Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Enshadowed

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

Publisher: Atheneum (Simon & Schuster imprint)
Release Date: 28th August 2012

Summary (Goodreads):

While Varen remains a prisoner in the dream-world, Isobel is haunted by his memory. He appears to her in her dreams and soon, even in her waking life. But is she just imagining it? Isobel knows she must find a way back to Varen. She makes plans to go to Baltimore. There, she confronts the figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster—the same dark man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams, calling himself "Reynolds."

Isobel succeeds in interrupting the Toaster's ritual and, in doing so, discovers a way to return to the dream-world. Soon, she finds herself swept up in a realm which not only holds remnants of Poe's presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen's innermost self. It is a dark world comprised of fear, terror, and anger.

When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. With his mind poisoned by the dream world, he becomes a malevolent force, bent on destroying all—even himself. Now Isobel must face a new adversary, one who also happens to be her greatest love.

I hate leaving a series unfinished, and it doesn't hurt that Nevermore was an excellent start to a series!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Project 365: Days 3, 4 & 5

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Monday, 18 June 2012

Project 365: Day 2

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Coffee Break: My Lack of Posting

So...long time no post, eh? Please ignore the tumbleweeds going past, the blog is not completely shutdown.

I just wanted to acknowledge that I have a book review backlog of books and I haven't forgotten you. I have them looking at me with The Eye every time I venture into my office.

I had a few things going on in my life starting in March, family crisis, leaving job, things like that. So everything, I mean everything, reading, writing, blog, general life, went on the back burner whilst I tried to wrap my head around it all.

Then things finally started to calm down and I could focus again. I even had blog posts scheduled but Blogger, in it's infinite wisdom, didn't post them and then I couldn't find the bleeders on here, so I shut down a little bit again because I couldn't face re-doing the posts, which is naughty of me. Really naughty. And lazy. But those posts will be up this week. They will!

Anyhoo, just as I was about to focus on all things blog-like again after that blip, this marvellously shiny idea for a novel strolled in my head and was all, 'Emma, I need writing. Forget living! This is where you're at.' So for the past three weeks I've been in novel mode and can't stop! I'm whizzing out about 6k a day. I haven't done that in forever! Alright, I exaggerate, I haven't done any real writing since December 2010. That may as well be forever to me.

I'm nearly done with the novel. Once it's out of my head, I'm going to break from it before I begin editing, and I will have some great romance with my review books and publicise the living daylights out of them all. I will be my blog's bitch.

So please bear with me whilst I get over this blog drought.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Fifteen Friday: Tom Clempson

Today we have the fabulous funny, and slightly spider-obsessed with a penchant for freaky feet, Tom Clempson with us to answer the Fifteen Friday! Tom is the author of the ridiculously hilarious novel, One Seriously Messed up Week in the Otherwise Mundane and Uneventful Life of Jack Samsonite. Go check it out! But first, read his responses to the questions!

1. Last movie watched?
X Men First Class. It absolutely wee-weed all over X Men Last Stand (not very difficult). I quite liked it. But James Mcavoy has got quite an annoying face and a really small mouth. Michael Fassbender has got a REALLY big mouth (check out his mental grin when he moves the satellite dish)! Bigmouth smallmouth. That concludes my review.

2. Favourite meal?
Savoury Yorkshire. I’m not sure if this exists anywhere outside of my Mum’s kitchen, but it is frickin amazing! It’s a bunch of veg (onion, potato, carrot, peas) all baked into a massive Yorkshire Pudding. (Em's note: My mum made this too!)

3. Mac or PC?
Hmmmm. I’ve spent my entire life as a devout PCian, hating the restrictions, price and downright arrogance of Macs, but my wife, my iPhone and my snail-slow PC are slowly turning me to the Mac side. If only they didn’t cost SO DAMN MUCH!

4. On average, how many books do you read a year?
I’m very irregular. Sometimes I will read loads, sometimes I will read barely anything. Last year I read two whole books (not including the ones I was writing), and one of them was Diary of a Wimpy Kid (mostly pictures). But I was very busy! If I read three books this year I will be very pleased with myself.

5. Left or right handed?
Right. I’m not sure I can really elaborate much more on that. Left hands are good too though. I use it for less important stuff, like typing the letters q,w,e,r,t,a,s,d,f,g,z,x,c,v and accidentally hitting the Caps Lock key and not realising until two paragraphs later.

6. What would your superpower be?
Bullshit. Not literally. I wouldn’t hurl bovine poo or anything. But I am quite good at talking crap. It’s what I do when I feel vulnerable or uncomfortable. It’s my first line of defence.

