Wednesday, 30 November 2011

New Affiliates

I am very pleased to announce that we are now affiliated with two awesome Hunger Games sites.
Check out these cool sites for all your Hunger Games news!

HG Girl On Fire
Hunger Games Down With The Capitol

Also check out the Interview we did a while back with HG Girl On Fire Here :)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Top 10 Tuesday- Top Ten Books On My TBR List For Winter

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks list is Top Ten Books on my TBR list for Winter.

Here is my list of books I cannot wait to snuggle up and read in the cold upcoming months in no particular order :)

1) Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
2) Crossed by Allie Condie
3) Fever by Lauren DeStefano
4) Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
5) Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
6) Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
7) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
8) Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
9) The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
10) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Review- Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent 
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date Published: 03/05/2011
Rating: 5/5


Synopsis:
Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place her in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.


Review:
The story focuses on Beatrice Prior who lives in a society divided into five factions.Candor ( honesty and frankness), Abnegation (Selflessness), Dauntless (Bravery), Amity (Friendliness) and Erudite(Knowledge).
Beatrice is born into the Abnegation faction and following the theme of many dystopian novels when people turn sixteen they have to choose whether they will stay in their faction of birth or decide to join another one. Each sixteen year old has to go through a simulation which will determine which faction's are suitable for them, but for Beatrice the simulation gives a rare result, she is Divergent. This is something that is unheard of in the society.
She finally decided to leave Abnegation and pursue her life with a different faction Dauntless.


I loved how fast paced I found Divergent. Especially when Tris (Beatrice) decides to join Dauntless. Dauntless are renowned for fearlessness and there were many parts of the novel when the people in Dauntless had to do crazy stuff which kept me on edge. An example of this is train jumping which was just plain mad but so exciting to read.


I loved all the characters in Divergent, and how they each had their own story to tell. I liked the development of Tris as a character. From the obedient daughter to a fearless leader figure, you get to explore a daring and courageous side of her. She does things that she would have never imagined doing if she stayed in Abnegation.

Tris slowly starts developing feelings towards her Dauntless trainer Four ( Strange name I know, but you find out why he is called that). I loved Four's character and to see his relationship with Tris develop. Four isn't your typical male lead. He does not show the fact that he is head over heals with Tris instead he is hard on her which helps her become stronger and more brave.  The book doesn't primarily focus on their relationship which was refreshing to read and it did have a great plot outside this relationship.


Divergent is one of the most exciting and thrilling books I have read. There wasn't a moment where I was bored. I loved how Veronica Roth developed her dystopian world, the characters, the plot line and the romance was perfect! I honestly cannot wait to read Insurgent. 
A definite must read!


Click here to buy Divergent

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Scorch Trials By James Dashner

Title: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2)
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Young Adult/ Dystopian
Other in series: The Maze Runner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date Published: October 12th 2010
Rating: 5/5


Synopsis:
Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.

The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?



Review:
The Scorch Trials Continues from where we left off, having been rescued from the glade Thomas and his friends think that finally all their suffering has come to an end. But they are wrong. The rescue was nothing more than another plan of WICKED (The mysterious organization who run the Maze Trials). The book instantly begins into action. I Love how James Dashner doesn't create one boring moment for you as a reader. As with the Maze Runner I was constantly on edge whilst reading this book.


The new trials are called the Scorch Trials where Thomas and the gladers have to cross a diseased land filled with people gone mad with the diseases called the Flare. Teresa who is the only girl in the first book, mysteriously disappears in the beginning of the book. At first I didn't like this as I was hoping for a romantic subplot to unfold but in the middle of the book you find out why Teresa had to leave.


Thomas and his friends Minho and Newt, lead the gladers across the ravaged land in the promise of a cure for the flare. From there onwards you are taken on a thrilling and exciting journey full of obstacles and unexpected twists. I have never read a book so fast paced in my life. I finished reading The Scorch Trials in one day. I just couldn't put it down.


James Dashner executes this book too well. The only problem was that I was hoping to get some solid answers to the questions from book 1. While you do get some of them most of them were not answered for me, I guess I have to wait to read The Death Cure the final book in this trilogy.


I would seriously recommend everyone of any age to read this book, It's that good! I couldn't put it down! If you like mystery and adventure this is a book for you!


