Currently Reading

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Winner of Signed Department 19!!

Hey folks!

Last week I announced a competition for your chance to win a signed copy of Will Hill's debut book (which is an awesome beaut, by the way...) Department 19! Well now, it's time to announce the winner! I've emailed them too, so I'm hoping they get back to me ASAP... Anyway, congrats to...

CLOVER!!!!

Well done, Clover! If you can get back to me with your address in the next 48 hours then that would be ace! Thanks to everyone else who entered, and be sure to check out the new competition coming tomorrow to win a stunning hardback copy of the long awaited Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor!!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Competition News: London Walk With Maureen Johnson

To celebrate the release of The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, which is released TODAY by the way folks, the lovely people at HarperCollins are holding a competition like no other! Wanna find out more? Well read on...


JACK THE RIPPER FAN WALK


To celebrate the publication of Maureen Johnsons new YA thriller The Name of the Star, HarperCollins Children’s Books is offering 10 lucky readers the opportunity to accompany Maureen Johnson on a private Jack the Ripper walk in London on Thursday, 13th October 2011. The walk begins at 5:00 PM and will carry-on for two hours into the night! Visit the haunting sites of Jack the Ripper and hear first-hand from Maureen how they inspired her new book The Name of the Star. To enter, simply email nameofthestar@harpercollins.co.uk for a chance to attend the event with a friend. 
Disclaimer: Entrants must be 13 or over. Please ensure that you are available to attend the event on Thursday, 13th October from 5.00pm to 7.00pm before entering. Winners will be informed on Friday, 7th October, and will be provided with further instructions then.
Wow! How awesome does that sound? Pretty darn awesome, that's for sure! Be sure to enter for what sounds like a great night!!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Review Round-Up: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick, Swim The Fly by Don Calame and Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Okay... so I mentioned that I will be doing some posts like this where I review several books in one post... so here goes:

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Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

The second book in Fitzpatrick's phenomenally successful Hush, Hush saga, this book see's Patch and Nora go through another roller-coaster of emotion, love, hate, heartache and drama. 

I enjoyed this book even more than I did Hush, Hush and I have to admit I didn't think I would. From the beginning, this book felt darker and more brooding and reached a stunning climax. One can only begin to wonder what Becca has in store for us all in Silence which is out in a few short weeks... ARGH! I cannot wait. Becca's writing is so beautiful and endearing. It pulls me in every time I happen to catch a glimpse. 

5/5.

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This book made me snigger, snort, laugh and even cry when I read it towards the start of Summer. A gang of teenage mates who are all trying to reach a goal by the end of the Summer holidays... to see a real life girl... actually naked. It made me laugh and reminded me of when I was at school and how I was with my mates. A nostalgic read that will have you in fits of laughter!!

4/5.








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This dystopian beauty is not for the faint hearted and is easily one of my top reads this year. Coming in at nearly 600 pages, the book is quite literally a brick. But do not be put off by its size. Because on the inside it's a real corker.

Written with brilliant skill, and in a weird yet entrancing way (you have to read it to see what I man by that...) you cannot help but be hooked, drawn in the world of Blood Red Road and get caught up in a dangerous and deadly adventure. The design inside is so cool too! With some loveable characters who you come to really care for by the end of the book, and an impending sense of danger and innocence, this book is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. A film is in production so it's definitely one to watch out for. Why not read the book first? We all know the books are better!

5/5.

Monday, 19 September 2011

News: Department 19 signed paperback giveaway and an awesome competition!!

To celebrate the release of Will Hill's brilliant Department 19 on 1st September, HarperCollins are going all out. Not only can you will a signed copy right here on Empire of Books... more of that in a bit, but they are also running a fantastic competition with a prize pack to die for!

How do you fancy winning...  iPad2... £100 of iTunes vouchers... and a place for you and 5 friends on the guest list to an awesome, Top Secret invitation-only event with Will Hill himself at a top secret and undisclosed location in the UK?!!! SNAZZY HUH?! I want to win!

All you have to do is make a video that will make people jump... Like this one:


The deadline is 31st October, and for more information you can go here!! Awesome stuff... 

And now to the giveaway. Thanks to the lovely folk at Harper, namely Tiffany, I have a signed paperback edition of Department 19 to giveaway to one of you lucky folk! All you have to do is fill out the form below. The deadline is next Friday, 30th September, upon which I'll let Randomizer.org do it's job and randomly pick a winner! Easy right? You'd be nuts to miss this book trust me. One of my Top 5 reads this year (review is coming, I promise Will!!!).

