Sunday, 31 July 2011

Follow The Owl



Today, we can go to Pottermore to enter for the chance to enter the site early before its official release date in October 2011. So... are you going to enter?

(Also, the pic comes from Tumbling Melissa tumblr)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Retelling a Fairy Tale

This is how we see Snow White, is it not?


But recently, film companies are going back to fairy tales like Snow White to give them a darker edge to appeal to a new audience. It's basically saying "You thought you know the true story. Well, you were wrong...". The first to do this was Warner Bros with their version of Red Riding Hood, starting Amanda Seyfried and directed by Twilight's Catherine Hardwicke.

But now, it seems that film companies are turning their eye onto Snow White. And, within the last few days, Universal and Relativity Media have revealed pictures of their Snow Whites.

For Universal, the tale has been renamed "Snow White And The Huntsman" with Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. This has been rumoured to being filming soon and that this film version could be the start of a trilogy.

For Relativity Media, this tale doesn't have a confirmed title but has the working title (on IMDB) as "The Brothers Grimm: Snow White". It starts Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Sean Bean. Filming is already underway and it will be released several months before "Snow White and the Huntsman" (Lily Collins' version is rumoured to be out in March 2012 whereas Kristen Stewart's is rumoured to be out in June).

And here are the pictures of Lily Collins and Kristen Stewart as Snow White.




As you can see, these two pictures are showing very different tones to this fairy tales. And on IMDB, the tales are very different. For Lily Collins' version, IMDB says: "A dark twist on the classic fairy tale, in which Snow White and the seven dwarfs look to reclaim their destroyed kingdom" yet on MovieWeb, it says that this film is about "An evil queen and an exiled princess struggle for control of their kingdom in a spirited adventure comedy, filled with jealousy, romance and betrayal, that will capture the imagination of audiences the world over" and comes under the genre of comedy.

Whereas on Kristen Stewart's version, Snow White and the Huntsman is, according to IMDB, "In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman (Hemsworth) ordered to take Snow White (Stewart) into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen (Theron)".

But the question I want to ask is Do we HONESTLY want a dark retelling of fairy tales? I mean, we all know fairy tales and, if you dig deep enough, you will find a dark past to them. I remember a quote by Terry Pratchett (I think it's from Hogfather) where he wrote something that adults tone down fairy tales because children are quite blood-thirsty creatures..

But there looks like we're going to get more of these retellings... Rumours are flying that Emma Watson is signed to star in a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which will be directed or produced by Guillermo del Toro and Disney is getting a script together for a live-action movie about Maleficent, the baddie from Sleeping Beauty. Looks likes fairy tales and their dark retellings are going to be with us for quite some time...

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Meet The Blogger - Books 4 Teens

Hiya! Another Thursday, another blogger comes face to face with my questions for Meet The Blogger. This week's blogger is Jesse from Blog 4 Teens. Please check out his blog at http://www.books4teens.co.uk/.

When did you start blogging?
I started blogging on the 28th January 2010 with a post mainly to try and get my theme working properly!

What made you start blogging?
I thought it would be a nice way to keep a record of what I'd read all in one place and a place to record what I thought about them.

What was the first book you reviewed for your blog and what was your reaction to it?
*Goes and double checks*. It was the first in the Beautiful Dead series, Jonas. I found the idea of it very interesting but a little slow to start – by the end though I couldn't put it down.

When was the first time you realised you were a Book Blogger?
Am I? There are so many fab book bloggers out there (you included!) that I don't think I'm ready to count myself up there with you all just yet.

How much of your time a week do you spend blogging?
Um, it varies week by week, but I would say not more than a couple of hours – it's gone down a lot since I largely automated the Book Reviews This Week post.

Has your taste in book genres changed since starting the blog?
I'd say it's grown a lot wider, I used to mainly read paranormal but now I love dystopian, urban fantasy, comedy, romance. I'd give anything a try :)

What book are you reading at the moment?
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

What book has got you very excited or made you cry?
Ooh! That's hard. I got very, very excited about Delirium by Lauren Oliver (after reading Before I Fall, I couldn't wait for it) I also got very excited about Tamsyn Murray's My So-Called books (is naming 4 cheating hehe – sorry!) – they are so fab and funny, I just love Tamsyn's writing.

Have you read any book that you disliked so much you threw it across the room?
Hehe, not yet (and I hope I don't)

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to take part or what to set up a book blog?
Go for it and take part in the community, it's so welcoming and friendly and if you ever need any help there's always some one on hand.

Now, to ask five fun quick-fire questions. What song are you listening to right now?
Ok, now don't laugh – High School Musical 1 & 2

MySpace, Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter – I've never got on with MySpace and I keep forgetting about Facebook.

Hardback, paperbacks or eBooks?
Paperback

Letters, phone, texting or emailing?
Email

Zombies or unicorns?
Hmm, good question – Unicorns are fab majestic creatures so I'll go for them :)

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Jack Heath Guest Blog!

To celebrate the launch of his novel, Money Run, in the United Kingdom, author Jack Heath wanted to take over the blog and chat about how he researched and how extreme he research took him while writing Money Run. All yours, Jack!

When you spend your life writing about safe-cracking, skydiving and bomb-defusing, the fastest way to lose your readers is to skimp on the research. They're already suspending as much disbelief as they can. The more preposterous the story you're building, the more solid the foundations have to be.

This is a great excuse to do things that are outside your comfort zone. You may not be able to find a real-life bomb to disarm, but your characters will need other skills. For Money Run, I wrote a scene in which the protagonist drove a stolen sports car off the roof of a skyscraper. I signed up for a defensive driving course beforehand, in order to learn how my car would handle high speeds in hazardous conditions. Not well, as it turns out. One of the exercises found an instructor sitting in my passenger seat as the car roared towards a stack of traffic cones at 110 km per hour. At the last second he'd shout either “left!” or “right!” Even on the few occasions in which I swerved the correct way, I always knocked over the cones.

It's not always a specific scene which prompts such a venture. Sometimes opportunities just arise. My brother, Tom, is an actor. Thanks to his connections, I was able to join a group of professional stuntmen as they learned how to handle firearms. It was with them that I learned never to write a scene in which a character takes aim, pulls the trigger, and upon hearing a click, realises that her pistol is empty. As it turns out, the chamber of almost any handgun will pop open as soon as the last round is fired, so it's impossible not to know when you're out of bullets. I also learned that no smart protagonist would fire two semi-automatics simultaneously – even if it were somehow possible to aim, the muzzle-flash would burn both hands, and the recoil would probably cause the character to shoot himself in the wrist. Unfortunately, I learned this too late for my first novel, The Lab.

