Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Book Review: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud

Title: The Hollow Boy ( Lockwood & Co #3)
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Corgi Children's Books
Release Date: 24th September 2015
Synopsis: Lockwood & Co. might be the smallest (some might say shambollic) Psychic Detection Agency in London. But its three agents - Lockwood, Lucy and George - are exceptional Talents. And they get results. When an outbreak of ghostly phenomena grows to terrifying levels in Chelsea, Scotland Yard is left baffled.
Even more baffling is that Lockwood & Co appear to have been excluded from the huge team of Agents investigating the Chelsea Outbreak. Surely this is the perfect chance for them to show once and for all that they're actually the best in town? Well, that's if they can put aside their personal differences for long enough to march into action with their rapiers, salt and iron . . .


This was very much a shouting book for me...meaning I was shouting at the book to not do what I think was about to happen whilst I was sat on the overground...Yes that weird shouty man was me! I love that in a book, you want to be shouting, laughing even crying...and I did all the above (except the crying).

This is a fantastic series, and also one that's very visual...I could easily see it as a TV series, but it has that potential to do so much and explore so much, but London is host to quite the number of Visitors, and non more so than the epidemic thats spread across Chelsea. And what a range of Visitors, I like how it's not just your bog standard ghost, but you get a range with a whole system built and it makes me want to carry chains around with me just in case. Why do you think I talk about cake so much, it's a protection thing (because of all the ghost fighting energy i need!)

Stroud has such fluid writing style that I just fall into, that kept a really good pace, there were some great tense moments, lots of build up and drama, which gave a lot of character development and overall made for a darn good story.  We got to explore more into Lockwood's past...we had the introduction of Holly and the spanner that caused with Lucy, and whilst a lot of the Lucy Lockwood Holly triangle was a bit blatant, it still made for good, because I'm sooo sided with Lucy I was fighting with her.

I think one of the great skills in this is how realistic the alternative London is, and this is something Stroud has always done will...in this and in the Bartameus cycle...you recognise places and names and it makes the book more of a tangible thing when reading.

I'm very very much looking forward to the further adventures of Lookwood & Co something is and has been brewing over the last few books and when this will come to pass who knows but I can't wait to find out!

The short and sweet is read this book, especially with Halloween coming up...I read it late at night and every creak freaked me out!

read more "Book Review: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud "

Monday, 5 October 2015

Brotherhood of the World Bloggers Award

So this has been a Looooong time coming, and I apologise for that (don't really know where the months are going)! So I was tagged by Daniel @TheBlogBookshop, check out his site HERE,  to celebrate the Bros in Book Bloging (Hells Yeah) which I support wholeheartedly...lets get more guys reading and blogging....so thank you for that!!

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate some blogs.

 So here we go!!:

Question 1. What's the best ARC you've received this year? 

Ohh (sometimes it's actually hard to remember :o). I think the best was There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake. I remember having the pack and thinking ok...sure I'll give it a go, starting it and being like wow there are some typesetting errors and then being blown away when I realised the reason for it and getting so caught up in the book and the dream world that was interweaved. Such a good book! Everyone read it! 

Question 2. Paperback or Hardback, which is best and why?

I think I always prefer paperback. However I have also found that if it's not a full chunky hardback, or isn't a regular size, but smaller that it actually looks really nice and I'll like a hardback. Also if a book is coming out and I can get it signed I do like a nice signed hardback, but that won't be for reading it'll be for keepers (like my Patrick Ness or Ben Aaronovitch books)! A lot of YA in Hardback is actually quite like and can deal with. Plus some books I just have to read as soon as they're out, like Darren Shan or the new joe Abercrombie books...so HB it is 

Question 3. Do you have an eReader and do you prefer it to a physical copy of a book?

I do have an eReader, two if you count my tablet and actually three if you count my phone, but I use that the very least of all for reading. I donfind them very useful (but still mainly buy print books if it's a book I want). I find they work in a good tandem and sometimes I need them because there isn't a physical copy of the book...so its not necessarily that I prefer one to the other is now more a necessity thing. I do remember not being so keen when they first came out and really hating how the flicker when the page turned on the old models...oh how times have changed!

Question 4. Whats the first book you remember buying and how old were you?

I really want to say Harry Potter when I was in year 6, but that's probably a memory has so I'll share a different one. I remember being in the Books etc (RIP) in Victoria coach station and looking in the teen section, and I came across Darren Shan. By this time there were a couple already out and I pickd up The Vampires Assistantm which was book no 2 and then Cirque Du Freak and purely based on the cover I picked The Vampires Assistant...and thus started my Love for Darren's book, and also my judge a book by it's cover phase. Something I don't stick to now, but something that is a deciding factor when loking at a book for me. If we don't know a book the cover is what draws people in and I can normally tell a lot about a book from its cover and I like that.

Question 5. What fictional character would you like as your best friend?

This is hard, because yes you know a character but I find I don't necessarily know them as I do my best friend, so could they be completely different in real life! 

I remember years ago I used to love the character of Suzy Turquoise Blue and I haven't read the books in years but she always sticks out to me, so possibly her. Or a younger Thursday next! Now THAT would be a lot of fun! 

Question 6. Who is the nicest author you've ever met or chatted to online?

Oh gosh there have been sooo many, that have been so lovely or accommodating in different ways that I couldn't pick one! Shout outs have to go to; Darren Shan (who I feel like I talk about a lot) who has always signed as many books as I would care to bring along to events over the years! CJ Daugherty who is always sooooo amazing and I love hanging out with her at events! Kevin Brooks who knew my name before I met him (which was weird and amazing all at the same time) and special shout out to my new family of artists and illustrators at Bright who are always so lovely to talk to on emails and on the phone or go crazy dancing with or tweet at - I'm looking at you Julia Patton! That wasn't one #SorrynotSorry 

Question 7. What book has been on your shelf the longest that you just havent gotten around to reading?

