Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Authors I’d Put On My Auto To-Buy List

This week from The Broke and The Bookish we have the interesting topic of our Top Ten Authors on my auto to-buy list. I’m afraid I don’t have an answer of ten for this. When I was younger, well in my early teens there was one author I would always buy but now I’m much more fussy.

  • Catherine MacPhail I think may been my only ever auto-buy. However that was when I was in my early teens and I no longer read her work. 

Now I wouldn’t buy any book just because of the author. I only really read books that I think I’ll like and I have to been in the mood for an idea before I’ll read it too. There are however a few Authors that I would always pick up their books to at least see if I am interested in it.

  • Darren Shan I have never read his Demon series but I really enjoyed his books on vampires and I’m interesting in his recent book Lady of the Shades.
  • Sophie McKenzie I really like Sophie McKenzie’s books that explore science such as Blood Ties and Medusa and I have read her Girl! books but I have never been interested in her more girly series.
  • Simmone Howel I love the books she has released so far, even though that is only 2  but I am very excited about a new book coming soon.
  • Cat Clarke Although I have only read one of her books so far I am hoping on read more of her work and would definatly pick them up if I seen her name on them. 
  • Cat Patrick So far I have read the books she has published and I’m excited about a new book coming out in May this year.

Are There Any Authors On Your Auto-Buy List?

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Fever

Book Blurb

A fearless Roman gladiator.

A reckless 21st century girl.

A mysterious virus unites them . . .

152 AD. Sethos Leontis, a skilled and mesmerising fighter, is unexpectedly wounded and lies dangerously close to death.

2012 AD. Eva is brilliant – but troubled. Starting her new life at a school for the gifted, a single moment in the lab has terrifying results.

An extraordinary link brings Sethos and Eva together, but it could force them apart – because the fever that grips them cannot be cured and falling in love could be lethal . . . Can love survive when worlds collide and threaten time itself?

My Synopsis

In 2012 Eva has just been expelled from another school after hacking into the headteacher’s PC. She is just beginning to realise that although she seems to have some special talents that make her intelligent without A levels she won’t have much of a future when she comes across St Mags school for the gifted. Without telling her parents she applies and before she knows it she is finally happy and actually feeling like she lives a normal life. At St Mags she is no longer bored by classes filled with stuff she already understand and she finally has friends. 

In AD 152 Sethos world is also about to change. A famous Gladiator he enjoys what he does although he a slave however when he meets Livia he has a new reason to win his fight.  Things don’t go quite to plan though and Seth finds himself with a fever and living at Livia’s house. As she helps care for him he falls in love with her but she is to be married. He isn’t just going to sit back and lose his only love but this causes more pain than love. 

Back in 2012 Eva is also about to have her life almost torn from her. When she meets a guest talker she is introduced to biology she can’t understand and after an accident that almost kills her she becomes determined to find out what exactly was in the vile she dropped. 

Waking up in a strange new place with his best friend Seth also starts doing research of his on. Where is he? Why? and how can he get to see his beloved again?

It is then that he meets Zach and goes to St Mags in the hope of finding research but instead he is about to meet Eva.

Review

I’m not a big fan of the cover of this book but the reason I picked it up is because I was drawn to the first line of the blurb. I immediately thought of Rory from Dr Who and so I thought lets give it ago. Right from the fist page I enjoyed this book. The parts set in 2012 I particularly enjoyed, the clever but troubles teenage who craved a normal life and finally got it at a far from normal boarding school. I found Eva a character I could like very easily and they way it was written engaged me.

The story is split into three parts and in the first we hear from Eva in first person and learn about Seth in third. I found this an interesting mix however I admit it took me longer to feel connected to Seth as we experience his world in a different way. I am not a huge fan of stories set to far back in history but Seths story was still interesting and I think it made me acceptance how quickly he feel in love easier as I believe falling in love in the past was much simpler because their lives were shorter.

In part two we get to hear from Seth in first person which I enjoyed much more. They also move away from being set in history and we begin to see how the two may become connected. It is over half way through the book before there is really any sign of how the stories might link up which I found a little frustrating however it does all work. 

In the final part of the book Seth is able to get move to 2013 where he and Eva are finally united. Things don’t run smoothly of course but they way being together makes them feel causes Eva to discover a whole past life that she has never been aware of before. 

I think that the plot to this stories wasn’t anything spectacular really. I have a few issues with the fact that some of the characters seemed important and then just disappeared and we briefly get an insight into Mats live that does affects the story but we don’t get to know much else about his thoughts really. The idea of a fever that can cause people to be connected was a really interesting one though and they way it was written with the mix or first and third person was something new to me. What I liked about the story was the characters and the written style. It was very easy to get into the book and follow the story and I almost read it all in just  a day.  

