Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Celebrating The New Harry Potter Covers Blog Tour: Chamber Of Secrets!

Harry Potter has been a huge part of my world ever since I was seven-years-old and read Philosopher's Stone for the first time.  I've grown up with Harry, Hermione and Ron and that is the main reason why I am so insanely excited to be part of the blog tour!  We have a some awesome content from the new edition of Chamber of Secrets, including GORGEOUS gif showing illustrator Johnny Duddle's sketches for the cover, some awesome pictures and author Katie Coyle's reasons for why Harry Potter is so important to her.  I may also throw in a little fangirling from myself, if you don't mind!  ;)
But enough of this: onto the fun stuff...

Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets

Harry Potter’s summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors – and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone ... Dobby’s sinister predictions seem to be coming true.

Jonny Duddle, jacket illustrator for the new Harry Potter children’s editions reveals three facts about the cover of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
  • I bought a Slytherin robe, so the boy from next door, Sammy, could model as reference for Harry.
  • I bought the Slytherin robe because it was cheaper than the Gryffindor version!
  • I changed Fawkes at the last minute, and turned his head to face out of the painting.

The finished cover!  Isn't it gorgeous?!

Katie Coyle, author of Vivian versus the Apocalypse, explains why Harry Potter is so important to her:
Katie Coyle!
"I was twelve when I met Harry Potter, just young enough to believe my owl from Hogwarts was flying slightly behind schedule. Without him, I would not be a reader; I would not be a writer. No story has ever affected me as much as Harry’s. His was the first that made me feel as if two doors had opened inside my head—one leading to the outside world, huge and new and endlessly interesting; the other leading inward to myself, memories and emotions I had yet to understand. I’ve loved other books, but only with Harry Potter have I had the curious, enveloping feeling that the book somehow loves me back.
"At the series’ core is a strong moral code, lessons in how to become a better, braver, more empathetic person. How to fight injustice—sometimes clumsily, always rightly. How to stand with Muggle-borns and house elves. How to love wildly, boldly, even if it means breaking your own heart. Over seven books, Harry loses nearly every adult who ever cares for him, but he never shuts himself away. He invites more and more people into his life, people he will love and could easily lose. This is the most important thing Harry Potter ever taught me: that everyone I have ever loved will die, and that is all the reason to love them just as hard as I can.  
"That is, after all, what Harry would do. And though my owl is at this point nearly seventeen years late, I think I’ll always look to him for wisdom and guidance. Because while of course I know he was just a story happening inside my head—there is no reason on earth that should mean he isn’t real."

And this is from the back cover!!  I love Dobby and this picture is too cute!  Way more fitting with the book's version of Dobby, too, rather than the movie one! 

The New Harry Potter Website!
Bloomsbury Publishing has relaunched its Harry Potter website to support the new children’s editions. The new Harry Potter site uses the Jonny Duddle artwork from the new children’s editions and includes pages of information on the bestselling series as well as exciting new content from Magical Downloads to a Harry Potter Quote Generator. Check out the new site at: http://harrypotter.bloomsbury.com/uk/
Check this site out- it's AWESOME!

And A Little Rambling From Me To Finish
As I said earlier, I feel like I grew up with Harry, Hermione and Ron.  I didn't start when the first book came out (in no small part due to the fact I would've been one at the time - I'm good, but I'm not that good) but instead found the series aged around seven.  Before long me, my mother, cousin and aunt were all reading the books and debating about them.  I can't remember how long the four of us would sit there, arguing about who was good, what would happen in the next book and who was our favourite character.  
For me, Harry Potter was not only an intensely personal, magical and beautiful journal, it was also something that really brought me together with people - first with the rest of my family and then with people and school and finally bloggers.  C'mon, who of us aren't massive HP fans?!
But Harry Potter also helped me find myself.  My mother is the one who turned me into the addicted reader I am today (yeah, Mum, the insane number of books I own is all your fault) but Harry Potter influenced the kind of books I read.  It turned my young brain from animal books onto magical, action-packed and exciting books.   I like to think it gave me my crazy imagination and helped me grow as a daydreamer.  It made a young child believe in a whole new kind of magic and a now adult believe anything is possible and that magic really does exist.
I mean, even after all these years, I remember the magic of reading Harry Potter for the very first time.  The magic doesn't really go, not really, but that first time...  It's just beyond description, something only another Potter-lover can get and something only Potter makes me feel.  Why else would I queue for hours in the freezing cold with only cookies and tea to keep me warm, waiting for the very last book to come out?  God, that was a good night...  I got my face painted and played wizard-y games...  I haven't queued for a book since because it will never, ever be the same.
But my point is, these new covers are going to inspire a whole new generation of die-hard fans like myself.  They're beautiful - obviously Harry Potter but with a new magic, a new spark.  And new fans are discovering the magic every second - and realising that books are ALWAYS better than the movies.  My younger brother found  this out last year - he read all seven books over the summer holidays and loved them so much he constantly told Mum and me HP facts we already knew very, very well.  He was just so excited and in love with the books: magic!  And these covers will give that to new children and new families and will give them stories they will treasure forever.  And, really, is there anything more magic than that?