The desire for authentic research is a suitable replacement for bravery. I once abseiled down a sixty-metre cliff face in the Australian outback. As I waddled backwards towards the edge, the rope clenched in my sweaty fist, trying not to look down, trying not to listen to the distant clatter of the pebbles I'd dislodged, it wasn't guts that kept me going. It was greed, and the knowledge that this experience would make a great opening chapter.

It's all well and good to seek these opportunities out, but the very best research is usually the kind that sneaks up on you – sometimes literally. I was snorkelling off the coast of Queensland as a 17-year old boy when Tom grabbed my wrist, and I followed his gaze to see a two-metre shark lying on the sand below us. Its dorsal fin was almost within arm's reach. We both floated in silence as the current towed us towards two other sharks, lying as still as shipwrecks. We'd inadvertently swum into a breeding ground. My heart leapt up my throat when the sharks launched themselves off the ocean floor, stirring up a blizzard of sand. When I could see again, they were gone.

Tom later told me that they had been lemon sharks, a species which rarely attacks humans, and so far has never been the official culprit of a fatality. I didn't find this as reassuring as he intended it to be – but recollections of the fear have helped me write several shark attack scenes since then.

But personal experience has its limits. I've never defused a bomb, or picked the lock in a set of handcuffs. I've never been infected with anthrax, or attacked by a gorilla. If I refused to write about these things just because I'd never done them, my books would be half as long and a third as interesting. Instead, I bridge the gaps by reading books whose authors have done them. Christopher Hitchens has been water-boarded. Ian Fleming commanded a unit of commandos during WW2. Philip K. Dick was investigated by the FBI (and now he actually is a robot.)

No one person's life has ever matched the combined intrigue of a hundred books. That's why, when I research, I rarely go any further than my library. The events listed above are mere exceptions. An interesting life is a wonderful thing to aspire to. But whether you're a writer or not, it's equally important to read about the lives of others – real and fictitious alike.


(Quick thanks to Jack writing this guest post and Liz for setting this up! THANK YOU!)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

GoodRead - Dragon's Oath

Truth time: I haven't read many of the House of Night books - just the first two actually (Marked and Betrayed) - so I have no idea what's happened to the series or the twists and turns that have happened in later books (from the quick info scan I did on Wikipedia, I certainly couldn't pick up the latest book, Awakened, and read it from there. I would have to start at the beginning!). So, when Atom surprised me with parcels of books including this novella from the series and claimed that it was a "great introduction" to the world of the series, I was intrigued and decided to have a quick read (it's on 140 odd pages so it would be a fast read).

Dragon's Oath - the first in the House of Night Novellas - delves into the history of Dragon Lankford and into his life before he was a Sword Master. Before that, he was fledging, talented and falling in love...

Now, ehe House of Night Novellas will "…delve into the background of some of the Tulsa House of Night's most important - and mysterious - professors", according to the press release I got with the book. And from the info I got from Wikipedia & Atom's twitter, there will be a second novella in Janurary next year called Lenobia's Vow.

As someone who vaguely knows the series (but not very well), reading this without being spoiled or going "what's going on?" was going to be the main concern for me. And apart from the first chapter and the epilogue (that happens around or just after Awakened for those of you wondering), that was it. And I don't think you really need to find out much at the events in Awakened to figure out what was happening in Chapter 1 but if you are a real fan of the series, you would just go "Oh, ok!" and just carry on, not thinking much about it.

But I quite like this. I wanted a fast, fun read and this was a fast, fun read. It was a bit romantic and magical, which something I also wanted (I go through these stages with my reading. You'll get use to it). Plus, most of the book was reading about Dragon when he was younger so it felt like a new character, not like I have been introduced to halfway through a series. And the situation with him and Anastasia felt very teen - very caught up in the emotions and addictive.

A thing that surprised me was sex and sexuality. Yes, it is a teen book and, yes, every book within this series does have a "NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNG READERS" on it, but this book was mostly set in the 19th century where the issue of sex were quite prude, compared to nowadays. But then, you saw and hear about gay and lesbian vampyres and that was a shock. Only because of the time the story it was set, but it was great to see strong female characters who are lesbians and then refer to young Dragon grabbing the lusting of two male fledgings. By the looks of it, these vampyres were a little ahead of the times...

Plus, every chapter started with a illustration by Kim Doner, and I loved these. My fave were for chapter 4 or 6. I just think they were great and I hope that the same illustrator through all of the Novellas, unless there is good reason.

There is a downside which I have seen in one or two reviews: the reason behind writing the Novella in the first place. It gives some information but not much, or very little. And I don't think it gives as much as it claims, but there seems to be something that, if you are a true fan of the House of Night, you'll see and go "A-ha!" whereas if you're not, like myself, you see an event happening and think nothing of it.

But I liked it. Not sure if I love it, but I do like it. I think I might see what the next Novella will be like, but I'm in no rush to read the House of Night series just yet. I think the Novellas will be good reads on their own, without the series. Just some distance will be needed. But I can sense House of Nights fans will be rushing out to get it and devour it within seconds. I will wait and see what the next novella - Lenobia's Vow - will be like…



Monday, 25 July 2011

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Books And Their Theme Songs (Volume 7)

It's another version of "Books And Their Theme Songs". I am going to try and make this a more regular blog post. Maybe once every 2 months. So, I hope you like this installement and will return in the near future. I, also, hope you like my music choices. ENJOY!!!

WINTER'S PASSAGE by Julie Kagawa


HUNTRESS by Malinda Lo


TIGER'S CURSE by Colleen Houck


SUMMER'S CROSSING by Julie Kagawa


TIGER'S QUEST by Colleen Houck




THE NEW WORLD by Patrick Ness




HUNTING LILA by Sarah Alderson




Friday, 22 July 2011

Atom Books On Stardoll (Press Release Alert!)

Was asked if I could put this press release on my blog and, after reading this really interesting blog post from Floor To Ceiling, I thought I would share with you...

Atomic Energy Explodes onto Stardoll
Atom Launches Interactive Book Club where Members are invited to Review Books


London (July 19, 2011) – Atom, the children’s imprint of Little, Brown, is teaming up with Stardoll, the largest online social gaming site for tween and teen girls to quench the thirst that teens have for fantastic fiction by launching an interactive book club. Stardoll members are invited to join the club, interact with popular books and join Atom in reviewing books before they are published.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Stardoll to promote the Atom brand and bring some of our most popular series to their members”, said Gina Luck, Atom Brand Manager “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to reach this audience and encourage them to read. With its 5 million very active UK members, Stardoll is the perfect vehicle.”

