Thursday, 5 March 2015

'Why I Can't Live Without Books' - World Book Day Teen Fest Post + GIVEAWAY

Today is an exciting day for soooo many reasons not least because its WORLD BOOK DAY annnnnnnnnnd the Wold Book Day Teen Fest is still going strong. WBD TeenFest is a fantastic event on the 4th & 5th of March from 6–8pm bringing amazing authors including Holly Smale, Marcus Sedgwick, Malorie Blackman and Derek Landy and many more straight to your screen! With Hangouts and interviews, how-tos, blogposts, playlists, prizes and much more, each night will be packed with brilliant booky stuff as well as the chance to chat with other readers and writers. Plus we have a giveaway of a surprise bundle of YA books!!! Whats in them you say, well ITS  SURPRISE! :D Scroll down to the bottom to find out how to win! 

To find out more about WBD Teen Fest, check out their website for the full line up of what is happening across the internet for World Book Day! We'd also love you to share todays theme of  'why you can't live without books' on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram however you like using the hashtag #cantlivewithoutbooks as they will be retweeting and reposting some of their favorites, so get involved!

I Lovvvve world book day, always have. Loved getting the tokens in school, loved finding out whose writing this years stories ( I was ecstatic when Darren Shan did one) and then actually going and buying them. And i got me eve more involved with my school library, which I think is such an important thing for everyone to be a part of. 

Today I wanted to share with you why I can't live without books. I'm sure like many of you we could all write looong essays, but ain't nobody got time for that, so what I thought I'd do was share with you all the books that have helped define me...a sort of This is your Life through books, because lets face it the reasons I can't live without books is because they're such an integral part of my life that they've made me who I am today.... Let he journey begin:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling

As cliche as this might be I DON'T CARE (I Love It :p) I still remember picking this book up, looking at it, holding it, reading it...and again and again and again....I know I can go pick this book up and just start reading it at any point and just be engrossed. There's just something about the writing, its one of those magical things that defy explanation, and I'm so glad that its been a part of my life!

The Curious Incident of the Dig in the Night-time by Mark Haddon 

This book was given to me to read by two very special people in my life. My secondary School Librarians Anne and Mary. I used to be very anti reading books I didn't want to read, but I've learnt over the years that that's how you find amazing reads and this is an AMAZING read. It has stuck with me since that first reading, and I still remember the big old brown folding page Hardcover I first read. Its one of those books I can always turn to, that put a fresh perspective on life and that has cropped up in weird way ever since! Speaking of which check out the picture below of my school library where I spent many an hour. 

It was through this I was introduced to the Carnegie Award (I even got to go to the award ceremony and give the presenter a gift!.... You can see me in this VERY embarrassing picture below. Meg Rossof was very interesting to meet ( telling me to beware of falling Pianos) and i got to meet KEVIN BROOKS who knew my name before I'd even said anything!!!  

It was events like these where I got my first taste for meeting authors, and the amazing experience that can's not led me to have ALL my Darren Shan books multiple editions...multiple countries editions...and even a change of name edition.... 

But I digress...lets go back to the books... 

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud 

Not going to lie...I was a big one (and still am sometimes) for judging a book by its cover and this was once such book, that I felt drawn to, and boy am I glad I read this, it was my first read of some very well written fantasy, which skilled comedy inserted and its paved the way through all my wonderings in Discworlod, the Neverwhere streets of London and Middle Earth....

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Again this was a cover based decision...(hadn't read or even heard of the Da Vinchi Code yet) and was my first forray in reading Adult Fiction. I got the thrill that the genre takes its name from, and rightly so, it took me on a journey, it was so vivid and from there on in I was an ADULT READER and that was a strange feeling taking on the big boys books.... Feels a bit like a strange jump... and now I'm possibly going to make it worse but jumping right back down tooooo....

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywelt and Oliver Jeffers

My love for books, eventually and unsurprisingly saw me venture into the retail world of books as a bookseller at Watertones, here I am with my find Kindle demonstrating skills. It's also where I developed a LOVE for picture books and the amazingness that is... it was hard to pick a specific one, I could do countless post about amazing picture books, but this I picked as one of my favorites because of its whit, humor and down right Oliver Jeffers! I once ran a Oliver Jeffers themed activity session and no one turned up so I had the best hour making rockets and start myself...

From that I ventured into the fantastic community of blogging, and through that I've got to meet some amazing people and work on some fun and creative projects... YALC video anyone #becausewhynot

.. Half Bad by Sally Green was my first review and so here it takes it place in my journey:

There are sooooooooooooo many amazing books I haven't been able to talk about, but we'd be here for years! So now I will leave you with a #shelfie on one section of one of my walls...albeit a very blurred one (I'm going for dark and mystical sorta thing..ya either. I also seem to have a bit of a think for Stephen King. Maybe its the name.

