Currently Reading

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare [Review]

Written by: Cassandra Clare.
Published by: Walker Books.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 31st August 2010.
Rating: 4/5.


Official synopsis: "Magic is dangerous - but love is more dangerous still... When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends, and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all."

Clockwork Angel is the first book in The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, which will serve as a prequel series to her award winning series, The Mortal Instruments. And it's the first thing written by Clare that I have read. And I have to say that it didn't disappoint at all!

The writing is absolutely fantastic. It's so smooth and fluid, it didn't even feel like reading. If anything, it felt like I was watching a movie! Such skill!

The plot is fantastic and as it's my first exposure to Clare's world of Shadowhunters, vampires and evil, it made a great impression on me. 

The setting is fantastic. I love the use of Victorian London. It just feels perfect. The dingy streets, the descriptions, it's just perfect. I also like the time aspect of the story. I like that Tessa was horrified when Charlotte is wearing trousers (as any self respecting Victorian lady would be!) and when Sophie, a servant, talks back to Will. Both situations actually made me laugh.

To begin with, I wasn't very keen on Tessa. I liked the opening, I thought it was very engaging and it made you question why it was happening, it made you want to read on, but I wasn't instantly drawn to the character. But as the book progressed, I really started to like her as she came out of her shell more. There's definitely a lot of promise for the character she's going to develop into and I cannot wait to see that happen over the next 2 books. 

The clockwork soldiers actually creeped me out. They were seriously scary. The idea of them - every time they popped up they reminded me of the Clockwork Droids from an episode of Doctor Who. Their mechanical ruthlessness. 

This book would of gotten a 5 out of 5, but I found the earlier part of the book pretty slow going, and it took a little while for me to actually get into it. But once it picks up, it's a sprint till the very end. The ending of this book was fantastic and has definitely left me eager to read the next book in the trilogy, Clockwork Prince, out late next year! I shall also be getting copies of the 3 published Mortal Instruments books so far and devour them! Make sure you get this book. It's brilliant!

My thanks to Sean at Walker for my copy!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (11): The Search for WondLa


The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi.

Published by: Simon And Schuster Children's Books.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 1st October 2010.

"Eva Nine was raised by the robot Muthr. But when a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary she called home, twelve-year-old Eva is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her. She knows that other humans exist because of a very special item she treasures ~ a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot along with the strange word "WondLa". Tony DiTerlizzi honours traditional children's literature in this totally original space age adventure: one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child's wish for a place to belong."

This book looks incredible. And it sounds it too! You only have to look at the cover to see that it is beautifully illustrated. And it features some very cool new technology! Go to www.wondla.com to find out more about augmented reality, where you can hold certain pages up to your webcam and watch scenes and images from the book unfold before your very eyes on your computer screen! How cool does that sound?! Cannot wait to check it out for myself!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Soul Eater by Michelle Paver [Review]

Written by: Michelle Paver.
Published by: Orion Children's Books.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 6th September 2006.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Torak has survived the summer and his heart-stopping adventure in the Seal Islands. He and Wolf are together again. But their reunion is all too short-lived. As mid winter approaches Torak learns the worst from the White Fox clan - Wolf has been snatched. In a desperate bid to rescue him Torak and Renn must brave the frozen wilderness of the Far North. They tread a deadly dangerous path as they step into a world of deceit,treachery and lies and come face to face with the the most powerful and feared mages alive. Cruel Thiazzi, the Oak Tree Mage, Seshru the Viper Mage, beautiful and manipulative, and Nef the gruff Bat Mage - here too is Eostra, the mysterious Masked One - all of them bound by their desire for all creatures to bow before them. Under the dark wings of night Torak confronts vengeful ice bears, mistrust, broken promises and a terrifying evil. Another step is taken on his quest to destroy the Soul Eaters, but with it comes the burden of an utterly chilling secret of his own... Dazzling entertainment, seamless storytelling - the third adventure in Torak's quest to vanquish the terrifying Soul-Eaters."

Soul Eater is perhaps when my adoration of Michelle Paver really took off. I'd adored Spirit Walker and simply could not wait for the next book. And then something special happened. I won a competition on The Clan (the official website, for those that don't know. It's brilliant and I'm a moderator there now!) to actually go to London for the official book launch in Waterstone's on Oxford Street, to actually meet Michelle Paver! I could not of been more excited. And boy what a day.

