Book News

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!

Blog News · Book News

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.

Book News

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 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 and and on Twitter as @saskatoonauthor

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

Book News

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.

Book News

Bookish Brilliance – The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.

I’ve been seeing a lot of great buzz online already for Eowyn Ivey’s debut novel The Snow Child so I was thrilled to win a copy in a Twitter giveaway. Here’s the blurb:

A bewitching tale of heartbreak and hope set in 1920s Alaska

Jack and Mabel hope that a fresh start in ‘Alaska, our newest homeland’ will enable them to put the strain of their childless marriage behind them. But the northern wilderness proves as unforgiving as it is beautiful: Jack fears that he will collapse under the strain of creating a farm, and the lonely winter eats its way into Mabel’s soul. When the first snow falls, the couple find themselves building a small figure – a snow girl. The next morning, their creation has gone, and they see a child running through the spruce trees. Gradually this child – an elusive, untameable little girl who hunts with a fox and is more at ease in the savage landscape than in the homestead – comes into their lives. But as their love for the snow child and for the land she opens up to them grows, so too does their awareness that it, and she, may break their hearts.

I’m going to be reviewing it in the new year (sneak preview – I loved it), but when I saw this gorgeous trailer I knew I couldn’t wait to post it.

The book is a truly beautiful read and this trailer couldn’t be more perfect for it.

Book News

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!

Book News

New YA Imprint from Angry Robot.

I’m always pleased to be able to blog about exciting book news, and this story has certainly got my attention. Angry Robot is launching a sister imprint Strange Chemistry that will publish YA genre fiction.

Angry Robot logoAngry Robot announces new YA imprint, Strange Chemistry

Angry Robot, the award-winning publisher of SF, F and WTF are pleased to announce their newest venture – a sister imprint, Strange Chemistry, which will publish Young Adult genre fiction.

The imprint will launch in September 2012, with five titles appearing before the end of that year, before settling down to one book each month. Strange Chemistry will follow AR’s strategy of co-publishing its books simultaneously in the US and UK, in both eBook and paperback formats. Subject matter will include fantasy, science fiction, supernatural and horror, and as with Angry Robot the lines between those genres are likely to be very blurry at times.

Running the imprint will be Amanda Rutter, until recently best known as the tireless blogger behind genre review site, Floor-to-Ceiling Books. She takes up her position in Angry Robot’s headquarters in Nottingham on December 12th.

Angry Robot’s managing director Marc Gascoigne said: “The key to any truly successful genre imprint is the personality of its editors. In Amanda we’ve found the perfect mix of editing skills and wild, wild enthusiasm for the subject. Her first signings are already making us jump up and down in excitement. We’re beyond delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Amanda Rutter commented, “Angry Robot have quickly become one of the most exciting and challenging genre publishers around, and I have so much admiration for the types of novels that the guys are bringing to the world of speculative fiction. I’m absolutely thrilled that I have the opportunity to join the team, and create a list full of Young Adult novels that share the same sharpness and passion as those in the AR list.”

More information can be found at and You can meet Amanda at

I’ve been following Amanda’s blog for a while now and I almost always find myself agreeing with what she has to say so I am really looking forward to seeing the books that she will bring us.

Book News

Fiction Expresss Monday : Introducing… Falling Backwards.

It’s been a few weeks since my last Fiction Express Monday post so I’m really excited to be back with one today, to talk about the new book being launched this week.

Falling Backwards is written by Jenny Ryan (you can read a great introduction to her here), and sounds absolutely brilliant:

When a stranger takes the seat next to Leah on the plane to Mexico and unburdens her unhappy story, Leah finds herself involved in someone else’s life in a way she’d never thought possible. Can Leah help April correct the mistakes of her past and find peace at last? Will she risk losing herself in the process?

The first chapter goes live on Friday (18th November) and you have until Monday 28th November to vote on where you think the second chapter should go.

Fiction Express have reduced the price of the credits you buy to read the book:

  • 1 credit costs 49p
  • 5 credits cost £2.25 (works out at 45p each)
  • 10 credits cost £3.90 (works out at 39p each)

The first chapter will be free like normal, so if you buy the ten credits outright at the beginning that means you’ll get the whole book for £3.90 – brilliant value I think.

I’ve had a sneaky peak at chapter 1, and I can tell you it’s brilliant. Make sure you come back on Monday 28th November once the voting is closed to find out exactly what I thought.

Book News

World Book Night 2012 Books.

The 25 titles that will be given out on World Book Night 2012 (23rd April) were announced on Monday. It’s a great looking list:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Player of Games by Iain M Banks
Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Take by Martina Cole
Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell
Someone Like You by Roald Dahl
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Room by Emma Donoghue
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Misery by Stephen King
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Let the Right One In by John Ajvde Lindqvist
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
The Damned Utd by David Peace
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

The ones in bold are the ones I’ve read, italics are sitting on my shelves waiting for me to read them, and underlined were already on my wishlist.

I’m trying to work out at the moment whether I can apply to be a bookgiver this year as I had to miss out last year. If I can I think I’m going to have to think long and hard about which of the brilliant books I want to apply to give. If you want to apply to be a giver then visit

Book News · Reading

Why not give a book?

I’ve just been introduced to We Give Books on Twitter by Keris and couldn’t resist writing a quick post about it.

From the site:
We Give Books is a new digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don’t have them, simply by reading online.

We Give Books combines the joy of reading with the power of helping others, providing a platform for caregivers and educators to inspire children to become lifelong readers and lifelong givers.

We Give Books also helps some of the world’s best, most inspiring, literacy organizations by spreading the word about their great work and by providing books to the young people these organizations support.

It really is that simple. There are currently 150 books to choose from with lots of picture books and some pretty interesting looking non fiction titles too – they’re all pretty quick reads and it’s a great chance to read something a little bit different. So far I’ve enjoyed Why Lion Roars and Many Marvellous Monsters and I think I’ll be taking the opportunity to finally read a couple of classics like Madeline and The Little Engine That Could.