Haha this is most of my shelf, so picking one that's been there the longest is hard! Especially when my shelf isn't even here with me right now... I never did finish The Hobbit after getting bamboozled when I tried to read it in year 6, so that's deffo up there. As a compulsive book buyer I know that I'll buy a book and not read it for years, but it'll be a happy retirement one day! 

Question 8. What book parents would you like to have as your own?

I feel like I read so many books where there isn't a paret or only one...so this is a bit of a weird one. Having never had a father, I feel like I don't need one, but would like a father figure like Dumbledore in my life because everyone needs someone like that. As for mother...ummm I really want to say Mrs Weasley, even though I really should pick from outside this one book!! But she was so amazing and had such passion and care you'd deffo want her, even if she is a big fusspot!  

Question 9. Which book could you read over and over again if your TBR pile wasnt so overflowing?

I'm starting to feel like a broken record...Harry Potter for sure. I only read them late last year and I want to go back to them! There are a couple though... Philip Pullman I easily could. A series of unfortunate events... The Amulet of Smarkand for it's pure comic value. Stephen King's Blaze. I just read the Marvels..but any of the Brain Selznick I feel are very dippable if you wanted sometime to read one rainy afternoon.  

Question 10. Explain your love of books to an alien who has just landed on planet Earth?

This would depend on whether they understood emotions in the same way as us! I want to refer back to by Blood Ink Fire post on life without books and the void it would be as a way of explanation and VOID is a great word for that empty space that would exist...the size of a galaxy if I didn't have books. I LOVE BOOKS!

Now I am supposed to nominate some fellow bloggers, and this is terrbile but I can't think of any fellow boy bloggers that haven't already been nominated! If there's someone I've missed out let me know or pass the tag on! However I nominate:

Cory @ChelleyToy Because I think it's so great we have a blogger out there so young but so passionate 

Rhys @rhyswolfgang

And I'm going to do the same thing as Daniel...I sort of enjoyed answering these questions so I want you tagged guys to answer the same 10 questions!!! 
read more "Brotherhood of the World Bloggers Award"

Exploring The Marvels with Brian Selznick

Title: The Marvels
Author: Brain Selznick
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Release Date: 15th September 2015
Synopsis: Two seemingly unrelated stories--one in words, the other in pictures--come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries

Review: I remember read the Invention of Hugo Cabaret, and falling into that story, and in the same way I did so here, which is such a great example of how a story can be told without words, and I found i was making up all the little bits of description as I was exploring the pictures. There was a beautiful fluidity to this, and to the text, but especially with you pictures you could just stare at one for a long as you want and really pace the story as you wanted which was fantastic. I think I stared at the Angel for about five minutes. And his characters! Selznick has this ability to create such realistic character that carry this beauty to them! The book is split with the first half-ish in pictures, with this beautiful story and the ending on a cliffhanger to jump a hundred years on and start Joseph's story in text which again I fell into...and then the twists! I didn't see them coming which was great and each time had me exclaiming and as the story unfolded I wanted to cry, to laugh for it to not end. I think it's safe to say this book was blooming brilliant!

Exploring The Marvels

Last week, by chance more than anything else (and bad memory, so sometimes it does pay off!) I got to go to an event at Waterstones Piccadilly where Selznick...might just start calling him Brian. Hope that's ok everyone. Where Brian was talking about the book, and what a fantastic talk it was, and so I wanted to share as much of it as I could for everyone who couldn't be there. This is paraphrased to as much as I could type at the event! #disclaimer.

The Marvels started off as a 100 page novella about the work of George Melies that then turned into a five hundred tomb. What originally was three  pages of description was taken out and turned into 48 pages of images (amazing) that in many ways Brian wanted to create a sort of silent movie in a book. I love that he initially said that Hugo could never be turned into a book...and then Martin Scorsese calls and you can't really say no to that! 
The Marvels, and indeed his other books is a Visual story telling single narrative handed back amd fourth with the images and text so it's a single arc so you hadn't remembered what you read and seen.
After Hugo when he was approaching Book two he wanted to so something different with two separate ongoing tangents until they meet at the end, and voila Wonderstruck.
The inspiration behind Wonderstrck came from documentary about deafness (at which point Brain starts signing as he spoke) and he wanted to bring that jnto the book because you experience life in a very different way so he told the story of the female character who is deaf in a very different way to the other story tangent. 
His creational process, which spans about three years per book) is very interesting, starting off with always writing what he wants to draw...draws the little thumbnails and makes a dummy book. They look so adorable! With the actual drawings he finds models that look like his characters and then uses this to develop his characters and then spends a solid year on the actual drawing. When his story was sent to his editor, she uses a blue pen for corrections because it's less mean than using red! (might have to use this in future :p) 
Selznick calls The Marvels his valentines to London. Lived in London for three months in am amazingly central flat, right down the road from the Theatre Royal Haymarket, which was an inspiration for the book (Selznick has wanted to be a set designer and has worked as a puppeteer which is something I really want to learn to do), as was that amazingly eclectic Dennis Sever's House (which everyone should go and experience). It's exactly as if the 18th century family that live there just left the room. A lot of his memories from his experiences were brought into the book, from the dragons as the old markers for London to the dog who became Tar.
Then we have the fantastic trailer which he made himself with a few aides..including a specific perosn in charge of the shipwreck (love it)  which you can check out below. I also love how when we watched it he bobbed along to the music of the tailer!!! It's catchy I'll give you that! 

The Marvels is out now, deffo grab a copy...possibly some tissues also. 

read more "Exploring The Marvels with Brian Selznick "
Imagination Designs