OK, let’s start with what my absolute dream day would look like.
7am: Awake refreshed after a long sleep, get up, do yoga and have breakfast.
8.30am – 11.30am: sit at desk and write. 2,500 words.
11.30 – 12.30pm: go for a 4k run around the park.
12.30 –1.30pm: have lunch / maybe meet with friends.
1.30pm – 3.00pm: Back at desk to write 1,500 words.
3.00pm – 5.30pm: Read.
5.30pm: greet husband and chat about day. Dinner and bed.
Just look at it. How perfect would that be? How perfect would I be? If every working day were like that one, I would glow with smugness like the vegan in Scott Pilgrim.
But I’ll be honest, days like that don’t happen often. If ever. I haven’t done yoga in six months. Or gone for a run in three. So before I get too annoyed with myself, let’s quickly move on to what an actual day in my life looks like, shall we?
I have two typical working days. Or let’s call them ideal days. Because things don’t always go to plan.
The first is when I’m freelancing as a copywriter – my ‘real’ job. That means for eight+ hours of the day I belong to my clients and all my creative energy goes into their projects. Even then, I try and I squeeze some ‘me’ writing in. If I have to work on site, I use my commuting time to scribble away. In fact, most of the first draft of SHIFT was written on the number 243 bus between Waterloo and Shoreditch, where my old agency is based. I find something soothing about the distraction of the noise of the bus and the freedom of writing by hand. It switches off the voice in my head that has a tendency to mutter everything I write is rubbish. When the words are scrawled in spidery ink on a page, of course it’s rubbish. It’s just a first draft and the knowledge that I can fix it all later is immensely freeing for me. So much so that sometimes, even when I don’t have to commute, I hop on a bus to nowhere, just for a change of scene.
If I’m working for my clients from home, I aim to split my day up into chunks. I start work at 8.30am, work till 11.30am, then I do about two hours personal writing, before getting back to work and finishing whatever it is I’m being paid to write.
My other typical day, and these are the days I love the most, is when I’m writing just for me.
I still approach writing as a job. I get up at the same time, grab a coffee and head to my desk, which is in the back room of my flat, and I start writing. OK, so I do a bit of email checking, twittering and what have you, but mostly, when it’s all going well, I write.
I aim for at least 2,000 words a day. And when things are really going my way, I can crank that up to about 4,000.
I write very, very rough and loose drafts, focusing on the key scenes I have planned out, jumping forward in the story if something isn’t flowing easily. I don’t edit as I go, as that would be death to me. I’d only look at what I’d written, see how bad it is, and want to give up. So instead, my first ‘vomit’ draft, if you will, is like a sprint to the end. It’s mostly made up of dialogue between characters, with the odd action sequence thrown in here or there, as I love to write them. And I go back and fill in the important details later.
These drafts are filled with lines that look like this:
XXXX Describe building and his emotional turmoil here. XXXX
XXXX Add in scene where he finds out what the bad guys are up to XXXX
I’ve been told it’s a weird way to operate, but it seems to work for me.
My first draft will usually be about 20,000 if not 30,000 words short of its eventual word count. I view them as building the skeleton that I can later go over and add meat and muscle to: deepening characters and highlighting themes. It helps me to have a sense of the whole story before I start to try mould it into shape.
When re-drafting, I start by identifying the gaps in the story, by hunting out all those XXXs in the WIP. I sometimes bring the book from Word into Scrivener, which makes seeing the holes easier. And then I go over it layer by layer, till I have something I think might just be approaching a genuine first draft.
Then I send the file to my Kindle and read the whole thing through, making notes as I go. Another pass of the book and then it’s out to my beta readers.
Then re-write. And re-write some more.
I work best in the mornings, and find the afternoons are better used for plotting or researching or writing blog posts. I seriously can’t work past 7pm. My brain just shuts down and won’t give anymore no matter how much coffee I feed it.
I try not to work on the weekends, to give both my husband and myself a break. But I might grab a notebook and scribble a thought as it comes to me.
The one bit of the process I need to get better at making time for is the staring into space time. This is an absolutely essential part of the process. I have a tendency to dive in and start typing, as though if I’m not racking up that word count somehow I’m not really working. And frankly, as anyone who writes or creates anything knows, that’s just stupid. The really important bit happens while you’re lying in the bath, or going for long walks, or watching something on TV you don’t really care about. And that’s hard to schedule.
