30 January 2011


The Colour of Magic (The Disc World series#1)
Author: Terry Pratchett
UK Publisher: Corgi
UK Release date: 1983
Genre: Fantasy

Summary (from Goodreads): On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet...

Review: When the Disc’s first tourist, Twoflower, arrives at Ankh Morpork’s docks, failed wizard Rincewind, is ordered to look after the naive visitor. Determined to see all the local sights, Twoflower unknowingly leads the pair into pub brawls, dragon lairs and a dryad realm.

I never read The Disc World series when I was younger, because shamefully I thought the books were more for boys. Maybe that was down to their covers? But, how very wrong I was. In The Colour of Magic you are not just thrown into an extraordinary world of wizards and dragons, barbarian heroes and walking treasure chests, you are thrown into a whole universe!

Pratchett’s writing style is elaborate, describing the universal anomalies and features of magic and often going off on a tangent, but there is always an undercurrent of humour and wit. Well, more like a tidal wave. The pace is steady, with Rincewind and Twoflower being thrown from one danger to the next, amazingly unscathed.

During the book a number of scientific theorems are touched on in a more humorous than scientific way, including the time-space continuum, parallel universes, and Gods playing their cruel game with Fate. As long as I accepted them as part of the story, then I could get my head around the strange things that happen during the story. And yes, plenty of strange things happen.

There is a stark contrast between the two main characters Rincewind and Twoflower; one panicking at the slightest hint of adventure and danger, and the other enthusiastically seeking out adventure. I enjoyed the interplay between the two, and the addition of other characters including Death provided additional humour and action.

My one (tiny) bug bear is that certain background information was repeated several times throughout the course of the book. I understood that the information does have a significant bearing on what’s to come; I just found it interrupted the flow between scenes.

After their journey across the Disc world, both horizontally and vertically, the end of the story is literally left hanging. I wished I had had the next book ‘The Light Fantastic’ to hand to start reading it straight away and find out what happens.

Rating: 4

27 January 2011


Philip Pullman, best known for His Dark Materials trilogy, spoke out this week about the British government's cuts, the proposed 'big society' of volunteers, and its impact on our libraries. 

The flagship policy of the Conservative party, 'Big Society', suggests that local services can be delivered by volunteers, bidding for money to set up these services. Against the cuts and the alternative of a volunteer led service, Philip Pullman highlighted the importance of librarians, and the problems of getting one community to bid against another for money to run a library service.

He also spoke fervently about his own experience of libraries, being able to borrow books as a young child.

His speech can be found here - it's very passionate and honest. You really should go read it.

26 January 2011


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating. 

Mine for this week is..

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

Published by: Gollancz (UK) & Orbit (USA)
UK release date: 27th January 2011
US release date: 7th February 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Military
Summary (from Amazon):

They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them. Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he's far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it's his own. Prince Calder isn't interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he'll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn't have to fight for it himself. Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him? Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail. Three men. One battle. No Heroes.

Fantasy-Faction's review of The Heroes can be found here.

Joe Abercrombie will also be appearing at the following….(see Orion's website for more information)
  • Thursday 27 January 2011 at 6:00PM
Forbidden Planet, Shaftesbury Avenue, London
London and South East

  • Friday 28 January 2011 at 12:00PM
Waterstone's Guildford High Street
London and South East

    What books can't you wait for?

    24 January 2011


    The other day I learnt that vampires as we know them could not physically exist. Now, wait! Before you leave my blog henceforth, never to return, listen on!

    I recently spoke with a scientist, who was an expert in blood and the transmission of blood-bourne diseases. Apparently blood alone isn't enough to sustain the body (even a dead one - although I guess it depends on what theory of vampirism you believe in...). Compared to a steak which contains 30% protein, blood only contains about 10%. There simply aren't enough nutrients in blood.

    So I thought, ok, what about cannibalistic vampires who drink blood and eat flesh? (I see a story developing somewhere down the line!) This would surely fix the problem. Right? But then I was told by my scientist friend that the water content in blood is extremely high. Meaning that a blood drinking vampire would be very, very bloated with all the water.

    Which naturally led me to think, what would our gorgeous vampire heros such as Edward Cullen and Stefan Salvatore look like with a serious bout of water retention?

    Sadly it's not such a pretty sight. And so, the moral to the story..... there may be truth in science, but there certainly isn't any imagination!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative".

    21 January 2011


    In a few weeks time, Jo at Once Upon A Bookcase will be hosting a Random House Children's Books Paranormal Romance Virtual Panel Event on her blog. There will be a Chatroll "chatroom" in a post where readers will get to discuss books, writing, etc with Lauren Kate, Karen Mahoney and the authors that make up Amy Meredith.

    This Saturday Jo will be posting an announcement on her blog with more info on the event and for people to submit questions. Keep an eye out on her blog tomorrow for more information! 

    *Edit: click the picture to go straight to Jo's virtual Panel Event.

    19 January 2011


    When I saw this news article, I couldn't help but smile...

    Due to the economic situation here in the UK, local governments will be taking significant budget cuts and therefore making tough decisions about what public services should stay or go. In one little town, Stony Stratford, the council felt that some of their libraries may be forced to close. The local community didn't take too kindly to this, and in a week long campaign decided to check out all 16,000 volumes from their library to protest against its possible closure. By the end of the week, the library's shelves were empty!

    I think this is a great show of support for our local libraries. The full article can be found on Guardian

    16 January 2011


    The first book on my Debut Author Challenge list for 2011 is Kiersten White, so here is my review:

    Author: Kiersten White
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Genre: Paranormal fantasy, YA

    Summary (from Goodreads): Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
    But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the centre of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. So much for normal.