Sunday, 18 September 2011

In My Postbox # 45


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

Hello everyone! It's been a few weeks since I've done an In My Postbox so there are A LOT of books to get through today. Some very exciting ones which I have been waiting for for a very VERY LONG TIME!!! Angel Fire!!!! SQUEEEEEE! Haha. And some that I've been meaning to read for years and am now only getting around to, being the slowpoke that I am. Some awesome new books coming out too courtesy of some lovely publicists... so... let's get started...



FOR REVIEW

CRYPT: The Gallows Curse by Andrew Hammond.
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver (paperback edition. Lovely artwork. Orion have outdone themselves this time!!).
Pure by Julianna Baggott (A completely white proof - some bloggers have black... It does have the title on it in a lacquer so you only see it if you get it in a certain light... Very cool!).


The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker.
Between by Jessica Warman.
Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick (lovely artwork that has a foil finish - cannot wait to read this, it sounds awesome!).
The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey.
Lies by Michael Grant.
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (stunning artwork and it sounds so good!)
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (Signed US proof copy!! Lovely book with lots of illustrations. This one will be reviewed for sure. Sounds amazing... Thanks to Scholastic UK for the proof!!)


The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams China.
Darkness Falls by Mia James.

And finally...


Angel Fire by L. A. Weatherly...

ARGH! YES! AT LAST! Regular readers, or folk who are still checking out EoB after last year will know that the first book in this trilogy, Angel by L. A. Weatherly (review here...) was one of my favourite reads for 2010 and I was also quoted in the finished copy. Well this is the second book and I have been waiting for this since I read Angel last Summer. Yes. Over a year! Argh and it's been painful... But... Something more exciting... I'm quoted...


And mentioned in the acknowledgements!!!


Wow! Thanks Lee! :D What an honour. Cannot wait to get reading this...

And finally we come to the final part of this weeks In My Postbox (I said it was a big'un!!)...

BOUGHT

The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett.

SIGNED!!!! EEEEEEPPPP!!!


Okay, so earlier today I announced my DISCWORLD MISSION... I am going to be reading and reviewing all of the Discworld books by Mr. Pratchett. I've waited far too long to read the entire series, having read a few select books... Well now I'm going to do it. And I got these signed beauts from his official website. Argh. They are so cool. I keep turning to the title page to make sure the signature is still there. Haha. Gladly it is. As if it's going anywhere.

Also as part of my new Discworld madness... I brought these DVD's...

 



Both of which I watched when they were on Sky One and Hogfather is very special to me. The first Terry book I ever read and so it was my introduction to the Disc... Will be getting that book just in time to read for Christmas and being so special it'll have to be signed or there'll be some trouble go down...

So that's it guys. Hope you all have a great weekend (well what remains of it) and a great week!

Empire of Book's Discworld Mission


Today I'm starting a new feature. Well it's not really a feature. It's more of a mission. I've long wanted to read the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I've always thought he was a clever man since I read Hogfather back in 2006 when the tv adaptation aired on telly around the same time. I then read Nation and was completely blown away. By his imagination. The prose. Everything. 

For too long I have put off getting the books but a week ago I decided to bite the bullet and I ordered a signed copy of The Colour of Magic from his official site. I am now, as I am writing this, three quarters through it and I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying it. A review will follow but anyway... back to the mission...

I am going to read and review every single Discworld book out, even if it kills me. I already own a couple, some I've collected and some I've just purchased and I intend to get them all. I am going to be keeping this page... THE DISCWORLD MISSION up to date and will of course be reviewing them all here in due course.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Dear Publishers, Publicists And Authors...

[NB... Edited 18/09/11: I just want to make it clear that this is not a "send me free books because I want them or for any other reason because I want them... and I'm making excuses" post. It's basically an explanation of the way things are at the moment... I never meant for this to sound the way and if it does then I apologise, but please know that I don't mean it to sound that way at all...]


Okay... So I've been meaning to write something like this for a while but I just haven't found the time, which is kind of the point of the post... Anyway... a bit of backstory...

I started at a new job last November and initially all was good. But work have slowly ramped up the pressure to the point where it is pretty mental. At the moment, I still don't know if I have a permanant job... I'm waiting on the next few months to find out... and therefore the pressure continues. I don't have a lot of free time and when I do I have a lot of commitments. Reading. Reviewing. Friends. My life. And so I struggle to get everything done that I want to and in the time that I want to get it done in.

