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Archive for July, 2011

First of all. Happy publication day to Alyson Noel. ‘Everlasting’, the final book in the Immortals series is out today! I am very excited about meeting Alyson next week at the Macmillan Blogger’s Brunch and will be telling you all about it.

Today is day two of the blog tour and I kick off the festivities with Alyson sharing her thoughts about publication day and how she feels about the Immortals series finally coming to an end:

Having written 7 stand alone novels before I began THE IMMORTALS series, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how I’d feel once it was over. I imagined a moment of complete jubilation, where I’d leap from my desk chair and engage in my own version of the Snoopy Dance—infused by the thrill of having completed a very long journey—when in truth, it was nothing like that. The moment was bittersweet.

I’ve watched Ever grow from an insecure, grief-stricken young girl who always second guesses herself, into a mature young woman who’s more than capable of facing her biggest challenge yet—who’s willing to do what she knows in her heart and her soul to be right, even though she risks losing everything she cares about.

It’s been an incredible journey for both of us—and I hope that you’ll enjoy EVERLASTING as much as I enjoyed writing it!

The following letter is an extract from the book in which Alyson writes to her readers and gives us a five minute brief on the fantastic Immortals series:

Dear Friends,

Now that my work on The Immortals series is done, I’m often asked which of the six proved the most challenging to write, and the answer is: all of them—though each in their own unique way.

When I started writing Evermore, I was so focused on telling that particular story that I didn’t see it as the start of a series. I was just doing what I always did—attempting to make sense of my own life experiences under the guise of fiction. Ever’s grief over losing her family was directly channeled from my own grief over losing my loved ones, and as I began to find my way out of the darkness, Ever did too. It wasn’t until I’d reached the end of the story that I realized it was really just the beginning, she had a much bigger journey ahead of her, there was so much more still to tell.

 

In book two, Blue Moon, Ever faces a heart-wrenching decision between the past and the present, and to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure which path she’d choose until I stood on the precipice right alongside her. It was also around that point that I realized the true scope of her journey—the sacrifices she’d be required to make—and exactly how the series would end.

Shadowland, the third book, provides a major turning point for the series. Not only are the stakes raised to a whole new level, but events that seem simple on the surface—the arrival of Jude, the flip-side of immortality, the Shadowland itself—ultimately bear powerful repercussions that’ll reverberate in later books.

With Dark Flame I made a conscious effort to take Ever’s journey in a much . . . well, darker direction. It’s her struggle with the dark side of herself that allows her to locate the light in the person she once considered her enemy. It’s a powerful moment for Ever—one that redefines everything she once thought she knew about herself.

A lot happens in the penultimate book in the series, Night Star—relationships change, serious decisions are made, and everything is put into motion for the grand finale to come. While getting all those pieces lined up sometimes felt like a very tricky game of chess, at its heart, Night Star is a story of friendships—or, more accurately, the fragile nature of friendships. How they can shift and change into something wholly unrecognizable—and how their dissolution can be just as devastating as any romantic break-up.

As for Everlasting . . . well in an effort to avoid spoilers, there’s not a lot I can say except that it was a very bittersweet moment when I typed “The End.” I’d lived with these characters for the last few years, and probably spent more time talking to them than I did my own husband. They became almost real to me—like imaginary playmates—and I have to admit that saying good-bye was no easy task. Even now, as I continue my work on the spin-off Riley Bloom series, as well as my upcoming YA series, Soul Seekers, I occasionally find myself thinking about Ever and Damen, and Miles and Haven, and Ava and the twins, and Roman and yes, even Drina—wondering where they are, what they’re doing, and if they’re happy with the ending I gave them. Mostly, I hope that they’re happy.

Alyson

 The Immortals_ Everlasting

By Alyson Noel

£6.99

9780330528122

7th July 2011

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Today, the Alyson Noel blog tour kicks off!

Alyson_Noel_-_blog_tour_button[1]

Check back here tomorrow for an exclusive letter extract from the final book in the Immortals series: Everlasting. Alyson Noel also shares with me her thoughts on the final book and I post my review of the book.

http://www.alysonnoel.com/immortals/ 

 

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Pete the Cat- I love my White Shoes has been a runaway success in American and reached #8 in the New York times picture books bestseller list. Now, along with the second book ‘Rocking in my School Shoes’, the books are being published in UK and Pete the Cat is keen to charm the British as much as he has the Americans.