I’m still trying to work out my process, and I think it will change as I get more used to this writing malarkey. Maybe even one day I’ll start to have more and more of those dream days. And wouldn’t that be grand?
We always, but always, manage to be late with these posts! At least we’re still in the month of April and hence surrounded by all the goodies that we’re about to mention to you below. As always, share your thoughts with us in the comments section – which of these thrill you, which have you read, which didn’t you know about before this post but are now going to pick up?
Ready? Let’s begin!
1) The Calling – Kelley Armstrong
Maya and her friends–all of whom have supernatural powers–have been kidnapped after fleeing from a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set, and after a terrifying helicopter crash they find themselves pursued by evildoers in the Vancouver Island wilderness.
2) Fear – Michael Grant
It’s been one year since all the adults disappeared. Gone.
Despite the hunger and the lies, even despite the plague, the kids of Perdido Beach are determined to survive. Creeping into the tenuous new world they’ve built, though, is perhaps the worst incarnation yet of the enemy known as the Darkness: fear.
Within the FAYZ, life breaks down while the Darkness takes over, literally—turning the dome-world of the FAYZ entirely black. In darkness, the worst fears of all emerge, and the cruelest of intentions are carried out. But even in their darkest moments, the inhabitants of the FAYZ maintain a will to survive and a desire to take care of the others in their ravaged band that endures, no matter what the cost.
3) Brothers to the Death – Darren Shan
After years of wandering, Larten has finally found his way back to his vampire family and resumed the vigorous, brutal training to become a General. But there are vampires determined to pull Larten into starting a war that could have global implications and casualties. Vampires who will stop at nothing. Vampires who would betray Larten in the most cutting way.
4) The Selection – Kiera Cass
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself- and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
5) The Immortal Rules – Julie Kagawa
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die? or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
6) Immortal City – Scott Speer
Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them.
He’s days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone’s obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect – everyone except for Madison Montgomery.
Maddy’s the one girl in Angel City who doesn’t breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn’t recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.
Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson’s scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi – and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels’ wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat & and this time it’s up to Maddy to save Jackson.
7) The Fire Ascending – Chris d’Lacey
On Earth, at the battle of Scuffenbury Hill, time has been suspended. Dragons and their natural enemies, the Ix, are trapped in a bitter, unresolved conflict. But at the dawn of history, something is working to change the past — and the future. A mysterious force is rewriting the timelines, turning what was once legend into startling reality. But is David Rain strong enough to save himself and those he loves from being written into a deadly new destiny?
David, Zanna, Lucy, Alexa, and the Pennykettle dragons return, along with some new friends and enemies, to embark on their most dangerous, most thrilling, and most magical adventure yet.
8) Unraveling – Elizabeth Norris
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her revival, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.
9) Banner of the Damned – Sherwood Smith
Princess Lasva is about to be named heir to her childless sister, the queen. But, when the queen finally bears an heir, Lasva’s future is shattered. Grief-stricken, she leaves her country of Colend and falls into the arms of Prince Ivandred of Marloven Hesea. His people are utterly different-with their expertise in riding, weaponry, and magic- and the two soon marry.
When the sensational news makes its way to Lasva’s sister, the queen worries for Lasva at the hands of the Marlovens, whose king’s mage is in league with the magical land of Norsunder-considered by Colendi to be their enemy. The queen orders Emras, a scribe, to guard Lasva.
But it may be too late-Lasva is already deeply involved with the Marlovens and their magic. War wages on, and all are forced to redefine love, loyalty, and power…
10) Wings of the Wicked – Courtney Allison Moulton
Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.
Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.
She’s been warned.
Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes , the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.
She’ll be betrayed.
Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay.
11) I Hunt Killers – Barry Lyga
What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad?
Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.
But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminal’s point of view.
And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod.
In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows?
12) Whisper – Alyson Noel
This time, Riley might really have bitten off more than she’s ready for. After practically begging the Council for a more challenging Soul Catch, she is assigned an actual Roman gladiator—Theocoles, the Pillar of Doom. How is Riley, a skinny twelve-year-old, supposed to get through to him? Then she meets the beautiful Messalina, who convinces her that her only chance is to become part of this world. To accomplish this, Messalina helps Riley through a dramatic, mystical makeover, transforming her into the beautiful and mature teen she’s always wanted to be. Finally, Riley can experience her first boyfriend and her first kiss. With a dream this enchanting, will she ever want to leave?
