Thursday 31 December 2009

BeforeUGo - December 2009 Recommendations

So, here we are. The end fo another year and another decade. But, before we run off to see the new year/decade in, here is this month's recommendation via BeforeUGo's Twitter -

IDRchitecture -

And one suggestion from a Twitter follower...


And that's it for 2009! See in 2010! 2009 PWNed!

PS - if any of you fancy checking out our FaceBook Event (for Thursday 25th February 2010), check it out @

Monday 21 December 2009

GoodRead - Reader's Block

We all know there’s such a thing as “Writer’s Block” (I, like most writers – professionals or amateur – suffer from this when I write sometimes. It takes a lot of hard work to get past it), but is there such a thing as “Reader’s Block”?

Because, if there is, I seem to be suffering from it at the moment!

You see, the last two books I have tried to read (“The Maze Runner” by James Dashner & “Candor” by Pam Bachorz) have started great and then, out of nowhere, I seemed to have suddenly hit a reading wall. I can’t get seem to get past it. It has became a real effort to actually pick up the book and actually read it.

And reading, in my view, shouldn’t be like that. Reading should be fun and a good book should be enjoyed. A good book should be something you try desperately to find time to read it. I felt that with books that with most of the books I have read this year (Mortal Instruments, Shiver, Hunger Games and Catching Fire to name a few), but with the last few books, it’s suddenly seemed to become a biot of a struggle, and I’m not sure why.

Maybe it’s the time of year – Christmas. There’s all the goodies on TV and at the cinema and the books I am reading aren’t holding my attention.

Maybe it’s the fact that, over the past few weeks, I’ve suddenly done more stuff with my friends and family.

Or maybe… now this is where my logic is taking me… maybe, it’s the fact that over the past few months – okay, maybe the whole year, even, I have really stuck my reading material inside one genre – fantasy. I’m not blame the genre itself, but I am blaming my choice of reading materials. I am an animal that, when it comes to reading, I like a mix of both familiar and not-so-familiar. I love fantasy and fantasy within the YA (Young Adult) genre and over the past year, there has been some amazing books within this area (books that most adults would miss unless they actually look for them), but maybe… maybe my mind is rebelling from this and wants me to attack books outside my comfort zone.

I have two or three crime books by my bed (as well as more fantasy stories – Sookie Stackhouse books 2 to 5 [I went mad! So shoot me!] among other books) as I am going to sit down and tackle them before I return to the realm of fantasy (well, February and March because of the release of “Gone” by Lisa McMann and “Lord Sunday” by Garth Nix).

You know what they say, a change is as good as a rest. So maybe that’s what I need…!

So, if you are waiting for a review from me, you might have to wait a little while I’m afraid. I’m suffering (but hopefully will recover) from a nasty case of Reader’s Block.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

"In Noctem"

This has been bothering me for a while now - well, ever since I got the "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" soundtrack (which I should listen to more, but don't!). One of the tracks on there - a fave of mine - is called "In Noctem" and it's sung in Latin.

So, today, on my day off work, I snapped and went onto (not Goggle for some reason) and searched for the lyrics. I discovered that the song was used on a Deleted Scene. And, also, Nicholas Hooper did the music but he didn't write the lyrics (to my horror!). The lyrics were written by scriptwriter of all (minus 1) Harry Potter movies, Steven Kloves.

So, enough of me rabbiting on. Here is the lyrics:

"Carry my soul into the night
May the stars light my way
I glory in the sight
As darkness takes the day

Ferte in noctem animam meam
Illustrent stellae viam meam
Aspectu illo glorior
Dum capit nox diem

Cantate vitae canticum
Sine dolore actae
Dicite eis quos amabam
Me numquam obliturum

Sing a song, a song of life
Lived without regret
Tell the ones, the ones I loved
I never will forget
Never will forget."

Oh, according to the sites I read, the title - "In Noctem" - means "Upon by Night".

The site I read and respect the most is this site -

Tuesday 8 December 2009


You know last week I won a hoodie via Twitter (click on if you haven't!)?

Well, IT TURNED UP!!! So, here it is on me!

I look very Volturi, don't I?

And here's a link to a youTube Video I made...

Again, thank you to Twilightees (!

Monday 7 December 2009

BeforeUGo - November's Choice


A bit late, I know, but here is November's Recommendations

The Hot Melts -
Mirrors -
The Grave Architects -
Vladiswar Nadishana -
Amy Studt -

Now, here are Recommendations that followers on the Twitter feed suggested...

Local Natives (as suggested by DJ Edith Bowman) -
Ellie Goulding -
Mariana Strench -
Placebo -

And that's it. Our Twitter is so check us out!!!

Monday 30 November 2009

I Won a Hoodie Via Twitter?!

That's right! You didn't read that wrong. I, somehow, won a hoodie via Twitter! After a few friends (@really_rachel being one of them - follow her, please!) RT a message, I repeated the message (That RT in short hand) and then followed the twitter feed and, shockingly, I won!

I told which hoodie - I'm going to be hanging round on street corner, being down with the youth (and never typing that again!) - I would like and I should get them in a week or so...

So, expect a picture on her, Blogger and on Twitpic/Twitter! So, here's the links to keep you happy at the moment till the hoodie comes - I hope it fits me right... FINGER CROSS!!!

Monday 23 November 2009

GoodRead - "Hush, Hush" Review

I’m not 100% sure how to start this review. Not because of the book – I need to talk to you guys about this book! – but because I’m seemed to be suffering from a small case of writer’s (or, in this case, reviewer’s) block. But, here goes my review of "Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick...

Nora Grey has been forced to move seats in her Science class. She’s forced to sit next to Patch, someone who seems to know her better than her best friend, Vee. And, against every better judgement she has, she slowly begins to fall for him…

But she’s been followed. Not only does she seem to see Patch everywhere, but she’s being stalked. After several terrifying encounters and as creepy as hell events, Nora’s not sure who to trust. And when she begins to take control, she discovers the truth is more unsettling than anything than she expected…

Now, let me talk about this book.

