Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Ode to The Hunger Games

(UPDATE: Lunarmorte related - Congrats to the winners of the goodreads.com giveaway. The two copies have been processed at the post office today - 1/12/10 - however there may be delays on postal/airmail delivery due to our adverse weather conditions here in the UK. Hopefully the books should be with their respective winners within the next few weeks :-D)

If I particularly enjoy a book I like to take time to recommend it on my blog. Tonight I'm recommending an entire trilogy called The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
For any of you not in the know about this New York Times Bestselling Trilogy, it's a critically acclaimed dystopian trilogy that pretty much blew my mind. In my top ten books of all time, I'm going to lay it out for you here, with book blurbs and my reviews. If you're looking for something awesome to read this Christmas then look no further.
 Book #1

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

My Review:
What can I say? One of my most absolute favourite books EVER.

It's fast-paced, full of suspense and horror and has a sharp and likeable heroine whose first person narrative pulls you so deeply into her world it's hard to put the book down from the first page. My first thought when picking up the book was that it was The Running Man meets Battle Royale but as you begin to read it feels more like Suzanne Collins has created a vision of the future in which imperial Rome meets modern technology...she utilises a lot of Roman names throughout the book (Caesar, Cato, Cinna, Claudius,Flavius)for people from The Capitol or positively associated with the Capitol, the controlling centre of Panem (what was once North America). The idea of each of the districts working their industries for the benefit of the Capitol is reminiscent of the laws of agriculture of imperial Rome, but the biggest inspiration of course are the Games which took place inside the arena of the Colosseum - violent theatrics carried out for the gratification of the emperor and his people. Overall an incredibly clever use of history to create a fresh, explosive sci-fi novel that may be marketed for YA but should be enjoyed by all.


Book #2 Catching Fire.                                                                                       Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
My Review:

The sequel to The Hunger Games is just as mind blowing as the first novel in this so far exquisite trilogy.

The protagonist Katniss Everdeen is a thrillingly complex character; real, resilient, courageous, scared, vulnerable and somewhat closed off from people because of life's bitter experiences. Peeta is Katniss' opposite; open, loving, brave and self-sacrificing and I've never rooted more for two people than I have these.

The repression and horror of the Capitol's control grows steadily worse in Catching Fire and culminates into the shocking re-entry of Peeta and Katniss into the arena. Like it's predecessor, Catching Fire is gripping, fast-paced, violent and full of suspense. It is also beautifully written. Never has an author touched me more than Suzanne Collins. There is never half-hearted sentimentality in her world, but deeply moving, quiet heartbreak and I defy anyone to not be moved to tears by the people of her future and their fight for freedom.

Another triumphant page-turner. Five MASSIVE, MASSIVE, MASSIVE Stars!
Book #3 Mockingjay
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

My Review:
I don't think I'm capable of writing a review that truly does this book justice. All I can say is that once again the plot was tense, action-packed, heart-breaking and violently, painfully engrossing.

Katniss Everdeen is definitely a character that I will never forget and easily my favourite in literature. The entire novel, in fact the entire trilogy, is deeply moving and I for one was amazed at the ending, not entirely happy but completely perfect.

Suzanne Collins has created a future so beautifully written, so compelling, that like Peeta I had to stop and ask myself, "Real or not Real?"

Five Incredible Stars

SERIOUSLY, I just finished Mockingjay and am somewhat shell-shocked. Powerful stuff.

Happy Reading!

Sam x

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snow Pains and other Stories

Hullo folks,

Well, Sunday's are the days I really try to reserve for some major writing; it's the day I take to sit down and plan and development new ideas.
 I Go to fullsize image Sundays!

This Sunday didn't go according to plan. Not for anyone in Scotland (and many parts of the UK) I think. Snow. It's soo pretty. See -->
                                              (snow outside my window)

You know what's not pretty though...shovelling the damn stuff all bl**dy morning!! And it's not as if you even have time to ponder ideas whilst you're shovelling,which you can do when you're usually doing something so repetitive. Nope. The only thoughts running through your head is "Ouch ma frickin' back, ouch ma frickin' back" and as the sweat pours down past your hat, "I should never have bothered with that shower this morning."
:-D I know how to paint an attractive picture, don't I.

So now I'm finally free from shovelling snow duty I'm getting back to work. As I may have mentioned before things are a little up in the air about release dates and so forth for the second and third novels in the Lunarmorte trilogy, as I'd preferably like to see the first novel released in the US, but need to see how it goes. I will keep you updated as soon  as I know what's happening.
Other than that I'm working on two new series (one of which is set in the Lunarmorte world) at the moment as well as a stand alone novel, so very busy, it's fab.

Just a note that there are less than two days left to win a chance at receiving 1 of 2 signed copies of Lunarmorte from goodreads.com; an amazing 1682 people have entered the competition so far, but remember you need to be a member of goodreads to enter.

And can I say a BIG thank you to everyone that's bought Lunarmorte which is now out of Stock at the Book Depository after only being in stock a few days. I will let you know when it's back in stock. Yay.