7. Tea or coffee?
Coffee. Nearly always, coffee. I generally only drink tea if I don’t feel well.

8. What’s your worst habit?
Bullshit. Not literally, I don’t fling bovine poo in an absent minded fashion. But sometimes I don’t know when to stop talking crap, and sometimes I talk the wrong type of crap to the wrong people and either annoy the hell out of them or highly offend them (generally only people who are offended by bovine poo though).

9. Earliest memory?
My earliest memory is of a dream I had as a baby. In my dream I was in my play pen in the hallway of our old house. A blackbird flew in through the back door, perched on my shoulder, then clamped its beak to my earlobe. I cried out for help but no one came. I was only two when we moved out of that house so I don’t have any real life memories of it other than throwing my big brother’s Peter Rabbit mirror down the stairs and making him cry. That is my first memory of remorse and generally feeling like a shit. He assures me he holds no grudges about it.

10. What noise do you love/hate?
If I take that question literally then the answer is chewing food. I love/hate that noise. I love purposely chewing really loudly to gross out my wife, but I hate other people doing it for real. I also used to have a real thing about brushing teeth.

11. Favourite season?
Winter. It is the home of Christmas, New Year, my birthday, walks in the snow, cosy evenings by the fire, those amazing eternal sunsets that give everything a purple haze. But it does drag on a bit too long. By February I’m kind of fed up with it, so when Spring finally comes along I trick myself into believing that that one’s my favourite because of all the colour and life and wotnot. But then I just want proper sunshine and blah, blah, blah… I like them all, and I’m constantly impressed that, even after 32 years of them, they still manage to surprise me – “It’s 11pm and it’s still light!” or “It’s only 3pm and it’s going dark!” or “Summer’s almost over and we still haven’t had any sun!”

12. Optimist or pessimist?
I’m ALWAYS optimistic! But it won’t last.

13. Last song you listened to?
Something from the latest Winnie The Pooh movie soundtrack, we had it on in the car for my daughter. Oh! No! It was ‘When Love is Gone’ from the Muppets Christmas Carol. My daughter insisted on listening to the entire album when I put her to bed. She’s obsessed with that film.

14. What 3 items would you take with you on a desert island?
Avoiding any ‘clever’ answers like “a boat!” I would take a knife, a guitar, and my notebook (my notebook always has a pen attached to it, so those two things count as one). I’m figuring I’ll eventually get good enough at starting fires that taking matches and a torch would be a waste of items. I’m thinking more of entertainment. Instead of having to choose what music, books, films to take, I would make sure I had what I needed to write my own. The knife would be for general survival stuff.

15. If you could interview anyone from any point in time, who would it be and why?
I really do not have a clue! That’s quite sad isn’t it? It would be someone amazing. Probably someone dead (but they would have to be alive for the duration of the interview. Obviously). They would also have to have a high tolerance for bullshit.

You can stalk follow Tom on Twitter or checkout his blog...he sometimes updates it ;)! Probably more than me HA! :D. Anyway, thanks for stopping by Tom! 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Fifteen Friday: Laura Clempson

Fifteen Friday is a weekly event of the same 15 questions put to different guests on the blog!

Today we have the fabulous Laura Clempson, creator of Cupcakes for Clara! She's a nifty, talented, creative type and I'm so excited that she's here answering the questions!

1. Last movie watched?
 Bridesmaids. I wasn’t too fussed about watching it, but it was on our online rental list and actually surprised me. It was definitely better than I expected.

2. Favourite meal?
Roast dinner – nut cutlets, roast potatoes, veg, gravy… mmm!

3. Mac or PC?
Mac – always!

4. On average, how many books do you read a year?
Do picture books count? If they do it must be thousands. If not, then not nearly as many as I would like.

5. Left or right handed?

6. What would your superpower be?
The ability to add extra hours into the day. I just can’t seem to ever fit everything in, so having a few extra hours here and there would be really helpful.

7. Tea or coffee?
Tea. I don’t drink coffee at all – I always want to, but I don’t really like it. Sorry! I could drink tea all day.

8. What’s your worst habit?
 Getting stroppy when I’m tired. I can’t help it!!

9. Earliest memory?
Being woken up by my mum in the middle of the night & thrown into the bath because my little brother had been sick in my hair. Nice huh?!

10. What noise do you love/hate?
 I love the sound of my two little ones giggling, especially if they’re making each other laugh. I really hate people whispering in my ear. I don’t know why, and not any particular things, just whispering really close gives me the shudders.

