Archive for March, 2012

Love Books Will Travel: Will Hill

What: Launch Event
Who: Will Hill hosted by Nick Lake author of In Darkness
Where: National Army Museum
             Chelsea
             London
             
When: 18th Febuary 2012

Why: Launch of Department 19: The Rising
Sixteen-year-old Jamie Carpenter’s life was violently upended when he was brought into Department 19, a classified government agency of vampire hunters that was formed to deal with a little problem…known as Dracula.
But being the new recruit at the Department isn’t all weapons training and covert missions. Jamie’s own mother has been turned into a vampire – and now Jamie will stop at nothing to wreak revenge on her captors. Even if that means facing down Dracula himself.
The Rising is a fast, furious, can’t-turn-away thrill ride that will suck readers in just like a video game. This riveting second book in the Department Nineteen series is packed with cutting-edge gadgets, international locales, and daredevil action that tumbles ferociously across the page – perfect for fans of Darren Shan and Anthony Horowitz.

The bestselling debut of 2011, Will Hill’s Department 19 had made it on to my kindle but unfortunately had never quite reached the top of my To Be Read pile. That was until I discovered, via Will’s twitter account (@willhillauthor), that there were places available at the launch of the sequel, Department 19: The Rising. An email or two later and I was booked on to the event, I deposited my kids in front of Cbeebies and settle down with a cuppa and my kindle.

I’d like to say that I finished the book in plenty of time to attend the event but alas, despite perfecting the art of reading on the tube on my way to the event, I managed to fall just short of this task (I failed to confess this at the event!). The book was fast paced and thrilling and I have to admit that I’d contemplated missing the event I’d travelled nearly two hours to reach in favour of finding a quiet spot somewhere and finishing the book!
Bumping in to Sarah (Feeling Fictional) and Leanne (District YA) prior to the event, we waited patiently to be shown in to the Gallery of the National Army Museum.

A long, slim room with high ceilings and imposing military portraits: not far from my imagined gallery of the dead! Brandishing goodie bags and having finally met the lovely Rosi from Harper Collins, I settled down with my fellow bloggers for the main event.

Flanked by two Black light operatives (more on them later) and introduced by Nick Lake, Will Hill enthralled us all with the inspiration behind the series, his experiences as a debut author and his recent, extensive road trip around America researching book two.

Following Will’s talk and the audiences Q and A’s we had the opportunity to watch a suitably gory trailer (coming to a twitter feed near you soon!), and torment some operatives. Yes that’s right Sarah and I took our turn behind the pre-teens in the audience to get our photos taken with the operatives, one of them even let me hold his T bone (totally innocent, I promise!). We then had the chance to meet the man himself. Will kindly signed the contents of my goody bag and remained good natured despite my likening the 700 page tome of The Rising to a door stop (not my finest hour!).
The Things I learnt:

Reading while standing on the tube is not as easy as it looks!

Despite having a six year career in publishing prior to the release of Department 19, Will Hill certainly isn’t blasé about his journey to being a published author. He acknowledged his anxiety at Department 19’s reception among people he has met.

The premise of Department 19 grew out of  Will’s desire to write a book about an ordinary teenage boy with flaws who through extraordinary circumstances “grows in to himself” and Will’s need to know what happened after the hero’s returned to their lives following the events of Bram Stokers Dracula.

In the process of researching Department 19: the Rising Will Hill travelled over 7200miles around America. The trip includes a visit to the not so secret area 51 and the realisation that the presence of a super secret military base, hidden 600m2 of desert was “weirdly plausible”

Verdict: This was my first launch event! I had a great time and would definitely take up the opportunity to meet Will Hill again.

If you want to find out a little more about the event check out the YouTube clip below.

Post by Caroline

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Princess Poppy: The Play


Janey-Louise Jones

Join Princess Poppy and her friends and family for another brilliant adventure in Honeypot Hill.
Poppy is putting on a play in her garden! But there’s so much to do – she will need tickets and costumes and actors and a story. Her best friend Honey is taking part, and so are her cousins Daisy and Edward. Everyone in the village will be there for the performance, so Poppy wants to make sure everything is just perfect. But when Poppy starts ordering everyone around, the others name her Princess Bossy Boots, and won’t help her any more. What should Poppy do to save the play?

My daughter has been borrowing a whole string of Princess Poppy books from her pre-school and we have been enjoying the adventures of this little girl as she learns some important life lessons. Poppy is not actually a ‘real’ princess, but has a Grandpa who tells her that every little girl can be a princess (if they behave like one!).In this story Poppy learns that she cannot always be in charge, or make everyone do what she wants. She needs to consider the views and feelings of others.

