Monday, 30 April 2012

Music Mondays - R.I.P. by Rita Ora

With a hint of pop, R&B and a pinch of retro style, British singer Rita Ora has been branded a name to watch this year.

This is her new single R.I.P. due to debut in the UK on May 6th. While the original version features British  household name Tinie Tempah and is co-produced by Chase & Status and Stargate, I much prefer the acoustic version. I hope you like it too.

Happy Monday!


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Out & About - Revolution Beaconsfield

I have always seen Revolution as a cheap and cheerful stop in a bigger night out. That was until I visited the one in Beaconsfield for my brother’s birthday.

With bars all around the country, including all the major cities, there is a big chance you have already stumbled upon or seen them. And having visited the ones in Preston and Manchester, I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary. That was until my brother told me we were going there for a meal! 

If I'm honest, I wasn't sure how that was going to work. Revolution for me equaled vodka nightclubs and, while I enjoy a vibrant atmosphere when having a meal, the idea of my food bobbing down my throat to clubbing music gave me indigestion before I even got there. But how mistaken was I?!?! We arrived and the atmosphere was that of a funky bar and restaurant and we had a designated party organizer who dealt with our group and guided us through all our option. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Melissa Nathan Award Short List

You might remember me saying I was reading for The Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Well... The short list is out and guess what?

Out of the books I read, I only reviewed one here in the blog - Please Don't Stop the Music by Jane Lovering  (read the review here) and that one book has made it to the short list! 

Other novels also short listed include: 

An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson 
Girl on the Run by Jane Costello 
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan 
Summer Loving by Allie Spencer 
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning 

The winner will be announced on June 12th. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Book Review - The Hunger But Mainly Death Games: A Parody

The Hunger Games has become a hit on paper and on the silver screen. Well... Not this version. :)

Mockstrich season has begun. Welcome to "The Hunger But Mainly Death Games," the hilarious Hunger Games parody, and the only book brave enough to suggest that Suzanne Collins's epic trilogy was way more about death than food. Or at least this is what Bratniss Everclean discovers, when she leaves the comforts of Slum 12, Pandumb’s garbage dump, to shortsightedly volunteer for a teenage death tournament. But she soon realizes there are fates worse than death…like weirdly having to date her fellow competitor, and lifelong stalker, Pita Malarkey. Okay, okay, it’s not worse than DEATH, but it’s still pretty annoying.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Casual Vacancy - New Novel by JK Rowling

Due to publish on September 27th and after much anticipation and gossip, JK Rowling's first book for adults is finally revealed.

"When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is JK Rowling's first novel for adults." (Waterstones

I want to know what the cover will look like! What do you think?

Friday, 20 April 2012

Book Review - No One Knows You're Here by Rachel Howzell

A crime thriller that had me locking my doors and closing my curtains in paranoia.

Three weeks out of cancer surgery, crime reporter Syeeda McKay is in the pursuit of Los Angeles’s most active serial killer. Over the last twenty years, the Phantom Slayer has hunted African-American prostitutes working in one of the worst parts of South Los Angeles, killing eight victims in the alleys off Western Avenue, and then disappearing into the shadows. But Syeeda doesn’t know that the killer has turned his sights on herDetective Adam Sherwood, a hotshot investigator with the Robbery-Homicide Division of the LAPD, has been handed the Phantom Slayer cases, and together, he and Syeeda must figure out who is doing the killing... before Syeeda becomes his next victim.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The London Book Fair 2012

The London Book Fair is one of the world's most notorious book events and it took place this week from the 16th to the 18th of April.

I'd heard so many different reports about this book fair: "it's brilliant!", "it's like a private club", "it's not blogger friendly", "it's great for Indie authors" and so on... So the only way to really make my mind up about it was to visit it myself. And here is what I found when I decided to go and check it out for the first time.

While it is a trade event, mostly aiming at business-2-business sales and networking, and it doesn't boost a welcome-to-all-bloggers approach like the BEA (Book Expo America) in New York, I found there was still plenty to see and absorb.