Stardoll will feature the book club for six months starting this week during which Stardoll members will be introduced to 4 of Atom’s bestselling series. Featured titles include Dragon’s Oath (the brand new House of Night novella); Nightshade and Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer; Lost in Time (the latest novel in Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series and Destined (the new novel in the bestselling House of Night series). From a campaign hub on Stardoll, members are invited to join the Book Club and receive a virtual Book Shelf to place in their suites. When they share it on Facebook, sign up for the Atom newsletter and read featured extracts of the novels they also receive virtual gifts inspired by each title. Stardoll members can also lead discussions around the book club and create sceneries to express ideas around the stories. Learn more about the Atom Book Club on Stardoll. http://www.stardoll.com/en/clubs/home.php?id=2867395

Atom are also reaching out to Stardoll members and inviting them to review books before they hit the shelves by joining their young reviewer programme, The Atomics. Learn more by following @AtomBooks on Twitter or join Atom’s Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/AtomBooks

“The Atom Book Club lands at a perfect time on Stardoll kicking off with summer reading when our members are looking for creative inspiration”, said Chris Seth, EVP and General Manager at Stardoll “With the books made readily available in their online environment and the added social element to this campaign they’re certain to be a hit with our audience.”

About Stardoll
Stardoll is part of Stardoll Media, the world’s leading group of websites devoted to young women and girls. Launched in 2009, Stardoll Media includes: Stardoll – the social gaming destination with a focus on fame, fashion and friends. Piczo – the original platform devoted to social self-expression and visual blogging; and PaperDollHeaven – a simpler, game-play environment for a younger demographic. Stardoll Media is the number one publisher globally in Comscore’s teen category, and works with many Fortune 500 brands as they look to engage with an elusive youth audience. Headquartered in Stockholm with offices in the US, UK and Germany, Stardoll Media is backed by two of the world’s top venture capital firms: Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Meet The Blogger - Hannah Writes Stuff

Hello again! Another Thursday, another Meet The Blogger post. This week, please welcome Hannah from Hannah Writes Stuff. Check her blog at
http://hannahrenowden.wordpress.com/!
Now, off we go with the answers to those all important questions...

When did you start blogging?
Actually, it was about a year ago so I guess this must be my birth-blog-day!

What made you start blogging?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but had let it slip. Blogging seemed to be a good way to get me back into the habit. I may not go on to make millions from it, but blogging means I’m writing regularly about the things I love (or not) and have met some great people through it. I now also have a plump portfolio ready and waiting should Vogue make that call!

What was the first book you reviewed for your blog and what was your reaction to it?
My first review was for the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, as someone in my (ah-hem late) 20s I was a bit snobby about teen fiction but my friends insisted I read it and I was blown away. I then started picking up more teen fiction and was hooked! I now recommend a trip to the teen section to all my book buying friends!

When was the first time you realised you were a Book Blogger?
I wouldn’t say I was 100% just a book blogger, but as a blogger and a book lover the two were bound to come together. Probably when people started buying the books I blogged about, I thought then that maybe I was doing something right.

How much of your time a week do you spend blogging?
When I’m not physically typing, I’m thinking about blogging; making lists of topics, starting posts on the tube – blogging is a 24hr a day thing! If you aren’t writing them, you’re reading them!

Has your taste in book genres changed since starting the blog?
I have started reading a lot more teen fiction as I think it’s a niche that isn’t really covered in the sense of an adult reading and reviewing teen books for other adults. I hope to do a lot more of that.

What book are you reading at the moment?
I'm currently reading Blow by Blow, the biography of style icon Isabella Blow. I love fashion and Blow was Gaga long before Stefanie! It’s a really good read for anyone who’s a fashionista!

What book has got you very excited or made you cry?
Divergent by Veronica Roth had me on the edge of my seat! Fans of The Hunger Games will love it. I think I finished it in two sittings, which for me is good going as I read so slowly! Also Tom Clempson’s One Seriously Messed Up Week – never have I needed to know the cure for hiccups so much! The book that made me cry recently is My Sister Lives on The Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher, it’s a really beautiful book, humorous but also unbearably sad. I was physically crying reading it.

Have you read any book that you disliked so much you threw it across the room?
Yes! Too many to mention unfortunately. I tend to get rid of books I don’t like so they don’t offend my eyes. I cannot understand people who plough on with books they aren’t enjoying right to end! You could be spending that time reading something great!

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to take part or what to set up a book blog?
I’d say just DO IT! It’s so easy to get a free blog site and get writing. You can also contact publishers for book proofs, or even pop into bookshops and ask if they have any that are going spare. You can always tell them that you will write a review about it for their store or website in return. That way you can get a review out for a book that isn’t on the shelves yet, and who knows, maybe the publisher will quote you on the cover!

Now, to ask five fun quick-fire questions. What song are you listening to right now?
The theme tune to Britain’s Next Top Model – it’s my guiltiest of guilty pleasures!

MySpace, Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook and Twitter! What’s MySpace again…..?

Hardback, paperbacks or eBooks?
eBooks make me scream! It will be a cold day in hell when I get any such device. Paperbacks always – the more bashed up the better!

Letters, phone, texting or emailing?
Letters and texting!

Zombies or unicorns?
Zombicorns? They would be awesome.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

GoodRead - Coraline (Audiobook)

I read this - my first Neil Gaiman book, actually - years ago when it was first released in hardback. I think I read it within a day or two. A few years later, I got the audiobook as it was read by Dawn French and I relistened to it just now, just to refresh my memory of it as all I have in my head link to this is the film (which is good in some aspects but awful in others.)…

Coraline Jones has just moved house. Well, actually, she's moved into a flat inside a house with her mother and father. In this new flat, there is a door that opens to a brick wall. However, when Coraline opens it a second time, it opens onto a corridor. A corridor that leads to her flat. But it's not her flat. It's looks like her flat, but it's not. It's similar, but not quite exact. And then, she meets her parents, who look like her parents and sound like her parents but aren't. Her parents don’t have shiny black buttons for eyes. No, these are her Other Mother and Other Father and they have been waiting for Coraline for quite some time. This new world Coraline has walked into is a twisted version of her own and now that she's there, her Other parents (especially her Other Mother) are reluctant for her to leave…

So… what do I think? Even though I'm a little outside the primary and secondary target audience (this is a pre-teen book. Maybe early teen as well [says nothing about his age. *cough* mid-twenties *cough*]), I quite like it. I am still trying to figure out how old Coraline is (late primary school? Just about to start secondary?) as they are times she acts really young for her age and, other times, she acts a little older than her age. It's hard to nail it down.

I remember reading it the first time and listening to the audiobook and thinking of how clever it was. For example, Neil gives all the clues of what is going to happen or ideas to the plot within the first chapter and that is so clever. It was the little things that are clever. I only clearly remember the shiny black buttons and the Other Mother's right hand, and those two things are chilling for reasons I won't go into. But I do think this book is a good read and might give children chills - and that's a good thing. Kids like to feel scare yet safe at the same time.

