Summertime Madness Book Tag

Quite unexpectedly, I got tagged for this challenge by Amanda N. Butler.

Anyone who knows me will know I am not actually a Summer type of person. Give me rain, Autumn leaves, snow and Winter’s cool embrace! That’s when I am at my happiest! But for now, let’s see how I get on with this challenge:

Show a book with a summery cover.

Have to go with Bloodlust by Alex Duval, the first book in the Vampire Beach series. When Jason Freeman’s family moves to the exclusive DeVere Heights area of Malibu, he finds himself surrounded by the most beautiful people he has ever seen but is there more them than meets the eye? I think this might have been the first teen book I read in high school, during the Twilight/vampire craze and made for a nice change.

Pick a fictional place that would be the perfect destination for a summer holiday.

This has taken some thinking about but I think the place I would go bizarrely is Lockwood & Co.’s haunted Britain. I know it’s not a destination but I would love to explore it and discover what is happening outside of London. We get some idea what is going outside of London during the first book when Lucy talks about her road to joining Lockwood and George.

 

You’re about to go on a flight for your summer holidays but you want to read a book that lasts the whole flight. What novella do you choose?

Probably Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones. This is not exactly a story as such as every story told and all the information, compressed into one person’s 24 hour shift, are all true we are told and only the names of the guilty have been changed. It shines a light on the human condition when we step into a hotel of any sort and any star rating.

You have a case of summertime sadness – what book do you pick to shine a smile on your face?

Had a hard time deciding this one as I have a few books that make me laugh but the one that is always at hand it seems is Texts From Dog by October Jones. Inspired by the Tumblr blog, this book compiles the best-loved “texts” from dog, contemplating everything from bath time to the relationship man and man’s best friend.

You’re sitting at the beach all alone…which fictional character would be your beach babe?

This was a tough one but I think I would go with Henry Fitzroy, the bastard son of King Henry VII, from Tanya Huff’s Vicki Nelson series. Blood Price details one of Vicki’s PI cases where she is investigating a series of murders and comes across Henry, who is investigating to try to protect his vampire secret. Of course that would mean the beach at night but if he appears in the form Kyle Schmid, who played him in the Blood Ties TV adaptation, that’s fine by me!

To match your ice cream, you want an icy cool sidekick! Which fictional sidekick do you pick?

Out of two demon possibilities, I think I would go with Sebastian, Lord Phantomhive’s one Hell of a Butler from the Black Butler series. Tied by contract to little Earl Ciel Phantomhive, the Queen’s Guard Dog, Sebastian is out to help Ciel find the people who killed his parents, burnt down his home and hurt him. Once Ciel has his revenge, Sebastian will devour his soul.

The other demon I considered was Eclipse from Demon Diary.

And I am tagging Legends of Windemere’s Charles YallowitzTales From Baggins Bottom’s Diane Wordsworth and MyLittleBookBlog’s Lizzy Baldwin. Hope you guys don’t mind.

Foxglove Summer Map

Ben Aaronovitch, writer of the River of London/Peter Grant series, has done another location map for the last book, Foxglove Summer. Head on over to Google Maps to check it out.

Also, don’t forget to pick up your copy of the Rivers of London five-part comic series. Released July 15th and only available in comic book stores and digitally, the story takes place between the fourth and fifth books and sees Peter look into a case where cars are coming to life and killing their owners! The series is written by the author himself, alongside former Doctor Who show runner Andrew Cartmel, with art from Lee Sullivan.

From Aaronovitch’s blog: To find your local comic book store, go to FINDACOMICSHOP.COM for the UK and North America or use Search for a Comic Shop which says it is for everywhere else.

 

Harry Potter’s 18th Birthday

18 years ago, a book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling was released here in the UK, which led to the phenomenon today that defines many young people’s childhoods and created a generation of readers and writers, myself included.

Quite timely, today JK Rowling revealed that she is working on a play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child due to open next year in London. Telling the untold part of Harry’s life, including the story of James and Lilly’s life. Find further details by visiting the BBC News story.

This is to be closely followed by the film version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November 2016, starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne.

Happy Birthday Harry and may you keep fans new and old fascinated for years to come.

Book Review: Lockwood & Co., The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Yes! It is my first book review in a while!

Image: GoodSearch/Wikipedia

Lucy Carlyle is the newest Agent to join the most ramshackle psychical agency in London. Charged with dealing with the Problem that has plagued an alternative Britain for the past 50 years, she finds herself working with the mysterious Anthony Lockwood and the annoying, rotund George Cubbins to uncover the answer to a decades old murder case and a mysterious screaming staircase in the most haunted house in Britain! Two big cases for an agency that struggles with the most routine of cases…

This book is a fresh take on the urban fantasy genre for children. Whilst still centred on London, the reader is drawn in through the first person narration of Lucy Carlyle to learn about this alternative universe (AU) Britain where ghost hauntings have been increasing for 50 years and children with special Talents (Listening, Sight and Touch) join and train with psychical agencies to vanquish hauntings for people. The novel is split into four parts and does rely on the reader being willing to flip back and forth from the story, to the glossary at the end and back again or having at least a common knowledge base to understand the book. There are two distinct story lines in the book that are satisfactory tied up at the end.