Publishers, authors, agents and, in short, anyone who is anyone in the book business worldwide gathered at the Earls Court Exhibition Center to trade, update their intel on what is going on in the market and network. There were some really interesting talks aimed at all angles of the business: writers, booksellers, publishers, translators as well as the Digital Minds Conference (offering insight in all the new technology and how to use) and stands promoting books from all over the world. 

To be surrounded by books and absorb that much information was absolutely brilliant! I only wish I could have attended for the full three days rather than just one afternoon. And I have to admit it renewed my interest and passion for the industry. With all the academic reading and writing I have been doing for university recently I had lost my mojo and being surrounded by all things bookish seems to have done the trick at bringing back inspiration. 

There was also some really interesting projects for new writing, new technology, book-raising (my version of a bookish fundraiser where you raise books rather than money to send it to people that have very little access to them), translation and anything else to do with books. Even packaging! Needless to say, I was like a kid on Christmas. Didn't know where to look at first!

As a blogger, though, it would have been nice to be able to chat to someone in the stands. Most exhibitors could not even give me the contact details to get in touch with their PR personnel in order to have a further look at any possible partnerships. So from a bloggers point of view, there was indeed very little there for us, except picking up a couple of catalogues of what is up and coming book-wise.

On the other hand, the side of me that wants a career in publishing came away full to the brim with ideas and people to contact. Now it's working my way through all the leads and getting in touch with the people I met. Wish me luck! 

I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in working in the book world for gaining insight into the business if nothing else.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Music Mondays - Translation of Como Eu Quero by Kid Abelha

Kid Abelha is a Brazilian rock-pop band from Rio de Janeiro. I think that says it all, doesn't it?

Created in 1981, they are responsible for quite a number of songs which have entered the Brazilian classic rock-pop realm. Together with other amazing bands such as Paralamas do Sucesso (listen to their Music Monday feature here), Legião Urbana and many others, they have marked Brazilian music history as well as my childhood as I was growing up and, later on,  my teens. This song in particular reminds me of all sort of things...

If it all fails, the lead singer is also called Paula (great name! *biased much?*) and, boys - this is for you, she's drop-dead-gorgeous! Paula wrote this song with Leoni - now lead singer of another band, but then her band mate and boyfriend. Because it was doomed to be feminist, this track was censored during the dictatorship in 1984, but that never stopped it becoming one of Kid Abelha's most successful songs to date.

So here goes my way of celebrating 40 years of feminism. March on girls! Nothing wrong with knowing what you want. Although, I'm sure the original feminists might turn on their graves if they knew we use feminism today as an excuse for short skirts rather than fighting for fair education, the right to vote or to count as a citizen. Food for thought there. 

Enjoy and have a wonderful Monday! ^_^


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Out & About - Whittington Races

One of the things you get to enjoy when living in the country are country events: Food Festivals, Farmers' Markets, the Hodder Valley Show and Point-to-Points. Whittington Races is one of them.

Established since 1936 and organized by the local Hunt, the Whittington Races or the Vale of Lune Point-to-Point is a big country event. Think travelling in convoy, picnic hampers, kids, dogs and an easy afternoon sipping wine away with friends while watching the races and winning a little cash on the horses, or in my case - losing some. ^_^ 

This is the kind of event where the more people, the merrier. We usually organize a group of friends and travel in convoy - each car carrying some essentials for the picnic. And because children and dogs are welcomed, this is a truly family friendly event.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Music Mondays - Stronger Remix by 30 Seconds to Mars

This song is not new, it's not current, but boy is it sexy or what!?!

This is 30 Seconds To Mars' Radio 1 Lounge remix of Kanye West's hit single Stronger. And because it's so sexy, it just had to be featured on Music Mondays. A little dose of Jared Leto doesn't kill either. ^_^

Enjoy! And I hope you are all having a great Easter!


Friday, 6 April 2012

In The Mail {12} - Fury by Rebecca Lim

Oh I'm soooo excited! The Mercy series by Rebecca Lim has become one of my current favourites. If you haven't read it yet, shame on you!

Lim is the queen of cliffhanger and I end up soul destroyed and angry at the end of each one of her books, as well as completely and utterly hooked on the story. Read my review of Mercy, the first book, over at Goodreads here and my review of Exile, the second, in the blog here.

