Thursday, 23 June 2016

Books/Series I Should Reread...

Seeing as I am in a bit of a blogging blitz, I thought writing a blog about books and series I would love to reread one day...

Like I said in my "Books I Really Should Start..." post, I have a ton of books in my TBR pile and on my kindle. But I always have that urge, every now and then, to go back to my favourite reads. Plus, there are some that I have read once and I want to go back into that world. We all have that feeling, right? Return to a world/characters in a book that we love?

So, I thought I would pick a few and write them up. Maybe, one day, I would actually reread them! You never know... But, am going to pick a few and have them in no order. So, let's get started!

THE OLD KINGDOM SERIES by Garth Nix
I love Garth Nix and I love this series. Whenever I fear I'm going to fall into a reading slump or I am in a reading slump, I always dive towards Sabriel. I adore that world and the characters. But I reread Sabriel so often, it would be wonderful to actually read the other books. It's been so long - plus, with Goldenhand coming out later this year, it would be great to read something - anything! - before that publication.

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
I had ideas to reread Mockingjay to co-inside with the EU referendum. Whether I do or not is anyone's guess (as I am writing this at the beginning of May 2016), but I always kinda wanted to return to this world since I watched the movies. It would be interesting to refresh my memory over what was in the books (as I haven't return to the books since before the first movie came out). I might not want to read the epilogue of Mockingjay (as I have told you a ton of times that I dislike THAT epilogue).

FANGIRL & CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell
I quite liked reading these last year, and it would be nice to read these without the hype/pressure of "It's Rainbow Rowell, therefore I must love it. Or else!". Out of the two, I would prefer to read Carry On. I had such a blast with Carry On so it would be lovely to return to Watford. And it would be interesting to Fangirl as it was a very different kind of book for me...

MIRROR DREAMS by Catherine Webb
This was always my first book of call when I needed a reread when I was a teen (as well as Sabriel), and I haven't read this in quite a while. It's a lazy reason, and with this being out of print (I think it is... Don't hold me to that!), maybe reading this will make me understand why I got obsessed with this book as a teen!


HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman
It's been so long since I read this series. I dip in and out of Northern Lights, but I was meant to reread the trilogy last year (but oh, reading slump! How you destroy me!). Or just Subtle Knife. But with the BBC planning to turn this trilogy into a TV series (please don't screw it up, BBC! I trust you, but PLEASE DON'T MESS THIS UP!), maybe it's time to get my hands on my hardbacks and reenter this world of daemons, witches, talking polar bears and the evil Mrs Coulter (one of the most fascinating characters I have ever read)...


THE TWILIGHT SAGA & THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer
This series gets a lot of stick. I have said in the past that, without this series, I don't believe YA would exist so quickly. Twilight gave YA as we know it a good kick up the arse. So, after over ten years, does it stand the test of time? This is why I want to reread this series. Yes, I read Life and Death last year, but it would be cool for me to return to Bella and Edward and read all 4 books (though it will pain me to read Eclipse. But, I will reread New Moon and that [and Twilight] are the my fave of the series)...

As for The Host... well... I think all Stephenie Meyer readers say this is her best book and I agree. Would be great if there was a sequel. But with Stephenie going to be busy with the film adaptation of Anna Dressed in Blood, looks like I will have to do a reread instead...


HARRY POTTER & THE CASUAL VACANCY by JK Rowling
Of course I'm going to say Harry Potter! Yes, I reread the whole series last year. But I always like reread Potter. I always discover new things when I reread. I would say I would reread Goblet of Fire. And I remember really enjoying The Casual Vacancy. As I haven't watched the BBC adaptation  (seriously! I have no idea how I missed it. It's on my Sky+ box and ready to go!), it would be very cool to read then watch (or visa versa) and compare.

But Potter. Yes. I am going to reread a Potter book in the next 12 months (and I am not including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Fantastic Beasts textbook or script and Tales of Beedle the Bard...)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Let's Talk Tomorrow...

