. Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle: I know this is a christmassy book, but I tend to back to it every year to relish in the festive stories.

4. You're the One that I Want by Giovanna Fletcher: This was the first book by Gi that I read and every time I think about it or see it on my shelf I always remember that moment. 

5. The Lost Boys by Lillian Carmine: I have read this a few times now and every time I become lost in the world of Joey and her boys. It is literally amazing and I'm surprised the author isn't more well known.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Review: The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith


The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith
Published by David Meredith 2013 (E-Book)
155 Pages

Thank you to the author for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone? 

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing: 

The king is dead. 

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old. 

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means? 

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

Thoughts

I am a big lover of fairytales, princesses and anything to do with fantasy, so when I was contacted by David Meredith, himself, asking me if I'd like to review his self published book based on Snow White - a princess that I have loved since I was younger I obviously jumped at the chance excitedly. 

We start The Reflections of Queen Snow White a few weeks before her daughter, Princess Raven is due to be wed. We learn that an older Snow White is depressed after the loss of Prince Charming, her husband and doesn't know how to get over this hole she has dug herself into. Coming face to face with the magic mirror we go on a journey with her as she revisits the best and worst moments that have happened during her life. After a rather emotional journey Snow White finally realises what she needs to get her life started again.

If you start reading this thinking that this is going to be a happy, joyous fairytale story you will end up being stood corrected. This goes beyond the fairytale, and takes you through some rather dark moments in Snow White's life. I can definitely tell that it was written with an adult audience in mind. I feel like I went on the journey with her and you could certainly feel her highs and her lows through the rather detailed flashbacks. I like how even the flashbacks weren't like the original fairytale. The characters were different, the stories were different and even how she meets certain characters was different. It certainly made for a very interesting read.

The relationships that Snow White formed, I feel is one of the most important details in this story. Her relationship with Erfuet, one of the dwarfs. It felt like one of a grandparent/grandchild and it touched my emotions in a way I didn't think possible. Her relationship with Charming did seem a bit funny to me, seeing as she was only 17 and he was 30 when they met, but as the story went on you could tell how much they meant to each other and how much love they had for each other. Their relationship was sweet, loving and also rather steamy at times and I loved it. I could definitely tell that they were made for each other. 

The only problem I had with this book was that it was too short. I feel like there were loads of things that still needed to be explored and I felt like it ended rather abruptly. I wanted to know what happened to her stepmother and if her daughter's marriage lasted throughout the years, but I was just left guessing. Which was maybe what the author wanted? But I knew that I needed to know!

The Reflections of Queen Snow White was a short, interesting read that made me see the classic character in a whole new way. Although it hasn't changed my life I will most certainly be taking away some of the lessons learnt throughout. If you have ever wondered what happened after Snow White's 'happily ever after' then this is the book for you!

Rating



Author Bio

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee as well as a Tennessee State Teaching license. He is currently a doctoral student in Educational Leadership. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Interview with Anne Perry: The Second Lives Blog Tour


I am really excited to be hosting The Second Lives Blog Tour today! Second Lives is the second book in the TimeBomb trilogy by Scott K Andrews. For my stop I have a lovely interview with Scott's editor Anne Perry to share with you all. It was a pleasure to be part of this and I'd like to thank Jenni at Hodder for giving me this opportunity.

Hi Anne, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. First of all what drew you to the TimeBomb Trilogy?

I’ve been a huge fan of Scott’s since his first book with Abaddon, School’s Out (2007), which is the beginning of a brilliant YA/crossover dystopian post-apocalyptic trilogy about, well, feral schoolkids. It’s totally brilliant. When I became a commissioning editor the first thing I did was get in touch to see what he was working on. He sent me the first few chapters of TimeBomb and a synopsis for the series, and I knew I had to have it. The rest is history!

What it's like working alongside Scott?

Fantastic. Scott is hugely enthusiastic and boundlessly energetic, which makes working with him really easy (and lots of fun).

One of the features of the trilogy is time travel. If you had the ability to travel in time where would you travel too?

