Friday, September 19, 2014

Publishing Deal - Amy Alward & James Dawson on Diversity Monitoring

In today's Bookseller, news of a publishing deal for Amy Alward (aka Amy McCulloch):

Simon and Schuster Children’s Books has acquired a new title from Amy Alward, author and editorial director at Puffin.

The Potion Diaries is about a girl called Samantha Kemi who dreams of going to university to study potions. She has absolutely no magical talent but her instinct for putting together a potion is second to none. When the city’s princess is accidentally poisoned Samantha sets off on an adventure to find all the ingredients.

Elv Moody, fiction editorial director, and Jane Griffiths, commissioning editor at S&S Children’s UK, acquired the world English rights from Juliet Mushens at The Agency Group in a six figure pre-emptive deal.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything that feels as fresh as this,” said Moody. “With pulse-pounding thrills, a contest to save a princess (who is much more Kate Middleton than Rapunzel) takes place in a whirlwind of paparazzi and social media – with just a touch of perfect romantic chemistry.”

The book, described as "a clean teen title for readers aged 11 plus", will be published in paperback in summer 2015.

Also in The Bookseller, James Dawson speaking about diversity:

YA author James Dawson has called for “diversity monitoring” from children’s publishers.

The author proposed the idea as he delivered the annual Patrick Hardy lecture to the Children’s Book Circle in London last night (17th September). In the speech, Dawson said children’s and YA books should feature characters of different gender, sexualities, faiths, abilities, ethnicities, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Children’s books are actually quite diverse but it’s hard to know for sure either way,” he explained to The Bookseller. “It would be a big job to monitor for diversity but it would come down to publishers. It they kept track of diversity they would have actual statistics. They would keep on top of good practice as well.” He added: “There’s always the risk of ticking a box then moving along. We want to track the industry to check that we don’t get a situation where, for example, suddenly it’s been 10 years since they last published a title with a gay character.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Awards News: Longlist Announced for NBA Young People's Literature 2014

The longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature 2014 has been announced:
Laurie Halse Anderson -  The Impossible Knife of Memory (Viking/ Penguin Group (USA))

Gail Giles -  Girls Like Us (Candlewick Press)

Carl Hiaasen -  Skink—No Surrender (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers/ Random House)

Kate Milford - Greenglass House (Clarion Books/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Eliot Schrefer -  Threatened (Scholastic Press)

Steve Sheinkin -  The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
(Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan Publishers)

Andrew Smith -  100 Sideways Miles (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster)

John Corey Whaley -  Noggin (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster)

Deborah Wiles - Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two (Scholastic Press)

Jacqueline Woodson -  Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Group (USA))

The Guardian fleshes out the list.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick (July 2014, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, ISBN: 1471123227)

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
, based on the YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is every bit as delightful as the original.

The Bennet family is somewhat smaller that Austen's but there's lots going on with Jane, Lizzie and Lydia.

Due to financial constraints, Mrs Bennet is keen to have her older daughters married off and out of the house – not necessarily in that order – so when the wealthy Bing Lee rents a posh house in Netherfield, Mrs Bennet schemes to get her daughters in front of him. Meanwhile Lizzie is in grad school and as part of her studies she has decided to document her personal life on video, with the help of her best friend Charlotte. As the diaries become popular, Lizzie's younger sister Lydia begins to do her own.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
follows the same path as Pride and Prejudice – introducing Darcy, Mr Collins, George Wickham, Catherine de Bourgh and documents the happy times and the pain these characters cause either by mistake or deliberately, all the while set in the modern-day world with Lizzie and Darcy both involved in creating Internet content. The sisters go from living at home and dependent on their family to being able to leave the nest and have successful careers.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. Despite being based on a classic story it is very modern (including references to pregnancy-scares and sex-tapes) with lots of twists on the original. Being a diary format, it means you'll think “I'll just read one more chapter” and before you know it you've reached the end! I haven't seen the YouTube series (yet) but that didn't affect my enthusiasm for the book.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Publishing Deal - Eugene Lambert

From today's Book Trade, news of SF trilogy from Eugene Lambert, snapped up by Egmont:
Egmont Publishing has acquired a "page-turning sci-fi thriller trilogy" by debut novelist Eugene Lambert.

The first book, THE SIGN OF ONE, will publish in Spring 2016, in paperback on Egmont's Electric Monkey list, with books 2 & 3 following 9-12 months apart.

On Wrath, a dump-world for human outcasts, identical twins are feared. Only one will grow up human, while the other becomes a condemned monster with 'twisted' blood. When sixteen-year-old Kyle realises he's a Twist, he flees for his life with the help of Sky, a rebel glider pilot. To survive, they must confront what Kyle is, then find out who he is.

"This is compulsive YA at its very best – perfect for fans of Suzanne Collins, Michael Grant and Sally Green," commented Stella Paskins, Fiction Publisher, Egmont Publishing.

Read the whole article at Book Trade.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Jan. 2014, Usborne Publishing Ltd, ISBN: 140957993X)

I remember all the praise Anna and the French Kiss received when it was first published – 2010 in the US – and as it now has a UK release I was able to finally read it myself.