You might be aware that tomorrow is an important day for the UK. Now, I want to touch on this super quickly but am not going to be boring and tell you who the vote for.

Also, if you are too young to vote or not a UK citizen, you don't need to read this. Carry on as you are.

Ok, let's talk. About this EU referendum. Now, I know some of you are confused on this and I fear some of you are reading this, saying "Tell me who to vote for?" and I won't do that. I am not going to force my opinions on you.

However, to those of you who can vote and decide not to vote, this is where I kinda want to talk. So, bear with me.

As you guys are fully aware, I am very suspicious over the government and politics in general. I actually wrote a blog post about my fears prior to the General Election last year (you can read that here! Or, if you don't want to read that, my blog post of sex education [probably one of my favourite/hair-pulling blog post I have ever written/researched] might be more up your street). But in that post, I said I know how lucky I am to vote.

This is something I am going to repeat. I know how lucky I am to vote on this. Hell, I am lucky to have a vote, period. I know that in some countries, people can't vote because of their gender, their sexual preference, their government isn't a government but is either a dictatorship, beyond corrupt or the government doesn't care about the suffering of their own people. I get this. I do. I don't want people to think I don't understand how lucky and privileged I am to vote.

But I also know how most of you feel. You feel like your voices aren't being heard. That some politicians - some, not all - aren't listening to us.

That is why us voting is important. This is our voice. This is our chance to be heard.

Now, here's is my problem. I am scared that this vote, this decision, will have long term repercussions. If we remain in or vote out, there will repercussions for all of us. Not for us now, but for future generations.

To those of you who aren't going to vote - which is your decision and your right to do so - I would say please reconsider. This is such an important vote - probably more important than last year's general elections - that not voting is a very risky move. Do you really want someone else deciding not only your future but the future of your country?

If you decide to still not vote, can I ask you one small favour? If you decide not to vote, can you please then not moan/whine/have a tantrum over the decision in the coming weeks/months/years/etc? You didn't vote, therefore you don't have the right to complain about the decision made.

Sorry for this blog post. I just want to get this out of my system as... well... I'm a little apprehensive of what's to come.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Series I Really Should Start...

We know what it's like. We have so many books to read and yet, somehow, we don't have time to read them. If only Hermione's Time Turner existed... Think of all the reading we can do!

But I am no exception. I have a ton of books and, somehow, I seem to buy books or ebooks that are the start of series and I just don't start them! I have LOADS of unstarted series that you all shout and scream about on Twitter/Facebook/Instragram/Goodreads/etc that I should read and... I don't. I am going to tell you guys a few of these unstarted series and I hope you can forgive me and don't judge me.

CHAOS WALKING trilogy by Patrick Ness
I sense you judging me on this first truth. I haven't read this series. I do own The Knife of Never Letting Go and I have every intention to read this. I have read More Than This, A Monster Calls and The Rest of Us Just Live Here and I am very excited that Patrick is show runner for Doctor Who spinoff, Class. So, why haven't I read this? Fear, mainly. You guys love this series so much, I fear I won't like it. Plus, this isn't the easiest book to get into. I tried to read a few pages a year or two ago and stumbled a bit over how it was written. It's one of those series that demands your attention, and I can't give the book the attention it deserves just yet... Hopefully soon...

NOUGHTS AND CROSSES by Malorie Blackman
I have the first book in this series on my kindle. And I have read An Eye for an Eye and Callum and I know I will like this series. But when it comes to actually reading the series, I seem to doubt myself over this book. What if this book, which I know will be awesome, isn't awesome for me? What if I'm the odd one out and dislikes the story? So, fear is my main reason here...

GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
I have all three of these on my kindle - all from a sale. This seems to be a series I am pretty confident I will enjoy. It's grown up fantasy, which is right up my street. So why haven't I start reading this yet? Because it's on my kindle. I buy these books (and Noughts and Crosses) on my kindle and then I forget I bought them so, when am in the mood for fantasy, I go to my TBR shelves instead of looking on my Kindle. This has the change, and I am making plans to go to my kindle at least once a month to read something on it. And Graceling or Fire will be one of the books I hope to read within the next 12 months...

THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon
I won a signed copy the first book in the series (this was after I bought this on sale on my kindle), got the second as a proof from the publisher and am eyeing up the eNovella, On The Merits of Unnaturalness (but won't buy till I actually read this series). For a very long time, I stayed away from this series as it was hailed as "the next Harry Potter" and anything that is hailed as "the next" always has me suspicious over it. But curiosity has got the better of me. I have heard the world building is really good and am curious over this.

RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard
This seems to have split you guys right down the middle. Some of you guys (who I trust) really love this book and some of you (again, who I trust) really dislike this book. And while I have read and talked to people over this book, I am curious on my reaction. I wanted to know if I will enjoy this and tweet my excitement, if I will throw this across the room, raging against the characters or go "Ok, this is not what I was expecting but ok...". I always find that those types of reads surprise me the most. But I have held off because of the mixed reactions... we shall see...

And lastly...

GAME OF THRONES by George RR Martin & OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon
Do I really need to explain myself on these two?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

TommyVCancer - Target: Nobody


So, today is my day on TommyVCancer tour, and here, we are trying to kick cancer arse (the first and probably last time you hear me type that word. I don't like swearing on my blog, but with cancer, I'll make a exception...)


So, today, I am here to talk to you about Fangs: Vampire Spy. Well, not the series as a whole, but Target: Nobody.

In Target: Nobody, super agent Fangs Enigma and sidekick, Puppy Brown, are on the case when, at an award ceremony, MP1's (that's Monster's Protection, 1st Division) Professor Hubert Cubit (or Cube... well, what else do you call someone with an actual cube head?) is kidnapped. Throw in Fangs's dad, Claret Enigma, skeleton hencemen, an angry ghost, an actual cat and mouse spy team and the world's fastest hamsters, will our duo save the day in the nick of time...?


Now, am going to admit this, it was the words "world's fastest hamsters" that made me grab this book . No idea why, but that was what sold this book for me. And until I got my copy and started reading, I had no idea this was the fourth book in this series... oooops! 

But this was such fun! I had such a blast reading it! Every time I picked it up, I couldn't help smiling - it was that entertaining! Perfect for middle grade readers as it poked fun at James Bond with all the spying and the sassy one liners and comedy horror - Sorry, but a ghost needing hamsters for his evil plot! 



A fun, very entertaining read - can't wait to investigate the series further!



*

ACTUALLY, while you are still here, I wanna chat to you about something. As part of this tour, a bunch of super lovely people (publishers, authors, bloggers, agents, etc) are donating some super awesome stuff to help this tour. This tour is to help Tommy and his family while he fights cancer and best way you can do that is either buy/read one of his books/series or donating directly. 


Or, you can enter this. A bunch of bloggers are doing competitions (myself include) and each contest is for a special prize. This contest is for a middle grade mystery pack from Harper Collins. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

South Bank YA Book Club - The July Read Vote

As you guys know, I was asked by those lovely people at the South Bank Centre to moderate two YA Book Clubs over the course of the summer. And I knew that the books would be voted for by you guys. 

Well, the vote for the first Book Club (9th July) has been revealed and I am beyond delighted with the choices. I saw a rough list and went "All are wonderful reads that I know I will sink my teeth into reading and discussing!" And now, you can vote on which book the Book Club will read and discuss! You guys are spoilt for choice! 

Now, the books chosen were picked because (according to the South Bank) these "great reads cover themes such as Modern Love, Digital Love, Love as Social Action and Art & Love." (Did I forgot to say that this co-insides with South Bank's Festival of Love?)

The choices are...




