Tag Archives: Young Adult

More Than This by Patrick Ness

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Patrick Ness.  He’s one of my favourite authors and I love everything he writes, whether it’s for adults or teens.  It’s been a particularly good year for fans of Patrick this year, as he’s published two books, one for adults, called The Crane Wife and a Young Adult book called More Than This.  The thought of a new Patrick Ness book always gets me excited, because I never know quite what to expect.  When Patrick revealed the details about More Than This, he gave just enough to whet reader’s appetites but left you with a huge sense of mystery.  When I picked up my copy of the book, Patrick hooked me in straight away and it haunted me right until the end.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonising memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this.

More Than This is a tense, suspense-filled read that haunts you, so that every waking minute you are thinking about the story and trying to figure out what’s happening.  It’s one of those stories that is very difficult to explain to people without ruining the story for everyone.  I haven’t felt so obsessed with a book in a long time, wanting to just loose myself in the story and help Seth reveal the mystery of the world in which he finds himself.  Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s happening, the story takes a completely different turn.

Patrick Ness is brilliant at creating suspense (fans of his Chaos Walking Trilogy are familiar with this) and there are plenty of cliff-hangar endings in More Than This. There were so many times that I finished a chapter and had to immediately go onto the next to find out what happened.  I’m sure there were times when my colleagues wondered where I had disappeared to.  There were a couple of times where I cursed Patrick Ness out loud.  He really knows how to keep you addicted to a story!

Like his other books, Patrick has created very real characters who you feel for and are rooting for.  You follow Seth’s journey to find out what has happened to him, while at the same time, putting together the pieces of his life and discovering what led him here in the first place.

One of my favourite things about More Than This is the ending, which leaves the story open, but left me totally satisfied.

I can’t recommend Patrick Ness’ books highly enough and More Than This is one of his best.  He just keeps getting better and better.  Grab a copy of More Than This now. You won’t regret it!

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Allegiant Book Trailer

What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation – like a single choice – changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love. Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Allegiant, the final book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy is out now.  I’ve been hearing good things about it and I’m curious to find out how the series ends.  I thought the second book, Insurgent, was a bit lacklustre, so hopefully Allegiant will be a satisfying conclusion to the series.

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My Most Anticipated October New Releases

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back. Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.

Spirit Animals: Wild Born by Brandon Mull

Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts – a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children – and the world – have been changed forever.
Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers . . . and on you.

The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth

Some mysteries are too dangerous to leave alone. Nate’s not happy about his family moving to a new house in a new town. After all, nobody asked him if he wanted to move in the first place. But when he discovers a tape recorder and note addressed to him under the floorboards of his bedroom, he’s thrust into a dark mystery about a boy who went missing many, many years ago. Now, as strange happenings and weird creatures begin to track Nate, he must partner with Tabitha, a local girl, to find out what they want with him. But time is running out, for a powerful force is gathering strength in the woods at the edge of town, and before long Nate and Tabitha will be forced to confront a terrifying foe and uncover the truth about the Lost Boy.

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne

The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight – but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be, other than that he’s away on a special, secret mission.

Then, while shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father’s name – on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by – a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place.

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry – and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.

Demon Dentist by David Walliams

The new jaw-achingly funny novel from David Walliams, the number one bestselling author! Make your appointment if you dare…Darkness had come to the town. Strange things were happening in the dead of night. Children would put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they would wake up to find…a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow. Evil was at work. But who or what was behind it…? Read this book and find out!

Pinocchio, retold by Michael Morpurgo

Pinocchio as you’ve never seen him before: telling his own story through the master storyteller and award-winning author of WAR HORSE. “Now – there’s no point in pretending here – I was, and still am deep down, a puppet. Everyone knows Pinocchio is a puppet. I reckon I must be just about the most famous puppet the world has ever known. But the truth is I’m not just a puppet, I’m more than just bits of wood and string. I’m me. So I thought it was about time that I, Pinocchio, told you my story…” So begins this stunningly beautiful interpretation of the classic story. Michael Morpurgo channels Pinocchio‘s words to tell the famous puppet’s story in his own inimitable, cheeky and always funny way. Lavishly illustrated throughout in full colour by the acclaimed Emma Chichester-Clark, this is a must-have gift for all book lovers, and an utterly charming and surprising adaptation of a much-loved tale.