Michelle was amazing. She actually spoke to us all individually before the signing and actually signed copies of Wolf Brother and Spirit Walker for us while we were actually waiting for the event to start. She was so nice and friendly that I loved her even more. I'd met a few authors before her and none had really made an impression. It felt like they had to be there and didn't really want to be, but Michelle was just amazing. In subsequent meetings with her, I've been surprised that she remembers details you think she'd forget about conversations you've had, in person and by letter (I am a constant pest to her mail bag! :D). But anyway, Soul Eater!

This book is when, for me, it got really dark. There were dark moments in the previous two books, but this one was something on a completely different level. It was dark and evil, chilling, more or less from the word go.

Soul Eater sees Torak go to the Far North in the dead of winter. Wolf has been taken, and Torak must embark on a journey to rescue his friend, but on his way, he comes closer to the dreaded Soul-Eaters than ever before. In this book, we get our first glimpse of the Soul-Eaters and they are a terrifying bunch, in particular, the horrifying Eostra, the Eagle-owl Mage.

And the cover art really stepped up a gear with this book. The previous covers were fantastic, but this cover is something of phenomenal proportions and is simply stunning! John Fordham does a fantastic job. As does the illustrator Geoff Taylor who crafts the beautiful images at the start of every chapter, and the maps at the front and back of the books!

As this series goes on, the research just becomes all the more evident. And with this book, it is plain to see that Michelle has first hand experience of the terrain and conditions in which the book is set. The descriptions of the setting in this book are, for want of a better word, breath-taking. Michelle paints the scene beautifully and this book makes for an excellent read, and leaves you begging for more!

Monday, 27 September 2010

NEWS: Cover for US Forever Released

Just a little while ago, Maggie Stiefvater revealed the US cover art for Forever, the third and final book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. I really enjoyed the first 2 books, Shiver and Linger (reviews here and here) so am looking forward to this, and seeing what our cover looks for. The UK has black and white covers so looking forward to seeing that variation of it. But for now, you can see the US cover below in all it's red glory! It's published July 2011!

Cover of the Week

Hi guys! So I've decided to have a Cover of the Week feature! Which is pretty self-explanatory. My favourite covers, featuring for a whole week. Simple.

And this week, we have a real beauty kickstarting it off! Angel by L.A. Weatherly!


It's out this Friday and I wanted to highlight this beaut of a cover! I really like the colours used, and the girl looks very very creepy! And I really like the font they use for the title. Very cool!

Entangled by Cat Clarke [Review]

Written by: Cat Clarke.
Published by: Quercus.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 6th January 2011.
Rating: 5/5.


Official synopsis: "'The same questions whirl round and round in my head: 
What does he want from me? 
How could I have let this happen? 
AM I GOING TO DIE?' 

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got there. As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see? Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here? A story of dangerous secrets, intense friendships and electrifying attraction."

This book is amazing! There. I've said it. Entangled is amazing.

When it first came through my postbox I was a bit sceptical. I am not the biggest fan of pink, and seeing so much pink was shocking! But they always say "never judge a book by it's cover" so it didn't affect my reading experience. And boy what an experience! This book is more twisty than any book I think I have ever read. So many times, when little tidbits were revealed, I'd make a guess, connect the dots, and then something else would happen and I'd change my guess. And then again. And again. And by about the fifth time I decided to give up guessing. But I have to say, I didn't guess the ending. Not at all. This book kept me guessing right until the very end. It is very clever and perfectly written.

It's so engaging. Right from the first page I was drawn in. It was annoying whenever I had to put the book down as I just wanted to read on! Why was this girl locked in a room? Why has she been given a seemingly endless supply of pens and paper? Who is Ethan and what does he really want?

Grace's voice is perfect. Absolutely perfect. Some books, when narrated by one person, in first person, the narration is a bit sketchy, not always consistent. But in Entangled it is perfectly clear that Grace is on every single page. The perfect voice of a teenage girl. I know Cat herself was a teenage girl at some point, but to get it into written word cannot of been all that easy. So this is testament to what an amazing writer she is. (Yes Cat, you're amazing!). 

