December Book Haul

So Christmas is over, the madness of the new year has passed, resolutions have been made and broken and life is slowly returning to normal. So this felt like a good time to pull out the books i received over the holiday period and have only recently had a chance to properly look at.

To any who have followed my book related content for a while now these have a slightly different theme from normal, as most of my books to date have been heavily focused on fantasy and urban fantasy with little straying. In comparison these books were gifted as part of my plans for this year, inspired by my recently purchased Sewing Machine.


I bought this with absolutely no background knowledge of sewing, only a passion for vintage and a long held wish to give sewing a shot. A little bit spontaneous for me when it comes to my usual shopping habits but i am really excited. So as part of my Christmas pressies my family got me a few sewing machine and general sewing books starting from the foundations of using a machine through to simple projects and tutorials.

I also bought myself this book called the Teeny Tiny Gardening book by Emma Hardy which includes inspiration for the little terrariums i love the grow/design as well as a lot of inspirations for using succulents in small places. Its a lovely little book with some beautiful photography in it.
   My last purchase was a more recent one, last weekend to be precise and it appealed to the book nerd in me so much that i simply could not walk away without purchasing it for myself.

In the following picture you can see the Harry Potter book clutch i managed to purchase at the local St Georges Market in Belfast. Now sadly i don’t know where else you would be able to purchase this awesome bag but if i can find a link i will add it below or share it on my social media somewhere.
   When i saw this book clutch it was the only Harry Potter one left in between a couple of other random books. only after i purchased it was a shown by the lovely lady at the stall that it  came with a Harry potter coin purse as well as a long shoulder strap chain which suits me better than just a clutch bag, because i am usually too lazy for clutch bags.

The only slight peeve i have with this purchase is that the cover is the american title version, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone rather than Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But i still love it and can’t wait to use it, but i don’t think i’ll be using this as a work bag.

So I am going to start a new series to keep a record of how my sewing experience develops and share any skills i manage to develop as part of this adventure. If any of you would like to learn how to use a sewing machine alongside me and i hope this is something that you would be interested in, i would love to hear what you think about this idea and what you would like to learn about if there is anything specific.

Short but sweet,

Maebhe

Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Illustrated Edition 

Published by: Bloomsbury 

Author: JK Rowling

Illustrated by: Jim Kay

Review

  I feel that over my two years here my love for the Harry Potter series has been well document however recent stressers in my life have caused a resurgence of my Harry Potter usage (sounding a little like a smoker trying to quit here, however this is not an addiction I would ever give up!). The HP audiobooks are amazing tools for falling asleep too when you cannot get your brain to turn off. I also have amazing friends as they have managed to get some of these extremely difficult (& this is quite an under estimation of the ticket stalking process) to purchase ticket for the Harry Potter sequel theatre production, The Cursed Child next June. Which I will 100% blog because it’s one of the preview tickets – so early! Plus we are also prepping for this trip, 7 months in advance so hopefully it will mean some good costumes!

As part of this I recently purchased the new hardback, Illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! And it is simply gorgeous!

  

  Having created two children’s books through the completion of my masters I have had time to research a lot of children’s books, both written and illustrated. So I was extremely happy to see how the illustrations for this book turned out. I had heard about this book’s potential release a long time ago, and having seen the thousands of beautiful interpretations of the Harry Potter universe online, like those on Tumblr and Pinterest, and having followed the movies which were already visually beautiful, in my mind there were a couple of ways the illustrated edition could turn out.

  Firstly, illustrated books, like I just mentioned, being very closely associated with children’s publishing despite the growing adult illustration industry, i.e graphic novels and manga, could have been very ‘childish’ in style. Which in my mind this could be very daunting to adult individuals, like myself, who had grown up with the novels, but who could possibly be put off due to this style. Although I also realise that the diehard potterheads would enjoy it regardless in most cases.

  In a complete juxtaposition the style could have been too graphic, focusing of the older reading audience. Which could put off adults who want to introduce the books to younger readers or equally make it more difficult for younger reads to connect with the imagery.

