Monday, 30 June 2014

Book Review - Cauldron Spells

Title: Cauldron Spells
Author: C.J. Busby
Series: Spells (Book 2)
Publisher: Templar
Release Date: 1 Mar 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1848770850

Synopsis
Max Pendragon is not looking forward to attending Morgana Le Fay’s summer Spell School. Not only is his battered cauldron producing slimy sludge instead of perfect spells, but ever since he and his sister Olivia foiled evil Morgana’s plot against King Arthur, they have been wary of her plans for revenge.

Max and Olivia soon discover that Spell School has more in store for them than they ever imagined. With the help of Merlin and a mysterious bard, Caradoc, will they be able to outwit Morgana and save Arthur for a second time?


My Review
Well after reading the first book I was intrigued and as these books are so simple and short I thought I might as well read the rest of them. And I have to say I actually enjoyed book 2 more. I don't know if it's just because I know the characters now and feel more involved in the world but everything just seemed to flow better and happen quicker. 
Max is now on his way to spell school, a whole summer in Morgana's home and having to attend her lessons, Max is sure she is still out for revenge for him ruining her plot in the first book. And just as expected, things don't go as planned. Olivia comes along with Max but disguises herself as a boy so that she can attend Squire training, she's determined to be a Knight. Then they find out about another plot to harm Arthur and they must try to stop her and Hogsbottom before it's too late.
There is a lot more magic in this book and everything seemed a bit more exciting and urgent and I really like Olivia, she is developing a lot as a character and I like her attitude. Strong and Confident and not afraid to go after the things she wants.
I'm looking forward to seeing more from Merlin and Arthur as they aren't massively featured.
Good for younger or reluctant readers and very fun. Sweet little stories full of magic.

My Rating
    

The Trouble With Flying Promo Blitz







The Trouble With Flying - PROMO Blitz
By Rachel Morgan
Young Adult/New Adult
Date Published: June 24, 2014

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When introvert Sarah boards a plane to fly home after an overseas holiday, the last thing she expects is Aiden, the guy sitting next to her who’s never flown anywhere before and refuses to shut up. Hours of random conversation later, they part ways. Sarah can’t stop thinking about Aiden, though, and wondering if she made a terrible mistake letting him go. Should she abandon her safe, predictable life and go in search of him, or would she be chasing a happily ever after that could never exist in real life?


EXCERPT

CHAPTER ONE
I don’t make friends on aeroplanes. I know there are people who like to strike up a conversation with the complete stranger sitting next to them, but that’s not me. It’s not that I’m an unfriendly person. It’s more the fact that the conversation centre of my brain seems to seize up in the presence of strangers, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what to say. And even if the other person is happy to simply babble on while I pretend to listen and be interested, I’d really rather be doing something else. Like reading. Or watching a movie. Or sleeping. Or trying to figure out how to stop crying.

Yes. Crying. Because if being shy and awkward isn’t enough, today I’m adding red eyes, tears, and suppressed sobs to the embarrassing mix.

I stare out the tiny, oval window at the patches of reflected light on the wet runway and silently ask God to leave the seat next to me empty. I can’t deal with a chatty neighbour right now. I’d rather watch the black sky and incessant rain until we reach cruising altitude. Then I’ll close my eyes and let sleep take the pain away.

Oh, STOP IT. It’s not like someone died.

I wiggle around a bit in my seat and sniff, trying to listen to my inner pep-talk voice. Think of the good things, I tell myself. I’m on my way home. I’m leaving behind the dreary, wet weather for a sunny, summer climate. That, at least, should make me happy. But thinking about home leads to thoughts ofwho I’m flying towards, and that only makes my stomach twist further.

I hear the sound of a bag being dumped onto the seat at the end of my row. There are only three seats between the window and the aisle—mine and two others—so there’s a fifty-fifty chance this person is about to plonk him or herself down right next to me.

I angle myself more towards the window and swipe my fingers beneath my eyes. I start the furious tear-banishing blinking. Stop crying, stop crying, stop crying. All I need now is for someone to see my blotchy, wet face and start asking me what’s wrong.

I hear someone settling into a seat. I don’t feel movement right beside me, so it must be the aisle seat. Fantastic. I send up a quick thank-you prayer and remind God that it would be spectacularly awesome if He could keep the seat next to me empty.

A tickle inside my left nostril alerts me to the fact that my nose is dribbling. I sniff, but it doesn’t help.Crap, where are my tissues? I lean forward and reach down by my feet for my handbag. Brown strands of hair fall in front of my face and block my vision, but if I can just get the zip open and feel past my purse to the tissues—

No. Too late. Now it’s trickling down my lip and I’m digging around in the bag and I can’t feel the stupid tissues and a drop of tear-snot just landed on my hand and yuck! I haul the ridiculous handbag—I told Jules I didn’t need something so big—onto my lap with one hand while holding the back of my other hand to my nose. And there the tissues are. Right next to my purse. Perfectly easy to find. I rip one from the packet and jam it against my nose to stop the tear-snot flood.

