Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cover Reveal: Skulk by Rosie Best

Skulk by Rosie Best
To some, Meg Banks’ life might look perfect – she lives in a huge house in West London, goes to a prestigious school and has famous parents. Only Meg knows the truth: her tyrannical mother rules the house and her shallow friends can talk about nothing but boys and drinking. Meg’s only escape is her secret life as a graffiti artist.
While out tagging one night, Meg witnesses the dying moments of a fox… a fox that shapeshifts into a man. As he dies, he gives Meg a beautiful and mysterious gemstone. Soon Meg realises that she’s also inherited his power to shift and finds an incredible new freedom in fox form.
She is plunged into the shadowy underworld of London, the territory of the five warring groups of shapeshifters – the Skulk, the Rabble, the Conspiracy, the Horde, and the Cluster. Someone is after her gemstone, someone who can twist nature to his will. Meg must discover the secret of the stone and unite the shapeshifters before her dream of freedom turns into a nightmare.

Isn't it beautiful? I love, love, lover this cover! Do let me know what you think!

Released in October from Strange Chemistry

Review: Extreme Survivors

Extreme Survivors: 60 of the most extreme survival stories!

Anyone with a taste for adventure will love this book.
Extreme Survivors is packed full of stories of the utmost bravery.
The adventure book details 60 of the most daring escapes of all times, from Mary Queen of Scots’ escape from her remote Scottish castle and Shackleton’s incredible shipwreck journey to South Georgia to the miraculous escape of 16 people from Stairway B of the Twin Towers.
With a foreword by celebrated English adventurer Bear Grylls, this inspiring book is crammed with statistics, archive photographs and maps that bring these amazing events to life.
264 pages. Paperback.
(blurb from Presents for Men)


I don't usually review books like this, that are non-fiction/factual, but when I was requested by a company, I thought - why not try something new? 

I have not read the entire book as I believe that will take me a fair bit of time, compared to novels, which you would usually find reviewed on this blog, the pages of Extreme Survivors are jam packed with facts and stories. I would describe Extreme Survivors as an encyclopaedia of many journeys and real experiences people have gone through and recorded for our knowledge and entertainment.

Features of the book

As the book is rather large, with a wide range of survival stories, the contents page is helpful to pick out the few stories that interest you by title, and then you can go back and read others at another time. For example, this story interested me ‘The Sole Survivor of Flight 626, 2009’ by title. (I guess extreme stuff entertains me) 

When you come to a story page beneath the title, there is a quick brief of the story - outlining the events which can inform you how interested you are in reading on. Below this are photographs and a table showing the main facts/details of the story including date, situation and dangers (which can show how severe the conditions which the person survived).

The stories are then laid out in the format of a newspaper article in columns, with sections, subheadings and quotes. The subheadings divide the story into parts of the experience such as before, many parts during depending on the story and after; which provides a deeper detailed insight of the story.

The stories usually consist of photographs of the survivor and other visual stimuli such as maps and beautiful landscape images. 

Extreme survivors consists of in total, 60 stories which I believe any reader from teenagers, to young adults and older readers who have a desire to learn, or a passion for history, geography or maybe just find reading extreme stories with danger exciting and entertaining (I fall into this category of reader I must confess) will thoroughly enjoy this read. It can be a book that always belongs on your shelves, next to the encyclopaedias, dictionaries and thesauruses’. Its a great thing to keep one quiet and entertained, maybe for this summer whilst at the beach, if your wife is sunbathing and the kids are playing in the sand... pick up extreme survivors... I'm sure it'll keep you interested longer than a newspaper.    

'Informative, interesting and insightful'

Extreme Survivors, reviewed for Presents for Men

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review: Looking for Alaska - John Green

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.


I have become some what obsessed with John Green's work, especially since I think I read his best work first (The Fault in our Stars). Looking for Alaska alike his other novels which I have read, explores reality, the real situations in life that cause grief and troubles and excitement. For example, the narrative is told by a teenage boy called Miles, who is nicknamed Pudge for most of the novel, who experiences what it is like to be uprooted into a new school, meeting new people, living with a flat mate and discovering the secrets of these people's lives, falling for someone, and most importantly dealing with the loss of a close one.