All the Wrong Questions: When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket

I should have asked the question ‘How could someone who was missing be in two places at once?’ Instead, I asked the wrong question — four wrong questions, more or less. This is the account of the second.

In the fading town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea, young apprentice Lemony Snicket has a new case to solve when he and his chaperone are hired to find a missing girl. Is the girl a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? Was she seen last at the grocery store? Or could she have stopped at the diner? Is it really any of your business? These are All The Wrong Questions.

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Barcelona, 1980. Óscar Drai finds himself drawn to an old dilapidated mansion where he meets the captivating and elusive Marina. She leads him to the cemetery to witness a mysterious ritual: on the fourth Sunday of every month, a veiled woman alights from a carriage and lays a single rose on an unmarked grave.

Óscar and Marina are swept on a journey into the city’s dark underground of labyrinthine sewers, corrupt policemen, ageing aristocrats, forgotten societies and criminal depravity…to a sinister tale of love, ambition and jealousy that will hold Óscar’s heart forever.

Arclight by Josin L. Mcquein

Marina can’t remember anything about her life before she stumbled out of the Dark and into the Arclight. Where has she come from? How has she survived? Any why do the rulers of the Dark seem determined to destroy her? To find out, she will have to venture back into the Dark.

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Cover reveal – Shattered by Teri Terry

Shattered_cvr

Kyla’s memory was erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

Or so she thought.

After the shocking events of SLATED and FRACTURED, we return to Kyla’s oppressive world as she tries to make sense of her lfe and everything around her.

I’m very pleased to reveal the cover for the final book in Teri Terry’s Slated trilogy, Shattered. I loved the first two books in the trilogy and I’m really looking forward to finding out how it all ends.  You can read my review of Slated here on the blog.

Shattered is due for release in the UK in March 2014, so we should get it in NZ around the same time.

 

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Jonathan Stroud talks about Lockwood and Co.

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.
Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again…
Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase is one of my most anticipated books of 2013.  I love ghost stories and horror for kids and teens, and The Screaming Staircase sounds absolutely fantastic.  I’m looking forward to diving into this one and losing myself in the story.  I’ll post my review later this month, along with some copies to give away.  Check out these videos of author Jonathan Stroud talking about his new book.

Book Trailer

Jonathan Stroud talks about Lockwood and Co.

Jonathan Stroud and the characters in Lockwood and Co.

Jonathan Stroud talks about Lockwood and Co. – Book Two!

Jonathan Stroud on ‘The Problem’ in Lockwood and Co.

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My Most Anticipated September New Releases

Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

War has finally come. But it’s not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it’s a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they’re going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making. But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

The Last Thirteen by James Phelan

I click my fingers and everybody dies.

Sam wakes from his nightmare to discover the terrifying reality. It will come true.

Kidnapped from school and finding out his parents aren’t who he thinks they are, Sam is suddenly running from danger at every turn. Nothing will ever be the same again.

With his life and identity shattered, Sam’s salvation is tied to an ancient prophecy. He is in the final battle to save the world, up against an enemy plotting to destroy us all.

He alone can find the last 13.

Are you one of them?

Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again…

More Than This by Patrick Ness
A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonising memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this..

Speed Freak by Fleur Beale
Archie Barrington, fifteen, is the third generation of his family to drive karts competitively. He’s good, and this is the year he and his dad have decided he’ll have a shot at the Challenge series of six races. If he comes out the winner overall then he wins the chance to race in Europe.However, he’s not the only good driver after the prize. Craig is his main rival, and Craig’s father is wealthy and prepared to spend whatever it takes to help his son win the Challenge.

Archie doesn’t let Craig worry him, but Silver Adams is another matter. She’s come back into karting after a two-year break and her ambition seems to be to drive her kart like a weapon of destruction to others on the track, Archie in particular.