And that’s when I catch a glimpse of the guy sitting in the aisle seat. A quick sideways glimpse, but enough to tell me he’s cute. Excellent cheekbones, a strong jawline, and perfectly messy dark brown hair. Terrific. My nose is dripping snot in front of a cute guy. Not that I should care that he’s cute, or that he’s a guy, because it’s not like I’m going to talk to him, and it’s not like I’m even available—am I? I don’t actually know. And thinking about that makes me want to cry all over again—but STILL. I don’t want to look blotchy and snotty in front of a cute guy.


Rachel Morgan was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a degree in genetics, she decided science wasn't for her--after all, they didn't approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults.

Author Links





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A $20 Amazon gift card for one winner

E-copy of THE TROUBLE WITH FLYING for two winners
  

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Book Blitz - Primordial Dust

young pretty kissing wedding couple against sky


Book Info:
Title: Primordial Dust
Author: Sarah Daltry
Genre: Fantasy (Romance/YA)


A princess, trained to behave. An assassin, betrothed to her. A thief, whose eyes she dreams of at night. A kingdom at war, torn apart by the suppression of magic and truth, as well as family secrets that threaten to destroy decades of peace.

Questions of loyalty, of morality, and of free will culminate in a fantasy novel about forging one’s own path and choosing one’s own destiny.

Buy Links:
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-primordialdust-1522644-153.html




pdwar


Excerpt:


Alusia smiles wanly. “What happened in Kooram?” she asks.

“There was a party. We were dancing. Seamus and I were celebrating our engagement...” I pause, ashamed. He sits beside me, unaware of my role in this, oblivious to my own deception. “It was my fault.”

Seamus takes my hand. “Alondra, stop. You know this has nothing to do with you.”

“It has everything to do with her,” Alusia interrupts. “And her mother.”

“Look, although Alondra seems thankful for whatever you want to share with her, I don't care what these secrets are. This is not her fault and she does not need you blaming her.” Seamus's anger is new to me. I have been so amazed by his calm, his kindness; he is more like a Demorian now than I have ever seen him, and I have watched him cut a man's throat.

Alusia sighs. “I do not mean to assign blame. But we can no longer pretend that this was a rogue attack, that these events have not culminated in bringing you here, that fate has not worked its magic to get this book into her hands.” She runs her fingers along the book on her lap.

“It's fine,” I say. “But it was not fate. Maybe I did not make the only bad choices, but choices got us here. And I, for one, am tired of hearing about fate.”

“The attack,” Seamus continues. “It was sudden. A siren spell warned us before the mages were slaughtered. I don't know how they breached the Demorian guard, but without the dying spell of an elder mage, no one would be sitting here right now with you.”

“So you ran?” Alusia asks.

“I don't run,” I argue. “In fact, I am only here because someone kidnapped me in my sleep.”

“It was her father's wish,” Seamus mumbles.

“The forces came quickly. We spread the word to meet in the caves and Kooram split into two groups: those who were running for the caves, and those who would stay behind. My parents were with those running, but I stayed. Ereditus, our commander, rallied the troops. Seamus was already by my side. My friend, Lormander...”

I stop and think of that moment. Sanara's face, broken by the choice he was making, is etched into my memory. I watched her fingers slowly fall from his hand and the agony in her glance as she turned back to see him one last time tore me asunder. And now, somewhere, are they reunited? Did she lead everyone to Tallagut? Did he stay behind in the caves to face his death, remembering her kiss as the blade entered his heart? I choke on the images and tears rest on the precipice of my eyelids.

“We stayed,” I repeat. “There were so many of them. It was chaos. Smoke billowed from the streets, from our homes, from everything that was my childhood. I saw young boys, thinking they were brave, split in twain as the attackers stepped over the corpses, trailing death. What I remember most was the sound. The crash of swords, the screams of the fallen, the crackle of burning. The details are hazy. We left Kooram in ruins when we saw that we were outclassed. I walked through fields of carnage to the caves, only to wake on the other side, in a mirror world, yet untouched.”

“The king, he asked that we come here. He said you had the answers, the only weapon we could use against him,” Seamus adds. My shattered body sits beside him, but my mind and my soul are still with the dead.

“I am an old woman, and a forgotten mage,” Alusia says. “I am also the keeper of secrets and memories. I do not forge steel. My only weapon is knowledge. But that I have in abundance, and I believe it is time Alondra take her share.”

She rises from the dusty chair and approaches. I sense my hands as they lift to take the book she offers; the leather cover is hardened, but smooth to touch. I run my hand along the spine and trace the embossed seal.

“Please take this to your room. You will need time, and you will need privacy. When you are done, I will be waiting for your questions.”



