Saturday, 27 May 2017

Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Carousel Book - Lewis Carroll & John Tenniel

This gorgeous edition of Lewis Carroll's famous children's classic is a fabulous book that opens out into a carousel shape, showing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in six visually enchanting 3-dimensional scenes. Using original artwork by Sir John Tenniel and an abridged version of Lewis Carroll's original text, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Carousel Book is a delightful introduction to the story for younger readers.

Peep into the story as Alice falls down the rabbit hole, grows and shrinks, meets the Cheshire Cat, joins the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, plays croquet with the Duchess, and attends the trial of the Knave of Hearts.

Visit The Lewis Carroll Society website for more information.

I'm such a huge fan of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and this really is a gorgeous edition. The book opens out into a Carousel shape made up of six three dimensional scenes from the story. At only six double pages it doesn't include the full text of the story but each scene has a few lines of text which tell the main events related to that illustration.

You'll find all of your favourite characters in here from Alice and the White Rabbit to the Cheshire Cat, the caterpillar, the guests of the Mad Hatter's tea party and the Queen of Hearts with her playing card courtiers.

This is a lovely book to read with children or even to display on your shelves and I spot something new every time I look at the illustrations. I'll include a few pictures below to give you an idea what to expect:

Source: Birthday present from Sammee @ I Want To Read That

Other Reviews:
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Friday, 26 May 2017

Review: Blade Bound - Chloe Neill

The thrilling final installment of Chloe Neill’s New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series sees a sinister sorcery advancing across Chicago, and it may usher in the fall of Cadogan House…

Since the night of her brutal attack and unwilling transformation to vampire, Merit’s stood as Sentinel and protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House. She's saved the Windy City from the forces of darkness time and again with her liege and lover, Ethan Sullivan, by her side.

When the House is infiltrated and Merit is attacked by a vampire seemingly under the sway of dark magic, Merit and Ethan realize the danger is closer than they could have ever imagined. As a malign sorcery spreads throughout the city, Merit must go to war against supernatural powers beyond her comprehension. It’s her last chance to save everything—and everyone—she loves.

Chicagoland Vampires Series:
Some Girls Bite
Friday Night Bites
Twice Bitten
Hard Bitten
Drink Deep
Biting Cold
House Rules
Biting Bad
Howling for You (Novella)
Wild Things
Blood Games
Lucky Break (Novella)
Dark Debt
Midnight Marked
Phantom Kiss (Novella)
Blade Bound

Visit Chloe Neill's website for more information

Its always a sad thing when a series you love comes to an end so Blade Bound is one of those bittersweet books that you almost don't want to read because once its over it's really OVER. I've been a fan of the Chicagoland Vampires for so many years now and I've loved every minute of it. Merit is such a brilliant character and I love her relationship with Ethan. They've learnt a lot both as individuals and as a couple and they've faced all kinds of dangers along the way. I guess it's probably about time that they got to actually enjoy their happily ever after but I still wasn't ready to say goodbye to them.

If you have to leave a series behind you it's definitely best to go out when it's still on a high note though and Chloe Neill has achieved that here. I don't want to say too much about the plot but I'll give you a little hint - there might be a wedding (but only if they survive the hen and bachelor nights first!). Of course bad guys don't take time off for festivities so Merit and Ethan are still up against the clock trying to bring down the mastermind who has been the cause of so many problems over the last few books.

Blade Bound is full of action, there's plenty of the witty banter and humour that I've come to expect from this series and we get to catch up with all of our favourite characters. I'm sad that it's over but what a ride it's been & I know this is a series I'll be rereading in the future. Even better is the fact that Chloe Neill has announced a spin off series! I'm not going to say who the main characters are in this review because it would be a spoiler for anyone who hasn't read Blade Bound so you'll have to investigate yourselves for more information but I'm very excited by the direction things seem to be going. The first book in the spin off is called Wild Hunger and I believe it will be out sometime next year - it's definitely going straight to the top of my wish list the minute I find an official release date!

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Book Trailer: Tell the Wind and Fire - Sarah Rees Brennan

I've been browsing YouTube book trailers recently & I thought it would be fun to start highlighting some of the books that I really want to read but haven't quite got around to yet. Some of these have been on my to read pile for months (or even years!) but these trailers make me want to read them ASAP.

I loved Sarah Rees Brennan's Demons Lexicon trilogy but for some reason I've never got around to her standalone book Tell the Wind and Fire. My only excuse is that my to read pile is currently the size of a small mountain but I know I'm not the only bookworm with that issue.

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan tells a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Review: Sons of Ares #1 - Pierce Brown, Rik Hoskin & Eli Powell

Cover A
From the world of the best-selling YA series Red Rising comes a story of love and loss and rage!
In the future, when mankind has spread across the stars, the hierarchy of man is dictated by the color of one's caste. The Golds rule all, but what will happen when one falls for a lowly Red? See how a forbidden love will set the course of events for the future and lead to the formation of the formidable Sons of Ares!

