Top Ten Tuesday: You gonna write it, I’m gonna buy it! #TTT

icon4-tttTop 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 Of Your Auto-buy Authors (no matter the genre or what it’s about…you’ll buy it from these authors!).

I actually don’t have that many auto-buy authors because I get books from so many different places – friends, Netgalley, etc. Even some of my favourite authors like Patrick Ness I don’t actually own many books by…terrible really!

Here are the few that I do count as Auto-buy authors…

Scarlett Thomas: I still haven’t got round to buying her latest novel, The Seed Collectors, though!

Marcus Sedgwick: I don’t own ALL of Sedgwick’s books, but I’m getting there!

Colin Bateman: I love both of his series, Mystery Man and the Dan Starkey novels. The only ones of his I haven’t tried yet are his kids books.

James Frey: I haven’t read any of the Pittacus Lore books, but I will buy any of Frey’s other books!

Marissa Meyer: OK so she’s only written the one series so far, but I love everything about her books and will now buy everything she writes.

Darren Shan: With the exception of his books aimed at the younger audience such as the Zom-B series, I’ll pretty much buy all of Shan’s books.

This Week in Books 24.06.15

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week.

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Now: The Bones of You ~ Debbie Howells

I was hooked on this straight away! It’s out at the end of the month.

Then: The Testimony of a Hanged Man ~ Ann Granger // There is no Dog ~ Meg Rosoff

I finally finished The Testimony of the a Hanged Man, which I was reading at lunch times. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t massively exciting. I also finished There is no Dog, which I was a bit disappointed in.

Next: ???

I really don’t know this time actually. I have Horns by Joe Hill, Reckless by Devon Hartford, and whole load of reveiw requests at the top of my list!

New on the Shelf

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews) and Friday Finds hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Purchased: The first thing I did when I got home from my holiday was to buy book 2 in the Samantha Smith series by Devon Hartford. The first one was totally addictive.

recklessNow that Samantha Smith has confronted the demons from her dark past in Fearless, she’s excited to jump into adulthood with newfound confidence and friends Romeo, Madison, and Kamiko.

Samantha passionately hopes that her dreams of becoming an artist are more than girlish fancy. All she has to do for them to come true is change her major from Accounting to Art, but she fears her parents will fly off the handle when she reveals her intentions.

Christos Manos, the ultimate bad-boy boyfriend, is committed to staying by Samantha’s side, nurturing her and helping her discover her potential, no matter what obstacles are thrown in her way.

When Samantha’s life starts to unravel, Christos is the only person she can turn to for the emergency support she needs. But Christos is fighting his own dark demons, tangled secrets he’s kept hidden from the beginning.

Samantha will be tested to the limits of her resilience, and must discover how truly Fearless she can be in the name of love.

Netgalley: I didn’t make any requests this week.

I’m Waiting on…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

Sky Key ~ James Frey & Nils Johnson- Shelton

skykey Ahhhh I can’t wait for the second Endgame book!

Endgame is here. Earth Key has been found. Two keys—and nine Players—remain. The keys must be found, and only one Player can win.

Queens, New York. Aisling Kopp believes the unthinkable: that Endgame can be stopped. But before she can get home to regroup, she is approached by the CIA. They know about Endgame. And they have their own ideas about how it should be Played. Ideas that could change everything.

Kingdom of Aksum, Ethiopia. Hilal ibn Isa al-Salt narrowly survived an attack that leaves him horribly disfigured. He now knows something the other Players do not. But the Aksumites have a secret that is unique to their line. A secret that can help redeem humanity—and maybe even be used to help defeat the beings behind Endgame.

London, England. Sarah Alopay has found the first key. She is with Jago—and they are winning.But getting Earth Key has come at a great cost to Sarah. The only thing that keeps the demons at bay is Playing. Playing to win.

Sky Key—wherever it is, whatever it is—is next. And the nine remaining Players will stop at nothing to get it.

Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by HarperCollins

So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?

If you still do a similar WWW post (or just want to join in, leave your link/answers in the comments, OR why not tweet using #ThisWeekInBooks, and I’ll come and visit!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Authors!

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

The topic for this week is: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors

Seriously guys, why are you doing this to us!!?? Choosing ten favourite authors is just mean! But after much deliberation, I have chosen my ten. I can not put them in order though. That’s just too hard.