Like several other books I’ve discovered this year (Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, etc), I discovered this book and rushed through this book! I found this book dark and gripping which will make you speed through the pages. If the slow building love doesn’t get you, the action/scary factor will (I dare you not to be scared while reading the end of chapter 3 at a few minutes to midnight – I got a bit freaked out!)…

So, should you read it? If you want something dark and a tiny bit scary? Yes. If you want to read a love story? Yes. If you want to read a mix of both? Then, this book will keep you happy!

(Plus, is it bad that I just LOVE the shiny cover? Is that wrong?)

Sidenote: if I can do it, I will try and add two videos – one is a trailer for the book and the other is the author, Becca Fitzpatrick (watch the video AFTER reading the book. SPOILERS!) but, also, will add a tiny playlist of songs I rediscovered on my iPod that appeared while I was reading the book near its final chapters*…

*I can't make a playlist (Oh well...) so will show the 3 tracks and link them to youTube videos. Enjoy!

Growing Pains” by La Roux -
Tigerlily” by La Roux -
Your Guardian Angel” by the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus -

Wednesday 18 November 2009

GoodRead - "Marked" (A House of Night Novel) Review

What would happen if a vampire marked you and you had one of two choices: either go to a school of vampires and accept the Change or let your body reject the Change and die? Which would you choose?

This is what happened to Zoey in the first book of the popular House of Night series, “Marked”, written by mother daughter team, PC & Kristen Cast. She gets marked by a vampyre and faces this choice. But once she’s made her choice, life becomes more complicated as she starts to attend the House of Night, a boarding school for fledging vampyres. She has to make new friends, start new lessons (no Maths or Geography lessons here), try not to get on people’s bad sides, try to fit in and try to control her bloodlust (something that she shouldn’t be experiencing for another few years).

Imagine basically your teenage years at school but add fangs.

I, surprisingly, really liked this. I speed-read this within a week and enjoyed the whole different spin on vampire – sorry, vampyre – that the House of Night series added. There was no signs of fangs and there is almost a Celtic/Pagan feel to how they worship the Vampyre Goddess, Nyx (and there’s something you didn’t expect to read, I bet!).

But, if you guys are expecting a story which is tied up neatly within the covers of the book, you might not want to read this. This book basically lays down the groundwork for the future books within the series, leaving one or two loose ends dangling to be tied up in the next book or soon after that…

There is, also, the small fact of some bookshops put stickers on this book (well, the whole series, actually) saying “This Book Is Unsuitable for Younger Readers”. Now, usually, I am against this idea – a good book is a good book, no matter what age you are and what age group the book is targeting, right? – but this book does use language and there are some very sexual scenes that are unsuitable for younger readers.

But, I do like “Marked” and, when I have more time (and my “To Be Read” pile is much smaller [this pile does include some Sookie Stockhouse books I impulsive I bought. I only read the first book so far – must review that for you guys! But so many vampire-based books... hence why I surprised that I really like "Marked"]), then I will try and get my hands on the second book in the series, “Betrayed” (No idea why, but I sense that a betrayal will happen in that book…)

Saturday 14 November 2009

Random Book Quotes 3

Again, another moment of me, on twitter, tweeting lines from good books (or hopefully good - am about to start reading one.)

So, here they are (only 3 today...)

Quote 1:- Then I saw him. The dead guy. ("Marked: A House of Night Novel" by PC & Kristen Cast, Published in the UK by Atom Books)

Quote 2:- But no one is there for her to thank. ("Wake" by Lisa McMann, Published in the UK by Simon And Schuster)

Quote 3:- "That must be hard." He sounded like he meant it. ("Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick, Published in the UK by Simon and Schuster).

Wednesday 11 November 2009

NaNoWriMo - Update


My laptop has died on me and the backup of my NaNoWriMo won't allow me to open it! (unless I want total googlegook! You know what I mean - ikewunmeafjnmnsdfkhg,msdfa/><>L?@~}&^&^^&%DYBV@~@:{}_+>?<><|

So, might not be able to finish this. Someone's going to check my laptop on Friday so.... FINGERS CROSSED!!!

Monday 9 November 2009

NaNoWriMo - A Random Start

In case you guys don't know, I've decide to have a go at NaNoWriMo this year. First time ever! And I am having a blast. Am stupidly behind the word count but I don't care! I'm enjoying myself and writing random fantasy. And because everyone is giving me good views on my opening few paragraphs, am going to show it to you. I hope you enjoy!


I never saw the car coming. I didn't even have time to react when Xavier screamed out my name. No time at all.
My legs smacked into the grill. My chest crashed into the bonnet. My head cracked the windscreen.
The car never stopped as my rag-doll like body was thrown over the roof. For one small second, it felt surreal. As if I was flying.
Then my body hit the road with such force, I lost my breath.
I was lying on my ground, hearing the voices scream. They sounded so far away. So very far away. And I was wet. Why was my chest wet?
I was staring at the sky. It was clear, with all the stars blinking beautifully. But they seemed to be going dull. As if someone was turning a dimmer switch. The stars were going out.
Then a face, blurry at the edges appear. His green eyes brilliant, yet his face looked wrong. It looked...
“Alex! Alex, look at me! Keep your eyes open!” His voice was wrong. It was high, almost a whine.
But he was going to dim too. He was fading like the stars.
I don't understand. This is wrong. I don't understand.
Xavier snapped his head away. “Don;t just stand there! DON'T JUST STAND THERE! CALL AN AMBULANCE!”