His life isn’t the smoothest at home either, thanks to Dad’s new girlfriend Erica who, in Archie’s opinion, is ridiculously overprotective of her seven-year-old son Felix. Karting is the last thing in the world she intends for him to do. However, shy, reserved Felix is fascinated by the whole world of karts.

Archie and Craig dice all year – first Archie wins at a Challenge meeting, but next time Craig does. Archie must win the sixth and last meeting if he’s to win the series. All is going well until disaster strikes in the pre-final, when he’s pushed off the track and breaks an axle. That’s it. Craig will go to Europe but he won’t. Then Silver comes to the rescue unexpectedly and Archie is able to drive the race of his life.

Meeting Cezanne by Michael Morpurgo
When Yannick learns that he is to stay with his Aunt Mathilde in the South of France, he cannot believe his luck. If the paintings of his mother s beloved Cezanne are to be believed, surely Provence is paradise itself. So begins an idyllic month for the young boy: roaming the gentle hills and rolling valleys of Aix-en-Provence, daydreaming about his beautiful cousin Amandine; helping in his aunt and uncle s bustling village inn in the evenings; feeling that he has come to the most wonderful place in the world. Then one evening the idyll is spoilt when an important local comes for dinner and Yannick accidentally destroys a precious drawing the man leaves behind. He could never have imagined that his mother s hero, the world-famous Cezanne, would come to his inn, and sit at one of his tables! Yannick is devastated by what he has done, and resolves to make things right. But in so doing he makes a surprising discovery.

Just So Stories, illustrated by Robert Ingpen
“Once upon a time, O my Best Beloved …” So begins this classic collection of gloriously fanciful tales of how things in the world came to be as they are. Here is the story of how the lazy camel found himself with a hump and how the insatiable curiosity of the elephant earned him his long trunk. Of how the whale was given a throat, and why every rhinoceros has great folds in his skin and a very bad temper. Here too, we fi nd out about the cunning cat that walked by itself, and how clever little Taffy and her Daddy Tegumai made the fi rst alphabet. Rudyard Kipling first entertained his own children with these delightful, warm and humorous stories, which he later wrote down for publication in 1902.  Conjuring up distant lands and exotic jungles, they are bewitching for both children and adults. In this sumptuous volume, which includes the often missing thirteenth story, “The Tabu Tale” (which Kipling added for the American edition in 1903). Kipling’s unforgettable cast of extraordinary animal characters is brought to life in stunning new illustrations by the award-winning illustrator Robert Ingpen.

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline’s been at Gram’s bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape – both her family and the reality of Gram’s failing health. So when Caroline’s best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram’s side, or go to the party and live her life. The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline’s fate into two separate paths – and she’s about to live them both. Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending…

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Patrick Ness talks about More Than This

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonising memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this…

More Than This is one of my most anticipated books of the year.  Look all of Patrick Ness’s books it sounds amazing.  September can’t come soon enough!

More Than This is released in Australia and NZ in September, from Walker Books.

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A.J. Betts on Zac and Mia

The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.

You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts was the winner of the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing.  Text have published some fantastic books through their Text Prize and Zac and Mia sounds great.

Zac and Mia is released in NZ in August from Text Publishing.

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Silver book trailer

Who will turn silver next?

When a boy is bitten by a strange silver beetle, he becomes the first victim of a mysterious infection. But this is no ordinary virus. It turns flesh into metal, and pupils into machines.

As the virus spreads and more terrifying, blood-thirsty machines appear, a small group manage to barricade themselves inside the school. Can they keep the machines at bay long enough for help to arrive? Is help even coming?

Meanwhile the virus is spreading and its victims are changing… evolving… becoming stronger… The world as our heroes know it is turning silver. Will any of them survive?

Silver is the latest book from Chris Wooding.  I read about this book a few months ago on Vincent Ripley’s wonderful blog mrripleysenchantedbooks.blogspot.co.uk.  It sounds awesome (and perfect for Michael Grant fans) so I can’t wait to read it.

Silver by Chris Wooding is available now in NZ from Scholastic NZ.