The first story in this fantastic series written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean follows Pete, a black cat with big white shoes. Along the way he steps in lots of different things including strawberries (he obviously doesn’t look where he’s going) and his shoes turn from white to red to brown to…wet! This doesn’t worry Pete because he is one of the coolest laid-back cats ever and just keeps on singing his song…because it’s all good.

The second book titled Rocking in my School Shoes is all about Pete at school as he discovers all the different places a school has – the library, the playground and even the lunchroom. A fantastic, educational book which will certainly appeal to parents of children going off to school for the first time in September.

Written like a song, the books are very lyrical and flow really well. Both books feature free songs which can be accessed online. The author has gone viral on YouTube and incidentally it is a YouTube video of two children reading and singing along to the book which got the books published in the first place.

The illustrations, by James Dean are vibrant and very appealing to young children. Rather than follow the trend of digital illustrations, James Dean has followed the traditional route of hand drawing and painting with a very authentic and family appealing result.

Whilst the style is undeniable American, that is part of this series’ charm and before long you will be humming along to Pete’s song because…it’s all good.

Pete the Cat- I love my White Shoes

By Eric Litwin

9780061906220

£9.99

HarperCollins US

(2010)

and

Pete the Cat- Rocking in my School Shoes

9780062023124

(September 2011)

www.harpercollinschildrens.com/petethecat

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Today, it’s my turn to host the lovely K.A.S. Quinn on her book blog tour promoting her new book ‘The Queen Must Die’ published by Atlantic Books this June.

In this feature, the author blogs exclusively about her writing style, who inspired her characters and few interesting facts on the historical basis of the book. And, I have an exclusive extract from the book to share with you, from which the author shares her thoughts. If the extract doesn’t get you excited for the book, I don’t know what will!

In which we meet James and Prince Leopold….

A terrible cry awoke Katie in the night. It ran up the scale,
from moan to shriek, piercing the darkness around her. A
high-pitched, thin, young cry. The cry of a child frightened
and in pain. Katie started from her hiding place, but the
sound of running feet held her back. Doors slammed and
candles flickered quickly through the room. Alice’s silky
hair dangled over the side of the bed. ‘It’s Leopold, my
brother,’ she said in an agitated whisper. ‘He suffers from
the bleeding disease. He’s had an attack. I do hope it’s not
a bad one. Dear Leo…’
Katie was pulled in two directions: she wanted to go to
the suffering child but she also wanted to hide under her
blankets and cover her ears. It was Alice who solved the
dilemma. ‘Stay where you are,’ she ordered Katie, pushing
her firmly back under the bed. ‘I’d run to help myself, but
they’ll say I’m in the way and send me back to bed. Oh, but
where is Dr O’Reilly?’
 
As if to answer her call, an authoritative male voice
came from the next room. ‘Quick, some water and ice –
the bleeding is internal. We must tighten the veins.’ The
doctor had arrived.
‘Mummy!’ whimpered Prince Leopold, ‘Mummy!’
‘It is not necessary to wake the Queen at this point,’ the
doctor admonished. ‘Though painful, this is a mild attack
– a slight internal bleeding in the groin and upper thigh.
Fill the bath with ice – the cold will contract the veins.
And we’ll need bandages – cambric soaked in perchloride
of iron.’ Raising his voice, he called to someone across the
room. ‘James, you will find cambric wrap in the adjoining
nursery’s wardrobe. Hurry!’
 
The door to the nursery was flung open and a boy moved
softly and quickly through the room, stopping at a wardrobe
just opposite Alice’s bed. Katie held her breath as he
opened one drawer after the other, searching for the
cambric bandages. Alice turned slightly in the bed above
her. ‘Baaaa,’ came the low growl, as Woolie Baa Lamb rolled
to the floor. Katie reached out to grab the toy and ended up
clutching a cold hand about the same size as her own. She
froze, as did the boy, as they stared, stunned, at one another.
‘Now I’m done for,’ thought Katie, her heart turning over.
‘James – the cambric!’ the doctor called.
The boy hurriedly reached into a lower drawer and
found the bandages. ‘You stay there,’ he hissed at Katie.
‘One move against the princess and I’ll shoot you myself. I
have a pistol.’
Katie slid back under the bed, her nerves a-jangle. She
was pretty sure he wasn’t armed but one couldn’t be too
certain when it came to a gun. Alice’s upside-down head appeared again.
‘It’s Jamie O’Reilly. He’s the doctor’s son, and he
certainly does sound angry.’
 