13) Killswitch – Chris Lynch
All Daniel wants to do is spend one last summer with his grandfather before he moves away for college and his grandfather’s dementia pulls them apart. But when his dear old Da starts to let things slip about the job he used to hold—people he’s killed, countries he’s overthrown—old work “friends” show up to make sure he stays quiet. Was his grandfather really involved in a world of assassinations and coups, or are the stories just delusions of a crumbling mind? On the run from the police (and possibly something worse) before he has time to find out, Daniel may have to sacrifice everything to protect his grandfather from those who would do him harm.
14) Black Heart – Holly Black
Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.
But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.
15) Kill Me Softly – Sarah Cross
Mirabelle’s past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents’ tragic deaths to her guardians’ half-truths about why she can’t return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.
In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who’s a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.
But fairy tales aren’t pretty things, and they don’t always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she’ll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.
16) The Wicked and the Just – J Anderson Coats
Cecily’s father has ruined her life. He’s moving them to occupied Wales, where the king needs good strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. At least Cecily will finally be the lady of the house.
Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there herself, until the English destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now she must wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl.
While Cecily struggles to find her place amongst the snobby English landowners, Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And outside the city walls, tensions are rising ever higher—until finally they must reach the breaking point.
17) The Last Echo – Kimberly Derting
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” and Violet may have caught his eye…
18) The Green Man – Michael Bedard
Teenaged O – never call her Ophelia – is about to spend the summer with her aunt Emily. Emily is a poet and the owner of an antiquarian book store, The Green Man. A proud, independent woman, Emily’s been made frail by a heart attack. O will be a help to her. Just how crucial that help will be unfolds as O first tackles Emily’s badly neglected home, then the chaotic shop. But soon she discovers that there are mysteries and long-buried dark forces that she cannot sweep away, though they threaten to awaken once more.
19) The Obsidian Blade – Pete Hautman
The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished – only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness. But then both of his parents disappear.
Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing – one right on top of the roof – hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he’s launched on a time-twisting journey- from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker’s actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever.
20) The Book of Blood and Shadow – Robin Wasserman
It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.
But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.
Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
21) Masque of the Red Death – Bethany Griffin
Everything is in ruins.
A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.
But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
22) Purity – Jackson Pearce
Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby’s father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives — in other words, no “bad behavior,” no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.
Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision — to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.
23) Gil Marsh – A C E Bauer
Good looking, athletic, and smart, Gill Marsh is the most popular kid at Uruk High School, even though he is only a junior. When Enko, a new kid from Montreal, shows up, Gil is wary. Yet Enko is easy going and matches Gil’s athletic prowess without being a threat. Soon, the two become inseparable friends, practicing, studying, and double-dating.
Then suddenly, to everyone’s shock, Enko succombs to an aggressive cancer.
When Enko’s parents take his body and return to Canada, Gil is unable to even say good bye. He is inconsolable. Determined to find Enko’s grave, Gil sneaks away and heads north.
24) 172 Hours on the Moon – Johan Harstad
Three teenagers are going on the trip of a lifetime. Only one is coming back.
It’s been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2—a place that no one but top government officials even knew existed until now. The three winners, Antoine, Midori, and Mia, come from all over the world.
But just before the scheduled launch, the teenagers each experience strange, inexplicable events. Little do they know that there was a reason NASA never sent anyone back there until now—a sinister reason. But the countdown has already begun. . .
25) Thumped – Megan McCafferty
It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!
Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.
To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.
The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:
Tell the truth.
26) Eve of Destruction – Patrick Carman
Will Besting and the other teens who were “cured” at Fort Eden are still experiencing the strange signs of agingthat were a part of their recovery. Now they are being called back to Fort Eden because Mrs. Goring is dying, and
for some reason she wants to see the seven teens together again.
But once Will and the others arrive at Fort Eden, they find themselves ensnared in a dangerous plan to finally end
the reign of Rainsford. Will must lead the group through a perilous underground trap masterminded by two devious
souls. Can he outwit both Rainsford and Goring and find a new cure?
27) Glimmer – Phoebe Kitanidis
What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?
And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?
When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.
Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.
Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship…but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.
28) Struck – Jennifer Bosworth
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.
29) Destined – Aprilynne Pike
Laurel now knows the truth: Yuki is a rare Winter faerie, the most powerful—and deadly—of all, and she is working with Klea to conquer and destroy Avalon. With Tamani, David, and Chelsea by her side, Laurel prepares for a fight she never thought she would have to face.