Phew!  Sorry about that last bit - they said to add my own views...  I didn't realise my views would be so long!  Anyway, keep up with the blog tour - it's so brilliant!!  Check out the Philosopher's Stone post on Winged Reviews and stop by Jess Hearts Books tomorrow for Prisoner of Azkaban! 
Anyway, I hope you like the post - and the new cover, of course!!  Let me know what you all think in the comments!!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Series: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book One
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
Published31st March 2007
Number of Pages: 398
Book: Bought
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Comedy, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Children's, YA, Children's-YA Crossover
Recommended Age: 9+
Contains: Violence, Death, Mild Swearing
No Alcohol, Drug References
Skulduggery Pleasant Site: Skulduggery Pleasant


Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: detective, magician, warrior. 
Oh yes, and dead.

Reading Skulduggery Pleasant takes me back to when I was like ten and reading this series for the first time.  I was instantly hooked.  This book is exciting, hilarious, fresh and funny.  It's magic.  Pure magic.  In the way Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Mortal Instruments and Vampire Academy are magic.  And I know it's too young for me and it probably ought to be a guilty pleasure, but I just can't feel guilty about loving this amazing series.  It's just too freaking good!  It's awesome with a side of awesome with sprinkles and awesomesauce and chocolate on top.  And no.  I’m not exaggerating.  Read and find out – or at least read the rest of my review.  You'll get it.  
I hope...
 “A crazy laugh escaped [Stephanie’s] lips when she reflected on how much her life had changed in the space of a day.  She had gone from being a perfectly ordinary girl in a perfectly ordinary world to become a target for water-soluble weirdos and a partner for a skeleton detective out to solve her uncle's murder...”
Stephanie Edgley's uncle Gordon died suddenly.  At his funeral, she meets Skulduggery Pleasant.  He's completely mysterious, a detective and former friend Gordon's.
Oh yes, and dead.  
He's a living (in the loosest meaning of the word) skeleton.  And when Skulduggery busts a door in and starts throwing fireballs at an intruder, Stephanie's whole world crumbles around her.
Magic exists and it's everywhere.
And now she's involved with one of Skulduggery's cases: her uncle was murdered and a bad sorcerer is behind it.  Said sorcerer is also after a very powerful, very dangerous and all-too real 'mythical' item – one that could change the world as we know it.  
But don't worry.  Skulduggery Pleasant is on the case.  He might be dead, but he's the best detective out there.  Plus, he's joined by kickass swordswoman Tanith Low and sorcerer-slash-tailor Ghastly Bespoke.
Not that Stephanie herself is helpless.  She has a new name, a new goal, and a whole new world to explore.
Well, you know, unless it's destroyed first or something...
Skulduggery Pleasant has been one of my favourite series since I first read it.  So when I found myself a few books behind, I saw the perfect excuse to read the whole series all over again.  Oh, the hardship!   But I forgot just how much I adored this series.  Cause I love it.  It's funny, it's magic, it's exciting, it's action-packed, it's amazing, it's fun, it's awesome.  I can't get enough.  Derek Landy is my hero, Skulduggery my master-slash-comedian-slash-teacher and Stephanie my friend.  Yep, that good!  I just love it too much.  
And I love all the characters.  They are brilliantly bizarre and brilliant.  Plus, they all just have the coolest names in the history of ever
Now, Skulduggery Pleasant has got to be one of my favourite characters ever.  He's definitely my favourite skeleton.  He’s totally brilliant and just a little weird.  I love that.  And, my God, I want his mind.  He's amazing.  And hilarious.  I love him to pieces.
Stephanie, I love.  She's so determined and funny and weird.  Her wit?  Legendary.  And she's very relatable – haven't we all felt like we don't belong, like there's more out there?  I know I have.   And a little secret...  I wish I was Stephanie.  Not just for her wit, though that helps... But she's just really strong and brave and funny, has the coolest taken name and the most awesome friends...  I'm jealous of a fictional twelve-year old...  Something is wrong with me...
Anyway, I love Stephanie and Skulduggery's relationship too – it’s so funny.  Their witty repartee, their snarky, hilarious banter…  It just kills me and I love them so much – so, so much!
Oh, and the other characters are awesome.  Especially Tanith: I love her - she's so badass.  I love Ghastly too.  Serpine... scary as hell.  Shudder
But I loved that our heroine was Stephanie.  She didn't start off as a badass magic ninja like the others.  People saw her as helpless.  But she wasn't.  Why?  Because she was smart and strong and brave and good.  She's a good role model, really: even those who seem powerless have hidden strengths and can overcome anything if they're just smart and stubborn enough.
I'm reading too deep, aren't I?  Sorry...  
love Landy's writing.  So witty and funny and fresh.  And just so completely hooking.  I literally love every single second of his writing.  I love how he has me gnawing at my fingernails while also making me laugh my head off.  Skill, that is.  Legendary, awesome, kickass skill.  And my God, the plot was just too brilliant!  It's so fun and addictive!  So full of action and suspense and laughter.  Ergo, I just loved it.  It’s awesome.
And damn, I love this world!  It’s so freaking cool: I love love love it.  So much that I just wanna move there like right now!  I wanna be a sorcerer.  I wanna be Skulduggery’s sidekick.  Sigh.  I love all the mythology, all the lore.  How Landy’s taken old myths and made them awesome and new and sparkly.  He just breathed life into the whole paranormal genre.  It’s awesome.
Skulduggery Pleasant isn’t just a book that dazzles the targeted nine-plus audience.  It dazzles me, and I am not-so-much nine.  And I was just as much wrapped up and dazzled by it on what I’m pretty sure is my third or fourth reading.  That’s the sign of an awesome, legendary, new-classic book: you never get tired of it.  Never.  I could read this whole series in a single sitting and still not have enough.  Hell, if I was only allowed one series on my desert island, Skulduggery would be right at the top.  It has everything you can want - action, adventure, magic, excitement, suspense and non-stop laughter.  This is a must read for all kids - be they young, old, reluctant or book-addicted.  Even if they're not so much a kid anymore.  This series...  Well.  It's enough to get anyone hooked to reading!   I'm addicted again and I just can't get enough.