  So I was genuinely so happy to see how they turned out when I saw the early sneak peaks which are even more glorious in the physical print. The paper quality is also REALLY nice (sad publisher issues). The illustration style is a happy medium making is accessible and beautiful without being childish.

  

This is one of favourite images from the book as they were able to capture an image I have always had in my head but have never seen, as this was an element of the book which wasn’t in the movie. The books use of imagery especially scenes which weren’t in the films is, in my opinion, why I am loving the illustrated edition so much and why it has been such a success. As it was difficult to imagine adding to the HP world, but this book and hopefully the whole illustrated series, has added to the visual ‘reality’ of the written books.    

  This is my last image but as you can see, it is a perfect example of how the illustrated edition has been able to expand our knowledge of the potter world. Not only illustrating the physical story/plot but treating the reader like a hogwarts student, educating you and allowing the reader to be fully immersed in the Harry Potter world. 

  I realise my photos genuinely aren’t doing this book, the quality and the imagery, justice. But I just wanted to share my thoughts and maybe inspire some Christmas ideas, because if I hadn’t bought myself it, it would have been an amazing gift to receive. 
Be back soon

Mwah, Maebhe x

Reveal: Legend, Katy Evans

We have something a little different today. Here is an early reveal for the sixth book in the Real series with new characters as well as our favourites in the background.

LEGEND (Real series #6)  
Can love really conquer all? – Book 6 in Katy Evan’s breakout New York Times bestselling series that began with REAL.

Maverick “the Avenger” Cage wants to rise to the top and become a legend in the ring. Though he keeps his identity well guarded, he’s known on the fighting circuit as the new kid with a chip on his shoulder and a tattoo on his back that marks him as trouble. He’s got a personal score to settle with the Underground’s one and only Remington “Riptide” Tate.

As Mav trains, he meets a young girl—the only other new person in the town–and sparks fly. When things get heated between them, he finds out she’s none other than Reese Dumas, the cousin of Remington Tate’s wife. A girl who’s supposed to root against him and a girl he’s supposed to stay away from. 

But Maverick fights for the woman in his heart, and the monsters in his blood. The world’s eyes are on them and the victor will go down in history as the ultimate fighting champion; the ultimate LEGEND. 

Legend (Real #6) Pre-order Links (Releases 2/9)

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1IcLdcd

Amazon PB: http://amzn.to/1MeyaIY

Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/sRB4jb 

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/real-series-6/id936215992?mt=11

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1Guafyb

BAM: http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9781501101540

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781501101540

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/real-series-6

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1GuakSp

*********

  I am really excited about this book and about being part of this release. I have have loved these books and their characters, especially Remy and Brooke. As a series it is unique, not only do you get the satisfaction of a strong alpha male with an equally strong female who can hold her own. 

  It also manages sensitive topics like mental health and how people deal with these conditions. 

  If you are interested in finding out more about this book or the series in general there are preorder links above or go to Katy’s website: 

http://www.katyevans.net/ 

Or feel free to send questions my way.

Maebhe 

Tea blog: The Publishers Revamp

In my last post, I discussed a campaign called the Dark Hunters Re-read which is being organised (to the best of my knowledge) by Sherrilyn Kenyons American publisher MacMillian & St. Martins Press. And this got myself thinking about publishers use of marketing and communications to revive a long running series such as the dark hunter series and it’s possible use for other series.

Case: Sherrilyn Kenyons, Dark Hunters Series

Sherrilyn Kenyons Dark Hunter series has 23 publications to date with 6 in the associated YA series The Chronicles  of Nick. The first book in the series, Fantasy Lover, which admittedly isn’t directly associated with the plot but is a really good book and creates a great introduction to the over all series, was first published in 2002. That’s 13 years, with over 29 books! As this figure does not include ebooks, the associated mangas or her sci-if or romance publications. So collectively that’s a whole lot of books!

I started reading her books while in high school. This means that for myself being reintroduced to the series is not such a big on taking . I already have an understanding of their series and general plot.