I told you guys they were good. I haven't read any of these (and I call myself a book blogger. THE SCANDAL OF IT!!!) but I know that whatever is chosen, I will devour, either squeal in delight or sob into my Twitter feed and I will find a ton of discussion to talk about. 

Anyway, like I said earlier, you guys can vote of the book I (and others) will discuss at the book club. All you have to do is click https://southbankcentre.typeform.com/to/pwRv5n, click on your choice and click vote.

Now, if you can't make it to the book club on the 9th, I will be writing a post about the winning book and, if something really jumps out at me, I might try and do a discussion video for the Bookish Brits. We shall see...

eBook Review - Another Together

An eNovella? About characters I adore? And this will tie me over till second book in series comes out later this year? AND IT'S FREE!?

Oh, Lauren James, you are spoiling us!

As you guys are aware, I loved The Next Together. It was one of my favourite reads of last year and I am very excited to see where Lauren goes next in The Last Beginning. So, when I saw this on my Twitter feed, I downloaded it without thinking about it and squeezed it in when I could.

It's Winter, 1940. The war is on, codebreakers are working hard to break the Nazi's enigma machine and there's a killer on the loose at Bletchley Park? Can this life's Kitty and Matthew catch the killer before they strike again?

If you're a fan of the series, you will really like this. It was fast, fun and you just get catch up in the story of not just Kitty and Matthew trying to stop a killer, but their relationship and reincarnation.

If you're new to Lauren's world, this might be a good place to start. You focus on these characters and the elements that Lauren touches on within The Next Together and The Last Beginning, hopefully, but without giving too much away or overwhelming you. Plus, as this is a free novella, you can try out Lauren's writing style and see if you click. If you do, great. If not, at least you haven't wasted money on it.

The only thing that bothered me is that I wished it was a little longer. I forgot how much I missed these character and I just wanted to spent more time with them. But I fear some of you might think the mystery is a bit weak (I disagree - I thought the mystery worked well against the backdrop of the story and its location).

All I have to say now is "Bring on Last Beginning"! Or more novellas set with these characters. I don't care which!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Walker Books's #InkSlingersPicnic

This weekend just gone, I was invited to Walker Books for their #InkSlingersPicnic blogger event. And as you guys know, I always love a good blogger event and, barring a few other publishers, I love Walker Books so I had to go. I HAD TO GO! They tempted me with delicious books, cupcakes and a chance to meet up with other bloggers/vloggers. IT'S BEEN SO LONG, YOU GUYS!

So after meeting up with Michelle (Tales of Yesterday) and Virginie (Chouett) near Tottenham Court Road (SO CLOSE TO CURSED CHILD!!!), we made our way to Walker. After meeting a bunch of other bloggers and vloggers (who are WAY cooler than me on this whole blogging thing), we went inside Walker, said hi to everyone else and got shown some wonderful new releases that Walker will be publishing throughout the rest of the year.

Now, I'm not going to mention all - that will take FAR too long. So, please forgive me but am going to mention a few and will point you to a few of my and other people's tweets.

Three authors were at the event and each spoke of their releases. And I'm sure one of these will be perfect for you.

The first was Siobhan Curham. You might have heard of her - she was the editorial consultant on Zoella's Girl Online and author of books such as Shipwrecked, Dear Dylan and True Face. Her latest, Moonlight Dreamers, follows four friends who, meeting by chance, form Moonlight Dreamers and each girl has to become herself with each other's help, while tackling issues such as racism, bullying, sexuality, bereavement. These girls aren't like anyone else - and nor do they want to be. Fans of Girl Online will devour this book and be desperate for the sequel...

The second was Zoe Marriott. Yes, you know who she is as I rave about her books that I have read (still got two to read at the moment!). Her newest will be out in September and it's called Barefoot On The Wind. Set around 100 years after Shadows on the Moon, everyone is Hana's village know to stay away from the forest. Hana knows that better than most. But when her father goes missing, Hana doesn't hesitant. Into the dark forest she goes, and what she finds isn't what she expected. Described as a feminist reimagining of Beauty and the Beast, this is one that I think fantasy fans will be itching to read. I know I am...

