Friday, 15 March 2013

Pressed Red Lemons at the Hot Key Cafe

Hell-o darlings yes it's me the ghoul with the enormous ummm library!!! I'm back...from the dead as it were.  Anyhoo it's been a heck of a while since I have blogged ANYTHING, almost a year to be exact, what can I say time moves differently when your in hell, so I am once again tucking  in to the book buffet that is
Children's and YA fiction, and what better way to start filling my plate than with the tempting smorgasbord Hot Key books and Red Lemon press had to offer at their literary lunch which was held at Hot Key towers on the 13th (unlucky for some, lucky for me). Those in the know will,well...know that a literary lunch is a chance for bloggers (that would be me) and for book industry types (oh that's me as well!) to meet the editors and authors of the host publisher which in this case is Bonnier Publishing who house the Hot Key fiction imprint launched last year and after the fantastic success of its 9-19 list it is following up with a new non fiction range printed under Red Lemon Press, which will launch this autumn. So considering how blown away I was with Hot Keys line up last year how could I refuse a sneak peak at their latest offerings and at what Red Lemon Press will no doubt dazzle us with later this year.

So after just arriving in the nick of time, I was ushered into the bustling board room where I was greeted by the friendly and familiar face of my ole pal James Dawson who being a man of many talents it turns out, has written a non fiction title for Red Lemon Press?! I know the man is a wonder, and I'll talk more about his latest offering later on. Following hugs and hellos with a couple of other familiar faces such as the lovely Nicolette Jones of the Sunday Times and Hot Key peeps, Shout out to the FAB! Megan Farr grabbed some delicious gourmet sandwiches, a large drink and took my seat for the presentation, but not before I managed with great finesse to dowse my left leg and the floor with said large drink, yes that's right in a room full of my book industry contemporaries I looked like I had lost control of my bodily functions and was now standing in a puddle of my... well you get the idea.  Fortunately everyone's attention was snatched away from my drinking problem by the start of the presentation.  Now I was going to give a 'highlights' run down of the presentation but basically I can't do that because every book mentioned grabbed my interest immediately, and I have such faith in the Hot Key teams ability to pick quality fiction and nurture the talent of their cherry picked authors to continue delivering quality fiction for 9-19 year olds (and older ahem)  I just had to give equal time to each title and ensure that as many of you that read this will pick up their books, so grab a cuppa and a bar of chocolate (when I say bar I mean readers size, and  you all know what I am talking about!) and get to reading.

Click on the jacket images to access a sample chapter from the Hot Key website

Pub Date HB: 07/02/2013

Pub Date PB: 06/06/13

The first book on the new releases list, was Red Ink which the author Julie Mayhew was on hand to talk about.  She described her novel as a story that is essentially about the lies our families tell us, and the lies we tell ourselves about our families especially those about our parents.

When her mother is knocked down and killed by a London bus, fifteen-year-old Melon Fouraki is left with no family worth mentioning. Her mother, Maria, never did introduce Melon to a 'living, breathing' father. The indomitable Auntie Aphrodite, meanwhile, is hundreds of miles away on a farm in Crete, and is unlikely to be jumping on a plane and coming to East Finchley anytime soon. But at least Melon has The Story. The Story is the Fourakis family fairy-tale. A story is something. RED INK is a powerful coming-of-age tale about superstition, denial and family myth.

Julie Mayhew is on twitter 

Pub Date: 07/03/13
The Quietness by Alison Rattle is Set in 1870's Victorian London and the horrifying world of baby farming.  Alison spoke about her love of historical fiction and how she wanted to tell the tale of a forgotten horror of our countries past.  Hot Key described the book as appealing to readers of YA historical fictions most popular authors Mary Hooper and Mary Hoffman so I am sure it will be an exceptional read.

When fifteen-year-old Queenie escapes from the squalid slums where she lives she has no idea about the dangers of the dark world in which she is about to become embroiled.  Meanwhile sixteen-year-old Ellen lives a privileged but lonely existence at the mercy of her cold-hearted father. Soon the girls’ lives become irrevocably entwined in this tension-filled drama. THE QUIETNESS is a novel of friendship and trust in the darkest of settings.

