Posted in 2017, Book clubs, Ramblings, Reads of ..., The British Book Challenge, Usborne

THE EXTINCTION TRIALS, Q&A with S M Wilson

ET-Blogger-tour

HG: Which character, if any, did you relate to?

SMW: It has to be heroine, Storm.  She’s angry and feels abandoned, and I felt that as I wrote her.  But Storm has a big heart and a strong sense of ethics and I hope that comes through.

HG: If you were to enter the trials, what would your motivation be?

SMW: Food!  I will admit to being a complete food lover.  I’m not particularly sporty.  The chances of me completing any of the trials is less than slim, but, if you were waving chocolate at me I would probably have a go.

HG: Comparisons to books like Hunger Games and Jurassic park are inevitable despite your book’s unique storytelling and plot. Are comparisons something you embrace as a writer?

SMW: I am so flattered by those comparisons.  Nowadays people only think of the Jurassic Park film, but the book by Michael Crichton is fabulous, so atmospheric and I hope I’ve captured a little of that in mine.  As for the Hunger Games, I read all those books, I loved the fight-to-the-death element.  So, yes, I’m happy with comparisons!

HG: You are able to write with two distinct voices for both of your main characters; was there a process behind this? 

SMW: No.  I’m very methodical.  I just wrote it in alternate chapters. I found it easy as both characters have very different motivations.

HG: Who would survive longer in the Trials; Katniss Everdeen or Alan Grant?

SMW: Nope!  That’s completely unfair.  You can’t make me choose between them.  Can I go for Chris Pratt’s character in Jurassic World instead please? Owen Grady looks like he could survive just about anything with that twinkling smile.  Can I be controversial though and say I might send a raptor after the heroine…

HG: Going to go all Sherlock on you now. If you were to give your fans three, individual and unrelated, words as clues for the next book, what would they be?

SMW: The title of the next book would have to be one of them: (TO BE REVEALED this weekend on #SundayYA!) It speaks volumes!

The other two I would choose are mystery and surprise.  They’re going to venture into some unexplored territory and get a few shocks along the way!

HG: Normally, this sort of book would have readers clambering for your back catalogue of books. Being your debut novel, everyone will be a little disappointed and be itching for that sequel. What 3 books would you recommend while they wait?

SMW: One I’ve already mentioned Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  Love, love, love it.

The other two are YA.  Warcross by Marie Lu and Invictus by Ryan Graudin.  Read both of these books this year and just loved them.


Sign up for the Usborne YA newsletter here for information about upcoming releases and the extract release for the second Extinction Trials book.

Posted in 2018, ARC, Book clubs, Net Galley, QoGA-Z, Reads of ...

Everless by @Sara__Holland

Characters

It’s not often you find a book where you enjoy and relate to most of the characters. From the protagonist to the staff at Everless, each one is fully developed and invite you in to this world. They are likeable, unlikeable and with one in particular you will be utterly conflicted from start to finish.

Jules is strong, angry and the perfect protagonist to be on this journey with. Her voice is clear and strong, even when under pressure.

Interestingly, it is Liam who was my favourite character from the outset. For the first time, I’ve not trusted the protagonist’s opinion. I willed it to be false. I put that down, in part, to Sara Holland’s writing.

Plot

It’s a heroes quest unlike any I’ve read before. It pulls you in from the very start and you’re along for the ride as ? learns about herself and the dangerous world she lives in.

The addition of the time bleeding and blood iron is genius. Elements relating to time can often feel overwhelmingly futuristic. However, we are treated to what I would consider a delightful fusion of steam punk and Historical Britain.

Writing

Sara Holland’s first person narrative unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced before. The ability to develop other characters and imply that there is an alternative view is utterly seamless. It’s only reflecting that I’ve realised I questioned Jules’ understanding throughout the novel.

The only time I stopped reading was when i paused to text my best friend, Gem, to tell her that she has to read this book.

One thing that really hit home with me was this quote: “It’s possible to feel joy and grief at the same time.”

No one, not even myself, has ever been able to articulate how depression feels to me. Not only has Holland done this, she has done it in such a beautiful and haunting way.

Posted in 2018, QoGA-Z, Reads of ...

Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

Welcome to The Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

We are going to read a book for every letter of the alphabet in 2018…

They will be a mix of new releases and #QOG favourites.

