Armchair BEA: Day 4 – Beyond the Borders

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It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!

Reading fiction is all about being transported to different worlds, and as a Fantasy fan there are unlimited possibilities, but sometimes the most visceral of books are those set in the real world, ones that take you to a different country and immerse you in a whole other culture.

As I was thinking about this topic, I realised that don’t read those kinds of books enough. A few that immediately sprang to mind though, were Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Japan), Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo (The Caribbean), and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan).

However, I imagine that the majority of people taking part in Armchair BEA are American and so I would like to share a few of my favourite books set in the UK and Ireland.

Mystery Man by Colin Batman: I’ve just finished the fourth book in this series and they really capture the humor and demeanor of Northern Ireland.

A superbly gripping and blackly funny mystery by the king of the comic crime caper. He’s the Man With No Name and the owner of No Alibis, a mystery bookshop in Belfast. But when a detective agency next door goes bust, the agency’s clients start calling into his shop asking him to solve their cases. It’s not as if there’s any danger involved. It’s an easy way to sell books…

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters: Waters actually managed to make war-time London sound beautiful in some parts of this book.

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of four Londoners—three women and a young man with a past—whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly in the shadow of a grand historical event.

Tristan and Iseult: This is one of my favourite Celtic stories.

Tristan defeats Ireland’s greatest warrior and gains the friendship of his uncle, the King of Cornwall, who entrusts him with a very special mission: to sail the seas in search of a queen.

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Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie

sufferFrom an acclaimed horror writer, a chilling tale of blood-hungry children who rise from the dead in this innovative spin on apocalyptic vampire fiction.

Suffer the Children presents a terrifying tale of apocalyptic fiction, as readers are introduced to Herod’s Syndrome, a devastating illness that suddenly and swiftly kills all young children across the globe. Soon, they return from the grave…and ask for blood. And with blood, they stop being dead. They continue to remain the children they once were…but only for a short time, as they need more blood to live. The average human body holds ten pints of blood, so the inevitable question for parents everywhere becomes: How far would you go to bring your child back?

Suffer the Children, as the title and cover suggests, is a pretty creepy read. Let’s face it kids can be creepy, anyone who has ever seen a horror film or read a Stephen King novel can tell you that. So that’s pretty much everyone, right? Kids coming back from the dead and craving blood…totally up there on the creep-factor, so naturally I knew I was going to enjoy this book.

I wasn’t disappointed! I absolutely loved the beginning of this book. The plot was quite slow, but it was all about the characterisation for me so it didn’t drag at all. DiLouie’s style very much reminded me of King in that way. The writing was engaging and it was a pretty quick read.

Suffer the Children follows several eclectic families from the days that lead up to ‘the event’ where every single pre-pubescent kid in the world just falls down dead. There’s a lot of grief, obviously, and horrific but necessary actions that follow, such as bin men having to collect the bodies, and dig mass graves. And from there, it just gets worse…because they come back!

One of main things I liked about this book was the underlying irony of it. You’d probably think there’d be nothing worse than burying your child, but then you find out that they’re all coming back to life and you have go and dig them up. As a doctor you’d think doing some autopsies on the deceased kids would be for the greater good, until you realise that they weren’t actually dead until you cut through the rib cages and removed their hearts.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that these families would have been better off if the children didn’t come back to life, because keeping them alive is going to destroy them and the world as they know it. But other than that, and the whole philosophical look at how far would you go to keep your children alive there wasn’t a great deal to this book.

If push came to shove, she’d let her kids eat her.”

Although it was enjoyable, unfortunately there was nothing surprising about Suffer the Children; I found it a bit predictable. I felt like the greater story to tell would be the one of what happened after the events in this book (maybe they’ll be a sequel, who knows). I also think DiLouie missed out on some great horror moments, such as hearing about one of the protagonists killing his dog to feed to his son almost as if in passing rather than finding out about it at the time. I wanted more gory details! But I’m weird like that.

If you like your horror with a message instead of gory details then I definitely recommend you give this a try!

Favourite Quote: “It struck her then, that in most of the world there wasn’t a single human being who believed in Santa Claus”

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Disclosure?: I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: Suffer the Children
Author: Craig DiLouie
Details: Paperback, 352 pages
Published: May 20th 2014 by Permuted Press
My Rating: 3/5

WWW Wednesday 28.05.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Woah it’s Wednesday again…where does the time go?

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Currently Reading: I’m about to start Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon so nothing to report on that one so far.

Recently Finished: I’ve finished but not yet reviewed Suffer the Children – which I really enjoyed, and The Prisoner of Brenda which I liked but was a bit disappointed with in the end. I’m totally behind on reviews but I’ll catch up at some point.