I was standing on the pavement. There was a large crowd of people standing in the middle of the road. Something had happened. Something bad.
I rushed over. “What is it? What happened?”
No one heard me. Everyone was in shock. I heard someone crying. Crying and shouting.
“Don't just stand there! Don't just stand there! Call an ambulance!”
What? But, that can't be -?
I ran through a clear gap and -
My stepbrother Xavier was holding a body in his arms. A body that was covered in blood. A body whose leg was at an unnatural angle. This leg was missing a Converse trainer. And his face...
No! Nonononono!
It was me. He was holding me.
My hands shot up to my mouth. This can't happening! This is a dream. No, a nightmare! Alex, wake up!
I spun away. Alex, wake up! Wake up, Alex! Wake the fucking up!!!
Someone's mobile started to beep as they dialled 999. Wake up, I screamed. Wake up!
“Alex...” I spun round, hearing Xavier's voice. It was wrong. It sounded all wrong.
“Xavier!” I called out, but it was me who said that. The me lying in his arms did nothing.
“Alex...” Xavier was looking down at my body and he gave it a little shock. “Alex... Alex... Alex!” Every time he repeated my name, his shakes were getting harder. His head snapped up. “Help me! He's stopped breathing! HELP ME!!!”
What? No, this isn't right...
I stared, unable to move as Xavier began to scream at me. Someone rushed forward, shouting, “I got him! I got him!”
I took a step back. I'm... I'm dying... This... This can't be real... This can't be...
I took another step back. But my foot never made contract with the ground. It never made contract with anything.
I fell. I fell into black.

GoodRead - "The Hollow" Review

Imagine you’re at your best friend’s funeral, but they’re going to bury an empty coffin.

That’s what happens to Abbey at the start of “The Hollow” by Jessica Verday. Abbey is at the funeral home for the town of Sleep Hollow (yes, THAT Sleepy Hollow), trying to understand why her best friend, Kristen, would suddenly disappear. It’s at Kristen wake that she meets the mysterious (and, of course, drop-dead gorgeous) Caspian.

This is the story of Abbey trying to come to make sense of Kristen’s disappearance and her slowly growing relationship with Caspian…

I quite like this book. Not only do I like the fact that every chapter starts with a short quote from the original “Sleepy Hollow” story, but it stands up by itself, not really needing the Sleepy Hollow legend to survive (though it does reference the story in several places…). As for the love story element in it, I feel that most readers of the Twilight Saga will like this book.

(But saying that though, the last few books I have read recently [that I have and haven’t reviewed] I think most Twilight fans would like…)

There’s, also, a slight edge of “Things are not what they seems” with this book and with one or two of the characters (won’t spoil it by saying who!) and that gives the book a mysterious edge.

And from that, am making the book seems like a dark read. It’s not. The romantic in the story lightens the tone and then there’s Ben… one of my fave characters… he definitely lightens the tone!

Now, there is something I need to say that might put people off so am stating it now: this is the first book in a Trilogy and, for some people; the ending might be seen as a very “open” ending. There is a sense of closure, but some people (myself included) could easily see that it’s open and I know some people might find that irritating.

I will be reading the next book in the trilogy (rumours are flying that the next book is going to be called “The Haunting”…) and I hope that there will be some answers (as the author promises us. She said that book 1 is about questions, book 2 is about answers and book 3 is about choices… remember that, folks…). And I hope she writes more of Ben! Please, Jessica, more Ben!

(Couldn’t find a place for this in review but, because there’s something about the book that lingers in the mind [very much like Shiver and other books of late]. So much so that I kept finding songs on my iPod that I found relatable to “The Hollow” [that is very surprising!] The first song that I thought of [and the only song I can remember off the top of my head at the moment] is “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron & Wine - and here's the link for you all to investigate.

Thursday 5 November 2009

BeforeUGo - October's Choices

Why, hello there!!!

Did you guys have a good Halloween? Or you enjoying Guy Fawkes Night?

So, before we suggest new music for the month of November via Twitter (, here is the recommendations of October 2009. Ready... Here it comes...

The Canes -
Greg Laswell -
Chew Lips -

& the Twitter Followers have recommended the following:

Last November -
The Vernoicas

And that's it! Next time we talk, it will be the first week of December (so close to Christmas... PANIC!!!)

Keep rocking!

Monday 2 November 2009

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover...?

I was thinking about this as I was at work and my friends were chatting about Twilight. One of them had just seen the film for the first time (and they, like most women who have seen the film, have had their hearts melted by Robert Patterson) and I decided to send them photos of what the covers of the books look like, so that they might go and discover the books. I mean, without the books, there would be no films, right?

So, as I sent the email, I began to wonder about cover art and how most in the UK is different from the USA, if not the whole world.

With the Twilight Saga, there isn’t any different. The font and the colour used on the “Breaking Dawn” cover is different, but that’s it. No different. The UK publishers, Atom, use the international covers. But, when they first published Twilight in Hardback, the cover was different.

Now, I would upload pic into this, but I have no time (NANoWriMo!) So will link you to LiveJournal Article that has a ton of pictures. Here's the link -

But it’s very rare that covers of books published in the UK are the same or similar to covers to books international or just State wise. On publication of the third book in the “Mortal Instruments” series by Cassandra Clare, UK Publisher Walker Books decided to change the UK covers so they matched the US covers.

But (yes, there is a but), this isn’t always the case. It does depend on the publisher in each country. Sometimes the publisher might want the same cover, some publishers might want the same cover but want to change something about the cover and some publishers want a completely different cover. This is due to how the market of each country.

Now, how do I feel about this? With every country having its own cover design for a book is fine. I can understand the idea of something working well to sell a book whereas in another country, the same idea not selling the book the way it should.

But how do I feel about publishers changing the cover design half way through a series? Well… am in two minds over it. On the one hand, I can see why publishers do it. It’s to make a profit and, sometimes, to refresh and reboot the series. For example, Random House UK decided to change the cover design of their Kathy Reichs books, starting with “Bare Bones”. Because of this, Random House saw an increase of people becoming aware of the book and, because of this, more people bought the book compared to the previous book which didn’t have the “facelift”.

But, as a reader, I can see how the book’s “facelift” can put your nose out of joint. There have been a few series in the past that I have been reading in the past, but when the publisher has redesigned the cover, it has annoyed me (“It no longer matches the rest of them!”) and, sadly, in one or two cases, has put me off the book series entirely.