Discussion

However for new readers – this must be a pretty daunting series to approach. I have suffered this fear myself with other long running series with examples including George RR Martin, Terry Pratchett, and others. The idea of a organised, community lead re-read which utilises the community sites like for this series: the Offical Sanctuary (click to visit the site and find out more about the re-read and the books) – is an idea which really appeals to myself as a reader and prospective publisher!

The ability to break down a series to a single book, creating a book/reading club feel to allow new readers to discover books from long standing series with the support of established fans. While also allowing existing readers to rediscover books they love.

For the Dark Hunter Re-read I personally feel that this campaign is in need of a significantly increased social media presence. As beyond Sherrilyn Kenyons own site it is hard to find. A simple Google search brought up more of my own sites than Kenyons which is a little disappointing as this seems like such a good opportunity to interact with the digital community. I have recommended this series to numerous friends and colleagues who had never heard of Kenyons – there are always new readers to interact with. And as someone invested in the use of digital marketing and social media, I wish this community marketing campaign had been expanded upon. This might just be an international issue as it seems that this promotion is only being promoted by the U.S. publishers and hopefully this is an idea which will only continue to grow and possibly be used by other series and other authors on a bigger scale.

Thank you for listening to my little publishing rant and I would live to hear what you think about organised rereads and whether you have ever discovered a new author this way?

Maebhe

 

Dark Hunter Re-Read : Dance with the Devil

I am subscribed to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s newsletter and have been for a long time, however ive been a fan of her series for an even longer period of time! As her Dark Hunter series was one of the first urban fantasy series i discovered and represents of my biggest series collections i own.

image2 (1)

  This isn’t all of the books, its just the biggest collective image i could get & they are mostly in order 🙂 

 However as with many long series, when you discover a series in the middle it’s fun and exciting to binge! Buying books back to back and watching the series progress as your own pace -which in case was quite fast, especially in high school when i had more time and money to spend on just reading! But the series progressed and naturally got more complex, spliting apart into a number of sub plots and eventually creating a Y.A. back story which developed into an independent series for one of the main characters throughout the books, Nick Gautier. (Love him as a character and the YA series is really good.) This meant longer breaks between publications and therefore mentally a slower plot progression. I never lost any love for the series yet somehow i lost contact with the series and i am now a number of books behind.

SO! When i saw the email from Ms. Kenyon’s site discussing the Dark-Hunter Re-read it was the perfect excuse to rediscover some old loves and hopefully get back into the over plot structure. With the end goal of catching up with the publications i haven’t read, seeing what ive been missing out on and hopefully introduce some new readers to this amazingly funny and action packed, romantic urban fantasy series!

rain quote

 One of my favourite quote in life which i discovered from this series and my favourite book!

So the re-read is already a couple of books into the series. However this is exciting for me as the next book being read is Dance with the Devil (Book 3). This book is one of my absolute favourites! Zarek, our male protagonist, is one of those perfect damaged heroes who is really a marshmallow inside in need of a little love. This book also introduced me to another classic children’s novel i hadn’t heard of called The Little Prince which i just had to buy and my first time re-reading this book after reading The little Prince added even more layers to our damaged hero and made his romance with Astrid, our leading lady, all the better.

The humour in this book has already brought back so many memories of why i loved this series and this writer. Her dry wit has me in stitches but it also provides an insight into the characters that other writers can’t often capture. I am about two thirds of the way through and another rediscover was the historical undertones in this series –  as the fantasy element in this series is inspired from Greek Mythology – which as a history graduate with a love for ancient history just pushes all the right buttons for me!

If Sherrilyn Kenyon is a new author to you, i would highly recommend getting involved in the re-read or even just picking up one of her books they are truly amazing. She also writes an awesome Sci-Fi series. But i will be back on this book soon with a short review – don’t want to spoil anything.

But if you do give these books a chance or you already love the Dark Hunter series let me know your thoughts below!