30) The Asylum – L J Smith
The hunters become the hunted. . . .
Driven from their hometown of Mystic Falls, both Stefan Salvatore and his brother, Damon, arrived in Europe looking for a fresh start. But Samuel, a wealthy and cunning vampire, has other plans for them. First he ruined Stefan’s peaceful existence and now he’s framing Damon for the most gruesome murders London has ever seen.
United against their common enemy, Stefan and Damon are stunned when they realize that the source of Samuel’s rage lies in their past—tied up with the woman who forever changed their lives. Haunted by the memory of Katherine, the brothers find that their uneasy alliance is tested. Can they overcome their rivalry to defeat Samuel before he exacts his final revenge?
31) The Hunt of the Unicorn – C C Humphreys
Elayne thinks the old family story that one of her ancestors stepped through a tapestry into a world of mythical beasts makes a great fireside tale. But she lives in the real world. In New York City. And she’s outgrown that kind of fantasy.
Until she finds herself in front of a unicorn tapestry at the Cloisters museum and sees her initials woven into the fabric. And hears a unicorn calling to her. And slips and falls—into that other world.
Suddenly the line between fantasy and reality isn’t so clear. But the danger is real enough. Almost before she can think, Elayne is attacked by a ferocious beast, rescued by a unicorn, and taken prisoner by a tyrant king. Each of them seems to have an idea about her—that she’s a hero, a villain, dinner!
But Elayne has a few ideas of her own. She wants to overthrow the king; she wants to tame the unicorn. She wants to go home! And she’s willing to become both hero and villain to do it.
32) Unrest – Michelle Harrison
Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Sometimes he half-wakes, paralysed, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. His doctors say sleep paralysis and out of body experiences are harmless – but to Elliott they’re terrifying.
Convinced that his brush with death has attracted the spirit world, Elliott secures a job at a reputedly haunted museum, determined to discover the truth. There, he meets the enigmatic Ophelia. But, as she and Elliott grow closer, Elliott draws new attention from the dead. One night, during an out of body experience, Elliott returns to bed to find his body gone. Something is occupying it, something dead that wants to live again . . . and it wants Ophelia, too . . .
33) Pure – Jennifer L Armentrout
There is need. And then there is Fate…
Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn’t exactly awesome–especially when Alexandria’s “other half” is everywhere she goes. Seth’s in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom–so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do–and sacrifice–for her.
When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies–lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon… and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn’t blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude… or killing her.
When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.
34) Ripper – Amy Carol Reeves
In 1888, following her mother’s sudden death, 17-year-old Arabella Sharp goes to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. At her grandmother’s request, Abbie volunteers at Whitechapel Hospital, where she discovers a passion for helping the unfortunate women and children there. But within days, female patients begin turning up brutally murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper.
35) Ghost Flower – Michele Jaffe
Eve, a runaway, finds a new job at a coffee shop on the outskirts of Tuscon. When she’s approached by two wealthy teens who claim she bears an uncanny resemblance to their missing cousin Aurora, her life takes a turn for the dark and mysterious. Drawn into a scheme to win Aurora’s inheritance, Eve finds herself impersonating the girl, who disappeared three years ago on the night her best friend Elizabeth died. But when Liza’s ghost begins to haunt Eve, doing harm to the people close to her under the guise of “protecting” her, Eve finds herself in a nightmare maze of lies and deception that leads her to question even her own identity. She realizes her only chance is to uncover the truth about what happened the night Liza died, and to find Liza’s killer – before she’s next.
36) Unafraid – Michael Griffo
The boarding school known as Archangel Academy possesses a legacy of secrets known only to a privileged few. For in this peaceful, charming part of England lives a population of vampires at war with one another–and Michael Howard is caught in the middle of it all. . .
When Michael left his small Nebraska hometown to enroll at Archangel Academy, he couldn’t have imagined how much the experience would change him. Once mortal, Michael is now a vampire with a destiny that was foretold long ago, and a group of friends with their own mysterious abilities.
But there are enemies too, some of them hiding in plain sight. Being strong enough to defend himself isn’t enough. Michael must find a way to protect his entire race of vampires. Dark forces within the school will drive everyone to take sides in the escalating violence. And for all his new powers, Michael will discover that love, jealousy, and vengeance have a danger all their own. . .
37) Body Blow – Peter Cocks
“Well, Eddie, I’m glad to see you looking so well,” Napier said. “For a dead man.”