Hope you're all having a great weekend...you know, when it hasn't been ruined by the traffic stopping snow.

Sam x

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Book Depository

Hey guys, Just a quick post to let you all know that Lunarmorte is now back IN STOCK at the Book Depository.

Sam x

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trolls and Dystopia

I'm kind of in Limbo at the moment. With the unexpected delay in getting started in my new job I've been busy trying to amuse myself, from buying a car, to waiting for it to get fixed (yeah not amusing in the least), to writing screeds (that means a lot! I'm only clarifying because I said that to someone once and they thought I meant I was writing some kind of scripture...), to reading so much I think my eyes have crossed over. Yup, I've been reading loads this past week or so and I have come across such good gems I just have to share them with you.

The first author I've come across is US indie writer Amanda Hocking - http://amandahocking.blogspot.com/. Now for an indie writer Hocking is doing amazing. She just posted on her blog that her new book, in kindle edition alone, has sold over 30,000 copies!!! And do you know why? Because her books are awesome. I've spent the last four days reading nearly everything she's published. Amanda writes paranormal romance for young adults. I started with her Trylle trilogy.
Product DetailsSwitched (Trylle #1).
When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth.
With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.

Here's my review for it posted on goodreads.com...
 A book about trolls? Really? Hmm...
That was my first reaction when I read the description for this book. It sounded strange and macabre and well...trolls?! But then I started reading the amazing reviews, and when I was directed to amazon.co.uk kindle edition at £1.14 a pop, I thought what the hell...

And what the hell! OMG am I fan of Amanda Hocking now. Great prose; easy-to-read, engaging first person narrative. Wendy is a fantastic character who I really thought I wasn't going to like at first (she really was quite petulant - she is a  troll or trylle sorry, so I get it) but as she discovers the world she really belongs to I began to care about her, which is all a reader can ask from the characters. Wendy is smart, mouthy but at the same time confused and vulnerable. Considering everything that's happened to her in life, though, I think she's holding up well and you can't help but love such a strong-willed character.
As for Finn. What can I say? YUM. Hmm...would like me some of Finn :-p

The plot is wonderful and fantastical and so well thought out. It's not a fast-paced thriller but perhaps something better...a dark, twisted, coming-of-age, political (monarchical) fairytale.
Already bought myself the second in the series Torn and I can't wait to get started.


I should mention that Switched is now only 86p on amazon.co.uk kindle edition (don't worry if you don't have a kindle, you can download kindle for pc from amazon for free).

The second in the Trylle trilogy, Torn, is even better than the first novel and only £1.17 kindle edition.
I've also read Amanda's My Blood Approves series which is also pretty awesome but the Trylle series has a lot more originality and flavour and I suggest starting there first.
(UPDATE: Just finished Hollowland  and I suggest you start there first! WOW. You can check out my review for it here http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4167378.Samantha_Young or if you're a facebook buddy of mine, the review is on my wall.)

Another blog I came across in the last few days has been something a little bit different and I am totally hooked. The writer Anne Michaud has set up a blog under the guise of fictional character Livy Parker. Livy Parker is a soon-to-be fifteen year old girl from middle states of America set in a dystopian future. The blog is written by Livy as her journal entries as a prequel to the YA novel.
Here's a taster...

News of the World Express - Raided by Phil Parker
Posted: November 17 by Livy Parker in My Life Sucks, What I'm Reading
, ,

The alarm was issued at half past two o’clock on Sunday night. Like most of you, I was sleeping. Like all of you, I was told we had to get underground to keep safe. The streets were empty by the time the Canadian troops flew above American soil, miles away from our Macro, the Army bringing the planes down before any damage was done.
Lieutenant Ryan Chestnut’s statement is quite clear: ‘None of the Canadian battalion ever entered within Seattle’s circumference. The ten planes were intercepted as they passed our border, their intentions clear: to bombard our Macro-City and ignite the confrontations settled over two centuries ago. 
‘The Canadian Forces haven’t claimed responsibility for the attack as of yet. We are keeping a close eye on all incoming communications from our northern neighbor. We wish to remind American citizens to not fear further attacks – our men and women will be posted in greater numbers at the Macro-City border.
‘No need to remind our good people that the efficiency and thorough dedication to keep our country safe is the US Army’s mission. And together, we will fight any kind of invasion.’
After meeting with LT. Chestnut, I walked down Seattle’s usually busy streets. They were almost empty but for a few shop keepers and soldiers posted on every corner. It saddens me to see that even if we are safe and unharmed inside our borders, such a night has so many repercussions on our everyday lives.

Go out today, go back to your routines without being scared: the Army is here to stay, and with the soldiers by our side, we can be free and alive.

If you like young adult novels set in dystopian societies, I suggest checking this out! Remember http://livyparker.wordpress.com/

Well off I go...back to more reading :-p
Seriously I'm devouring so many books it's getting to the point where I'm almost catatonic. It makes sense. Think about it.

