Yesterday I had an amazing time at the Random House Blogger Brunch. I met some lovely people, both fellow bloggers and the team at Random House. We were presented with the upcoming YA children’s list, plied with coffee and cake, and heard from two fantastic authors. Oh, yes, and there was a goody bag!
How glorious! I’ve heard about The Last Minute, it sounds like a very exciting, tense read, and I’m looking forward to it very much. And how brilliant to have a copy of Where The Wild Things Are. More about the other goodies shortly.
Random House have a few books out over the coming months that are real highlights for me. Silent Saturday by Helen Grant sounds amazing. Set in Brussels, 17 year old Veerie stumbles upon a secret society that breaks into unoccupied buildings for kicks. It’s an exciting if hazardous pastime, but the stakes are raised when someone disappears. The Hunter has returned, and is not satisfied with one single victim. The book was described as Jo Nesbo meets Marcus Sedgewick, and is the first part of a new trilogy. I cannot wait to read it, and Helen will be doing blog interviews and posts near to publication at the beginning of next month.
In May Holly Black has a new book out called Doll Bones. Oh. My. Goodness. Will you look at that cover – I have a bit of a thing about dolls, especially china-faced ones, they give me the heebeegeebies. But, although the cover terrifies me, I can’t wait for this one either. A group of friends have grown up together playing with their toys, creating a fantasy world, until Zach’s dad throws a load of the toys away. This is the catalyst for some very weird and spooky happenings that draws the kids into a quest to right a terrible wrong…or be cursed for eternity. It must be read!
The second part of Victoria Lamb’s supernatural Tudor series is out in July. Witchfall is a darker read than Witchstruck, and bumps up the passion between Meg and Alejandro too. Hooray! Witchstruck was great fun, so I’m eagerly anticipating this, although I’m a bit worried that Meg is going to get herself into some serious trouble this time around.
In August there is a new story from Susan Cooper coming, called Ghost Hawk. As a rite of passage Little Hawk must spend three months in the forest with only his tomahawk for company. As he makes his way towards manhood the world beyond the forest is changing irrevocably; English settlers are landing. A new Susan Cooper is enough in itself, but this sounds wonderfully rich and powerful.
ACID by Emma Pass has a hero called Jenna Strong – and apparently she is tough. Locked up in a high-security prison for murdering her parents, a crime she has no memory of, she has had to learn how to survive by any means necessary. When she is broken out of her confinement she goes on the run to try and find out the truth about her life. This is a disturbing vision of the future that the author started writing twenty years ago in her teens. I’m rather pleased to have an advance copy in my goody bag; it is published at the end of April.
We were also so lucky to have two authors join us at brunch to talk about their new books. Amy McCulloch is a debut author, and her book promises to be amazing. Inside our wrapped and sealed parcel was…
Amy was inspired by the medieval Mongolian Empire to write The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, the first of a two-part story. Oaths are sealed with knots, and taken with great solemnity. Raim makes a promise, but unwittingly breaks it. He suffers the penalty – scarring and exile. He must roam the desert, alone, as he tries to understand what he did that broke the oath. Amy read a passage from the book, and it was so good. The story is bound up with codes of honour, the magic of sages, warrior culture and a great big dash of imagination. I think it will be incredibly popular when it comes out in June.
|Amy McCulloch talking about The Oathbreaker’s Shadow|
For me, my own personal highlight was meeting Jonathan Stroud. I am an absolutely enormous fan of the Bartimaeus books, and I do not exaggerate when I tell you I could not put The Amulet of Samarkand down. To hear that he has a new series starting in August is music to my ears. The Screaming Staircase is the first story in the Lockwood & Co. books, and I have read the first chapter and can I have the rest now please? There has been a ghost epidemic, the blighters are everywhere. Some are fairly harmless, others more malevolent. Being ‘ghost-touched’ is not a good idea. The problem is adults are pretty rubbish at seeing spirits, so it is children that have to do the spotting and despatching. Now, if you are going to do a job, you ought to do it right – you need the right kit. Jonathan brought with him a typical ghost-hunting backpack, full of all the stuff you might need to get rid of an evil spirit. You know, salt and iron, a rapier, tea. The essentials! I can’t wait until 29 August to get my hands on the rest of the book, it’ll be Christmas come early at my house that day.
|Jonathan Stroud demonstrating that ghosthunting takes preparation|
The whole event was brilliant, and there are some great books I am looking forward to reading and talking about. I’ll leave you with a little teaser. Get ready for 04.07.13…