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Buffy The Vampire Slayer

A Special Team Skulduggery Pleasant Edit!

Happy Reading


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Better Than Perfect Blog Tour: Derek's Phone & Chapter Three Extract!

I'm super excited to be part of Simone Elkeles' Better Than Perfect tour!  It's a really cool tour, as well: the posts are like snapshots of the character's texts, which give extra insight into the attached extracts!  Awesome!  And, of course, all this in celebration of one amazing author and one of her brilliant books!  So I hope you enjoy!! :D

Uprooted to Chicago, Derek is missing the company of his old roommate Jack back in California. Just what is with this mad new family he has been forced to live with? Find out in the extract...

Don't forget to stop by the rest of the blog tour!
Previous Stop On The Better Than Perfect Blog Tour: Uncorked Thoughts
Next Stop On The Better Than Perfect Blog Tour: Escapism From Reality


Thank you Bloomsbury for letting me be part of this awesome tour!  I'm loving the book!!  I hope you all read it and love it - oh, and that you love the new paperback cover!  :)
And you can check Better Than Perfect out on Goodreads and Amazon, as well as following Simone on her Blog, Twitter and Facebook!


Blurb From Goodreads!
Ashtyn's life just got complicated. Her boyfriend is being distant and her sister's back at home after ten years - with a stepson in tow!
Derek has a perfect body, THE sexiest smile and a car - Ashtyn's only way to escape from her crazy life. But Derek likes to play by his own rules and is keen to take Ashtyn on a ride she'll never forget. As they spend more and more time alone together, will Derek's flirty games drive Ashtyn wild?
A sweet and steamy romance from New York Times bestselling author Simone Elkeles.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Echo Boy by Matt Haig

Series: Echo Boy, Book One
Publisher: Random House
Format: Hardback
Published: 27th March 2014
Number of Pages: 416
Book: Bought
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopia, Suspense, Action Adventure, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 13+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing
No Alcohol References
Author's Site: Matt Haig

Audrey has always surrounded herself with books and music, philosophy and dreams.  It’s what makes her different to the Echos: eerie, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters.
Daniel is an Echo – but he’s not like the others.  He feels a powerful connection to Audrey; a feeling he was never designed to have, and cannot explain.
But he’s determined to try.
A powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.