Third and final was Lauren James who talked about the final book in her The Next Together duology: The Last Beginning. Sixteen years ago, Katherine and Matthew (our leads from The Next Together) vanished without a trace. Now, Clove wants to find them. But where do you start, when it looks like the couple were reincarnated in key moments in history? Who are Kate and Matt? And who is Ella, a girl who appears wherever Clove goes? Time travel, mystery, love (both straight and gay), this book ticks all the boxes for me. And if you don't know this series, there is a free novella out now (which I am reviewing in a few days time, actually), Another Together, that is perfect for you guys to start with...

Ok, now we have those out of the way, let's chat about a few other books/series you guys might want to investigate.

A few years ago, Walker published the Pellinor series (The Gift, The Riddle, The Crow and The Singing). So now that a prequel to this series, The Bone Queen, has been published, Walker are republishing the series with new editions. Now, I have read The Gift so many years ago, but I can't remember a thing about it. Now I have it on my kindle, I think this will be perfect for me and for those of you who love authors such as Garth Nix, Trudi Caravan and Lord of the Rings.

Here I Stand is something that, as soon as I heard it, I knew I wanted it. Endorsed by Amnesty International, this collection of short stories and poems explore the freedoms and rights we enjoy in the 21st century - and those for which we still need to fight (such as racism, freedom of speech, gender equality, surveillance and identity to name a few). And with contributors ranging from Neil Gaiman, Sarah Crossan, Sita Brahmachari, Matt Haig and Chris Riddell to name but a few, this book is perfect to start a conversation, a debate, a change in view...

My Lady Jane: The Not Entirely True Story is as mad as a box of frogs. No, seriously, I mean it. When I first saw the cover in my info pack, my first thought was "Well, this looks like something I will avoid like the plague. It's a bit... girly", but once Walker got talking about it, I got excited. This book is barking, and perfect for me! Imagine the story of the Tudors retold by Monty Python and throw in some shapeshifter and you get the idea. After Henry VIII turns into a lion (making him the Lion King! LION KING!!!), Lady Jane Grey is pushed into a marriage with a total stranger - who might be a shapeshifter who turns into a horse - she finds herself caught up in a plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of the throne and forcing her to be Queen. Like that can go wrong... right?

Beck is also one that you might want to keep an eye out for. This story follows a mixed race Beck who is shipped to Canada at the time of the Great Depression. Faced with cruelty and hardship, Beck travels to find comfort and encouragement, eventually finding Grace... It's hard to talk about this book as I think this will be a book that will shock and move you. Started by Mal Peet and finished by Meg Rosoff (who promised her friend to finish the near complete manuscript before he died), this book will stay with you long after you turn the final page...

And final (I can go on, but am going to stop with this), we have The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan. This will be the first book from Walker's new imprint, Walker Studios. In it, we have beautiful art from Shaun inspired and based on the Grimms' Fairy Tales. With forewords by Neil Gaiman and fairy-tale scholar (you can be a scholar in fairy tales!? Boy, am I in the wrong job!) Jack Zipes, this looks like a feast for the eyes.

I could go on with books - The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd (and illustrated by Levi Pinfold) sounds enchanting and the Mango and Bambang series sound perfect for young readers aged 6 and up, and let's not get into the beautiful collectors edition of A Monster Calls, which will have exclusive content from not only Patrick Ness and Jim Kay but also from the actors and director if the upcoming movie (we rematched the trailer and I got a little teary eyed).

Walker looks like it's going to publish a nice mix of books for the next few months. I can't wait to get my reading under way!