And, if we think about it, the cover really is nothing compared to the story, is it? The cover’s there to grab your attention in the bookshop or in the library. After that, it really doesn’t do much. It doesn’t effect how we read the story inside the covers. I mean, with Twilight, there is never really a scene in the book where Bella holds a red apple like it does on the cover. It’s there to represent temptation, as the author of the Twilight Saga, Stephenie Meyer, explains.

But maybe, just maybe, we do judge. Maybe the saying “Never Judge A Book By Its Cover” has a point. Of course, the saying was meant to be used in real life with how we see people and how we see the world in general, but maybe we should use this saying literally…

Thursday 29 October 2009

"The Hollow" & Raven Hair

A while ago, I showed you the picture "Rhinos in Bed" by Michael Dashow that a Twitter Friend of mine ( showed me and I fell in love with...

Now, am reading a book called "The Hollow" by Jessica Verday and, while I was reading chapter 9 ("Prom Night"), one of his other painting came to mind and I thought I would share this image with you.

It's called "Raven Hair" and it's, again, a painting I love!

Wednesday 28 October 2009

GoodRead - "Mirror Dreams" Review

Dear Dreamer… I mean, Reader.

After tweeting about this book on Twitter a far bit recently (and you can blame the person who uses the Atom Books Twitter [] for that) and wanting to review this book for a while, here is me trying to review “Mirror Dreams” by Catherine Webb.

Every human dreams and each of these dreams goes into a kingdom within the Void. Every dream and every nightmare goes into one of these kingdoms. So everything should be well, right? Wrong. People on Earth are falling into comas and don’t wake up, the city of Nightmares, Nightkeep, is growing stronger and there’s something afoot going on in Haven, the City of Dreams. And, against his will, Void wizard Laenan Kite is stuck right in the centre of it…

I discovered this book at an airport. I had read an article on the internet the day before about it and, seeing it, I bought it and that (as well as a slightly battered paperback version of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) was my holiday reading.

I fell instantly in love with Mirror Dreams. This book was perfect for a Harry Potter fan who needed a fix while waiting for the fifth Potter book (and whenever I go on holiday from then onwards…). It oozed magic, mayhem, action and snappy dialogue from our highly sardonic hero. I ever love the tagline that on the front cover of my copy – “Laenan Kite Has a Problem – And It All Your Fault”.

This is a strong debut novel from Catherine Webb, who wrote this when she was fourteen and who was sixteen when it got published (and a tiny part of me is very jealous that she got published so young, but also very jealous that my writing is nothing to compared to hers). So much so, that I read all of other novels and was very upset when someone told me, a few days ago, that she wrote under a penname to publish her first adult novel and I didn’t know about it! (The book in question is now on my “To Read” Book Pile…)

If anyone is out there who is looking for magic that might fill the small void that Harry Potter left, this might be the book for you.

PS - Only just remembered this as I grabbed my copy but I met the author (wasn't going to say!) and she signed my Admission Ticket [I didn't bring a book because I didn't know she would be signing!]. It was great to meet her!

GoodRead - "Harry, A History" Review

I was going to write a review of a book called “Mirror Dreams” by Catherine Webb, but I kinda got stuck with it. So, instead, am going to (finally!) write a review for “Harry, A History” by Melissa Anelli (a book I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, now…)

We all know the story behind Harry and the story behind his creator, JK Rowling. But what about the story of the fandom itself?

That is what Melissa Anelli, webmistress of popular Harry Potter fansite, The Leaky Cauldron, writes about in her debut novel. She writes about Harry Potter fans used the internet to show their love for Harry and for JK Rowling. From fans creating websites and podcasts to fans creating their own genre of music – Wizard Rock. Melissa also investigates the reasons why people love the books (by interviewing people such as publishers, editors, even JK Rowling herself) and why some people wish the series to be banned (Laura Mallory)…

And while the book looks into the fandom and the build up to the release of seventh and final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we always look back on Melissa’s life and how Harry has affected her life.

As a user of the Leaky Cauldron and as an avid fan of the podcast, PotterCast (first ever podcast I ever downloaded), I was thrilled when I finally got my hands on this book and sped through it in a space of a week. This showed me things about the Harry Potter fandom that I missed and should have been involved with or reminded me of news and how I reacted to it.

But from someone who isn’t a Harry Potter fan, people would find out how the world of media changed due to the Harry Potter movement and would see parallels with other fandoms such as the Twilight fandom…

I love this book and I feel that if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you should have this book. Not because it has a foreward and interviews with JK Rowling, but because it’s a celebration of Harry, his creator and, more importantly, the fans…!

Links for you:

Saturday 24 October 2009

Random Book Quotes 2

Here we go again! More Random Book Quotes (and all while I listen to Greg Laswell) via my Twitter!


Tweet One: What should I tweet? Should I randomly tweet lines from books again (I have two in front of me. And I know the third!)? #RandomQuotes

Tweet Two: Screw it! Guys, am going to do #RandomQuotes. But I wanna grab a few more books. So... maybe 5 quotes? Is that bad of me?

Tweet Three: RIGHT! #RandomQuotes time, me thinks! I have "Mirror Dreams", "Shiver", "Sabriel", "The Hollow" & "Living Dead In Dallas"! Ready?

Tweet Four: "This wasn't normal for Andy - believe me, I know all the drunks in Bons Temps." (Living Dead In Dallas, Charlaine Harris, Page 1)

Tweet Five: "Do not tarry, do not stop, no matter what happens." (Sabriel, Garth Nix, page 78 in hardback).

Tweet Six: "I didn't know, but I should have... and I've been haunted ever since." (The Hollow, @Leeaverday, Preface) #RandomQuotes

Tweet Seven: "She never growled, and somehow that was worse. A wolf should have growled." (Shiver, @mstiefvater, page 21.) #RandomQuotes

Tweet Eight: "Don't you dare fall asleep on me yet!" (Mirror Dreams, Catherine Webb, page 5) #RandomQuotes

And I got a twitter friend of mine, @SisterSpooky, to do the same!