And, dare I say it, I think adults might like this too. It's Neil Gaiman. If you’re a fan of his work, you'll read thi and wonder how he could write this for children and get away with some of the scenes. And you can see his touch (I've only read this, watched the film he wrote Mirrormask and listened to The Graveyard Book [will relisten to that soon, actually!]) and it's quite gothic, but there's something fairy tale about it. Not sure if his adult books have the same feel but there's something about his writing in these that are nice and comforting. This is the same feeling you get from Neil's episode of Doctor Who - The Doctor's Wife. It's dark, gothic yet quite fairy-tale. Because of this, Neil's episode is my fave Doctor Who episode in this currect series!

Am not 100% certain if Dawn French was the right voiceover, but she did seem to get the Other Mother's voice right. She made it sound lovely when the Other Mother was acting all sweet and nice, but when her voice had to become colder, Dawn seem to handle that alright. But some of the other characters voices didn’t feel right. Maybe it's me, but am not 100% certain if the right reader was found with the lovely Dawn French.

Now, some of you know that Coraline was turned into a film a few years ago with the vocal talents of Dakota Fanning, Terri Hatcher, Jennifier Saunders and Dawn French and directed by Henry Selick, who was heavily involved with The Nightmare Before Christmas (did he direct that or did he produce it? Can't remember at time of writing). Now, I have the DVD of this film somewhere in my house (saw it AGES again), but now, listening to the story, I realise how wrong the film was. I mean, the film is ok to watch, but if you want the film to be like the book, then you got problems. Main thing - there is no character called Wybie in the book!

And, the more I think about the film, the more I think that the film doesn't really represent the book right. The film was stop-motion animation, which is fine, but doesn't seem to fit the soul of the book (apparently, I read somewhere that Neil Gaiman wanted Coraline to be a Live-Action film but the director was against it. Hence why neil Gaiman wants the film version of The Graveyard Book and the TV version of American Gods to be live action). Also, can someone confirm to me this but is Coraline black? The reason I ask is because, in my head, I have always seen Coraline and her father as black and this didn’t happen in the film (yet I could easily imagine Terri Hatcher being Coraline's real & Other Mother). And they American-izied the story. It even says in the book that Coraline's father had to go to London due to work.

Yes, I know that these are little things but the more I thought about the book/film relationship, the more I got annoyed over it. Out of the two, I would say go the book. I always seem to say that with book/film adaptians, though there are the rare occasion that I say the film is better than the film.

I go off course. The book - Coraline - is a fast, chilly read that will make you never look at shiny black buttons in the same way again…



Monday, 18 July 2011

Sometimes, We Need Something Silly...



Thanks to Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsCh) for tweeting this a few weeks ago! Silly enough to raise a smile on a Monday!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Cover Reveal - Hollow Pike

On Tuesday, I went to the Indigo Launch Party and, before it has its OFFICIAL release the following day (revealed on the author's website) for James Dawson's debut novel, HOLLOW PIKE. Now, am quite excited about this book and am hoping to get my hands on this early next year when the book is released in February 2012. And here it is:



Do you like? I like it! A lot! It's very fairy tale but there's something creepy about it. And from the little info that has been released, I'm really excited about it. And here's the info from Amazon.co.uk

When Lis London moves to Hollow Pike, she's looking forward to starting afresh in a new town, but when she sees the local forest she realizes that not everything here is new to her. She's seen the wood before - in a recurring nightmare where someone is trying to kill her! Lis tells herself there's nothing to her bad dreams, or to the legends of witchcraft and sinister rituals linked with Hollow Pike. She's settling in, making friends, and even falling in love - but then a girl is found murdered in the forest. Suddenly, Lis doesn't know who to trust anymore...

Friday, 15 July 2011

Indigo Launch Party

(aka The Day of the Car Tyre)

Oh, I have a story to tell you about Tuesday when Orion Books had a launch party to celebrate its new YA imprint, Indigo. Because, for several hours, I thought I couldn't go! Basically, the story is this: I somehow hit a kerb on a country lane really badly and, because of this, one of my front tyre went flat. Luckily, I was near work (and a car place) so I could get it fixed, but I wasn't sure if I could go to the launch party as the earliest they could get a new tyre was 5pm. No time to get there as the event start around 6. So, sent email and tweets, explain the story and saying sorry. Then I started to worry about how much the tyre will cost. So, lived through a haze of worry, panic and guilt till about 3:45pm when I was phoned and told that, by some booky miracle, it was fixed. After quick mental maths (I hate/am useless at maths, BTW) and did some last minute begging, asking if I could still come (which Nina from Orion said I could still come - she's lovely, BTW!), rushed to my car, drove to the nearest train station (I work in the middle of nowhere!) and trained it into London. And I got there in loads of time! Morale of the story: life is twisted and sometimes, you have to expect the unexpected.

So, after rushing in and hugging Nina as a thank you and a sorry for the whole confusing mess that morning (I don't know if she was surprised for this or was scared witless of this mad young man hugging her…) myself and other bloggers (who are "real" bloggers - I'm sure I told you guys in an earlier blog that I felt like an imposter blogger, waiting for someone to realise that I shouldn't be there), Nina and Louise from Orion chatted through about Indigo publishing "teen fiction with style and poise" and chatted through the titles that will be released when Indigo is release to the world this September. There was a lot they chatted about so am grabbing a few at random (including those of the authors who actually were there!):

Dark Parties by Sara Grant - Debut novelist Sara's novel is a dark dystopian thriller (Immediately, I like this) where identity, trust and freedom must be questioned and fought for. But will the outcome be a happy one or will you become The Missing… people who vanishes and everyone pretend never existed.

The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner - "Reading this book is like reading a film noir" claims Nina and after discovering that this book is based round the turn of the second World War and seeing the dark elements of mystery & terror, you can understand why she claimed that. If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise…

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick - Ever had the feeling that you have met someone before? Or gone somewhere that is familiar but you've never been there before? This book follows two soulmates through seven lifetimes, where it has been called a "epic tale of love and sacrifice". Don't worry, loyal fans of Marcus, the book still promises to be dark and twisted.

Soul Beach by Kate Harrison - This is Kate's first novel for YA (she write romantic comedies for adults), and this is the darkest she has ever written. It's a dark murder mystery which could be called a dark social network thriller… You'll never look at Facebook and Twitter the same way again…

Shelter by Harlan Coben - this is Harlan Coben's first book for teens and, according to Louise, he wanted to write one for ages! And now he has! Fans of his adult books will love this rollercoaster of a book with cliffhangers and twists at every turn…

By Midnight & Darkness Falls by Mia James - The first book in the Ravenood Mysteries series, By Midnight, took the blogosphere by storm and the sequel, Darkness Falls, will continue the dark supernatural mystery. Beware the cause…

The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish - This is out in paperback early next year and we were told "This is McNish at his best. And because of that, his most terrifying!" I only read a few of Cliff McNish's books but this like one I have to add...

