Currently Reading

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Summer Reads (1): The Book Zone For Boys



When I first received the email from Ryan asking if I would be interested in writing a piece about my favourite summer reads my initial thought was that I wouldn't be able to do this as I do not have specific summer reads. This is even more the case these days when I have such a huge To Be Read pile that I'm not sure I have the time to choose something specific for the summer. However, I ponded on this for a while and finally came to the conclusion that summer has always been of huge importance in my reading life.

I come from a large family, me being the oldest of five. Foreign holidays were not an option both logistically or financially with so many of us and for most of my childhood we went to one of two places: the Isle of Wight or St Ives, Cornwall. As a child these were both fantastic places to go to on holiday, and we spent a lot of our time on the beach. And this meant huge amounts of reading time, and for me as I grew up summer reading was all about series. I have vivid memories of scouring the beachfront shops for the next Famous Five book or Five Findouters book I didn't have, and then when I was a little older, the next Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators book, and although funds were tight this is what I would buy over anything else. But one book was never going to be enough for me for a whole fortnight so a couple of days before we were due to go away we would always visit the local library and I would walk out with about twenty books – ten on my library card, and ten on my mum's card. My local library was awesome – it had vast quantities of the books I loved – those already mentioned, The Hardy Boys, Conan, and later on Agatha Christie's mysteries. I yes, I would generally manage to get through most if not all of those twenty books before they were due back to the library.

Many years later I spent most of the summer working on a kibbutz in Israel. I took one book with me, The Lord of the Rings, thinking that it would last me some time even though I had read it several time before. I read it within the first week or so and was beginning to despair, until I stumbled across the 'library' – a room full of books that previous volunteers had left behind in order to free up space in their luggage. Again, I was in series heaven: amongst the stacks I discovered large quantities of Saint books by Leslie Charteris, and this discovery sparked off a love for these books and their enigmatic main character that I still harbour today.

And yes, despite my initial conclusion that I do not have time to have summer books these days, the evidence of last summer would suggest otherwise. My wife and I booked a very last minute week in Menorca (booked it Friday evening, flew out Tuesday); I tend to get bored very quick if I am just lying on a beach, and so I set a condition on the holiday: only if I could take loads of books. And yet again, I found myself having the time to read a series as part of my summer holidays, this time being for four books that had at that point been released in Michael Scott's absolutely brilliant Nicholas Flamel series. It felt so good to read the books back-to-back, although the one draw back was that I have since had to wait a year for book five to be released.

This year I don't think we will be going away for a week, but if we were (or if we do) then I think the series books would win yet again. I would love to find the time to re-read all of the Harry Potter books back-to-back now that the final film has been completed, so maybe this would be my choice. However, there is competition: Jonathan Stroud's original Bartimaeus trilogy is crying out to be read in one go, as are the books in Tom Becker's brilliant Darkside series, and those in Mark Walden's fab H.I.V.E. series (although as Mark has got a new book coming out in September and he tends to write three book story arcs I may leave this until Book Nine is published). If we don't go away then I think I will just concentrate on my TBR pile which is on the verge of avalanching – with six weeks of school holidays ahead of me I reckon I can clear quite a few of them and have great fun doing so. So yes, summer is still hugely important as far as my reading life is concerned, and long may it be so.

_____________________________

Thank you Darren. What a cracking start to Summer Reads!!! Be sure to check out Darren's awesome blog right here!!! Next week it's the turn of the lovely Jenny from Wondrous Reads!

Announcing The Summer Reads Tour

Today marks the beginning of The Empire of Books Summer Read's Tour. A tour, that doesn't really tour because it's here, but it'll feature some of the best bloggers around! Book Zone For Boys, Wondrous Reads, LoveReadingx, The Bookette, Nayu's Reading Corner and then finally it'll finish with a post by myself! Below are the dates, with the first from the cool Darren from Book Zone for Boys being posted shortly!!