Stroud also seems to be trying to hook readers into the series for the long haul. This book, the first of a series, has some small sub plots that Stroud appears to be setting up ready to be dealt with over the course of a series, particularly revolving around Lockwood and his past. The ending of the book also tries to hook the reader in with a new plot line linking directly to some character develops with Lucy to make sure they read the next book to find out more. This has certainly worked as I have already started looking to getting the next book when I can.

Unfortunately, I am not sure introducing new plot points at the end was a good idea. I will grant Stroud is an established author (he has already found success with the Bartimaeus series) so can probably get away with breaking the rule that says don’t introduce new plots or characters towards the end of the story but I feel that in this instance, it was completely unnecessary and would probably have been better placed nearer the start when set up with Lockwood started.

I have previous mentioned that the book requires a reader willing to either be flipping back and forth between the story and the glossary or have a common knowledge base on ghost hunting and this is something else I have a problem with. It is very hard to initially get into the book because the reader is constantly having to break the suspension of disbelief to look up terms. This could lead to readers potentially abandoning the book before getting to part two of the book where background information, about Lucy, the AU Britain and many other things are explained. This makes the story very badly organised in my view and possibly broken back. The first part is probably Stroud’s attempt to draw the reader in right from the start but I don’t believe it has worked as well as maybe he wanted.

This makes my concerns about having another series of Urban Fantasy books set in London rather redundant.

The Screaming Staircase is a wonderful start to a new series and is very different from other books on the market for both children’s and adults. It draws on the traditions of the genre whilst adding a new twist and encouraging readers to keep reading. I have no doubt that Stroud will continue to deliver interesting novels, develop the characters as they get older and, hopefully, will develop the world it is set in. A series to watch I think.

Fated Audiobook and Hidden Release Date

04edc-img_0664_edit_3-1-200x300Just a quick post to say that Benedict Jacka has announced on his website that the UK release of the audio book of Fated (the first in the Alex Verus series) will be coming out on September 2nd 2014, the same day as book 5, Hidden!

If and when the other books in the series will be released as audio books is currently unknown due to issues you can read about by heading over to his website but if you want a preview of how the book will sound, got to Hachette Audio UK’s Soundcloud page.

Rivers of London Rap Video

Remember the Rivers of London rap I posted a few months ago? For those that don’t, it is rap song based on the Peter Grant book series by Ben Aaronovitch, which starts with Rivers of London. There is now a video to go with the song, executive produced by Aaronovitch himself!

Watch it for yourself here:

Lyrics and Performed by: Ben Bailey Smith
Director: Matt Bloom
Producer and Composer: Mikis Michaelides
Visual FX: Sam Highfield
Executive Producer: Ben Aaronovitch

What do you reckon to Ben Bailey Smith? A good Peter Grant? Would you like someone else? Who would you cast as the other characters in the books if the series ever became a TV series or film? Comment below!

 

Related Content:

Rivers of London Rap: https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/rivers-of-london-rap/

New Artwork for Rivers of London: https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/new-artwork-for-rivers-of-london/

Rivers of London Review: https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/goodreads-review-rivers-of-london-by-ben-aaronovitch/

Moon Over Soho Review: https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/goodreads-moon-over-soho-by-ben-aaronovitch/

Whispers Under Ground Review: https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/goodreads-review-whispers-under-ground-by-ben-aaronovitch/

Broken Homes Review: https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/book-review-broken-homes-by-ben-aaronovitch/

Google Maps for Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho and Whispers Under Ground: https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/google-map-for-ben-aaronovitchs-moon-over-soho/https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/whispers-under-ground-google-map-by-ben-aaronovitch/

Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013!

And don’t forget Roald Dahl Day on 13th September 2014.

 

Wakefield Libraries

I Am Still Not a Loser by Jim Smith has been crordfp-for-webwned the funniest book for children aged 7-14, with Monkey Nut by Simon Rickerty winning for children aged 6 and under in this year’s Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize,  which was launched in 2008 in association with Michael Rosen, Children’s Laureate 2007-2009, celebrates its sixth birthday this year. It aims to promote laughter and humour as a feel-good factor when reading, to draw attention to funny books as readable and enjoyable books and to reward authors and illustrators who write and illustrate books using humour.

The Prize has two categories:

  • The funniest book for children aged six and under
  • The funniest book for children aged seven to fourteen

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony at the Cambridge Theatre in London, home to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s multi award-winning production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda…

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