Friday, 26 July 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling!

Once again it is Friday and the sun is shining! It's been an exciting week, we have a new royal baby, George, and a new JK Rowling book!

I'm going to talk about the latter this week as the revelation of JK Rowling's latest book 'The Cuckoo's Calling' under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith took the publishing and media world by storm.

Rowling says that she sold 8,500 copies across all media in the few months of release as Robert Galbraith, although the Bookseller claims only 500 hardback copies were sold - but within 24 hours of the leak the book was at #1 of the charts and between 14 and 20 July, 17,662 copies were sold compared to the 43 copies the week before.

Rowling claims that it was not an elaborate marketing/PR scheme to boost sales and would've liked it to have been kept secret a little longer. I can see why she used a pseudonym -  when The Casual Vacancy was published sales were phenomenal, but I couldn't help but feel like these sales were purely because of who she was and her success with Harry Potter. Not that she couldn't write necessarily, but she was so famous for the Harry Potter series as a children's genre, I wasn't quite sure if she could cross over to adult fiction. I went to a Q&A with Anthony Horowitz at the LBF'12 and he said one of the hardest things for a children's author is to cross over to adult and he had tried many times. It was almost like she managed to skip the queue with her adult fiction, she was guaranteed sales from day 1. Now with The Cuckoo's Calling she gave herself that freedom to give her work the chance it deserves for the writing itself, not just her name. For a little while anyway...

But what makes me just a little bit sceptical over her claim of no PR plan, is that being who she is and the success of her previous work, she knew one day that it would be revealed... She wouldn't be able to get away with Robert Galbraith forever, and I doubt she'd want to - she claims she wanted to keep it quiet for a little bit longer, which suggests that she wanted to reveal it eventually, so somewhere, sometime there was a plan to push sales and give it the credit of her name that it is due.

What do you think about it all? Do you think it's all a media stunt or is using a pseudonym a great way for famous people to write anonymously? Have you got yourselves a copy yet or plan to?
Let me know, I'd love to hear all your reviews of it all!

Stay tuned next week for your summer reads and maybe even a summer competition....

Friday, 19 July 2013

Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend - Is it right to be angry?

Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend is the second in the series following on from Confessions of an Angry Girl, following the journey of Rose through the start of high school.

I would tell you more but Louise Rozett has made a fab video and tells us herself what it is about:
As author videos go, I think Louise's is possibly one of the best, such fun!
I was thinking about what she said about her inspiration for the book and how she thinks that girls aren't encouraged to be angry and express their anger. Do you think this is true?
Rose is going through a tough time, she's in the midst of teen-hood, she's trying to cope with the loss of her dad and the start of high school doesnt quite run as smoothly as expected.  She has reason to be angry, everytime she tries to do something good and helpful, it backfires on her!
Are there any other books out there that actually encourage young girls to let their anger out? Imagine if some of the well-known, well-loved books changed their female protagonist to let her anger out... it would certainly put the likes of Jane Austen's characters in a different light!
Do you think that it possibly makes the story more realistic? There's certainly no sugar coating to situations in Rose's life, things go wrong, time gets tough and she can't hold it in for much longer. And I found reading both Confessions of an Angry Girl and of an Almost Girlfriend that I was angry too - it was just one thing after another and I was angry for Rose, wanting her to have a little piece of happy after, but also relieved that she could express herself, even if the other characters didn't appreciate it, as the reader I did. I think I was definitely on her side for the majority of both books!
What's your opinion on it all, whether you've read both, either or none? Do we have enough YA fiction that allows girls to express their anger with life? Is there anything you're angry about that you would love to read about?
Intrigued? Read Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend and let me know what you thought! You can get a copy here


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

INK BLOG TOUR + WIN! 3 Copies of Ink!

Welcome to the second stop on the blog tour for INK by Amanda Sun!
We managed to pin Amanda down and get her to share a selection of her top 3 favourites just for you!