I wasn't that much of a fan of Grace in the beginning however. She was loud, and brash and to start off with, she kind of annoyed me. Every time something good was happening, she spoilt it. But as I read on, I really started to empathise with her, and began to connect with her, to understand her. I understood that her behaviour and attitude has a hidden reason, and that underneath she's just as vulnerable and worrisome as the rest of us. 

I like that the cast for this book is pretty small. It allows us to focus on them all the more rather than have to keep remembering who this person is, what that person did and why this person is where they are. There are 7 characters in total but only 3 main ones. Nat. Sal, and of course, Grace.

One thing that I really liked about this book is that it showcases just how much your opinions on someone can change with the slightest event. Entangled is certainly thought provoking and made me think  a lot about how I view my family and friends.

I cannot stress enough just how much I love this book, and Cat for writing it. It actually touched me. I really don't know what more to say, other than do not miss this. Please! It's just too brilliant to miss! It's out on 6th January (2011) so put that date in your diaries, pre-order it, save Christmas money. Whatever you have to do to get this book. Do it! You will not regret it! A stunning debut that is beautifully and lovingly crafted! I cannot wait to see what Cat writes next!

Thanks to Parul at Quercus for my copy!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

In My Postbox #20


In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to Amazon UK.

Well it's that time of the week again! Suday. And that means it's time for In My Postbox! I got some really exciting books this week, so here goes!

FOR REVIEW:

Raised By Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

"Pack life is about order, but Bryn is about to push all the limits, with hair-raising results. At the age of four, Bryn watched a rabid werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by Callum, the alpha of his pack. Now fifteen, Bryn's been as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule. Little fazes her. But the pack's been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum's orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her parents come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them. Suddenly, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter. It's Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences. A thrilling new YA adventure, with an electrifying link between a tough heroine and an exciting boy-were at its heart, Raised by Wolves will leave you howling for more."

I hadn't actually heard of this so it was a nice surprise when it came through my postbox the other day. The cover is very cool. Very shiny. Looking forward to having a read! Thanks to Quercus for this one!

Before We Say Goodbye by Gabriella Ambrosio.

"It is seven a.m. on a spring morning in Jerusalem. Eighteen-year-old Dima trudges through the mud to college and reflects on many things, including her forthcoming marriage to her cousin Faris. Seventeen-year-old Myriam skips school to sit on the tree-lined hill overlooking the city and think about her friend Michael, whose death she still mourns. And Dima’s and Myriam’s families – one Palestinian, one Israeli – go about their ordinary, separate lives; for today is like every other day. Yet in seven hours’ time, everything will have changed. For ever."

This sounds absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to get started. The cover is brilliant! Thanks to Sean at Walker for this!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

"Magic is dangerous - but love is more dangerous still... When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends, and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all."

Really looking forward to reading this one. It's huge! Such a big book! Thanks, again, to Sean at Walker for this one!

So there you go! Those are the lovelies I got this week! What did you get? Hope you have a great week.

Also, just as a (pretty pointless extra), when I was taking my post that you see at the top of this post, 2 thirds of my cats would not move at all. So I took a pic of them next to the books seeing as they seemed so keen to get into it! Haha. The one with white on her face is Smudge, and the totally black one is (mine, me and my sisters have one each) Pepsi. Both are looking petty evil. Huh. Oh well. Haha!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Cover VS Cover: Angel by Cliff McNish

Hardback//Paperback


I reviewed this book back when I started up this blog, and thought that it was about time that it featured in a Cover VS Cover war. This week it's not the UK vs the US. It's the hardback edition, versus the paperback edition.

I adore the hardback cover. It's the one that I own and it just looks amazing. The colour. The angel itself. The font used for the title. The mystery and eeriness of it. It's just perfect. It kind of makes me think of a cold winter night, the colour of it. Dusk on a misty December day. I know it sounds weird but that's the image it conjures.

The paperback, it just as nice. But there's just something about it that doesn't appeal to me and I can't put my finger on why. It's got the same font which I love. But the angel just doesn't feel right. I know the story is dark, and it's referring to the dark angel, but for me it makes it too clear, while the hardback cover is somewhat misleading which I like.

So this week, I have to go with the hardback! What about you? Which do you prefer?

Thursday, 23 September 2010

NEWS: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Trailer!

The theatrical trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 has been released! And it's as amazing as the trailer released a few months ago for both Part 1 and 2. Check it out below in it's full glory! I cannot wait to see this film! 

