Sunday, 29 April 2012

Dauntless Tour - Bravery

When I found out I was Team Dauntless as part of the #InsurgentUK, I was a mix of thrilled and laughing madly to myself and for the UK publisher for seeing me as Dauntless. Thrilled as Dauntless is, of course, the best Faction in the Divergent trilogy (I mean, Tris and Four were part of it! I mean, come on!), but laughable as I don't see myself as brave or fearless. I see myself as someone who has fears but, somehow, manages to copes with them.

So, when my fellow Dauntless were chatting about our tour and suggested I write about bravery and ask the question what is the bravest thing I have ever done, I wasn't sure if I could answer them with the rightness that it deserves (I, secretly, wanted to write a short story about bravery). But the more I thought this question over, the more I realise that I could answer it with the rightness it deserve as it question my views on what bravery means to me.

So, to answer the question of "what is the bravest thing I have ever done?". Well, two things have happened in my life that you could consider brave.

The first was coming out. I know that doesn't seem like a true act of bravery, but it was terrfying. I had to trying to find a way to tell my family for a while and, one day, my mother decide to join facebook. This, for a reason I'm not 100% certain I understand, made me tell her. I was scared of what this news would mean. I was scared of her reaction. But Mum, calm as anything, went "Well, I have suspect for a while now." And with that, during the BBC 10 O'Clock news bullet, Mum and I talked. I can't remember about what, exactly, but we talked and it was nice that we talked about what this meant and how she was happy for me to be true to myself. The next day, she told my sister and got the response of "Well, about bloody time."

If you have come out to your family, then you understand how terrifiying and unnerving it is, and how to its all of your courage to just say it, even though you.

The second bravest thing I've done to survive my father's death. It was very sudden and it felt like my world had ended. Not just my world, but the world of my family. The man I looked up to, the man who who had been there my whole life, was gone. There's a line in Lemony's Snicket's "The Bad Beginning", which sums this up: "If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven’t, you cannot possible imagine it."

And, somehow, we were meant to carry on living our lives, even though our world had ended. But we did. Somehow, we did. Even though this was hard and painful and frightening. We would burst into tears for no reason (I remember one time suddenly carrying in a temp job's toilet as I heard the song "Remain" by Kubb on my iPod. My dad had never heard of the band, so no idea why that happened). Even though I would find going to sleep terrifiying as I feared I would never wake up again. Even though the world outside the window kept going, while it felt like our world had stopped. But with all of these, we all supported each other and, with our private and collected bravery, we carried on into the unknown future.

I know that this isn't coming across the way I want it to. But, if you ask who I consider to be the bravest people in the world, I would instantly answer by saying "My Mum and my Sister". There are two of the strongest, fearless and utterly remarkable women I have ever know. I owe them so much in the past few years.

And now we get to the point of this blog post: bravery. Or rather, my view on bravery. We all have the power to be brave and fearless. We can be brave like Tris, Four and the rest of Dauntless were in Divgerent, by going things for the adrenaline rush. We can be brave like huge acts of bravery, such as solders and aid-workers who go to warn torn countries, or standing up for people who have no voice such as Aung San Suu Kyi or Martin Luther King. Or we can be quietly brave, by being there for someone who needs someone to hold their hand in a time which frightens you both.

I valve bravery in a person, as I feel most of us do. And while I value the huge acts of selfless bravery, I also value the smaller, often unnoticed acts of bravery, and that, to me, is what being a Dauntless is about. Being brave and fearless no matter the situation: whether that bravery is life-changing or not.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

GoodRead - A Confusion Of Princes

I loved Garth Nix from the moment I read Sabriel (I still want a film version of this book and I still want Tim Curry to be the voice of my fave character, Moggit!). I feel this is very important to state before I continue with my review of his latest book, A Confusion of Princes (or, if you have read my twitter when I was reading it, A Confession of Princes). When Rosi from Harper Collins emailed, asking if there any books coming out in the months ahead (this was in early February), I asked for Garth Nix without thinking (along with Fever by Lauren DeStefano and Insurgent by Veronica Roth - but then, who wouldn't?). And, a week later, I received a copy of A Confusion of Princes, even though the book isn't out till middle of May, making it over 3 months early! As I love Garth Nix, I dropped everything and started to read it. Hence, even though you're reading this now (late April/early May), I actually am writing this on the 1st March. So 2 months ahead of myself.