This isn't a "I'm announcing the end of my blogging" post and it's not meant to sound like that. This is a little bit of an apology and just a bit of a heads up of how things are going to go from here on out...

I have so many books on my to be read pile at the moment that it is literally freaking insane. At the moment I think the pile has stretched to 30 books (at least half of which I have brought myself so it is self inflicted...) and while I am gettting through them at a steady pace, my reading will be a bit slower. So what I'm going to do is this. I'm going to continue to read and only review books that I believe are exceptionally amazing and need to be highlighted. Or books which I really enjoy or have been waiting for for such a long time. That's not to say that the odd book will get a slightly negative review. I'm honest with all my reviews and books do not always live up to our anticipations. Also ones which I specifically request. At the moment, I have a list of about 19 books which I'm meant to be reviewing and I am going to fight fight fight to get them all reviewed, however with my current review plans, I fear that some may have to be written off... Well not exactly...

I am going to do, possibly once or twice a month, a round-up review type thing where I'll feature a few books I have read and what I thought of them. For the occasional book there might as well be a review as I'll write a novel about it, but it'll be featured. I want to feature EVERY book I get sent because I cannot begin to explain how much I appreciate every book I get sent. But work and everything has totally messed u my blogging this year and trust me, I am mad!

But yeah, that's how things are about to go down... Or at least I hope so. Ha. Again I want to say, the the publishers, publicists, authors and anyone else that ever sends or has sent me books, I want to say thank you. I really do appreciate every proof, signed copy, finished copy, manuscript, pdf I am sent. When I first started I was able to keep up but now I get sent so much from you lovely folk that I just don't have the time. That's not to say "please stop" because you guys know me better than that by now! ;) You send me such lovelies and some I would never dream of getting under my own steam and then I fall in love so thank you! I will do my best to get them reviewed or at least mentioned. I'll email you my thoughts too!

So yeah... hopefully things will be a lot more structured around here. Thanks for reading, if you managed to get to the end.

News: Cover art for Insurgent by Veronica Roth is revealed!!!

Now readers of EoB may have seen that I reviewed Divergent by Veronica Roth. Since then I have been dying for Insurgent, the second book which is out in May 2012. I for one cannot wait and now the cover has been revealed and it is stunning. Featuring the emblem for one of the factions, Amity, it's a corker and I cannot wait. It has an autumny feel to it and it makes me want to read it on a cold wet rainy November night. Don't ask me why. I'm weird like that... Anyway... cover time...


News: Trailer for Charlie Higson's The Fear

The Fear by Charlie Higson is the third book in his The Enemy series. It's out now and below is the brilliant trailer which features a zombie demanding to "Biiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttaaaaaa!" and some young children...


Friday, 9 September 2011

Cover of the Week: The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond

Now, I've never read anything by David before but this book sure does sound like the place to start. The are two covers. I believe one is the YA (the black one, as it's published by Puffin) and an adult one. I love both so both will feature as Cover(s) of the Week! :D



I love both of these. The simplicity of the Puffin cover on the left reallt draws me in. The mouse with wings. It makes me think: "Ooh... this could be interesting." And I love the texture of the cover on the left too. Which one do you like most?

Christopher Paolini Answer's Fans Questions: Lead Up To INHERITANCE

In the lead up to the much anticipated final book in Christopher Paolini's fantasy epic, he's been answering fans questions that were sent to him in May via his official Facebook page. Below, are the first two videos in a series that will get fans excited with just under 2 months left to go till release date for Inheritance! Argh! Which reminds me. I need to pre-order it. Still haven't done so yet! Argh!




The Scopio Races by Maggie Stiefvater [Review]

Written by: Maggie Stiefvater.
Published by: Scholastic.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 18th October 2011.
Rating: 2.5/5.

Official synopsis: "A stunning new novel from the bestselling author of SHIVER, LINGER AND FOREVER. Stay alive, stay astride, stay out of the water... Every November, the Scorpio Races are run beneath the chalk cliffs of Skarmouth. Thousands gather to watch the horses and the sea that washes the blood from the sand. The mounts are capaill uisce: savage water horses. There are no horses more beautiful, more fearless, more deadly. To race them can be suicide but th danger is irresistible. Sean Kendrick knows the dangers of the capaill uisce. With one foot in the ocean and one on land, he is the only man on th island capable of taming the beasts. He races to prove somethin both to himself and to the horses. Puck Connolly enters the racs to save her family. But the horse she rides is an ordinary little mare, just as Puck is an ordinary girl. When Sean sees Puck on the beach he doesn't think she belongs. He doesn't realize hisate will become entwined in hers. ..."