Maebhe x

 p.s. a sneak peek of the madness which occurred in one of my bookcases trying to clear some space to find this series – book addicts raise your hands?… 🙂

image1

Review: BBC Radio4 adaptation of Good Omens

I have mentioned in recent posts about my new found love of audiobooks. Their convenience has allowed me to diversify my reading as well as rediscover old literary loves, from the Harry Potter novels through to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

This has resulted in a new discovery- the radio adaptation! My best buddy & literary adviser Sio, knowing my long running love of Neil Gaiman & my recent investigation into Terry Pratchett’s books (specifically Mort), recommended I listen to BBC Radio4’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s & Terry Pratchett’s collaborative publication Good Omens.

2015/01/img_0053.jpg

And as always she was correct! I can honestly say that I have listened to this series (all 6 episodes) three times now & I am devastated that I will no longer be able to listen to them on my iPad – as to date they’ve been available on the BBC radio iPlayer but have just recently been removed. I had heard via Neil Gaiman’s Facebook that the book was being adapted for the radio however I missed it on the radio & didn’t think to search for it online- therefore I only discovered the series a week before it is removed from the online app.

Back to the Review: The adaptation was wonderfully done and is simply hilarious. I also own the paperback book however previously I had struggled to invest any interest in the topic or genre of this book, despite the written quality naturally imbedded by the very nature of its authors. A book on the apocalypse of Earth, control of which is in the hands of an eleven year old boy is simply not something I am interested in reading – although I do love the Supernatural series. But I have been completely converted! In a brief summary – the anti Christ has been sent to earth & is destined to bring about Armageddon- however the Angels and Demons who inhabit the earth don’t particularly want to leave & are rather comfortable. Therefore two very unlikely friends, the demon Crowley & the Angel Aziraphale join together in an attempt to stop the apocalypse from happening – during which much hilarity ensues. There are also some deep lessons hidden behind sarcasm & innuendo- from devil worshiping nuns who coo & count the “toesie-woesies” of the anti Christ through to Pollution replacing Pestilence as one of the Horsemen (Sorry…Horse-people, as War is a woman! And a seriously kick ass b***h,) of the Apocalypse after the invention of antibiotics.

One of my favourite quotes, although it’s minuscule in the overall plot, however Crowleys tone at being handed the anti Christ has had me in stitches;

Eternal….. Tool

The quality of this adaptation is even better than the audiobooks I have listened to, to date. The actors are all amazing & I may have a small crush on Crowley for his voice alone. The music (which includes a lot of Queen) & sound affects are also perfect for example the torturous screams we can hear in the background anytime Crowley rings Hell. Another of my favourite aspects of the adaptation is the overlays from the BBC radio presenters to talking about apocalyptic events in completely average conversation. From Gardens question Time discussing the consequences of Fish falling from the sky….

Well, I’m a keen rose grower, but my prize-winning Molly McGuire lost a
couple of blossoms yesterday in a rain of what were apparently fish. What
does the team recommend for this, other than place netting over the garden?”
— R.P.Tyler on Gardeners’ Question Time, Good Omens

Or those pesky Tibetans digging tunnels all the way through the earth,

“…now as keen gardeners know, it goes without sayin’ that he’s a cunnin’
little devil, your Tibetan. Tunnelin’ straight through your begonias like
it was nobody’s business. A cup of tea’ll shift him, with rancid yak butter
for preference…” — Gardeners’ Question Time, Good Omens

And finally this adaptation was made extra special cameo appearance of Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman in the first episode as policemen, who sadly come to a tragic end soon after (eaten but a hellish creature from the sound of things).

I honestly couldn’t recommend this book/audio adaptation any more – full 10 out of 10. So If you get a chance to listen to this adaptation, the cd of which is available on Amazon or you could possibly find it elsewhere online, It is totally worth the time invested to listen. It’s also a great opportunity to investigate a new author or genre if you’re new to Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman.

Have you ever listened to this or any other radio adaptation? I would love to hear what you think!

