Wednesday, 27 February 2013


I've got some great news. My sister and I are currently in the process of writing our first novel.

Amazingly, it's not looking too bad the the moment, but it needs a lot of editing and work.

I'm looking to see what people think of our idea. Please please please leave a comment below (or any other way you could communicate to me) about what you think of this idea, whether you would read it, or whether you think it sounds like anything else. We're in dire need of people with this kind of information.

So this is pretty much what would be on the back of the book , were it to be published:

'Evangeline always thought déjà vu was when your brain glitches and can’t figure out the difference between long and short-term memory. That is, until she gets switched and finds herself in a futuristic parallel universe where the government is eradicating anyone deemed undesirable. What’s worse is that her fugitive counterpart has left her in deep trouble. On the run with a man who seems to know her, but that she has never met before, Evangeline is hurled headfirst into an adventure she never wanted.'

It's kind of a sci-fi adventure, with parallel worlds, futuristic gadgets, nods towards psychology and a view of family and friend relationships, as well as government conspiricies. 

We'd love to know what you think.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Guardians and the Lost Paradise series - Michael Abayomi

Well, first off I can tell you that Michael Abayomi is a fellow blogger, and please do go and see him and have a peek at his writing and so on. And here's his blog link for you: HERE. Also, I got the first one through Amazon and read it on my Kindle, as it's currently a free e-book. So, to be honest, it's worth getting that one. (It still is a whole story although the adventure continues)

Now lets get down to business.

Guardians and the Lost Paradise series are a 6 part series of novella length books. They center around Daniel, a boy who has recently lost his brother and whose parents are sending him to summer camp. However, all does not exactly go to plan. Daniel wakes up in a strange place after their car crashes and finds himself in the midst of a journey and adventure the likes of which he's never known.

The first book, really, is more like an introduction to the whole series. It introduces everything about the character that we need to know for the rest of the series. But as well as this, it's a good story. He meets guardians and goes on an adventure with dragons and flying unicorns, with some clever references thrown in. What's not to like?
Especially if you're a child yourself. I would say that this series is more suited to children and young adults, but it's a good read for adults too. It had me pretty captivated, though it took me longer to get through it than I would have thought.

Some things that I absolutely loved in this series were the ideas and elements of myth, legend and religion all scattered throuhgout it. Yet it was made into one coherent piece of literature. It worked. I especially liked the Valley of the SHadow of Death. It sounds awesome, and it is.I loved all the ideas that ran though it. The heavenly structure, the mythological creatures, the wilderbeasts and djinn.

But I did find it a little wearing with the speech at times, though it suited the characters. I found this especially in the first book, because I didn't think one of the people should be talking like that. It was too old fashioned for them in my opinion. They are only children and teens after all, though some much older than others.

The themes were good. It dealt with a lot of things that children go through, albeit in different circumstances: Choices, love, death, friendship, brotherhood, good and evil, religion. It was interesting in that aspect, and the author dealt with them well.

Character-wise, the only one I really felt any affinity for was Daniel. I felt bad for some, respected some, but didn't feel too much for them.

There are a few bad points. I did find it predictable. But then again I find Dan Brown books predictable and it takes a lot for me to be surprised in a book or a film, so that's normal. I also thought that it didn't need as much romance as was put in. Some was there for comedy, which I didn't think was needed, and another was there for no reason I could think of. However, I did like one involving Daniel, and the love triangle it caused, as it can help children who could be going through a similar thing.

It ended well, and happily (apart from deaths and whatnot) so I was pleased. I can see similarities with this and other children's books, but none that i know of captures the afterlife in such a way as this. I did enjoy reading the books and encourage you to have a go too, because i guarantee that you'll learn something from them.

So I give these 3 1/2 stars, maybe verging on 4. Because i liked the ideas so much.

And this is where you can find the e-books:
The Journey - Michael Abayomi

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The Secret Garden will always have a special place in my heart because I watched the 1993 film plenty of times when I was growing up. I loved the idea of a secret place you could go to that nobody knew about, the blooming flowers and tame animals. But I hated Mary Lennox.

And I mean hated. She's a spoilt, vicious, unruly brat who is finally taught a good lesson. She ends up being bearable. In the book, she's even worse. However she's more likable at the end.