Click here to buy The Scorch Trials



Sunday, 20 November 2011

Guest Post by Author David Farland

Recently I received an email telling me to check out the first book in David Farland's groundbreaking Nightingale series with a new technology created just for this book. I was blown away by the whole idea of the book. The Nightingale series is an enhanced novel with more than a hundred fill-color illustrations and animations; author's notes and interviews; and its own 45-minute soundtrack. Something which I have definately not encountered before. Today David has kindly agreed to do a guest post for out blog and share some more information on his series. 

Reading in the Future
Imagine that you put on your “reading glasses.”  The glasses are dark, fitted with lasers and high-quality stereo earbuds, so that as you put them on, your entire field of vision is captured.  A laser inside the glasses flashes a novel title on the interior surface of your eye. 
Of course, the book you see is my book (why not, it's my fantasy). The letters start small, off in the distance and they quickly draw closer to you, but they don't stop, they wash right over you and just when it seems they're all around you, they explode in a burst of light, “Nightingale, by David Farland.”  You can hardly imagine what life was like before 3D. As soon as you read the last word, a laser with a computer link that tracks your eye movement cues the background music, and images begin to flash in your eye—a holographic video-clip of the character of Bron, as an infant, being abandoned outside the door of a cheap hotel in the Utah desert.  The camera pans up to the face of his mother, Sommer, bitter and broken, with tears in her eyes.  We flash to the prologue, where Sommer runs through a forest at night, her breathing deep, while dogs snarl and bark as they give pursuit.  Fireflies rise up around her.
Words to the novel appear on screen, as background music continues, and you begin to read.  As Sommer twists her foot and falls, the lasers pace your reading and insert a sound-effect—the thud of a body falling, the hiss of breath knocked from Sommer’s throat.  The dogs bay more excitedly.  A man’s heavy footsteps can be heard tromping through the brush behind the reader, and a startled mewling cry escapes Sommer’s throat. . . .
Welcome to the future of reading, where text, images, sounds and music forge a collage.  That’s the vision I have that led me to become a co-founder of East India Press.
The technology to do this already exists. The use of heads-up displays in fighter jets was pioneered in the 1960s, and that technology has now gone public.  Though readers now are using the iPad2 and the Kindle Fire, I’m looking forward to the devices we’ll have five years from now, or ten years.
How can reading technology be better than with current books?
We don’t want to replace reading. We don’t want to make movies.  Reading often engages the audience’s imagination in ways that movies fail to.  We want to keep it that way.  We want the reader to be a partner with us in bringing a tale to life.  At the same time, we hope to ‘enhance,’ the story, help readers become more fully involved with it, yet keep budgets reasonable.  With film clips, animations, illustrations, background music, and sound effects, we can create something that fuses a lot of storytelling tools.
Creating e-books has become cheap and easy.  This year, it is estimated that three million people will be putting their own e-books up for sale.   That’s a staggering number.  If you spend twelve hours a day just examining those titles, and spend only ten seconds studying each e-book put up this year, you wouldn’t be able to glance at even 1/100th of all the books that will be published—much less read one!
Readers are being deluged, often with books that aren’t any good.  Most of those books, unfortunately, wouldn’t have made it past an editor.  The author just wasn’t ready.  Sure, there will be a few diamonds among all of that coal, but no editor will have time to sort through it.
I've had my share of sorting through manuscripts.  For nearly a decade I was the first judge for one of the world’s largest writing contests.  A funny story, once an editor of a major publisher asked me to help pick a book to give the “big publicity push to” for the next year.  I read through thirty books and selected a book that the marketers thought was “too-long” for its intended audience.  I pointed out that the book was also written several grade levels too high for its intended audience. But it was a great book, so I urged them to push it despite the book’s apparent problems.  It was called Harry Potter.
Even though authors can publish their own works, we’re going to need editors in the future who understand how to green-light a novel, who can recognize what will please an audience.  But once a work is selected, the editor will take the role of a producer—assembling a creative team of composers, musicians, illustrators, animators, directors, sound-effects engineers, and so on.”
Distributing enhanced books won’t be expensive.  After all, it will be done electronically.  There are no copies to print, ship, or store.  But creating them will be expensive and time-consuming.  
Still, it will be a lot less expensive than making a movie.  To create a really great movie with a lot of special effects can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and it will only give the viewer an hour or two of entertainment.  But by meshing technologies, we can create a similar experience with novels, spending perhaps only a hundred thousand or two—and it will give a reading experience that might last for twenty or thirty hours or more!  Novels have a unique ability to let us achieve deep penetration into the minds and emotions of a character, much more so than with a film.  I’m excited about the possibilities.
In fact, I am so excited about the possibilities that I went indie with this next novel. I didn't have to by any means. I'm an award-winning New York Times bestseller. Instead, I decided to start my own publishing company for enhanced novels.  I see potential. Nightingale is the first young adult novel I’ve written, outside of a little work with Star Wars and the Mummy.  I knew it could be a hit, but I wanted to do something . . . unique with it. I've trained dozens of other #1 international bestsellers, people like Brandon Sanderson and Stephenie Meyer, and I've learned to spot “good,” whether it's someone else's work or my own. Nightingale has it.
Now that it’s done, this is a first step toward creating a more-engaging form of novel, the kind that kids who are reluctant readers might devour.  I’m looking forward to see what we can do in ten or twenty years. But Nightingale is a step toward that future.
Nightingale is the story of a young man, abandoned at birth, rejected from foster home after foster home.  People see that he’s brilliant and talented, but also “strange.”  He’s the ultimate loner until he meets Olivia, a marvelously gifted teacher, who recognizes that Bron is something special, something that her people call a “Nightingale,” a creature not quite human.
I was excited to see how it would be received. I was even more excited when the first reviewer said, “I devoured the novel.  It was absolutely incredible! . . . I struggled to explain just how much I enjoyed it in my review. . . . After reading Nightingale, I don't think I will even be able to go back to reading regular e-books again.  Like it says in my review, reading the enhanced Nightingale felt like an ‘experience.’ It didn't feel quite like a book or a movie. It initiated all of my senses.  . . . enhanced ebooks are actually a real deal.” That's what we were hoping people would see in it. The future of books is beginning now.
Best of all, East India Press has created a new web simulation technology that mimics how the book appears on the iPad, so you can see and hear it for yourself for free at www.nightingalenovel.com.