Maebhe

Image

Top 5 Wednesday: Series I Want to Start This Year

So as part of my renewed writing ambitions for 2015 i have joined the ‘Top 5 Wednesday‘ family – which generates top 5 topics every week, assisting in the creative flow and uniting a lot of book bloggers/youtubers. However as I am sure you can tell – unless you havent got a calender, your phone is broke & for some reason the electronic device you are reading this on has no calender – this is not wednesday….So a minor fail at starting this series on time. However i was really interested in this weeks topic so i decided to blog about it anyway!

This weeks topic is the Top 5 Series i want to start reading this year – so i have decided to use this the attack some of my To-Be-Read list some of which i have been meaning to read for years, which is a little embarrassing to think about. But also the first book in series i already own and have attempted to read before but something didn’t click first go so this is the perfect excuse to try again.LoLL

1. Gentlemen Bastard Series Scott Lynch Book One: The Lies of Locke Lamora

This is the first book which i have been meaning to read for so long. Sio, who will become a recurring individual in this post – introduced me to this book. A book which combines Robin Hood – but one who keeps all the riches for himself and his Band of Gentlemen Bastards – who doesn’t
love a thief! But i finally bought a copy of this book so hopefully this will be the year to take on the challenge of this book!

 

 

2. KingKiller Chronicles  Patrick Rothfuss Book One: Name of the WindNotW

This is a series/book that i have been meaning to read for at least two years! My fabulous friend Sio if full of booky knowledge and recommendations and has introduced me to many of my favourite reads like Naomi Novak series. However she introduced me to this book while at university together and i am currently in possession of her copy of this book. So i am determined that this is my year to read this book, especially since i don’t have the workload looming overhead like i have previously.

A Crime, Magic, High Fantasy combo which induces images of an adult Harry Potter in a medieval setting – I can’t wait!

 

3. Mistborn Trilogy Brandon Sanderson Book One: The Final EmpireMB

Another Sio recommendation – Sanderson manages to combine magic, intrigue and revolution to create his high fantasy series with a strong female lead! Something which makes a book a little extra special for me.

This series also introduces a new magic from any other series i have read so far – Allomancy – the use of different metals to generate magic power which has strictly controlled by the rich and powerful. They were clearly asking for revolution – so i can’t wait to see what our heroes get up to.

 

 

4. The Farseer Trilogy Robin Hobb Book One: Assassins ApprenticeAA

Can we tell yet that Sio is the person i go to for High Fantasy recommendations? 🙂 This book a little bit of a cheat as i have started this book before but a sad part in the plot made me put it down for a long time and i struggled to pick it back up. However i recently rediscovered and continued reading and i am loving the plot so far.

Plot wise this book is a little difficult to explain as it is a medieval tale with a little bit of magic thrown in. However most of the plot surrounds our main character Fitz and his training as- title gives it away -an assassins apprentice. With royalty, plots and danger it is thrilling a nice change from the urban fantasy books i usually read.

 

5. Arcana Chronicles Kresley Cole Book: Poison PrincessPP

Moving away from the high fantasy books and Sio’s recommendations – Poison Princess is a YA urban fantasy dystopia, and the series is plotted around the Arcana or Fortune telling card characters or their personification, for lack of a better word. Basically to me it seems like Xmen meets the apocalypse – the end of our world causes 22 teenagers to gain magical powers and a battle between good and evil ensues.

With 22 characters im not a 100% sure how this series will progress as there are only three books published so far. However i am a huge fan of Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series so i can’t wait to give this book a go!

 


 

If you want to find more Top 5 Series blogs and videos a list of all the participants is linked below;

Complete List of Top 5 Wednesday Family – Bloggers and YouTubers

I would love to hear any series you are planning or hoping to tackle this year – new publications for 2015 or just new to you! I am always looking for new authors and new reads.

Thank you as always for reading my little post!