.And there you have it, my bookish life, and how every part of it revolves around I literally can't live without books, they define me and make me who I am! Don't forget to share why you can live without books and your book shelfies over on twitter!!!

Oh I mentioned a giveaway didn't I....Well now all you have to do is tag us @DarkRReviews in your #cantlivewithoutbooks ...include pictures go crazy...and our favorite will win the bundle! Looking forward to seeing all your tweets 

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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Book Review: Fin Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson

Title: Finn Fancy Necromancy
Author: Randy Henderson
Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: 13th February 2013
Synopsis: Finn Gramaraye was framed for the crime of dark necromancy at the age of 15, and exiled to the Other Realm for twenty five years.  But now that he’s free, someone—probably the same someone—is trying to get him sent back.  Finn has only a few days to discover who is so desperate to keep him out of the mortal world, and find evidence to prove it to the Arcane Enforcers.  They are going to be very hard to convince, since he’s already been convicted of trying to kill someone with dark magic.

Review: I think we can safely rename this book Finn Fancy Fun Necromancy (not that Finn needs any more nicknames adding to the list), but this book was a bit of fun. I read it over the weekend and it was the perfect journey book, swept me in, kept me going and had me suitably entertained.

The action takes place over a few days, and as such the world is built as you go long, so you're constantly learning and adding things to build up the framework, This worked for me because everything wasn't set in stone, or pre-determined , so I got to experience a different side of magic and the occult. It was also nice that every character had a different role to play in this; you had enforcers, with their lightsaber-ish batons, Finn with his talking ability, Heather and her alchemy...even Sammy with her allergy to magic all banded together to create something fun, and something modern and I liked that fresh element of a modern setting.

I loved all of Finns references and his own learning curve having missed out on 25 years in exile (not a spoiler its on the cover) and the way in which he still had that connection to the past, including full on Shatner nerd out was a nice character touch, especially since he didn't feel like the fifteen year old he was sent away as. Zeke's constant use of 'Fool' made me think Mr T was in the book, or maybe that's just the way I read it...that's how other people read it too...right? Right!? It added something either way aha, as did his choice of clothing and hairstyle. These were the little things (G-mail anyone) that gave the book some punch and made it an enjoyable read.

Great d├ębut, especially if you like a bit of fantasy,  hoping to read more of this author in the future!

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Friday, 27 February 2015

Book Review: Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

Title: Half the World
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: 12th February 2015
Synopsis: Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War.
Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man who trained her to kill.
Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior.
She finds herself caught up in the schemes of Father Yarvi, Gettland’s deeply cunning minister. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit.
Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon.
Beside her on the journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill, a failure in his eyes and hers, but with one chance at redemption.
And weapons are made for one purpose.
Will Thorn forever be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path? Is there a place beyond legend for a woman with a blade?

Review: So here we are again back travelling the Shattered Sea with (now a minster) Father Yarvi, older, wiser and a deep cunning man. This time accompanied by a new motley crew and a new mission...find allies! And as the sleek cover suggests, war is on the cards, with Half the World ( see makes sense eh) against them so it would seem.

One of the things I really liked here was the symmetry with the first book, how the journey across the seas, reflected the journey of the charters. The role of the ship played a great part in shaping and defining the characters, which was topped up by the crew themselves. Recently I've been going to the gym (fun fact you probably didn't want to know) and 'attempting' the rowing machine, which almost made me feel like I was on back or with Thorn, and in a weird way made me keep going, for fear of Ralph if nothing else.

It was great that we got too see more of the realm here, venturing down the denied and up the divine, through the elf relics and into the first of cities. The history of the elves was a subtle addition, that flowed naturally into the story, rather than being a massive focal issue which was nice, but its still something I'd love to learn more about. Similarly the place of religion was a natural part of the story that added depth to the world, but yet isn't being thrown in your face. That's not what the book is about or trying to do. All these elements, politics, religion, war blend in nicely, woven like a nice tapestry, which a writing style I really enjoyed. What I do love is the personification of elements with proper nouns like Mother War and Father Peace, they helped give character to the world that was created. For those of you that love a bit of action, there's action aplenty, from one on one combat to battles and internal conflicts of the heart.

I still loved Yarvi as a character, and like a fine wine he's aged and grown with books. Actually I loved all the characters, Thorn was tough an feisty, Brand was more soft but has a deep character, Skrifr was eclectic and fun and her elf magic added that level of spark, whereas not so much that it made it a purely fantasy book.

This is a great series that I would encourage everyone to read, I think it appeals to a lot of different interests, and is a well written story. I am very excited (and sort of sad its ending) for the final installment!

Do let me know what you think of it!!

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