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.