This is my favourite dinner-party question! I studied the nineteenth century fairly extensively before becoming an editor, so I should say something like London 1832, so I could be there for the passage for the first Great Reform Act… but my honest answer is probably 1532/1533 – it’d be amazing to experience the beginning of the English Reformation (warts and all) personally, and to set eyes on Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and, well, wear a Tudor gown…  Or maybe a few years later, so I could get a load of Elizabeth’s court!

What are your favourite things about the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres?

I am continually delighted and awed by the seeming limitlessness of the human imagination, and nowhere is that more on display than in science fiction, fantasy and horror. I will never forget the first time a book ever kept me awake – I was twelve, and I’d just read my first short stories by HP Lovecraft – or the first time I sneaked a flashlight into my bedroom so I could keep reading past my bedtime – I was 8, and the book was Ogre, Ogre by Piers Anthony – or the sense of warmth and comfort from having my parents read to me when I was ill as a child – I was 9, and the book was I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov.

I love the sense that there’s more out there beyond my own rather pedestrian life, and every time I open a new fantasy novel, a new horror novel or a new science fiction novel I know I have a brilliant adventure waiting for me. No other genres transport me out of myself the way these do.

You are a member of Hodderscape. What's the best part about being a part of it?

We are a fantastic team. I am incredibly fortunate to have such brilliant colleagues, all of whom are positively bursting with energy and enthusiasm. I can depend on the team to come up with a fantastic publication strategy – something creative, fun and hopefully exciting for readers and reviewers – for each one our SFF books. That makes working with them a huge pleasure. Though I’ve got to mention that the dodos and the gummi worms are also a big plus!

You currently have three titles up for the prestigious Clarke Award. How does that feel?

Completely overwhelming. It’s a huge honour and I’m so incredibly pleased for Becky, James and Nnedi. Their books – and, indeed, the entire shortlist – represent a wonderful, diverse selection of the absolute best science fiction publishing today.

When you aren't editing amazing titles what do you like to do?

I still write, though sadly infrequently, for my website, Pornokitsch. I’m a major film buff and try to get out to the cinema as often as I can. And, of course, I read all the time. When I’m not reading SFF I go for historical romance and popular science, though I’ll honestly read just about anything.

Lastly, you are an editor at Hodder. What it's like? and would you have any advice for anyone who wants to get into the field?

Working at Hodder is a dream come true. My colleagues are wonderful, friendly, and fun to hang out with – and they’re all incredibly talented publishers. I’m proud to work here.

As for advice:  my own route to publishing was an unusual one – I didn’t do an MA in publishing or even any work experience; I got my start by founding a small (very small) press and going from there.

The things that will impress potential employers are your knowledge, your passion and your commitment to books and to publishing. My suggestion to anyone who wants to get into publishing is therefore threefold.

First: read widely, in fiction and non-fiction. Read best-sellers and classics, fiction and non-fiction. You’ll want to get a sense of the market, and nothing will accomplish that better than becoming knowledgeable in what’s being published currently, and what has become (or is on its way towards becoming) a classic of its genre. Everything you’ve ever read will eventually come in handy (often in unexpected ways) so use the time you have now to read as much as possible.

Secondly, read deeply. By which I mean, develop a niche. Be honest with yourself about your favourite genre of book and read deeply within that genre so that you’re truly knowledgeable about it. You should know the classics, the best-sellers and the mid-list, and you should have opinions about all of them. It’s important that you do this honestly because, at the end of the day, publishing is driven by passion and if you don’t care about your niche now you never will. So make sure it’s one that you love.  

Finally: get involved. Go to signings and launches and book clubs. Start a blog or a vlog. Get to know authors and publishers. Don’t be shy about introducing yourself to publishers at launches and signings; we’re always happy to meet new people.  Keep an eye out for work experience and internship opportunities as well as job opportunities and apply widely. (I learned about the job I was eventually hired for from Facebook.)

And good luck!

About Anne

Anne Perry is an editor at Hodder & Stoughton. She spends much of her free time thinking about monster movies.