Dream Cast:

alondra

Alondra

A princess of a kingdom lost in time and wrapped in secrets. Snarky and difficult, because life has always been easy, she is unprepared to be the leader she needs to be when her city falls.



seamus2






Seamus:

A trained assassin tasked with keeping his own city, and all the cities of the kingdom, safe. Betrothed to Alondra for diplomatic reasons. Much kinder than his profession reveals.



layla

Layla:

A young girl trained to be an assassin, sent to kill the son of the king. Her hopes rest on succeeding in her quest, because if she fails, there is no alternative but death.



tevlin









Tevlin:

The mysterious man who captures Alondra’s heart on a night before the world fell apart. His eyes whispered secrets, but they may be secrets that led to the ruin of everything she held dear.



About the Author:



Sarah Daltry writes about the regular people who populate our lives. She's written works in various genres - romance, erotica, fantasy, horror. Genre isn't as important as telling a story about people and how their lives unfold. Sarah tends to focus on YA/NA characters but she's been known to shake it up. Most of her stories are about relationships - romantic, familial, friendly - because love and empathy are the foundation of life. It doesn't matter if the story is set in contemporary NY, historical Britain, or a fantasy world in the future - human beings are most interesting in the ways they interact with others. This is the principle behind all of Sarah's stories.

Sarah has spent most of her life in school, from her BA and MA in English and writing to teaching both at the high school and college level. She also loves studying art history and really anything because learning is fun.

When Sarah isn't writing, she tends to waste a lot of time checking the internet for pictures of cats, shooting virtual zombies, and simply staring out the window.

She has written several books, most notably Bitter Fruits, an urban fantasy in the Eden’s Fall series, Backward Compatible: A Geek Love Story, and the six book New Adult Flowering series, including Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, Blue Rose, Star of Bethlehem, Orange Blossom, and Ambrosia.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://sarahdaltry.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahDaltry

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SarahDaltry


Top Ten:
Sarah’s Favorite Fantasy Movies:

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. Labyrinth
  3. The Neverending Story
  4. Brave
  5. The Wizard of Oz
  6. Shrek
  7. Pan’s Labyrinth
  8. Harry Potter (all of them)
  9. Bridge to Terabithia
  10. Mirrormask

Win a signed paperback of the novel or a $25 gift card to Apple, Amazon, or B&N!

Book Promo - Transcendence

Synopsis: Have you ever wondered why some families become members of the aristocracy? Does the universe choose them? Whatever happened to Constantinople? The Hunters and Queen series welcomes these questions into its story. Transcendence is the sequel to Resurgence. Transcendence is a work of fiction in the young adult and paranormal genres. The story blends elements of romance, adventure, mystery, history, reincarnation, unconditional love, and self-preservation. What would you do if you knew the queen?
 
Book Description:
Jolán and Colemund have made a pact with each other. Their solidarity is sealed within the Aegean Sea; however, a future of chaos awaits on their horizon. They must prepare. They must gain their strength. A battle is developing in the realm.

In the meantime, Sadeiq, the gypsy hunter, tries desperately to stop her transformation. She is turning into a hunter, and she desires to stop the process. Sadeiq desperately needs to locate Jolán for help.

The realm is deeply disturbed by the overwhelming destruction caused by the Order of the Hunters. The sky world hungers for a balance in the world. The sky world dislikes the dark lord dominance that permeates the planet. The Order must keep a planetary balance, but they have developed into selfish and monopolistic creatures. They are prepared to fight for their dominance; they do not want to lose their power.

Author Bio:
Virginia Vayna was born in Dayton, Ohio. During 1999, she moved to Long Beach, California, where she lived on a sailboat for three-years. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and she holds a Master of Social Science. She has worked as a policy researcher, a legal writer, and she currently works as a freelance copywriter. Virginia enjoys writing historical fiction, fantasy, paranormal fiction, mystery, and YA. She is the author of the Hunters and the Queen series.
 
Book Links:
 
Links:
 
Book Excerpt:
 
Captured and Desperate
 
As Hadrian continued to read her thoughts, Sadeiq started to shake; she was trying to break out of her deranged state of mind. She fought to awaken, but Hadrian was holding her down and using his full mental strength to prevent her from awaking.

After several minutes of struggle, Sadeiq was able to return to a lucid state. She looked at Hadrian, with blood trickling down the side of her head, and she said with exhaustion, "I thought you would be stronger, Hadrian."

Hadrian knew she was hiding more information, but he had enough to start his search. He looked at Sadeiq, wiped his mouth with his fingers and confidently said, "As long as I stay stronger than you, I am ahead in this game. Besides, you’re going to guide me to Kinsburgh. I believe you can take me to a sky being, a new being with elemental power in this realm. What is her name, Jolán, is it?"

Sadeiq grew stiff, her senses were heightened.

Hadrian then said, "Yes, I do believe her name is Jolán. She grew up in Kinsburgh, and you live close to her family. It’s a shame you didn’t report your findings to the Order. Now, I must report you to the dark lords."

