Top Ten Tuesday: Books About Friendship

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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 About Friendship.

I actually found this topic harder than I expected to, but I think I’ve managed to come up with ten books that I love (OK 9 – I cheated on one) and that hopefully won’t be on everybody else’s lists.

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The BFG by Roald Dahl: This book is definitely in my top 3 Dahl books! Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant are just so cute together. He even makes her a dress.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson: This one is the cheat because I haven’t actually read it yet…I have no idea how or why! However, if the film is anything to go by, the friendship between outsiders Jess and Leslie is beautiful, and inevitably heart-breaking.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: I really didn’t rate the film, but this is one of my favourite books, and definitely one that will make you think about how important friendships can be.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John Green: This is one of my favourite coming of age stories, set around what sounds like an amazing high school musical.

A Million Little Pieces & My Friend Leonard by James Frey: Sometimes in the unlikiest places with the unlikliest of people, friendships can strike and that’s what happens in Frey’s controversial books about one man’s struggle with drink, drugs and rehabilitation.

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The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: Oh this book. Has friendship ever been so dangerous?

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Anne Brashares: I really liked the first book in this series, but the second one just didn’t have the same magic so I read no futher. If I’d read these when I was at school though I’m absolutely positive I would have loved them. Every girl longs for a close circle of friend like these girls have.

Let the Right One in by John Ajvide Lindqvist: A lonely, bullied boy and a strange, wild girl who only seems to come out at night makes this the epitome of an unlikly friendship story.

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman: If you think Romeo & Juliet had problems just see what Sephy and Callum have to put up with. This story of racism and prejudice blew me away, and at the heart of it is such a beautiful friendship, despite everything going against them.

What would make your list?

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Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #2

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

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1. Divergent

At some point this week I will be watching Divergent. I can’t wait to be able to rant about it! Last Saturday I walked through Leicester square and they had it all set up for the UK Premiere the following day, and I must admit seeing all the faction flags was pretty exciting.

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I did have a chuckle at all the kids who were already queuing up (overnight!) to get a good view of the red carpet. I had to text Di about it, apologies for the ‘freaks’ comment…all in jest I assure you (I was secretly really jealous, obvs)!

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And while we’re on the subject, the awesome Di has an amazing rant some thoughts on Insurgent which I’ll hopefully steal off her for a guest post. Watch this space.

2. We like Graves

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This is turning into a bit of a Dianne Tanner special, but this weekend just gone, Di and I had a lovely time wandering round Nunhead Cemetery, taking photos, looking for Narnia, and generally enjoying the spring-time sun.

Check out her photography blog, Icefloe which will feature much better Nunhead photos than these at some point.

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3. Crazy Golf is best with Dinosaurs

I had a work outing on friday to Jurassic Golf which is so much fun, despite them playing the Jurassic Park Theme Tune ON REPEAT. I’ve been humming it all weekend. Also, I didn’t lose for once, and my team came in second place (OK so there were only 3 teams). I also bet on the Grand National and came 2nd with Balthazar King. I’m waiting for my dad to let me know how much I won…maybe even a whole five pounds!

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4. ❤ Patrick Ness' Twilight Tweet-Along!

Patrick Ness had me in creases last week as he read Twilight and tweeted about it. I like that his tweets were hilarious, but not derogatory or patronising. He made it clear that any book that has been that successful deserves respect.

Here were some of my favourites:

Seriously, they are all gold! Go and read them all and behold the joy!

5. Fail

Regular readers or Goodreads followers may have noticed that I started Marcus Sedgwick’s A Love Like Blood. I was really intrigued to see what his first adult book would be like but I had so any ARC deadlines at that time and I fell behind. I did start it, but I only read about 5 pages and really couldn’t get into to it. Plus, I was desperate to get to Vampire Academy 2 which had just arrived in the post. So when A Love Like Blood was archived in NetGalley just a few days after the release date I decided to just scrap it. :s Hopefully, I’ll give it another go sometime!

6. Game of Thrones

GoT!!! That is all!!!

7. M’s the word

The ‘m’ on my laptop keyboard is buggered I have to hold it down and show it soe love before the M actually works, see! MMMMMMMMMMMMM. Danit. So if you see soe missing mmmmm’s, please fill in the blanks. Why thanks.

Have a good week everyone.

Blog Take-Over: B.I Woolet on the inspiration behind their World of Arcas series.

I’m absolutely delighted to hand over my blog today to B.I Woolet, authors of The Hunter, The Bear and the Seventh Sister (HBSS). I fell in love with the world they built instantly and I was intrigued to find out where their inspiration came from.

But first, here’s the low-down on HBSS:

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Title: The Hunter, The Bear and the Seventh Sister
Author: B.I Woolet
Details: E-Book, Paperback
Publication Date: January 28th 2014, by ArcasArts

When a beautiful and powerful stranger throws Jackson into the world of Arcas, his predictable midwestern life instantly vanishes into an all-consuming adventure.

The last kingdoms of Arcas possess enduring youth, beauty, and wealth but have slowly crumbled under the weight of endless apathy and a painful past.

The rising evil of Gurges Ater now threatens to reopen the ancient kingdom pillars created long ago as passageways between Earth and Arcas. With access to both worlds, Gurges Ater will quickly conquer the weak kingdoms and establish his own throne.

Can Jackson along with a paranoid bear, a lone hunter, and the surviving seventh sister work together to protect both Earth and Arcas?