Friday, 29 July 2011

Cover of the Week; The Fear by Charlie Higson

Now shamefully I haven't read the first two books in The Enemy series by Charlie Higson. The Enermy and The Dead sound great and I really should get around to reading them in time for book three, The Fear which has a beautiful cover! Loving the white. The eeriness of it overall really works. And I love the font. Bravo to Puffin for the cover! Check it out below and be sure to check the book out when it's published on 15th September!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Wereworld 3 by Curtis Jobling

Curtis Jobling has only just released the second book in his Wereworld series, Rage of the Lion and already we have news about the third book in the series. It's called Shadow of the Hawk and is out in January (2012 that is...) and the cover is a beauty! I think it's my favourite of the series yet! Haven't read book two yet but this news has gotten me so excited that I better get cracking!

Published: January 2012.
Published by: Puffin.
Official synopsis: "Young Werewolf Drew Ferran is the future king of Westland. Drew is taken on board the Banshee to the volcanic island of Scoria where he is sold to Lord Ignus the Werelizard to perform in the Furnace, a gladiatorial arena in the bowl of the slumbering volcano. When he escapes with the help of some new allies, they discover the Doglords have an army preparing to attack. Drew has to ask himself - is it time to fight ...or to flee? Book three in the Wereworld fantasy-adventure series from Curtis Jobling, the award-winning designer of "Bob the Builder"."

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

News: Pittacus Lore Lost Files: Six's Legacy

Fans of I Am Number Four listen up! Are you eagerly anticipating the release of the second book in the Lorien Legacies, The Power of Six? I know that 23rd August is a way off yet, but your prayers for something Lorien to read have been answered! Today, released exclusively in ebook format worldwide, I AM NUMBER FOUR: THE LOST FILES: Six's Legacy was released. Designed to give us a bit of back story into Number Six who we met at the end of Book One, it's only a little book/novella. You can buy it for only £1.49 on Kindle!!! ($3.99 for you US readers!!!) Check it out!!


Monday, 25 July 2011

Angel Fire by LA Weatherly: The Change

Now I am very much looking forward to reading this book! Angel Fire by L. A. Weatherly is the second book in a trilogy, proceeded by last years Angel. I was blown away by just how different the book was and the wait to the 1st October is painstaking, so I thought I'd make this post to show the changes that the cover has been under! Now, I like all 3, and they aren't majorly different but still!

First, we got this beaut, our first look at the cover back last October over on LoveReadingX...


Love the blue if I'm honest!! And then we got this version...


Hm... Pink... I didn't like this one so much and was a little disappointed but then I thought "it's what's in-between the covers that counts, forget it!!". But then this happened...



Problem solved! I like this a lot more! The final cover according to all of the online retailers. While I do slightly prefer the blue, the orange is obviously a lot more fitting to the title! Now I just have to wait patiently for October to arrive... Mind you with how fast this year has gone in all honesty it should fly by!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

In My Postbox #43

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

Hi guys! Again, the camera is out of action as it turns out my camera cable is still missing. In all honesty, I haven't done a lot of looking - just haven't had the time, but I'm hoping to have it again by next week so that I can get it charged up! Haha! Anyway...

Invisible Friends: Doc Mortis by Barry Hutchinson.
I actually got this last week but only just realised I missed it off. Whoops! Sorry, but thanks to the guys at Harper Collins for this one! :D The press release was personalised, and had my name on it and it came with a cool little prescription of fear. Very cool! Also, Barry will be stopping off on the Doc Mortis blog tour here on 7th August, so do be sure to check back then to see what it's all about! :)

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater.
Been looking forward to this for a while. I really liked Shiver and quite enjoyed Linger although it just didn't quite have the magic that it's predecessor did. However, excited for this. Am reading it at the moment and am enjoying it. Considerably more than The Scorpio Races I should say, which I didn't really get, but more on that in my actual review in a few weeks time, a bit nearer to release. Thanks to Scholastic for this! It came in a perdy, space-age, metalic silver envelope which was pretty cool! Haha!

Sister, Missing by Sophie McKenzie.
I have never read anything by Sophie, despite receiving one of her books a few months ago now, I think it was the latest in her Medusa Project series... I regret it now because this sounds amazing! And I love the cover! It really stands out. Although I don't like the yellow writing on it. But still, so cool! Kudos to the design team at S&S for this, and thanks to S&S for the arc! You guys rock!