Pub Date: 07/03/13
The Great Galloon Tom Banks described as a Captain Pugwash meets Monty Python with the cast of Muppets Treasure Island it promises to deliver mad cap, hilarious, swashbuckling fun! Packed full of funny illustrations that bring the story and characters to life make this a great read for reluctant and first time readers. 

The Great Galloon is an enormous airship, built by Captain Meredith Anstruther and manned by his crew, a motley bunch who are able to fight off invading marauders whilst drinking tea
and sweeping floors. Stanley, a clever boy with a small horn, and Rasmussen, a reluctant countess-to-be, are busy waiting for an adventure to begin. Instead they have to fight off BeheMoths, avoid enormous Seagles, encounter the terrifying (but nice really) Brunt and save the Galloon from sinking. How will they ever find the Captain's bride when nothing's happening?

The sequel THE GREAT GALLOON: VOAYGE TO THE VOLCANO will be published in August 2013.

You can follow Tom on twitter

Pub Date: 04/04/13

Clockwise to Titan is a début novel by author Elon Dann is survival fiction that sits comfortably next to the Hunger Games.  Described as The Shawshank Redemption for young readers and set against the beautiful and deadly backdrop of a land caught in the grip of a cruel winter, the story weaves and unravels simultaneously with stories within stories and fact meeting fiction this promises to be a tale filled with tension that builds and builds until the very end.  This brilliant début is the perfect book for adventurous young readers.

Mo, Harete and Moth are on the run. Chased by the tyrannical forces of the Institute, they follow a line of pylons towards the Other country and the hope of freedom.  Winter tightens its grip and escape seems impossible. As the children weave together stories from their past, present and imaginations, the truth becomes harder and harder to bear. Chased by rabid dogs, hounded by Marshals with guns, and hiding from military helicopters, only the long line of wires and the lure of another way of life pulls them towards their goal. A story of hope, peril and the fight against tyranny.

You can find Elon Dann on twitter here.

Pub Date: 25/04/2013

Trouble with Mummies is a young fiction title based on the idea that history invades a small English village.  Written by Fleur Hitchcock the author of the hugely popular Shrunk, Trou
ble with Mummies is an hilarious wittily imagined adventure that can best be described as being as  if Night at the Museum gate crashed your town and then everyone started playing Jumanji.  A charmingly funny, and original tale that will be enjoyed by all who read it.

Sam comes home one day to find his family turning a little bit loopy - his mum is redecorating using hieroglyphics and his Dad is building a pyramid in the back garden. He hopes it's just a weird
new fashion... but then the strangeness starts to spread. With the help of his friends Ursula, Henry and Lucy the Goat, Sam must save his town from rampaging Roman rugby players, hairdressers turned cavewomen, and a teacher who used to be a 'basket of kittens' but now wants to sacrifice the year 1s to the Aztec Sun god. As history invades Sam's world, will he be able to keep the Greeks away from the Egyptians and discover the cause of the Mummy madness?

Get into more trouble with Fleur on twitter

Pub Date: 25/04/2013

Now given my penchant for horror and YA paranormal fiction (Ahh yeah the general look of my blog should have been a clue!) when Death & Co was introduced I almost forgot to take notes because I was so enrapt with the description of the stories plot and it's male protagonist Adam I was praying for a proof copy at the end of the meeting.

Adam is a Lumen, and it runs in the family. Escorting the dead from life into light, Adam must act as guide to those taken before their time. As his older brothers fall into their fate however, Adam clings to his life as a normal kid - one who likes girls, hates the Head and has a pile of homework to get through by Monday morning. When Adam gets a terrible premonition he realises that he must make a devastating choice. He must risk his life, his family and his destiny in order to save his soul.