    Review: As soon as I picked it up, I couldn’t help but skip my way through Paranormalcy. In fact it hardly felt like I was reading, more like the story was unfolding in front of me as I turned the pages.

    Throughout Paranormalcy, Evie struggles to come to terms with who she is – a teenager; an employee of International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA); a girl with a special gift to see through the glamour of paranormals. She desperately wants to live a normal teenage life, but working for the IPCA, which is also her home and family doesn’t make it easy. When she meets Lend in unusual circumstances, he challenges her to think more deeply about her life and that of the paranormals she is helping catch.

    Whilst Becky at TheBookette saw comparisons to Guantanamo bay, I saw similarities to X-men (maybe that says something about me?): people, or more accurately paranormals, with special powers existing in society but hiding from its prejudices reminded me of the setting in X-men. Paranormalcy manages to sensitively touch on issues around personal freedom and discrimination without bringing down the pace and flow of the story.

    The story remains light-hearted, probably due to Evie’s character and relationship to Lend. I was relieved that Evie maintained a realistic balance between fear, wilfulness and flirting (I can’t stand female characters that are headstrong and ‘bad-ass’ without any depth of character). Her narrative voice was sassy, vulnerable and funny, making her likeable and easy to relate to.
    Lend I liked from the word go. His character background is really interesting, and you can’t help but want to find out more about him.

    Paranormalcy gives an interesting twist on the supernatural theme; with its likeable characters and constant pace it keeps you engaged in the story and wanting to read more.

    Rating: 4.5*

    13 January 2011


    I recently joined a community magazine called Neighbours Paper, so that I can help write articles and work on a small editorial team. I've got to interview film director Tony Palmer on Saturday...my first proper interview...I feel like Louis Lane!
    I've just come across The Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Floor To Ceiling Books...It looks really good but I'm not sure whether to take part, as I've already signed up to other challenges. The idea is that you read 12 speculative fiction (horror, fantasy, sci-fi) books over the year. Hop on over and take a look.

    I have also very kindly been awarded the Stylish Blogger award by Jamie at MithrilWisdom and by Kelly at Nerdville Rhapsody - thank you guys! The idea is that you write seven things about yourself, and nominate 10 other bloggers you've recently discovered for the award.

    So for 10 great bloggers (mostly fantasy, you might notice): Only The Best Sci-Fi/FantasyFantasy Book CriticFantasy CafeFantasy Literature's Fantasy Book and Audiobook ReviewsGalleyCatTia NevittVampire Book ClubFeeling FictionalDemitria Lunetta and A Dribble of Ink.

    And for my 7 facts:

    I'm a vegetarian and Welsh. I can't wink.
    I did a degree in Psychology (but I can't tell what you're thinking).

    I'm not very decisive (when I was younger I wanted to be an actress or an architect or an astronomer or maybe even a dancer. In fact I still haven't decided what I want to do!). I fell of a quad bike pretending to be Lara Croft, and fractured my elbow.
    I met my gorgeous, lovely boyfriend almost 5 years ago in a piercing studio. Ah, true love can happen in the strangest of places!

    11 January 2011


    This year, I've decided to focus more on Fantasy books: reading fantasy books I haven't read before, watching out for debut fantasy authors and so on. I've even joined Fantasy-Faction so that I can discuss these books and authors with other people.

    I will also be taking part in Caroline's (
    Portrait of a Woman) Anne McCaffrey Reading Challenge for 2011! I like the fact that the challenge is flexible, so it means I can read as many or as few books as I want. If you want to find out more about the challenge, follow the link to Caroline's blog post hereYou can also visit Anne McCaffrey's blog (link here) for more news and information about her.

    So the books I'm planning to read in 2011 are 'The Dragonriders of Pern' (the original trilogy):

    * Dragonflight. Review here.
    * Dragonquest
    * The White Dragon

    I'll start with these 3, and see where I go from there. I will also review the books and post here.

    I'm interested to see if anyone has read these books before? Any opinions?

    8 January 2011


    Today I had the delightful pleasure of meeting some of our lovely UK book bloggers. I was very kindly invited for a get together in London, which I just couldn’t turn down! I got to meet Becky (The Bookette), Carly (Writing from the Tub), Sarah (Sarah's Book Reviews), and Caroline (Portrait of a Woman) all of whom were amazingly friendly to a book-blog newbie like me. Unfortunately, Jo (Once Upon a Bookcase) who organised the event wasn't able to make it due to a nasty bout of flu - hope you get better! After some food and drinks, a bit of book shopping in Foyles was called for.

    I just had to buy 'Paranormalcy' which is on my 2011 Debut Author Challenge list (hosted by the Story Siren), as well as the first book in the 'Discworld' series by Terry Pratchett (which I shamefully have never read).

    As I need to start reviewing and documenting what I'm reading, I will review both these books at some point this month, after I've got through my mammoth pile of xmas presents!

    I really hope to keep in touch with my new found book friends! It was lovely to meet you :)

    7 January 2011


    The thing I love about fantasy books is that nothing is impossible – new lands and different creatures exist, strange languages are spoken, and unusual foods are eaten. Your imagination can run wild creating the images of all these new things in your mind.

    Some of my favourite fantasy books include: Garth Nix’s ‘Sabriel’ trilogy, Trudi Canavan’s ‘Magician Apprentice’ trilogy and Jim Butcher’s ‘Furies of Calderon’. I just love the different worlds created in these stories.

    Based on another book blogger's post (that sadly I can't find their post to link to), which featured a beautiful, fantastical image of a settlement in the Middle East, I decided to find some inspiration that already exists around us. We’ve been blessed with some beautiful natural sights and wonders, which I think would make a perfect setting for a fantasy story.

    Grand Canyon, USA

    Chocolate Hills, Philippines


    If you were to write a fantasy story, what kind of landscapes or natural settings would you feature?