I too thoroughly enjoyed it and am pleased that the second and third books, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After, in this (what I understand to be) loosely linked trilogy, are also now available in the UK!

Seventeen-year-old Anna Oliphant, from Atlanta, has been sent by her rich, writer, father to finish her education in an American School in Paris. She speaks Spanish but no French and doesn't know a soul. Fortunately she is soon being looked after by her neighbour Mer, who introduces Anna to her friends, including the gorgeous Etienne St Clair, he of the equally gorgeous English accent.

Anna is smitten by St Clair (as everyone calls him) but he has a girlfriend and she has a tentative relationship brewing back at home nonetheless the pair become almost inseparable.. as best friends.

Over the course of the school year, St Clair helps Anna become more independent and she helps him cope with his difficult family situation. But will they end up together or is this mutual friendship enough?

Who can resist a (possible) romance/coming of age story set in Paris? Anna is someone you can relate too as she stumbles her way through the first few weeks, embarrassed by her lack of French language, and I loved her film references/comments – she wants to be a film critic. St Clair is lovely but also a bit frustrating and that is what makes him a bit different from a standard gorgeous boy character, he is cautious and is also not six-foot plus tall, and makes jokes about his lack of height.

I read the ebook version which also includes a deleted scene, and an extract from Lola.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Free E-Novella: Fearless by Brigid Kemmerer

Fearless by Brigid Kemmerer is currently free on UK Kindle and at Kobo.

Hunter Garrity is used to watching his back. The kids at school sense something different about him. And they're right.

Hunter has powers that have nothing to do with how hard he can throw a punch.

Maybe that's what Clare Kasten is picking up. She's shy, quiet, and intense, but she's sought him out. There's no telling what she wants from him.

But Hunter knows enough to sense a secret when it's close. And getting close to Clare is a danger he's ready to face.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Free ebook : Run to You Part 1 by Clara Kensie (US only)

Run to You Part 1: First Sight is currently free at the Harlequin store. It's not available to UK customers so I assume it's US only. (It's is £1.19 UK Kindle, £1.99 Kobo).

Part One in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past, and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…

Sarah Spencer has a secret: her real name is Tessa Carson, and to stay alive, she can tell no one the truth about her psychically gifted family and the danger they are running from. As the new girl in the latest of countless schools, she also runs from her attraction to Tristan Walker—after all, she can't even tell him her real name. But Tristan won't be put off by a few secrets. Not even dangerous ones that might rip Tessa from his arms before they even kiss…

Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: True Fire by Gary Meehan

True Fire by Gary Meehan (April 2014, Quercus, ISBN: 1782069135)

Notes: The following review is written by Amanda Gillies who reviews crime fiction on my Euro Crime website. You can read  her crime reviews here and her YA reviews here.

Review: This book is simply glorious! A wonderful adventure and a real fight of good against bad, TRUE FIRE is the first in an exciting new YA trilogy and tells the story of Megan, who loses her home and her family when she is only 16. Not knowing where she can turn for help, or even who to trust, as things are not always as they seem, Megan sets out to discover why her village was destroyed around her and to also rescue her twin sister from her kidnappers. What she finds out casts a shadow on everything she has ever known and believed in. Her society’s priests and revered religion might not be the truth after all. And what about the dreaded witches? They came and destroyed the land once before, burning everything and killing millions of people. Now the witches are on the move again and the land is heading towards more bloodshed. Megan must learn to be brave in order to survive. She must also learn how to use her sword to defend herself, and others, as she finds out exactly why she is at the centre of what will turn out to be the worst war that her land has ever known.

As well as being a gripping story, TRUE FIRE is about an ordinary girl. Although the story is about witches, there are no magic powers in the air. Megan has to use her wits and guts, not spells and second sight, to keep herself alive. She is scared and unsure of what to do, as well as devastated by the violent death of her grandfather. The reader is able to identify with Megan and you end up willing her along, cheering when she manages to use her sword properly and being really relieved when she escapes from the foe.

If you like reading adventures that have ordinary people as the heroes then you are going to love this story. The ending is dramatic as well as bitter sweet. I can’t wait for the release of the second book in the trilogy so that I can find out what happens next!

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Harry Potter Short Story

News of a Harry Potter short story, set when the gang's in their thirties.
Can’t get enough of Harry Potter? Then this is for you. Since March, best-selling author J. K. Rowling has been writing original stories about the imaginary 2014 Quidditch World Cup Finals for Pottermore, the online home for the world of Harry Potter.

Rowling shared her latest Pottermore.com story exclusively with TODAY.com. Written in the voice of the fictional Daily Prophet's gossip correspondent Rita Skeeter, this post centers around the reunion of Harry Potter and his friends at the Quidditch World Cup Finals.
Read the short story at Today.com

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wells & Wong Short Story by Robin Stevens

Over on We Love This Book, you can read a free short story by Robin Stevens: The Case of Lavinia's Missing Tie, which is set before Murder Most Unladylike (out now).

Read it here.