Sadeiq wanted to flee. She wanted to stop her process, but she was caught. She was captured by the very entity she was desperately seeking to avoid. She wanted to remain human, she wanted to find Jolán.

Hadrian noticed her tension and said, "My dear, I need you to help me navigate towards the Vajnbirg house. As long as I need you, I am not going to let you out of my sight. I’ll be right here to make sure you morph completely into a hunter. You will like this lifestyle, I guarantee."
 
 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Book Review - Frogspell

Title: Frogspell
Author: C.J Busby
Series: Spell (Book 1)
Publisher: Templar
Release Date: 1 Sep 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1848771390

Synopsis
Would-be wizard Max, his sister (who wants to be a knight), two humorous pet animal characters - Ferocious, a world-weary rat and Adolphus, an over-enthusiastic young dragon, encounter magic, double-dealing, Morgan le Fay's schemes to win the throne from Arthur, magical quests and more.The first in a four-book series for younger readers set in the time of King Arthur. The adventures revisit Camelot, Merlin and Arthur but with a fresh touch, great characterisation and dialogue, and humour. The stories are well plotted, funny and perfectly pitched for the younger reader. 

My Review
I have seen these books on the shelf and often thought they looked quite fun but never got round to picking them up, then my mum read them for her book group at the library i think and passed them to me. As they are so short I thought why not!
Frogspell follows Max, a young boy living in King Arthur's times. His father wants him to train to be a knight, but Max wants to be a wizard, he has heard of the great Merlin and wants to be just like him. If only he could win the annual spell competition, but to do that he will have to beat Adrian Hogsbottom who has beat him the last two years (although there is suspected cheating involved). 
Max accidentally creates a spell to turn people into frogs, but accident or not it's a good piece of magic, but when he gets involved in a dangerous plot involving Morgana Le Fay and Arthur's capture Max has to use all of his skills to save him. With the help of his sister Olivia and her accident-prone forgetful dragon Adolphus and Max's pet Rat Ferocious who has more attitude that useful help, it's not going to be easy.
This book is only 158 pages long and is really easy to read, the story is quite simple but it is aimed at slightly younger readers. There isn't an awful lot of detail and the story isn't particularly detailed but it is perfect for it's intended audience and a fun read. I really enjoyed it and would definitely read the rest of the series. 
I think this book would be ideal for children looking for a fun action packed adventure but don't feel ready for anything too big. 
I may try it with my book group too. I've always loved anything to do with King Arthur anyway so I was bound to enjoy it. This gives a fresh and interesting twist to the world

My Rating
    

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Book Promo - This Is Sarah

When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to

his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night,

Colin's world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect.

Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything.

Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, how far will he go to bring her back?

As Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister, Claire learns how to

navigate the strange new landscape of life without her sister. While her parents fall apart, Claire

remains determined to keep going, even if it kills her.

THIS IS SARAH serves as a meditation on loss, love, and what it means to say goodbye.



Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collection The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press)

and the children's fantasy Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books). She lives in

Brooklyn with her husband.



Excerpt

I get up early to run, because it’s easier in the morning. There's no one up yet at five am, and the streets belong to me. I don’t even bring music anymore. I only want to hear the steady thwack of my sneakers on the pavement, the rustle of leaves in the breeze and the huff of air coming out of my lungs. It sets up a rhythm that allows my brain to shut off for a while so my mind stays empty.

Not thinking feels good. It’s one of the few things that still feels good. I crest the hill at the top of Cedarhurst and pick up speed going down. My lungs feel clean and clear, and I think about sprinting the last five or six blocks back to my driveway. My energy seems a little low, but I figured I can probably push it.

The sound of my feet hitting the pavement intensifies and I pump my arms hard, small tears forming in my eyes from the wind. I clear my mind. I am no longer Colin. I’m just muscle, tissue and bone; a complex and delicate machine pushing its way against gravity and inertia, covering distance on this rock floating in the darkness of an ever-expanding space.

When Claire pulls her bike alongside me I nearly jump out of my skin. Where the hell did she come from? She pedals hard, riding off the seat, her blonde hair whipping back. She passes me and looks back and smiles. As the distance between us grows, I’m overcome with loss, and a sort of panic, like I need to catch up to her. I’m not sure what it is, but I watch her move away from me, her blonde hair streaming, her legs working the pedals and every muscle in my body screams to catch her.

Suddenly Claire is everything in the world, everything beautiful, alive, peaceful, and good, and it’s all getting away from me. The farther she gets from me, the closer she gets to the monsters and all I want in the world is for Claire to always be safe.

Jesus Christ, I just want to be able to save one of them. She looks back at me once and smiles before pumping the pedals again. In that moment, that small bright moment, her hair and her smile reflecting the early morning sun, she looks just like Sarah. Just like Claire looked that day in the hallway.

