Wednesday 30 June 2010

GoodRead - Reboot?

Reboots. Everything recently is having a reboot. Films are (Spiderman being the main reboot of the moment), TV shows (loads of 70s shows are getting a modern day upgrade like 90210). And now, books seem to be going through the reboot with some classic characters.

It’s all Charlie Higson’s fault. Why? Because he wrote the Young Bond series (published in theUK by Puffin). For those of you who don’t know, the Young Bond series is a really popular series about James Bond when he was a school boy, studying at Eton.

Recently, a reboot that follows the adventures of a 14 year old Sherlock Homles was published by Macmillan Children's Books. The first story in the series, Death Cloud, came with high praise from both critics and readers alike, just like the Young Bond books.

And now, Faber & Faber will be release a modern day reboot of Tarzan. According to an article on The Guardian (, Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy will will be set in the present day, in and around Congo where Tarzan is 17 or 18 years of age while Jane, whose father is part of an illegal logging expedition, gets lost in the jungle at around 14 years old. The author of this revival, Andy Briggs, has said that Jane will be “…tough, to be Tarzan's equal. Not physically - she's not jungle savvy - but I wanted her to be a tough kid. She's had a very hard life but she's been brought up with technology – she's part of the Facebook generation, she owns an iPod. But as she goes deeper into the jungle, she sees its beauty.”

Also, the author, who is a fan of Tarzan, says stated that it’s the right time to give Tarzan a modern day retelling, saying “I think now more than ever Tarzan is a relevant character … He was the first eco-warrior, and I wanted to hold on to that." He also described the Tarzan in this retelling, aimed for nine to 11-year-olds, as more “edgier and more feral" character.

Now, I don’t mind once in a while an story getting a modern day look. I don’t. That’s why I’m writing this random blog (I have signed copy of Death Cloud [won it from a competition from @BookZone] and from the few pages I’ve read, it looks like a treat!). But I do wonder if these reboots and retelling of classic characters is good for books. Because, not only do these books have to excite new readers, they have to remain loyal to fans the character already has. Plus, there is a tiny fear that all publishers will go down this route and won’t bring new talent out onto bookshelves.

But I think that this is also a good thing too. If these types of books get kids reading (and everyone is saying that boys read less than girls – and all these books are boy targeted) and it gets people to go to the original works, then surely that’s a good thing.

Just wanted to know what you thought of this argument? Leave your comments below!!!

Friday 25 June 2010

Not Another Michelle Zink Writing Challenge

I'm afraid it is!

I know I should be sitting down and REALLY focused on my own writing, but I felt a tiny bit guilty for not doing more Writing Missions, so this morning I sneak onto Michelle Zink's website (when I was meant to be working! And I was... kinda...) and looked up this week's writing challenge. This week was one I HAD to do. In this week's task, Michelle revealed a tiny nugget from her upcoming novel "Guardian of the Gate" (a book I am going to get) and she wanted us to take the paragraph and turn it into something new within 30 Minutes. Yeah, I was at work. So, I gave myself till the end of the working day to write something and, wherever I ended, I would just upload it.

I'm not going to tell you what Michelle gave us to work with (you have to click on the following link to find out -, but this is what I made of it. And I was surprised with myself because I found myself, near the end, not liking my main character. He seemed so arrogant that it bothered me. But, I like the story. Maybe, one day, I might go back to it...

Until then, enjoy!


For as long as I could remember, I have always been able to see them. The ghosts that are trapped here, wanting desprately to move on to “The Other Side” (I don’t believe in that “Go into the Light” crap). And ghosts that refuse. Point blank. Some out of stubbornness. Some out of fear. But most stay because they want to. It’s fun to stay and watch. They’re not ready to go. Not just yet.

And then there are those that aren’t ghosts at all. The Frighteners, as I call them. They’re made from bad energy, from what I can guess. Bad energy, evil energy. They want to be human, or as close to human as they can. Expenience human emotions. They’re the reason people get depression or have horrible thoughts. It’s frightening to walk down the road and see them close to someone, and knowing that I could help. Or try to. But I can’t. I can’t do anything.