A Confusion of Princes (Garth Nix's first book for "older readers" [publisher's words, not mine] since he wrote the third book in the Old Kingdom series, Abhorsen) follows the three deaths of Prince Khemri, enhanced human being and connected to the Imperial Mind. All he wanted was to be the next Emperor. But no sooner as Prince Khemri graduate to full Princehood that learns that there are millions of Prince, each willing to kill the other, and only one of them will be Emperor… And it's not long before Khemri begins to question everything about the Empire, the Imperial Mind, the Emperor, even himself…

Not sure how to start this but say it's a standalone! This makes me a little happy because, as much as I like series and trilogies, sometimes I want one book where you close the book and know that it's ended, rather than wait for, usually, a year to find out what happens next!

And it's sci-fi! A Space Opera, according to the Press Release (not sure what that means but it wasn't, as first thought, a soap opera set in space where, halfway through, a character would turn round and say "It's not your baby"). And it's actually sci-fi! You have alien technology, alien cultures, alien weaponry, actually aliens. It was full on sci-fi! And, as me and Rhys from Thirst for Fiction chatted on Facebook, there isn't many real sci-fi books in YA at the moment.

Because it is very sci-fi (and that is a little outside my normal reads), it took me a while to get my head round all the tech-slang, the titles and how everything worked and clicked together. If you're a huge sci-fi reader, then this won't be a problem for you. If you're not a sci-fi reader or you dip in and out of the genre, you have to be really with it to remember the difference between Psitek, Bitek & Mektek (I still not 100% sure I can tell the differences are between these three!) or you will put the book down a lot to think everything over (which I also did on few occasions).

Also, character development. Now that's a point I wanted to raise as I'm in two minds over it. As the story goes forward, Prince Khemri's character changes. Not much but a little as he begins to think for himself and release that, to use the expression, all that glitters isn't good. Garth wrote this change very subtly. It wasn't one big moment and everything changed. There were little moments that slowly, over time, made Khemri think about the situation he was in, and figure out what he actually wants.

In my eyes, nothing is going to be as good as Sabriel, but Confusion of Princes does try! This book will make his fans be itching to get it, and most sci-fi readers, I think, will enjoy this book!


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Books And Their Theme Songs (Volume 11)

Two months have passed and now it's time for another exciting(ish) tale of BOOKS AND THEIR THEME SONGS! I hope you guys like the random music choices I have in store for you...!

WITHER by Lauren DeStefano
"Right In The Night" by Whigfield & "Born to Die" by Lana Del Rey



BLOODROSE by Andrea Cremer
"Come Back Down" by Greg Laswell featuring Sara Bareilles


172 HOURS ON THE MOON by Johan Harstad
"Doomsday" by Murray Gold (from the Doctor Who soundtrack) & "Heads Will Roll" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs



THE MISERABLE MILL by Lemony Snicket
"The Violet Hour" by The Civil Wars and "Tomorrow Will Be Kinder" by the Secret Sisters



THE LAST ECHO by Kimberly Derting
"Just A Game" by Birdy

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Cover Reveals

Over the course of the weekend, three new covers were revealed that I thought you guys might want to see. We have REVIVED by Cat Clarke, LOSING LILA by Sarah Alderson & OBLIVION by Anthony Horowitz. And here they are!

So, guys, what do you think? You like? Or don't you like?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

GoodRead - The Last Echo

As you guys probably know, I am a bit of a fan of Kimberly Derting's Body Finder series. So, after some begging on Twitter, the lovely Sam from Headline was very kind to send me a copy of this book (and another book which I should be reading soon, if I can make time...).