Or will the unlikely heroes allow their own fears, pain, and past to paralyze them as Gurges Ater opens the pillars and claims the throne?

Leave your own world behind, dive through the shimmering portal, and join Jackson to discover the beauty, danger, and adventure awaiting you in the World of Arcas!
Read my review here.

Thanks Lipsyy for letting us take over your blog today! 🙂

Fantasy and Sci-Fi adventures…

have always been an enjoyable part of our life. Like many others, we grew up escaping to the worlds of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien. We loved to “journey” to other worlds but never thought that we would actually create one. Many readers have asked us about our inspiration behind The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister, so today we hope to give you some of the inside scoop on our journey through the fantastical world of Arcas.

The idea of writing a fantasy story did not start on the side of a glorious mountain or before a marvelous sunset descending upon the crashing ocean. The World of Arcas was born during… a baby shower. I (Benji, the “B” in B. I. Woolet) was by sitting by the fire on one cold November evening in 2011. Actually, I was hiding a bit from the whole awkward feelings about being a man at a baby shower that wasn’t for my wife or for my baby. So, I sat alone in the back room, enjoying the warmth of the fire and looking out at the snow covered ground. Perhaps I secretly wished to be transported away, so I wouldn’t feel so out of place. “What would happen if I transported to another world?” I thought, staring at the flaming logs and breathing in their smoky incense. Thus, the dawn of a new world, the breath of new characters, and the rumors of a new adventure in the World of Arcas were all conceived during a baby shower.

The backbone of The World of Arcas Series is the union of astronomical science and fantasy. When we first started writing HBSS, the links to objects in the celestial universe weren’t totally formed yet. As fate would have it though, about the same time as the genesis of HBSS, my wife and I got interested in astronomy. As beginning stargazers, we started by learning the constellations and how to star hop. Once we recognized individual stars and the various characters in the night sky, we could use our telescope to find cool deep space objects.

orionDuring the day, we were creating a fantasy world. At night, we were gazing at the stars. As we searched the dark sky one night, the powerful figure of Orion—the hunter—almost demanded to enter the story. We knew there were already stories about Orion from various cultures throughout human history, but those stories seemed so removed from our world, so distant. It was time for the stars to come to life for a new generation. After all, the constellations do not just belong to the ancient world; they belong to those of us who are breathing, and seeing, and enjoying them right now. They needed a new story for a new age.

Now, of course, we didn’t get rid of the old legends all together. We did what most people do while forming a creative work: borrowed, altered, and added. Otava (which comes from the Finnish name for the constellation) is the great bear Ursa Major. However, in American culture, many people don’t even know it’s a bear; we usually think of it merely as the big dipper (which makes up the back half of the bear). Hence, we made our bear into a culinary enthusiast! And we also added a few jokes about Otava’s “big dipper.” But there are also many new and interesting aspects of the bear that we added to make him a loveable, powerful, and quirky character!

Ok—beware! I’m about to get super geeky on you now!

Another example of mashing together science with fantasy is found in the chapter “The Ring and the Lyre.” My “go-to” constellation is Lyra when I stargaze. I first use a trick my uncle taught me to test my optics out on the “double-double” (a set of two double stars in Lyra that you can “split” with the telescope). Then, I immediately look for the famous Ring Nebula (M57). It’s an amazing nebula, and I wanted something special for it. For the musical fans out there, the idea formed out of something similar to the dream sequence in Oklahoma.

ringWe turned the stringed Lyre into a magical instrument. So when Sulafat (Gamae Lyrae – the second brightest star in Lyra) plays the lyre, a cloudy magical ring appears that is reminiscent of the Ring Nebula: Upon reaching the bank, the cloud formed a ring swarming round and round, displaying blues and greens in the center along with golds and reds on the outside. The colors were vibrant yet muted by the white haze. A beautifully haunting tune quietly radiated through the ringed cloud.

There are so many other amazing star connections to be discovered as you journey with The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister! Don’t get me started on the epic Horsehead Nebula in Orion, our inspiration for the warhorse Alnitak. Or the gravitational modeling involved in creating a planet within a trinary star system.

But don’t worry! Even if you are not into astronomy, you can enter the World of Arcas and enjoy the ride in complete bliss without worrying about star names or constellations or nebulas. It’s a fun adventure story for the whole family to enjoy. The backbone of Arcas may be the celestial universe, but the life of Arcas radiates through its memorable characters and on-going action.

HBSS was a two-year writing project and all this science stuff is great, but it doesn’t reveal our greatest inspiration. We were fortunate enough to receive continual encouragement from close friends and family to follow our dream and finish this first book. Every day at the gym, one of my closest friends asked (consistently for two years!) how the book was coming along. Now folks…that is real inspiration. Friendship.

Meet the Authors

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B. I. Woolet (Benji & Ila Woolet) is the author of The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister, the first book from the World of Arcas series. Benji studied Music Composition leading to a Bachelor’s in Music, and Ila studied English leading to a BS in Education. When they aren’t working, writing, or chasing their three little girls around, they are active in their local community and church. The couple enjoys creating lyrical and literary arts, playing music together, and exploring nature. They are happily married and live in Indiana.

Links
Website: World of Arcas
Facebook
Twitter
Find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and Goodreads.

Image Credits:
The Ring Nebula: The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2002/28/image/d/

Orion: images adapted with the courtesy and written permission of IAU and Sky and Telescope Magazine.