11. Favourite season?
Winter. I just adore Christmas & the whole build up to it. Winter is so cosy – chilly walks, hot chocolates, open fires, cuddling up watching films, candle lit baths, roast dinners, Christmas decorations. Oh yes, winter is perfect.  

12. Optimist or pessimist?
 A mixture of the two but probably slightly more pessimist. That’s sad isn’t it? Luckily I have an eternally optimistic husband to balance things out.

13. Last song you listened to?
 Guess I’m a Fool by Hugh Laurie. I’m so excited - we’re going to see Hugh Laurie’s tour in July. Cannot wait!

14. What 3 items would you take with you on a desert island?
 Ooh, that’s a toughie. If it could it include a new-fangled charger that runs on coconuts then my iphone, a notebook, & sun cream.

15. If you could interview anyone from any point in time, who would it be and why?
 Katherine Hepburn. I absolutely adore her. Or maybe James Stewart – but I might faint from excitement! For no particular reason other than it would be amazing to meet them.

Thank you so much for having me!

You can follow Laura on Twitter and be sure to visit her Etsy shop and indulge in some of her amazing Clara products! Do it now!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Book Review - This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees

This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 2nd February 2012
Genre: Young Adult

Everyone says that Caro is bad news, but Jamie can’t help himself. He thinks of her night and day and can’t believe that she wants to be his girlfriend. Gorgeous, impulsive and unconventional, she is totally different to all the other girls he knows. His sister, Martha, hates her. Jamie doesn’t know why, but there’s no way he’s going to take any notice of her warnings to stay away from Caro.As Jamie falls deeper and deeper under her spell, he realises there is much more to Caro than he first thought. She disappears for days on end, she has small scars on her wrists, she talks about revolutions and taking action, and then there are the rumours he hears about the other men in her life.Always in the background is Rob, Jamie’s older brother, back from Afghanistan and traumatised after having his leg smashed to bits there. Jamie wants to help him, but Rob seems to be living in a world of his own and is increasingly difficult to reach. With Caro, the summer should have been perfect . . . but that isn’t how things work out in real life and Jamie is going to find out the hard way.
 I struggled with this book a little bit due to the subject matter and so I struggled to write a review that was worthy of this book. It's not that I try to bury my head in the sand about all this or I have no interest, I just find it hard to digest some of the extreme motives of the characters, which are how people are when they're involved in these situations. With that being said, it's for these exact reasons that I think Celia Rees did a fantastic job on this novel.

We follow three characters; brothers, Jamie and Rob, and Caro. The story largely stays with Jamie with a small amount from the other two to fill in the blanks of what Jamie doesn't know. I liked Jamie, he seemed to have his head screwed on somewhat. His soft spot for Caro drove me up the wall though because I reeeeally didn't like Caro. I can never relate to that kind of character- not even a teeny tiny bit. They make me nervous just reading about them- flighty, selfish and prone to trouble. But Celia did an excellent job of rounding her out to make me dislike Caro so much. Then there's Jamie- I feel he was one of those people where genetics definitely took over from nurture. Sometimes people were just born to be cruel.

 Even though the plot wasn't something I would normally read, maybe because I don't understand it (even though my dad had been in the army), I kept reading without question because Celia has this wonderful ability to write about things- habits, events going on around them, people's reactions- with such ease that you could be stood with the characters as things are happening. The images are vivid with just a few words. It's incredibly natural and I love writing styles like that.

 I highly recommend this book to everyone, even if it's not your usual taste. It's thought-provoking and intense, and it should be on one of those lists of books to read before you die.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Fifteen Friday/Guest Post: Celia Rees (This is Not Forgiveness Blog Tour)

Today we have a fantastic guest on the blog today. Celia Rees has kindly taken part in my new blog post series called '15 Friday' as part of the blog tour for her new book, This is Not Forgiveness.

Celia Rees studied history at university before going on to teach English in comprehensive schools. She has used her passion for the past and her love of literature to create much-loved novels such as the highly acclaimed Witch Child and its sequel Sorceress, as well as Pirates!Sovayand The Fool’s Girl. Her new book, This is Not Forgiveness, is available in paperback and eBook now.

Last movie watched?
The Awakening

Favourite meal?
Peking Duck
Mac or PC?
Up to now, I’ve always used a PC, but I’ve just bought a Mac.

On average, how many books do you read a year?
It’s hard to say. I read scores of books while I’m doing research. I also review and read for my own pleasure, so hundreds probably.

Left or right handed?
I’m left handed.

