Armchair BEA: Shelf of Melanie Wrap-Up

Image by Amber of Shelfnotes.com

Image by Amber of Shelfnotes.com


“If you’re a book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and/or the BEA Blogger Convention in New York this May, you don’t have to miss all the fun – this virtual convention is the place to be! Watch this space for all the news about daily blogging themes, discussions, giveaways and more! 
Armchair BEA is scheduled for May 26-31, 2014.”

 Quote and Image taken from Armchair Bea HQ
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I hope my participation in Armchair BEA has been enjoyable to read and that you’ve got to know me a little better! Just in case you missed anything, here’s what I posted:
Introduction : where I introduced myself, gave you a glimpse into my dream reading cubby and listed my top ten book blogs/bloggers. I also posted my favourite book quote and answered a desert island question.
Novellas/Short Stories : where I discussed my opinion of novellas and listed my top ten dream novellas.
Beyond the Borders : where I discussed stepping out of my comfort zone and reading new genres.
Middle Grade and Young Adult : where I discussed my love of both MG and YA and why I like them.
Thanks to the people at Armchair BEA Headquarters for organising and running this awesome event!

Armchair BEA: Middle Grade and Young Adult

Image by Amber of Shelfnotes.com

Image by Amber of Shelfnotes.com


“If you’re a book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and/or the BEA Blogger Convention in New York this May, you don’t have to miss all the fun – this virtual convention is the place to be! Watch this space for all the news about daily blogging themes, discussions, giveaways and more! 
Armchair BEA is scheduled for May 26-31, 2014.”

 Quote and Image taken from Armchair Bea HQ
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I think I will always love middle grade and young adult fiction. I still feel kind of embarrassed about requesting MG or YA books from the library, but not enough to stop me doing it. I am getting over it (the embarrassment, that is, not the fiction!), but it’s still somewhat uncomfortable.
MG will always have a special place in my heart. It’s not called MG here, it’s just lumped under children’s fiction. It’s special to me because nothing ever truly awful happens in most MG. It’s good for a “safe” read. Most YA is full of hard things and the “feels”. That’s not to say that MG doesn’t have feels, or danger, or heartbreaking moments – it does. It just feels safer to me. It is meant for younger readers, after all.
I also love how MG stories are full of magic and adventure. It has a really magical feel – it has to, to appeal to children. Authors pay much more attention to the magic of a tale and the richness of the world it’s set in. MG is full of magic, and I’m not just talking about the fantasy books. Children look for magic in their stories and that magic is why I love MG. When I have children, I want to love the books they love as much as they do. So… I am not going to be ashamed about asking for MG any more!
I’m more comfortable asking for YA because I know lots of adults read it quite openly. The book blogging community has given me a lot of confidence on that (thanks guys!).
I don’t even know what it is about YA, I just like it more than adult fiction.
I think teens are particularly hard to please and entertain, I think they spot  things adults don’t, and they’re a lot harder to fool. If there’s a hole in your plot, you can guarantee a sharp-eyed teen will be on to it, and children are worse, because they’re forever asking the question – why?
I would also like to add that the books we read as children shape our reading for the rest of our lives. If you read great books as a child, you’re going to learn to love reading. If you read awful books as a child, you’re going to learn to hate reading. Children’s books are gold.
I’m aware that I’ve used the word magic an awful lot in this post. But that’s what reading is, particularly in childhood. It’s magical.
What are your favourite MG/YA books/authors? Do you have problems in libraries or bookshops (if you’re an adult), asking for MG/YA? What books/authors made you love reading? Did books help make your childhood special – which books? How do you feel about those books now? Which books would you, or do you, give to your children? Is there a book/author from your childhood that I have to read? Tell me why!

Review: The Hangman’s Revolution (W.A.R.P #2) by Eoin Colfer

 

Young FBI agent Chevie Savano arrives back in modern-day London after a time-trip to the Victorian age, to find the present very different from the one she left. Europe is being run by a Facsist movement known as the Boxites, who control their territory through intimidation and terror. Chevie’s memories come back to her in fragments, and just as she is learning about the WARP program from Professor Charles Smart, inventor of the time machine, he is killed by secret service police. Now they are after Chevie, too, but she escapes–into the past. She finds Riley, who is being pursued by futuristic soldiers, and saves him. Working together again, it is up to Chevie and Riley to find the enigmatic Colonel Clayton Box, who is intent on escalating his power, and stop him before he can launch missiles at the capitals of Europe.Goodreads Description

 

Thanks go to Netgalley and Penguin Books for the review copy. 🙂

The book is due for release on June 26th (release date may differ outside the UK).