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle.
This sounds so good! Four generations on a journey. And the cover! Wow! Getting rave reviews on Amazon thanks to the Vine Programme (where you get proof copies if you review loads or something like that...). Again, thanks to S&S for this. Cannot wait to read it!

Okay guys, well I hope you all have a great week. Leave a comment in the box to share some book love, and if you link your Postbox/Mailbox I'll do by best to have a look and comment too! Have a great week, and as always, happy reading!

Announcing The Doc Mortis Blog Tour


To celebrate the release of the fourth book in Barry Hutchison's Invisible Friends series, Doc Mortis, which is out on 4th August, Barry will be touring a collection of blogs over the course of two weeks! And the tour will be stopping off here on 7th August! Below, is a full itinerary of the blogs Barry and Doc Mortis will be visiting throughout the tour, and to check out Barry's own post about the tour, click the banner above, or in the sidebar!

August 2011 – Week One
Monday, 1stBookzone for Boys
Tuesday, 2ndSerendipity Reviews
Wednesday, 3rdFeeling Fictional
Friday, 5thEmotionally 14
Saturday, 6thBart’s Bookshelf
Sunday, 7thEmpire of Books
August 2011 – Week Two
Monday, 8thGripped into Books
Tuesday, 9thBooks for Teens
Wednesday, 10thCicely Loves Books
Thursday, 11thNayu’s Reading Corner
Saturday, 13thMy Favourite Books
Sunday, 14thWondrous Reads


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

News: The Hunger Games Teaser MOTION Poster

I have no words for this. Beautiful.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

In My Postbox #42

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

Hey folks! How are we all? There are no actual pictures of the books I got this week because my camera battery has died and I cannot find the cable to charge it up, so for the time being, it's out of action! Anyway, got some cool sounding books this week, so here goes!!

  


The Jack Christie Adventures: Day of the Assassin
Day of Deliverance and Day of Vengeance by Johnny O'Brien.

I'd never heard of these until the other day when the lovely Leonora at Templar sent me an email about them, and they sound great. Looking forward to getting around to them, and soon hopefully!!

Wither by Lauren DeStefano.
There's a lot of hype surrounding this book, and I for one hope it lives up to that hype! Thanks to HarperCollins for this!!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver.
I got sent this from the great people at Hodder. The paperback edition! I have to admit to not being much of a fan of this cover, the hardback edition is much better! Thanks Hodder!

And finally, I got this BEAUTIFUL poster for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (which I went to see on Friday actually! AMAZING! You can see my write up of the film here) which now hangs proudly on my wall and I am thinking of getting it framed! I love it!


So there we go folks. Hope you all have a great week!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


Last night, I went to the cinema to confront something so terrible, so heart-breaking and yet so beautiful. And that thing? The end of my childhood. AKA... Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

It felt really weird in the hours leading up knowing that I was finally going to see those scenes with my very own eyes. It was just so... incomprehensible! After initially reading the first 2 books in 1999 shortly before the release of Prisoner of Azkaban I have been hooked. I have since re-read them and loved them even more than the first time, as I think as an 8 year old I couldn't truly appreciate them as much as I could later on. Anyway... it was thanks to my nan that I read the books as she brought them in a boxset. Still have those copies to this day and they are a little dog-eared so I think I should soon invest in some new copies, hardback of course! Accept no imitations people! She and my uncle took me, along with my sisters and cousin, to see the first two films, and the fact that she's no longer here also makes this a little bit raw. It's because of her I was introduced to the wonder of Harry Potter so she has a lot to answer for!! Anyway, I'm digressing again...

Harry and co have been a constant figure head in my childhood. From reading the books, to seeing the films, from 1999 to today, it's been 12 years. Wow! Really?! That's gone so fast when you think about it. But it's my entire childhood. From boy, to man, although I don't feel that grown up. Hm, the less said about that the better! The books have been there through good and through bad. Like an old friend, they always greet me in a warm embrace (chilling when Voldemort happens to rear his ugly head) and give me hours of happiness, even though I've read the books dozens of times each. 