Up Next: The Apple Tart of Hope which is an ARC I need to start asap, and Burial Rites which I bought and am soooooo excited to start. It looks beautiful!

Armchair BEA: Day 2 – Author Interactions

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Armchair BEA is a celebration of Book Expo America, and a conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

Today is all about Author Interactions. This is the official prompt for this post: Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger.

My View on Author Interactions
Blogging is all about interacting. And one of my favourite things about book blogging is being able to interact with, and promote great authors.

I have attended some events where I have met, or listened to authors speak, but my main experience of interacting with authors is online, through being contacted via this blog.

I love being approached by independent authors, no matter how busy I am, or how many outstanding review requests I have, I feel honored that they have 1. Found my silly little blog in the first place 2. Want me to read their book 3. Trust me to write an honest review and 4. Understand if I have to turn down any requests.

On the odd occasion I have had to turn down review requests, the authors have been completely understanding. What I try to do in these circumstances is offer to do a promo post instead as it takes up less time and that way we can still help each other out, because that’s what it is. When you’re so bogged down with blog work, real work and real life I think it’s very easy to forget that without books to feature, you wouldn’t have a very good book blog.

I am also always astounded when authors offer to do guests posts for my blog too. I have had some really great ones in the past including posts from B.I Woolet and Jennifer Gilby Roberts on their inspiration behind their respective titles.

If you’re not a blogger, I think one of the best ways to engage in some author action (as I like to call it) is Twitter. I’m not the kind of person to tweet the famouses really, but some popular authors seem to be really great at interacting with their fans on Twitter.

The ones I’ve noticed recently are Maureen Johnson, author of In the Name of the Star, Patrick Ness (The Chaos Walking Trilogy; The Crane Wife) Phillip Pullman (His Dark Materials) and Matt Haig (The Humans), you should check them out.

I will leave you with this….

Dianne is one of my BFFs. We share an INTENSE love (LOL) for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We are also big fans of Patrick Ness and his YA books. So imagine my delight when this notification popped up on my phone:

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If you’re taking part in this year’s Armchair BEA feel free to leave a link to your post so I can take a look, and if you’re not, you can still tell me about your view and/or experiences of author interactions in the comments if you so wish 🙂

Armchair BEA 2014: Day 1 – Introduction & Literature

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Armchair BEA is a celebration of Book Expo America, and a conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

I kind of forgot I’d signed up to be honest, so my involvement might be a bit slap-dash, but that is the story of my life. It looks like a lot of fun, so I’ll try to keep up.

Today’s agenda is an Introduction post – which is about all I can manage at the moment because I’m so hungover – and a discussion about what ‘Literature’ means to you. Which I’m going to cheat a little on…

Intro

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?

My name is Lipsy, which is a nickname I acquired in college because I got my lip pierced and I’m quite loud. My real name is Lauren, but I feel like I’m being told off when people call me that. I started my blog, Lipsyy Lost & Found just over a year ago. I celebrated my first blog birthday last week:).

I’m from Crewe in the UK, which is a small town near Manchester but I’ve been living in London since I went to Uni here. I’m the token Northerner in my group of friends. I would like to thank Game of Thrones for making me sound cooler than I am. The Northerners never forget.

2. Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online.

A book blog full of nonesense.

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram

3. What genre do you read the most?
I love so many genres but YA is my ultimate best, mainly YA fantasy or paranormal romance. But I will literally read anything!

4. Share your favorite book or reading related quote.
❤ Peter Pan!

5. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 books would you bring? Why? What 3 non-book items would you bring? Why?

Twilight, because as sad as it is, I never get bored of reading it.
The Iliad, because I’ve always wanted to read it and I’d obviously have a lot of time on my hands there.
The Complete Works of Shakespeare, because I could make my own fun.

As for non-books, I would take Katniss Everdeen so she could protect me and feed me, and we’d be BFFs. I’d let her choose the other two things. Hopefully Gale would be one of them.

Literature
I didn’t prepare a post for this (on what ‘Literature’ means to me, and how I define it) so I am going to cheat by just sharing with you a few of my favourite quotes about literature.

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An Unfortunate Series of Events….AKA Fangirling Fail

Regular readers will know how excited I was to get my hands on The One (The Selection #3). Excited might be a bit of an understatement. I was gagging for it, fangirling over it, waiting for Maxon to arrive at my door, AND I’M STILL WAITING.

Let me tell you the story…

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The One, was due to be released on May 6th. I pre-ordered it from Amazon, mainly for ease and because I knew it would be cheaper than if I went to Waterstones (the only bookshop in town). Oh, and also because you could send off for a The One keyring with your pre-order receipt. Yes, I am 12 years old (I’m not really).