Re-Read Review – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This is such a sad book. Right for the very beginning everything is turned upside down and we have to deal with loss. It is the emotion of this story however that makes it so successful. By book 7 we have watched all the characters grow and discovered each of their personalities and stories. As a result we are totally connected to the book and feel every emotion as it happens. There are parts of the story I get a little tired at and when Ron runs away it’s so easy to get annoyed at him but I think these things have to happen to bring the whole series to a conclusion. I liked the way that we still have things to discover in this book. It is the final battle to stop Voldemort but even he doesn’t understand how he is going to be undone and of course we are finally let in on Snapes secret. We lose some really great character’s of course  however that is always going to be true of war and it needed to happen to make the story relatable, plus it is part of what drives Harry and it gives us something more to full our passion for the end of Voldemort’s reign. I agree like many people that the 19 year later bit is a bit cheesy but after living through the whole series it really is needed to give us a bit of closure and we all wanted to know what would happen when they grew up.

For the past 3 books now I have had this over riding thought about JK Rowling and these books and I just can’t understand how she, or any writer, could every put these characters to rest now they have come alive in so many pages. The series has been so carefully woven together and each character has so much in their lives outside of  what we get to see and I find it impossible to imagine how she will ever be able to let them go. My only suggestion is that you would have to grieve for them and the story just like a real person and even they never really leave you.

Project Fairy Tale: The Elves and the Shoefaker by Hans Christian ASBOsen

The ASBO Fairy Tales is a collection of some of the most well known Fairy Tales re-written to reflect some of the issues that get people in to trouble now a days.

The collections retelling of The Elves and The Shoemaker is The Elves and the Shoefaker.

I this retelling the Shoemaker works very hard to make counterfeit shoes however he can’t compete with the cheap prices of those made in Thailand. As before he lays out his materials and goes to bed and wakes in the morning to find perfect shoes made. They are bought by a wealthy cannabis merchant and he has enough money to make two pairs of shoes now and buy instant roast potatoes. Again that night he lays out the material and in the morning finds perfect trainers ready to sell. These are bought by another merchant and so he now has enough money for leather and 3 flagons of cider. That night after having some of his cider him and his wife decide to stay up and see who is helping them and leave them out a thimble of cider to try. When the elves turn up they drink the Cider happily and the pick up the needle as if to start work. However instead they come after the Shoefaker and his wife demading the rest of the cider. This is followed by being sick on their feet, trashing the store and running away with their TV.

This retelling is a bit silly but it is just for amusement. The elves in it are dressed up like Ned’s in the picture in the book and they behave like them too. It doesn’t really have any message to it like the original but it is a bit of fun for teens and adults who know they story and how a lot of youths do act these days.

Project Fairy Tale: The Elves and The Shoemaker by Brothers Grimm

The story of The Elves and the Shoemaker comes under a collection of 3 stories found in The Grimms Fairy Tale known as The Elves. The story of the Shoemakers encounter with the Elves is the first and longest of the three.

It tells us about how a good man who makes shoes finds himself poor and only able to make one more pair of shoes. He sets up his leather ready for the morning and then goes to bed after saying his prayers. When he wake up however the material he had left out has already been made into a beautiful pair of shoes and he manages to sell them for enough money to make another two pairs. This goes on for a while, each night he lays out his material and in the morning fantastic shoes have been made that he sells for enough money to make more each time. Eventually his wife and him decide to hide one night and see who is making the shoes. So after laying out the materials they hide and discover that is in fact two naked elves helping them out. The shoemakers wife decides that it being winter she should make some clothes as a thank you for the elves. On Christmas night instead of leaving out leather for shoes they leave the clothes and hide again to see them being received. When the elves turn up they are so delighted with they dance about and are never seen again. The shoemaker however continues to be very successful and never returns to being poor.

I remember this story from when I was young and I think it is a really nice one. They story stresses how they shoemaker was a good man and that it wasn’t his fault that he was now poor and I think that is why the elves turn up to help him. However the actions of him and his wife prove this goodness as they want to thanks the elves by clothing them and don’t try to trap them to work for them. I guess that the you could say this story shows how good things do happen to good people and that you will be rewarded for continuing to be good when you have the opportunity to hurt others for your benefit.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Favourite Characters In X Genre

This week from The Broke and The Bookish we have to pick a genre of our choice and share out favourite characters in that genre. I’m not very good with genre specific topics because I don’t usually pay attention to them but for this I am just going for Young Adult Fiction.

Travis from Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Mikey from You Against Me by Jenny Downham

Gem from Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell

Cammie from Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter

Riley from Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell

Grace from Entangled by Cat Clarke

Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth

Mara Valentine from Vegan, Virgin, Valentine by Carolyn Mackler

Bree Tanner from The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Theo from Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie

Who Are Your Favourite Characters?