This film has to be, for me, possibly the truest to the book they have been since about Prisoner of Azkaban. The subsequent books seemed to lose a little essence of the plot, but Deathly Hallows Part 2 had the rawness, the emotions and the heartache of the final half of the book. When I was watching it, I completely forgot about the book. The film one hundred percent sucked me in and I forgot everything. 

The effects were stunning. Absolutely perfect, and in 3D it was beautiful. The scenes in Gringotts were brilliantly handled and seeing the cover art for the UK Children's edition (the one I have) actually on screen, in action, made me a little giddy with excitement. That was one of the scenes I'd most been looking forward to! Then the battle itself. What can I say but... AMAZING! Really. It was handled beautifully. Going in to watch this film, I was possibly the most nervous I have ever been about seeing a film adaptation. Those scenes had to be done just right or the whole film, the entire series would of been a complete waste of time. If they weren't going to be done right, they shouldn't of been made at all. But they were brilliant. The curses in 3D. The destruction in 3D. Everything. I was blown away.

AND THE MUSIC! ALEXANDRE DESPLAT DONE GOOD! So epic!

I am something of a Harry Potter stan, so this was a massive deal for me and I cannot thank Warner Bros, the cast and of course everyone included in making the film, as well as the legend herself, JK Rowling. This has brought my childhood to a satisfying conclusion and has brought possibly my most favourite book and film series to a stunning end. I for one am happy, and shall be going to see this film as many times as possible in the cinema, and then I shall watch it again and again when it's out on dvd!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

News: Trailer for Inheritance by Christopher Paolini Released!

Just a few moments ago, Random House books unleashed the teaser trailer for Inheritance, the fourth and final book in Christopher Paolini's fantasy epic, The Inheritance Cycle. And it's a beaut of a trailer. Only 49 second and it doesn't give anything away but it made me a little giddy with excitement. You, along with me and the rest of the world, will be able to get a hold of your copy of the book on 8th November, but until then, chec out the trailer below!!


Divergent by Veronica Roth [Reviews]

Written by: Veronica Roth.
Published by: Harper Collins.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "She turns to the future in a world that’s falling apart. For sixteen-year-old Tris, the world changes in a heartbeat when she is forced to make a terrible choice. Turning her back on her family, Tris ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs. Shocked by the brutality of her new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her. The hardest choices may yet lie ahead… A debut novel that will leave you breathless."
Every once in a while, you read a book that literally, and for real, leaves you breathless. And Divergent is definitely one of those books!  

A dystopian epic, that doesn't really have that much of a dystopian feel (I didn't really get that post-apocalyptic, post-mass-murder/war/horror) but dark and futuristic nonetheless, the book hurtles along at a brilliant pace. From start to finish, Roth doesn't let go of you, or your mind for one second. Reading the book is both effortless and a little demanding. To start with there is a lot to take in and to try and remember. The whole faction situation is a little confusing to start with, but once you remember Erudite are the smart ones, Candor the honest, and Dauntless are brave/courageous/stupid it soon becomes second nature.

Personally I love the whole faction situation. The whole "make a choice at 16 that will affect you for the rest of your life" really resonated with me. It shows that sometimes a choice, no matter how minor you think it is at the time, can have cataclysmic consequences that can affect you immediately or in the long run, and boy does Tris, or Beatrice as she is known as for the first few chapters of the book, learn this the hard way! There are five factions in all, as I've already mentioned there are Erudite, Candor, Dauntless and also Amity (who favour the peacefull side of their personality) and Abnegation (who value selflessness above all else). At 16 you have to decide which faction you want to live in, the one that you most value, but it's not as easy as that. There are personal implications to think about. Do you stay in the faction you are already in, and live your life as it has always been, possibly a lie if you don't truly belong. Or do you leave everything you ever know to fulfill your own personal needs, and leave your family, never to see them again?

After a terrifying aptitude test to help the teens to decide what faction they want to live in for the rest of their life, they go through a fairly brutal choosing process. I won't spoil this for you because it hit me when I read the book and I hope that it makes an impact on you too! And the initation process, too, isn't an exactly nice experience either. Again, I won't spoil that for you, you'll have to read the book to find that out!

