Monday, 31 March 2014

NEW BOOK RELEASES IN APRIL 2014

New book releases in April 2014 in the UK
Are you looking forward to any of them?   
Do you have any of them to read?




I have Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity & the Wishing Well - what do you have?


Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Book News: Harry Potter spin-off 'will be a film trilogy'

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2Fantastic Beasts began life as one of Harry Potter's schoolbooks

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JK Rowling's Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is to be made into a film trilogy.
The book, published in 2001, was originally billed as one of Harry Potter's Hogwarts textbooks.
Warner Bros chief Kevin Tsujihara persuaded author Rowling to adapt the book for the big screen.
Last week, he told the New York Times there would be a trilogy of films based on the book, which follows a "magizoologist" named Newt Scamander.
Scamander is the author of a guide to magical creatures. Set in New York, the book is neither a sequel nor a prequel, but an "extension" of Harry Potter's "wizarding world", Rowling said.
Last month, Rowling told actress Emma Watson, who played Hermione Grainger in the Harry Potter films, that she completed the draft script in 12 days.
Rowling herself told the newspaper that it was Tsujihara - who took over the role of CEO at Warner Bros last year - who persuaded her to adapt the book.
Emma WatsonRowling told Potter actress Emma Watson that the script took just 12 days to write
"We had one dinner, a follow-up telephone call, and then I got out the rough draft that I'd thought was going to be an interesting bit of memorabilia for my kids and started rewriting," she told the New York Times.
"When Kevin got the top job, he brought a new energy, which rubbed off. He's a very engaging person, thoughtful and funny."
The project, which was first announced in September 2013, will be produced by Harry Potter regular David Heyman, whose recent successes include Gravity.
"I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it," said Rowling when the film was announced last year.
The book was written by Rowling between the publication of the fourth and the fifth books in the Harry Potter series. It is set 70 years before we first meet Harry.
More than 450 million copies of Rowling's seven Potter books have been sold worldwide.
Aside from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, she also wrote the short book Quidditch Through the Ages - another of Harry's schoolbooks. They were published in aid of Comic Relief.
Another Potter spin-off book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, followed in December 2008.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Book Review: WAKE BY ANNA HOPE

WAKE
BY
ANNA HOPE

Published by Doubleday:  Jan 2014:  336 pages (Hardback)

My Rating:  9/10

About the Book:

Set just after WWI, as Britain's Unknown Warrior is being brought home from France; three very different women try to find ways to live again after devastating losses -- of a son, a brother, a lover -- and their tragic connection is gradually revealed as the book unfolds. 
 
First Paragraph:
Three soldiers emerge from their barracks in Arras, northern France.  A colonel, a sergeant and a private.  It is somewhere close to the middle of the night and bitterly cold.  The men make their way to a field ambulance parked next to the entrance gate: the colonel sits in the front with the sergeant, while the private climbs into the back.  The sergeant starts up the engine, and a sleepy sentry waves them out and on to the road beyond.

The backdrop to Anna Hope's impressive debut novel Wake is the journey home to Britain, over five days in November 1920, of an anonymous soldier killed in WWI with all the ceremony and dignity of a nation still recovering from the terrible conflict.

Interspersed with this are the lives of three women:  Hettie, Ada and Evelyn. They all lead very different lives but have all shared loss, hardship and suffering. 

Over these five days we share in their memories of their loved ones, and how they are slowly changing as new people come into their lives and remind them that there can be hope for a better future, there can be happiness if you allow yourself to let go.

I thought it was very clever how Anna Hope connected all the women to each other without them realising it.

I found the story to be very moving in parts, very poignant, thought-provoking, beautifully written and with characters to empathise with.
 
Source:  I received an eBook copy via NetGalley.
 
 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Promo Blitz and eBook Giveaway: GLORY DAYS BY PATRICK SZABO



Glory Days - PROMO Blitz
By Patrick Szabo
Young Adult / Coming of Age
Date Published: March 3, 2014


Matt is heading into his senior year of high school and has the world at his feet.

School comes easy for him. He’s the lead guitar player in a hard rock band, about to embark on their first gig. He has a job he likes, a car he doesn’t, a best friend he hopes to be friendlier with, and a pretty good set of parents. He has it all.

Until he doesn’t.