So, as you now know, I was brought up with the film, which actually has slightly more to it than the book. They made the family situation more complex and certain characters have more of a part to play. It makes a bit more sense.
I know those of you who read the book first and loved it as children are probably thinking that I must not have read the same book and watched the same film, but I assure you, I have.

I think the main reason I wasn't so enthused is because I'm not a child. I think if i had read this as a child then i would have laughed along with them, found a sense of wonder in the changes that the garden and the moor bring and most of all, not been annoyed at the spelling when people are talking in a Yorkshire accent. I can quite easily imagine a Yorkshire accent, thank you. But If I were still a child, I might have even tried to do one.(Although I can see why it was used).

In it's own right, it's a nice little story about friendship, changes and gardens. Which is all well and good, as long as you haven't read anything you deem to be amazing, because then in comparison this is a really dull book. I had to force myself to keep reading it, and it's not even very long. I was happy when my kindle told me i had less than half and hour to go.

The language is extremely dated, and the overuse of the word 'queer' really started to annoy me. However the garden and nature imagery in general was lovely, and the whole premise of the story is good. I also did like a bit nearing the end that was talking about Archibald Craven. That was very nicely done.

Overall, I'm sure children would still enjoy it, but find it a little difficult, but i felt there was something distinctly lacking from it. This is may be partially due to the fact that the film had a few plot points done differently and I preferred them (and the presence of Maggie Smith).

I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Day 4- Your Favorite Book From Childhood

Just to warn you, this post is very, very link-ridden.

It's not a book, it's a series. And it's The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis. Always awesome. I always wanted to be a queen of Narnia, to meet interesting folk and have adventures.

Of course Narnia is one of the best literary worlds. It's up there with Carroll's Wonderland, Tolkien's Middle-Earth, Barrie's Neverland, Baum's Oz and of course Pratchett's Discworld. I think those are some of the best creations in literary fictional history. Although I do have to mention Cornelia Funke's Inkworld and Christopher Paolini's Alagaësia. Both rather awesome worlds.

I think I love all of these fictional places because there's so much there that you wouldn't find in reality, but it's always wonderful to think about what our world would be like if we had them. Who wouldn't want to fly in Neverland? I guess another thing that links all of these worlds is that there are film adaptations of every single one. in fact, most of them have quite a few adaptations. That means they must be good, right?

If I had to pick a particular book from the Chronicles, it would have to be The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Which actually made an even better film, amazingly. (I very rarely will say a film even compares to the book, but this one actually manages to make the plot better.) I do have to say it is the film that made me notice Skandar Keynes. At the time I had a minor celebrity crush on him.

So yes, probably my favourite set of books from my childhood. And aren't they just first class?

Image from Wikipedia

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Day 3- My favourite Author and Book by Them

Choosing a favourite author is difficult, but there are two that really stand out for me, and have quite a few books each.

Image from Google
One is Neil Gaiman. He's brilliant, and I have two favourite books by him. One of which is Good Omens, which is jointly written by Terry Pratchett, so it's very funny and pretty darn good. Good omens is basically about the Rapture, Doomsday, The end of the world. You know, that kind of thing. It even features the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Antichrist, an angel and a demon. Please read it, you won't be disappointed.

The second, just by Neil Gaiman is Neverwhere. Neverwhere is about a world underneath London (London Below), and features an unlikely hero and many names of places thet you know, but have never thought of in this way before.
I would also recommend this book to everyone, although other Neil Gaiman books can be difficult. However, Stardust is wonderful, short and was also made into a film for those of us who like stories, but are too lazy to read them.

The second author is Gregory Maguire. His books are quite adult, so I wouldn't recommend them to everyone. I'd say young adults and above. However, the theatre production of his novel Wicked is a must-see for everyone.
Beautiful cover - Image from Google
Gregory Maguire is probably most famous for Wicked, but he has also written adaptations of fairy tales. My favourite is Mirror, Mirror. Which is absolutely nothing like the 2012 film. Mirror, Mirror, protty obviously, is a reworking of Snow White. It's less magical and farcical than the Disney version, with more true to life and powerful themes, but it still includes some elements of magic. It also happens to feature the Borgias, which is just another plus really.

Of course, both also write childrens stories. Having not read any of Maguires stories I can't recommend them. Having read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and seen Coraline, I'm not sure I can reccommend his either.