*COMPETITION* David Farland is giving away a computer edition of The first book in the Nightingale series. To enter you must watch the book trailer first at: www.nightingalenovel.com/trailer The reason for watching this trailer is that it very dramatically shows off the art, animation and music that is included in the enhanced version. After watching the book trailer please leave your name and email address below.




Friday, 18 November 2011

Review- Across the Universe By Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: Young Adult/ Sci- fi/ Dystopian
Date Published: January 11th 2011
Publisher(UK): Penguin Teen
Rating: 3/5


Synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.



Review:
I read Across the Universe after reading Glow which was also set in space. I liked Glow and I enjoyed reading Across the Universe as they are both very similar.
Across the Universe is set on a space ship called godspeed and due to wars and diseases people have left earth to inhabit a new planet. The freaky thing is that they freeze people and put them on board the godspeed. In the beginning of the book you get a very vivid description of how they go about this which went right through me, so vivid!  Amy the main female protagonist is  one of the very few people to board the ship due to her parents deciding that its best if she comes with them as they are both in the  military, and they need intelligent people to help establish on the new planet they are going to.
Amy chooses to go along but is woken up from her slumber years before they are due to arrive.


The Male lead is called Elder, he is the second in command of the ship and is currently being trained by the leader of the ship called Eldest. For a male protagonist I didn't have that much on an interest in him. He didn't appeal to me in a way many other male leads in different books do. His personality is described as pretty dull and unexciting.


Beth Revis created a world that was exciting and different there is a lot of scientific elements involved. Across the Universe has to be the weirdest book I have ever read. Not only is the idea so unique but the whole plot was strange yet endearing. I liked how the book shows the struggles of a community trying to keep the population stable in space. As you read on you find out lots of interesting things as to how the ship is run and more about the leader Eldest and how he isn't as great as everyone first makes out.
Beth Revis keeps the reader in mystery and suspense throughout! I was really shocked at the end of the book.(You have to read it to find out why)


What I didn't like was what Beth Revis describes as "the season". This is  where people mate like animals in front of everyone to try and reproduce. I found the whole idea slightly crazy. Apart from that I really enjoyed this book and will recommend it to anyone. I am certainly looking forward to reading A million suns and see how Eldest and Amy's lives progress on the Godspeed.