We also were told that My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece will have a new cover which will be "brave" and "different from anything we've ever produced". Also, we EXCLUSIVELY saw the cover for Hollow Pike by James Dawson (it will hopefully be revealed to the Internet soon!) - I wanted to read the book anyway, but I adore the cover! Must show you it when it's revealed and I must figure out how to get James to do a guest blog. Maybe try and get Nina & Louise too… *begins to plot*

Sorry, where was I?

Then, we had the lovely authors come out and chat to us. We had (in order of who spoke) Marcus Sedgwick, Sara Grant, Kate Harrison & Sally Gardner. Now, I have some bulletpoints about this so, enjoy:

1. The picture of Marcus Sedgwick that was on the promo is wrong. He looks like a indie rockstar!
2. I swear nearly every female in the room fell madly in love with him…
3. Sara Grant revealed that Dark Parties started life as a short story and was originally called Beige.
4. Kate Harrison used her jounalism skills to inspire her to write Soul Beach and finds the photographs used for teen deaths in the media quite unnerving as nowadays, the photos are taken directly off Facebook.
5. I demand that Sally Gardiner to read an audiobook verison of one of her books. Her voice is AMAZING!
6. Sally also said that Double Shadows was "difficult to write" and was her most "controversial" novel to date.

After hearing the four authors chat and read a few paragraphs for their novels, we went outside on the Orion balcony to chat to other book bloggers - people I've met before at the Atom Books Bloggers Event & those who I haven't. I chatted to Matt from Teen Librarian, hugged Carly from Writing from the Tub and we started plotting if we could hold a booky event in Bath in the near future so we can have a cocktail out of a jam jar (seriously), chatting briefly to Liz from MFB about Game of Thrones series, FINALLY met Jenny from Wondrous Reads (ABOUT TIME TOO!) and randomly chatted about the US version of Queer as Folk (us bloggers can chat about random stuff) and spotted, chatted briefly and waved to a few others who I didn't have time to chat to. With this, we nabbed books (actually, I think we were encouraged! I got all bar one author's book - Kate Harrison [which were all gone!] [and Marcus Sedgwick's Midwinterblood came in a binder. A BINDER!] and I grabbed a copy of By Midnight which looked unloved), ate cupcakes (delicious!) and drank some fizzy.

Basically, to please us book bloggers (even fakers like myself), do 3 easy steps: give us books, cake and alcohol. And a catch for us to chat. Four things, really. But the first 3 are quite important!

I also manage to chat to Sara Grant (and she signed my copy of Dark Parties) and Sally Gardner (was basically bowing at her feet and scaring her). And after that, we all went home. It was such fun after the stress and panicking of the morning! So, I must thank Nina, Louise and EVERYONE at Orion & Indigo who set this up, and thank the authors for coming to the event. THANK YOU!

Now, here is group of us all (expect Nina who took the photo - traitor):

It's The End Of A Era...

So, it's the end of the Harry Potter film era. This is a great and sad time (it'll be like reading Deathly Hallows all over again!). So, when I saw this Farewell Letter from Alan Rickman in Empire Magazine, I had to show it to you.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Meet The Blogger - Cicely Loves Books

Hello again! It's Thursday so it's another Meet The Blogger post! This week's Blogger is Cicely from Cicely Loves Books. Check out her blog at http://ciclovesbooks.blogspot.com/! But first, check out her answers. ENJOY!

When did you start blogging?
September 2010! The 13th to be exact. I always knew 13 wasn’t an unlucky number ;)

What made you start blogging?
I wish I had some great story for you, but really, I just saw some really awesome book blogs and thought, ‘Hey, I read, too! I know, I’ll start a book blog too! Yay!’ That’s kinda it…

What was the first book you reviewed for your blog and what was your reaction to it?
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, and I completely loved it. I do not, however, love my review of it. It’s kind of embarrassing really… I’ve gotten better since then ;)

When was the first time you realised you were a Book Blogger?
I don’t really know what you mean by this… I don’t think I ever had some big revelation in my fairly short time blogging that I am most definitely a book blogger, or before I started blogging. I started on a whim, and I have, and still am, growing into becoming a proper book blogger. That’s sounds good, right? #notmakingsense ;)

How much of your time a week do you spend blogging?
Ummm… A lot...? A few hours a week, I guess. It depends on how much I’ve read and how much I’ve got to review and whether I’ve scheduled posts, but a few hours at least, I would say.

Has your taste in book genres changed since starting the blog?
Yes! I used to be a right YA Paranormal junkie! I wouldn’t touch a contemporary with a stick. I just thought it wasn’t my thing, but boy was I wrong! My taste in books has grown and changed immensely since September. I don’t think I even knew what Dystopia was before the blog! I love my taste in books now. It’s pretty awesome ;)

What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m sort of inbetween books right now, but I just finished The Truth About Celia Frost (google it) and it was pretty awesome. Very unique. I’m either going to start Haunting Violet or Torment next.

What book has got you very excited or made you cry?
Boy, this could be a LONG list. I’m probably one of the biggest crybabies you’ll find, no lies. I cry at practically everything, it’s ridiculous. Artichoke Hearts made me cry a lot, but that’s because it was pretty personal. If I Stay made me WEEP. Delirium made me sob my heart out, Across the Universe made me cry quite a lot, and The Hunger Games. Mockingjay killed me. I think I answered this a bit too much…

Have you read any book that you disliked so much you threw it across the room?
Umm, no.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to take part or what to set up a book blog?
Just do it! Why not? What’s the worst that could happen, y’know! Also, don’t take my advice! ;)

Now, to ask five fun quick-fire questions. What song are you listening to right now?
1996 – The Wombats. (Freaking LOVE The Wombats! ;D)

MySpace, Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter, duh!

Hardback, paperbacks or eBooks?
Hardbacks. They’re so pretty… Anything but e-books! E-books are EVIL.

Letters, phone, texting or emailing?
Emails, or letters. Post makes me happy :) Plus phone calls scare me.

Zombies or unicorns?
You deem this a quickfire question?! So difficult to answer… I’m going to go with unicorns for now (or Vunicorns… ;p) But zombies are pretty awesome too.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Mistress Of The Storm Contest!

On Monday of this week, I went to my local indie bookshop, Just Imagine (remember, keep your local independent bookshops alive) as a last minute rush for their Writers Circle. With special guest of Melanie Welsh, aka M. L. Welsh, whose debut novel "Mistress Of The Storm" has recently been published in paperback.

With a small group of us, Melanie chatted about what inspired her to write Mistress of the Storm, advice on writing and editing (made a ton of mental notes on that!) and the top 3 pieces of advice that she wished someone had told her before she got her book published. It was a fun evening and I really enjoyed myself so I have to thank Just Imagine for setting it up (and telling me at the last minute of Saturday!) and for Melanie who had spent the day visiting schools!