Cos I’m a freak. A weirdo. An oddity. The curiousity. And those are the kind names people have called me. Hence why I rarely talk about my ability.

It was because I was standing in a field that I was a little afraid. The field’s openness was terrifying, though the sun shined brightly, turning gold the wild grass and swaying wheat that stretches in every direction. For all its beauty, the field left me no place to hide. If a Frightener came, I would have to run. And I tend to fall down when I run. I tend to fall down A LOT.

I sighed. The ghost had changed its mind. It wouldn’t surprise me. It’s not like I’ve met a ghost who hasn’t changed his or her mind, or worry if they are making the right decision.

It was too humid to wonder why the ghost had changed his or her mind. Plus, I had to get back and finish those English Literature assignments. I couldn’t fail with these assignments. If I didn’t get a decent mark, I basically flunked my class. I couldn’t flunk this class.

So, I turned to leave. And jumped as the ghost stood there, a little too close for comfort.

Ghosts blink. That’s why he was so close to me. Ghosts don’t walk or float up to you. Some do, but that’s a tiny percentage of the ghost populous. The attention seeking kind. The rest of them Blink. Well, I call it blinking. One moment, no one is there. The next, Bam! There they are. Most people think it’s a trick. They blink and they see the ghost without realising it. I know that they are ghosts. Ghosts don’t have auras like humans do.

“Oh! I’m so sorry!” He took a step back, releasing he was in my personal space. “Are you alright?”

“I – I’m fine.” I lied. I rammed my hands into my pockets. When I lie, my fingers tend to twitch. “Just give me moment to catch my breath.”

“Okay,” the ghost smiled and fell silent. He seemed pleased that I came, as if he feared that I won’t. that I would change my mind.

He doesn’t know me very well.

“Okay,” I said after a moment, taking my hands out of my pockets and flexing my fingers. “So, I’m here.”

“Yeah, sorry.” He looked my age, wearing clothes that were about five, maybe six, years out of fashion. “I can only talk here.”

“Why here?” I questioned.

“Because I can’t leave the field. I’m stuck here.”

Well, that was new and unexpected.

From what I had been told by my Grandmother (who had the gift too – it “supposed” to have missed a generation with my mother. But I don’t believe my mum. As the song goes, “Deny, Deny, Deny”), ghosts don’t haunt one place. They can come and go as they please. Most haunt places that mean something to them – a house, a garden, a public garden. I saw one haunt one of the London Underground stations. Also, I have never come across a ghost that haunts a graveyard, much to everyone’s surprise. And I should know – I live oppisite a graveyard. It’s one of the few places I can go without hearing, seeing or sensing a ghost. It’s a place I can turn my brain off from the ghost frequency.

But to be stuck in one place…

“So, you can’t leave this field?” I said, slowly, trying to get my brain round the idea. “But you’ve been trying to contact me.” It came out as a question.

“I have.”


“Little things. But mostly when you slept. That seems to be the easiest way.”

Ah, he’s one of those ghosts…

Some ghosts, not very many, have the horrible knack to send messages and ideas into dreams. It’s very rare. One or two of them can even enter your dreams, which is kinda freaky to say the least. It has only ever happened to me once, when I was sixteen and having a fairly steamy dream involving myself and two other people (one of them was the member of the oppisite sex) when a ghost appeared, stared over us and started screaming at me, telling how dirty and wrong it was. How preverted it was. Ever since then, if I have one of those dreams, I change it to something extremely dull incase a ghost walks in. Like tofu.

BeforeUGo - June 2010 Recommendations


So, here is the monthly update in which, if you don't follow our Twitter ( or you're not a member of the FaceBook Group (click here), then here's a monthly update to either refresh your memory or for you to discover new music!