In this, the third book in the series, Violet is now part of a secret special investigative team - the Centre - and uses her morbid gift to sense dead bodies and their killers. But when she and her team start investigating a new serial killer - the Collector (or the Girlfriend Collector, depending on what you prefer...) - Violet is determined to catch this guy. But, without knowing it, she might be next...

Now, I love the series and I do feel that this is one of the best written novels in the series, and has one of the scariest killers in YA fiction that I have read in a while. One of the chapters told from the killer's point of view, I found extremely dark and extremely creepy. For a crime fan like myself, I love that Kimberly is unflinching with the profile of this dark and twisted character.

But, at the same time, it isn't my fave of the series so far. There is two real reasons that I feel that I have this problem. The first is the set-up itself. In the last book, Desires of the Dead, when Violet made the decision to join the team, I thought it was a smart move for the story to take. But, in The Last Echo, I found it took me longer to get to grips with the book because Violet was in a different situation and we had a new cast of characters to get use to. And, sometimes, it felt a bit overwhelming and, because of this, it took the first 100 pages to get my head round before it all "clicked" into place.

The second reason why the book wasn't my fave was because of the lack of Jay and the sudden increase of Rafe. One of the reasons why I fell in love with the series and the mix of the dark crime with the light relief of Violet's relationship with Jay. In Last Echo, we hardly see Jay so we hardly saw any time to spend in Violet and Jay's company. There was very little light relief in this book.

Because we spent so little time with Jay, we spent a lot of time with Rafe. I'm not sure if Kimberly is planning to do a love triangle with Rafe but, if so, DON'T DO IT, KIMBERLY! In different situations, I would find Rafe a complex character, on the edge of being an anti-hero at times. But with the whole "maybe love triangle" hanging over him and Violet, I found it hard to like him.

With all the negative points I have pointed out, I still feel that the Body Finder series is one of the best crime-based series in the YA genre at the moment and I will be waiting on baited breath for book four in the series (yes, there will be a book four. The epilogue left us in no doubt about that!)


Monday, 16 April 2012

SMILE - So...

So... for the last two weeks, my SMILE has been fine. Expect the two youTube videos I have used have been "taken down by the user". And when I saw this had happened not once but twice, I felt like this:

So I wanted to write this small "I'm sorry", here is a pic of a cute cat and Miranda eating cake. ENJOY!


(The links for the above pics are from F.Y.FRIENDS GIFS [pic one and pic two], I Can Has Cheezeburger & Fell From Fiction.

SMILE - Sometimes, You Need A Good Cry...



Thanks to whoever tweeted this! And yes... "Anyone with a heart and iTunes account does it..."

Friday, 13 April 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Paperback Cover

Probably a bad few days to send news emails to book bloggers. Oh well...

Hodder has revealed the paperback cover for Laini Taylor's DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, which will be available on 16th August (perfect summer reading). And I thought I would show you the cover. So here is it:



I kinda love this cover. There is so much in here that's important to the book and it's... it's just perfect. Don't get me wrong, I loved the UK hardback and the UK advance reader copy, but this is very pretty!

Actually, I was thinking of this book yesterday (before JK Rowling news had hit me) and I was thinking about what the sequel's cover - DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT - would look like. And when it would be revealed. This will keep me tied over till then... (you haven't got long, Hodder. The book blogger fans of this book are getting twitchy...)

More JK Rowling News!

When the news about JK Rowling comes out, it comes thick and fast (and then we sit by the computers for YEARS, waiting for a titbit).

Anyway, as you guys know, information about JK Rowling's first adult novel The Casual Vacancy was revealed and the internet exploded. A day later, the internet has exploded, yet again. All due to the FAQs & Rumours section of JK Rowling's site.

On the site, the question was asked that all Harry Potter fans have been asking for years: "What about the Harry Potter Encyclopaedia?"