Now, for those of you who don't know anything about the book (I must admit I didn't know this book existed till I was told about it. Is going to be a summer holiday read for me...), here is the details:

Verity Gallant knows she'll never be as pretty and popular as Poppy, her perfect little sister. Somehow, she doesn't quite fit in. Then a mysterious stranger hands her an ancient red book, and everything changes. As Verity becomes embroiled in a tale of dark magic and intrigue, she uncovers old family rivalries and discovers new friends. Together she, Henry and Martha explore the secrets that are stirring in the ancient harbour town of Wellow. But what will it take to stop a powerful witch hell-bent on revenge?
Taken From Just Imagine's website

Now, how would you like it if you had a signed copy of this book? Well, you can! Courtesy of our pals of Just Imagine, Melanie has kindly signed a copy of her d├ębut novel which I am giving away to you!

If you want to enter in for the chance of winning, just fill in the form below. You have until Wednesday 20th July at 8pm BST to enter and I can, due to lack of funds, only send this to UK-based addresses. GOOD LUCK!!!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

GoodRead - Hunting Lila

Am going to be honest, I wouldn't have known this book existed if it wasn't for Wondrous Reads. In one of her blog posts or one of her tweets (I can’t remember which), she revealed the cover and I fell in love with it. I thought it was striking, simple and mysterious. I think it was those red shoes. Striking, no? After tweeting her, I was excited about this book so, when Kathryn from Simon & Schuster emailed me, asking if I would want to review this book, I jumped at the chance. How could I not?

Lila has two secrets that she is willing to hide. Her first is that she has the power of telekinetic - of being able to move obejcts with her minds. So, when she is violently mugged and she exposes her power, she jumps on a plane to goes the only safe place she can think of: being with her brother, Jack, and his best friend, Alex. And here, we have her second secret: Lila has been in love with Alex her whole life. As Lila tries to keep both her secrets hidden, she discovers that both Jack and Alex are members of a military unit and they have been gathering information about her mother's murder which happened five year ago. And, by the looks of it, they know who it is…

But soon, the lines blur: who is the hunter and who is the hunted? What is the truth and what is a lie? Who can be trusted and who should be feared? And if Lila isn't careful, the lives of the people she loves will be put at risk…

Right, how do I review this without gushing? Yeah, this is one of those books where I could very easily gush. So, am keeping myself in check. And that make writing this oh-so-very-hard!

It's a typical, yet not-so-much a typical YA book. For a start, most of the story isn't set in school or on holiday. It's set near a military base. A nice change from boarding schools or towns in the middle of nowhere!

Also, you have a love story where you are screaming at the Lila to act on her impulsives and yet, you completely understand why she won't. And, because of that and her reaction to her power, she completely relate to her. She's a typical teenager and yet she is thrown completely into a non-typical situation.

And as for Alex… I was tweeted by Daisy Chain Books and was told that her heart is in torment as Alex was fighting it out with Jay from the Body Finder series (a series I adore! If you haven't read it, investigate it now!) for best ficitional boyfriend.

This is one of those YA books that is an addictive read, and it's a perfect summer read to have while by the pool. And there's a sequel on the way (YES!) and the author is writing a new series that will come out in January 2012 called Fated, which I am now very excited over. If it's anything like Hunting Lila, then I am going have to have to get my hands on this…!

So, it's a YA, paranormal read with a huge dollop of thriller and romantic. Perfect! This was a wonderful debut novel! I demand more! And I demand more steamy-ness (which I've been told will happen…)! At once!

*

My song choices are quite random this time. I listen to my iPod on shuffle while reading in the garden and these songs came up. Odd choices, but what do you think?





Saturday, 9 July 2011

News Of The World

If you have been living in the UK the past few days, then you would know about the scandal that has forced one of the main Sunday newspapers, The News Of The World, to be axed by it's owner, Rupert Murdoch and his company, News International.

But for those of you for don't or haven't heard the news on this, let me try to explain. In the past few months, allegations that the Sunday paper have "phone hacked" celebrities and politicians have be rumoured and reported in the news. It has been rumoured that the Police had identified over 4,000 possible targets, including Kate Middleton, John Prescott, Tony Blair and actors such as Hugh Grant and Sienne Miller.

But, the past several days, allegations have suddenly arisen that the newspaper has been phone-hacking murder victims and their families. The allegations are that the families of Milly Dowler, and families who have lost loved one in the army and from July 7th Bombings have had their phones hacked (which is ironic when the News of the World's sister, The Sun, was one of the main backers for the charity, Help The Heroes).

The reaction from other newspapers and the public was instant. Facebook groups and Twitter Hashtags were set up and used (#SayNoToNOTW & #BoycottNOTW). Companies withdrew their advertising from the paper, the first being Ford, but closely followed by Boots, ASDA, Sainsbury's, Specsavers among others. The government had an emergency session in parliament (which is rare in itself), where politicians demand an independant public inquiry.

The decision was made by Rupert Murdoch to close the newspaper down, after he sent each of his employees an email, stating how appaled he was by this behaviour and that it had no place within his newspapers. This Sunday, from the information I have gathered, will be the last time it will print under the News Of The World name, and all the revenue will go to good causes. Up to 200 jobs could be lost due to the newspaper being axed. The rumour is that it will be replaced by The Sun on Sunday.

Now, am going to try and write this unbiased, which is hard as I think I know where I stand, but I can see both side of the story.

First of all, phone hacking is ILLEGAL in this country and, from the information I can gathering from the papers, internet and TV, the journalists in question were FREELANCE journalists. These journalists work for no newspaper but will be hired by one to investigate or write up a story.

But the question that everyone wants to know is did the editors at the time - Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson - knew of these phone hacking? At the present moment, Rebekah is the execitive at News International and Andy Coulson was the head of Communcations for the Prime Minister, David Cameron, until he resigned in January of this year when the first bout of the phone hacking scandal was revealed earlier this year. According the BBC, at the time of writing this article, Andy Coulson has been arrested by Police "…investigating phone hacking and corruption allegations".

The reason people are furious over the News of the World is that they did the phone-hacking as they phone-hacked people who were victims of crime and were going through the grief of losing a loved one, which is a very personal and private affair. In the case of Milly Dowler, it has been reported that the private investigator deleted voicemail messages from Milly's mobile, giving the family false hope that she was still alive.

And yet, these are the same readers who didn't seem to mind when the newspaper was first reported on doing this to celebrities because this was the time when celebrities were beginning to use Super-Injections.

Also, we must take into consideration that this phone-hacking has gone back since 2002 and it seems highly that they would still be working at the newspaper. Both the newspaper's current editior, Colin Myler, and the showbiz editor, Dan Wooton, have said that the newspaper of the 200 jobs being lost as "shocking" and that these people shouldn't be affect by "the actions of a few."