Keep death company on twitter by following Debbie McCune

Pub Date: 25/04/2013

Dawn O'Porter is one of those people you can spend your life wishing you could be, going by all reports not only is she a thoroughly lovely person with a fabulous wit and personality she
is also a successful broadcaster, print journalist having written for various UK newspapers and magazines including GRAZIA and STYLIST. An avid Tweeter and blogger of The Dawn Report, has produced 13 documentaries including one on the movie Dirty Dancing, has recently married the actor and comic genius that is Chris O'Dowd (hence Dawn Porter becoming Dawn O'Porter) and is now a published author of teen fiction with her début for Hot Key Paper Aeroplanes a novel which is based on Dawn O'Porters child hood and is, well I think Publisher Emily Thomas  says it best 

'Dawn doesn't flinch from describing the horrors of having your period round at someone's else house when you're fifteen; the freakish body hair that you're convinced is yours, and yours alone; your excruciating dysfunctional family; the strange and contradictory mass of feelings you have at all times; the curiosity, yet wariness of boys (and of sex in general); the hideous misery of falling out with your best friend; the knowledge that though your life stretches out, tantalisingly, before you, you have absolutely no clue what to do with it.'

PAPER AEROPLANES is every teenage girl's experience. You will read it and weep, and then you will laugh, and then you might weep some more.'

It's the mid-1990s, and fifteen year-old Guernsey schoolgirls, Renée and Flo, were not really meant to be friends. Thoughtful, introspective Flo couldn't be more different to extroverted, sexually curious Renée. But deep down Renée longs to go back in time before her mother died, and to not be trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of her grandparents' house, and Flo feels as though she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, watching her emotionally distant mother fight constantly with her dad. Renée and Flo are united by loneliness and their dysfunctional families, and an intense bond is formed.

If you missed the above links you can follow Dawn here and here

Pub Date: 06/06/13
Tall Tales from Pitch End which is another début author title written by Nigel McDowell who I also had a chance to meet (he is a thoroughly nice guy btw) who made me want to read his novel so badly given that he described his book as an ode to 80's teen movies such as Labyrinth! couple that with talk of clockwork cats that keep watch over the town and people of Pitch End and beings called 'Withers' who are kept alive by mechanical hearts...ummm HELLO! try and stop me from reading it! 

Ruled by the Elders, an unforgiving battalion of Enforcers and many mechanical clockwork Sentries, Pitch End is a town where everyone knows their place. Soon-to-be fifteen year old Bruno Atlas still mourns the death of his Rebel father ten years ago, and treasures the stories passed on to him: the Tall Tales from Pitch End.  After discovering a plot by the Elders to literally steal the Youth of the town, Bruno flees, escaping to the mountains where a bunch of
disparate young Rebels are planning an attack on Pitch End. With secrets and betrayal lying round every corner, Bruno will find himself fighting not only for his life, but the life of the town.

Nigel is also on twitter so go follow him like a clockwork cat!

Pub Date: 06/06/13

Another author on hand to talk about his new novel was Matt Whyman creator of the dark family drama The Savages described as a hybrid of the Royal Tenenbaums and the Addams Family with a dash of cannibalism thrown in (yes this also went immediately on my must read list/need a proof asap) I LOVE the novels The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs  by Jack Gantos and The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter, so given the dark subject matter and similar creepy illustrated jacket design (I know I know don't judge a book and all that but the wallpaper and creepy kids alone!!! )

I have very high hopes for 'The Savages' and cannot wait to tuck in to this meaty read.

Dinner with the in-laws has never been so dicey... When it 
comes to good taste, the Savage family are a breed apart. A ruthless business man, Titus Savage, is the patriarch of this London clan, and rules over his family with an iron fist. When his daughter Sasha falls in love with Jack Greenway, the hapless vegetarian, she must risk introducing her new boyfriend to her family for an evening where there is more than just dinner on the menu. Will Sasha put her new found romance at steak?  Will her parents be happy to meat the new boyfriend? Or will Titus's hunger for control end in disaster?

You can stalk Matt like a hungry cannibal here

Pub Date: 04/07/13
Friday Brown is an Australian import which Hot Key are super excited about.  Australian fiction is a in large part because of the unique strong style of storytelling that runs through the work of Antipodean authors and Vikki Wakefield is no exception.  Her novel tells the story of Friday Brown it is a modern fairy tale, that captures elements of the work of Alice Hoffman.