And JK Rowling's answer was... "For a long time I have been promising an encyclopaedia of Harry’s world, and I have started work on this now – some of it forms the new content in Pottermore. It is likely to be a time-consuming job, but when finished I shall donate all royalties to charity."

*imagine all Harry Potter fans (myself included) doing a Kermit Flailing Arms movement... NOW!*

We've all known about the Harry Potter Encyclopaedia since the end on 2007, when Jo mentioned it on the PotterCast podcast where the book was given the nickname "The Scottish Book", but this is the first time to my knowledge that she has DIRECTLY confirmed the news.

My reactions: OH YEAH!!! *Now screams and faints* ... *recovers* Although... it would be interesting to see who publishes this? Harry Potter is home to Bloomsbury in the UK and yet, JK is publishing her new book with Little Brown. I sense a bidding war...!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Casual Vacancy

Little Brown has released information about JK Rowling's new book. It's gonna be called... THE CASUAL VACANCY and this is what the story is about, as revealed on the Little Brown website:

The Casual Vacancy

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.


Little Brown, also, confirmed the international date of release - THURSDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER (so, I fear no midnight launches... *sigh*) - and the UK prices for hardback (£20.00), ebook (£11.99), audio download (£20.00) & CD (£30.00)

So, reactions? This is as far removed from Harry Potter and I love it! It's like The Archers, but darker! I CAN NOT WAIT!

GoodRead - The Miserable Mill

I have an odd relationship with Lemony Snicket. I like him and his writing, but I don't dip into his Series of Unfortuate Events often as… well… I kinda grew out of it. Plus, I dipped into the series in no real order, reading books 1, 2, 3, 10 & 13. But, after reading Pirates! In An Adventure With Moby Dick, I wanted to read something fast while I waited for a copy of The Last Echo (the third book in Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder series). And, somehow, my brain went "Let's read The Grim Grotto." This is the 11th book in the series (and probably the one I most want to read as I like the title the most!).

So, how did I read The Miserable Mill (the fourth book in the series) instead of The Grim Grotto? Well, there was one real reason: length. The Miserable Mill is under 200 pages while Grim Grotto is over 300 and as I knew The Last Echo would be coming in mere days (it came on the day I finished Miserable Mill), I wanted something extremely fast. That's why Miserable Mill won.

In this, the fourth book in the 13 book saga, the Baudelaire orphans are sent to their new guardian at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill, expecting a safe future from Count Olaf. Expect they didn't expect to work at the lumbermill. They didn't expect to have a guardian that cares more about profit than any health and safety. They didn't expect their guardian to want to be called Sir nor did they expect that their new guardian would smoke so many cigars that they will never see his face because of the thick cigar cloud. They expect to be live with the workers in tiny bunk beds, have chewing gum for lunch or to be paid in coupons. But they do expect that, sooner or later, Count Olaf to turn up in another disguise, with a plot to steal their family fortune…

Now, I wanted something fast and I read this within two days. TWO DAYS! So this could be seen as a good thing, but while reading this, I remembered that basics of the story had been repeated in the previous books and a few more times in the next few books.

I'm having a tiny problem with writing this review. Because the book was ok. Not great, not rubbish, but ok. I remember why I didn't read the series back to back and I dip in and out of the series.

Because I have no idea what to write, I will end the review here with my music choices. I think this book is good if you're a fan of the series. If you're starting the series, start with The Bad Beginning and work onwards.


Monday, 9 April 2012

Chris Weitz - Movie Director, Producer, YA Writer...

News has hit me that one of my fave directors, Chris Weitz, has signed a publishing deal with Little Brown to publish a "post-apocalyptic young adult trilogy" in Spring 2014. According to the EW article in question, the publishers feel that Chris's "...work on film adaptations of young adult titles makes him especially plugged into the genre."