Suddenly I feel so hollow and empty, carved out like the husk of some dead cicada. I watch her get away from me and feel more lost than ever before. She rounds the bend and disappears from my line of sight, something inside of me snaps and I stumble forward. My feet now clumsy, my balance thrown off, until I stop, bent, heaving, coughing, spitting foam, my heart wild inside me. In my head, an image forms of Sarah when I made her laugh so hard she nearly choked on her sandwich at the diner.

That was Sarah.

Sarah and me, in a moment we won’t have again. A moment that was once real but now feels like it belonged to another life. Neither of us foresaw it ending this way.

The year before or the week before or the day before. We never saw it coming.

If I knew when she stood on that driveway, staring up at me, with me hanging out of the window looking down at her, if I knew, I would have told her everything.


FF (168)


Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs! Want to join? Check it out at Parajunkee or Alison Can Read

This week's question feature is
Fandomly Bookish



Post a photo of your favorite coffee mug (or mugs if you can’t choose just one).

My Answer: I'm going to be really boring here and confess that I don't drink coffee or tea so don't have a mug. I mostly have juice which I drink out of my sports bottle or a glass. Nothing exciting. 

I did used to have the odd hot chocolate and used a mug like this, it's probably still around somewhere, maybe the cupboard at work as that is where i mostly have hot choc in the winter.

 

And don't forget to check out and comment on my new weekly discussion post 'Thursday Thoughts' this week I looked at the right to read what you want and all the arguments that have been online recently. Check it out and share please!

Happy hopping and Blogging!





Thursday, 26 June 2014

Thursday Thoughts (7) - Read What You Want!

Hi,

Welcome to my new Weekly post - Thursday Thoughts.

This is going to be a weekly discussion post that I hope will get all my blog readers commenting and giving their opinion. I will pick a topic and write how my thoughts and feelings about it and then hopefully all you lovely readers will leave a comment below with your own opinions.

The only rule I have is that everyone is respectful of each other's opinions, there is no real right or wrong here, this is a chance to experience a topic from someone else's perspective. Please listen to each other and be nice.

If you wish to take a more active part in this discussion and make your own blog post about the topic, I will create a Linky list below that you can link your post to. If more and more people take part - the bigger and better it will become.

Some discussions will be light and silly, others will be more serious but they will all be about books and book related things.

So come on everyone, pull up a chair and lets hear your voice.

This weeks topic is:

Read What You Want!

This wasn't the topic I had planned on covering today but I felt like I wanted to change it. Over the last few weeks the internet has been flooded with posts about what we should and shouldn't read, everyone seems to have an opinion. Adults shouldn't read YA it's juvenile, Children shouldn't read below their level it will harm their progress, People shouldn't read Fantasy - it takes away from reality, Crime novels should be banned - they can make us dangerous, Teenagers shouldn't read books about illness or fantasy or vampires or reality or if you really look about it - anything. I have seen a case about practically every genre and type of book. 
I've seen articles that say YA's shouldn't read the Hunger Games because they inspire violence and will make all children turn against each other, they shouldn't read the Fault In Our Stars because it will cause depression, they shouldn't read books about Dragons etc as it will make them lose focus on reality, they shouldn't read Vampire novels because it will cause bad habits, dark behaviour. And on and on it goes. 
When did things start to get so out of hand? Who are we to judge what someone should or shouldn't read, people have been reading these types of books for years, generations of people have been reading these types of books and it's never caused any problems. Just think how long ago Dracula was written, and TFIOS is not the first book about childhood illness, that's been written about for years too, i don't know when it first came out, but My Sister's Keeper has certainly been out for at least a decade. And yes they can be depressing but for some they can also be a beacon of hope. I lost my gran to cancer and reading 'Before I Die' made me feel less alone, someone else was going through the same thing and it was like finding someone to talk to. Some kids/teens/adults need that. I'm lucky enough to have people around me I can talk to, but not everyone has that privilege and these books can be a great source of comfort. 
And Fantasy is one of the oldest, mainstream genres out there. We seem to be underestimating humanity, I'm pretty sure that at least 95% of us can tell the difference between fantasy in a book or TV show and reality. Just because I read Terry Pratchett or Anne McCaffrey or Derek Landy, it doesn't mean I expect to see a dragon flying over head (although that would be cool!). I understand it isn't real, I read it for escapism and enjoyment, but I know it's not going to happen. 
Just like I can enjoy a crime novel (although I am a wimp and can only cope with Sherlock Holmes type) but that doesn't mean I'm suddenly going to go out and commit a crime or try to solve one. I just enjoy the stories.

And it upsets me that the main target of all of these arguments are Teenagers, they get far much more stick for their reading choices than anyone else. And that makes me sad - do you know how hard it is to get teenagers reading in the first place? They are the toughest demographic to target and get interested and then as soon as they are, they get slammed for their choices! What is that about? We should be encouraging them every step of the way, letting them know how wonderful it is, and how much they can get out of those books instead of focusing on these 'negatives' which to me have no real truth behind them.
I know the people most likely to be reading this feel the way I do, but I still felt I had to post it, and if one person reads it and changes their mind then I will be happy. So next time you hear about a best-selling novel for teenagers, or you see someone reading a book - don't judge them, either walk away and leave them to it or ask them what they think about the book, get their opinion instead of shoving yours in their face.