Thanks to Rebecca herself and Rosi at Harper Collins UK I now have a copy of Fury, the last book of the series, which released on March 29th!!! I love the specks of gold on the cover!!! Read the synopsis of Fury below and the teasers Rebecca has released here.

And while I'm at it... Thanks to Harper Collins UK for adding me to their blogger's list! I'm very excited about that.


"Hell hath no fury like an angel scorned…
Heartbreak. Vengeance. Truth. Betrayal.
Everything that has happened to Mercy over millennia has made her who she is. Now she and The Eight wage open war with Luc and his demons, and the earth is their battlefield.
Ryan’s love for Mercy is more powerful than ever, her guiding light in the hour of darkness. But the very love that sustains her, now places Ryan in mortal danger.
Two worlds collide as Mercy approaches her ultimate breathtaking choice.
Hell hath no fury like Mercy …" (Harper Collins UK)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Movie Review - Booked Out

You might remember Booked Out from my March film suggestions post. I was desperate to go and see it but, as it's an Indie movie, it wasn't screening anywhere near me. Then its director, Bryan O'Neil, got hold of me on Twitter and offered to send me a screener DVD. \0/ Herray! \0/

I love Indie movies. All my favourite films are smaller budget ones. I don't know why that is, but I sometimes thing is because smaller budgets usually translate into better stories. Or crazier stories. Or both. I surely feel that sometimes bigger budget movies compromise on the plot in order to hit targets or add more explosions and special effects.

Booked Out tells the story of Ailidh, an aspiring writer and artist, who uses as inspiration for her stories and her art the people who live in her block of flats. And they all have a story to tell! An old lady who talks and behaves as if her dead husband was still living; an young woman who has lost the will to live; an old boy paranoid about aliens; and an enigmatic and cute young stranger who comes in and out of the building as if he's not part of anything. 

Ailidh is also a manic pocket rocket. She knows what she wants and she will find a way to have it. Unable to stand still and always into something strange and wonderful. Unwilling to bend to any rules or stick to conventions, she takes the people and events around her by storm. And I guess, for all these little quirks I really sympathize with her. Ok, I don't take it as far a stalking my neighbours, although I do watch people. You can't write about human emotions and behaviours if you don't know them well. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Bookshop of The Month ~ Hatchards - The Oldest Bookshop in London

When my friend Maria Costa mentioned she visited Hatchards, the oldest bookshop in London, I just had to ask her for a guest post.

Maria is one of the three movers and shakers I made good friends with while in a writing course in London (Cristina & Angharad  I mean you too when I say three!). She's a primary school teacher as well as a talented freelance writer and blogger. I say it's a good job she's not a secondary school teacher! The boys wouldn't be able to concentrate. ^_^ Like what you read? Then visit her over at her blog: Me & Mr Brown.  

Go Wilde At Hatchards
The Oldest Bookshop in London

In my literary experience I have noted – or subtly surmised – that there are two types of readers. Those who read to pass the time and those who are wholly fascinated by all of the incomparable worlds they can visit just by turning a single page.

I am palpably proud to say, that I fall in to the latter category. Just looking at my flourishing bookcase proffers ecstatic pleasure and I have often been known to reject a night out in order to paint a literary town red instead.

When I then discovered that Hatchards, the oldest book shop in London, was frequented by my literary idol, Oscar Wilde, I jumped at the chance – and on the London tube – to head down there pronto.

With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?

Monday, 2 April 2012

Music Mondays - Hold Steady by The Ragamuffins

I thought it was time to showcase some local talent, so let me introduce you to The Ragamuffins - an unsigned band from Lancashire. As matter of fact, a band from the same area as me!

This is their song 'Hold Steady' and one of my favourites, probably because I could definitely see this tune as the soundtrack to an argument or another I have had over the years. Be sure to check the lyrics below and you'll understand why. :) Hey, raise your hand if you have never had a fit of anger at some stage!!!

You can also visit The Ragamuffins SoundCloud page to listen to more of their songs. With titles like: "Fish and Chips" and "What Happened to the Common Decency of Lying?", how could you resist? ^_^ If you're after a gig to attend, they will be opening the Middle Earth Beer & Music Festival on April 12th. Read more about it here.


Sunday, 1 April 2012

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