The trilogy, The Young World, has been given the following information:

The Young World is the gripping first installment of a trilogy set in the not-so-distant future in a post-apocalyptic New York City following the catastrophic destruction of the world as we know it. An unknown trauma has left every child and adult on earth dead, but, for unknown reasons, teenagers are spared. Anyone between the onset of puberty and the age of twenty-one are in a world with no authority figures. And while that world would normally be a teenager’s fantasy, this world has no heat, running water, television, video games, phones, or Internet. Teenagers are the heirs to a world brought back to the Stone Age, and now they must learn to master it in order to survive.

So, what do you guys think? This reminds me vaguely of the TV show, The Tribe (Not heard of it? Here's the Wiki Info), but am intrigued over what Chris writes.

What are your reactions?

SMILE - I Want My Cat To Do This On My Birthday...



My thanks to ICanHasCheezburger.com

Thursday, 5 April 2012

GoodRead - The Pirates! In An Adventure With Moby Dick

Earlier this year, I read The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (not read the review. Here you go!). And I really liked it. I couldn't stop smiling it when I read it. And, because of that (and the Pirate Captain's luxuriant beard), Ian from Bloomsbury was awesome and kind as he gave me books 2, 3 and 4 in the series. And I didn't even ask for them! So, I owe him a big thank you and I plan to read them over the course of the summer till the DVD release of The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists and, also, when book 5 in the series, The Pirates! In an Adventure With Romantics is released.

The Pirate Captain can't seem to keep out of trouble, can he? After he splashes out on the fancy new ship, the Lovely Emma, he finds himself spending six thousand doubloons he doesn't have. In debt to the beautiful but deadly Cutlass Liz, who will happily cut them easily in two, he and his crew must get the cash. And fast!

Along the way in their desperate race to find the cash before time runs out (Cutlass Liz gave them an hourglass, filled with the sands that are actually grounded-up bones from pirates who didn't pay on time), the Pirate Captain and his crew go from Nantucket, Las Vegas and then in search of a mythical white whale...

Now, I really have high hopes for this, and though it wasn't up to par with Scientists (am going to use shorthand, if that alright), it is just as mad, bonkers and funny as its predecessor. (Although from chapter 11 onwards, I started see Black Bellamy as Jeremy Piven... not sure if Black Bellamy is meant to be a hottie, but whoever rocks your boat... [just realised, after quick research, that he's the voice of Black Bellamy in the movie. How did I not know that?])

And, this series was written for adults in mind... Apparently. But you guys will get the stupidness of the Pirate Captain!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

MY FIRST EVER INTERNATIONAL CONTEST!

You read that right! After how ever many months of me going "I'm Going To Do An International Contest soon...", "Still Soon" and "Right after I eat this Orea Cheesecake" (one of my old work chums makes the most amazing Oreo Cheesecake!), I am finally getting my finger (and credit card) and to give you guys this contest as a small thank you for reading my blog, chatting to me on Twitter and general making reading and review a fun (yet at times, hair raising) experience. And I wanted to give you all an Easter treat...

So, what am I giving away? Well, I am giving you £15 of books through the Book Depository, as they will ship books to most places ROUND THE WORLD (if you're not sure if they ship to you, quickly go there now and check. If they do, BRILLIANT! You can enter!).

And what you do with the £15 (or what that equals up to in your local currency) is up to you. You can order a book that you are dying to read, get a book preordered, get the book that's linked to the latest movie, get a different country's version of a book you love or treat yourself to a book that's not available in your country...

I could list books that you might like or want, but I won't. The list will be long and there's no point as, if you win, the choice of whatever book you want (within the price range) will be yours!

So, if you want to enter, check if The Book Depository to see if they send books to your country, fill in the form below, and good luck! The competition will close on Easter Sunday at 9pm BST (so, after the UK [and I] finish watching Once Upon A Time]). Again, Good luck and thank you!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Once Upon a Time Tweet-A-Long

Yesterday, I told you guys that I will watch Once Upon A Time's first ever episode on Channel 5 and I will be tweeting as it go. I warned you that it won't be good, so you have been warned... and here it is. Enjoy (or laugh)!