You’re home alone, there’s a fire!  Top 3 things you’d grab and save from the fire.
First my birds! I have a budgie with an amazing vocabulary, and a singing canary, so they’d be the first out of the house. Then I’d probably grab my daughter’s favourite stuffed dragon and every book and photo album I could fit in my arms.

Top 3 Favourite authors (dead or alive) and why
Neil Gaiman, Patrick Ness, and Rainer Maria Rilke. For Neil Gaiman and Patrick Ness, I love their work so much. They aren’t afraid to go into the dark places and confront what they might find there. Their books are edgy and unpredictable, and that’s why I love them so much. Rainer Maria Rilke is my favourite poet. His observations on life and love and the eloquent way he describes them resonates with me. Letters to a Young Poet especially speaks to those who want to be writers, and so he was there for me when I was starting out.

Top 3 Favourite snacks while writing and why
Ooh, this is an easy one! Japanese milk tea, Pritz (pretzel sticks), and cream horns (cream-filled pastries). Each of these brings back strong memories of living in Japan, which in turn helps me write all the descriptions of life in Shizuoka. In fact, I’m hesitant to write if I don’t have a glass of my milk tea!

Top 3 Favourite books that inspired you to write and why
Growing up, one of my favourite books was Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander. I loved all of the Prydain Chronicles, but this one in particular spoke to me. It was about finding your place in life, and I loved how it treated me, the reader, with respect. It was a kids’ book but it didn’t talk down to me.
The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness was also a huge inspiration. I’d never read a book that was willing to let anything happen, whose pages couldn’t be trusted to necessarily bring you out of the danger. I had to keep reading, not sure what might happen—anything could! There was such an energy to those books, and such depth to all the characters, and so this series is a huge inspiration to me.
My other favourite book growing up was Mort by Terry Pratchett. I love how Pratchett is hilarious, and yet makes you question life and ponder deep thoughts throughout the book. Mort was especially moving for me, since it dealt with issues like time and mortality.
Sorry, I’m going to cheat and add the Oz books. Ozma of Oz was the first novel I ever read, and I knew then I wanted to be a writer.

Top 3 favourite songs to listen to while writing and why 
They have to be instrumentals or I get distracted. I love writing to the soundtracks from Japanese dramas and video games. They really help me set the mood. In particular, I like the Hana Yori Dango soundtrack, Maou, and Final Fantasy songs. Also, BigBang’s Monster sets the mood and I always listen to it right before I work on The Paper Gods.

Top 3 favourite techniques to overcome writers block and why
The best is to step away. I think of my writing power as a well. When it’s full, I write and write. Eventually it drains, and then the well is empty. There’s nothing left. I have to step back and let the well fill up again. I can only see so far into my story’s future. At some point I need to wait until the story chooses to show me what will happen next. 
My second strategy is to write through it. Sometimes I’m really just stuck because I’m tired. It’s the middle of the book and I want instead to follow that shiny new idea. The only way out is to keep going, one sentence after another, until I’m out of that tough patch. I can always come back and revise!
My third technique is to try something new. Take the story a different way. My characters often rebel and have their own ideas, and so I’ll follow them. Usually if it’s the wrong direction, I’ll feel that pretty early on and delete the idea, but at least it gets the thought of it out of my head, and then I can try something else.

Top 3 musicians/bands/groups and why
Arashi for life! I love the Japanese band Arashi. Their lyrics are very uplifting and encouraging, and they’ve been there for some tough times in my life. They never fail to cheer me up!

Secondly, Enya. I’ve been a fan since I was very little. Her music is so ethereal and it makes me feel as if I’m in another world.
Third is a tie between BigBang and B2ST. You can never have too much KPop!

Top 3 favourite movies of all time and why
The Neverending Story because luck dragon.
My other favourite movie is an obscure kids’ movie called Mio in the Land of Faraway (based on the book by Astrid Lindgren). I could never get enough of the beautiful rich fantasy world it created.
And my other fav movie is Kimi Ni Shika Kikoenai (Only You Can Hear Me). It always makes me cry. Like, ugly cry.