Friday Brown was saved by Silence. Brought up travelling the endless roads of the Australian wilds, Friday's past was shaped by stories, told dreamily by her mother around glowing campfires and on the edge of endless plains. But her mother's death left Friday lost, and running from a family curse that may or may not be real. Desperate and alone in the middle of a strange city, a voiceless boy with white blond hair and silver eyes appeared from nowhere, stole her heart and took her home.

Then came a FABULOUS surprise!

Pub Date: 04/07/13
One of my favourite authors, Queen of Teen, and my pal,  Maureen Johnson has signed a 6 book deal and is being published by Hot Key!  I cannot tell you how THRILLED I am about that little coup.  Maureen is one of those incredibly hard working, inspiring and talented people that is fantastically grounded people and makes everything she does seem effortless, so she is a natural fit for Hot Key who do everything with equal aplomb.  Hot Key will not only be publishing the final two books in Maureen's SHADES OF LONDON series (Squee) they will also be publishing three books in her SUITE SCARLETT series, but Maureen’s début for Hot Key will be THE KEY TO THE GOLDEN FIREBIRD. No official artwork yet but here's some official blurb:

The funny thing about stop signs is that they're also start signs.  May is the brainy middle sister, Brooks is the beautiful but conflicted oldest, and Palmer's the quirky baby of the family. In spite of their differences, the Gold sisters have always been close. When their father dies, everything begins to fall apart. Level–headed May is left to fend for herself (and somehow learn to drive), while her two
sisters struggle with their own demons. But the girls learn that while there are a lot of rules for the road, there are no rules when it comes to the heart. Together, they discover the key to moving on – and it's the key to their father's Pontiac Firebird.

Follow Maureen on Twitter here and read more about this fantastic author here

This was followed by another fantastic announcement H K will be producing a range of classic titles, or 'Forgotten Favourites' ranging from sci fi to historical fiction which is amazing news 

There are books we loved as children that, for whatever reason, just don’t seem to be available any more. Here at Hot Key, we've decided to bring some of them back to life, with updated covers and introductions by other people who loved them such as Malorie Blackman and Lucy Mangan.

Speaking of historical fiction

Pub Date: 01/08/13
The Ghost Bride is labelled as a YA/adult crossover title which is a historical paranormal novel, and needless to say on my must read list.

Seventeen-year-old Li Lan lives in 1890's Malaya with her quietly-ruined father, who returns one evening with a proposition - the fabulously wealthy Lim family want Li Lan to marry their son. The only problem is, he's dead. After a fateful visit to the Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also her desire for the Lim's handsome new heir. At night she is drawn into the Chinese afterlife - a world of ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, monstrous bureaucracy and vengeful spirits. Enlisting the help of mysterious Er Lang (a dragon turned clerk), Li Lan must uncover the secrets of the ghost world - before she becomes trapped there forever.

Heap House: The Iremonger Trilogy by Edward Carey
Pub Date: 05/09/13
Heap House written by Edward Carey was described as a Gormenghast style trilogy that is a stand out work in its genre.  No cover art as yet so here's some official blurb;
Edward Carey, author of OBSERVATORY MANSIONS and ALVA & IRVA, is moving into the YA/crossover arena, with the IREMONGER TRILOGY, sold to Hot Key in a three-book deal for UK & BC rights (excluding Canada). The three titles – HEAP HOUSE, FILCHING, and LUNGDON – are set in Filching, an imaginary borough of Victorian London. Here the extensive Iremonger family ('kings of mildew, moguls of mould') have made a fortune from junk, building a dark and sprawling mansion from salvage scrap. Young Clod Iremonger meets plucky orphan servant Lucy Pennant, and with her help begins to explore the perils of the noxious, shifting Heaps, and to uncover the dark secrets of his family's empire. 

