Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year (a day late)

Happy New Year to you all, and only a day late this year! I hope you have all had a great Christmas and New Year, and that 2014 will be a particularly happy year for you and your families. Despite my best intentions, 2013 proved to be more than a little disappointing for me as far as blogging is concerned. Simply put - work! Teaching is incredibly rewarding, but all the changes that Michael Gove deems important only add to the workload of everyone in the profession. This quite often means that, even though I have read more than ever this past year, after a day at work I have struggled to find the motivation to sit down and write reviews. I'm not going to promise that 2014 will be much better either. In fact, it may even be even quieter on The Book Zone as I am going to be involved in a secret project that is likely to take up a lot of my spare time, but that is all I can tell you for now.

As far as looking forward is concerned, most of my most anticipated books are sequels or next-in-series books. However, there are two in particular that you really should look out for, both debut novels by people I like to call friends. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have read both, and they come highly recommended by me. 

The first to be published, due out at the end of February, is Banished by Liz de Jager. Long time readers of The Book Zone will know that I have been friends with Liz ever since I started blogging, with Liz and her My Favourite Books blog being an invaluable source of advice and inspiration for me. Banished, the first book in her Blackhart Legacy trilogy, is Buffy meets Grimm, and although not the kind of book I would usually read, I thought it was great. If you like action then this is a book you will love! Also, this has to be said, Banished already has to be a contender for the best book cover of 2014.

The second book I want to shout about at the moment is due out only a few days after Liz's and is by Lara Williamson. A Boy Called Hope is Lara's debut, and I firmly believe that it is destined to be an award winner. If you like John Boyne and David Almond then you will love A Boy Called Hope.

The are a great number of sequels and next-in-series books that I can't wait to read in 2014. The first, and the one I am most looking forward to reading, is Zero Hour, the fourth book in Will Hill's brilliant Department 19 series. This is by far by all-time favourite series of books for young adults, and I reckon things are really going to kick off in this next book. Zero Hour is closely followed in the anticipation stakes by Our Lady of the Streets, the third book in Tom Pollock's awe-inspiring Skyscraper Throne trilogy, and just behind that, the ninth and final book in Alex Scarrow's fab Timeriders series.

And the others I am most looking forward to reading? The list is rather long but here goes: Darcy Burdock: Hi So Much by Laura Dockrill; Wild Boy and the Black Terror by Rob Lloyd Jones; The Fearless by Emma Pass (not a sequel, but Emma's debut ACID was one of my favourite books of 2013); several more Zom-B books by Darren Shan (loving this series so much); the third Ben Kingdom book by Andrew Beasley; and with any luck we might also finally see Fighting Pax by the brilliant Robon Jarvis.


  1. I'm so looking forward to February for Banished and then of course Zero Hour. I haven't heard of A Boy Called Hope but if it's anything like John Boyne books I'm sure I'll love it!

    Happy New Year!

  2. Hi Jesse
    I'm sure Usborne would send you a copy of A Boy Called Hope if you asked. It is already an contender for my favourite MG book of 2014.