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Everything posted by Michelle

  1. Hayley's Reading in 2018

    Caraval was great.. I really enjoyed that one.
  2. Stephen King

    This guy seems to crop up alot when people I know talk of their favourite authors.. and at least he gives us plenty of varied books to discuss! Which are your favourites, which don't you like? As I said in another post, The Shining is one of only 2 books which really scared me.. and is probably due a re-read soon. Bag of Bones is one I simply enjoyed, and really got involved with the characters. It is also a good one, but if I recall correctly, I watched the film first.. which always means you come to the book with preconceived ideas. The Dark Tower series I struggled with.. in fact I don't think I finished the first book. I could go on... but I'll pass this over to others now!
  3. I've added this poll, partly because of general interest, but also for me to gauge if it's worth having any small adverts on here, and if so, for which stores. So, which do you tend to use?
  4. On paper, Sadie's got it all - the partner, the children, the house. But in real life, that doesn't feel quite enough. Sadie can't help harking back to the time when she was a career woman by day and a party animal by night. And what happened to feeling like a sex kitten, anyway? The only sleepless nights she's getting now are due to the baby. Maybe a little reinvention is the answer... At the start of this book, I was expecting pretty standard 'chick lit', but by the end it had became much more, and I was finding it hard to put it down. Most mums with young children will be able to identify with parts of Sadie's character, and will find themselves nodding, laughing, and possibly even crying. Although I didn't particularly agree with some of her actions, I could at least understand where she was coming from, and what pushed her. I also enjoyed her relationships with her sisters and friends, which brought us more characters to identify with. With some unexpected twists, and a believable ending, Lucy Diamond is a fun, sexy author, and I'm looking forward to her next offering.
  5. Dan is the author of both adventure books for younger readers, and thrillers for adults. When I was a younger reader myself (many many years ago!) I enjoyed adventure stories, and so I was keen to find out more about Dan's latest book when I was offered a review copy. It certainly didn't disappoint, offering a fast paced, interesting tale! Thank you to Dan for answering some questions... Q) First of all, could you tell us a little about the premise of the book? A) Well, the story is set at Outpost Zero in Antarctica, where 32 people are training for a mission to Mars. Zak Reeves and his family fly out there during a terrible storm because some machines, designed by Zak’s mum and dad have been malfunctioning. When the family arrives, though, all 32 mission members have disappeared. The power is out, communications are down, and everything looks as if the people have simply vanished into thin air. As Zak, his older sister May, and their mum and dad search for the missing people, things grow stranger and stranger. Zak begins to have weird visions. Machines act as if they have a mind of their own. A giant chasm opens in the ice. And when they finally locate the missing people, they discover that . . . I should probably stop there. Q) I found it interesting that they were on the base as a preparation for travel to Mars… was the story originally planned to be Mars based? A) It’s like you read my mind! My publisher and I were talking about Mars One – a project that plans to send explorers on a one-way mission to colonise Mars. The idea of it was so crazy, I just knew there had to be a story in it. My plan was, as you say, to write an adventure story about Mars, but when I found out that the Mars One training would take place in Antarctica, I realised I was far more interested in that! It’s such a fascinating and extreme place; it’s the perfect setting for a creepy story. So, I started out to write a story about travelling to Mars, but never even managed to leave our own planet. It’s also fun to misdirect the reader into thinking there’s a connection between the Mars mission and what’s going on at Outpost Zero. Q) What sort of research did you have to do about the story's setting, and would you like to spend time there? A) Sadly my meagre author earnings weren’t enough to allow me to travel to Antarctica for research – which would have been amazing! But we’re lucky that we live in a time when other kinds of research are so accessible. The internet is crammed with articles and information, and I was able to watch a lot of videos which gave me a sense of the place. Something that’s hard to get from that kind of research is how a place smells, but in this case that wasn’t too much of an issue – Antarctica is almost odour free! Ice and snow don’t smell of anything, and because the temperature is so low, most everyday items do not give off any odour at all. Q) What are you working on next? Where will your next book take us? A) I’m busy working on my next novel right now. It’s still in its early stages, so it will certainly go through countless changes before it sees the light of day, but I can tell you that it’s set somewhere remote, sparsely populated, mountainous, and cold. Think winter forests, wolves, and revenge. Q) When you start a new story, do you plan it to be for either adults or children, or do you see where the story takes you first? A) If you’d asked me that a few years ago I probably would have said that I see where the story takes me. But recently I have been concentrating more on writing for younger readers, so I guess I lean more in that direction now when a story comes to mind. Q) Are there particular challenges when writing for your younger readers? A) I don’t think the challenges are that different from writing for older readers. Maybe I feel as if I need to keep the pace a little faster, and there are issues with language and certain types of content, but I feel very strongly that it’s important not to underestimate or patronise young readers. They know when you’re talking down to them, and they know when you treat them seriously. There’s a sometimes a temptation to write books that I think parents will want their children to read, because they have an influence, and often buy the books for their children but . . . well, I want them to have fun, to be thrilled, to be scared, to be grossed-out, to laugh, to cry, and to see the world in a way they might not have thought about. So my aim is to write the kinds of stories that I would have wanted to read when I was that age. Q) I've seen on twitter that you do school visits… what is your favourite part of those? A) I do visit schools, and it’s always great fun. It can be a little nerve-wracking before you get there – worrying whether or not the tech will work, if the school is prepared, if the teachers are keen to promote the day etc. But the students are always fantastic. Favourite part? I love seeing the students get excited about the things I talk about in a presentation, and hearing all their questions. If I’m doing a workshop, it’s SO rewarding to see them writing something for themselves rather than the usual prescriptive writing they do in class. I encourage them to write what they want, in the way they want to write it, because I believe you crush creativity by forcing them to write to a formula. And it’s amazing to receive messages from the students after a visit, telling me how much they enjoyed the day, how they have been inspired to write, or to read something different. Best of all, though, is when a parent contacts me after a visit to say that their son or daughter, who has never shown any interest in reading has come home full of excitement, asking for books to read. It’s a real privilege to be able to inspire even just one reluctant reader. Q) Finally - I enjoyed the Star Wars mentions within the book. I'm putting you on the spot… which one is your favourite film? A) Ha ha! I was having this discussion with my children today! Really, I love the whole Star Wars saga. The original film was a massive influence on little Dan, and I’m glad I was there right at the beginning, and just the right age to be swept along in the wonder. But The Empire Strikes Back is the best of them. I remember going to the cinema in Leicester Square with my brother, beside myself with excitement to see the second part of the story. I also remember two shocking, SHOCKING, moments in that film. The obvious one is the revelation at the end - a revelation that generated endless discussion in the playground for the following two years – but the other was seeing Han Solo tortured, and frozen in carbonite. I think it was the first film I ever saw in which the bad guys won. Ten-year-old Dan was exhilarated and heartbroken at the same time! BELOW ZERO by Dan Smith out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House). Find out more at chickenhousebooks.com and connect with Dan Smith @DanSmithAuthor This is part of an action-packed blog tour... visit Tales of Yesterday on Sunday for more!
  6. Round Robin Year-long Challenge