Roth's writing is beautiful. I've said before, and I'll say it again, I'm not really a fan of first person novels. They just don't do a lot for me. So a book has to be special for me to really make such a massive connection to it, and Divergent did just what I asked for! It enthralled, it shocked and above all it made me actually feel a part of the action, which sometimes other first person narrative's fail to do. I read this book a couple of months ago and re-visited it a week or two ago now after I read something rather disappointed and wanted something I knew I could trust and I only loved it more. 

I for one am very excited to see what happens next, in the second book, Insurgent which is out in 2012. Roth has created something special which deserves to stand the test of time. I recommend this book for everyone really. Male, female. Old, young. Just read it at whatever cost. This series looks set to be exciting and breath taking so don't waste another moment to get started!

My thanks to the lovely people at Harper Collins for my copy!


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Cover Art News: Hollow Pike by James Dawson

The lovely James Dawson, who you can find on twitter (under @_jamesdawson) tonight unveiled the cover art for his debut YA novel! And it's a corker! Hollow Pike is due out February 2012 and it sounds great, and the cover art is simply, stunning!!! Orion always do an amazing job when it comes to covers so I cannot wait to have this on my shelves!


"When Lis London moves to Hollow Pike, she's looking forward to starting afresh in a new town, but when she sees the local forest she realizes that not everything here is new to her. She's seen the wood before - in a recurring nightmare where someone is trying to kill her! Lis tells herself there's nothing to her bad dreams, or to the legends of witchcraft and sinister rituals linked with Hollow Pike. She's settling in, making friends, and even falling in love - but then a girl is found murdered in the forest. Suddenly, Lis doesn't know who to trust anymore..."

Sunday, 10 July 2011

In My Postbox #41

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

Hey everyone! Happy Sunday, yet again! Hope you are all well and have had a great reading week! Here are the books that I got this week!



REVIEW:

Eragon, Eldest and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
I couldn't find the actual jpeg's for these, so my pic I took will have to do! Haha. Lovely re-issues to get folk excited for the release of the final book, Inheritance, which is out in November! They should have coloured edged (blue for Eragon, red for Eldest and gold for Brisingr) but mine are plane. Not fussed though because they are still lovely! Also little pull out posters/postcards of the cover image as well! Cannot wait for November!! My thanks to Random House for my copies! :D


Now anyone who's been a regular reader of the blog since last Summer will know that I am a massive Keren David fan. I loved When I Was Joe and Almost True, both published last year, so I am very excited to read something new from her!! Do check out my reviews for Joe and True via the search bar above and make sure you read them. They are brilliant, gritty novels that are hard hitting and... well... beautiful! Looking forward to reading this! Thanks to Frances Lincoln for the copy! 

Finally, the postcards will make sense. First there was the mustache sent early last week, then a tooth towards the end of the week, and just the other day a third one, a feather came through the post... 


And then finally the book itself arrived, tied in a lovely little package! So cool! Really looking forward to reading this. I think the little campaign to garner interest with the postcards before actually sending out the proofs/arc's was brilliant and thing that Hodder have done an amazing job, they've really outdone themselves. Excited to read this! Thanks Hodder!!


BOUGHT:

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.
This is for a themed week coming towards the end of September/Early October. Some might say I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, but I wanted to give myself plenty of time to read it! Thanks to Caroline for the recommendation, and to the Book Depository who seem to be the only people who actually still have the book in stock! Amazon have no copies at all, and it isn't available on Kindle! Took me a while to find it but got there in the end!

MUSIC:



Such a good album. Recommend it. It's mostly slower songs, a few uptempo. Kind of has an Adele, 21 feel to it which I love! 

And hereth end another weeks In My Postbox! I've got the next week off work, so I shall be doing my best to read and actually get some content up on here! Haha! I will also be tweeting a bit more than usual. So I hope you all have a great week, happy reading, and do let me know what you got through your letter box this week in the comments below. I'll do my best to check it out and comment back! :)