His dad suddenly begins acting strange and keeping odd hours. Matt has his own life to live, though, and doesn’t pay it much attention. Until he wakes up one morning to find his dad gone, leaving behind only a short note to his mother, setting into motion a chain of events that sends Matt down a dangerous path that could jeopardize his present as well as his future. Forced to quit a job he likes, he must take on a new job to help his mother out financially, but one that also eats into his ever important social life as well as school. Adding to his troubles, his best friend, Dawn, has a new boyfriend.

Matt can’t wait to become a member of the Class of 1989, but first he must get out of 1988 alive.


* NOTE *Contains adult language


EXCERPT

Chapter 1



I was seventeen years old when I played my first gig.

Thinking back, it really wasn’t that big a deal in the grand, macro scheme of things. It didn’t change my life nor did it lead to a record deal, followed quickly by fortune and glory. Women didn’t throw themselves at me or scream and cry when they saw me, like the girls in the old footage of The Beatles early shows. I played lead guitar in an 80’s hard rock band. We did get a fairly decent sized following around Columbia, SC, but a few years into our music career the bottom fell out of that type of music. Thanks in equal parts to fluffy ‘metal’ bands all over the airwaves and a few groups from Seattle that took the nation by storm. So, yeah, that first gig wasn’t that big a deal.

But at the time? It was the greatest moment of my young life.

The night before the show I didn’t sleep that well. I was way too excited to be bothered by any of those little slices of death, to paraphrase Poe. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to sleep, I really did. But each time sleep started to overtake me, my overactive mind kicked slumber to the curb and whirled with a thousand possibilities, all of them bad.

I only had one guitar, so what if I broke a string during a song? What if my voice went out? What if I forgot how to play the songs or messed up during the guitar solos? What if my dream girl didn’t show up? What if, what if, what if?

Then I would nod off for a few minutes and then wake up again and the cycle would continue.

Frustrated, I kicked the covers off and slipped out of bed. I thought about going for a swim—nothing quite like a middle of the night dip in the pool—and then decided against it. There would be dead bugs in the pool, possibly big ass palmetto bugs (my current Biggest Fear for some reason), and we didn’t have enough light in the backyard to properly scoop out all the detritus. So that was out. I decided to get a pop out of the refrigerator and think about my predicament.

I stepped quietly out of my room into the darkened hallway and tripped over my dog, who was asleep on his side outside my parents’s bedroom door. The big dog yelped and tried to jump up as I stumbled across his previously prone form. I cussed, regained my balance, and then he got his legs tangled in mine, and we both went down with a crash, a jumble of arms and legs and fur.

“Son of a bitch,” I said.

“Bo, shut up,” Dad’s groggy voice bellowed from behind the door.

I started to push myself up but Bo threw himself on top of me and shoved me back to the floor. He licked me.

“Get off me, you big moose,” I said and pushed his head away. He lurched forward and got in one more slobbery dog kiss—his impeccabley aimed tongue lapping my mouth—and then he was gone. I wiped his slobber from my face and swiped my hand on the carpet. “Gross, dog.”

He chuffed at me and then lay back down in front of Mom and Dad’s closed door. I shook my head, got up, and went to the kitchen. I squinted my eyes against the glare of the refrigerator light, grabbed a can of pop, and plopped down at the kitchen table. I popped the top as quietly as I could and took a big gulp. Then another. And one more for good measure.

I sat in the dark and drank and did my best to quiet my mind.

It didn’t really work all that well. I was nervous as hell, but at the same time I was as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve. I finished my drink, got up, and tossed the can in the trash. I thought about that swim again and immediately put it out of my mind. The last thing in the world I needed was a dead palmetto bug bumping up against me in the water. I shivered in disgust at the thought.

I went back to my room and, after closing the door behind me, flipped the light on. I took my guitar off its stand and sat down on my bed. If I couldn’t sleep, I might as well get a little extra practice in. Just a quick run through of the songs we would be playing the next night. I took a deep breath, played a few scales to limber up my fingers, and stopped. I couldn’t remember how to play the song we’d be opening with. Hell, I couldn’t even remember the name.

“Shit,” I muttered. I sat there with my guitar resting across one leg and stared at my closet door, but the set list didn’t magically appear on the wood in blazing letters from the heavens.