Clod is an Iremonger. He lives in the Heaps, a vast sea of lost and discarded items collected from all over London. At the centre is Heap House, a puzzle of houses, castles, homes and mysteries.The Iremongers are a mean and cruel family, robust and hardworking, but Clod has an illness. He can hear the objects whispering. His birth object, a universal bath plug says 'James Henry', Cousin Tummis's tap is squeaking 'Hilary Evelyn Ward-Jackson’… A storm is brewing over Heap House. The Iremongers are growing restless and the whispers are getting louder. When Clod meets Lucy Pennant, a girl newly arrived from the city everything changes. The secrets that bind Heap House together begin to unravel to reveal a dark truth that threatens to destroy Clod's world.

The novels are also beautifully illustrated throughout by the author with gorgeously Gothic artwork which I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of, unfortunately you'll just have to wait and see, but it is well worth the wait believe me.

Pub Date: 03/10/2013

Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve was monikered as 'Romantasy fiction' which is an erotic romance fantasy epic. Set in a world where each country seemingly exists within its own era of history, technology rules, magic is real, and dreams can become reality.

In the world of FEARSOME DREAMER, England has become Angle Tar - a technophobic and fiercely independent country holding its own against the mass of other nations that is World. Rue is an apprenticed hedgewitch in rural Angle Tar, but she knows she is destined for more.  After being whisked off to the city by the enigmatic Frith, Rue becomes the student of White, a young Worlder with a Talent that is much in demand. White is no ordinary Dreamer - but then neither is Rue. Both can physically 'jump' to different places when they dream - and both have more power than they know.  Rue and White find themselves electrically attracted to each other - but who is the mysterious silver-eyed boy stalking Rue's dreams? And why is he so interested in her relationship with White? Is Rue about to discover just how devastatingly real dreams can be...?

Follow Laure on twitter

The Booby Trap and Other Bits and Boobs
Pub Date: 03/10/2013
Dawn O'Porter once again flexes her talent muscle this time as an editor of an anthology of stories.  The Booby Trap and Other Stories  is a collection of poems, essays, anecdotes, pictures thoughts and stories that all share share one common theme. Boobs!

Created as a charity project to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, this project will see all profits split between Coppafeel, Breakthrough and Breast Cancer Care.
THE BOOBY TRAP includes contributions from actors such as Chris O’Dowd, celebrities including Mel C, Sarah Millican and Jameela Jamil, journalists like Cherry Healy and India Knight and authors Benjamin Zephaniah, Patrick Ness, Marian Keyes and Maureen Johnson. THE BOOBY TRAP is a chance to get up close and personal with big name stars as they reveal all in this hilarious, moving and
honest collection of stories, memoirs, drawings and essays.

Issy's Book
Pub Date: 07/11/2013

The book of Isobel is an as of yet untitled work tha has already been stabled alongside Laura Dockrill & Yoshitomo Nara.

ISSY'S BOOK (title TBC) is unlike anything else we're publishing here at Hot Key. Written and illustrated by debut seventeen-year-old author Isobel Harrop, the book brings together Issy's sketches, comic strips, poems and essays into a beautiful collection of dry, humorous observations mixed with gentle poignancy.
A true snapshot of contemporary teenage life, ISSY'S BOOK contemplates love, life, family, fashion - and anything else Issy happens to be day-dreaming about at the time. ISSY'S BOOK is guaranteed to strike a chord with any teenager, and is a unique, must-have book for this year's Christmas list.

The presentation then progressed onto talking about the Guardian/Hot Key young writers prize which after the success of this years competition Hot Key are looking to repeat next year.

We were then joined by the Hot Key tech wizard Amy, who talked about their iBooks which are not your average iBook as they feature special features, kinda like Easter eggs on your DVD. The presentation began with a video featuring one of my favourite authors Sally Gardner who was enthusing about her love of the iPad iBooks, so here is the low down on that.