Top 3 favourite animated movies and why 
Beauty and the Beast, because what’s not to love about beast-princes locked in enchanted castles?
I also loved Sleeping Beauty growing up. There’s so much charm in those old fairy tales.
And lastly–this isn’t really a movie, but we’ve established I’m a cheater—Disney’s Gargoyles TV series. That show is awesomesauce. Not only is it drenched in mythology and Shakespearean lore, but monsters living in the city? It was where I fell in love with the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal genres.

Top 3 favourite movie moments and why
The ending of Moulin Rouge. I don’t want to spoil it, but I love the kind of dramatic irony that kicks you in the teeth. Angst and suffering!
And I love the moment at the end of The Truman Show, when the boat reaches…well, again, don’t want to spoil it.
My favourite movie moment of all time is at the end of The Wizard of OZ, when the Tinman says “Now I know I have a heart, because it’s breaking.” Oh man, I ugly cry every time.

Top 3 favourite actors/actresses and why
I watch way more Japanese dramas and movies than I do western ones, and I have to admit, I really don’t know western celebrities very well! But I do really like Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He seems like a really nice guy and I’ve always found his acting really authentic.
I also love Jennifer Lawrence, again because she has a really down-to-earth attitude and seems genuinely nice.
My favourite Japanese actor is Matsumoto Jun. Besides being a talented singer (and being freaking gorgeous), a lot of his performances have moved me to tears, particularly in the drama Smile.

Top 3 favourite gadgets and why
Yeah, I’m one of those people who can’t live without her phone. I just got a smartphone last year and it saves me all the time. I can look up bus routes, tweet, and read books even if I forgot to bring one. It also makes a sweet English-Japanese dictionary and translator when I need a word I don’t know.
I also have a cute little pink mp3 that’s great. How else could I scare my neighbours singing Japanese pop songs at the top of my lungs?
And lastly, I love the GPS, because I enjoy not getting lost all the time. :) 

Top 3 favourite dream destinations and why
Well, Japan, even though I’ve been many times. There are so many parts of Japan I still want to visit—Okinawa, Fukuoka, Hokkaido. I hope I’ll have the chance to visit all of these in the future.
I would also love to go to Egypt. I’m an archaeologist by training, so I’d like to go see all the ruins that I studied in school.
And along those lines, I want to go to Pompeii and wander through the streets of the city that the volcano left trapped in time. I think we have a tendency to look back with a feeling that we’ve progressed and changed from the old times, and while we have, I think we have far more in common with the people of the past than we realize. It’s seeing what we have in common—family, friends, struggles, achievements, dreams—that unites us as human.

Want to find out more? Follow Amanda on twitter

INK is out now!! You can buy it here!!

Or as an added bonus, we're giving you the chance to win 3 copies of INK! All you need is to fill out the below! 

Good luck and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Competition closes Sunday 14th July. UK only.

Friday, 5 July 2013

The Glass triology Cover Reveal!

It's Friday, the sun is shining and I've got some amazing new covers to show you!!

Maria V. Snyder's Chronicles of Ixia series have been given these gorgeous new covers. I think the artwork is fantastic, each with a different theme depending on their title, and all together I think they look really strong as a set!

The Glass trilogy makes up the second half of Maria V. Snyder’s Chronicles of Ixia series, with books 4,5 & 6 - 'Storm Glass', 'Spy Glass' and 'Sea Glass'. The series is out in September and focuses on Opal Cowan and her decision to leave the Sitia Academy and test her powers in the real world. The Stormdancer clan need Opal's help and power to protect their people from deadly massacre. Throughout the series you are drawn further into the world of magic, power and love. Can Opal protect the clan and herself from those who envy her powers?


The first triology has been given the same artistic makeover to match the set!
What do you think?
I'm trying to decide which is my favourite cover, but it's too hard! I think that as a set the colours compliment eachother and it would be a shame to only pick one!

Are you intrigued? Book 1 - 'Poison Study' is available here!

Stay tuned, as in the next few months I'll be doing a lovely giveaway for your chance to win the entire series boxset!