Click on the author pictures to view their Goodreads page, and book titles link to reviews or related posts.

Scarlett Thomas:

authors1Scarlett Thomas has taught English Literature at the University of Kent since 2004, and has previously taught at Dartmouth Community College, South East Essex College and the University of East London. She reviews books for the Literary Review, the Independent on Sunday, and Scotland on Sunday. She has written seven novels, including The End of Mr. Y and PopCo.

Books Read: Bright Young Things; Going Out; Dead Clever; PopCo; The End of Mr Y; Our Tragic Universe

Marcus Sedgwick:

authors2Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

Books Read: My Swordhand is Singing; White Crow; The Book of Dead Days; She is Not Invisible; Blood Red, Snow White; Dark Satanic Mills; The Ghosts of Heaven

Darren Shan

authors3Darren Shan (born July 2, 1972 in London, England) is the pen name of the Irish author Darren O’Shaughnessy, as well as the name of the protagonist of his book series The Saga of Darren Shan, also known as The Cirque Du Freak Series in the United States. He is the author of The Demonata series, as well as some stand-alone books, and a series of books for adults under the alternative name of D.B. Shan.

Books Read: The Saga of Darren Shan 1-12; The Birth of a Killer; The City Trilogy (Procession of the Dead, Hell’s Horizon, City of Snakes); Lady of the Shades; Zom-B

James Frey

authors4James Frey is the author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. After battling with alcohol addiction and spending time in rehab, he wrote A Million Little Pieces which was published in 2003 in America and the following year in the UK to critical acclaim. He wrote the sequel, My Friend Leonard about life after rehab, which was published in 2005 in the US and the year after in the UK. He is also one of the authors that share the pseudonym Pittacus Lore, author of the Lorien Legacies.

Books Read: A Million Little Pieces; My Friend Leonard; Bright Shiny Morning; The Final Testament of the Holy Bible; Endgame

David Levithan

authors5David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children’s book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

Books Read: Will Grayson, Will Grayson; Hold Me Closer; Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist; Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Marissa Meyer

authors6Marissa Meyer lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her fiancé and two cats. In addition to her slight obsession with books and writing, she’s big on road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for antiques. Meyer is represented by Jill Grinberg. CINDER, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles is a futuristic re-envisioning of Cinderella in which Cinder is a cyborg mechanic

Books Read: The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder; Scarlet; Cress)

Colin Bateman

authors7Colin Bateman was a journalist in Northern Ireland before becoming a full-time writer. His first novel, Divorcing Jack, won the Betty Trask Prize, and all his novels have been critically acclaimed. He wrote the screenplays for the feature films of Divorcing Jack, Crossmaheart and Wild About Harry. He lives in Northern Ireland with his family.

Books Read: Mystery Man (Mystery Man; The Day of the Jack Russell; Dr Yes; The Prisoner of Brenda); Dan Starkey (Divorcing Jack; Shooting Sean); Murphy’s Law; Empire State

Kurt Vonnegut

authors8Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journalist before joining the U.S. Army and serving in World War II. His experiences as an advance scout in the Battle of the Bulge, and in particular his witnessing of the bombing of Dresden, Germany whilst a prisoner of war, would inform much of his work. This event would also form the core of his most famous work, Slaughterhouse-Five, the book which would make him a millionaire. This acerbic 200-page book is what most people mean when they describe a work as “Vonnegutian” in scope.

Books Read: Slaughterhouse-Five; Timequake; Breakfast of Champions

Derek Landy

authors9Derek Landy is an Irish writer and screenwriter. In addition to the bestselling children’s/YA series of Skulduggery Pleasant books, a supernatural mystery series starring Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton detective, and Valkyrie Cain, a young female magician, he has written two screenplays that have been made into films: the IFTA award winning “Dead Bodies” and the IFTA nominated “Boy Eats Girl”. Landy himself was nominated for an IFTA for Best Script.

Books Read: Skulduggery Pleasant 1-7; The Maleficent Seven

Patrick Ness

authors10Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award. Born in Virginia, he currently lives in London.

Books Read: The Chaos Walking Trilogy (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer; Monsters of Men); A Monster Calls

I’m pleasantly surprised how many British and Irish writers I have on my list, it was totally unintentional.