Thank you to Walker for hosting a wonderful event with cupcake, authors and me shout of shock/delight when I saw Where's Wally colouring books (I kid you not! I grew up with Where's Wally?), my horror when I discovered Jill Murphy's classic Five Minutes Peace is having it's 30th anniversary (meaning I am a year older than this book! I GREW UP WITH THIS BOOK, PEOPLE! AND IT'S NEARLY MY AGE!!!) and having nearly everyone gasping in horror when I said I still hadn't read The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (so much so, one of the editors [whose name I completely forgot but who is a hoot!] grab a spare copy and threw it into my hands, going "Now you have no excuse...")

Friday, 10 June 2016

If Losing It Had A Soundtrack...

As you guys know, I am a fan of music and like to discover new music. So when Laura from Riot Communications asked if I wanted to be involved in this blog tour, I jumped at it. Books and music together. 

So, today, I want you to welcome Jamie Scallion to the blog. Not only was Jamie a lead singer of the cult band, Officer Kicks, and is one third of a songwriting/production (that has worked with Florence and the Machine, The Script and Jamie Cullen to name a few), Jamie is the author of The Rock 'N' Roll Diaries series. And the third book in the series, Losing It, has just come out. 

While Jamie co-writes the soundtrack for each book (with The Script and hit songwriter/producer, James Barry) - you can check out the music here - I wanted to know if Jamie wrote this book with a soundtrack in mind or songs he listened to while writing. I got this list (with the title If Losing It Had A Soundtrack) and I can't wait to show you the list and the Spotify (tried to embed it - didn't work. So, go to https://open.spotify.com/user/scallion/playlist/7p6YqZNk8GK6VKNh3nZ0qF and enjoy the music!)

Before I hand you to Jamie, I just want to thank Jamie for writing this post and creating this playlist and thank Laura for asking if I wanted to take part in this tour. So, over to you now, Jamie! 


The Rat – The Walkmen
In plain speak, this is a banger. From the long intro opening and frantic drum fills, to the opening lyric: “You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favour.” This song is bombastic, angry, filthy and I have loved it for years. 

Golden Brown – The Stranglers
It’s all about that harpsichord! Whimsical, frenetic and other worldly. It’s a song that I’ve listened to all my life. It follows no formula and it meanders but that’s its unique charm.

The Eton Rifles – The Jam
Lyrically I think this song is a master class on how to write a protest song. It bristles with malcontent and anger. 

Babies – Pulp
I think Pulp were my favourite Britpop act. I suppose I’m drawn to teen angst and kitchen sink lyrical content. I love a narrative and this is the perfect example of a great twist at the end. “I only went with her coz she looks like you.”  Jarvis Cocker’s vocal delivery is perfect. No one else could get away with it. 

Freakin’ Out – Graham Coxon
The riff, the riff, the riff.

Straight Outta Compton – NWA
So good I can’t comment on it, so let’s not.

Bubbles – Biffy Clyro
Great metaphor in the chorus. Great riffs running all the way through. The build is wicked. Biffy are awesome live. 

Pushing The Senses – Feeder
It’s all about the vibe. High tempo, unbelievably hooky guitars. Love this tune when I’m about to go out.

Club Foot – Kasabian
When this came out all those years ago it was so refreshing. Feels so vivid.

Inhaler – Foals
“Sticks and stones don’t break my bones” is a fantastic opening lyric to a song and coupled with the pumping vibe it really gets me.

AKA What a Life – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
The intro to this song gets me every time. It’s a psychedelic sky ride. The best song Noel has written since Oasis in my humble opinion. Imagine Liam singing this!

Letters from the Sky – Civil Twilight 
You can’t go wrong with a big old emotive ballad. 

Satellites – The RockAteers
You can’t go wrong with another big old emotive power ballad.

Take Me to Church – Hozier
I heard this song a while back and like everyone I felt it was such a refreshing piece of artistry. The lyrics, the voice, the piano. It’s a thunderbolt.

Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
If Led Zeppelin wrote a three-minute pop song…

Hit & Run – CRSH
I think the vocalist of this outfit has the best voice in the country. 

Eyes Wide Shut – Gotye
Love what Gotye does with melodies. He goes places songwriters rarely go and I love it.