So, this month's choices were:


If you know any bands or like any music and you want to share it, you can. Leave a message on this blog, on the Facebook Group's wall or tweet to us on Twitter. Have a great month!

Friday 18 June 2010

Wake: The Movie - Starring Miley Cyrus?

Now, I love news of books I’ve read and really like being turned into films (Harry Potter, Twilight, Shiver, Mortal Instruments, Hunger Games among others!). Now, another book series is added to the list – WAKE by Lisa McMann.

For those of you who don’t know the trilogy (complete in the US, only recently hit UK shores), the main character, Janie, can enter people’s dreams. And it’s not as cool as I’ve made out. She has no choice in the matter – if you fall asleep, so will she. And, because of this, she knows things about her friends (and enemies) that she rather not know. Then, one day, she enters a nightmare so terrifying, that she soon realise that she’s taking part in the nightmare…

Okay, I admit, I’m not a huge lover of the series, but I like them. A lot! It’s urban paranormal that’s true to the characters (and there’s no vampires! An antidote for all the vamp-fic out there!), so when news that MTV Films & Paramount have bought the film rights to the while Trilogy, I was a bit “Oh cool! How are they going to do the dreams? Some of them are very explicit. That’s going to be interesting to see.”

Then, I read the article more and my heart sunk. Why?

Miley Cyrus is considering taking the lead role of Janie.

Okay, I’m going to say this now. I’m not a great Miley fan. But she isn’t Janie. I don’t think she could pull the edginess or the toughness Janie needs. I mean, Janie’s mother is an alcoholic and, while we see more of this and why she is in GONE (the final book in the trilogy), Janie has to deal with being her mother’s carer and I don’t want the film to shy away from that. Plus, Janie sees some horrible things in her dreams – ranging from sexuality and self image worries to nudity and abuse – and I worry that if Miley does take the role on, she won’t be able to pull it off.

And FADE! There’s a scene in FADE (second book in the trilogy) that is horrible! (If you read the book, you would know what scene I am talking about!) And if the films are going to be three films and not one film put together, how is she going to pull that scene off?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she would get the emotion that Janie needs (I have been wrong about actors before) but that’s my main fear. I don’t want Miley to be given the role for her name alone – I want her to ACT!

Sorry, that’s my tiny rant over this. If she is in the film or not, I will probably want to see it.


Oh, one other thing. If she’s starring in the film, that means Miley has veto-ed her right to be on the soundtrack. Sorry, one or the other – not both!

And speaking of the soundtrack – Okay, am going to stop now! Expect for patchwork quilt. I want the soundtrack to be like a patchwork quilt. Like Juno’s, in a sense. But not quite.

Okay, now am ending this! Laters!

Reviews of the WAKE trilogy are here (for WAKE and FADE) & here (for GONE).


What can I say? It was a slow work day!

Monday 14 June 2010

Harry Potter - Scary Moments

Harry Potter – need I say more about this series? To some of you, this series is overhyped with no value to literature. While to others, myself included, this series sums up our teenage years. This series sums up us growing up and trying to figure out where we fit in this world.

I’m not going to be too mushy or anything. Instead, I want to talk scary. I want to talk about the scary moments in this series, or in each book. Ok, I’m not going to go into detail on every single moment that scared us – far too many. Instead, I want to talk about the scary moments that scared me or worry me. I know, a tiny bit vain, but I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now and, I hope, that you will write what scenes frightened you in the series and how different (or similar) they are.

(In case you haven’t guessed, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! So, if you haven’t read any of the books or you’ve started one of these books, DO NOT READ THIS!)

This book set the magic off. Everything in this book when you first read it (well, when I first read it) felt so magical and new and exciting that, even the frightening bits were magical. But in a creepy, fascinating way.

We met Fluffy, a giant three headed dog (I always wonder what happened to him). Then our three heroes – Harry, Ron and Hermione – get attacked by a troll. And then… okay, am going to stop. A long list of exciting and scary things happened in our first year of Hogwarts. I might as well picked two.