Each character that Mile's meets is very distinctive, which I think enhances this feeling of the real world, think about it... the people you know, you remember them through their individual quirks and habits which seemed unusual until you got used to them. For example, his roommate that they call the Colonel smuggles alcohol (vodka) into college by mixing it with milk, he's short and stocky yet affectionate for his mother, who lives in a trailer which he grew up in. Further, Alaska has a strong character, her room is piled high with books, she smokes to die, she's mysterious and cunning, she likes prank people and she's deeply haunted by her past. These characters add something extra to the story, bringing it to life with vibrance. 

Together along with other friends, this group of friends goes through the good and bad together. Green has a fantastic ability to write poetically and beautifully haunting about almost anything, and this really shows through this story which is more about meaning than action. Yet it doesn't lack in action, it is lively with teenage mischiefs. You'll laugh and cry and cringe, and feel a little confused with this book, questioning what has really taken place. 

I'd recommend this to any readers over 14 (due to some scenes in the book, I don't reckon this is for younger children) as it is a fantastic read like all of his work is. If you haven't read a John Green yet, they should defiantly be on your to be read list.  

5/5 of course! what did you expect?

Here is some artwork based on the book I found on the internet... 

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.” 

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

From first-time novelist Jordan Sonnenblick, a brave and beautiful story that will make readers laugh and break their hearts at the same time.

Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven's world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother's illness and his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece. 

Salted with humor and peppered with devastating realities, DRUMS, GIRLS, AND DANGEROUS PIE is a heartwarming journey through a year in the life of a family in crisis.


Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie is probably the first book I have read with such a young narrative voice. It is narrated by thirteen year old Steven, who has a normal teenage life until something bigger than he can understand turns it on its side. So I think at first I found this book difficult to get into, taking me back about 5/6 years in age, however I think because the book is based on something that older viewers will understand with further depth, this allowed me to enjoy the book just as much. 

As a teenage boy Steven views life as more problematic than it is, and that the world is against him... as we all do during those years. Teenagers being a little turned in on themselves, tend to be half blind to what is going on around them. So when Steven's younger brother is discovered to have leukaemia and his family falls into decline, the implications on Steven's life and routine seems to weigh heavily on him. This is where I felt his character was a selfish, not understanding the effort and pain of others, moaning when he doesn't get his own way.

Throughout the book however, we watch how a young thirteen year old boy develops, becomes more confident in himself, grows to appreciate his family and most importantly his brother, how dedication can get him far (through his love for drumming and insistent practice) and how he has to make the big decisions sometimes and take a risk. It is beautiful following the transformation. This is why I believe this is a great book for children, as they learn how sometimes you need to look beyond your picture and into puzzle of everyone's picture. Yet, although it is fairly easy to read... I would still recommend young adults, older readers, to give this book a whirl, as sometimes we forget too, to appreciate what we have daily and to look beyond ourselves. 

Filled with so much emotion, I'm sure you'll laugh, cry, cringe and grit your teeth at this story as much as I did. I whizzed through it, being larger font and easy language, so its great for a light read for those needing a break from 500 page novels! 

I borrowed this book from a friend who has read it a dozen times, and by the looks of it backwards too, I've not seen a book so read without being in a old book store. So he clearly adores the book.

4/5 Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, is a beautiful book about the journey into adulthood. 

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: July 6th

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mummy

Wow I haven't done Saturday Snapshot in about a year, and a crazy year it has been. I've now finished college and am off to University in September. I'm going to Bath Spa (in England) to study a Creative Writing degree. 

So here is how my year has been, to begin with some of my work from during my last year a-level photography projects

My visit to Bath Spa University in October - On the train 

Like the above.. part of my coursework project - using a film camera

These are a select few from my exam photography project based on the theme illumination, most of my work can be found on flickr here.
I also made Blurb books of both my coursework project and exam project photographs.. which can be found here and here. 

Further.. these are my final art pieces form the year (phone quality photographs)

My project was based on Alice in Wonderland

A2 size 

A1 size - main piece

A2 size
I'm thinking about making some designs like these



For the site Society 6 where you can buy prints in the form of canvas prints, phone cases, ipad cases, totes, t-shirts and so on.. so if you like my work... watch this space

And as for my summer so far.. it's consisted of days like these

Baking cakes with my boyfriend at 11pm
And building a fort like a pair of children

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer.. I know I am! Happy Saturday, have a lovely weekend!