1h - "Sorry I'm late." I'm here now! So Once Upon A Time time/tweetalong
1h - CGI on the vanishing act! And now, present day USA. Where are we going, @onceon5?
1h - What an interesting way to get to know Emma Swann. A blind date! [Edit: well, a job but still...]
1h - GET HIM! HE Ruined a LOVELY DRESS!
1h - Oh, this is me playing catch up on my Once Upon a Time tweetalong. So, BEAR WITH!
1h - "I'm your son." WTF?!
1h - This kid knows too much. Not normal for a 10 year old. And she's having a panic attack. So much for a badass bounty hunter...
1h - Storybrooke, Maine. I know Maine is famous for its lobster. And Jessica Fletcher. Oh God, the body count!!
1h - "Let me talk to ... him." worried much?
1h - "For our child." I never thought Snow had a child. I imagined her as a teenager.
1h - "Because you're in this book." Be worried, Emma...
1h - Is Charming the Prince's first name or his surname? Anyone know?
1h - Time is a prison. It's sounds like Sapphire and Steel.
1h - "No more happy endings..."
1h - On it's 28th birthday... and how old is Emma?
1h - Oh. Not good. NOT GOOD!
1h - So, ladies & gentlemen. How is @onceon5 for you?
1h - And the first ad for @onceon5 is MIRROR MIRROR. Why am I not surprised?
57m - Now I think of it, the MIRROR MIRROR advert had music from @MarinasDiamonds... Me like!
57m - And we're back! Part two of four for @onceon5 Pilot episode. So... where were we?
56m - "Time's frozen here." Or the clock's broken??
54m - And which fairytale are you, Archie?
54m - His shrink? And Jiminy Cricket? Pardon?
53m - I knew there was a catch with this tree
52m - Apple cider? NO! DON'T DRINK THE CIDER!!!!
51m - OH! OH! She's the QUEEN! BADDIE ALERT!
51m - And who's the sheriff meant to be?
51m - AWKWARD!
50m - I love Emma's car. Does that make me weird?
49m - This show is different to how I thought it would be.
48m - "What's 28 years when you have eternal love?" awww! [Edit: or vomit. depending on you.]
48m - Ding dong the witch is... not dead! NOT DEAD!
48m - Who fancies a curse today?
44m - I wonder how many of you lot are wondering what the hell is happening to my twitter feed... blame @onceon5!
42m - Oh! A mix of characters. Fairy tales and real.
41m - OH! THE TEACHER'S SNOW WHITE!
41m - Oh, this feels like the Disney film. And she has a pear...
40m - And Emma gets a warm welcome...
39m - "What do you think stories are for?" ... "A way to deal with our world." I love these lines!
39m - I like this May more and more...
38m - And now they make the connection...
37m - And with Emma giving up Henry, history repeated itself with Snow and Charming...
36m - Just thought. We've seen Snow... so where's Prince Charming in real life?
35m - There is NO WAY he can be dead! NO WAY! ... right?
32m - Am saying nothing about David Tennant advertising Virgin Media's TiVo. But the thoughts that are running through my head...
31m - Fourth and final part of @onceon5. And we have a mock castle. Will the wolf huff and puff and blow Henry's life down?
28m - Hasn't Snow gone through enough?!
28m - True love doesn't break this curse this time...
27m - "Somewhere horrible..." Are you saying Maine is horrible? Good work @onceon5...
26m - Regina is acting like any mother is at the moment...
25m - "I will destroy you if it's the last thing I do..." Oh, repeat and repeat again.
25m - Mirror Mirror, On The Wall...
24m - Hello again May. AND THERE HE IS! PRINCE CHARMING... in a coma? What kind of fairy tale is this show?!
23m - And are they Little Red and Grandma?
23m - Creep alert for Mr Gold!
22m - "Welcome to Storybrooke."
22m - oh! is that it? Is it over? BUT I WANT MORE!!! @onceon5, PUT MORE EPISODES ON NOW!


So, my tweetalong for Once Upon A Time wasn't that great. But I think I will like this show A LOT!