Written by author Pierce Brown (The Red Rising Trilogy) and Rik Hoskin (Heroes of Skyrealm, Brandon Sanderson's White Sand), with art by Eli Powell (Yakuza Demon Killers, The 13th Artifact), comes the in-continuity story of revolution and Red Rising!

Red Rising Trilogy:
Red Rising
Golden Son
Morning Star

Sons of Ares:
(This is a prequel comic series set in the Red Rising world)
Sons of Ares #1

Visit Pierce Brown's website for more information

It's been years since I bought an actual comic but I'm a huge fan of Pierce Brown's Red Rising series so of course I preordered this the moment it was available (I even ordered the two different covers because I'm a geek and I just had to have them!). Let me start by saying that this is short so it's not really a full story on it's own, it's more of an introduction to the story that we're going to see play out over the remaining comics (I believe there will be 6 in total). Each issue will probably be around 30 pages so when you combine them all together you're probably looking at roughly a graphic novel sized story (around the same length as a volume of Saga) overall but split into 6 sections. I would imagine if there is demand for it they'll probably print a bind up in graphic novel format but I've not been able to find any confirmation of that one way or the other so I'm taking the chance to buy the paper copies now while they're definitely available.

Now you've got more of an idea what you're actually getting let's get to the interesting stuff like the artwork and the story. Like I said this is more of an introduction but it's enough to tell us that it's set before Red Rising but after the Iron Rain and most excitingly the main character is one Fitchner au Barca. I know I'm not going to be the only one happy to find out more about his background & I really hope we get to see a baby Sevro at some point too!

The artwork is wonderful, quite dark in colour but that fits the gory and violent tone of the story so far perfectly. I love the added touch that each conversation bubble is coloured to match the rank of the character speaking. It's hard to say much more here because we're only just starting this journey but I'm enjoying being back in this world in a more visual format and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the remaining issues. I just wish we didn't have to wait a whole month for the next one!

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Cover B

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Review: Defy the Stars - Claudia Gray

A stunning blend of action-packed science fiction and love against the odds. Perfect for fans of the DIVERGENT series.

Noemi is a young and fearless soldier of Genesis, a colony planet of a dying Earth. But the citizens of Genesis are rising up - they know that Earth's settlers will only destroy this planet the way they destroyed their own. And so a terrible war has begun.

When Noemi meets Abel, one of Earth's robotic mech warriors, she realizes that Abel himself may provide the key to Genesis' salvation. Abel is bound by his programming to obey her - even though her plan could result in his destruction. But Abel is no ordinary mech. He's a unique prototype, one with greater intelligence, skill and strength than any other. More than that, he has begun to develop emotions, a personality and even dreams. Noemi begins to realise that if Abel is less than human, he is more than a machine. If she destroys him, is it murder? And can a cold-blooded murder be redeemed by the protection of a world?

Stranded together in space, they go on a whirlwind adventure through Earth's various colony worlds, alongside the countless Vagabonds who have given up planetary life altogether and sail forever between the stars. Each step brings them closer - both to each other and to the terrible decision Noemi will have to make about her world's fate, and Abel's.

Constellation Series:
Defy the Stars
Defy the Worlds (2018)

Visit Claudia Gray's website for more information

Noemi was born and raised on the planet Genesis, an Earth colony planet far across the galaxy. Genesis was supposed to be a new home that settlers from Earth could locate to now that their planet is practically inhabitable but the colonists have found their own paradise and they aren't willing to let citizens from Earth ruin everything they've worked so hard to create. If there is one thing humans are good at it's stripping a planet of all it's natural resources and destroying it from the ground up and Genesis are determined to stop that happening on their own planet. Genesis have been at war with Earth for years and they've suffered huge casualties, not helped by the fact that Earth have build mech warriors to do their fighting for them. The colonists stand no chance against an army of robots so their only option is to try and destroy the gateway that allows the enemy ships to reach them.

Noemi is on a practice run with the rest of her squadron when they are caught by a surprise influx of enemy ships. When her closest friend is badly injured Noemi is forced to take refuge on an abandoned Earth ship in search for medical supplies. It's not until she boards the ship that she discovers it wasn't quite empty after all. Abel is a mech who was accidentally left behind when his ship was damaged and he's spent 30 years trapped and waiting for rescue. The last thing he expected was for his rescuer to be one of the enemy but his programming insists he follow the orders of the highest ranking human on the ship and as Noemi is the only human on board that puts her squarely in charge. It doesn't take long for Noemi to realise that Abel might be the key to Genesis winning the war against Earth but the more time she spends with him the more she starts to realise that he isn't just an ordinary mech and perhaps there is a flaw in her plan after all.