The messages in the stories are always clear and simple, but I don’t find them to be too preachy, and the stories are very realistic in looking at the ways children play together. As well as this one we have talked about being kind to your friends, having patience, coping with family illness and dealing with new babies. There are many more we haven’t read yet too.

There are lovely touches in the book that make it more fun for girls, a list of the characters in the story and their pictures comes at the beginning. Then there is a map of Poppy’s village, Honeypot Hill. It’s great to see where the characters live, how they might go to visit each other, or to school, the stables and so on. Even better at the start of each story there is an envelope with a little something inside, always related to the story. Tianna loves to discover ‘what is in there this time’!

These stories are very sweet. I think they manage to steer clear of being sickly by the fact that the topics they cover are true to life, and because Poppy (and the other characters) are not too sweet themselves. However if your daughter is a complete tomboy then these are probably a little girlie.

Verdict: Lovely books, I am tempted to add them to our home library as I think they will stand the test of time too, and possibly be useful when we need to deal with some of these issues ourselves.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Corgi
Publication Date: March 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book, Issues
Age: Early Readers
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British Book
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#UkFriendForce

You may not have realised that, in honor of World Book Day, Waterstones are selling Department 19 by Will Hill and The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson (review) for the amazing price of one pound! That’s right one quid! One hundred pence!

It became very obvious on Twitter that our international friends are feeling a little left out. In order to rectify this Maureen Johnson started the Twitter hash tag #UKfriendforce to match up Brits, prepared to part with one of their fine English pounds, with book loving Americans.

I had planned to save these for Easter (sorry to my brother and sister in law!) but twitter’s need is greater!

Unable to decide who to “adopt” I have decided to set up a raffle copter form for anyone who fancies getting their hands on one of these awesome books. In the spirit on the original hash tag there are bonus entries for international entrants!


In a secret supernatural battle that’s been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised — and they’re not wooden anymore. When Jamie Carpenter’s mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government’s most secret agency. Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can’t stand up against!

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London, it’s the start of a new life at a boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

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Slide

Jill Hathaway

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.
Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.
Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.
Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Pink haired Vee has lived with her abilities since puberty, developing coping strategies to avoid sliding, and keep her abilities under wraps, often to the detriment of her health and her emotional relationships. Vee is desperate to share her secret with her best friend Rollins, but the last time she opened up about her abilities she was swept into therapy and branded an attention seeker.

With no one to turn to about her abilities and unable to explain her knowledge of Sophie’s murder, Sylvia actively encourages her ability in an attempt to discover the identity of the killer herself.

Slide touches on some huge themes including teen pregnancy, sexual assault and child carers. While the author isn’t able to explore these issues in depth, the way she sensitively and deftly handles bereavement within the book makes me feel confident at her ability to tackle these other issues in her future work.

I particularly identify with one scene in the book where Vee expresses her desire to be able to talk to her, long dead, mother about sliding; wondering if she had the same ability and how she managed it. As someone who lost her mother in her teens I can identify with the feeling of utter loss over missed conversations, which for me have been triggered by the birth of my own children.

While I wouldn’t say that Slide contained a great deal of romance, the warm and friendly new boy Zane and Rollins, the best friend with a big secret, certainly keep things interesting.

The pacing and suspense of the novel ensured a late night and that I finished the book in one sitting. While I guessed the culprit about two thirds of the way through this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the novel and I was pleasantly surprised by twists I didn’t see coming.

Verdict: I’m pleased to discover that Slide is the first of a series. I’m looking forward to seeing where Jill takes the story and I’m particularly interested in how Vee’s abilities develop.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s books
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: ARC
Pages: 256
Genre:Mystery, thriller, Paranormal
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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Introducing…Alison!

Due to family and work commitments Jane has had to take a step back from the blog. While Jane will continue to contribute her photography skills and the occasional review, she needs to focus her energy on the running of her two new businesses: Cheeky Mouse Memories and Phoenix Trading.

We are delighted to introduce a new member of the Big Book Little Book team…
Alison!
Alison is Mum to two children, one at Primary School and one preschooler. She juggles day to day life with full time work is a school librarian. A career that fits very well with her obsessive reading habit. Life is very busy, but lots of fun.

Not a day goes by with at least a few pages being read. Alison can often be found reading teen and young adult fiction, all in the name of work, honest! An urban fantasy addict, both grown up and teen, she is currently reading the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, and loving every second. Alison also permanently seems to be reading books from the long and shortlists of children’s book awards.

When she takes the occasional step into the territory of books for grown ups Alison loves to read crime and fantasy.
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