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C.J. Skuse, author of PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC and DEAD ROMANTIC was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England.
She loves: graphic novels, sitcoms, Gummy Bears and the music of My Chemical Romance.
She hates: hard-boiled eggs, carnivals and coughing.
The movies Titanic, My Best Friend's Wedding and Twilight were all based on her ideas, she just didn't get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and own a malamute.
C.J has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside writing kick-ass fiction for teens, works as a freelance children's fiction consultant and lectures in writing fiction for teens at Bath Spa University.
A wonderful addition to one of my favourite series, if you have a somewhat suspect and dark sense of humour and can cope with a serial killer telling you her story then step right up! Rhiannon is on the run and stuck on a cruise ship as it heads into the Mediterranean. She attempts to take on a new persona, will she succeed or will she be sucked back into a killing spree? You most definitely need to have read the first two books in this series (Sweetpea and In Bloom) before embarking on Dead Head. Rhianna’s, ahem sorry… Rhiannon’s story begins to turn in a different direction, and I welcomed this path. Her kill lists remains, however her murderous mojo appears to have wandered off for a tea break. I still smirked, I still snorted with laughter, and I still found a deliciously wicked story. C.J. Skuse has the most sharp and smart writing style, balancing humour and absurdity with insightful and penetrating reasoning. The yo-yo effect from horror to compassion to incitement had me questioning my own judgement! Strutting to become a Liz Pick of the Month, it joins its sisters with style. Dead Head is a book you can escape into, it’s refreshingly different, and twisted as heck.
Very funny and touching, this is a refreshingly original teen novel which stirs traditional themes into a thought-provoking mix of science and more. Newly into sixth form college, Camille - unfortunately named after the painter because her parents didn’t realise it was not a female name – struggles to get a handle on friends, dating and the rest. But then she meets Zoe digging in the graveyard…Zoe gives Camille a new and surprising interest in life. Suddenly, being a teenager seems much more interesting! A Piece of Passion from the Publisher of Dead Romantic, Barry CunninghamI’ve never lost my head, or any other part of me for that matter, to a girl. Honest. C.J. Skuse shows us how finding the best bits of a boy is surprisingly difficult – especially when it's a heart of gold that you truly, deeply want.This is a hilarious, moving, tiny bit sad, gloriously redemptive (yes!), unique mix from a totally brilliant new talent. You’ll never ask for a . . . hand . . . with anything again! In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Dead Romantic a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Scroll down to read them.
March 2011 Book of the Month. Just how far will Jody’s obsession with rock star Jackson Gatlin take her? She’ll stop at nothing to reach him so, when she finds herself backstage at his concert, she kidnaps him so that she can have him all to herself. Life should now be perfect but Jody soon finds that Jackson Gaitlin doesn’t play exactly by her rules. A rip roaring story about the perils of fame and the reality of all that glamour.
March 2010 'new gen' Book of the Month title. Although not the target audience for this debut novel, Pretty Bad Things arrived on my desk at about the time the Catcher in the Rye author, J D Salinger died and there are definite comparisons to be drawn. Here in Pretty Bad Things we have two teens rebelling against and feeling immensely frustrated about today’s world and about being let down by the adults in their life. They have attitude, yet they’re vulnerable and their raw emotions will draw you into their story from the very start. You’ll feel as if you’re there with them, experiencing and understanding their frustrations. The writing is incredibly vivid, immensely sad at times but also utterly exhilarating. So for today’s teenager or an adult who remains a teenager at heart, this book could do what Catcher in the Rye has done for more than a generation of readers but unlike J D Salinger, let’s hope the author continues to deliver a knock-out punch with each new book that’s published! Pretty Bad Things is something really special so expect it to be talked about in years to come. Barry Cunningham, the author's Publisher says:Remember how you felt reading cather in the rye. I think Holden Caufield would get pretty bad things. Today he might even sound like Paisley and her brother. Wild, dangerous but wonderful to know. It’s about rebellion, donuts and loving your dad. Kevin Brooks one of the top authors writing teen fiction today says:It’s so good, i’d even recommend it to people i don’t like. Find out a little more about the author by going to her author page on Lovereading4kids. Just click on the author name above.