Spirit Walker by Michelle Paver [Review]

Written by: Michelle Paver.
Published by: Orion Children's Books.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 7th September 2005.
Rating: 5/5.


Official synopsis: "Thousands of years ago an orphan boy and his wolf cub companion challenge a demon bear that threatens to destroy their world forever. With the help of the World Spirit, Torak destroys the bear, but his beloved Wolf is lost in the ensuing avalanche. And Torak's quest is far from over. A strange, creeping sickness, silent and deadly, is threatening the Ravens. Word arrives that the Seal Clan have the cure and Torak must face a lonely journey to find it. On the Seal's Island he stumbles into a world utterly unlike his own. Here life moves to the rhythms of the sea, the Seals build shelters from whale bones and skim the waves in fast, beautiful kayaks. And here Torak is welcomed by the kindly Seal Mage, Teneris, and kinsman, Bale. But all is not as it seems - Torak must keep his wits about him to judge who might be friend or foe. As in 'Wolf Brother' Michelle Paver's sheer passion for her story set in a world of myth and natural magic, shines through in this skilfully woven, exciting and brilliantly satisfying second instalment of the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. Dazzling entertainment, seamless storytelling - the second adventure in Torak's quest to vanquish the terrifying Soul-Eaters."

Spirit Walker is the second book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness and begins a few months after the end of Wolf Brother. Torak is living somewhat happily with the Raven Clan, but then people throughout the Forest begin to fall ill with a terrible illness. Rumors spread that the cure is by the sea, and Torak goes in search of it.

This book takes the reader away from the pine-filled air of the Forest, and delivers the out into the open, crisp air of the Sea and the Seal Islands where Torak meets his kinsman, Bale, and the Seal Mage, Tenris.

If you think that it cannot get any bigger after Wolf Brother then you are wrong wrong wrong! There's more action than you can shake a stick (or should that be spear?) at. 


Again the research is astronomical. The little elements just make you appreciate the scale of work involved for Michelle when she creates one of these amazing books.


I love that in this one we get to see the orca's (killer whales to you and me) often referred to as hunters in the book. The fish, the different ways of catching and preparing prey/food. The skinboat. Everything about this book has a fresh feel to it. It makes for an amazing reading experience.


Also in this book, Torak discovers his powers. Not going to say any more about that... but I will say it's not like a supernatural power!

This book holds some importance to me. Physically. It was given to me by my nan, and was the last thing she gave me before she passed away. I can't help but think about her when I read it, so that just makes me love it even more.


I love the cover art for this one. Blue is my favourite cover and it looks brilliant in the flesh.


Just whatever you do, do not miss this series. I cannot stress how much you are missing out on if you do not read these books. I cannot get my love for them out enough! They are perfect reads.


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Announcing The Angel UK Blog Tour 2010!


To celebrate the release of Angel by L.A Weatherly (published 1st October), Usborne have organised The Angel UK Blog Tour! Running from 24th September till 8 October, it'll be stopping off here at Empire of Books on Wednesday 6th October! Where there will be an exclusive to die for! Exclusive videos and never before seen photos of L.A. Weatherly's US roadtrip earlier this year!

It'll also be stopping of at Bart's Bookshelf, Girls Without a Bookshelf, Bookblabbers and more, with other fantastic exclusives, before concluding on Friday 8th October at Love Reading x where the cover for the second book in the trilogy, Angel Fire will be revealed!

So as you can see, this is a blog tour you do NOT want to miss!




Waiting On Wednesday (10): HarperCollins Highlight

This week, seeing as there are a few books I am very excited about, and they're all published by the same publisher, I thought I'd do a Waiting On Wednesday: HaperCollins Highlight!


-

Mercy by Rebecca Lim.



Format: Paperback.
Released: 28th October 2010.

"There's something very wrong with me. I can't remember who I am or how old I am, or even how I got here. All I know is that when I wake up, I could be any one. It is always this way.
There's nothing I can keep with me that will stay. It's made me adaptable.
I must always re-establish ties.
I must tread carefully or give myself away.
I must survive.