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My Most Anticipated July New Releases

Project Huia by Des Hunt

As children, Logan’s grandfather and his sister Mavis spotted a beautiful and unusual bird in the kowhai tree outside their house: it was a huia, which was believed to be extinct. In an attempt to photograph it they tracked it deep into the Manawatu Gorge. This was a dangerous journey, made even more so when the Carson boys got wind of their mission and decided to try and find the bird first so they could shoot it and sell its highly valuable feathers. More than 60 years later, 11-year-old Logan has returned to the Manawatu with Grandpop and a scientist to try to solve the mystery of what happened to the huia all those years ago. Can the group rely on Grandpop’s version of events, and find the huia’s final resting place? Will the huia still be there, and will its DNA still be valuable for scientific research into NZ’s native fauna? Not if the Carsons have anything to do with it.

Jamie Reign: The Last Spirit Warrior by P.J. Tierney

Jamie Reign was born twelve years ago, on the first day of the Chinese Year of the Dragon. This supposedly auspicious start in life hasn’t been much use to him, living a loveless existence with his abusive father, Hector, on a salvage boat. Jamie’s mother Mayling died on the day he was born. When Jamie inadvertently summons some fiery orbs from the air to tackle some local bullies, he doesn’t understand that he has tapped into The Way, the universal energy source, and in doing so he sets off a chain of events with unforeseen consequences. Whisked away by the mysterious Mr Fan to the Chia Wu, a school for students with special abilities, Jamie is taken under the wing of the legendary Kung Fu Master Wu. It is believed by Master Wu and his staff that Jamie is the Last Spirit Warrior, and as such his life’s purpose is to right the dreadful wrongs (climatic and political) taking place in the world. But not everyone believes so – and Jamie himself has doubts. What use is a Spirit Warrior who is hopeless at Kung Fu?

The Bully Chip by Glenn Wood

Callum thought things would be better after he and his friends defeated the evil Lester Smythe, but his world has just begun to crumble

A year after they defeated Lester Smythe, the evil mastermind, Callum, Sophie and Jinx are having problems with the new kids at Thanxton High. The bullies seem to be targeting them. And the friends soon discover they re in the middle of a dangerous plot for revenge. Who s behind it? And what is the bully chip?

Monkey Wars by Richard Kurti

When the Langur monkey troop rises to power on the dusty streets of Calcutta, it is at a price. A brutal massacre drives the Rhesus troop out of the place they called home and forces them to embark on a dangerous journey. But one Langur monkey, Mico, is prepared to stand up to the tyrannical Langur regime and fight for truth, friendship and love. As Mico uncovers the secrets and lies at the heart of the corrupt Langur leadership, he quickly realizes he is playing a dangerous game. And when monkeys turn on each other, there can be no survivors

Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman

Years after a violent war destroyed much of the world, Kaspar has grown up in a society based on peace and harmony.
But beyond the city walls, a vicious band of rebels are plotting to tear this peace apart. It is up to the Guardians – an elite peacekeeping force – to protect the city, without ever resorting to the brutal methods of their enemy. When Kaspar joins the Guardians, he has a chance encounter with a rebel – a beautiful girl named Rhea. Haunted from that moment on by strange visions and memories – memories that could only belong to Rhea – he realises he hasn’t been told the truth about what the rebels really want, and what he’s really ghting for.
Grinny by Nicholas Fisk
Tim’s diary charts the arrival of his mysterious Great Aunt Emma, an old lady who appears grinning on his doorstep and decides to stay. Nicknamed ‘Grinny’ for her constant eerie smile and mindless chatter, at first their aunt seems to be strange but harmless. But when Tim and his sister Beth make a horrifying discovery about their visitor, they realise that the safety of the entire planet is in jeopardy, and the silent invasion has already started.

First published in 1973, GRINNY is a forgotten favourite, brought back to life by Hot Key Books and introduced by Malorie Blackman. A classic sci-fi story filled with suspense, danger and adventure, this is a special bind up-edition including both the original story, and the powerful sequel that continues Tim and Beth’s encounter with Grinny in YOU REMEMBER ME!

Zom-B Angels by Darren Shan

Where can you find shelter in a city of the damned?
How can you build a new life if you’re undead?
Who can you trust in a world gone mad?
B Smith has come to a crossroads.

 

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