Saturday 31 March 2012

Book Review - The Library Book

Title: The Library Book
Authors: Various
Publisher: Profile Books
Release Date: 2 Feb 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1781250051

From Alan Bennett's Baffled at a Bookcase, to Lucy Mangan's Ten Library Rules, famous writers tell us all about how libraries are used and why they're important. Tom Holland writes about libraries in the ancient world, while Seth Godin describes what a library will look like in 2020. Lionel Shriver thinks books are the best investment, Hardeep Singh Kohli makes a confession and Julie Myerson remembers how her career began beside the shelves. Using memoir, history, polemic and some short stories too, The Library Book celebrates 'that place where they lend you books for free' and the people who work there. All royalties go to The Reading Agency, to help their work supporting libraries.
My Review
I don't normally read non-fiction, but this came in new to the library last week, and as a member of library staff I was interested to see what all of these authors had to say about libraries and great to see such support for them, so important in the current climates when so many are threatened with closures.
This book has 24 'chapters', each one is written by a different author and tells of their experience with libraries, how they first fell in love with the world of books and there are a couple of extracts from books.
I found it fascintating to find out how they all first encountered a library, or first found their love for books. Some are funny, some more in depth and others captivating.
I loved 'The Rules' by Lucy Mangan, her idea of what she would enforce is she ran her own library made me laugh. 
It's also interesting to hear how libraries have changed, many of them talk about big, important sometimes restricted buildings in which stern faced librarians ruled, or scholars ruled, the buildings large, intimidating. To think of the library I work in is like an entirely different world, gone is the days of silence in the libraries and children can have their choice of books, no rules on fiction/non-fiction.
This book is a great tribute to what we do and what we can offer, there are no limits to libraries, anyone can come in, borrow books, use computers, sit and look at papers, attend events. They have been around for years and should be round for many more. 
Hopefully this book will make people re-think the way they look at libraries.
It's also great that profits from the book go straight back into library funds.

My Rating

Friday 30 March 2012

FF (63) & TGIF (46)

Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs! Want to join? Check it out at Parajunkee.

This week's question feature is from
Alluring Reads

Q: Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?

My Answer: I always used to read one at a time, but it depends on what I'm reading/timing etc at the moment. It tends to be two at a time (one physical book, one e-book) that seems to be a good balance and avoid confusion. 


This meme is hosted by GReads!

This Friday's Question: 
Book Blogger Retreat: If you could gather up a handful of book blogger friends to spend a weekend away talking books, where would you go? Tell us about it.

My Answer: Well, I've never been on a blogger retreat so anywhere would be nice. I've always quite fancied going on one. Would be quite nice in the countryside somewhere on a nice warm spring day. We could walk the hills and fields whilst discussing our favourite books, imagining the setting being filled with wonderful characters, then going back for tea and cakes in the evening. Ah, bliss!

 Happy Hopping, have a great weekend everyone!!!

The Hunger Games - The MOVIE!!!

I know everyone is doing these posts and I wasn't going to, but I love the series so much I just can't resist. If you haven't read the books/seen the film yet, this contains Spoilers.

I first saw the Hunger Games film on Saturday (24th), It was torture waiting even an extra day to see it, but I couldn't get to the cinema before that. I went straight from work on Saturday to the 5pm showing. I had pre-booked tickets and went with my brother (who hasn't read the books) and my colleague from work (I made her read the books!)

When we arrived it wasn't too busy but when we walked into the screen it was quite full, but they were a great audience, quiet for the most part with the occasional jump or gasp when required.

As the film started I could barely sit still, I was so excited, my heart was racing and I felt very emotional. I couldn't believe I was actually there and seeing the film.

I was crying within the first 10 minutes, so much emotion and power just in those first few minutes. And the Reaping. OMG, I had goosebumps and I had to try and control my tears. Willow Shields (Prim) did an excellent job, I could really feel her fear, and Jennifer Lawrence is just Katniss, 100%.

To be honest I thought I would sit in the cinema and be like 'well that wasn't in the book', but you know what, I wasn't, it was such a good adaptation and so well done that I was just swept up with what was happening. The shaky camera effect made me feel a bit funny at first, but I soon adjusted to it and think it added to the atmosphere.

The first glimpses of the Capitol took my breath away just like Peeta, it was astounding. All the costumes, make-up, buildings, sets etc, so much work gone into it.