I saw one article (can't find it now grr) but it said something like the topics in books were too grown up for Teenagers and would confuse them, upset them, put ideas in their heads etc etc, it said that they shouldn't be able to read such subjects, parents should take the books away. Which to me is just ridiculous, sure some subjects in some books can be quite mature, but to me the way to deal with that is to let the reader know that they can talk about anything they don't understand or that upsets them. Whether that comes from their parents, teachers, trusted adult or friends - discussing the subject matter and reaching an understanding is much better than just banning it.

And it's not just genres and types of books we argue and judge people on, it's also specific books. I get it, everyone loves different things, but just because you hate something doesn't mean everyone else should too. I will admit, I have been guilty of this on occasion, if you know me - you know I can't stand the Twilight books, and I have made that clear to people, and argued against it. But after one particular moment I had to step back and think. If someone made similar comments to me, that I made to that reader, about a book I loved- how would that make me feel!? And I realised that I would be devastated. Luckily I've never been overly mean, that's not in my character, but I could tell I had offended the person and I didn't like that. Again, luckily it was someone I knew fairly well so no real deep feelings were hurt but I promised not to judge too harshly again. Obviously I can say "I don't like Twilight", but that doesn't mean that someone who does should be made to feel bad. I can recommend other books I think they may like and broaden their choices- but please never put someone down because they are reading something you don't like. 
Say that you dislike it, argue as to why (you have to have a reason!) but then move on. 

We need to stop judging people and making everything such a big deal, at the end of the day reading is a magical experience and something that should be encouraged. It improves comprehension, language skills, imagination, vocabulary and can be a great comfort to some, and it's also fun!

So come on everyone, I want to know - what do you read and have you ever been judged for it? I want all your horror stories.
Have you ever been the one judging?
I also want to know your views, are there some things we shouldn't let people read, teens in particular, or do you agree with me that everyone should read what they want?


 Thanks all.

Next Weeks topic will be - The Importance of Reading to Children and Babies 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

AudioBook Review - The Lunatics Curse

Title: The Lunatics Curse
Author: F.E Higgins
Series: Tales From the Sinister City (No. 4)
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; Unabridged edition
Release Date: Book - 2 July 2010, AudioBook - 4 April 2013
ISBN13: 9780312566821
ASIN: B00C6SY6C2 

Synopsis
The town of Opum Oppidulum is home to the freezing Lake Beluarum and its rumored monster. On an island at the center of the lake is an asylum; no one has ever escaped it. So how will Rex, whose father, Ambrose Grammaticus, has been imprisoned there under false pretenses, prove that Ambrose is not insane? And if Rex can free his father, will his evil stepmother drive them both to madness?  

My Review
I read the 'Black Book of Secrets', Book 1 in this set years ago for a Book Day at work and really enjoyed it, as the other books have come out I have bought them but never actually got round to reading them, so when I was looking for something to listen to in my car- I always like to have an audiobook for when I'm driving round as the radio is so annoying most of the time, I saw this on the shelf and thought why not! It saves me time actually reading it as my TBR pile is so huge.
We follow the story of Rex who lives with his father and stepmother, that is until his father goes 'mad' and gets carted off to the asylum across the lake. But not everything is as it seems and when Rex discovers a dark and dangerous plan he must try to help his father and discover the truth of what really goes on in the asylum. 
When this first started I wasn't convinced I would like it, but the person narrating the audiobook was doing a good job and had a nice voice so I decided to stick with it for a while and I slowly started to get into the story. Rex is quite willful and resourceful and I liked his character, he can also be a bit impatient. We also meet Hildred a young girl come to work at the asylum as the cooks assistant, she was my favourite character, she has a sort of witty sarcasm and honesty about her that you can't help but like, she's good for Rex too and keeps him in line.
This story is quite dark in places but more creepy than scary, I was mostly just intrigued to find out what would happen next. I did keep expecting there to be more though, not sure what but just more. More detail, more information, more story. It felt like we only ever really brushed the surface and the ending was a bit weak in my opinion, but I did enjoy it overall. 
Although this is book 4, the stories don't have to be read in order, they are all set in the same area and sometimes cross mention characters but they don't actually follow on form one another as far as I can tell.
I am quite glad I listened to this in the end as some of the names he read out were very long and strange and I may have got a bit confused had I actually been reading it, and it added another dimension to the story, the narrator sets the scene more with his tone of voice and pauses. 
I wouldn't ever re-read it but I am glad I heard it. 