The sounds from the next room kept changing, from pain to fear
to protest, until finally they calmed down and faded away.
Gradually the rain began to soothe her and lull her into an
uneasy stupor. She was finally dozing off when she found
herself being pulled across the floor by one arm.
‘Explain yourself,’ said James O’Reilly grimly. ‘And
remember, I have a pistol.’
‘You have no such thing,’ said a surprisingly regal voice
as Alice jumped out of the bed, ‘and stop pulling Katie
around the room by the arm. That is not a gentlemanly
way to behave towards a girl.’
 
James looked as if he would die of embarrassment. He
wasn’t that comfortable with girls to start with. And now
he was stuck in a room with a haughty princess in a nightdress
and a half naked intruder – both girls. He thought
about bolting, but the safety of the Royal Family came first.
He bowed to Princess Alice but, still looking at Katie,
repeated stubbornly, ‘Explain yourself.’
‘I don’t know how to explain, it’s kind of hard.’ Katie
took a deep breath. ‘If this is a dream, who knows
how you’ll react. If it’s not a dream, I know you won’t
believe me. I’m not sure I believe myself. But here goes…’
 
There was stunned and total silence in the room, as the
other two tried to absorb Katie’s story. Alice sat on the edge
of the bed and bit the nail on her index finger, deep in thought.
She shook herself as if to wake.
‘Katie,’ she said, ‘can you think of any way to
prove that your story is true? That you come from another
time?’
 

K.A.S. Quinn on the chapter –

Katie is having a frightening time of it. She’s ended up under a sofa at Buckingham Palace – not just in a different country, but in a different time. Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Alice, has befriended Katie and hides her under the bed. Now Katie’s been awakened in the middle of the night – there’s a major crisis afoot.

I like the pace of this scene, and love all the medical stuff, but mostly I like that you meet James and Leopold.

I have two boys of my own, so I wanted to write a book they would like. Wouldn’t it be awful if they read it and said “Girls! Yuk! On every page!”  There had to be some believable boys. James is very like one of my own children: stubborn, brave, loyal and intelligent.  He can be dour and grumpy; but if I were stuck in a lifeboat in the middle of the sea – I’d want James in it with me.

Prince Leopold was a real person and did suffer from haemophilia. When I was researching this book, I spent some time at the Wellcome Trust medical charity reading contemporary accounts of Prince Leopold’s illness. I admire Prince Leopold, because he lived with a terrible, incurable disease, but still made the best he could of his life.

Thankyou to K.A.S Quinn for taking the time to write about her work, and thankyou also to Atlantic Books.

The Queen Must Die by K.A.S. Quinn

Atlantic Books

£6.99

9781848870529

June 2011

 

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To accompany the book blog tour which is stopping at mine tomorrow, I have written a review for ‘The Queen Must Die’. Now since writing the post for the blog tour, I have felt a bit uneasy about writing The Queen Must Die. It doesn’t sound very patriotic does it? But all became clear after reading the book.

Katie, an assuming teenager who loves nothing more than reading books under her bed. (Who doesn’t) Books are the one thing that keep her company. Her Mum isn’t around much, the housekeeper ignores her and she has none to zero friends at school.

But Katie’s boring life changes pretty swiftly in the book when after falling asleep whilst reading, she wakes up in a very different place to where she began…Buckingham Palace to be exact. And it’s no longer present day – Katie soon finds out she has time travelled back to 1851, a time when Queen Victoria was at the throne and there were many threats to her and the  Royal Family.

Katie is forced to make friends and finds help in the form of Princess Alice and James who promise to find out how to get her home. But that’s not the worst of Katie’s problems, she soon discovers a secret plot to kill the Queen and must do everything she can to stop it and whilst doing so…discovers she’s not the only person who can time travel.

This comes at a time when Katie’s time travelling is explained in further detail. I usually get lost with time travel..Back to the Future was too complicated for me but the author deals with it very well and keeps it in-keeping with the story. The book reminds me of a similarly themed book I read a few years ago ‘Beswitched’ by Kate Saunders and it’s great that books which explore similar themes and subject lines can be so different and original. 

She ran the risk of historical fiction not working with sci-fi/fantasy themes but it does and the result is a fantastic action story suitable for girls and boys aged 9-12. The pace is fast, the characters likeable and I can’t wait for the next book The Queen at War in this trilogy; The Chronicles of the Tempus, due to be published in 2012.

The author clearly did her research. 1851 was the year of the Great Exhibition and I was very interested to read about it in the book because I studied it, along with that era’s literature in great detail.

Check back tomorrow for K.A.S Quinn’s guest post and an exclusive extract from The Queen Must Die.

The Queen Must Die by K.A.S. Quinn

Atlantic Books

9781848870529

£6.99

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