Jennifer Lawrence - I couldn't have asked for a more perfect Katniss, she really portrays the emotion and struggle of the situation. When she volunteers for her sister, begs Gale not to let her family starve and one of the best I think is just before she enters the arena, when she is physically shaking. It made me shiver and I just wanted to find a way to get her out of there. I also think the scene with her up the tree trying to treat her burn was very moving, the pain she showed in her face, the desperation, it all came across wonderfully. Just all of it was amazing, I can't think of a single scene I was disappointed in.
I actually think the whole cast was perfect, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman was just GENIUS, I adore Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, the connection he had with Katniss on screen was beautiful. Rue, gorgeous little Rue (Amandla Stenberg), my heart just melted, she was perfect, just as I pictured her and of course I was crying floods of tears at her death, it was so well done. Especially with the reaction from District 11. I saluted her in the cinema, but no one else did, so I kept it low (I was actually disappointed no-one else did)
Thresh - he was scary, yet perfect, just the right effect. WOW.
I could list them all here but I won't, just incredible for all though. I do have to give a mention to Elizabeth Banks as Effie, she made me laugh quite a few times, I especially loved her 'watch it, that's mahogany' line. and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch is also genius - his use of 'Sweetheart' at Katniss was spot on.

I think there was enough violence in the book, it was cleverly done and adapted to suit a wider audience and I don't feel it lost anything to do that, there were plenty of moments when I gasped or cringed even though I knew it was coming.

And I have to say about the Muttations - OMG they were bl**dy scary, when the first one jumped out of the woods I literally leapt out of my seat. (Much to the amusement of my companions)

Although the film is 2 hours and 20 minutes (40 if you count all the adverts/trailers before) it doesn't feel like a long film, at no point was I bored, I was just captivated.
Definitely one of the best Book to Movie adaptations I have ever seen.

I then went to see it again today (Thursday 29th) with my mum as she wasn't able to go on Saturday. She was just as excited as I was and I couldn't wait to get back in there. As it was during school hours we went, it was empty when we walked in, I grabbed the chance to get a photo with the giant poster in the foyer.

I had to do the Salute of course!

We then went in and found our seats and had the cinema to ourselves for all of 10 minutes, then a group of teenagers came in and started running up and down the aisles, shouting, screaming and just being a pest. 
My mum and I agreed that if they didn't settle when the film started we would complain but until then we would try to ignore them.
When the ads/trailers started they mostly sat down but were still talking a bit and one boy kept running up to his friend in the front row and kicking him then running away again, starting another fight. I think someone further back in the cinema told him to sit down and behave and it did stop.
The film started and everyone seemed to quiet down. My mum was buzzing with excitement and I was eager to see it again too.

If it's possible it was even better the second time round, I still cried, and gasped and laughed and everything but I found I could focus more on the actual film as I knew what to expect. 
It was slightly ruined by odd bursts of conversations by the teens, but they weren't frequent/long enough to actually complain about which was worse. They also seemed to pick the most important/moving bits to talk through. At one point I got so fed up I had to shout 'Shut Up!' at them and it did go quiet for a while after that. I just don't understand why people have to go to the cinema and be so self-centered and rude. If they don't want to watch the film, why are they there? It's not like the cinema is cheap, they've had to pay to get in so why don't they watch the film, it makes me really cross. If you want to sit and chat go to the park or something, don't come and ruin a film for someone else.

*rant over*
It was great to see it again though and my mum was amazed with it too. Of course there were some changes from the book but I honestly think they did a fabulous job, you can't put everything in, it's a different media, things have to change, all the changes they made, made sense and i can see why they were necessary so no complaints from me at all. 

Sorry for going on so much, I am just so amazed and in awe of this movie and of course the books that I can't get enough.

I am organizing a Hunger Games Party for ages 12+ at the Library I work in, it's going to be on the 10th April. I have a 'Find your District' quiz, a Trivia quiz, a Scavenger Hunt, and some survival games for activities, I am also going to buy food and get decorations to put round the library. If anyone has any ideas for cheap/easy to make decorations I would be grateful. Or any survival games ideas that can be done indoors and are Health & Safety passable I would love any suggestions.

And that's all I am going to say for now. Have you seen the film yet? What did you think? let me know. 

 May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Guest Post: Christine Fonseca

 Today I have a guest post from 'Christina Fonseca' author of new book 'Lacrimosa', so here it is:

The Inspiration Behind LACRIMOSA

I am so excited to be here on Becky’s Barmy Book Blog, sharing the inspiration behind LACRIMOSA  and the Requiem Series today. This story was inspired by the mythology of angels in general. A long time ago, I researched angelic mythology for a class. A few of those stories stayed with me, twisting and turning in my subconscious until, in November 2009 when I was supposed to be finishing my NaNo project, the idea for LACRIMOSA was hatched.