My Rating
    

Book Review - Picture Perfect

Title: Picture Perfect
Author: Holly Smale
Series: Geek Girl (Book 3)
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Release Date: 5 Jun 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0007574568

Synopsis
Harriet Manners knows more facts that most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is "Ever Upward". She knows that 28% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon.
But she knows nothing about modelling in the Big Apple, and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or how to "become a brand", as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren't coming from your boyfriend...
Does geek girl go too far this time?


My Review
I love the Geek Girl series and have been desperate to read this one since I finished book 2! Finally this one came out, but still I had to wait - I had to order a copy from the library and then wait for it to come into stock. To be honest it came through a lot quicker than I expected it to. 
Harriet is about to enter Senior Year at school, she's left modelling behind for now and has plans to make this year great - even if her best friend Nat is going to Fashion College instead. But then her parents drop a bombshell - they are moving to New York! Harriet must work out how to find friends, stay in touch with her gorgeous boyfriend and make this new place feel like home. But when Harriet is involved you know there will always be trouble, and when a blast from her past shows up - Wilbur, things will get more complicated than ever. Back in the world of fashion, Harriet is seeing a whole new side to her life - but is it really what she wants?
As soon as this book came into the library for me I abandoned all other reading and dived straight into this one and immediately I was laughing out loud as I was reading. I love Holly Smale's writing, it's so casual and witty it just makes me giggle and Harriet is completely hopeless but totally lovely with it and you can't help but like her, and even feel a little bit sorry for her. I can see a lot of myself in Harriet, geeky with no social graces - a bit awkward and liable to say the wrong thing. 
These books are very sweet and will having you just turning the pages from start to finish - I read this in one go, just a couple of hours I didn't want to put it down. If you haven't read the series yet I strongly suggest you do. They are charming and very enjoyable.

My Rating
     

Beyond Words Calendar Kickstarter!

The BEYOND WORDS 2016 Fantasy Author Calendar is Currently Being Kickstarted, with Lots of Exclusive Author Signature Rewards

By Lauren Zurchin
June 23, 2014

 Pittsburgh, PA—Award-winning photographer Lauren Zurchin is currently running a Kickstarter to fund the creation of the 2016 BEYOND WORDS Fantasy Author Calendar, in which twelve New York Times bestselling fantasy authors will pose in custom costumes and fantasy-themed photographs for a 12-month calendar. 

With the success of last year’s Kickstarter and subsequent calendar, she decided to continue the project with an all-new set of fantasy authors. The line-up includes:

·       Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Series)
·       Jim Butcher (The Harry Dresden Files, The Codex Alera)
·       Melissa de la Cruz (The Blue Bloods series, Witches of East End)
·       Tony DiTerlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles,  The WondLa series)
·       Kami Garcia (The Beautiful Creatures novels, The Legion Series)
·       Lev Grossman (The Magicians series)
·       Robin Hobb (The Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Rain Wild Chronicles)
·       Tahereh Mafi (The Shatter Me Series)
·       Garth Nix (The Abhorsen Trilogy, The Keys to the Kingdom Series)
·       Ransom Riggs (The Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Series)
·       Margaret Stohl (The Beautiful Creatures novels, The Icons Series)
·       Scott Westerfeld (The Leviathan Trilogy, The Uglies Series)

Zurchin is offering limited edition signature rewards on the Kickstarter, including bookplates, photos, and personalized packages. There are also higher end rewards like bookplate and photo combo packs, and photo shoots with the authors’ costumes and props.

Once the calendar is funded the current intent of the proceeds is to go to charity. The Kickstarter goal is $15,000, with a stretch goal of $20,000, at which point author Patrick Rothfuss will be added to the calendar.

The BEYOND WORDS Kickstarter is running through July 10th, 2014.


Link to Zurchin’s website where she talks about the charity aspect: http://laurenzurchinstudios.com/2014/06/2016-beyond-words-calendar-about-this-project/

About the Photographer:

Lauren Zurchin been doing photography for over 15 years, founding her business in 2008. She has countless hours of experience photographing dozens of weddings, various types of portraits, and events. She was awarded a reader’s choice award in 2010.
In addition to photography Zurchin is the managing book editor at scifi/fantasy site lytherus.com, and has co-hosted the shurtugal.com Inheritance Cycle Book Club Podcast.
To learn more please contact: laurenzurchin@gmail.com

Monday, 23 June 2014

Book Review - City of Heavenly Fire

Title: City of Heavenly Fire
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments (Book 6)
Publisher: Walker
Release Date: 27 May 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1406332933

Synopsis
Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.
The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?
When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...
Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!