I was so excited to get an advance copy of this! I love Eoin Colfer’s books and I found the first W.A.R.P book so exciting and action-packed that I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

The Hangman’s Revolution explores the consequences of time travel, which I find really interesting as many of the time travel books I’ve read don’t seem to go into what happens to the time stream when people start playing with it. They go in, they get out. The getting out seems to be the bones of most time travel plots, but not here. The Hangman’s Revolution is all about what happens when you change history, and it is BRILLIANT.

There’s a touch of dystopia in the beginning, for those of you who like that, and all your favourite characters, plus some new ones. I LOVED the Thundercats, although I kept getting them mixed up at first. Towards the end though, they were easier to distinguish, but I think this was done purposefully. Without giving away too much, it’s to do with the uniformity of the society they live in and how their characters develop.

The book sucked me in straight away. I wanted to go back to the book (I’ve read a few books in the last fortnight where I didn’t really want to read more, so W.A.R.P 2 was such a nice change), I wanted to read more, I wanted to step onto the Chevie and Riley express and follow their stories. The historical detail was very well done (it definitely isn’t missing anything in the detail because of all the action and sci-fi/dystopia elements) and the characters just rose off the page.

The ending was frustrating (in a good way!) and I look forward to the next book in this series.

My only complaint was that I felt cut off from Chevie somehow. I didn’t have the connection to her that I did in the first book.

I can highly recommend this book for fans of Artemis Fowl, time travel, action-packed stories, historical fiction, and dystopia. This book is fantastic!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars – a fantastic adventure!

Armchair BEA: Beyond the Borders

Image by Amber of Shelfnotes.com

Image by Amber of Shelfnotes.com

“If you’re a book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and/or the BEA Blogger Convention in New York this May, you don’t have to miss all the fun – this virtual convention is the place to be! Watch this space for all the news about daily blogging themes, discussions, giveaways and more! Armchair BEA is scheduled for May 26-31, 2014.”
 Quote and Image taken from Armchair Bea HQ
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As I mentioned in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I’ve branched out a lot in the last six months or so, in terms of reading.

I used to read young adult (YA) or middle grade (MG) fantasy, the classics and a small amount of adult fantasy, and that was it,

Now, I read the YA “issues” books, a small amount of YA romance, a small amount of YA historical fiction, a bit of cosy crime, some literary fiction, and some steampunk, as well. I’m also delving into YA dystopia, and sci-fi (both adult and YA).

I’m too new at dystopia to say whether it’s working for me or not yet, but sci-fi is very hit and miss.

Vampires were new to me a year ago, but I enjoy some vampire fiction now. I’m a big fan of Vampire Academy, but I didn’t like House of Night or True Blood. I like vampires in books where there are lots of types of supernatural creatures, a lot more, I guess.

I’m not really into paranormal romance, unless there’s a lot more to the story. I don’t usually like the whole angel/devil thing either, yet I love Cassandra Clare and Laini Taylor.

What can I say? I’m trying pretty much everything lately, although I do have genres I won’t touch. (I have tried them, and they are not for me.)

What’s outside your comfort zone? What used to be, but isn’t any more? How widely or specifically do you read?

Armchair BEA: Novellas/Short Stories

 

Image by Amber of Shelfnotes.com

Image by Amber of Shelfnotes.com

“If you’re a book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and/or the BEA Blogger Convention in New York this May, you don’t have to miss all the fun – this virtual convention is the place to be! Watch this space for all the news about daily blogging themes, discussions, giveaways and more! Armchair BEA is scheduled for May 26-31, 2014.”
 Quote and Image taken from Armchair Bea HQ
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I quite like novellas/short stories set in the same worlds as a series I love, but I wish they were easier to obtain in print, It really annoys me when things are only available in ebook form.

If I spend money on adding physical books to my shelves, I want all the books there are in that series or world, all lined up together. I wouldn’t mind waiting until there are three or four printed together in one book. I just want them printed eventually

But novellas are cool ways to explore my favourite fictional worlds a bit more. I’m getting tired of seeing authors use the same major characters though. I want new characters! (I’m so greedy!) I like stories about that one character that’s in one tiny scene but is still really interesting, too. Just any characters that don’t get enough “screen-time”.

Novellas I Wish There Were

1)    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: The White Rabbit

I would love to see the White Rabbit’s stories – not about when Alice was there, but another time. Or the Hatter. Or the Cheshire Cat. Anyone really.

2)    Septimus Heap by Angie Sage: Lucy or the Boggart

I would love to read more from these two characters. Lucy in particular is a brilliant character, and she isn’t in the books nearly enough.