It started as a Romeo and Juliet styled love story, with stories of werewolves, demons and the clash of good and evil woven through out. The series then took inspiration from the mythology of the Jinn, Lilith, the Watchers and Sybil, adding to the complexities of the plot. The result is a rich kaleidoscope of classic tropes woven in what I hope is a unique and fresh take on the battle of good and evil, revenge and redemption and the triumph of true love. 

Short Blurb for LACRIMOSA
As if casting out demons isn’t hard enough, five-hundred-year-old Nesy has to masquerade as a teenage girl to do it. Nesy is the best of the warrior angels called Sentinals. She never makes mistakes, never hesitates, never gets emotionally involved. Until she meets Aydan.  
He is evil incarnate; a fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate.  But she can’t, because he’s also the love of her former life as a human girl—a life that ended too soon, tying her to emotions she was never supposed to feel.
Now Nesy must choose between doing her duty—damning Aydan to the fiery depths of hell—or saving him, and condemning herself. 
Author Endorcement(s):
“LACRIMOSA reaches out, grabs readers by the heart, and takes them on an emotional journey from the first page to the last. The last novel you’ll need to read to understand true sacrifice.”
~Elana Johnson, Author of POSSESSION

About Christine Fonseca
School psychologist by day, critically acclaimed YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her debut YA Gothic series, The Requiem Series, including DIES IRAE and LACRIMOSA, examines the role of redemption, sacrifice and love. Her nonfiction titles include 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS and EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS.

When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can be sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life on her blog.

For more information about Christine Fonseca or the series, visit her website – or her blog

ISBN: 0984786368 
(ISBN 13: 9780984786367)

Hardback and Digital formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and fine retailers.

Additional Titles in the series include DIES IRAE (a Requiem Novella), LIBERA ME (Oct 2012) and REQUIEM (March 2013).

Thanks Christina! :D Lacrimosa looks great, check it out! 

Monday 26 March 2012

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Winner!

So the 'Spring Cleaning' Giveaway Hop has come to an end and I would like to thank all of you who entered.
I had 69 entries, so thank you to everyone who entered!
So let's get on with it and announce the winner.
The winners were picked using Random.Org number generator.
          The lucky number picked was: 36

 This means the winner is:
Ella Bella Reviews
UPDATE - as the last winner picked failed to respond to my email, I have drawn another winner.
The lucky number picked was: 6
This means the new winner is 'Doodle @ Doodles Book Blog'

Doodle gets
A Paperback version of 'Blood & Ice' by Robert Masello
A Hardback version of 'Awakened' by P.C & Kristen Cast
And some 'Sirenz' goodies

Doodle has been emailed and has 3 days to respond. Big Congrats and Thanks go to everyone who entered.
For those of you who didn't win or missed it entirely don't worry there will be another Giveaway soon.
Happy Blogging. :D

Book Review - The Deliverer

Title: The Deliverer
Author: Jason D. Marrow
Series: The Marenon Chronicles (book 1)
Release Date: 11 November 2011

Prophecies are not always clear. That is what seventeen-year-old Silas Ainsley learns when he finds himself in a realm called Marenon.
The people of Marenon are nearing the brink of war and many of them claim that Silas is the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. Each group wants to use him for their own purposes, and he doesn't know who is trustworthy. With the help of a lawless band of mercenaries, Silas must journey to uncover the meaning of the prophecy before Marenon falls to ruin.
The only way to get to Marenon is to die, and Silas has just arrived.  

My Review
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I thought this book sounded like something I would love, magic, prophecy, quests, that sort of thing so I was eager to accept when offered a chance to read it. I recieved an e-copy of it and so for a start it sat on my computer for a while, I am really slow reading e-books as I have to do it on my laptop, which doesn't leave me much time and also I find it gives me headaches. So firstly I will apologise to the author for taking so ridiculously long to read it.
I'm going to make a note here, this obviously wouldn't be the case if you bought the book so I'll try not to let it affect the overall rating, but for me it is a big factor as to why I struggled with reading this one- On Goodreads, it states that the book is over 300 pages, however my copy was only 141 pages and that's because all the page margins had been erased and each page was bursting with writing. It literally went right up to the top and bottom of each page, no gap and I found it very hard on my eyes. As I say, proper bought versions of this book wouldn't look like that so I can't really count it against it, but for me, it really did my head in. Am I just being picky here? I don't know.