The first was at Christmas, when Harry snuck into the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library to see if there are any books that have information about Nicholas Flamel. Harry takes a random book off the shelf, opens it, and the book screams. Now, I am a book lover so the idea of reading a book then it suddenly screaming out you is a scary thought.

Now, there are two scary scenes near the end and I would like to chat about one. It won’t be the scene in the Forbidden Forest (though that did make me jump and make me question how dark the books were going to get [oh, if only I knew!]) on the grounds that it wasn’t as frightening as the scene in the final chapter – The Man With Two Faces.

So, here goes. We have Professor Quirrell and we finally see him for who he really is. A very bad man. Then, for some reason, he takes his turban off his head and turns round. and there, on the back of his head, isn’t a back of a head. instead there is a face. A cold, evil face. Now, that is creepy. I believe JK Rowling said that the reveal was one for creepiest scene she had ever written and I can see why. Imagine it, if you will. The Mirror of Erised is behind Professor Quirrell. He turns round and you see Voldermort’s face. But, if you look in the mirror, you would see Quirrell’s reflection. That’s a total mind warp!

Though this isn’t scary, I feel I have to bring this up. In this chapter, both Quirrell and Voldermort say things which shows how their views are so different to Harry’s and to ours, the reader. The main thing I have issue with is something Quirrell said – “Good and evil. There is no good and evil. There is power, and those too weak to seek it”. I disagree with this view that Voldermort and Quirell have. I, as I think most people, do believe in good and evil and idea that good and evil don’t exist but it’s about power. If you have power, you are all powerful, is wrong. and to hear Quirrell say that is, as if, he has been (and probably has) been brainwashed by Voldermort. And once Quirrell has survived his usefulness (or lack of), Voldermort flee Quirrell’s body and left Quirrell to die.

It took me several years before I got over not liking this book. I won’t say I hated this book, because I didn’t hate it. After Philosopher’s Stone, this book was FAR too dark for my tastes. It took me a recent rereading of this book when I was in my late teens, early twenties to finally get it! I don’t love it, like I do with Philosopher’s Stone or, my fave, Prisoner of Azkaban, but I respect it and like it a lot more than when I first read it.

Now, scary moments. This book does have a far few. But, at the time of writing this, I can’t think of which frightened me the most. It might have been meeting Arogog for the first time – I’m not exactly comfortable round spiders, so meeting a giant spider – an Acromantula – would be terrifying! But then, so would meeting a Basilisk and looking directly in its eyes will kill you. Or, if you’re looking at it through a camera, a ghost, a mirror or a pool of water, it would make you go into a profound state of petrification or being petrified. That’s frightening too.

I think when we discover that Hermione was petrified, that was frightening. It came as a huge shock because it was one of the main three characters- nothing bad should EVER happen to them. And yet, it did. This showed that no one was safe.

Also, (this isn’t frightening, but a nice charcter analysis), what Professor Lockhart (a character I always seriously dislike from the word go) did at the end of the book, when he knew Ginny Weasley was in the Chamber and everyone was depending on him to save her speaks volumes about his character. Rather than save a child’s life and be discovered a , he decides to try and leave. And when Harry and Ron stop him, he plans to erase their memories, making up a story that seeing Ginny’s body drove both Ron and Harry to madness shows us what kind of man he is – a man who will save his skin, not matter who or what is in danger.

I love this book. Out of the whole series, this is my fave. It was the perfect balance again and it seemed to redeem Chamber of Sercets for me.

Sorry, sidetrack. Now, scary moment in this book. There’s kinda two, but both linked by the same thing – the Dementors. I find them UTTERLY creepy and, to me, this is probably the scariest things JK Rowling has ever written. The idea of them is freaky and I always think that they are frightening. I always found what Professor Lupin said about them in chapter 10 (I’m not 100% sure so correct me if I’m wrong) about them the most disturbing – “Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air and around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can't see them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling; every happy memory will be sucked out of you." To me, JK Rowling is linked dementors to depression or mental health. The word dementor is only a few letters out from the word dementia – only just figured that out!