Mercy doesn't realise it yet, but as she journeys into the darkest places of the human soul, she discovers that she is one of the celestial host exiled with fallen angel, Lucifer. Now she must atone for taking his side. To find her own way back to heaven, Mercy must help a series of humans in crisis and keep the unwary from getting caught up in the games that angels play. Ultimately she must choose between her immortal companion, Lucifer, and a human boy who risks everything for her love."


This sounds brilliant and the cover looks fantastic. Plus I've really gotten into angels lately. Much better than vampires, right?!



-

Department 19 by Will Hill


Format: Hardback.
Released: 31st March 2011.
Amazon UK


"In a secret supernatural battle that's been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised – and they're not wooden anymore. When Jamie Carpenter's mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government's most secret agency. Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can't stand up against…"


There actually isn't a cover for this yet, but I saw it on HarperCollins site and it sounds brilliant! Cannot wait to read this one!


-



How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.

Format: Mixed media.
Released: 28th October 2010 (Re-print).

"The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.


The ghastly Grinch refuses to be moved by the Christmas spirit in this lovely hardback version of Dr Seuss's classic tale.
When he spies the citizens of Who-ville enjoying their Christmas preparations, the Grinch comes down from his cave and makes a dastardly attempt to take all the joy out of the occasion by actually stealing Christmas.
With zany rhymes and distinctive black and red illustrations, this classic seasonal story has become a favourite for good reason. In the end, the story of the ghastly Grinch has something to teach us all about the true meaning of Christmas."

I have rather shamingly never read this, despite being a massive fan of the film adaptation starring Jim Carey and the cartoon version on every Christmas. I know I tweeted the other day saying that I am tired of hearing people go on about Christmas this early, but every year I intend to get this and never do, so this year I will make it a mission. I've always wanted to read it, and being a big kid, this year it will happen! :D

So there you go. Some highlights coming over the next few months from HarperCollins. What books are you excited about right now?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

News: LA Weatherly Events

There are just 9 days now till Angel by LA Weatherly is published, and LA is getting ready to do a host of signings. Check out the dates and venues below and go along if you can!

9th October 2010
Waterstone's Alton - 11:00-13:00 - Signing

10th October 2010
Cheltenham Literary Festival - 16:00-17:00 - Signing
L.A.Weatherly will be appearing alongside Steve Feasey (The Changeling series) and Marcus Sedgwick (The Kiss of Death) at Cheltenham Literary Festival to discuss what readers should read after Twilight.

21st October 2010
Eason's (Dublin, Ireland) - 18:00-21:00 - Signing
An evening with L.A.Weatherly and fellow authors Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush Hush and Crescendo) and Chris Priestly (The Dead of Winter).

23rd October 2010
Eternal Twilight 4 Convention - 09:00-13:00 - Signing
Author L.A. Weatherly will be attending the epic fan convention Eternal Twilight 4 at The Hilton Metropole Hotel, Birmingham where she'll be signing copies of Angel.

Waterstones Birmingham - 14:00-16:00

24th October 2010
Eternal Twilight 4 Convention - 09:00-13:00 - Signing
Author L.A. Weatherly will be attending the epic fan convention Eternal Twilight 4 at The Hilton Metropole Hotel, Birmingham where she'll be signing copies of Angel.

25th October 2010
Waterstones Leamington Spa - 11:30-13:00 - Signing

Waterstones Banbury - 14:30-16:00 - Signing

27th October 2010
Waterstones Windsor - 11:00-12:00 - Reading & Signing

Waterstones Reading - 14:30-15:30 - Reading & Signing.

28th October 2010
Waterstones Bristol - 11:00-13:30 - Signing

Waterstones Bath - 15:00-16:00 - Signing

29th October 2010
Waterstones Winchester - 10:30-12:00 - Signing

Waterstones Basingstoke - 14:00-16:00 - Signing

30th October 2010
Foyle's Bookshop, Westfield (London) - 14:00-15:00 - Signing

11th December 2010 
Seven Stories Centre for Children's Books, Newcastle - 13:00-16:00 - The Angel Christmas Ball
The Angel event of the Christmas season! Meet L.A Weatherly as she reads extracts from Angel, have your photo taken with a fallen angel, test your knowledge in the gothic romance quiz and dress to impress for exclusive prizes. Booking essential £10 booking fee  includes admission fee. Book here.

12th December 2010
Waterstones Leeds - 13:00-14:00 - Signing