3)    Transparent and Blindsided by Natalie Whipple

I’d like to see novellas in this universe, but about other kids completely. I want to see more of this world – which abilities are common? Is invisibility the only really rare ability? What else is rare?

4)    H.I.V.E  by Mark Walden: Laura, Shelby and co.

I’d love to read about how the other characters got to school. We know why they’re there, but not how. It would be fun to read, especially Shelby – I bet she put up one heck of a fight! And I want to know about Laura’s friendship dramas too.

5)    W.A.R.P by Eoin Colfer: Otto Malarkey and the Rams

It would be fun to read about King Otto’s regular life! Novellas about the Rams would be cool!

6)    Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien: Eowyn and Arwen

What the heck were these two superb female characters doing the whole time? I’d LOVE to see Middle Earth from their point of view.

7)    Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I know there’s a spin-off (Bloodlines; which I’m about to start reading at some point in the next few weeks), but I’d love a novella or two about that little Siberian community. Or from the point of view of a “blood whore”, just to see what they’re really like. They’re talked about more than often enough – I want more information about their view of the world. I also want more of Mia (is she in Bloodlines at all?) I want to see more Moroi magic as well. I’m not surprised Richelle Mead wrote a spin-off of VA to be honest, because there’s so much to explore in this world.

8)    Discworld by Terry Pratchett: The Wee Free Men

I want to see an entirely Nac Mac Feegle based story. No human allowed! Not even witches!

9)    Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie: Tiger Lily, Tinkerbell and Mermaid Lagoon

I know there are a fair amount of novels that are retellings of Peter Pan, including Tiger Lily versions, but I just wish there were actual novellas by J.M.Barrie following Tink and Tiger Lily. I also wish more had been done with Mermaid Lagoon.

10)   The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien: Radagast the Brown

I’d love to read more about Radagast the Brown, and also the other two wizards who are barely mentioned. The two blue wizards.

I don’t really read many novellas at the moment, because I haven’t yet got a kindle and I still much prefer print books. I will be getting a kindle shortly though so hopefully I will read more novellas then.

What are some of your favourites? Which would you like to see made available?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I’ve Fallen In Love With This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was free choice.

I have branched out a lot with my reading, so far this year, and in no particular order, here are my top ten new (to me) authors:

1. John Green – I never thought I would like any of his stuff. I started reading his books after I branched out into more “issues” based YA. (Sorry, I don’t know what else to call them; I don’t want to say contemporary because that tends to mean romance, and that’s not what I mean).  In case you’re wondering, I’ve now read all five of John Green’s books. My favourite was Looking for Alaska, closely followed by The Fault In Our Stars. Paper Towns was ok but it naffed me off a lot. I didn’t enjoy An Abundance of Katherines. I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but it took a few chapters to hook me.

2. Rainbow Rowell – I caught the buzz from the book blogging community when everyone was reviewing Fangirl. When I was browsing the new teen books in my local library, Fangirl was there, so I picked it up and I was HOOKED. It was a really special experience for me. Rainbow Rowell really GETS being different and incredibly anxious. I very recently read Attachments and enjoyed that too, although not as much as Fangirl.

3. Natalie Whipple – I came across Transparent while browsing the library’s ebook service and since they also had a paperback, I put in a request for it. It is amazing! The concept, the writing, the characters… Just, yes! I have the sequel to read, which I’m sure is going to be awesome, and I sincerely hope there are novellas. Many, many novellas.

4. Ally Carter – Like, why did it take me so long to find Gallagher Girls and Heist Society? WHY? I started with Heist Society, but it was those awesome butt-kicking Gallagher Girls that really won my heart.

5. Tamsyn Murray – Her series about ghosts and the people that can see them is not the best written series in the world, BUT the characters are really, really well-done and very likeable. The books are great for a lighter read, and I just found out last weekend that there is a novella available via Kindle. (If you don’t have a Kindle you can download the free Kindle app and read Kindle books on your phone).

6. Django Wexler – I reviewed Forbidden Library recently, because everyone was talking about it and it was still available on Netgalley at the time, and I AM SO BLOWN AWAY BY THIS BOOK! I have to read more about this world!! Seriously!

7. Jennifer Armentrout – Yes, yes, I know. I have only just finished my first Jennifer Armentrout book. It was Obsidian and I will post a review next week. The library I use is Armentrout-poor. They have the first three Lux books in ebook only. That’s it. Like, what?? Hopefully they will rectify this mistake soon!