“Come on, dumb ass,” I said. I thought about calling the singer but I didn’t think his parents would appreciate a phone call at three in the morning from some dipshit kid panicking over a song title. Why didn’t I write the damned songs down and toss the paper in my guitar case? Why was I such an idiot?

And then it came to me.

“Stagefright,” I said and felt relief flood through me. I shook my head and noticed for the first time that I was sweating. I chuckled. “Flop sweat.”

I did a speed run through the first few songs of the set and figured that was enough. If I didn’t get some sleep I would be pretty useless the next night. I put my guitar away and stretched out on my back and stared at the ceiling.

I ran the set list over and over again in my head and finally fell asleep.

I dreamed of a swimming pool full of palmetto bugs and not being able to scoop them all out. Weird and disgusting.

I woke the next morning just before noon and had some leftover pizza for breakfast. I went outside into the bright heat of the day and glanced at the pool. Nope. Not full of those damnable little insects. Not even one.

I kicked around the house the rest of the day, not really paying any attention to what I was doing. It just wasn’t that important. Finally it was time to get ready for the gig, so I showered, blew dry my hair, and got dressed.

I grabbed my guitar case, told my parents goodbye, and went out to my car. I put the case in the back seat, climbed behind the steering wheel, and prayed it would start. I turned the key and prayed again. It would be just my luck that on the most important day of my life the piece of- - -

It started on the first try. Hallelujah.

I checked my hair in the rearview mirror—I wore it more Iron Maiden, than Poison—and, satisfied, backed out of the driveway.

I popped a tape into the tape deck and drove to the gig, a big dopey grin plastered to my face.

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Book News: JK ROWLING POSTS NEW HISTORY OF THE QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP ONLINE

The guide is the longest story ever to be posted on Pottermore, Rowling's digital platform

History of the Quiddich World Cup, part one, as released by JK Rowling on Pottermore today
History of the Quiddich World Cup, part one, as released by JK Rowling on Pottermore today Photo: Pottermore
Two years after she launched Pottermore, the digital storytelling site for Harry Potter fans, JK Rowling has posted one of the longest new stories on the site.

History of the Quidditch World Cup is a 2,400-word history of the championship of the broomstick game that preoccupied Harry throughout his time at Hogwarts. It will be made available in two parts over the next week, with the first half arriving today and the second on Friday March 21.
Harry Potter fans who have signed up to be free Pottermore members will be able to find out the historical background on the tournament, information on its workings and examples of controversial games such as the Tournament that Nobody Remembers, an infamous 1877 match played in Kazakhstan's Ryn Desert.
Next week, fans will be able to read about the witty idiosyncracies included in the Quidditch World Cup rulebook ("no dragon is to be introduced into the stadium for any purpose including, but not limited to, team mascot, coach or cup warmer").
Pottermore members can read the story at Pottermore.com

This story was taken from telegraph.co.uk on 14 Mar 2014

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Book Review: BLACK ROSES BY JANE THYNNE

BLACK ROSES
BY
JANE THYNNE

Published by Simon & Schuster 24 October 2013
 471 Pages

I Rated this 9/10

About the Book:

Clara Vine, a young, talented British actress, finds herself in Berlin and, unwittingly, in the midst of an uneasy circle of Nazi wives, among them Magda Goebbels.
There she meets Leo Quinn, an undercover British intelligence agent, and is soon recruited to spy on her new acquaintances.
But when Magda Goebbels reveals to Clara a dramatic secret and entrusts her with an extraordinary mission, Clara feels threatened, compromised and desperately caught between duty and love.

Black Roses is incredibly well-researched and detailed.

Set in 1933 Clara leaves England, and a boyfriend behind who expects her to marry him and to give up her dreams of being an actress, in search of a part in a new film called Black Roses.  Whilst at the film studios she meets two of Goebbels aides who invite her and another young actress to a party where they are then introduced to Magda Goebbels, a woman consumed by the drama of her own existence.  As Clara becomes more and more involved in the Nazi wives lives Magda takes a shine to Clara and starts to trust her.

The story starts with the death of a young girl who had fallen (or was she pushed) from a window.  This is an excerpt from early on in the book talking about the rise of the Third Reich and of Clara's situation.