MAGGOT MOON and A WORLD BETWEEN US have been made into interactive ebooks with iBooks author; MAGGOT MOON multi touch was chosen as editor’s choice on the iBookstore.
For THE QUIETNESS, we're packing all sorts of delicious extra content into one concise interactive book. It will take you deep into the real-life events which inspired THE QUIETNESS, and give you access to exclusive video content about how the book was created. It's a must-have for fans of the book!
How to be a BOY
Pub Date: September 2013
As I mentioned earlier James Dawson was at the who is one of Red Lemon Press's launch authors who has written his book 'How to be a BOY' which is a 'unflinching' down to earth book on teen issues which is a go to guide for all of those burning questions that teen boys want to ask but never do such as questions over puberty, sex education, relationships and social etc Caitlin Moran and the inbetweeners had a book baby.  It was James idea that he wanted to write a real manuel for growing up aimed at 9-16 year olds

Being a boy is NOT easy, and there’s more to it than fast cars, sports and video games. In this essential guide to growing up, acclaimed author and former teacher James Dawson gives readers the gritty guide to what’s going on in their bodies, how to survive on the social food chain, impressing a girl and much more – nothing held back.– nothing held back.  Parents, teachers and readers alike will embrace Dawson’s refreshing honesty and witty wisdom while they get an inside view of what being a boy really means..

The second book that was discussed was The Artistic Ape by Desmond Morris

The Artistic Ape by Desmond Morris
Pub Date October 2013
Now this book is an incredible acquisition by Red Lemon Press, and I cannot wait to read it, as its author wrote the international bestseller The Naked Ape, so this will be a fascinating read. here is a bit more on the author and his latest work.  Desmond Morris is an internationally renowned zoologist, ethnologist and anthropologist, a pioneer in the study of human and animal behaviour.  He is also a prolific writer and has authored many bestselling books including MANWATCHING and BABYWATCHING.  He is a surrealist artist and has contributed significantly to the British Surrealist movement. He had his first solo show in 1948, and has shown regularly since then.  Details from Morris' paintings can be seen on the cover art of early editions of Richard Dawkins's books THE SELFISH GENE and THE BLIND WATCHMAKER.

In his new book Morris combines his deep understanding of human behaviour and his love of art to create a complete history of the subject from its roots in early human evolution through to the future of art. The book is a unique anthropological study.  Morris said: “In my previous books I have focussed on the ways in which human beings are similar to other animals, but now I want to turn the spotlight on one of the most exciting ways in which we have manifested ourselves as a unique animal – on the complex activity that we refer to as ‘art’.”

The final book of the day was 

Cosmic Menagerie by Dr Mark Garlick
Pub Date:November 2013

Prepare to be launched into the universe for a unique, upclose look at the stars. From tiny stellar corpses to red supergiants, every major type of star (and planet, galaxy and nebula) is explained, categorised and colourfully illustrated by highly-respected science expert and popular science author/illustrator, Dr Mark Garlick. Told in accessible, narrative text, this is a must-have for anyone wondering what lies outside of our planet, and for lovers of popular science too.  The book is easily accessible with text supported by stunning illustrations by a well-known and highly respected science expert and featuring one-of-a-kind exploration of and up-close look at never before photographed phenomena.  The book also incorporates digital technology allows readers to launch from the page to computer screen bringing the book to life with astonishing animations.

All three books will be published Autumn 2013

And that brought the presentation to a close.

As I left the luncheon my prayer for books was answered as I was leaving it was literally a book buffet, and I went home with a box, yes that's right a box of literary goodies including The Savages, Tall Tales From Pitch End, Death & Co and I even snagged a copy of the guilty pleasure that is The Vincent Brothers 

so after such a generous gift I will now dedicate the next few weeks to reviewing Hot Key titles ONLY! I don't have all of their titles unfortunately but those I do have copies of old and new will get a write up, so stay tuned for more on these fabulous books.
And if that wasn't enough I spoke to the lovely Megan Farr and the equally lovely Olivia Mead about running a competition exclusive to my blog, where you get a chance to win a selection of Hot Key summer titles before they are even released.  I know right! So if you missed the obvious competition banner at the top (did you, really!?) then click here and enter.
Well that's all for now my little imps have a seizure later
The Librarian

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