'Faeries. Faeries are stalking me' "Wicked Lovely" by Melissa Marr #RandomQuotes

And, I found this quote from Maureen Johnson, author yet Amazing Tweeter!

"Great literature must spring from an upheaval in the author's soul. If that upheaval is not present then it must come from the works of any other author which happens to be handy and easily adapted." - Robert Benchley (Thanks, Maureen Johnson - @maureenjohnson)

Friday 23 October 2009

Random Book Quotes

Last week on Twitter, I decided to quote three books, at random, and see what I get within the 140 character space. And this is what I got.

Tweet One: Am going 2 grab 3 random books from bookshelf and quote a random life from them three. How does that sound? Okay, let's do it! #RandomQuotes

Tweet Two: Did I just tweet "random life" instead of "random line" for my #RandomQuotes tweet? Nevermind, TO THE BOOKSHELF!!!

Tweet Three: The 3 random Books I picked up for #RandomQuotes are "The Amber Spyglass", "City of Ashes" and "Harry, A History". LET'S DO THIS!

Tweet Four: "He broke in?" Clary said in disbelief. "Simon would never do do anything that stupid and crazy." (CityofAshes, @cassieclare, #RandomQuotes)

Tweet Five: "And carrying her away from her body." (The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman, #RandomQuotes, page 385, @scholasticuk)

Tweet Six: "Oh my God, Melissa, it's coming now!" (Harry, A History by @melissaanelli, #RandomQuotes, page 4, said by @sueupton!)

Tweet Seven: Whoops! I quoted @sueupton & @melissaanelli wrong on last #RandomQuotes! Let me tweet that again!

Tweet Eight: "Oh my God, Melissa, it's coming NOW!" (Harry, A History by @melissaanelli, #RandomQuotes, page 4, said by @sueupton!)

(I'll probably do this again soon. I wanna do a few other books [I have a few ideas on what authors... I follow some of them on Twitter, if that's a clue.)

Tuesday 20 October 2009

GoodRead - "Wake" & "Fade" by Lisa McMann Book Review

Janie has a small problem. She enters other people’s dreams. She can’t stop it – whenever someone falls a sleep in a room, she gets sucked into it. She has entered every dream you can think of: the being naked in front of the class dream, the falling dreams, the sex dreams… But then she enters a dream that scares her. A dream where she’s not just the observer, but she’s actually involved in…

And that how the first book, Wake, in the Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann starts. Janie trying to figure out how to handle her falling into dreams and then, later, how to use her entering other people’s dreams to her advance. All of this, while getting closer to Cabel who, for a reason she can’t understand, seems to care about her…

The first two books in the trilogy, Wake and Fade, have been released in the US for quite some time and they are (FINALLY) hitting the UK. Wake will be published at the end of October and Fade will be published sometime in April 2010. But, in the USA, they will already have the third book in the trilogy, Gone, as it will be released in February 2010.

I discovered this author and her books via a Twitter friend of mine (like most books of late – eyes Maureen Johnson, Maggie Stiefvater among others!) and I sped through this book, ordering them from a UK store that got US copies so no waiting, and then sped through them.

No kidding here, these books are fast reads. You can easily read these in one sitting, and at the end of each book, you feel the need to grab the next book.

Also, a great thing about these books is the fact that it’s doesn’t fit in one genre. They easily fit into several, and that’s great! If you don’t like the supernatural element to the story, then there’s the romance element or the crime element to keep you interested.

And then, you have to include the shock factor which Lisa has buckets of. She dares to use language and write scenes that most authors would shy away from. I mean, I dare you to read the last 100 pages of Fade and not be shocked!

Now, I know that there will be some people who, when reading these books, will strongly dislike the language used, the boldness of the scenes or may find the fact that she write in the Present Tense (that took some getting use to. I find it very confusing at the start of Wake!), but I do really enjoy this trilogy. I wish that the books were longer and I hunger for Gone. But, at the same time, when I start reading Gone (will is on my list of “Books I Must Get in 2010”), I know that I won’t want Gone to finish. I won’t want Gone to be… well, gone.

Monday 19 October 2009

Twilight: The Musical?

After watching part (not all! Not yet!) of StarKid’s “A Very Potter Musical” a while ago, I had the stupid idea of the Twilight Saga being turned into a musical. All tongue-in-cheek (with Pigfarts, of course). So, while bored one day and listening to the radio, I heard Katy Perry’s song (which one, you wonder… it’s not that hard), I changed some of the words of the chorus for a Twilight: The Musical.

I kissed a vampire and I liked it,
He tasted of mountain lion chap-stick,
I kissed a vampire, Just to try it,
I hope my werewolf friend doesn’t mind it,
It felt so good, it felt so right, Doesn’t mean I’ll get bitten tonight,
I kissed a vampire and I liked it,
I liked it!

(Why, yes, I was quite bored that day!)

Saturday 10 October 2009

Trying to Understand Banned Book Week

Am a few weeks out with this blog about Banned Book Week, but as an sterotype ill-informed Brit, you can’t exactly blame me for this. I was chatting about this on a podcast I was guest host on (Twilighters Anonymous – thanks for having me on, guys!), so as we chatted about this, I decided that I need to know more about this subject, so I Googled...

In USA (don’t believe Canada has this [we don’t have this in the UK], but I might be wrong), the last week of September is known as Banned Book Week. This week is a celebration of books that people have tried (and, mostly, failed) to ban from libraries, classrooms, states. But there were people who fought to keep these books available. Just trying to get the book banned for fear that the book's content.

According to figures on the from the American Libraries Association (or the ALA) website (link below), there drew up a list of figures that made quite interesting reading. According to their website, there has been 3,376 challenges made in 2008.