I have to admit it took me a little while to get fully sucked into this story but by the time I got a few chapters in I was completely hooked. Noemi and Abel are both great characters in their own way, Noemi is fierce and willing to sacrifice anything to save her people while Abel is so much more than a simple robot. Abel is one of a kind, he was built to experience things the way humans do and he grows and learns just like any other person. As she gets to know him Noemi starts asking herself all sorts of questions about what it means to be human and whether a manmade artificial intelligence can actually have a soul. I loved watching these two grow as they got to know each other better, they started out as enemies but gradually learn to respect each other as they work side by side to achieve a common goal. There are hints of a romance which could have been weird but Abel was so human like in his mannerisms that it was easy to forget that he's actually a robot inside.

Defy the Stars is mostly an adventure story though, Noemi and Abel travel to several different planets as they work together trying to stop the war between Earth and Genesis and they meet lots of interesting characters along the way. The story was fast paced and there was always something new happening to keep me on my toes. I don't want to say much more but there are some great twists and this is the kind of story that will stick with you long after you've finished reading because it will really make you think about some of the issues raised. I absolutely love the main characters and its surprisingly easy to ship a romance between a human girl and a mech boy so I can't wait to see how their story continues in the next book!

Source: Received from Hot Key Books in exchange for an honest review

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Paperback / Kindle:

Monday, 22 May 2017

Crafting Corner: Book Folding Art inspired by Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson Series (2nd Design)

You may remember I've already done a book fold inspired by Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series of a wolf howling at the moon to represent the werewolves of the series and Adam in particular but I wanted to make a present for a friend who is also a huge fan of the series and I didn't want to use a design that she's seen before. I also thought that since Mercy is the main character of the series it's only fair that she gets a book fold to represent her.

For anyone unfamiliar with the series Mercy is a coyote shifter and she has a tattoo of a coyote paw print so that seemed like the obvious choice for a pattern and I absolutely love the way it turned out.

I love them even more when I see the two designs next to each other though! The paw print has been given away now but I'm definitely going to make another one for my own bookcase.

What do you think? Any other Mercy Thompson series fans out there? Any suggestions for what I should make next? I would really LOVE to make a book fold for Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series, the obvious choice would be a lion to represent Curran but I can't seem to find a really good lion silhouette thats suitable for making a pattern with. I need something that has fairly simple bold lines and is easily recognisable without having too much detail but so far I'm coming up blank.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Review: Art Life - Bev Speight

Art Life is an invitation to take a creative journey - making your own fantastic art along the way. This is a completely original way to unleash your creativity, with an engaging structure based around four distinct categories for exploring ideas - line, book, traces, and marks. For each of these there are numerous projects and accessible methods for creating art, and you are encouraged to try whatever inspires you, without pressure or any preconceptions. Enjoy the element of surprise and satisfaction in creating something that evolves, rather than following a rigid plan. You will be amazed by what you can achieve.

Introducing work in every conceivable medium with sensational art and new photos, this book will let you enjoy the creative process, relax, and enjoy the art escape.

Visit the Bev Speight's website for more information

Art Life isn't an instruction manual and it doesn't give you in depth instructions on how to complete different art projects. Instead what it aims to do is inspire you to try out new techniques and experiment with art in a way you might never have tried before. You don't need to be a professional artist to take inspiration from this book, Bev Speight has focused on ideas that can be achieved fairly easily and in most cases using items you probably already have in your home and garden. You won't need to buy a huge amount of expensive equipment to get started but I think flicking through the pages will leave you eager to get experimenting.

The book is split into 4 different journeys, the first is Line which focuses on taking inspiration from your surroundings, making drawings from one continuous line which you could the go on to recreate using wire or string and things like creating geometric designs using different coloured tape.

Journey two is Book and this was probably my favourite section of all because it focuses on creating art out of old books which is something I already love doing. There are just so many ways you can cut or fold book pages to create sculptures and I'm definitely looking forward to experimenting more using ideas I've seen in this book.

Journey Three is called Traces and it's all about leaving your mark, be that in paint with homemade brushes using bits of twig or feathers or by creating your own blocks to use as prints, you could even experiment with ink or coffee or wine rather than paint. This section is all about texture and thinking outside the box, give yourself the freedom to experiment and remember that you don't always have to use normal paint brushes when fingers or toes or the sole of an old shoe might work even better.

The final journey is Paper which focuses on making collages and experimenting with different types of paper. Cut out facial features from magazines and mix them up in unusual ways or take a single image, cut it into strips and rearrange the pieces to distort the picture. Play around with different shapes and colours and just see what you can come up with.

If the author's goal is to inspire people to go out and try new things then I'd say she's achieved that 100%. Flicking through this book gave me so many ideas and there are things I'd never have thought about trying otherwise. I can't wait to get started!

Source: Received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

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