Okay, the two scenes. The first was in chapter 5, when we first meet a Dementor on the Hogwarts Express. Just how JK Rowling describles the Dementor’s hand is frightening to me – as if it had been rotting in water. And then, out of nowhere, Harry faints. Because the Dementor was feeding on his memories, which is just… *shivers*

The second scene, and maybe the scene that is more frightening, is near the end of the book where a group of Dementors are closing in on Harry and Sirius Black and the Dementors are going to perform the Dementors Kiss – an act where a Dementor sucks the soul out of a person, leaving them alive, but an empty shell. Now, I kinda believe that we all have souls, and the idea of your soul being sucked out of you is just…

Like I said before, I think Dementors are the most frightening thing JK Rowling has ever written. Ever!

There’s only one thing people think about when you mention this book – the return on Lord Voldermort (Chapter 32). And, maybe, I should attack that. not because it’s scary (and yet, it is!), but because when I first read the book, it was as if JK Rowling had got the rule book and ripped it up in my face.

First of all, Cedric died. It was quick and comes out of nowhere. He just died. No final farewell, no begging for mercy, no hesitation. It was just “Kill the spare!” then BANG, he’s died.

And then, there was the ceremony itself. Oh God, how I found that creepy! I found the whole chapter of “Bone, Flesh and Blood” creepy and horrifying! Bone taken from Voldermort’s dead father. Flesh, which Wormtail (who is doing this) cuts off his own forearm. And Blood, from Harry, though not by choice. Wormtail cuts Harry’s arm and let’s the blood drip into the cauldron filled with mysterious content. Then, Wormtail drops something quiet hideous into the cauldron and then… then… he slowly rises out. Lord Voldermort rises out. Lord Voldermort, the darkest wizard of our generation, has risen again –

– and he’s naked.

I don’t find his (or his nakedness) return disturbing. The ceremony itself – now, that was disturbing. It’s one of those chapters where you know that the worse is going to happen and no matter what you do, there is nothing you can do to stop it. So, basically, you’re reading through your fingers. And yet, you’re can’t stop yourself from reading…

Oh, sidenote. The first chapter in this book – The Riddle House – one the best opening chapters in the series. I adore this chapter because … well… it’s just sums up the tone for the whole book. You know something’s bad going to happen, but you can’t put your finger on what or when…

In every book series, not matter how much you love the series, there will always be one book I dislike. No, that’s too strong a word. There will be one book in the series that you always find your least favourite. This is mine. I think the main reason is that Harry, in this book, isn’t Harry. In this book, he seemed to have suddenly changed. He’s very angry and shouts. He becomes more himself later on in the book, but the first part of the book was very hard for me to connect with Harry, acting the way he was. In one very early chapter, he shouts at Ron and Hermione in CAPITIAL LETTERS! I kinda fell out of love with him when he did that, because I love Ron and Hermione.

Sorry about that. But I had to explain. I don’t think that’s the main reason, but it’s one huge reason. Now, back on topic. Scary moments. Well, this isn’t a scary moment, but this did scare me to my core so this counts! Dolores Umbridge. Mention her name to any Harry Potter fan; you will get probably the same reaction – “Evil toad-face witch!”. Or, as I heard once of a podcast, “Her pinkness. Her badness. The cat lady.”

But the scene that really shocked me was when Harry got his first detention with her and Umbridge makes him writes lines – “I Must Not Tell Lies”. And every time he writes it on the page, it is written in the back of his hand, cutting into his flesh and scarring him. That, to me, is frightening. Umbridge is abusing her power, knowing that her employers (The Ministry of Magic) will protect her. This is a form of child abuse and, what I find more disturbing, she enjoys the pain she’s causes Harry. I found this utterly wrong as I read it and when the film did that scene, they did it perfectly. It still caused the same horror and outrage in me as when I first read that scene. Even the way the actress - Imelda Staunton – played Umbridge’s enjoyment perfectly. Which was utterly creepy.