    If you have a lot of people, you could always split into smaller groups?
  7. Black Mirror

    Overall I was a little disappointed, but they do tend to stay in your mind, and improve the more you consider them.. I think. USS Callister was great.. a perfect mix of everything!
  8. 2007 - 492008 - 852009 - 472010 - 432011 - 612012 - 612013 - 692014 - 622015 - 592016 - 47 2017 - 50
  9. Michelle's Reading 2018

    Thanks everyone.. I have a lot going on this year, but I'm sure I can fit in plenty of good reads.
  10. Michelle's Reading 2018

    So here we go, into another year! I'm continuing to read whatever grabs my attention at the time, alongside the occasional review book, and I will continue to not continue if my attention isn't held! In progress at the moment are Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View on Kindle, Cast Under an Alien Sky by Lan Thorensen on audio, and Deception by Teri Terry as a physical review book.
  11. I thought it was time for a new DW thread.. just in case anyone is still watching..?! I for one have been quite disappointed with the show for a while.. I wasn't a huge fan of Clara, nor Capaldi's doctor. I've continued to watch, but I can't say that I remember much of it. However, the trailer for series 10 does look a little more promising. It will be good to no longer have such a focus on Clara, and they do look like more traditional, fun and exciting episodes. I honestly hope that it's a good series, and Capaldi has a good finish. As for the new doctor, I've been following some of the chat on Gallifrey Base, and there is a lot of hope for a female Doctor.. I'm not sure the BBC will take that risk, but I have to say I would LOVE to see it. Thoughts....?
  12. Merry Christmas