I knew it wouldn’t arrive on the day it was released. I expected that. But I did expect it the week later, at the latest. It did not arrive. I was sad.

I was even more sad that EVERYONE WAS POSTING REVIEWS OF IT (not that it’s you lovely people’s fault of course) and I had failed to even get a copy.

So I tracked my order.

Not Yet Dispatched, it said.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT! I said.

Expected Arrival Date: 17th June, it said.

WTAF, I yelled.

Cancel, I pressed. It will be in the shop, I thought. Amazon is clearly just being rubbish.

It was now about 10 days since The One was supposed to have been released. So I ventured into Waterstones. Nothing. I tried not to sound too distraught when I asked the nice Waterstones girl if they knew why it wasn’t in stock yet. She looked at me a bit weird when she typed it in, can’t blame her. I could pretend it’s for my imaginary 8 year old girl, I thought – it’s plausible – but I resisted.

It’s been pushed back, she said. It’s not out until June.

Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I wailed inside. I probably shouldn’t have cancelled my Amazon order, I thought.

I was not happy. But what can you do.

So, America (the country, not the character!) and who ever else managed to get a copy, I hate you all. And I haven’t read any of your reviews in case there are spoilers.

But, you know what? IT’S ALL OK, because we are also getting a prequel!!! Eeeek. It’s not due until December, but clearly, I’m getting used to waiting for things!

There’s always a silver lining. Let the fangirling commence.

PrintBefore America Singer’s story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a different prince….

Don’t miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series. This prequel story takes place before the events of The Selection and is told from the point of view of Prince Maxon’s mother, Amberly. Discover a whole new Selection with this inside look at how Maxon’s parents met—and how an ordinary girl named Amberly became a beloved queen.

Friday Feature: The Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years? Part 2 (6 – 8 yrs)

Last week I came across this list from October last year, of the 100 Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years compiled by Booktrust.org.uk, so in honor of Children’s Book Week in the US I thought it would be a good excuse to talk about what I think of the choices, and maybe add a few of my own.

If you missed last week’s post you can read it here: (0 -5 yrs)

Click the heading to see the full list.

6 – 8 Years

The 6 – 8 year group is a weird one. Even though it’s only a three year span I’m pretty sure the books I was reading at age 6 were vastly different to the ones I did at 8, but I think they made some good choices in this list.

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I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, so The Enchanted Wood is a good choice for me, I really loved The Faraway Tree series too, but for some reason I never got on with the Fantastic Five.

Blyton isn’t the only one that appears on this list twice, Dick King-Smith’s The Sheep-Pig, and The Queen’s Nose both made it on the list. I don’t actually remember reading either of these even though I know they were popular at the time. I did however LOVE The Queen’s Nose TV programme. That theme tune just made me very nostalgic! I’d love to read those books now.

I’m surprised only one Dahl book made it onto the list (although there are more in the next category). I love The BFG but when I think back to my childhood, George’s Marvelous Medicine and The Twits stand out more than that one.

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I guess books like Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Pippi Longstockings and Charlotte’s Web are a rite of passage but they’ve never particularly excited me. It’s great to see The Arrival included in this list though, and The Worst Witch books were always a winner with me.

I’m also a big fan of Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort series aimed at the slightly older market than her Clarice Bean books, which I haven’t read – so I’m sure she deserves her place here.

Favorite on the List:
Oooh it’s tough. If I channel my inner 6 year old – which isn’t very difficult believe me – I’d go for The Enchanted Wood, with The BFG coming in a close second. But The Worst Witch would have been my pick at 7/8 I reckon.

Missing from the List:
I know I’ve already mentioned Blyton but man, she was amazing. I’ve just remembered the Naughty Amelia Jane books which were definitely a favourite of mine. Seeing that cover again makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

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But the piéce de résistance is a book it took me ages to find. I could picture the red cover and knew that the main character had messy black hair and said ‘No’ a lot. I Don’t Want To! used to have me in stitches leaving my mum pretty bewildered (and probably quite concerned).

I Don’t Want To! by Bel Mooney
Kitty’s favourite word is No! She doesn’t want to clean her teeth, eat her vegetables or, worst of all, play with boring cousin Melisso. In fact, Kitty can’t seem to stop saying ‘no’ but when Dad tells her he doesn’t ever want to hear her say ‘yes’, she discovers that that’s exactly what she does want to say! When she breaks one of her favourite toys, she finds she does want to tidy her room. When Dad says he doesn’t want a goodnight kiss, Kitty decides she’d like to give one. When she’s bored because Mum and Dad are having a lie-in she does want to play with her big brother, Daniel.

Are you sensing a pattern with the books I loved when I was that age? Naughty female characters? Not much has changed.