'What was he?
Savior, or monster?'
The year is 2115.  Much of the environment has been destroyed.  Technology has come on in leaps and bounds and the world is full of Echos: machines built to look like humans, to serve humans, emotionless and blank.  
Audrey Castle's father is anti-Echo, anti-technology.  He taught Audrey how to stay human in this inhuman world.  Castles in their castle, building a moat of thought to protect them from the technology…
But the moat isn't enough.  Audrey finally understands what he was talking about thanks to a devastating incident, after which she finds herself living with her uncle - Alex Castle, the biggest distributor of technology in Europe, who owns a house crawling with Echos.
One is a boy named Daniel.  But he isn't like the others.  His eyes are too bright, too alive.  He can feel pain.  He's... more.  More than just an Echo.  More… human
They could not be more different and yet they also could not be more alike.  Alone, they stand no chance.  Together, they might just have a shot...
I don't really know what I was expecting from Echo Boy.  I've read a few things by Matt Haig in the past, but Echo Boy... it was just so very different.  And not just from his other books - but also from similar-ish books I've read in the genre.  I was absolutely hooked from the very first page and was utterly absorbed from start to finish.  I cannot wait for the second book!
As for the characters, in sci-fi futuristic books like this, for some reason I tend to find it hard to relate to the characters.  But in Echo Boy, it was easy.  Audrey, for example.  Despite her futuristic world, she felt like someone who could exist today.  She loved her classics, hurt terribly and had a mistrust of the things that had taken her old life from her.  Saying this, however, I felt the way she suddenly came around to Daniel a little unconvincing – if I'd been through what she had, I would be way more jumpy, untrusting and resentful.  Nonetheless, I really liked Audrey.
I wasn't expecting that much from Daniel: he is, after all, a cyborg, an Echo.  But I loved him and was thoroughly intrigued by his character.  His chapters were slower than Audrey's to begin with, but I enjoyed them more.  I loved him and loved seeing him struggle with his humanity, struggle with discovering who and what he was.  He fascinated me and I was one hundred percent behind him. 
I also liked the relationship between Audrey and Daniel.  The beginning did feel a little unrealistic but I liked how their connection grew.  I also liked that the feelings between them weren't the typical YA feelings.  They were deeper, different, complex.  Beautiful.  
I don't really want to say too much about the other characters, because I really don't want to give anything away.  I liked that no one - not even Audrey and Daniel - were how they first appeared, how I always had to be on my toes.  I like that in a thriller!
A Special Echo Boy FanPic By Me!
The writing was also brilliant, although the lack of contractions bugged me a little.  I got the formalness in Echos and even adults, but teenagers?  Not so much.  Even so, I loved how we got to see through both Audrey and Daniel's eyes.  And I also loved how each word felt important, necessary and true – how they all had significance and opened up my imagination, as well as slowly painting the full picture.
I also loved the philosophical side of Echo Boy, all the moral issues, the deeper meanings and the emotions – it all just blew my mind!  I was just shocked by how utterly deep this book was: the more you think about everything brought up, the more there is to ponder.  I also seriously want to talk all things Echo and philosophical, so let me know if you're game for this!
However, I must admit that the beginning of the book felt weird for some reason - I don't really know why…  But I soon got over that, because this plot is brilliant.  It's like... a puzzle: we're given tiny snippets, piece by piece, until the whole picture slowly unravelled before our eyes.  I loved that.  And whilst the pace could be slow at times, it just added to the.  But that final quarter... wow!  The pace of that last bit was so different and makes me so excited for what is to come next!  So, people, if you're feeling like it's lagging, just hold on because Echo Boy really fights back with that last bit and it makes everything so worth it!
But the world building may have been my favourite part of the whole book: it is amazing!  This world... it's full of advantages, but they covered up a huge question: how can you hold onto your humanity when the world around you is so thoroughly lacking it?  The world, the technology and all the questions these raised intrigued me and I can't wait to read more about the world of Echo Boy.
So yes, Echo Boy was really not what I was expecting.  It was a million times better.  It’s the best sci-fi futuristic book I've read in a long, long time.  It is clever, thought-provoking, different, emotional, real.  It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me it was amazing.  It was made of the exact right amount of marvellous world-building, suspense and thought-provoking questions.  I loved Echo Boy and I honestly can't wait to get my hands on the second book.  I have a feeling that it'll be like the Empire Strikes Back...  

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Starters by Lissa Price
Partials by Dan Wells
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Happy Reading

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Giveaway (UK ONLY)! Win 4 Signed Sets Of Easy And Breakable By Tammara Webber!