-1,225 challenges due to “sexually explicit” material;
-1,008 challenges due to “offensive language”;
-720 challenges due to material deemed “unsuited to age group”;
-458 challenges due to “violence”
-269 challenges due to “homosexuality”
-103 challenges due to the material deemed “anti-family”
-And 233 challenges due to “religious viewpoints”

Of these challenges, 1,176 of them (approximately 31%) were in classrooms; 37% were in school libraries; 24% (909 challenges) took place in public libraries. There were less than 75 challenges to college classes; and only 36 to academic libraries. There are isolated cases of challenges to materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries, community groups, and student groups. The majority of challenges were initiated by parents (almost exactly 51%), while patrons and administrators followed behind (10% and 8% respectively).

While trying to understand this (my view of this is that no book should ever be banned), I discovered a list of the popular books to be banned or censored over the past few year and classic novels that some people have tried to banned and, in some cases, have managed to ban within their state or school or whatnot:

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (BANNED)
Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (isn’t this taught in American Schools? Pointless to ban something if it’s for education)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
1984 by George Orwell
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

For More Information, go to:

GoodRead - "The Lost Symbol" Review

A few weeks ago, Dan Brown finally released his sequel to his bestseller “The Da Vinci Code”, “The Lost Symbol”. And, getting a little curious about all the hype and all the intrigue behind it, I got myself a copy and started reading it.

Took me a while but I have literally just finished and I'm writing this review about the book.

Without giving too much away, this is how “The Lost Symbol” starts up. After arriving at Capitol Building in Washington DC, Robert Langdon comes across a disturbing find. Because of this find, Robert finds out that his old friend, Peter Solomon, has been brutally kidnapped, our hero finds himself getting involved in yet another mystery to save his friend's life.

Now, before we go any further, I need to say something. I haven't read “The Da Vinci Code”. Apart from “The Lost Symbol”, the only other Dan Brown novel I have read is “Angels and Demons”. (I have watched the films but, like most film adaptation of books, there never truly live up to how good the book was.)

So, where to start with this review?

Let's start with the good points of this book and then the negavite.

This book is an enjoyable read. The chapters are short so it feels like your reading more of the book than you actually are. And because of the idea that this story takes over a 12 hour timespan, these short chapters work very well. Also, once you get into the story, it's a fast and enjoyable read.

Ah, you noticed that I said “once you get into the story”. Well, one of the flaws I found with Lost Symbol that, for a thriller novel, it took a long time before the story finally started to get started. The Prologue got my attention with the idea of a secret society and a soon-to-happen betrayal, but after that, it took almost twenty chapters before things seemed to go up a gear.

Another flaw (if you can call this a flaw) is that Dan Brown sticks to what works for him. He stuck to his checklist – smart hero, a smart female assistant with a personal involvement with the mystery, a secret that will shock the world, a baddie, a high-organization that chases our two heroes down. Check to them all! So, some people might read Lost Symbol and go “I've read this before.”

I have one small fault. It's nothing, seeing as this is a thriller so my fault really doesn't mean much. But because you got caught up with the thrill of the chase, there wasn't much emotion in the story. For our strong female lead, Katherine Solomon, she could have truly shown us the emotion that the story could have had. But the emotion wasn't there. Now, whether I missed that through getting caught up with the story or because the language used, I can't possible say.

But saying that, she is possible one of the most interesting characters within the book. Her and the bad guy, Mal'akh. Because they held my attention, they made me read the story.

So, how can sum up this novel? At times, it's a smart thriller. Then, at times, it goes into the realms of the slightly ridiculous. But it was a fun story to read, though at times, you did feel a bit overloaded with information. But it's an okay read. Just not my kind of read, sadly.

But, at least I sat down and read it. And I finished it!

BeforeUGo - September's Suggestions


We're in October now and because that, I need to send you a whole list of bands we discovered and updated our Twitter. (Am a bit slow when it comes to facebook! Sorry about that!)

So, here's the long list! If any names grab your attention, give them a quick Google or hunt them down on mySpace for some tracks!

Gavin Creel
Adam Webb and the Independents
Kate McGill
One eskimO
Anya Marina
The Republic Tigers
Slowly Moving Millie

Now, for Curveballs and YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS!

Refus Wainwright
Jim Bianco
Scotty Dynamo
Atlum Schema

Now, the Facebook group's and our Twitter's mission is to discover cool or interesting bands. So, if you discover a cool band or solo artist, TELL US!!!

Now, have a fab weekend!!! ROCK ON!!!

Check BeforeUGo on Twitter -
There's a Facebook Group -

Thursday 1 October 2009

GoodRead - "If I Stay" Book Review

In Young Adult department in bookshops now, it won’t surprise you that there has been a wave of hard-hitting, gritty books about death or dying. Not misery-bios, but fiction books that talk about death and how a teen would cope with death. The prime example of this is the acclaim novel “Before I Die” by Jenny Downham.

Another book, which is similar, but not, is “If I Stay” by Gayle Foreman, and that’s the book I’m going to review now.

If I Stay” follows Mia, a talented cello-playing seventeen year old, who is involved in a car accident, which kills her entire family and leaves her fighting for her life. As she is rushed to hospital, Mia has an out-of-body experience where she watches her grandparents, her best friend and her boyfriend rush to her side and will her to survive. But Mia has to make that decision. All the choices she had that morning are gone, and she’s left with only one decision: to stay or to go. To live or to die.

Before I go any further, the book caused a fuss in America. Before it was published. So much so, that Summit Enterainment (the production company behind films such as Twilight, New Moon & Knowing) bought the film rights and Catherine Hardwicke is going to direct this movie. All this happened BEFORE the book got published in the US!

And I can see why. I got the book on a Bank Holiday Monday after heard reviews online. I bought it, read a few pages and desperately wanted to read it, but I couldn’t due to time and me reading another book. So, several days later, on a Sunday, I sat down and started to read it. I read this book in one sitting (almost unheard of with me!). This book has a pulse (like Shiver by Maggie Stiefavter) that once you fall into sync with, makes the impossible almost impossible to stop. It’s, as if, the music that is so important to Mia and her boyfriend, Adam, is an actual character and an important character, just as important as Mia, Adam and Kim, Mia’s best friend.