Now, if you are cynical, then you will be saying that the reason Rupert Murdoch axed the News of the World is because his company, News International, is trying to take 100% control of BSkyB and the Secretary of Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, is deciding whether or not this buyout is within the law and is suitable within the rules of fair competition. News International is global company that owns BSkyB and newspapers The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times in the UK, while owning Fox and Fox News in the USA and others through the world. People are saying the News of the World being axed is a knee-jerk reaction to create disance from the scandal and the possible goal. If people lost their jobs and News International gets 100% control of BSkyB, what does it matter?

Surely it would have been easier to stop printing News of the World till the whole situation had been cleaned up? Not according the Labour MP Tom Watson who said, "No one was going to buy this paper anymore. No one was going to advertise in it. They destroyed this paper."

Now, I am admitting that I might have got information wrong or misread facts, but I am unsure on the whole situation. What News of the World did was completely wrong on every level - morally, ethically, emotionally, humanly - but the way the situation is being handle, you wonder what is happening behind the scenes that we aren't being told. Why is Rupert Murdoch trying so despairly to protect Rebekah Brooks, who had admitted in the past that in her time, she was aware the journalists paid member of the Police for information? If the Police knew or suspected this for quite some time (rumours say they knew about this since 2004), why didn't they do anything about it? Did the editors know about this and, if they did, why didn't they stop this from happening? Why didn't someone say "this is morally and ethically wrong and against the law"? There seem to be a lot of questions that haven't be answered or addressed and I think the families involved would like to know why, as do the honest employees of the News of the World who are going to lose their jobs over this.

It's just sad that a newspaper which has run for 168 years comes to a end in such disgrace.

Friday, 8 July 2011

GoodRead - The Legend Of Sleepy Holllow (Audiobook)

I'm not a person who reads classic novels. I wish I could sit down and read them, but I never seem to find myself enjoying them. They seem to be written for a different audience, for a different time (yes, I know how that sounds, but you know what I mean!). But, recently, I have been wondering if I should, just to see if my views have change, and was thinking of classics I would consider reading or, more likely, listen to on audiobook: Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, Jane Eyre, The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, Twas the Night Before Christmas (I had a sheltered childhood, me thinks), The Great Gatsby

I had this audiobook of Washington Irving's most famous tale for quite some time. I got it after reading The Haunted by Jessica Verday, where the trilogy (ending with The Hidden this September) is set in the town of Sleepy Hollow and every chapter starts with a quote from the old tale. And, after reading this book, I decided to download a cheap version and have a listen. Several months later, I actually found the time to listen to it.

We know the basics of the tale, don't we? The town of Sleepy Hollow is haunted by the Headless Horseman and on one fateful night, the Headless Horseman chased Ichabod Crane down a road towards a wooden bridge. But what happened next? Did he flee the town? Was he frightened so much that he was never seen again? Or did he fall into the river and drown, his body swept downstream?

The first thing that surprises me is the length. The audiobook I had is over 1 hour and 25 minutes long, and a minute or two is the reader chatting about the story and talking about his podcast, The Classic Tales Podcast (I went for the cheapest, not the best. I was poor and unemployed at the time of purchase). And it was unabridged! So, for an American classic, it's a surprisingly fast read. Maybe, if the reader is fast, in a space of one dark evening in October…

The second thing that surprise me about this is how long it takes to get to the scene in which makes this tale so famous. It took over an hour to get Ichabod into the situation that he's famous for. Most of the tale was a build-up, of describing the village and the events that led to him being on that road at that time of night.

I think what surprises me the most about the story is how different it is to the stories we know of Sleepy Hollow and how different the writing style is from when Washington Irving wrote the story to stories written today. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow allows the story to expand and describe things and events to the reader/listen to get a feeling for the story. Nowadays, if an author wanted to rewrite the tale, we would go straight to Ichabod fleeing from the Headless Horseman.

Maybe due to the time when the story was written, but I found it hard to relate to any character. We were, I suspect, to relate to Ichabod. But he seemed shallow to me. He seemed to not punish the weak, but doubled his punishment on the strong. He didn't fall in love with Kathleen, but tried to swoon her because of her fortune and the animals she had that would make a lovely feast. But, in those days, people rarely marry for love, so I understand why this was told to us. And yet…

It was a good story. When we FINALLY got to the Headless Horseman and the chase, it was good and fast. But the build-up felt like padding. And what happened after the chase was surprising. I never knew how the tale started or finished, just the middle, so it was interesting that it wasn't never truly explained. Was it trickery of the mind, a cruel practical joke or something all the more disturbing was left to the imaganation of the reader and there are clues to point to either outcomes. But I like that you never really know. It's just hear'say.

How do I feel about Sleepy Hollow? I like it, but I didn't love it, nor do I "get" why it's remained so popular over the years. Maybe if someone could explain it to me… (And yet, is it bad that I now want to go to Sleepy Hollow and see the bridge?)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Meet The Blogger - Bookshelf Banter

Welcome to the 1st Meet The Blogger of July! Am so glad you've come along to read the Q&A for this week.

This week's answers come from Krystal, one of the admin crew* of Bookshelf Banter, Nightshade Nexus, Incarceron Insider and one of the main volunteers on Twilight Series Theories. Check them and enjoy!

When did you start blogging?
I first started blogging when I began working with Twilight Series Theories, in May/June 2008.

What made you start blogging?
I kind of just fell into it. I was a huge fan of the Twilight books, but, at the time, did not know anyone who had read them. I found Twilight Series Theories while searching for Twilight podcasts on iTunes. I liked that their show was from an adult perspective, as most of the other ones I'd listened to sounded like a group of junior high kids talking over each other. I started sending in Twilight-related news articles I found to Kallie, the site owner, and she asked me if I'd like to work on the site. In the past three years, we've also worked on a few other blogs: Bookshelf Banter, Nightshade Nexus, and Incarceron Insider.

What was the first book you reviewed for your blog and what was your reaction to it?
The first book I recommended for our TST book of the month was "Poison Study" by Maria V. Snyder, but the first book I did a review for on Bookshelf Banter was "The Iron King", by Julie Kagawa.

When was the first time you realised you were a Book Blogger?
Probably when we first launched Bookshelf Banter (about a year ago). I'd worked on TST for a couple of years at that point, but the work was more about Twilight book and movie news, rather than reviews.

How much of your time a week do you spend blogging?
AHAHAH! I don't know why I started laughing hysterically. Sorry. How much time...A lot! At least three or four hours a day, but this increases dramatically when there is a Twilight book or movie being released. Then we have a deluge of news coming in and are trying to catch up!