Eddie Savage is back.
While his physical scars are fading, the emotional scars are taking longer to heal. But one thing’s certain: his old life is no longer for him.
Eddie heads for Spain on the promise of sun, sea and beautiful women – but is drawn, irrevocably, back into the criminal underworld. It appears that greater forces are at work.
Tommy Kelly may be safely locked up back home, but on the Costa del Sol the drug wars are raging.
The Kelly family is still very much alive … and kicking.
38) A Bright and Terrible Sword – Anna Kendall
Roger has faced down Queens, barbarians, dangerous ghostly dogs and even armies. There is one challenge left: to stand against the mysterious Soulviners and their dangerous plans to dominate the Land of the Dead. His friends held captive, his true powers still undiscovered, it’s possible only the legendary bright and terrible sword can save them now . . .
39) Fever – Dee Shulman
A fearless Roman gladiator. A reckless 21st century girl. A mysterious virus unites them . . .
152 AD. Sethos Leontis, a skilled and mesmerising fighter, is unexpectedly wounded and lies dangerously close to death.
2012 AD. Eva is brilliant – but troubled. Starting her new life at a school for the gifted, a single moment in the lab has terrifying results.
An extraordinary link brings Sethos and Eva together, but it could force them apart – because the fever that grips them cannot be cured and falling in love could be lethal . . . Can love survive when worlds collide and threaten time itself?
40) Freaks – Kieran Larwood
The Freaks are a band of misfits, trapped in a nightly Victorian sideshow. There’s Wolf-girl, Sheba, with her amazing sense of smell; Sister Moon, who can move at the speed of light; and Monkey Boy, ace climber and human stink bomb. But during the day, the Freaks decide to put their extraordinary talents to use. And in a world of child-snatchers, grave robbers and dastardly doctors, they solve the mysteries no one else cares about \. including why London’s poorest children are being snatched from the banks of the Thames.
41) Whatever Love is – Rosie Rushton
What would happen if Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park was set in the 21st century?
When Frankie Price goes to live with her wealthy cousins, she finds herself part of a social scene that she’d only read about in magazines.
Shy and overwhelmed, she retreats into her own passion: writing – pouring out her feelings into her short stories.
But when the entire family is rocked by scandal, and her mate Ned comes under the spell of the beautiful but manipulative Alice, Frankie realises that she has to fight for the life she wants.
42) Emerald City – Alicia K Leppert
Olivia Tate is a broken shell of a girl haunted by the tragic events that fill her past. She has closed herself off from the world, each day grasping at something—anything—to live for. Convinced there will never be a way out, she seeks solace in the depths of her medicine cabinet. When she wakes up days later in the hospital she is introduced to Jude, the quiet stranger responsible for saving her life. She never could have guessed then that her mysterious rescuer would end up saving her life a second time, while simultaneously turning her world upside down.
43) The Fury – Alexander Gordon Smith
Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against you.
Every single person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage, hell-bent on killing you – and only you.
Friends, family, even your mum and dad, will turn on you. They will murder you.
And when they have, they will go back to their lives as if nothing has happened.
The world has the Fury.
It will not rest until you are dead.
Cal, Brick and Daisy are three ordinary teenagers whose lives suddenly take a terrifying turn for the worst. They begin to trigger a reaction in everybody they meet, one that makes friends and strangers alike turn rabid whenever they are close. One that makes people want to tear them to pieces
Cal and the other victims of the Fury – the ones that survive – manage to locate each other. But just when they think they have found a safe place to hide from the world, some of them begin to change…
They must fight to uncover the truth about the Fury before it’s too late. But it is a truth that will destroy everything they know about life and death.
44) Starters – Lissa Price
Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.
He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . .
45) Belles – Jen Calonita
Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she’s ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn’t go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn’t thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates’ Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls’ lives forever.
46) Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
47) Above – Leah Bobet
Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee’s wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above—like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.
But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe’s history and the shadows’ attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home—not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.
48) Dying to Know You – Aidan Chambers
In this contemporary love story, a teenage boy named Karl enlists a famous writer to help him impress his girlfriend, Fiorella. She has asked him to write her a letter in which he reveals his true self. But Karl isn’t convinced he’s good enough with words, so he tracks down Fiorella’s favorite author and begs him to take up the task. The writer reluctantly assents, on the condition that Karl agree to a series of interviews, so that the letter will be based on an authentic portrait of Karl. The letter, though effective, has unexpected consequences for Karl, Fiorella, and the writer.