This book is one of those books that will pull at your heartstring. So some of you might not want to read this book in public – or listen to slow music that might be used on Grey’s Anatomy (my main mistake while reading this was discovering/listening to Greg Laswell’s “Off I Go” [song used in the Season 5 Finale*]. A song which, if I can say, I want on the movie soundtrack…). Apart from that, a book that you will read quickly, but will linger in the mind long after you closed the book.

(PS – Another book that lingers in the mind long after you finish it, Shiver by Maggie Stiefavter, is going to be turned into a film. The film rights to the book has been sold to Unique Features! Am happy about that! So, if Maggie is reading this [which I doubt], Congratulations!)

* - While posting this note, I started listening to the Fray's song "Never Say Never". Another perfect choice for Mia and Adam.

Friday 18 September 2009

Remember Salem?

Does anyone remember Salem, the wise-cracking talking cat from 90s TV, "Sabrina the Teenage Witch"? Ever wonder what he done since the show ended?

Why Do Pets Bite Their Owners...

Even wondered why pets sometimes bite their humans? Well, this is why...

And Now, my Fave...

BayWatch Is Coming Back - Well, Sorta...

Have you heard the news? Epic 90s drama "BayWatch" is coming back to our screens. But, of course, it's had a bit of a facelift. Here are some EXCLUSIVE shots of the lead actors in the opening episode...

So, what do you think? XD

My Name is Hedwig...

"My name is Hedwig. As I fell through the icy skies... You were wrong!"

That's right, Harry Potter fans! HEDWIG ISN'T DEAD!!! And I have proof!!!

God, I LOVE PotterCast ( and then go find episodes 130 & 131.) That is all!

Thursday 17 September 2009

GoodRead - "Catching Fire" & "Shiver" Book Reviews

I’ve never done a book review before so this is a FIRST! And not only that, am doing two books! Am going to do Catching Fire (Book 2 in the Hunger Games Trilogy) By Suzanne Collins and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Let's start with Catching Fire, shall we? Taking place several weeks (if not, months) after the nightmare-ish events of “The Hunger Games”, Katniss returns to District 12, knowing that she can no longer lead the life she once had. And it will never return to normal, seeing as she made a fool of the Capitol after she saved both her and Peeta’s lives, and that the Capitol (and its president, President Snow) wants revenge.

And revenge it will get. In any way shape or form.

But that’s not Katniss’s only problem. She and Peeta have to travel all 12 Districts and the Capitol, and in some Districts, both Peeta and herself have become figureheads to a resistance and if that continues, there will be uprisings and who knows what the death toll will be…

Now, I have several more pages to go (I started the book a week later than everyone else and decided to take my time. Plus, I don’t have a week off work to read it, unlike when I read the Hunger Games), but this is possible more gripping than its prequel. And that’s surprising because, in a trilogy, the middle book is usually the let-down of the series.

But not Catching Fire. It’s almost like being on a rollercoaster. After the first few pages (a huge improvement compared to Hunger Games opening pages – very hard to like or relate to Katniss), you dive into the thrill of the book. All the twists and turns and the breathlessness of it all. And it still has that moral effect to it as it did with the Hunger Games where you question if you would watch such a thing and you reminding yourself that the characters in both the Hunger Games & Catching Fire are children who have to kill to live, all in the name of entertainment.

I “hunger” for the third and final book in this trilogy. (Am so sorry for that awful pun!)

(And, as I promised my lovely friend Sasha, here is a photo of my mockingjay pin that she sent me [and two others – James and Andy] from the USA. [Hint Hint, Scholastic UK, this is what you should do when book 3 comes out, hint hint!])

Now, while I’m on a roll, I might as well do a quick review of Shiver by Maggie Stiefavter. This book is out in the USA and will be out, in the UK, sometime in late October so this is, maybe, an Advance review (oh no, the pressure!)

Since Grace was attacked by wolves when she was young, she has had a fascination with them (I won’t say obsession, but take it as you will). Especially one wolf in particular. A wolf with gold eyes.

Sam has always been in love with Grace. Ever since his gold eyes first laid eyes on her. But he has a secret that makes it almost impossible for him to be with her.

So when they meet under near tragic events, the two realise that they can’t live without each other and must fight to stay together. Fight against Sam’s secret and fight to keep Sam human. But how can you fight something when the coldness of winter is the enemy?

In America, some bookshops have used the promo “Stephenie Meyer Who?” and I can kinda see why. Apart from the supernatural element (am not going to tell you if she uses vampires or werewolves. Maybe she used the kraken for all you know), the language used is very poetic. There are some beautifully written lines that you get swept along with the story and the characters. Here’s one of my favourite lines from chapter 5:

"They were silent, beautiful ghosts in the woods." (Page 15 in US Edition of Shiver. Copyright owned by the author, Maggie Stiefvater.)

If I have any fault with this book, it’s the ending. I’m not dissing the ending as a whole, but there’s one thing in the final few chapters that I found a bit disturbing and I think, because of that, all the work of wanting Grace and Sam to be together (so, the first 3 quarters of the book) felt a bit tainted by the time you closed the book (once you’ve read the book, you’ll know what creeped me out.)

But I would recommend both of these books, but with a warning that both books have scenes that sensitive readers might find disturbing.

(Wow! I really enjoyed myself writing this! I will do a few more over the next few months on books am going to read and books I’ve read in the past. Anyway, I hope you’re all well and you all are reading gripping reads!)

EDIT: Just twitted Maggie Stiefvater ( and she has confirmed that Shiver is the first book in a trilogy. I believe the next book is called Linger (not 100% sure on that so...) But am very happy about that!

Tuesday 15 September 2009

The Da Brown Code

For some people, this is what you've been waiting for. For others... well, don't read this, nor go into a book shop. Or the book section of your local supermarket. Or online.

Yes, that's right, Dan Brown's new novel - sequel to "Angels and Demons" & the even-so-popular "Da Vinci Code" - "The Lost Symbol" has been released and, already, reviews of it have been released, stating that Dan Brown has outdone himself.