Has your taste in book genres changed since starting the blog?
Yes, actually. I read YA almost exclusively now. I read some YA growing up, but around high school onward I was almost always reading adult fiction. Then Twilight came out, and the book world exploded! The quality and quantity of YA novels is really extraordinary now, so much so that I can never catch up with it! I am constantly adding more books to my to-be-read pile. And have I mentioned the covers? There is some truly incredible YA book art out there right now. Just gorgeous!

What book are you reading at the moment?
I am reading "Divergent" by Veronica Roth, which I'm sure you are happy about, Andrew! I've heard wonderful things about it, and am so glad to finally be reading it. Next on my list is "Beauty Queens" by Libba Bray and "Crossed" by Ally Condie.

What book has got you very excited or made you cry?
I'm always super-excited when a sequel comes out from a series I really love. Right now I can't wait for Bloodlines, Wolfsbane, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Tiger's Voyage! As far as crying goes, the last book I read was "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys, and I think I bawled my eyes out. If you haven't read it, I suggest checking out her author video online. It is so amazing! You know a book is going to be good when the book trailer makes you cry.

Have you read any book that you disliked so much you threw it across the room?
Sort of. I had that reaction to Eclipse, though it is my favorite book in the series. When Bella kissed Jacob, I wanted to scream at her and throw the book across the room, but I like that I had such a strong reaction to it. I have a bad reaction whenever I try to read or watch Wuthering Heights. It's supposed to be this great work of art, but I just don't get it. It makes me want to pull my hair out.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to take part or what to set up a book blog?
You are going to spend countless hours working on your blog, so make sure it's in a subject you really, really love! Also, you can write critical reviews, but be respectful and thoughtful about it. Make friends, work with other sites! That's the best thing about doing a blog, the connections you make with other people all around the world. You'll build up a network of friends that you can bond with, which is really the best perk there is :)

Now, to ask five fun quick-fire questions. What song are you listening to right now?
"Darkness on the Edge of Town" by Bruce Springsteen. He rules! And his lyrics are like ear candy.

MySpace, Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter! The other week I saw a post that said "Facebook is for lying to friends, Twitter for telling the truth to strangers" or something like that. Facebook is great for keeping up with friends I already have, but I've made so many new friends, especially blogger ones, on Twitter.

Hardback, paperbacks or eBooks?
Hardbacks. Paperbacks to travel. But if someone gave me a Nook, I'm sure I'd see the digital light ;)

Letters, phone, texting or emailing?
Emailing.

Zombies or unicorns?
Unicorns, of course! It IS YOTU, Year of the Unicorn. But I would love to see a zombie unicorn!



*I made a mistake so CORRECTION TIME: Krystal isn't the main person in charge. It's Kallie who owns and is in charge of the sites. I misremembered while I was typing it up. The mistake Is mine. Morale of this story: ALWAYS CHECK YOUR FACTS!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

GoodRead - The New World

I have a confession to make that may shock some of you. I'm pretty certain that it will shock most, if not, all book bloggers that I know. Here it is: I have never read the Chaos Walking trilogy. No, let me rephrase that. I had read any of Patrick Ness's work.

Now, I hear the outcry of "How?! It's a modern YA classic!" and I get that, I do. But it was just… I knew of it existence but it never occurred to me to read it. It's one of those series where it gets loads of hype, excitement and everything, and I fear it. If something's THAT good, then what would happen if I read it and go "I don't see it"? I would probably get lynched!

So, on Saturday, I tweeted that I might cave and read one and, on my hunt, I saw this short prequel to the trilogy, The New World, and seeing as it was free and a prequel (of sorts), I thought it would be a good place to introduce myself in the series.

It's a short story about Viola (a main character in the trilogy) and her journey to The New World and, through a series of jumping back into her memories then into her present situation, we see how she got to where she is. There's not much else I can say about this short story without spoiling it.

I read this within a few days (was spreading it out but could have read this in a hour) and, having no idea what I let myself in for, was surprised how fast I read this and how I liked it. I sense that this doesn't really hint to what happens in the trilogy (if it does, then I never saw it). But it gave background information to this character, so I can see people who have read the trilogy wanting to read this.

As a teaser, this was good. I might investigate getting the first book in the trilogy, The Knife of Never Letting Go. But whether I will get round to reading it… now that will be interesting. But I will keep my eye on this series.

PS - the short story has, also, given me one of my favourite lines in a book EVER! Well, techicnally, it's a paragraph, but the meaning behind it is amazing. Am tempted to buy the whole trilogy on this paragraph alone!

PPS - my music choices. Random, I know, but I heard them randomly on my iPod and thought they were perfect. One song choice is very much a "Memories/FlashBack" while the other is "This is Happening Now!". Hope you like them both, as I love Alexandre Desplat music.



Monday, 4 July 2011

I Never Noticed This Before, But Now...!



Quick Thank You to Krystal and all the people behind the Year Of The Shark (#YOTS) & Year Of The Unicorn (#YOTU). You guys rock!

PS - HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, USA!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Cover Chat (Again)

Afew months ago, I did a joint blog with Rhys from Thirst 4 Fiction (here's my previous blog). Had such fun with doing it, I decided to do it again with Rhys.

Now, for those of you wondering what Cover Chat is, it's a "multiple-blog feature (or meme) where book bloggers talk about US vs UK book covers." (click here if you want to take part or want to know more...)

On Thirst for Fiction, we are talking about the covers for Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. But here, we are chatting about The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.

Here is the UK cover:


And here is the US cover:


Rhys says: "I think, without a doubt, that the UK cover definitely takes the lead here- the high contrast, muted colour pallete really works well, and it really looks solid. Everything just works really well together to form a wonderfully dark and mysterious cover that is far superior to its American counterpart, which is rather disappointing. For a start, the overlay of the man in the top hat looks amateurish- but the text is badly placed and badly coloured too, and the washed out tones really do nothing for the book. The dark intruige of the UK cover really does triumph- which is why I can easily say that the UK cover wins hands down in this contest..."

I say: "I have to disagree with you, Rhys. I quite like the US cover. It seems simple, and hints at the plot. I'm quite intrigued over the red-haired girl. The UK cover, at first glance, seems a bit monotone. It's using a lot of pallete colours and it doesn't seem to grab and hold my attention. But after looking the cover a bit more, I think I realise why I dislike the UK cover - the typeface for the title. It seems so wrong! It's trying to be gothic and it fails. And why did they need to put the "Jack The Ripper Returns"? And in red? It jars out and it ruins the cover! I think it's the typeface that bothers me the most about the UK cover. I prefer the US cover, but I hope that, when I see it in the flesh, it just works!*"

I want to thank, yet again, Rhys from Thirst4Fiction for allowing me to take part in this! And for picking such interesting covers this time and last time (and hopefully next time. I am so doing this again!)

*I have seen it in the flesh. I prefer it now I've seen it in the flesh but I prefer the US cover...