Sam x

P.S. I noticed after posting about Lunarmorte being available to purchase worldwide from the Book Depository that it's now out of stock from there! Thanks for buying guys! If you didn't get a copy and you want one just click on the URL http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781843866565/Lunarmorte and put in your email address and they'll notify you when Lunarmorte is back in stock.
Also a new giveaway for a Lunarmorte Prize Pack has just gone up on Mundie Moms - http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/2010/11/freebie-friday-lunarmorte-giveaway.html

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dude...where's your book?

Hey all,

Thought I'd just pop a little post in about where to find Lunarmorte. I've been getting a few emails from people around the world who can't find a copy of Lunarmorte. It's so exciting that people are interested and intrigued by the novel and, yeah I know, irritating if you can't get your hands on it. Well, Lunarmorte has only been published in the UK & Europe, HOWEVER, if you live elsewhere it is available to buy from The Book Depository. The Book Depository is this fantastic site that provides Free delivery worldwide. Here's the link for Lunarmorte - http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781843866565/Lunarmorte - it is also off to the side in a little advert on my blog, if you click on the pic.
Here's a list of the prices for Lunarmorte if you're from the UK, US, Europe, Australia or Canada. I don't have the prices for elsewhere but if you check out the site it will be able to tell you and as I say FREE DELIVERY WORLDWIDE.
UK - £6.98
US - $11.31
Euro - 8.03
AUS - $11.63
CAD - $11.31

ALSO, I've been receiving quite a few requests from book bloggers looking for a review copy of Lunarmorte. This is amazing and again I love the interest! At present, however, all my review copies are out to reviewers and I'm waiting on getting more copies. But if you email me (sam_young_scotland@yahoo.co.uk) with your name, blog, and address I will see to getting you a review copy over the coming months. :-) You're all fab.

Tomorrow sees me guest blogging on Teensreadtoo.com - http://trtbookclub.blogspot.com/
For us UK'ers the post will go up later in the day because it's a US site but I'll be checking in with the blog to answer any comments or questions you leave me.

Have a great weekend folks!

Sam x

Monday, November 08, 2010

Great Blogs, Great reviews! Yay!

Hey all,
I am posting a little bit later than I normally would (not that I'm gonna lie and say that I'm usually in bed at this time *snorts* nope...university changed my sleep pattern forever!) because today I received not one but TWO fantastic reviews for Lunarmorte. The first review is from US bloggers Mundie Moms http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/; it's a fantastic book blog with well-written reviews and loads of info on upcoming YA fiction. To check out the Lunarmorte review (5 stars!) click on this link -http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/2010/11/book-review-lunarmorte.html

The second review is from UK book bloggers Girls without a Bookshelf http://withoutabookshelf.blogspot.com/, another great book blog right here at home who review a fantastic range of fiction. To check out the Lunarmorte review (4 stars!) click on this link - http://withoutabookshelf.blogspot.com/2010/11/book-review-lunarmorte-sam-young.html

Come on folks...you know you wanna buy and read it and love it *cheeky smile*

*NOTE* You can check out my interview with Mundie Moms on their fab blog 10thNov2010.

Sam x

P.S. Congrats to Jamie, the winner of the Cry Havocs giveaway! Lunarmorte and some swag is on it's way to you now :-)

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Fawkes and the Hounds

(Book related - check out my guest post today on the fab book blog http://lafemmereaders.blogspot.com, a great source for reviews and info on upcoming fiction, particularly in the YA genre/ )

To all you British folks Happy Guy Fawkes Night! Or Bonfire Night as we sometimes call it in my neck of the woods. Unfortunately this here author is pinching her pennies in order to buy a new car (and when I say a new car, I mean a car so old I could have been born in it...ugh why did I think that...) and the new (used!) cars are a little bit pricey these days. Fingers crossed for the old auctions, see if I can't pick up a bargain banger...joy.
Anyhoo back to the point, the point being that I am not attending the local Guy Fawkes (Bonfire) night and instead will be at home struggling to hear the latest episode of the Vampire Diaries I taped on my V+ box (yes I did say the Vampire Diaries and yes you can taunt me all you want, I lurve it...it's deliciously camp - with the exception of the special effects which are deliciously good) whilst neighbours unsafely explode fireworks they bought over the counter and have no idea how to handle. This will inevitably cause the most annoying of my neighbours dogs to start a chorus of outraged barking. Ahh Guy Fawkes night.
Yeah, yeah I know I'm a grump...it's the lack of opportunity this year in which to enjoy this night (although I might add if I could I would be enjoying it in the park where the fireworks and bonfire are handled by people who actually know what they're doing...well one would hope :-s).
AnywaysI hope you all enjoy it and I hopefully will as well...once my tv programme has finished. I'll peel back the curtains and stare out into the night sky as it explodes into a million, brilliant colours and think...this car better be worth it.

Sam x

P.S. You're probably asking yourself how on earth is this post book-related.
It isn't. I'm likely to post the most random nonsense here.
Just for future reference :-p