So... six years after the "Da Vinci Code" was released, is the wait what we're looking for, or is it going over old ground due to the old saying "If it any broke, don't fix it"?

When you guys have read it, let me know. If you're not, then tell me what you think of the hype. Am very curious. (I did buy myself a bopy and, if I ever find the time to read it after TRUE BLOOD, CATCHING FIRE and goodness know what else, will let you know...)

Oh, small thing I read and laughed at (minor spoiler? Well, two lines from the book so STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED!!!")

Right, have you stopped? Are you sure? Last chance...

Well, here's what I found! And am sure Mr. Brown himself was speaking, not Mr Robert Langdon.

Within the first few pages of chapter one, a woman rushes over to our hero and says, after explaining that her book group read his novel on the Sacred Feminine and the Church, "...What a delicious scandal that one caused! You do enjoy putting the fox in the henhouse!"

Langdon smiled. "Scandal wasn't really my intention."


Quote taken from "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown, page 8, published in the UK by BANTAM PRESS. Copyright of quote belongs to author, Dan Brown.

Friday 11 September 2009

Rhinos? In Bed? Reading? (What's Not To Love?!)

A friend of mine on Twitter ( discovered this drawing by Michael Dashow. And, I fell in love with it...

Have You Ever Been This Tired?

Okay, I got some photos at work (joke email with the Subject of "HAVE YOU EVER BEEN THIS TIRED?"). Most of the photos (animals mostly with one or two kids photos) I loved. But, as I'm not a great lover of loading photos and pictures onto Blogger, am going to put on my ALL TIME FAVE photo that I love.

I call it "CatDog".

All together now - awwwwww....!

(okay, there was one more photo! I think it's cute... sorry!)

Sunday 6 September 2009

Another Code: The Book?

Okay, this is random, but over the past few days, I have been play a game on my Wii (Nintendo all the way, baby!) called "Another Code R: A Jounrey into Lost Memories". This game is a sequel of a game on the DS (DS Lite or DSi or whatever breed of Nintendo Dual Screen it is now).

But that's beside the point, on the front cover of the Wii game, it claims the following: "READ AND SOLVE LIKE A MYSTERY NOVEL". And, well, I began to wonder...

Why haven't Nintendo and CING (the developers of both games) released these games in book form?

I mean, not all book readers play game consoles and not all game-players read books. And as Nintendo are saying that they want to reach everyone, isn't this a good way to do it?

Sure, there will have to be some things taken out and some things put in, but I would love to read Ashley's advertures on Blood Edward Island and at Lake Juliet. It would be a hell of a lot easier taking a book to work than my Wii console (and with my DS - i love it far too much to take it to work. I would break it, knowing my luck.)

Yes, stupid idea, but what do you guys think? Yea or na?

Friday 4 September 2009


...And when you read this, you'll understand why I dislike reading and writing in the present tense! I find it very jarring as a reading (which is why I dislike "Book of the Dead" by Patrica Cornwell - but I do like "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham or the "Wake" Trilogy by Lisa McMann.) 

So, enjoy, & forgive my awful present writing.




Running down the stairs. Grabbing the handrail as I slipped.




Jump the last two steps. Lands oddly. Pain shoot up leg, but I ignore it.




Runs towards the door.




Yank the door open.




Running down the corridor. The dark making it hard to see.




Still running. I see a door. A Fire Exit! A way out!




I crash into the door. It opens as an alarm shrills out. There are stairs. Up? Down?




Down! I run down them, gripping the handrail as I go. There’s not enough time!




Keep running! Another door. I push through and run.


Ten! Coming! Ready or Not!




I spin round in the dark corridor, running backwards.


I’m going to die. I’m never going to leave here alive.


I spin and run forwards. Only to skid to a stop.


They’re there. Standing as calm and as still as statues. All three pairs of red eyes on me.


A sob sticks unpleasantly in my throat. “No…”


“We found you,” the first member says. His voice sounds nice, pleasant even. Not a voice that should belong to a killer. “The game is over.”


I slowly back away; my insides go cold with terror and fear. “Who – what – are you?”


“That,” replies the first man, “is sadly not important. What is, however, is you.”


The second man, the man with the cropped hair, growls as he pulls back his lips to reveal unnaturally white teeth. The woman of the trio, her hair shocking red, gives a sideways glance to the cropped hair man then her gaze returns to me.


I take another step back, and they, in unison, take a step forward.


“This,” says the man with cropped hair, “is getting bored.”


“Yes,” agrees the woman. “This is getting tiresome.”


“Patience.” The first man comments as he waves a hand. “The game isn’t complete yet.”


They’re going to kill me! Why aren’t I running? Why aren’t I screaming?!


I take another step back, and my back hits the wall. I try not to gasp out with the shock.


The three keep their distance.


“Now,” spoke the first man. “I must explain to you, Mister –“ He pauses. “I’m sorry, I didn’t ask you your name…”


Lie! “Syed.” Why didn’t you lie?!


“Well, Syed, this is nothing personnel. It’s just … well… instinct.”


And with that, I understood. “Please…” I beg. “Please, don’t.”


James turns his face a little away, his face unreadable. Victoria’s eyes seem to glimmer. As for the third…


“Please!” I throw myself at their mercy. “Please don’t! I have a daughter!”


Mia! Mia, my beautiful Mia!


I cling to the last memory of her. The way she smelt: sleep, talcum powder, fresh nappies.  


Mia, I love you!


“You have a daughter?” The first man says slowly.


I can’t feel my lungs as I take slow breaths. I count the silence in my head.


One Mississippi… two Mississippi… three Mississippi


 “Then… I am sorry for her loss.”


My breath catches in my throat. My eyes wet with tears. “No… Please, no…”


All three of them smile a hungry smile.


“Please,” I plea, tears roll down my face. “Please…”


All three of them pounce and my screams echo through the darkness.