Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels to Read!

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get

As most of you know, I’m terrible at finishing series, so I limited the ones I started this year, but, there are still some I’m dying to get my hands on. Therefore this week, I’m doing the top ten sequels that I need to read, whether I already own or need to get.

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1. Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) – OMG March needs to hurry the hell up! I Need This! The second Seraphina book is due for release March 10th, and promises to be ‘an epic battle between humans and dragons.’ Eeeek.

2. Endgame: The Training Diaries – I really liked Endgame: The Calling and I’m intrigued to read these prequels. I think focusing on one player at a time will really help us get to know them better than we did in the first book. The first novella is released December 16th, e-book only.

3. Dark Satanic Mills – I don’t know if this graphic novel is going to have a sequel, BUT IT NEEDS TO. I loved it, but I wasn’t at all satisfied with the ending. It was definitely left open for more, so fingers crossed. I reviewed it here.

4. Knife Edge (Noughts & Crosses #2) – OK so ‘can’t wait’ clearly doesn’t apply here as I read the first book, Noughts & Crosses, years ago. I gave it 5/5 and always intended on carrying on with the series, but you know how it is. I will get a copy of this. I WILL!

5. Fairest & Winter (The Lunar Chronicles 3.5 & #4 – All of the Lunar Chronicles, I need it all! Favourite series of the year…may it continue to reign! The novella, Fairest is due for release Feb 15th, and Winter is expected November 2015. SOB!

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6. The Bane Chronicles – Yes I’m counting this as a sequel. It’s a spin-off from The Mortal Instruments series, in which I only got up to book 3. But, Magnus Bane and Alec, or Malec as all the cool kids like to call them were my favourite characters (totally hot, right?), and now they have their own book. Ahhhh me, me me!

7. Heir of Fire (Throne of glass #3) – This is another one that I fully intended to read straight away but just haven’t got round to. I love this series though so I need to make time ASAP!

8. The Heir (The Selection #4) – I did a whole fangirling post on this here. I am obsessed with The Selection Series, but worried this new incarnation of it might be taking it too far. Some things should end when they are at their peak…no? That’s just the cynic in me talking. Move along. The Heir is expected to be released in May 2015.

9. Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant #8) – I’ve totally fallen behind with this series, but there are only two books left. I’ve had the penultimate one sitting on my shelf since the start of year. I need a slap.

10. Empire of Shadows #2: I really loved Daughter of Camelot and have been waiting patiently for details of the next book ever since. Please hurry!

Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

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Title: Back to Blackbrick
Author: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Details: February 7th 2013 by Orion Children’s Books
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Nope! I borrowed it from Dora. Thanks Dora.

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Cosmo’s brother Brian died when he was ten years old. His mum hides her grief by working all the hours God sends and Cosmo lives with his grandparents. They’ve been carefree days as Granddad buys him a horse called John and teaches him all he knows about horses. But the good times have to come to an end and although he doesn’t want to admit it, Cosmo knows his Granddad is losing his mind. So on one of the rare occasions when Granddad seems to recognise him, Cosmo is bemused that he gives him a key to Blackbrick Abbey and urges him to go there. Cosmo shrugs it off, but gradually Blackbrick draws him in…

Cosmo arrives there, scared and lonely, and is dropped off at the crumbling gates of a huge house. As he goes in, the gates close, and when he turns to look, they’re rusty and padlocked as if they haven’t been opened in years. Cosmo finds himself face to face with his grandfather as a young man, and questions begin to form in his mind: can Cosmo change the course of his family’s future?

 Review

I really enjoyed Sarah’s second YA novel, The Apple Tart of Hope which I got through Netgalley, so I was eager to go back to her first offering, Back to Blackbrick.

Like The Apple Tart of Hope, Back to Blackbrick is a quirky read told in a unique voice. It seems to me that both of Sarah’s stories are full of juxtapositions; they are set in the real world yet have fantasy elements; they are humorous and light-hearted, yet also deal with serious subject matter.

I love that about Sarah’s writing. It feels real but magical at the same time.

Back to Blackbrick is narrated by Cosmo. He hates his name, the fact that his brother died in such a stupid manner (he fell out of a window), his mother for getting on a plane and never coming back, the school kids who call him Loser Boy, and that his granddad’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse by the day.

But Cosmo is a spirited boy. He doesn’t despair too much over these things and he definitely doesn’t dwell on them. Instead, he throws himself into helping his granddad to remember things.

When his granddad gives him a mysterious key, along with the name Blackbrick, and asks him to promise to go there, Cosmo sets off on his own adventure. Beyond his imagination, Cosmo opens the gates to Blackbrick and finds himself face-to-face with his granddad, only he’s 50 years younger….

Can Cosmo use this time lapse to his advantage? He wants to teach his granddad good mind practices, and stop his brother from falling out of the window, but that might not be so simple as it’s easy to get swept away with life at Blackbrick.

I thought this book was beautifully told, funny, and well, just cute. I can’t think of any better way to describe it than that. It was exciting in parts, sad in others, but Cosmo’s frank way of looking at the world really shone through and made the story what it is: Unique.

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Back to Blackbrick and The Apple Tart of Hope are available in paperback from Waterstones.

My Favourite Bedtime Story!

Today, in honour of National Young Readers Day, innovative mattress start-up Casper are encouraging everyone to share their favourite bedtime stories… and you know me, I didn’t need much encouraging!

I did have a hard time deciding what my favourite bedtime read was, though. So many to choose from! I almost went for Spike Milligan’s Silly Verse For Kids because I loved reciting all of his nonsense poems, and still know some of them off by heart. Then I almost went for The Chronicles of Narnia, but I don’t actually remember ever reading it at bedtime…

So, what was my favourite bedtime story when I was a Young Reader myself?