'Brilliantly-written characters, original and engaging. It's so good!' BA Paris JOANNE HAYNES HAS A SECRET. THAT IS NOT HER REAL NAME. And there's more. Her flat isn't hers. Her cats aren't hers. Even her hair isn't really hers. Nor is she any of the other women she pretends to be. Not the bestselling romance novelist who gets her morning snack from the doughnut van on the seafront. Nor the pregnant woman in the dental surgery. Nor the chemo patient in the supermarket for whom the cashier feels ever so sorry. They're all just alibis. In fact, the only thing that's real about Joanne is that nobody can know who she really is. But someone has got too close. It looks like her alibis have begun to run out.... Your favourite authors are loving The Alibi Girl 'Heart-wrenching, impossible to predict and completely absorbing' John Marrs 'The master of dark, sexy psychological suspense' Suzy K Quinn 'A dark, addictive read' Phoebe Morgan
So deeply dark (and satisfying) this book just might locate a tad of the dark side in you too. Rhiannon is back! If that doesn’t mean anything to you, stop here and do not pass go, head straight out and buy yourself a copy of Sweetpea first. You have to read Sweetpea (one of my books of 2017) followed by In Bloom (which will be one of my books of 2018) because there is no other way. I simply adored the shock-fest that introduces serial killer Rhiannon and wondered how on earth C. J. Skuse could top the thrill of discovering Rhiannon for the first time. The answer is that I fell head long into the story and refused to come up for air until I had finished, I found a darker, and perhaps if possible, a more provocative read, though one that still delivers killer blows of humour. Quite how the writing doesn’t tip over into a farcical blood-bath I’m not sure, it just proves the beautiful balanced touch to the writing that encourages thought, while inducing cackles. The truly fabulous kill list continues, more of Rhiannon’s back story is revealed, a certain little voice adds a delicious note of reasoned absurdity, and oh my word that ending! Trampling over conventionality and kicking conscience in the face, In Bloom is an immensely powerful and stimulating read.
Shortlisted for the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award 2018'Makes Hannibal Lecter look like Mary Poppins... this is going to give me a serious book hangover' John Marrs, author of The OneIf only they knew the real truth. It should be my face on those front pages. My headlines. I did those things, not him. I just want to stand on that doorstep and scream it: IT WAS ME. ME. ME. ME. ME!Rhiannon Lewis has successfully fooled the world and framed her cheating fiance Craig for the depraved and bloody killing spree she committed. She should be ecstatic that she's free.Except for one small problem. She's pregnant with her ex lover's child. The ex-lover she only recently chopped up and buried in her in-laws garden. And as much as Rhiannon wants to continue making her way through her kill lists, a small voice inside is trying to make her stop.But can a killer's urges ever really be curbed?Amazon reviewers love In Bloom:'Dark, twisted, hysterical and heart breaking all in one. Outstanding.''Sick, twisted and disturbing, and so deliciously, darkly funny!''Brilliant characters, spot-on dialogue and a great plot. I just can't fault it.'
The first adult novel by an acclaimed children's book author, Sweetpea hits all the right buttons. A dark, twisted read about a female serial killer with dollops of humour, sarcasm and a lightweight approach to a serious subject that shouldn't work but does! Rhiannon loves her pet dog and her doll house and works in a menial position at her local newspaper. She also kills people in imaginative ways. None of them are actually innocent; well, maybe one was... Her boyfriend is cheating on her with a friend to his peril. You can't help but smile along with Rhiannon as her diary unfolds, bitchy, sarcastic, lethal. Skuse is clever and maintains just the right balance of immorality, belly laughs, sinister actions and eye-opening commentary on the absurdities and pettiness of everyday life to, keeping you gripped and on the hook, both smiling and squirming. I'm looking forward to her next 'grown-up' book, as this one will be hard to beat! ~ Maxim Jakubowski The LoveReading view... Oooh, this is a truly cringe-inducing, yet addictive, whammy of a read. ‘Sweetpea’ is the diary of a serial killer, Rhiannon may look sweet and innocent, but inside that shell, is a plotting, deviously twisted mind. The first chapter shocked me, in fact every chapter shocked me, I blurted with laughter and then burned with guilt at my reaction as words spilled from Rhiannon’s mind onto the page. If you find the thought of an evil-thinking, murdering psychopath, who tosses imaginative profanities like litter a little off-putting, then do think twice before opening this book. If you do peek, be warned, I found it impossible to put down, this is a psychopath whose words struck a chord and made me wonder at my own propensity for wickedness. This is the first novel for adults from C. J. Skuse, and I think she must have an evil little monster residing in her pen, yet as information was revealed, my thoughts halted, coiled, altered. ‘Sweetpea’ is a wonderfully surprising novel, obvious, a shock-fest, in your face… yet incredibly subtle and thought-provoking too, I loved it, I absolutely loved it. ~ Liz Robinson Books in The Rhiannon Series: 1. Sweetpea 2. In Bloom Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.
Shortlisted for the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award 2018'If you like your thrillers darkly comic and outrageous this ticks all the boxes' The SunThe last person who called me 'Sweetpea' ended up dead...I haven't killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I'd feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night's sleep. Didn't wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog...but she's got a killer secret.Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon's life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend's plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.A kill list.From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon's ready to get her revenge.Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder...
October 2015 NewGen Book of the Month. In an isolated boarding school, a group of girls settle in for the holidays. Everyone else has gone home and there are rivalries and animosity between them – this definitely isn’t going to be a happy Christmas. But no-one knows just how bad things will get! As snow falls, cutting them off, stories of the monstrous beast that stalks the hills become terrifyingly plausible: something is out there, something murderous! It’s a classic set up and C.J. Skuse squeezes every thrill and heart-stopping moment out of it, adding a breezy, sardonic humour just right for teen readers. Grisly, nail-biting fun! ~ Andrea Reece