The list below are some of my  favourites combined with some up and coming releases for 2018.

This is not a list anyone should feel obliged to stick to, they are just suggestions of ones I love and ones I am looking forward to! 😊

If you want to join in with myself and @hscptcrash  the hashtag for this is  #QOGAZ  (I’d get so many Scrabble points for this!)

Throughout 2018 we will be posting about this challenge, and we will be reading books in any order so don’t think you have to start with A!

I’ve included a link to order the book through Waterstones as I worked with them for 7 years, but obvs feel free to order from whoever your preferred supplier is or get them in libraries, charity shops or as I do Abebooks.co.uk.

My friend, @ChelleyToy (award winning blogger extraordinaire, who gives wonderful hugs) is hosting a British Books Challenge, so if you could combine the two that would be even more spectacular! Chelley’s link to sign up is below;

http://www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/2017/12/tales-post-british-books-challenge-2017-sign-up-britishbookschallenge18/

https://i2.wp.com/www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/BBC-pointed-shaded.png

 The Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

 #QOGAZ

A; Almost Love https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

B; Batman: Nightwalker https://www.waterstones.com/book/batman-nightwalker-dc-icons-series/marie-lu/9780141386836

C; Children of Blood and Bone https://www.waterstones.com/book/children-of-blood-and-bone/tomi-adeyemi/9781509871353

D; Department 19 https://www.waterstones.com/book/department-19/will-hill/9780007354467

E; (The) Extinction Trials https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-extinction-trials/s-m-wilson/9781474927345

F; Fallen https://www.waterstones.com/book/fallen/lauren-kate/9780552561730

G; Grasshopper Jungle https://www.waterstones.com/book/grasshopper-jungle/andrew-smith/9781405278102

H; (The) Hazel Wood https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-hazel-wood/melissa-albert/9780141388663

I; Ink & Bone https://www.waterstones.com/book/ink-and-bone/rachel-caine/9780749017224

J; (A) Jigsaw of Fire & Stars https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-jigsaw-of-fire-and-stars/yaba-badoe/9781786695482

K; (A) Kiss in the Dark https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-kiss-in-the-dark/cat-clarke/9781780870472

L; (The) Luxe https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-luxe/anna-godbersen/9780141323367

M; Monster https://www.waterstones.com/book/monster/michael-grant/9781405284837

N; Noughts and Crosses https://www.waterstones.com/book/noughts-and-crosses/malorie-blackman/9780141378640

O; Orphan Monster Spy https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

P; Panic https://www.waterstones.com/book/panic/lauren-oliver/9781444723052

Q; (The) Queen of Tearling https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-queen-of-the-tearling/erika-johansen/9780857502476

R; (The) Renegades https://www.waterstones.com/book/renegades/marissa-meyer/9781509876433

S; (The) Sin Eater’s Daughter https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-sin-eaters-daughter/melinda-salisbury/9781407147635

T; Truly Devious  https://www.waterstones.com/book/truly-devious/maureen-johnson/9780062338051

U; (The) Upside of Unrequited https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-upside-of-unrequited/becky-albertalli/9780141356112

V; Vampire Academy https://www.waterstones.com/book/vampire-academy-book-1/richelle-mead/9780141328522

W; Wicked Deep https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-wicked-deep/shea-ernshaw/9781471166136

X; SiX of Crows https://www.waterstones.com/book/six-of-crows/leigh-bardugo/9781780622286

Y; If You Find Me https://www.waterstones.com/book/if-you-find-me/emily-murdoch/9781780621531

Z; Zeroes   https://www.waterstones.com/book/zeroes/scott-westerfeld/margo-lanagan/9781471124891

Posted in 2018, Book clubs, Han, Reads of ..., The British Book Challenge

British Book Challenge

We, The Queens of Geekdom are going to take part in the British Book Challenge #BritishBooksChallenge18 hosted by the awesome @ChelleyToy over at Tales of Yesterday.

http://www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/2016/12/tales-post-british-books-challenge-2017-sign-up/

We’ll be doing this in conjunction with the  #QOGAZ A-Z challenge so some titles will count towards both challenges, double the fun!

@gemlovesbooks books;

The books I’m intending on reading for the challenge are a mix of ones which have already been published and some that I’m impatiently waiting for in 2018!