What would your superpower be?
Super Intellect with X Ray Vision. 

Tea or coffee?

What’s your worst habit?

Earliest memory?
Falling out of the pram just before I was supposed to have my photo taken.

What noise do you love/hate?
I like the sound of falling water, hate ipods/mp3s leaking tinny music on the train or the tube.

Favourite season?

Optimist or pessimist?

Last song you listened to?
Waterfall – Stone Roses 

What 3 items would you take with you on a desert island?
Swiss Army Knife, strong twine, Ray Mears’ survival manual 

If you could interview anyone from any point in time, who would it be and why?
William Shakespeare. I’d like to ask him where he got his ideas from.

Thanks Celia for stopping by for 15 Friday and thank you to Emma from Bloomsbury.

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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Coffee Break - The Author-Reviewer Relationship

Happy New Year! Bit late to the party...but that's me, late to everything. I never used to be a 'late person', however that's another coffee break moment.
So yesterday I saw a bit of drama unfold between an author and a reviewer which shocked me quite a bit. The gist of the situation was that the reviewer hadn't liked the author's book and had said as much in her review. The author felt rather hurt by this and retaliated in the form of a scathing email to friends (name-calling was involved) asking them to click on the 'no' button on Amazon to the review being helpful. The email found its way, through an anonymous source, to the said reviewer and a big status discussion started up on Goodreads.

I understand the need to vent when a bad review has gotten to an author. I don't know anyone who wouldn't throw in a few choice names as well if they were venting to friends, with the understanding the conversation wasn't going any further. What I'm stunned at is that she would then rally her friends to ruin this reviewer's Amazon ranking. However, in her view, she wasn't messing with the Amazon voting system, she just wanted the review to stop being the first thing potential readers see. Call it what you want, she was getting people to mess with the system because the review didn't fit to her liking, and that sort of behaviour I can believe my teenage nieces would do, not a grown author with children herself.

The point of this post isn't to condescend, as we've all done some things in anger that we wish we'd thought twice about, but just to ponder out loud about the situation, as this isn't the only author to have some questionable behaviour towards a reviewer. Quite a few well-known authors' names were soon thrown around with examples of their behaviour at bad reviews. The common factor with all these authors was that they all write in the Young Adult market.

I think the problem is that a wealth of book review blogs (and social networks) came about as the Young Adult market boomed. So there are a lot of Young Adult authors who are starting out in the industry to accommodate the demand for new fiction in the market and they've not got the thick skin to go with it just yet. It appears they feel the need to retaliate or 'troll' forums because most of the reviews are not from professional reviewers but from people who do this as a hobby and want to share their book experiences. This means the reviewers are easily accessible to start a 'hate campaign' against. If a review similar to this reviewer's had appeared in a newspaper or magazine by someone who was paid for their opinion, I wonder if the author would have acted in the same manner? Would any of the authors that seem to be holding a little bit of a grudge to bad reviews do what they've been doing?

When I think about the authors I read in the adult fiction market, no matter the genre, I can't name one who has reacted this way about a bad review. I've even seen them point out a bad review on Amazon and laugh about it because they know it's an opinion and their book won't be for everyone. Some have been really scathing reviews, to the point of ripping apart the book just because they can, and even then they grumble a bit and maybe ask the question why this person would have persevered with their book if they hated it so much. They certainly never went about asking them to click the 'no' button to get the review hidden.

However, I'm happy to have my eyes opened if there have been adult fiction authors who have taken part in this kind of behaviour. I just believe that they probably aren't likely to do it because they've been around longer and had a chance to grow a thick skin when they've had bad reviews from paid reviewers (who don't hold back), never mind people who do it for a hobby. I also know many Young Adult authors who take their bad reviews with a pinch of salt too, but again, they're a bit seasoned when it comes to the book industry having worked in other areas of it and know what reviewers can be like.

After all that, I just want to make it clear that I'm not ranting, or having a go, I'm just pondering the situation because as a person who likes to review books when I can and share my feelings on what I thought, it has made me nervous to continue down this path for fear of offending anyone that they think I've made it personal and then become personal with me. I wholly respect all authors. Even the ones I've had my eyes open to, because they've done something I haven't done yet- they finished their novel and got it published. But please remember, a review is an opinion, it's not right or wrong, and for every negative review, there's going to be at least ten people out there who thought the opposite. Focus on that and remember that you have a book published. In this climate too!

P.S Please ignore the strange gaps in this post, Blogger has been a nightmare for some time now when it comes to adding images to posts. And text. I can't seem to fix it no matter what I do with it.