Tag Archives: Book News

Trouble’s coming.

TroubleA boy. A girl. A bump. Trouble.

Hannah’s smart and funny … she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby?

Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.

One of the 2014 books I’m already most excited about is Trouble the debut novel from Non Pratt who until the end of tomorrow is the commissioning editor at Catnip Publishing. I got to meet Non at a YA event last summer and was thrilled to discover she was as lovely as I’d heard, hearing soon after about her book I had a feeling it was going to be good. The early copies of the book are out and about already and I’ve been hearing uniformly brilliant things about it, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

The lovely people at Walker Books want to make sure as many people hear about this book as possible. They’ve worked with Thinkjam on this, and today have launched a dedicated Tumblr account – you can find it here. That wasn’t sufficient, so they’ve also launched a search to find VIP readers to read Trouble early and join in with spreading the word.

(Click to make it bigger and more legible.)

(Click to make it bigger and more legible.)

This is a great opportunity for readers to get to read the book early – why not get emailing?

Booktrust’s 100 Best Books.

Today sees the start of Children’s Book Week 2013, the annual celebration of reading for pleasure for children. Booktrust have really kicked off the week well, they’ve announced their ultimate list of 100 books every child should read before they’re 14. They have split the books into four sections of 25 books, these are aimed at the age bands 0-5 years, 6-8 years, 9-11 years and 12-14 years.

This post about how they narrowed the list to 100 books is very interesting, and well worth reading. It puts the selection process into context and rightfully acknowledges that such a process is always a subjective one and any list is never going to garner universal agreement.

Booktrust are opening the debate to everyone, they’re inviting everyone to vote for their favourite book from the list for each of the four age bands. Voting closes on 15th November and they will announce “the nation’s top books” on 25th November.

For the rest of the week I’m going to focus on this list of 100 books. I will feature one section a day, listing the books in the section and my thoughts about them.

First YA convention for the UK.

Today, Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman announced the first ever UK convention focusing solely on Young Adult literature. It will take place at London Film and Comic Con, and over two days will feature talks, signings, workshops and more. You can find out more information here at the Children’s Laureate website.

I’m really excited by this prospect, I’ve become a keen convention attendee and have been to a few literary festivals, both large and small, so can imagine what a wonderful event this is going to be. The fact that Malorie Blackman is going to be curating it fills me with delight, since being appointed as Children’s Laureate earlier this year she has worked hard to keep children’s literacy and libraries as a prominent discussion point so I’m sure she’s going to spearhead a fantastic event.

Booktrust’s Best Book Guide 2012.

Cover of Booktrust Best Book Guide 2012
Booktrust have just released their Best Book Guide 2012. It gives the details of what they consider the best books of the year in four age bands; 5 years and under, 5 – 8 years, 9 – 12 years, and teen and young adult. For each book along with the book details and a picture of the cover they give a description of the book and age ratings for both interest level and reading age. There are some wonderful books listed in each category, I’ve added a few to my wishlist and a few to my shopping list for young relatives this Christmas. If you’re interested in children’s books I’d say it’s well worth a look.

Strange Chemistry’s Open Door.

I said yesterday that I’d be posting about something a little different that Strange Chemistry were doing, and here I am. They have announced that they will be holding an Open Door period in conjunction with their parent company Angry Robot.

So what does this actually mean?
Between 16th and 30th April UNAGENTED AUTHORS can send their novels in to Strange Chemistry for their consideration. They will be reading all novels that are submitted (providing they follow all of the guidelines for submission) and may end up publishing some of them.

Angry Robot Books did this last year, and so far three authors have been signed as a result of it. If you’ve got a YA novel that falls anywhere in the SF/F genres this is a really great opportunity to get your work seen. Who knows, this time next year I might be writing a post about *your* debut novel with Strange Chemistry!

This page is vital reading for anyone who thinks that they might like to sumbit their novel. It contains all of the information about what they are and aren’t looking for, how you should format your submission and a really helpful FAQ. So get reading, and get fixing up that manuscript and good luck!

More exciting titles from Strange Chemistry.

Since announcing their first two titles a couple of weeks ago Strange Chemistry have continued to be really busy. Tomorrow I’ll be posting about something a little different they’re doing, but first up we have the announcements for two more brilliant sounding books.

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond.

About the book: On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

About the author: Gwenda Bond is a contributing writer for Publishers Weekly, has reviewed books for the Washington Post and Locus Magazine, and has appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition. She won the 2010 Veritas Media Award from the Romance Writers of America for her article “Romancing the Recession” in PW, and recently guest edited a special YA issue of Subterranean Online featuring work by Kelly Link, Sarah Rees Brennan, Malinda Lo, and others.

Gwenda also holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ program in writing for children and young adults, and maintains an active online presence. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, SF author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie.

Visit Gwenda online at http://gwendabond.typepad.com/ and on Twitter as @Gwenda

Katya’s World (Part 1 of The Russalka Chronicles) by Jonathan L Howard.

About the book:The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent.

Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history. She is making her first submarine voyage as an apprentice navigator; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career. But there is nothing nice and simple about the deep, black waters of Russalka and soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges.

For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin. And when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet…

About the author: Jonathan L. Howard has been a game designer for the last twenty years, and a full-time author for the past three. He is the author of the Johannes Cabal series of novels. He lives near Bristol.