My Review
If you have read my earlier reviews you will know that I nearly gave up on this series, I made it a little way into Book 5 before calling it a day. But then I got home from work one day last week and found a parcel waiting for me - inside was this book, a free copy sent to me by the publishers - Thank you Walker books. I always appreciate a free book but I really wasn't sure about this series anymore and this book is 735 pages long - it's like a brick! But as they had gone to the trouble of sending me this book I decided it was only right that I should give it a go so I got book 5 back from the library and finished it - and surprisingly actually enjoyed it, so I moved onto this book a bit more positively and I have to say - really, truly - Thank you Walker for sending me this, I actually really enjoyed it. I read 550 pages of it in one go and only put it down because I had to go to bed so I wouldn't be a zombie at work the next day!
Sebastian is getting stronger and his army is getting bigger, they cannot be saved, but attack with ruthless indifference. The Clave and Institute are quickly losing members, some are being converted to Sebastians side and others are being killed by those they once called friends. But still no one is entirely sure what he really wants, only that Clary is a big part of it. 
Clary and Jace have fought off so many dangers and troubles but it's still only going to keep getting worse. Jace now has Heavenly Fire running through his veins and struggles to control it - yet another block between them. Once again Simon, Izzy and Alec are pulled along with Clary and Jace on a dangerous mission, but maybe this time they won't all make it back. You can really feel the desperation of the characters and the feelings of hopelessness. It really had me rooting for them, this is the first book that I have really felt properly connected to Jace and Clary, they seemed so much more likeable and awesome in this book, they have really grown as characters and I like the developments. Simon is probably still my favourite character and I love the Izzy developments. They so belong together!
Although the book is 735 pages long it doesn't feel that big when you are reading it, there were a few bits that i think could have been a bit shorter and I skimmed a little bit but there are other bits I wanted to go on longer. I was totally absorbed with it. 
I still can't quite understand how I could dislike the first books so much but love the end this much, the writing style has really grown over the series and it just continued to pull me in.
I am curious enough to try the prequel series - Infernal Devices, so I will be trying those soon. Also quite looking forward to trying the new follow on series coming out next year.
I'm not sure I will ever re-read this series but I am certainly glad I read them all in the end.
This really is a rather epic finale, definitely one you wouldn't want to miss!

My Rating
     

Book Promo: Resurgence The Queen Awakens Part 1

Synopsis: How do families become members of the aristocracy? Does the universe choose them? Have you ever wondered what happened to Constantinople? Resurgence is a work of fiction in the young adult and paranormal romance genres. The story blends elements of romance, darkness, history, fantasy, aristocracy, and reincarnation.
 
Book Description: While working on her studies at the Churchill Military Academy in Kinsburgh, England, Jolán Vajnbirg’s final year at the academy develops into a year of competition, aristocratic love, a reincarnated breakthrough, and a calling from the sky world to help save earth from the death and destruction caused by the Order of the Hunters.

When Jolán Vajnbirg encounters Prince Colemund William Frederik Van Oranje-Nassau, the two bring the celestial destiny of the sky world to perfection. Jolán was born as a reincarnated spirit, but it took a synchronicity of events to spark her supernatural breakthrough.

Now, the sky world is steadily preparing Jolán for her future fate. The hunters have upset the universal balance of earth, and the hunters have upset the sky world.

Author Bio:
Virginia Vayna was born in Dayton, Ohio. During 1999, she moved to Long Beach, California, where she lived on a sailboat for three-years. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and she holds a Master of Social Science. She has worked as a policy researcher, a legal writer, and she currently works as a freelance copywriter. Virginia enjoys writing historical fiction, fantasy, paranormal fiction, mystery, and YA. She is the author of the Hunters and the Queen series.
 
Book Links:
 
My Blog:
 
Book Excerpt:
 
The Phoenix
Hadrian immediately placed an angry phone call to Akuji, but this time she answered her phone. Hadrian sharply inquired, "Where are you, Akuji? We have a major problem in development."

Akuji nonchalantly replied, "I just transformed a farmer into a hunter, and I’m explaining the rules."

Hadrian didn’t care about what Akuji was doing at the moment; he violently shouted, "Return to Komi. Do not waste time, do not waste resources, but return on the next flight out of England."

Akuji said, "I still have to finish one more assignment. I need to find and follow this girl named Jolán."

The mere sound of such a name caused Hadrian’s stomach to turn, and his unnerving sensation returned. Hadrian dryly inquired, "Who is Jolán?"

As soon as Hadrian spoke Jolán’s name, he felt his insides turn and his stomach ache. He felt weak.

Akuji dryly answered, "She is some assignment I have to figure out, but I’m not having any success."

Hadrian gathered as much strength as he could for the moment, and he said to Akuji, "Get on the next flight back to Russia. We have heavy issues of concern we need to assess for action."

At that moment, Akuji heard several voices come through her phone; but she was unsure what happened or where the voices were located. She asked Hadrian, "Are you ok?"

All Akuji could hear was the sound of a thousand whispers.

Hadrian kept repeating, "Akuji, are you there? Answer me."

Hadrian heard no response from Akuji. He finally hung up the phone, but Akuji still heard the voices. She was caught in a trance for several minutes until she received a piercing headache. Akuji quickly left some items behind for the farmer to study, and she walked towards her car. She hustled to the seat of her car. She was en route to the airport.