About Scott

Scott has written episode guides, magazine articles, film and book reviews, comics, audio plays for Big Finish, far too many blogs, some poems you will never read, and a trilogy of novels for Abaddon. His wife and two children indulge him, patiently.

Second Lives by Scott K Andrews, published by Hodder & Stoughton, out now, £13.99

Scott is giving away five copies of Timebomb and Second Lives when his new mailing list hits 100 subscribers. Sign up for a chance to win: http://scottkandrews.com/index.php/mailing-list/

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Review: Under my Skin by Zoe Markham

Under my Skin by Zoe Markham
Published by Carina UK 2015 (E-Book)
239 Pages

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Inside we are all monsters…

Chloe was once a normal girl. Until the night of the car crash that nearly claimed her life. Now Chloe’s mother is dead, her father is a shell of the man he used to be and the secrets that had so carefully kept their family together are falling apart.

A new start is all Chloe and her father can hope for, but when you think you’re no longer human how can you ever start pretending?

A contemporary reworking of a British horror classic, Under My Skin follows seventeen-year-old Chloe into an isolated world of darkness and pain, as she struggles to understand what it really means to be alive. 

Set against the familiar backdrop of everyday, normal teenage worries, Chloe's world has become anything but...

Thoughts

I'll admit that I did request a copy of this book just because of the cover and the title. It just really intrigued me and I was dying to know more about it. Also the tagline 'Inside we are all monsters' really pulled me in. I didn't know what Under my Skin was going to be about, but I was going to have fun finding out.

Under my Skin is a loose, modern re imagining of the classic Frankenstein which in itself is enough to hook readers. We follow teenager Chloe who after being in an horrific accident is brought back to life by her scientist father, who before had been working on a secret government project with an agency involving an undead army. The process changed Chloe, changing her body and skin and leaving her ravenous for protein. The story begins as Chloe and her father are heading to start a new life. As we get further into the story we see Chloe long to get out and meet new people, which her father reluctantly agrees to and enrols her into a private school. Chloe tries to fit in and even meets a potential love interest. But all the time hiding the secret that she is not normal.

For the first part of the story it is a little bit slow as we only have interaction with Chloe and her father. There's a little bit of mystery at the start also, as we don't know why they are running or why they have come to start a new life. Most of the first chapters are just Chloe trying to get used to her new environment, being alone and trying to come to terms with everything that has happened to her. I really liked this, as I felt like I got to know Chloe as a character on a one to basis. I found myself really caring for her and feeling sorry for her as well. She never asked for any of this to happen and at times I just wanted to slip into the book and tell her that everything was going to be okay. The further we got into her story the more I was rooting for her. I wanted her to be happy with herself and I wanted her to have some happiness. I was practically cheering when she met her love interest Daz, but was broken hearted at the same time. 

Each character that we meet throughout all have their different quirks and I found myself liking or hating each on that I met. Chloe was a great heroine, who was well drawn and well thought up. I loved seeing her grow into her own and start to accept herself. All she wanted was to be normal and live a normal life. The relationship between her and her father is the root of the book and yes, although it is a troubled one because of the things he has done I adored Chloe for finally forgiving him. All he father wanted was what was best for her and I felt that come the end she finally understood that. 

Under my Skin was a really fascinating, intriguing read. I loved the inspiration behind the book, but I think that may be because I love when classics are adapted into the modern day. The concept behind it was brilliant and the ending was superb and leaves it open for a sequel which I really hope does happen.

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Author Bio

A full-time editor by day, Zoë writes furiously at night when her son's safely in bed and the coffee's on. She currently has two Young Adult novels published with Carina UK (Hapercollins) and two more due out late 2016 with Grimbold Books.

She likes her fiction dark and disturbing, and some of her favourite authors include Darren Shan, Stephen King, Derek Landy, Patrick Ness and Alexander Gordon Smith.

Zoë has a completely unfounded fear of mushrooms, and doesn't feel at all comfortable writing about herself in the third person. If you'd like to know more, pop over and say hello on Twitter and she'll more than likely talk your ear off.