Adventures of the Wishing-Chair by Enid Blyton

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Once Mollie and Peter have discovered the Wishing-Chair, their lives are full of adventure. It takes them to all sorts of magical places, from the giant’s castle where they rescue Chinky the Pixie, to the amazing party at Magician Greatheart’s castle.

 

All these years later it seems like a unpopular opinion, but I actually remember loving these books more than Blyton’s Faraway Tree series; I  certainly remember reading this one with my parents more as well. I was totally gripped by Molly and Peter’s adventures, and rather than each book having a different adventure, in this book almost each chapter did.

As much as I enjoyed The Enchanted Wood in the Faraway Tree books, Fairyland was just as magical to me, if not more.

Just seeing the cover brings back great memories. I must pick up a copy again soon, and I think you should too!

Casper – ‘Because Bedtime is the Best Time’

Casper recently launched an innovative new mattress, because not only is bedtime the best time, but everyone deserves a great night’s sleep! They are celebrating Young Readers Day by sharing everyone’s favourite bedtime stories.

The Casper Team have already shared their own on their blog, here.

For more information, check out their website, and follow on Twitter and Facebook to see what bedtime stories have been shared so far!

Or why not share your own?

A Vestry, Edgar Allan Poe, and a Mischievous Crow…

Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory

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Title: Wakening the Crow
Author: Stephen Gregory
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 256 pages
Publication Details: November 11th 2014 by Solaris
Genre(s): Horror; Gothic
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

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With the looming shadow of Edgar Allan Poe falling over one family, Gregory takes the reader into a world of uncertainty and fear.

Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it’s a tooth from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe’s Tooth Books.

Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe’s accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver’s relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It’s a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe’s Tooth Books.

Inexorably the family, the tooth, the crow, the church and their story will draw to a terrifying climax.

 Review

Everything about this synopsis intrigued me; the bizarreness of basing a story – and indeed a horror bookshop – on the discovery of Poe’s tooth, the idea that a manky crow can have an impact on the character’s relationships, and the gothic setting. Sounds good right?

Well, I’m pleased to say that it was…for the most part.

Oliver Gooch is a very strange protagonist and narrator. From the start it’s evident that he’s not altogether what you would call a loving father and husband, or even a good, decent person. Honest maybe, but loving, no.

He frequently refers to his daughter as fat, disgusting and petulant, and his wife as not much better, but all of this adds to a growing unease.

Previously a mobile library driver, Oliver is now about to open his own horror bookshop in the church they have recently bought to also live in. The money came out of a tragic accident when Chloe got stung by a wasp in the mobile library, ran out into the road and suffered a head injury which changed her completely.

Now mute and compliant, with a constant sweet smile upon her face, Chloe is a different daughter entirely, and Oliver is relieved. So much so that he fears the day that she might actually recover.

Stephen Gregory does a great job of creating suspense here. The more we are led through this story by Oliver, the more disturbing it gets. He sees himself as becoming the Poe-like character he dreams of; he stops washing;  he drinks constantly, and tries to ‘write’. He seems to think that the more dishevelled he becomes, and the more grim the bookshop appears, the better. But all of this is at the expense of his family.

The only problem I had with this book was that I couldn’t understand Oliver as a character. I almost felt sorry for him at times, but it’s hard to empathise with someone who laughed at their daughter when she got stung by a wasp, resulting in her being brain damaged. I always felt like there was a good person trying to get out of him, but it never came.

I also expected more of a climax to the story, but overall this was a great read for a dark and stormy night, filled with gothic imagery and a overriding sense of unease.

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Wakening the Crow is available from November 11th, or to pre-order now at Waterstones

*Fangirl Alert* The Heir by Kiera Cass

I know I’m late to the party on this one, but while the online world was going crazy over the announcement that Kiera Cass has expanded on her The Selection series, I was knee-deep in Horror October posts.

But now, let’s celebrate!

I am sooooooooooo excited about this, but also slightly worried that you can have too much of a good thing. Is Cass breaking all her own rules in this role reversal, where a selection of boys compete for the Princess’ (America and Maxon’s daughter, obvs) hand in marriage.

Cass addresses this question and more on her website…but to sum it up…we just have to wait and see. EEEEK! So long to wait.

The Heir, is due for release May 5th 2015. TOO FAR AWAY!

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Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.

And if that wasn’t enough, don’t forget about The Queen, the prequel novella which gets a digital release next month (December 2nd). Which is a much nicer wait than MAY is. Ugh.

I’m linking this up to Breaking the Spine’s Waiting on Wednesday.

WWW Wednesday 05.11.2014

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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?

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday!

I hope you are all having a good week. I’m still trying to catch up after my Horror October frenzy, but I’ll get there. Here are my answers this week:

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Currently Reading:
I’m reading Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald. I’m liking it so far, it’s a little strange, much like her other book The Apple Tart of Hope which I really liked.

Recently Finished:
My last read was Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory which I had mixed feeling about. My review will be up tomorrow. I also finished and reviewed Killer Spiders, here.

Up Next:
So many to choose from as always. I have loads of ARCs and review request books to get through before the end of the year! Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen is one I’m particularly looking forward to!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Reread!

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Books I Want To Reread (or if you don’t reread…would reread in an ideal world).

Well, this one is quite easy for me, as I set myself a Reread challenge this year because I’ve missed rereading my favourites since I started blogging. I used to reread a lot!

So far I’ve only managed two out of the ten, but hey ho…! Here are the 10 I chose:

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  1. Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) by Phillip Pullman
  2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  3. Peter Pan by J.M Barrie
  4. Sunshine by Robin Mckinley
  5. The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey
  6. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger
  7. The Gates by John Connolly
  8. 9. 10. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I’m intrigued to see what’s made your lists!