Looking forward to seeing who everyone else has chosen. Feel free to leave your link.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Book Quotes

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

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes From Books (anything that inspires you, challenges you, makes you think, encourages you, etc).

Ahhh I really love this week’s topic; it was really hard to stick to ten. And I just know there’s so many of my favourites I’ve missed out too, but I didn’t want to pick ones I thought everyone else would so I’ve avoided some of the classics. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has picked!

In no particular order…

1.

I used to think that when I got older, the world would make so much more sense. But you know what? The older I get, the more confusing it is to me. The more complicated it is. Harder. You’d think we’d be getting better at it. But there’s just more and more chaos. The pieces – they’re everywhere. And nobody knows what to do about it. I find myself grasping, Nick. You know that feeling? That feeling when you just want the right thing to fall into the right place, not only because it’s right, but because it would mean that such a thing is still possible? I want to believe that.”

David Levithan & Rachel Cohn, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

2. “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

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4. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

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― A Million Little Pieces

6.

I wanted to tell them that I’d never had a friend, not ever, not a real one. Until Dante. I wanted to tell them that I never knew that people like Dante existed in the world, people who looked at the stars, and knew the mysteries of water, and knew enough to know that birds belonged to the heavens and weren’t meant to be shot down from their graceful flights by mean and stupid boys. I wanted to tell them that he had changed my life and that I would never be the same, not ever. And that somehow it felt like it was Dante who had saved my life and not the other way around. I wanted to tell them that he was the first human being aside from my mother who had ever made me want to talk about the things that scared me. I wanted to tell them so many things and yet I didn’t have the words. So I just stupidly repeated myself. “Dante’s my friend.”

― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

7.

“Never, is an awfully long time.”

― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

8. “Choices may be unbelievably hard but they’re never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that’s not how a person with integrity acts.”

― Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men

9.

“Sometimes, you do things and you do them not because you’re thinking but because you’re feeling. Because you’re feeling too much. And you can’t always control the things you do when you’re feeling too much.”

― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (I could have probably done all ten from this book <3)

10. “No one bends further than someone made of completely straight lines”

― Will Elliot, The Pilo Family Circus

Almost made the Top Ten…

“It was one of those moments when you wonder whether there is some kind of big misunderstanding and really this is all just a dream or a made-up story, and not the real world like you thought it was.”

― Chris Beckett, Dark Eden

“I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.”

― Stephenie Meyer, Twilight (Couldn’t resist!)

This is Endgame!

Endgame
Title: Endgame: The Calling
Author: James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton
Series: Endgame #1
Edition: ARC, 464 pages
Expected Publication: October 7th 2014 by HarperCollins
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Not really. I received a copy from the publisher/author but I was not obligated to write a review.

Goodreads
Pre-Order

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.
Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.

Play.
Survive.
Solve.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.

Let’s face it, James Frey likes to fuck with people.

First there was A Million Little Pieces, a harrowing memoir of a self-destructive alcoholic going through rehab which turned out to be more fiction than fact, and then came The Final Testament of the Holy Bible in which The Messiah sleeps his way around New York with men and women, collecting followers along the way, and damning religion as he goes.

And now…well, now There’s Endgame.

I’ve already ranted about the barrage of shit people have been spouting about the book on Goodreads based solely on the synopsis (OMG it’s like SO Hunger Games… how dare he…etc), and their personal opinions of Frey – and the best thing is that it turns out that Endgame isn’t really very THG at all, he’s just fucking with you.

JOKE’S ON YOU.

In all seriousness, I can’t see any other reason why Frey and Johnson-Shelton decided there had to be twelve ancient lines, with one player chosen from each, or why protagonist Sarah Alopay had to have her hair in a braid… things pretty synonymous with The Hunger Games these days, but look at the bigger picture (or y’know, just read the book) and you may find something other than a passing resemblance to the popular dystopian franchise.

Endgame: The Calling is like nothing I’ve ever read before. As the 12 players of Endgame search across the globe for the first key to the puzzle, we too are given clues of our own to solve.

I absolutely love this concept. When I first heard about the Masquerade phenomenon of the 70s I was jealous I never got to experience it. I also used to really love those ‘choose your own path’ books, and Endgame felt a bit like those, but on a far bigger, more sophisticated scale.