8. Laini Taylor – Go me, late to the Karou party!

9. Jennifer E Smith – Get me reading contemporary romance! I do not normally read in this genre, but I was intrigued by The Geography of You and Me. I devoured that and then pounced on The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I didn’t enjoy that one as much though. I love the covers and the titles are quirky too. The writing style is awesome and the characters always wonderful to read about.  Again, my library only has one Jennifer E Smith book (Statistical Probability).  😦

10. Michelle Harrison – I love her 13 Treasures series; it’s very well done. I thought it was oh-so predictable at one stage, but it turned out not to be. And man, I love Tanya and Oberon. I want me an Oberon!

Other authors I have discovered this year are: Lucy Clarke, Alyson Noel, Brandon Sanderson and Jay Asher. There are others, but those stick out most. Those are authors who I will actively seek out more books from.

Who have you discovered this year? Have you read anything by any of these authors? What did you think? Are any of these authors or their books especially close to your heart?

Armchair BEA 2014: Introducing Shelf of Melanie

Image by Amber from Shelfnotes.com

 

“If you’re a book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and/or the BEA Blogger Convention in New York this May, you don’t have to miss all the fun – this virtual convention is the place to be! Watch this space for all the news about daily blogging themes, discussions, giveaways and more! Armchair BEA is scheduled for May 26-31, 2014.”
 Quote and Image taken from Armchair Bea HQ
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Hello! I’m Melanie. I’m turning 24 this week and live in Wales, in the UK.
What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?
Oh my! I discovered Cassandra Clare,  Angie Sage, Lev Grosman, Gail Carriger AND Richelle Mead last year!! How can I choose a favourite? Hmmm, well if we don”t include all the awesome series’ written by the above authors, I’d have to say Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher.
This year… I have discovered a lot more awesomeness this year too! If you really twisted my arm, then I’d go for Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke (aka The Sea Sisters).
What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like? (Pinterest encouraged!) 
My perfect reading space would look something like this:

And it would have a mini fridge a little bathroom and a kettle. Plus lots of snacks and copious amounts of coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Pepsi, lemonade and iced tea for when it’s hot. And a little dog bed for my gorgeous terrier. I’d never have to leave!

Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers (doesn’t necessarily have to be book blogs/bloggers). I am going to only list my favourite book blogs/bloggers. Here they are:

Words In A Teacup (Ren and Isa) Ren and Isa post a lot of good quality content and we have so many book-loves in common. I love their rating system and the voice of their posts. I also love their Pick For Me thing that they do for each other and their blog design is gorgeous.

The Mile Long Bookshelf (Amber) Another with gorgeous design. I love Amber, particularly for how personal the posts feel. It reads like she’s chatting to you and the whole site has such a nice atmosphere.

The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Sssh (Tara)  Tara is awesome; I love her features, her reviews are awesome and she is very good with her words. I like Tara because although she runs one of the (what I would call), “big” book blogs, I don’t feel intimidated by her.

The Book Addict’s Guide (Brittany) The Book Addict’s Guide is an amazing blog! Brilliant features, regular (and high quality) content, detailed reviews…

Rinn Reads (Rinn) I love the design, the font, the detail… I love how natural everything feels. Another very down-to-earth blogger.

Oh The Books (Kelley, Leanne and Asti) Oh the Books is probably my favourite blog. The design is awesome, the bloggers are awesome, and the content is awesome! I never feel intimidated and my comments are always responded to.

Good Books and Good Wine (April) April is the person who inspired me to really get into book blogging. She doesn’t know that (because I’m a coward), but it was her blog that got me from sticking the odd review on my blog to having an actual book blog. I love April. I wish I could hug her, because I think she’s brilliant.

On Starships and Dragonwings (Anya) This is another really incredible blog. Detailed reviews, awesome design, a lovely voice. And dragons. Did I mention the dragons?

Pretty Little Reader (Kelly) I love the detail in Kelly’s posts. Her discussion posts are really good.

Thoughts and Afterthoughts (Joey) I love Joey’s blog because of how original the Top Ten Tuesdays are. So creative 🙂

I sincerely apologise if I’ve anything is spelt wrong or I’ve got someone’s name or blog name wrong!

Share your favorite book or reading related quote. 

 

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you bring? Why? What three non-book items would you bring? Why?

Just three? Oh boy. Cheating is required. Harry Potter omnibus, Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit omnibus, and Discworld omnibus. These are my three favourite worlds to get lost in, and what, if bullied enough, I would list as my top three series of all time.

For non-books, paper, pens and chocolate. I HAVE to be able to write. And the chocolate is because… Well, since when does chocolate need a because? :p