Monday 31 December 2012

The Final Four Books for 2012!

It's the last day of 2012, so what better way to see out the year than with my final four books on my 20 Books for 2012 list? Only with these, I'm going to cheat slightly. Y'see, these books aren't actually out until 2013, but as the authors are my fellow Lucky 13s, I got to read the ARCs, and they are so fantastic I had to include them on my list.

CJ Flood - Infinite Sky

Iris's mum's has left home, her brother's going off the rails and travellers have set up camp in the family's paddock. When Iris befriends Trick, a traveller boy, tensions spill over and events take a turn that will turn Iris's life upside down. This is an exquisitely written book which will stick in your mind long after you've read it. I predict great things for INFINITE SKY!

Demitria Lunetta - In The After

There was Before – before the monsters came; before humanity as we know it ended. And there was After. That's where Amy and Baby live, struggling to survive.  When they're rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of fellow survivors with plenty of food and shelter, it's like a dream come true, but they soon realise that nothing there is what it seems… This is a tense, gripping thriller packed with twists and turns that keep you guessing all the way through. I loved it!

Elsie Chapman - Dualed

In Kersh, everyone has an Alt - a twin raised by another family - and when the time comes, they're both activated and must hunt each other down. Only the strongest alt will survive and be deemed worthy of a place in society. West Grayer's time has come, but a tragic mistake has left her wondering if she deserves to survive. DUALED is a thrilling, gritty read which deftly blends action, romance and suspense in a brilliantly realised dystopian setting.

And finally (drum roll please…)

Imogen Howson - Linked

Elissa's future used to look bright. All that changed when she started suffering terrible headaches and pains, and having strange visions, and unexplained bruises started appearing all over her body. Just as she's about to undergo a cure, she discovers the truth behind her problems: she's been sharing the experiences of a twin she never knew existed, Lin. Together, they end up on the run, hunted down by a government who'll stop at nothing to get them back. LINKED is a breathless roller-coaster ride of a book, with a denouement that will leave you reeling.

Want to check out some more amazing books that will be out in 2013? Then head over to my group blog The Lucky 13s – if I hadn't been limited to 20 books with this list, they'd all be on there!

Don't forget – today is your last chance to win a signed ARC of ACID! If you haven't entered the giveaway yet and you'd like to, head on over to my cover reveal post and leave your name and Twitter handle or email address in the comments. The competition closes at midnight GMT and I'll be announcing the winner on here tomorrow.

Thanks for reading this blog throughout 2012, and I hope 2013 brings you everything you wish for and more. Happy new year!

Saturday 22 December 2012

ACID Cover Reveal & Signed ARC Giveaway!

So, this cover is probably the worst-kept secret on the internet as it's been up on Amazon and Goodreads for a while now, but for anyone who hasn't seen it… here it is! Isn't it gorgeous? I am so, so thrilled with it, and the cover model looks EXACTLY how I imagine Jenna to look. I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her, would you?

From the back cover:

ACID - the most brutal police force in history.
They rule with an iron fist.
They see everything. They know everything.
They locked me away for life.

My crime?
They say I murdered my parents.
I was fifteen years old.

My name is Jenna Strong.

Squee! A huge thank you to Larry Rostant and the design team at Random House Children's Publishing for coming up with such an amazing, badass cover! And even more gigantic thank yous and mince pies/gingerbread Santas to all the awesome book bloggers who are posting ACID's cover on their blogs today as well: Serendipity Reviews, So Many Books, So Little Time, Bookangel Booktopia, Pug's Story Corner, My Favourite Books, Books 4 Teens, Sister Spooky and Readaraptor!

So, do you want to win a SIGNED ARC of ACID? Of course you do! To enter, leave a comment below this post, along with some way of getting hold of you - Twitter handle, email or blog link. The competition will run until midnight GMT on Sunday 31st December 2012, and is open internationally. I'll announce the winner on Monday, 1st January 2013 to kick off the new year in style!

The giveaway is now closed - congratulations to @mcrogerson (comment number 70) who won the ARC!

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Monday 17 December 2012

The Hound

Regular blog readers might have noticed I've been taking a blog break. Apologies – this wasn't planned. A few weeks ago, The Hound (that handsome stripy fella in my photo) fell ill, and twenty-four hours later, he had to be put to sleep. This post is written in his memory.

Dear Hound,

Do you remember the first time we met? I didn't know this then, but you were always wary of people you didn't know. Yet that day, a chilly November Saturday, you walked straight up to me, leant on me and looked up at me. Your gentle gaze hit me like a lightning bolt, and I knew from that moment that you were going to be mine.

Do you remember that day the following weekend when we brought you home? You'd never lived in a house before; never had a proper bed. The first time you lay down on your duvet and blankets, I could see the wonder in your eyes. At first, you wanted to be left alone, but as the evening progressed, you inched closer and closer to us – first laying in the doorway to the living room, then behind the armchairs, and finally, curling up on your blanket by my feet. And do you remember when you found the toys we'd bought for you? You'd never had those before, either, and when you chewed one and it squeaked, you couldn't work out where the sound was coming from.

Do you remember your first night here? Alone downstairs, you cried, until, ignoring the advice we'd been given by the kennels, we came downstairs to comfort you. And do you remember, after that, how quickly you settled in? How everyone who saw me out walking with you exclaimed over your size, your tiger-stripe markings and your gentleness? Watching you unwrap your presents that first Christmas was a joy. You got an orange ball which you chased all over the garden, leaping around like you were on springs.

Then, thanks to something that had happened to you before you came to us, you got sick. It took four months and a change of vets to get a diagnosis, during which time you were wasting away before our eyes. I was terrified we'd lose you, and couldn't believe you were going to be taken away from us so soon. But you were a fighter, and we fought for you too, and slowly, you began to come round. You weren't the same dog, and you would never be truly well again, but for us, that made you all the more special. Despite everything, you loved and trusted us, and we had a bond I've never known with any animal before. Life eventually returned to something like normal, and we were able to enjoy you more than ever before.

Do you remember the summer evening walks we used to go on, where you'd stalk through the long grass in the twilight, ears pricked up, your sharp eyes seeing things in the shadows we didn't even know were there? Do you remember how you used to get all your toys out of your basket, one by one, and fling them around? Do you remember lying on your 'sun lounger' in the garden, and I fetched a cushion to put under your head? Do you remember how you used to wait behind the front door when I got back from work, whinnying in excitement? 

I wish we could have had one more day with you. Three years was not enough. Without you in it, the world is a very different place, and I don't know if we'll ever get used to it. But I'm glad we got to share our lives with you for a while.

Rest in peace, The Hound. We'll never forget you. x