The book leaps straight into the action, an intense car chase, monsters and a mystery. I was instantly pulled into the story, although did have to re-read bits as I wasn't quite sure what was happening. Silas and his Grandad are being chased and they are trying to save something,then everything goes wrong. Silas ends up in Marenon, but the only way to get there is to die. Confused with thoughts of death, pain, loss and wondering where he now is, Silas must accept some pretty strange events.
I didn't actually realise that Silas was 17, as it had been a while since I read the synopsis I was shocked when I looked at it again just now, he acts more like a 14/15 year old. It doesn't make that much difference, it's just what I pictured. He is quite strong and independant though and knows what he wants which I like in a character, he also has a good sense of right and wrong.
To be honest this book has me on the fence, as I said it is the sort of thing that I should love but I struggled to get into it and found I didn't really care about the characters that much. However everytime I left the book/turned my computer off I found my mind straying back to the story wondering what would happen. So it obviously did make an impression on me but I still don't feel like I was hooked, just intrigued.
There were quite a few sub-plots going on and a large mix of characters, I can't remember all of them and I was occassionally confused as to who was who, then there were others who featured quite a bit near the beginning that I expected to pop back up later but they never appeared again which left me wondering what had happened to them. Maybe they will reappear in the next book. There is also a lot of back-stabbing/betrayal and I quite enjoyed trying to figure out who was on which side. My guessed were usually right, but I'm still torn with a couple of them.
I know this is a jumbled review, but I would say the book is worth a read, it's just something didn't click with me, it might be the spacing issue I mentioned that threw me, but I just felt like I was gliding over the pages instead of diving into them.  The book doesn't come to a proper closure, it's obviously been left open for the next book and I would like to know what Jullian, Kaden and Silas will do next, but I will have to wait to see if it comes out in paper version I think.
So overall, I'm not really sure what to say about it, a good plot idea and storyline, the basics were all there for a really good book, but something didn't click with me. But give it a go, you never know, you might love it.

My Rating

Sunday 25 March 2012

Guest Post: Danyelle Leafty

Danyelle Leafty is the author of 'The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Catspell'
 She is  here today to tell you about a great scheme she is running, but she could use your help. So here she is:
What exactly is Kindles for Kids?

Kindles for Kids is my way of paying it forward. My goal is to raise enough funds to purchase 10 Kindle Fires for the pediatric unit of a local hospital in UT.

How does Kindles for Kids work?

From March 12th-31st of 2012, I will be donating the *royalties I make on THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA: CATSPELL--both in paper and e-book form--toward the purchase of the Kindle Fires.

Royalties are paid a month to two months after the fact. Factoring in that as well as putting in the order, receiving them, and getting them ready, I will be delivering the Kindle Fires to the hospital in June of 2012.

How can you participate?

If you are an author (published) or a writer (unpublished), this link will explain it more. A more detailed link can be found here. In short, I'm hosting an open call for donating **books you have the rights to for the hospital. One book per Kindle Fire. You can also participate by writing a ***short story for a fairy tale anthology I'm putting together for the hospital. If you're a reader, this link will give you a few ideas on how to help spread the word.

How can you help?

The greatest help of all is to help me get the word out. You can do this by talking to people--online and in real life, posting about Kindles for Kids on forums, groups, on your blog, and by printing out and posting fliers. More detailed link here, as well as details for a photo contest. Link for the flyer here.

I can't do this without you, so thank you to all who participate in any way they can!

*Royalties up to 249,000 copies. After that, I have to buy an extended license for the photographs I use for the cover.

**All books will be vetted by me personally for both formatting and content. Since the Kindle Fires are going to the pediatric unit, I would ask that any donations are formatted and edited well, and that they go no higher than a PG rating.

***As with the books, please keep the short stories at a PG or G rating. Again, all stories that are chosen for inclusion in the anthology will be vetted by me personally. Also, because digital copies of the anthology will be donated to the hospitals, and there will be no money made off of them, neither the editor (me) nor the authors will receive payment or money for them. However, everyone who is included will receive a digital copy as either a PDF, a kindle file, or epub.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Book Review - Lenobia's Vow

Title: Lenobia's Vow
Author: P.C & Kristin Cast
Series: House of Night (Novella)
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 31 Jan 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1907411199

Before becoming Zoey's favourite professor and the House of Night's powerful horse mistress, Lenobia was just a normal 16-year-old girl - but with enough problems to last a lifetime. In 1788, Lenobia's father places her on a ship bound for New Orleans. An evil bishop, skilled in Dark magic, makes the same journey. His appetite for beautiful young women forces Lenobia to remain hidden, but she secretly visits the ship's stables, where a handsome young man and his horses capture her attention. Can they make it to the New World before the bishop discovers her true identity and a powerful evil breaks loose? And will Lenobia follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk?