    Happy Christmas to you all!
  13. 2007 - 49 2008 - 85 2009 - 47 2010 - 43 2011 - 61 2012 - 61 2013 - 69 2014 - 62 2015 - 59 2016 - 47 My adventures in graphic novels and comics can be found here, started 2016. 1. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor 2. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami 3. The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan 4. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (audio) 5. The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan 6. Who Let the Gods Out by Maz Evans 7. The New Hunger by Isaac Marion 8. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (audio) 9. Doctor Who:Engines of War by George Mann (audio) 10. A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab 11. The Burning World by Isaac Marion 12. The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek 13. Doctor Who: Night of the Whisper (audio) 14. Torchwood: The Conspiracy (audio) 15. Ink by Alice Broadway 16. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer 17. Girlhood by Cat Clark 18. Alien - River of Pain (audio) 19. Aliens by Alan Dean Foster (audio) 20. Doing It: Let's Talk About Sex by Hannah Witton 21. Genesis by Bernard Beckett (audio) 22. John Wyndham: A BBC Radio Drama Selection (audio) 23. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor 24. Alien 3 by Alan Dean Foster (audio) 25. The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone (audio) 26. Skitter by Ezekiel Boone (audio) 27. Dead Men Can't Complain and Other Stories by Peter Clines (audio) 28. Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon 29. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (audio) 30. I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist 31. The Gender Games by Juno Dawson 32. Lost Boy by Christina Henry 33. Alien Rain by Ruth Morgan 34. There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins 35. The Explorer by James Smith 36. 13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt 37. Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller 38. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James 39. Alone by Scott Sigler (audio) 40. Monster by Michael Grant 41. The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp 42. Gone by Michael Grant 43. Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behaviour (audio) 44. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (audio) 45. The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World (audio) 46. Invasive by Chuck Wendig (audio) 47. Guts: The Anatomy of The Walking Dead by Paul Vigna 48. I Still Dream by James Smythe 49. Shadow of the Minotaur by Alan Gibbons 50. Below Zero by Dan Smith 51. Christmas Dinner of Souls by Ross Montgomery
  14. Michelle's Reading Adventures 2017

    As usually happens, my reading has dropped off as the year has gone by.. in particular I have so many audiobooks which haven't finished. Often with these, I fall asleep, and lose my place, and it's a pain keep finding it again! Anyway, time to take a peek back, and see if I have a top 10.. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor Battle Royale by Koushun Takami The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist Lost Boy by Christina Henry Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James Monster by Michael Grant I Still Dream by James Smythe
  15. Anyone online - help please..

    It took a LOT of emails, and trial and error, but glad we got there!
  16. Could someone please post a response to this, so I can test the notifications?
  17. Ask a Mod

    Please use this thread for simple moderator requests, such as when you would like a thread / post deleted, closed etc. Please do not use for technical queries - these are best posted as separate threads, so that others can find them if they have the same problem. Thank you
  18. Ask a Mod

    Are notifications working for people now?
  19. Anyone online - help please..

    Ooh.. that worked! Thank you.. Is everyone else getting notifications now?
  20. Anyone online - help please..

    Testing.... I still need someone else to do so though please...
  21. Just to let you all know that the server support people seem stumped, and the alternative they suggested doesn't work...
  22. Kindle and ebooks deals

    Please use this thread to inform members about deals, including free books and price reductions. NB: This is for established members to tell us about genuine deals, it is not for new members to promote their own books. You must have over 30 posts to post on this thread, and if we believe anything to be promotional, it will be removed.
  23. Ok, I have a tough one for you - as we're 10 years old in July, I want to know your Top 10 books... of all time! To make it easier, you don't have to give them any order, you can include a series as one selection, and it's up to you what criteria you use. So the challenge is set - tell us your Top 10 books!