Monday, 17 September 2012

0.4 by Mike Lancaster

The book cover - image from google
0.4 is the story of Kyle Straker, a 15 year old voice recorder onto tapes and transformed into a book. Nobody knows if this is a hoax or if it is real. But this is his version of the events of the early 21st Century.

I love the cover of the book. It's pretty awesome and makes you think about what weirdness could possibly be in this book. So, just by looking at it you can tell that it's a sci-fi. Futuristic in some ways and completely normal to the point of mundane in others. It has everything to do with technology. It's so sci-fi, I wasn't quite sure how to react when I finished the book. I think my thoughts were: "Well, that's odd, and also pretty cool". one thing I can say for sure is that it has some great ideas and leaves you thinking about reality.

Reality itself is a huge theme here. And I thought the book was a bit short actually, because it didn't explore reality in the way I would have liked. Sure, it was action-packed, but I wanted more background and insight.

It's an easy read, and very interesting (I read it in a few hours). But I don't think it's for everyone. Basically if you're not a fan of dystopias, weird goings-on, mysteries or classic science fiction, don't read it. If you're in it for a story that is different, interesting, and plot-driven it's for you. A good thing is that it can be read by either gender, as long as they like the premise.

Unfortunately I didn't really feel much for the characters. I understood Kyle, but wasn't really overly empathetic towards him. I think perhaps the author could have described his feelings a bit more. It was probably more aimed at a teen audience though, so I'm not really the target audience.
However, I think teens would love this, I think especially boys who like sci-fi and gadgets.

For me, this book gets 2/5 stars. While it was a good idea, and I loved the premise, I don't think it was executed quite right for me. I didn't feel much fro the characters and it was on the young side.

There is a sequel already out, called 1.4, which tells you about the aftermath of 0.4.
0.4 /Human4 on

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Wither and Fever by Lauren Destefano

Destefano conjours a world where a disease has made it so that men die aged 25 an women die aged 20. So for 16-year-old Rhine Ellory, there isn't too much time left.
Rhine has been captured by gatherers and is sold on as a bride to House Governor Linden. All she wants to do now is escape back to the life she came from, escaping this life of luxury that others can only dream of. But she has reason to. She left someone behind.

Wither and Fever are both wonderful. Full of beautiful imagery and dangerous thoughts. Sometimes they moved at a slow pace, but this didn't mean they weren't riddled with suspense and danger.
The themes are all the usual - love, life, loss, friendship in unlikely places. But it includes other, more adult themes like hardship, trust, family life and relationships, polygamy and death. It leaved you thinking about it afterwards (always a sign of a good book).

But a major theme is time. It's at the very heart of the books. There's always a sense of urgency, even when things are slow-moving. In fact, it's even worse when the narrative is slow-moving. The imagery and descriptions are stunning. I can easily imagine the places described, whether it be luxury or disease-ridden. They flourished inside my head.

I guess this is a modern, younger version of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. (Which I have read). It has some similar themes, and some not quite so similar. I'll let you decide really.

I loved Rhine, but did think at times she was a bit silly. Some things weren't as obvious to her as I thought they should have been. But she never failed me with her bravery. The character is generally wonderful, and her voice shines through. I also very much liked Gabriel. His apparent meekness reminded me quite a lot of Peeta from 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins (which I will review eventually). You could tell he had inner strength and a rebellious side, just like Peeta. Now, Peeta is one of my two favourite characters from The Hunger Games. So this must be very good.
If you like The Hunger Games, you may well like this too.

Now, I've read other reviews with people hating this book. and this is because of the premise. The whole 'girls being sold as wives to procreate' thing. But I honestly don't see the problem. Sure, the world is a little flimsy, but the actual story is good.I think nit-picking will only make you think about what's wrong with the ideas and not what it's really about, which are the themes.

All I can say really is that they were bothy thrilling, suspenseful, romantic at times and made you really think about the concepts in the book - such as death and time, and what you would have done in their situation.
I think that this dystopian is a great book for teens, young adults and adults alike, and I'm giving it 4.5/5 stars.

The final book, Sever will be out in 2013. And I'm looking forward to it.
Lauren Destefano's Page.
Wither on other reviews.