My Review
I really like the House of Night series and eagerly await each new installment, and these novellas help to tide me over between books.
I always liked Lenobia as a character, always calm but with a fierce presence, someone Zoey can talk to, ask for help. But i was curious as to find out more about her.
These are only novellas so they are really short (140 pages) so I managaed to read it quickly.
Lenobia is an illegitimate daughter of a Baron, working more like a servant in his house, but when his daughter dies from illness the day before she is due to leave for France, Lenobia ends up taking her place, embracing the chance to change her life for the better.
The book jumps right into the story and I felt an instant connection to Lenobia, the evil Bishop who boards the ship with her really gave me the creeps though, he is a great villain, no one really picks up on his darkness which makes him all the more dangerous.
The ship voyage is well done and the imagery really good, I could picture the inside of the ship and all it's going on in my head as I read. This is also where we first see evidence of Lenobias love of horses and her meeting the lovely young man Martin, who looks after the horses.
For such a short book there are a lot of twists and turns that will have you surprised and turning the pages quicker, each time I thought Lenobia had found her place and would settle down something would happen to throw it on it's head.
These books are like little appetizers given to you before a meal, sweet and tasty but leave you wanting more. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, but think I have to wait a while for it yet.

 My Rating

Guest Post: Emerald City - Alicia Leppert

Alicia K Leppert is the author of 'Emerald City'
 "Olivia Tate is a broken shell of a girl haunted by the tragic events that fill her past. She has closed herself off from the world, each day grasping at something—anything—to live for. Convinced there will never be a way out, she seeks solace in the depths of her medicine cabinet. When she wakes up days later in the hospital she is introduced to Jude, the quiet stranger responsible for saving her life. She never could have guessed then that her mysterious rescuer would end up saving her life a second time, while simultaneously turning her world upside down."

 Guest Post:
One question I am asked often is, "Who inspires you?" To be honest, it's not so much a question of who inspires me as what inspires me. There are people--authors--that I look up to, sure, but as far as being inspired about what I write, it comes from a million different places, sometimes in ways I would never expect.

There are the obvious things, like music. Music is definitely a great place to turn for inspiration. There's something about music that alters your mood, that makes you feel differently. When I was writing the first several chapters of my book, in the depths of Olivia's depression, I listened to my most melancholy songs to get in the right mood. Even though I can't listen to music while I write, I often listen to it before I write to set the tone. My favorite bands to listen to when writing Emerald City were OneRepublic, Linkin Park, and Coldplay.

TV and movies are another great source of inspiration for me. My favorite genre is drama, mainly because it gets me in a dark, creative mood. When I'm watching something, whatever it is, I pick out little things and file them away in my writer's brain to incorporate into my story later: something a character says, a situation, sometimes just a gesture or movement someone makes. Often I'll see something and think, "I would do it this way," or "I would take that one part and build off it in this direction..." and it takes off from there.

Something that I've found surprising is how much photographs inspire me. Pictures of beautiful, fairytale-like places get my mind spinning in a million different directions. Or an old black and white photo of people who have long since left this earth have me instantly dreaming of what their lives were like, what was going on when that picture was taken. I can create ten different novel ideas off of just one picture!

The best source of inspiration, however, is real life. Every situation, every conversation, every experience I have or witness is logged away for later analysis and eventually, story-telling. Much of Emerald City is based on real-life experiences, whether my own or people I've known. There is no better way to be inspired than to live life. What about you, readers? Where do you find inspiration?

About Alicia

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, ever since Career Day in first grade when I walked around carrying a notebook and pencil. Twenty-some odd years later, after a short stint in high school where I dreamed of being an actress, a whirlwind Internet romance including a blind proposal that led to a fairytale wedding and two pretty-near perfect kids, my lifelong dream came to fruition with my first novel, Emerald City. I live with my small brood in my beloved hometown of Pasco, which is located in the only part of Washington state that isn't green. When I'm not writing, I can be found decorating novelty cakes and taking naps--my other two passions.

Friday 23 March 2012

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is a weekly event over at The Story Siren, which showcases the books we've purchased, borrowed and received in the mail this week.

I know it's early this week (or maybe it's just very late from the last couple of weeks) either way. I'm out this weekend, work tomorrow then going to see the Hunger Games *excited squeals*, then Sunday I'm doing the Sports Relief Mile (dressed as a ladybird), feel free to Sponsor Me here. ANyway, so basically I had to do the video today.

Hope you enjoy.
Who has seen the Hunger Games? Who's going to see it this weekend? Anyone not know what I'm talking about, if so where have you been and what is the matter with you? lol!

Hope you had a good book week, what did you get???