I've always said that I pride myself on my honest reviews and in writing this review, I've never had to live by that mantra so literally. This will probably be the most honest review I have ever written. It isn't meant to sound scathing and if it does, then I apologise.

I am a big Maggie fan. I love her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and think that Forever is one of the best books I've read this year. I was so excited to hear that she was publishing a second book this year. A stand alone by the name of The Scorpio Races. Then I heard the premise and read the synopsis which you can see above. Ooh. It had me hooked. I wanted to read more. I got so excited and when I heard that proof copies were being rolled out amongst the blogging/reviewing community I did a little squee dance and practically sat by the letter box until I received mine. I quickly began to read the book, and soon my heart sank.

Maggie's usually lyrical writing just isn't there. It's clunky, clumsy even and some bits are down right confusing. At points I had to read certain parts again and again. At some points the reading experience was annoying even. This coupled with the fact that I really do love Maggie's other work made me very sad as a reader. I just could not connect with the book nor it's characters. The characters don't seem to have any flesh to them and just seem to be there for the sake of it. They don't really have any purpose. And something that did annoy me was that one of the main characters, Sean, was called by his full name throughout the entire book. By everyone. Sean Kendrick. Sean Kendrick. Sean Kendrick. It alone felt very clunky and just made no sense. If these people know him, why call him by his full name every time they see him? To me, it just didn't make sense.

Several times I found myself to be quite bored and not wanting to read on, and at one point when I was about... a third... maybe nearly half way through the book, I put it down and re-read a book that I'd read earlier in the year and absolutely loved - I needed something to take my mind off it for a while. Perhaps after a break it would be better...

The overall premise of horses that leap from the sea to tear humans from limb to limb, and the race along the treacherous waters of the ocean in November, the month that the horses are most ravenous for human flesh is brilliant. It alone is the reason that I continued to read on. I wanted to see how it ended.

Now the point of this review is not to stop people from reading the book. That's not the point and that's not why I blog. I just wanted to be perfectly honest. While I very much disliked the book, I know there will be people out there who will love this book. And so they should. There is something there. It just didn't work for me. I felt that it would be wrong of me to sit here and praise a book that I didn't like. 

My thanks to the lovely Alexandra at Scholastic for my copy. 



Day of Vengeance Blog Tour: Inspirations Behind the Vengance

N.B: So this was actually supposed to go live on Tuesday but for some reason Blogger didn't do so and I've only just been able to check it out. Anyway, here it is and I apologise for the lateness!

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Today ladies and gents we welcome Johnny O'Brien, the author of the Jack Christie Adventures as part of The Day of Vengeance blog tour to celebrate the release! Today he's talking about the inspiration behind the series! Check it out below:

I got the idea for the Jack Christie stories when clearing out a cupboard at my Dad’s home in Scotland. It contained all this memorabilia from the First World War - when my Grandfather fought in the Irish Guards. There was all sorts of stuff - uniforms, medals and even a citation from Winston Churchill. My Grandfather was injured in the war and this got me thinking about the choices people make and the consequences that follow – even from quite trivial decisions. It also made me think about what caused the First World War – and the trigger point of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. Basically, I wondered what I would have done if I had been there and known what was going to happen – would I have stopped it and thereby perhaps prevented the war?
That’s the thing about history – it makes you think, in a particular situation, what would have I done? Would I have been brave enough? Would I have let people down? Would I have been a coward or a hero? It was a small jump from that to Jack and Angus – ordinary kids who go back in time and face exactly that choice. The other books in the series explore different periods of history but also revolve around ‘what ifs’ and turning points – or ‘counter-factuals’ to use the jargon. There are obviously paradoxes that arise from representing such possibilities in a story using time travel – although the ‘internal rules’ in the Jack Christie series seek to ‘manage’ these. To an extent you have to suspend disbelief for this – as with all time travel.
In Jack’s place, I am not sure what I would do... but the leap I am trying to get readers to make is that in the present, today, and in their personal lives we all have to make choices and these choices have an impact on those around us. In this sense there is a constant dialogue going on in your head based on what you did in the past, what your choice is now in the present and what it will mean for the future. So there is a parallel between the ‘general’ (in history) and the ‘specific’ (personal) – and what interests me is when those two things come together – just like Gavrilo Princip’s personal decision to fire the trigger and assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914.

Wow! Thanks for stopping by Johnny! Check out below where else you can see Johnny stopping off on the rest of the tour!