Visit Jonathan online at http://johannescabal.com/ and follow him on Twitter as @JonathanLHoward

I really love the way that Strange Chemistry is already announcing titles that span the genre world so well, I think there will be something to please everyone.

Introducing… Atomic Fez.

For the rest of this week I’m going to be featuring indie Canadian publisher Atomic Fez.

Atomic Fez publishes “good books”. It’s probably easiest to use their own words to explain:

Books, let’s face it, have been in the same situation as music for some time now: rarely are they of one specific genre or variety of content. Even if there is a dominant type, it’s likely either a mis-understood one like “horror” (which can be anything from Edgar Allan Poe, to Albert Camus, to any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s non-Holmes stories), or it’s a category saddled with an imprecise, all-encompassing term such as “mystery”, which basically states that there’s something which needs to be discovered by the end of the story, and any tale that doesn’t have that at its core may not have a lot going for it already.

No one listens to one variety of music exclusively, nor does anyone read any one style of book to the avoidance of others. Likewise, Atomic Fez was created to make available the books which are ‘good’, which are worth spending whatever time and money you have to read them, and which free you to dive-in without any pre-conceived notions of what they’ll be like before doing so.

The books available from Atomic Fez are not selected because they don’t fit specific markets, but are chosen despite the fact that other publishers have declared them ‘tough to market’. This is, at its roots, a business after all; no one’s actively trying to make their job tougher that it already is selling books. That said, the best recommendation a book can get is probably “you gotta read this, it’s awesome! I’m not going to tell you anything more; just read it, okay?”

The books Atomic Fez publishes will, hopefully, engender just such a reaction in you and others.

I love this ethos, and have been excited to get to read a couple of their books. So far Atomic Fex have published seven books with one of these, Ponthe Oldenguine, being shortlisted for the British Fantasy Society’s Best Novella Award 2010.

You can find Atomic Fez’s website here, and you can find them on Twitter and Facebook.

I shall be reviewing Andrew Hook’s Ponth Oldenguine tomorrow, and Chris Roth’s Dirk Danger Loves Life so make sure you come back to see what I thought of these books.

First titles announced by Strange Chemistry.

I’m really excited today to see that new YA imprint Strange Chemistry have announced their first two titles.

Shift by Kim Curran

About The Book: When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he’s not quite so average after all. He’s a ‘Shifter’. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world quickly starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

About the Author: Kim Curran was born in Dublin and moved to London when she was seven. After studying Philosophy and Literature at Sussex University her plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts never quite paid off. She became an advertising copywriter instead, specialising in writing for video games. She lives in SW London with her husband, if they’re not both off travelling. When she’s not writing she fences and plays guitar, both very badly.

Visit Kim online at http://www.kimcurran.co.uk/ and on Twitter as @kimecurran

Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings

About the Book: Julie is an apprentice witch – or so she believes. When a dark power comes stalking out of the past to haunt her and her mother, Julie learns that she is far more than just a witch. With the help of her best friend Marcus and a rather unusual Great Dane, Julie has to race against time to ensure she can defeat the bad guy, save her mother and avoid being grounded – again!

About the Author: Sean Cummings lives in Saskatoon, Canada. He’s a comic book geek, superhero junkie, zombie fan and a total nerd. His interests include science fiction, the borg, cats with extra toes, east Indian cuisine and quality sci-fi movies/television. Sean has been writing since 1978 (as a means of liberating his “inner nerd”) and his published works for adults include Shade Fright, Funeral Pallor and Unseen World, all published by Snowbooks. Poltergeeks is his first book for Young Adults.

Visit Sean online at www.sean-cummings.ca and www.darkcentralstation.com and on Twitter as @saskatoonauthor

I love the sound of both of these books, I’m really looking forward to reading them already.

The lengths an author will go to.

Today sees the paperback release of Simon Spurrier’s excellent novel A Serpent Uncoiled. I reviewed it back in August last year when the trade paperback was released, my review can be found here – I absolutely loved it. So too did lots of other reviewers, but the book went sadly unnoticed by many. So Simon has decided that with this paperback release he’s going to do his utmost to get it noticed, the result is this video filled with some incredibly inventive made up insults and a serious message:

He’s also written an excellent blog post himself about the video and why he’s made it, you can find it here.

Introducing… Rouge Romance.

For the rest of this week I’m going to be featuring a new digital list from Ebury, Rouge Romance.

The Rouge list is split into six sub-genres – Regency, Historical, Suspense, Contemporary, Paranormal and Occasions and includes many award-winning, New York Times best-selling authors. All the novels are full length and feature covers specially designed for the UK market. They released eight titles released when they launched on 29 September, and plan to publish four books each month with additional extra ones at times like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. The list is eBooks only at the moment, but there are plans to release print versions of the most popular titles in the future.

They have a website which has details of all of the books they have published so far, and information about the authors behind the books. At the moment there is a PDF sampler available to download that gives you a peek at 8 of the titles currently available. In addition to the website they can be found on Twitter @RougeRomance and Facebook here.

I’ve read Bella Andre’s Wild Heat and Jill Sorenson’s Crash Into Me, both from the Suspense sub-genre. I’ll be reviewing Wild Heat tomorrow and Crash Into Me on Friday so make sure you come back to find out what I thought of them!