49) Take a Bow – Elizabeth Eulberg
Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it’s been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn’t sure how to admit that he’d rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.
50) Dreamsleeves – Colleen Murtagh Paratore
Aislinn is a girl with a lot of dreams, but due to family issues (caused mostly by her hard-drinking father), there’s a lot standing in her way. While she should be enjoying the summer with friends, Aislinn is kept under lock and key and put in charge of her younger siblings. The average girl might give up, but not Aislinn. A person, she says, should write their dreams on their sleeve, putting them out there for the world to see, because there’s a good chance that someone might come along and help you make your dream come true. What begins as a plea for help for her father to stop drinking, turns into a spark that has the whole community making their own dreamsleeves.
51) The List – Siobhan Vivian
It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn’t matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.
This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, “pretty” and “ugly.” And it’s also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.
52) The Marked – Inara Scott
In her second semester at a boarding school for teenagers with special powers, Dancia Lewis faces danger from both inside and outside of Delcroix Academy.
All of her life, Dancia Lewis has wanted to use her powers for good. And now that she’s learned the truth about Delcroix Academy—and herself—she may just get the chance. But being part of Delcroix’s top secret Program isn’t anything like Dancia expected. She has to ask herself: what happens to the Talented kids who refuse to pledge their loyalty to the Program? And why did her friend Jack run away rather than join? Dancia’s adorable boyfriend Cam insists they need the help of every Talented student to defend Delcroix from dangerous enemies outside their gates. But Dancia has to wonder: what if Delcroix’s most frightening enemies come from within?
53) Taken at Dusk – C C Hunter
Kylie Galen wants the truth so badly she can taste it. The truth about who her real family is, the truth about which boy she’s meant to be with—and the truth about what her emerging powers mean. But she’s about to discover that some secrets can change your life forever…and not always for the better.
Just when she and Lucas are finally getting close, she learns that his pack has forbidden them from being together. Was it a mistake to pick him over Derek? And it’s not just romance troubling Kylie. An amnesia-stricken ghost is haunting her, delivering the frightful warning, someone lives and someone dies. As Kylie races to unravel the mystery and protect those she loves, she finally unlocks the truth about her supernatural identity, which is far different—and more astonishing—than she ever imagined.
54) Child of the Mountains – Marilyn Sue Shank
Growing up poor in 1953 in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia doesn’t bother Lydia Hawkins. She treasures her tight-knit family. There’s her loving mama, now widowed; her whip-smart younger brother, BJ, who has cystic fibrosis; and wise old Gran. But everything falls apart after Gran and BJ die and mama is jailed unjustly. Suddenly Lydia has lost all those dearest to her.
Moving to a coal camp to live with her uncle William and aunt Ethel Mae only makes Lydia feel more alone. She is ridiculed at her new school for her outgrown homemade clothes and the way she talks, and for what the kids believe her mama did. And to make matters worse, she discovers that her uncle has been keeping a family secret—about her.
If only Lydia, with her resilient spirit and determination, could find a way to clear her mother’s name…
55) Losers in Space – John Barnes
It is the year 2129 . . . and fame is all that matters
Susan and her friends are celebutantes. Their lives are powered by media awareness, fed by engineered meals, and underscored by cynicism. Everyone has a rating; the more viewers who ID you, the better. So Susan and her almost-boyfriend Derlock cook up a surefire plan: the nine of them will visit a Mars-bound spaceship and stow away. Their survival will be a media sensation, boosting their ratings across the globe. There’s only one problem: Derlock is a sociopath. Breakneck narrative, pointed cultural commentary, warm heart, accurate science, a kickass heroine, and a ticking clock . . . who could ask for more?
56) Thou Shalt Not Road Trip – Antony John
When sixteen-year-old Luke’s book, Hallelujah, becomes a national bestseller, his publishing house sends him on a cross-country book tour with his older brother, Matt, as chauffeur. But when irresponsible Matt offers to drive Luke’s ex–soul mate, Fran, across the country too, things get a little crazy. On the trip, Luke must loosen up, discover what it truly means to have faith, and do what it takes to get the girl he loves.