Only two moments jump to mind! Just two. And you can thank the movie because of this!

The first is Katie Bell. Poor Katie Bell. It wasn't her fault what happened to her with the jinxed necklace. She was under a charm herself. and then, by complete accident, she touched it. She rose six feet into the air and, when she stopped, she screamed.

In the book, this scene was horrible. But in the film... God, it scared me witless! I think it's the redness of her coat against the white backdrop that's more terrifying!

The second frightening scene - well, in the film, it made me jump so high out of my chair, I'm surprised that I didn't hit the ceiling - was the Inferi in chapter 26. The way JK Rowling slowly made them appear - "The surface of the lake was no longer mirror-smooth; it was churning, and everywhere Harry looked, white heads and hands were emerging from the dark water, men and women and children with sunken, sightless eyes were moving towards the rock: an arm of the dead rising from the black water." (Chapter 26, pages 537-538).

Need I say more...?

So, the final book. And though there is quite a few scary moments in this book, there’s only one I can think about writing.

On Christmas Eve, Harry and Hermione go to Godric’s Hollow, where Harry’s parents lived and died. The scene in the graveyard with Harry finding and standing by their graves is quite tender scene.

Complete contrast to what happens in the next chapter. When leaving the graveyard, they meet Bathilda Bagshot who can see them under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak (Not a good sign!) and who they follow to her house (again, she saw you through your Invisibility Cloak, Harry! Don’t go with her!) and then, without Hermione, go alone in another room with creepy old lady to see "... the old body collapsing and the great snake pouring from the place where her name had been." (Chapter 17, page 278.)

I'm sorry but WHAT?! I kinda missed it the first time I read it so had to go back and, when I finally understood what was happening, I was freaking out. The images I had in my head were not pretty - Voldermort's snake, Nagini, was either wearing a dead woman's skin and was bewitched to move about or was inside a rotting, decay body! And that, to me, is more frightening! So, how the HELL Warner Bros is going to do this in the film is going to be interesting to see...

I am sorry this is a bit rushed. Working against the clock (and secretly at work - SH!) so I hope you like me skimming over facts and whatnot. If I am wrong on ANYTHING, correct me!

Plus, if there are any scary moments I missed in the books and you want to talk about them, comment below!

Books I Used:
All Seven Harry Potters by JK Rowling
Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli

Far too many to name! But thank you!

Thursday 10 June 2010

Numb Weight - A "I'm Not Sure What This Is" Work

There’s a numbness in my heart,
That’s weighing me down,
Making it almost impossible to carry me around,
So don’t throw me off a cliff, my darling,
Cos the freefall will feel strangely superb,
But the crashing into the ground will bring the numb back.

There’s a numbness in my heart,
And it spreading into my head,
Crushing the brain within my skull,
So, please, my darling, don’t take me to the river’s edge,
Because the drowning will feel so wonderful,
But the drowned won’t feel at all.

There’s a numbness in my heart,
In my head and now in my veins,
Chilling me in ways that warmth will never reclaim,
So don’t take me to the bonfire, my darling,
Because the burning will be exquisitely beautiful,
But the smell of burnt flesh might be too much.

There’s a numb weight within me,
I’m a dead weight in your fragile arms,
So leave me on the ground in a small tiny ball,
Go, my darling, and live your emotion-filled life,
For then I’ll live inside this strange empty void,
Till the tears of the stars wash this numbness away…

GoodRead - UK Cover Vs US Cover

Am very excited about this blog entry on UK Cover Vs US Cover! Just... aw! It's the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins!

So, here is the UK cover (just revealed yesterday!)

And here is the US cover.

Now, after months of knowing the US cover and annoying ScholasticUK with tweets, we have a UK cover. And I love it! I adore the UK cover! I like the US cover, but the UK cover...

Sorry, but it's been so long waiting...