Click here to buy Across The Universe

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Review: Rules Of Attraction by Simone Elkeles


Title: Rules Of Attraction
Author: Simone Elkeles
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker and Company (27/04/2010)
Rating: 4/5

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.
 
After reading the first book in this series Perfect Chemistry I had to pick up the second book. I was kinda worried that this book wouldn’t live up to the high standards Perfect Chemistry set, but I can honestly say that it exceeded them. I loved this book!


This book is set in the point of view of Carlos Fuentes, the little brother of Alex who was the male protagonist in Perfect Chemistry. Admittedly, when I found out that this book wont be a continuation of Alex and Brittany’s love story I was disappointed. But that flew out of the window when I began reading. Alex and Brittany are still quite heavily featured in this book and have their own plot line. I also found Carlos and Kiara’s love story more compelling than Alex and Brittany’s.

If you think that Rules Of Attraction is just a typical boy meets girl love story then think again. Although romance is prominently the main theme in the book, the book also covers some heavy more serious issues as well. As we saw in Perfect Chemistry, gang violence was a topic which covered most of the book and that is still the case in Rules Of Attraction. There are many parts in this book which kept me on edge, not being able to guess at all what happened next.

Kiara is the female lead in the book and what makes her different from any other female lead I have read is that she has a stutter. When Kiara meets Carlos her stutter comes back after months on working on it. I loved all the characters in this story but Kiara was my favourite. Kiara isn’t your typical girly girl like Brittany was in Perfect Chemistry. She is a bit of tom boy. Another character who I really liked was Kiara’s gay best friend Tuck. He brings a lot of humour to the book and there were many times I was laughing out loud. It was also nice to read about Alex and how he has changed since the last book. I was happy with his plot line in the book playing the responsible older brother.

My one criticism with Rules of Attraction is that it was fairly similar to Perfect Chemistry. Both stories are alike in many ways but I didn’t dwell too much on this. There are still many differences between Carlos and Alex and Kiara and Brittany.
I really couldn’t put this book down, I read it in less that two days! I recommend this book to anyone looking for a light read and I cannot wait till Chain Reaction the third book is released in the UK!

Click here to purchase Rules Of Attraction

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: 5/5


When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.



Review: (May contain spoilers)
I cannot describe how much I loved this book. From the first page I was hooked. 
Thomas, the main character in this book wakes up in an unknown place called the Glade. The only inhabitants of the place are young boys. He comes up from a mysterious box without any knowledge of his past or as to how he is there. The other boys that had lived there before Thomas go through the same predicament.  What I really loved about The Maze Runner is how fast paced it is. Literally from the first page you are taken on an exciting journey with many unpredictable twists and turns.

The leader of the Glade is called Alby as he was one of the first ones to arrive at the Glade almost two years ago. No one remembers about their past life or what is the purpose of their seclusion from normal society.But they know one thing that if they want to ever get out of the Glade they have to solve the dangerous Maze haunted by half animal half robot creatures called grievers that come out at night. Each day a group of boys run around the maze hoping to find a way out. What I really liked with The Maze Runner is how unpredictable it is. Sometimes with books I can guess what happens next but with the Maze runner I was constantly shocked by the turn of events. I believe Dashner did a tremendous job keeping the reader hooked. I also loved many of the characters Dashner Incorporated into the novel. Thomas the protagonist is a humble, brave male lead. Other characters I loved include Minho, the leader. Frypan the cook and Newt the loyal friend. I loved all these characters because they were all different and brought something new to the story. They all had different roles to play.

I was so engrossed in this book that at times I thought I was actually in the glade experiencing the same problems as the rest of the Gladers. Their are so many questions that I had whilst reading the book, most of which were answered at the end but not all. I still don't know why those boy's were specifically chosen to be in the maze or for what purpose. I guess I will find out in the next book, The Scorch Trials which I cannot wait to read!

I found the silly words and language that the boys use in the Glade funny and different. Some of the characters really grew on me and I feel I have grown a connection as a reader with them. The Maze Runner was an exciting, pulse pounding read and I would recommend this books to everyone. Fans of Dystopian Novels will surely love this book.


Click here to buy



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