57) Gone, Gone, Gone – Hannah Moskowitz
It’s a year after 9/11. Sniper shootings throughout the D.C. area have everyone on edge and trying to make sense of these random acts of violence. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are just trying to make sense of their lives. Craig’s crushing on quiet, distant Lio, and preoccupied with what it meant when Lio kissed him…and if he’ll do it again…and if kissing Lio will help him finally get over his ex-boyfriend, Cody.Lio feels most alive when he’s with Craig. He forgets about his broken family, his dead brother, and the messed up world. But being with Craig means being vulnerable…and Lio will have to decide whether love is worth the risk.
58) Supergirl Mixtapes – Meagan Brothers
After years of boredom in her rural South Carolina town, Maria is thrilled when her father finally allows her to visit her estranged artist mother in New York City. She’s ready for adventure, and she soon finds herself immersed in a world of rock music and busy streets, where new people and ideas lie around every concrete corner. This is the freedom she’s always longed for—and she pushes for as much as she can get, skipping school to roam the streets, visit fancy museums, and flirt with the cute clerk at a downtown record store.
But just like her beloved New York City, Maria’s life has a darker side. Behind her mother’s carefree existence are shadowy secrets, and Maria must decide just where—and with whom—her loyalty lies.
59) The Song of Us – Deb Caletti
Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend—but she’s picked a bad week to sort out her love life. For one thing, her mother’s romance is taking center stage: After jilting two previous fiancés, her mom is finally marrying Dan Jax, whom Cricket loves. But as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities at a guesthouse whose hippie owners have a sweet, sexy son—Ash—complications arise:
Cricket’s future stepsisters make it clear they’re not happy about the marriage. An old friend decides this is the week to declare his love for Cricket. Grandpa chooses to reveal a big secret at a family gathering. Dan’s ex-wife shows up. And even the dogs—Cricket’s old, ill Jupiter and Dan’s young, lively Cruiser—seem to be declaring war.
While Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, she’s also alarmed by her own desires. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her…
60) Breaking Beautiful – Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.
When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free?
Lots of stunning covers. Some very intriguing books. Which ones have made it to your wishlist?
Our family is growing! We have two more unbelievably talented authors to tell you about today, both releasing novels in early 2013 that we think will blow your socks off… Check it out!
First up is the lovely Laura Lam with Pantomime. Here’s the blurb:
R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.
But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.
A little about Laura: She was raised near San Francisco, California by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.
She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.
About the deal Laura had this to say: “I originally subbed to Angry Robot Books’ Open Door Month a year ago, thinking I’d get a form rejection, shed a tear or two, and continue to write. It was a long year with much refreshing of my inbox, but I’ve learned so much and am grateful Amanda plucked me from the slush and gave me a chance to make Pantomime shine. I’m beyond excited to be a Strange Chemist.”
And our Amanda said: “I was Laura’s original reader during the Angry Robot Open Door Month and passed her MS along to the AR editors – even knowing that it was close to a first draft, because I saw the promise in this novel. After revising and improving, Pantomime is now an incredibly rich novel with the tone of Robin Hobb and the adventure of Tamora Pierce – it is a new must-read in the realms of YA fantasy!”
Next we have Julianna Scott! Julianna has also signed a two book deal and brings you a series about the Holders, with the first novel being cunningly called The Holders. Here’s the blurb:
17-year-old Becca has spent her whole life protecting her brother – from their father leaving and from the people who say the voices in his head are unnatural. When two strangers appear with apparent answers to Ryland’s “problem” and details about a school in Ireland where Ryland will not only fit in, but prosper, Becca is up in arms.
She reluctantly agrees to join Ryland on his journey and what they find at St. Brigid’s is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together information about their family’s heritage and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they’ve been waiting for.
But they are all, especially Becca, in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind
A little about Julianna: She was born In Pittsburgh, Pensylvainia, and spent the majority of her educational career convinced she would be a musican.
However, after receiving her music degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, she realized that she’d been born in the wrong era for her dreams of singing jazz to adoring fans clad in zoot-suits and flapper dresses to come true, and began to wonder if her true calling might be elsewhere.
While Julianna had always excelled in writing throughout school, she’d never considered it a career possibility until about three years ago, when she came up with her first story idea and decided to go for it. She grabbed her laptop, started typing away, and has never looked back.
Julianna said this about the deal: “I am so excited to be a Strange Chemistry author! It is truly a dream come true!” while Amanda had this to say: “The Holders showcases an utterly engaging new voice in YA fiction – with supernatural powers and a gripping love story set against the stunning backdrop of Ireland. I was enthralled and know you will be too.”
What do you think? Excited? Leave some love for the two latest Chemists in the comments!