Re-Read Review – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

For some reason I have always particularly enjoyed the 6th book. I think it might be because it was the first I got always through. I feel like this book is almost the half way point for the story. Harry has enough knowledge and skill to succeed in the wizarding world now if needed to but we finally learn about Voldemorts past and Harry fits in to that and how it can help him shape the future. Part of what makes it feels like the half way point I think is that we are only just finding out about the horcruxes and it still feels like a long way to go till he will be able to truly defeat the Dark Lord. However I really enjoy this book because I think it builds in lots of important stories. Ron and Hermione’s feelings for one another begin to show in this book as well and Harry’s and Ginny’s and Lupin and Tonk’s. Luna and Neville get to continue playing important roles showing how strong their character’s really are. Draco finally starts to mature and is able to stand up to Harry alone although of course we learn that he is still weak in the end and our already fragile trust in Snape is shattered. These are all important of course because Harry is about to come of age and finally stop people standing in front of him as his is ready to fight for himself.

The Fault In Our Stars Live – John and Hank Green at Glasgow Concert Hall

Last Friday evening I joined my friends at the Glasgow Concert Hall to go and see John Green at his last stop in The Fault In Our Stars Live Tour. I must admit that I have only read 2 of the handful of books that John Green has written and I wasn’t really aware of his online community but I had begun to find out things from him on Tumblr that I found amusing so I was looking forward to what I was sure was going to be an amusing evening. This of course it was.

He started off by talking a bit about how he had come up with idea of the story. Telling us about his past training to become a chaplain and how his experience in a ward with terminally ill children changed his dream to writing about them instead. It took him ten years to get to the story we love today though as he original idea’s were all really stories from his point of view. It wasn’t till he met  a terminally ill nerd fighter named Esther that he changed his idea and started the story from one of the ill patients point of view.

This of course was said with added in bits of humour and he did say on a number of occasions that this story was never meant to be sad, it was always intended as more humorous. One of my favourite things he said however was;

 “You can drop out and still achieve your dreams”

Which he said in context of course, talking of how at a previous event he had been talking to the audience from the pulpit of a church which was of course his old dream from his chaplaincy training.

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After reading from the first chapter of the book he then moved on to answer some of our questions which had been handed in before the show. The questions chosen were not the usual; “why did you start writing?” and “what was your inspiration?” but questions about his views on the importance of reading and why he explores the importance of fiction within his fiction. This was a really interesting question which he answered by saying that;

“We live in a world that is obsessed with non-fiction”

This is a brilliant quote I think and one that is very true. He talked about the TV shows we watched today that are scripted by shown like reality and told of us an extreme version in America called Amish Mafia.

After this he invited his brother Hank on to the stage to sing to us. I was aware of his brother but I will admit I had never heard any of his songs. They were of course great fun once we stopped cheering at him waving a little Scottish flag.

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When John returned to the stage he had with him a bottle of Irn-Bru and again we found this reason enough to cheer. It was a moment that concluded it an excellent quote where he shared with us his description of how it tasted;

“Irn-Bru tastes like the collective chewing gum spit of all of Scotland … And I like it!”

Hank rejoined him on stage soon after this and the two of them had a timed question off. Asking one another some more of our questions. Including which was John’s favourite books to write (The Fault In Our Stars) and Hanks favourite fish (The Angler Fish). When the timer went off however was still answering had to be slapped by the other and amusingly Hank got to Slap John(a video of which can be found here). They also posed for us to photoshop ourselves into as they wouldn’t be able to give us individual photo’s. Unfortunately my camera decided to fail for a bit at the exact time.

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To finish off the two brothers sang together for us and after much clapping returned for an encore of The Proclaimers. Who they have been told they are like for years and have now finally got to sing  their song in its home country. (Video can be found here).

The event was on for about an hour and a half and with our ticket we got a free signed copy of the book. We also bought very lovely blue t-shirts and I am definitely going to get my hands on the rest of his books for future reading.

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Re-Read Review – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I think we really begin to see Harry’s will power and determination build in this book. He is beginning to feel emotional about everything he has had to go through and there are points were he is, understandably, a typical angry teenager. We also start to see a more accademic side of him too though and his passion for Defence against the Dark Arts is obvious through his teaching it. However I like that we begin to question what kind of influence his past has had on him, there is a bit about him now that is quite unstable and I feel there are point in it were you could question if it isn’t possible he could grow up to become dark. Hermione also lets her hair down a little bit more in this one and we get to see her determination for making a difference to everyone through her acceptance of a bit of rule breaking. As always of course what I liked is that there was still those elements of normalcy throughout it with Harry’s relationship with Cho and dealing with the complicated work of friendship. I think it’s the balance of this and with the seriousness of the dark magic that makes the books so good.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Favourite Romances

 With Valentines day just a couple of days away The Broke and The Bookish have given us a love themed topic for this weeks list. Our Top Ten Favourite Romances.

  • Bella and Edward – Twilight Saga 
  • Tris and Four – Divergent Trilogy
  • Willow and Alex – Angel Trilogy
  • Lena and Alex – Delirium Trilogy
  • Elizabeth and Darcy – Pride and Prejudice
  • Abby and Travis – Beautiful Disaster
  • Maya and Lochan – Forbidden
  • Cammie and Zack – Gallagher Girls Series
  • Mickey and Ellie – You Against Me
  • Kate and Taylor – My Sister’s Keeper

Who Are Your Favourite Romances?