Hi fellow book addicts!  So nice  to catch up with a few of you at YALC - hope you had as brilliant a time as I did!!  But back to the present - I have presents!!  Four of you lucky ducks can win a signed set of Easy and Breakable, courtesy of Penguin!  How can you resist?!  To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter widget below!  
I'm really, really sorry to any international followers, but this is UK only!  It ends Saturday 26th July - just one week from now!!  So enter ASAP for your chance to win!!   Oh, and check out my Giveaway Policy before entering please!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Messenger Of Fear UK Cover Reveal And A Quick Question For Michael Grant!

I was so excited to be asked to take part in the UK cover reveal of Michael Grant's new book Messenger Of Fear!  This book looks awesome - if slightly terrifying!  You can read the first few chapters: here!  But first I present the amazing UK cover for Messenger of Fear!!

I don't know about you guys, but I love it! The perfect amount of beauty and terror, if I say so myself! What do you guys think of it?  Do you prefer it to the USA edition, which you can see: here?  You can see Michael's reaction to the UK cover in the video below!  Let me know your reactions in the comments, too - or tweet them via #MessengerOfFear!

To celebrate the cover reveal, I also got to ask Michael a quick question, via Egmont.  This is the result...
Me: What made you want to write books that are so fantastically terrifying?Michael: My basic inspiration for MESSENGER OF FEAR was that I wanted to write something scary. I realize that’s not a very profound answer, but the truth is I like to have fun with my work. I thought MESSENGER OF FEAR would be fun to write, and I was correct. It’s a kick to write. I have fun doing it. I hope readers have as much fun reading as I do writing.
Well, if Michael's new book is anywhere near as amazing as his previous ones, I am very exciting and just know I'm going to love Messenger of Fear!!

Find out more about Messenger of Fear on Goodreads, tweet your thoughts to #MessengerOfFear@EgmontUK and @EMTeenFiction!  

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Mutant City Blog Tour: Inspiration

I'm a huge, huge Marvel fan and so I was over the moon when I saw Steve Feasey was writing Mutant City - and even more overjoyed that they wanted me for the blog tour!  For those of you who haven't had a chance to get their hands on MC yet (it's out TODAY: buy it now - you won't regret it!!), it's the perfect book for X-Men fans (like me) and I just can't recommend it enough!  But, enough rambling from me.  Steve has done us a post about Mutant City's inspirations - enjoy!!  :D

I’m often asked where I get my ideas from, so here’s the truth - I steal them. Alright, I don’t actually copy anyone’s ideas (plagiarism will only land you up in court surrounded by lawyers), but every book or article or short story I read, every movie or TV show I watch and every console or PC game I play might just be a little kernel of an idea that grows into something much bigger. That’s not really stealing, but sometimes it feels like it.
Mutant City was no different in this regard. I had an idea for a book about a boy with telekinesis – the ability to move matter with one’s mind – but the idea was a bit ‘sketchy’, and certainly not a story. It wasn’t until I thought about the type of books I’d like to write after my Changeling series, I wanted something with a science fiction feel to it, that I knew how the book could work. Two of my great loves when I was growing up were science fiction and fantasy books (I, like lots of fans of these genres, don’t like to lump them together) and I thought it would be great to merge some of my favourite aspects of these two genres to create a post-apocalyptic world in which a ruling elite, with all the power that advanced technology can give, ruthlessly oppresses their mutant neighbours. Into this mix are thrown five children with special mutant powers; powers that the ruthless President of the technocrats wants. Thus, the battle lines for Scorched Earth are drawn.
To pretend that comics like 2000AD, Spiderman and Marvel’s X-Men didn’t have an influence on Mutant City would be foolish. I adored, and still do love, these stories, and some of the most original story ideas ever have originated in the panel-and-bubble comic book format (you only have to look at some of the top-grossing movies of the last ten years to see how appealing these narrative and the ideas behind them are).
Mutant City wasn’t any easy book to write. Some of the ‘bad science’ I had to employ to make the world and the societies in it jarred with me, and I’m already anticipating emails from people keen to point out various scientific anomalies I’ve included. Also, telling the book from multiple viewpoints was hard at times, and restricted my ability to really explore the characters in way I would have liked.

Having said all that, I think it is a good book, with the right mix of world-building and action. I really hope it sparks the imagination of the vast majority of readers, and leaves them wanting more. 

It's definitely left me wanting more - I can't wait for Mutant City 2!  Thank you so much for stopping by, Steve - I hope you all enjoyed the post!  And that everyone picks up a copy of Mutant City!!  Oh, and take the Mutant City quiz and discover what your Mutant power would be!
I'm having a bit of trouble with Goodreads at the moment, but you can check Mutant City out on Amazon, check out Steve Feasey on his Site and Blog and on Twitter
Mutant City is out today so support the Mutants and pick up a copy now!  #StayMutant!