Who could have foreseen how quickly things would change.  Even for Clara herself.  When she arrived in Berlin she could never have imagined what would happen in such a short space of time.  She could never have known how it would transform her.  All that mattered now, though, was that no one else should know.

As the story progresses we slowly learn the significance of her death. and of how far the Nazis would go in their quest for power. 

I was surprised at how women were treated in the new Germany, frowned upon if they smoked in public, encouraged to marry, stay at home and have lots of babies, wear German designed fashion instead of French or Italian.  In contrast the Nazi wives and girlfriends wore gloves from Italy and handmade shoes from Florence.

I really liked Clara, though her family thought she was flighty, unreliable and irresponsible.  Even though she didn't enjoy the attentions of one of Hitler's brown shirts, she was persuaded by Leo, a British intelligence officer to spy on him and Magda Goebbels and, gradually, she felt her new identity emerge.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, though sometimes I thought there was too much attention to detail when I just wanted the story to move along at a quicker pace.

This is the first in a trilogy featuring Clara Vine - at the end of Black Roses there is a sneak peek at the second book, The Winter Garden, which was published in Feb 2014 - the story has moved on to 1937 Berlin. The Publishers have kindly sent me this book and I'm really looking forward to continuing Clara's new life as an actress and a spy!

Source:  From the Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Jane Thynne can be found at her website here
You can follow her on Twitter here
She's on Facebook too here

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Book Blitz: MY DOG UNDERSTANDS ENGLISH BY CHERISE KELLEY




Non-Fiction / Memoir / Dog Stories
Date Published: 11/30/2013

Dogs are smarter than we think.

Has your dog ever surprised you by doing something you said the first time? You are not alone! Here are 50 stories about amazing dogs who understood what their humans said. Some even saved lives in the process!

Chloe the golden Beagle braved a hurricane to obey the new command, "I need Dad, Girl."

Ellie the Coonhound helped her human family escape from an angry bear by obeying the new command, "Get it!"

When her human brother said jokingly, "Maybe Cocoa could dig again and find it," Cocoa did just that!

Our Queensland Heeler mix, Raffle, gave me the idea for this book when he finally but unexpectedly ate some green beans off the kitchen floor after I said, "Oh, so you'll eat grass but you won't eat green beans, eh?"  







EXCERPT

By the time my eyes fluttered open, Hurricane Elvis was already underway.


The entire house was shaking by the time I woke up. The wind angrily pounded at the window with such force that I was sure it was going to break. I sat up and tried to flip the light on, but the power was out. Terrified, I climbed off the bed and hid between it and the wall. I was still disoriented from just waking up, but I remember vividly not being able to hear anything except the storm. As I sat there though, I heard a noise from outside the room.


Mustering up the courage to pull myself up on my knees, I opened the door just in time to see the living room window shatter as a tree flew through it.


As I watched the storm raging inside the house, I grew worried for my sisters. I called for them, but they didn't answer. I could feel the panic swelling up inside me, taking over. I looked over my shoulder. My dog Chloe was close behind me, and I told her to stay. Then, I began my journey across the living room. The plan was to crawl underneath the tree. I could reach the bedroom that way. As I crossed the living room, the wind pushed up.


Before I knew it, the entertainment center was on top of me, pinning my legs down.


Try as I might, I couldn't move. I now realized the predicament I was in. Thankfully, Chloe hadn't listened when I gave her the command to stay. As soon as I was trapped, Chloe was on her stomach, crawling to me. I looked at her with tears in my eyes, and with a whimper, she nudged me.


I whispered, too scared to speak in my normal tone. "I need Dad, Girl."


That was all I said. I never expected anything to come of it. After all, I had never taught her a command that was anywhere close to this. I was only telling her because it made me feel more comfortable. I was so scared, and hugging and talking to my animal made me feel better. But before I could pull her into my arms, she pulled herself out of my grip and ran back in the direction we had come from.


I closed my eyes, trying to ignore the cold that pressed against my unprotected body. I was rapidly growing numb. I could hear Chloe barking, but faintly so. I didn't realize what she was doing. My dog was getting my dad's attention. Within seconds, he was alerted to the situation and was fighting the storm to get to me. It didn't take much for him to get the window blocked off and the entertainment center off of me. The rest of the storm was waited out quietly.


That was how Chloe became so much more than just the family pet. She saved my life, and all because she understood English so much more than we expected her to.

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