I’ll put a link to Waterstones for the books so people can click to see the full synopsis of my chosen books.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neil  https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

State of Sorrow by Melinda Sailsbury  https://www.waterstones.com/book/state-of-sorrow/melinda-salisbury/9781407180274

Release by Patrick Ness https://www.waterstones.com/book/release/patrick-ness/9781406331172

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-song-rising/samantha-shannon/9781408877852

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

Book of Dust by Philip Pullman https://www.waterstones.com/book/la-belle-sauvage-the-book-of-dust-volume-one/philip-pullman/9780857561091

How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-do-you-like-me-now/holly-bourne/9781473667723

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-spoonful-of-murder-a-murder-most-unladylike-mystery/robin-stevens/nina-tara/9780141373782

Rattle by Fiona Cummins https://www.waterstones.com/book/rattle/fiona-cummins/9781509812271

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-stop-time/matt-haig/chris-riddell/9781786893161

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein https://www.waterstones.com/book/code-name-verity/elizabeth-wein/9781405278423

The Blood Road by Stuart Macbride https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-blood-road/stuart-macbride/9780008208219

@hscptcrash books:

I’ll be starting with the same list, except for one that I’ve already read.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neil  https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

State of Sorrow by Melinda Sailsbury  https://www.waterstones.com/book/state-of-sorrow/melinda-salisbury/9781407180274

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-song-rising/samantha-shannon/9781408877852

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

Book of Dust by Philip Pullman https://www.waterstones.com/book/la-belle-sauvage-the-book-of-dust-volume-one/philip-pullman/9780857561091

How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-do-you-like-me-now/holly-bourne/9781473667723

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-spoonful-of-murder-a-murder-most-unladylike-mystery/robin-stevens/nina-tara/9780141373782

Rattle by Fiona Cummins https://www.waterstones.com/book/rattle/fiona-cummins/9781509812271

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-stop-time/matt-haig/chris-riddell/9781786893161

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein https://www.waterstones.com/book/code-name-verity/elizabeth-wein/9781405278423

The Blood Road by Stuart Macbride https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-blood-road/stuart-macbride/9780008208219

Posted in Bloomsbury, Book clubs, Han, Ramblings, Zoella Book Club 2017

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

From Amazon: Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Goodreads

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First Thoughts
It was going to be a tough read for me. I always knew that. In fact, until Zoe announced it was this week’s focus for the Zoella book club chat I had no intention of reading this book. I thought it was too close to home and I buried it, much like my feelings about death and grief.
I’m really glad I did. Yes, it was a painful read. It was tough going, but there was something a little cathartic about the process.

 

Characters

I was able to engage and empathise with most of the characters. Brigid Kemmerer was able to create almost mirror-like characters that reflect the reader’s experiences that add depth to the characters. From the frustration and anger of Juliet, the warmth of the English teacher to the angst-ridden guilt of Declan.
The characters do grow throughout the narrative, but what I like most is that their growth does not end when the book does. You know that they have further to go, but they’ll get there.
I have more of an attachment to Declan. Perhaps it’s how long he’s had to grief by the opening of the narrative or his specific form of guilt. It could even be my love of his friend, Rev but what I love most of all is how genuine his character is; I’ve seen kids like him in my classes and it’s fascinating to see potential inner workings.

Plot

In what could have been a predictable You’ve Got Mail, grief by numbers I am delighted to say I had the rug pulled from under me a few times; and I was looking at it analytically trying to see the red herrings. I can’t really say more without spoiling the twist/s, but I can say that it helps develop a refreshing look at family, coping with death and living up to your own expectations.

Writing

It did take me a few more chapters than normal to get into the flow of which voice belonged to whom. I think this was perhaps owing to many chapters having the voices of Juliet and Declan both present; one as narrator other letter writer.
However, by the time the characters moved to other forms of communicating, I was well and truly hooked.
zbc&f-summer2017-reviews-letters

If you’ve read the book, please join the wonderful @zcollins1994 (along with myself and Gem) on Saturday 2nd September 6pm as Zoe hosts her weekly #zoellabookclub chat on Twitter (http://www.nosaferplace.co.uk/2017/07/zoella-book-club-chat.html – Zoe explains it much better in her own words here). If you haven’t read the book, head over to Zoe’s YouTube channel at 5pm https://www.youtube.com/nosaferplace and you also still have time.

Look forward to seeing you there.