As far as the story itself is concerned, I couldn’t put it down but I did feel like something was missing. I liked that it wasn’t a last-one-standing kind of deal, which was another element that set it aside from the likes of The Hunger Games and Battle Royale.

Instead, each player is playing for the survival of their lineage, so basically everyone they know and love. A clue is implanted into their heads by Kepler 22b, the ancient alien-being overseeing Endgame. This gives the players the chance to form unlikely alliances and work together to solve the clues and find the keys. Only one can win, but the objective isn’t simply to maim each other.

I thought that idea could be a great base for some intense character relationships and drama but it never really amounted to enough of a climax for me. I liked the alliance and growing romance between Sarah and aloof Jago, especially when Sarah’s non-player boyfriend Christopher is thrown into the mix, but I didn’t get very emotionally invested in any of them. Perhaps there’s just too many players to care about at this point, or maybe it’s that most of them were too focused and came across as cold.

I did like a lot of things about the book though. As with most of Frey’s work to date, Endgame is about more than it first appears. There’s a sense of a greater power at work, something ancient and spiritual which I look forward to exploring further in the series.

However, the thing I liked most of all is that every reader’s experience of Endgame will be different. I enjoyed looking up all the links and clues provided even if the whole thing hasn’t gone live yet (publication day, guys). Having to flick to the end of the book each chapter to get the link was a bit of an effort at first (I imagine this won’t be as much as an issue with digital editions), but I thought it was totally worth it in the end. Links to YouTube Videos, Wikipedia pages and google images, consisting of everything from Mongolian Warrior music, to watching a sunset changes the way you read and think about the story as you go along.

Overall, I thought Endgame was a fast-paced, fun, read, but not one that completely blew me away. What Frey and Johnson-Shelton have created here is a unique reading experience, and even if you have doubts about the synopsis (Yes Goodreads’ trolls I’m looking at you) you have to appreciate the innovation and scope of it.

Endgame will begin if the human race has shown that it doesn’t deserve to be human. That it has wasted the enlightenment They gave to us.”

unicorn rating 4

Endgame: The Calling is available to Pre-Order now.

Incoming: Best Book Week!

Seeing as I don’t have a review for you today I thought I would just share my recent book joy.

I had the BEST book luck last week!

I won two books in Goodreads giveaways, was sent Endgame by James Frey, and won a new book of unseen David Bowie photos in a raffle.

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Maybe I should play the Lottery this week?

Goodreads Giveaways

daughterHow well do you really know those you love?

Jenny loves her three teenage children and her husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon. She loves the way that, as a family, they always know each other’s problems and don’t keep secrets from each other.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play and a nationwide search for her begins, secrets previously kept from Jenny are revealed.

Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother desperately searching for answers. But the traces Naomi’s left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she’d raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets.

How well does she really know her sons, her husband? How well did she know Naomi? If Jenny is going to find her, she’ll have to first uncover the truth about the daughter she thought told her everything.

Daughter was published August 14th 2014 by Penguin

gbyesThe house was silent. No sound of her parents getting ready for work, or her brother late for school. Were they punishing her for last night? She’d been out on a date when she should have been studying, and had a huge fight with her father. So where was everyone now? Why had her family disappeared?

Twenty-five years later the mystery is no nearer to being solved and Cynthia is still haunted by unanswered questions. Were her family murdered? Abducted? If so, why was she spared? And if they’re alive, why did they abandon her?

Then a letter arrives, a letter which makes no sense. Soon Cynthia begins to realise that stirring up the past could be the worst mistake she has ever made…

No Time for Goodbye was published in 2008 by Orion Books. Barclay’s new book, No Safe House is out now.

WWW Wednesday 20/08/2014

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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?

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday!

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Currently Reading:
I’m at the business end of Endgame: The Calling by James Frey & Nils Johnson Shelton. It’s a high-concept, interactive book that I’m loving even if it’s making me feel a bit stupid. WHAT DO THESE CLUES MEAN?

Recently Finished:
Ever Near by Melissa MacVicar. I really enjoyed this YA modern ghost story with a bit of romance thrown in. Let’s call it the #HotStepBrother factor.

Up Next:
Getting my hands on Endgame was a surprise so it’s thrown me off track slightly. Therefore my next one will still either be Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence or She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick. I also really need to start Of Scars and Stardust for an ARC deadline. I requested it for the title alone.