Maebhe

Reads of 2014: A Review

While the rest of the Internet has long since shared their best reads of 2014 I’ve been a little late getting in the writing game this year. I have already acknowledged that the last year was a difficult reading year for myself due to university commitments & work resulting in a lot of re-reads rather than new reads. This doesn’t mean I didn’t read any good books. I have to say a couple of my favourite books from the last year include;

1. Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone
This was a great book, took two attempts to really get into the book. However I fully understood the plot and the heroine I was hooked. I have already purchase book 2 & I can’t wait to read it- see how the plot progresses!

2. Kresley Cole’s Dark Skye
While I can admit that this hasn’t been my favourite in the series. I realise that this for me, became one of those over anticipated books which couldn’t match up to my expectations. However it was still enjoyable & I love the IAD series.

3. Thea Harrison’s Nights Honour
This book was a nice change in pace for this series. While a lot of the reviews I have seen on this book have been pretty poor I have to disagree. While it’s not the fierce (or semi-fierce) female protagonist that is customary in the as books- Tess is still strong in a quieter way as is Xavier. It also lay a strong foundation for the next book in the series which I am now itching to read. 🙂

4. Karen Maire Moning’s Dark Fever
This is a new author for me, discovered through Thea Harrison’s Facebook page. This series in set in Dublin which is practically local for me & therefore a complete novelty. However it is also a really good book with a lot of room for growth, in book 1 there has already been dramatic growth in our lead character MacKayla who initially drove me crazy. However perseverance has paid off &now I’m really excited to see how the plot will progress.

I also rediscovered Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series after an extended break. I had struggled with how the Anita Blake series had progressed in later books, specifically how Anita had lost some of her Bad-assery in favour of an incomprehensible number of men, lovers, boyfriends, etc. but I plan on writing an author review on Ms. Laurell K Hamilton’s books very soon. So keep an eye out.

Finally but most importantly I discovered the joy of the audiobook. Specifically the Harry Potter books, allowing me to rediscover all the depth and nuances from the series that I have forgotten.

These have been my favourite reads if 2014 however I have high hopes for this years reading endeavours. But Thank you as always for taking the time to read my little piece & I would love to hear what you’ve been reading or are looking forward to this year.

Maebhe

2015/01/img_0015.jpg

New Year, New Reading Resolutions

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d76/37071829/files/2015/01/img_0003.jpg
So according to Goodreads I have reached my 2014 reading challenge goal of reading of 50 books. However this was a difficult year when I came to reading new books, mostly due to university obligations and a tightening of the purse strings following my big move to Edinburgh. The main result of all these changes was that I feel back on old favourites, re-reading series or titles that I love and therefore feel no pressure to complete the book or my discovery of audiobooks. I currently only own a few audiobooks, the most important being my Harry Potter audios which have renewed my love for the books as the movie adaptations make it easy to forget the details that were lost in the films. For example Chamber of Secrets is my least favourite Harry Potter film, however it is one of favourites when it comes to the audio books as Gilderoy Lockhart is hilarious in audio, the true extent of his narcissism can really be enjoyed.

Back to books – while I love participating in these reading challenges I am awful at maintaining my reading-to read-read lists. Therefore I have decided to maintain the same reading challenge for 2015, 50 new books. However I wanted to add a new challenge to broaden my reading appetite.

I recently discovered the BookRiot Read Harder challenge. The rules are simple and designed to expand your reading through suggested topics. & I’m hoping to use these suggestions to help me complete a personal challenge – Finish my physical To-Be-Read pile ( this is no where as extensive as my digital To-Be-Read list & therefore much more achievable) as well as discover some new reads/authors. There are 24 suggestive reading topics, optimally 2 a month. Personally I think I will select 12 of them, the full list of options is available at the link above.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d76/37071829/files/2015/01/img_00041.jpg

This is the start of a new year and it is full of opportunities for change and growth. I started of the year by cutting 5 inches off my hair, inspired by YouTube beauty guru Essie Button’s hair style.And I plan to continue my job hunt or possibly return to education, however overall I will continue to grow as a person.

If you are taking part in the Read Harder Challenge I would love to hear what you are reading and you New Years plans.

Maebhe