Blog News · Book Events

Under 14s Only Month at The Bookzone.

What’s this? Two posts in one day? Well after all of the excitement about the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal nominations being published I wanted to pop back and mention something else that I’m currently very excited by.

U14

Darren at The Bookzone is spending all of November focusing on books aimed at under 14’s. Like Darren I’m increasingly fond of books in this age band so I’m really excited that he’s taken over running the event previously run by the now closed My Favourite Books. He’s already featured books that have had me running straight to my wishlist and I know he’s been working really hard on getting others to contribute awesome posts. I can’t wait to see what exciting books get talked about this month (I’m contributing a review of a book I read over the weekend and adored) though I think my bank balance is probably less keen!

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October Daily Blog

Today I’ve taken the decision that I’m going to make a concerted effort and get back to blogging properly. The recent death of my grandad has meant that for the last couple of weeks it’s been the last thing on my mind, but I want to get back in the blogging saddle and so for October (at the very least) I’m going to do my absolute best to blog every single day. 31 posts, some will be my Recent Reads round ups, a couple will be product reviews and some will just be whatever I feel like talking about on that day or something from my “blog about this” bookmarks.

I’m starting today by blogging both about this aim, and about some thoughts I’ve been having about online presence, social media, time and creativity. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, since Kaz Mahoney posted this about her plan to have a Twitter free month. When I first read it a lot of it made sense, and over the course of the month I’ve found that my thoughts have regularly returned to it.

Currently I blog and use Feedly to follow a whole heap of blogs, I am on Facebook (though this is mainly to keep up to date with a small handful of people), Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr and Instagram. I also have accounts on various other social networking sites, but the ones I list are the ones that take up most of my time. I love each and every one (well not Facebook but that’s a given yes?) but often found myself caught between feeling overwhelmed at the amount of noise I’m trying to process and the urge to just check things once again in case I’ve missed something. I hate the latter in particular, I want to try really hard to detach myself from the idea that I need to know everything about everything and I need to know it right now.

I’ve thought about it a lot and I’m not brave enough to experiment with giving up Twitter at the moment, though I am going to have another look at who I’m following and whether I really need to (particularly celebrities and corporate accounts), and am definitely going to spend more time away from my screen. I’ll also be going through my Feedly and cutting out some of the blogs I now follow just because I always have rather than because I’m still interested in them. The one I’m definitely going to give up on for October is Tumblr. There are aspects I like about Tumblr, particularly some of the fandom presences, but at times it feels like I’m scrolling through page after page just to spot one thing I love. So October will be Tumblr free, and then I can make the decision either to not go back or to go back in a more limited manner.

I’m not entirely sure what differences I expect this to make. I definitely hope to find I free up some time and some brainspace, who knows what I might achieve as a result.

Blog News · Book Events

Disability in Kidlit month.

imageI wanted to blog today about an online project I’m really excited by. Disability in Kidlit is a month long project running throughout July focusing on disability and children’s literature. In their own words:

“Throughout July 2013, this blog will feature posts by readers, writers, bloggers, and other peeps from the YA and MG communities discussing disability and kidlit. There will be posts about people’s experiences, reviews of YA/MG books featuring disabled characters, discussions of tropes and stereotypes, and more!

Our goal is for this month-long series to serve as a resource for readers and writers hoping to learn more about the realities of disability, which are often quite different from what you read in books or see on TV. All our contributors identify as disabled themselves, and we hope to present a wide range of perspectives and experiences.”

Day Al-Mohamed’s introductory post is a brilliant start, explaining why this month is important. The issue of accurate representation of disability in children’s fiction is something I’ve been interested in for a long time, the more fiction aimed at children and young people I read the more I realise how infrequent disabled characters are let alone accurate, real characters with a broad range of disabilities. I’m looking forward to reading the brilliant posts this event is going to generate, and taking part in the discussions that I’m sure it will start.

In addition to the Disability in Kidlit site, there is a Twitter account and Tumblr dedicated to the project.

Blog News

Getting Back In The Game.

It’s been a few months now since I stopped reviewing books on the blog and I have to admit that I miss it. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to work out a way that I could start reviewing again without getting back to the position of having to decide between writing reviews and writing coursework. I think I’ve done it.

Mondays on Juniper’s Jungle will be review day, I’m going to post “My Week In Books” – a single post where I review the books I’ve read over the last 7 days. In order to really focus on the important things about each book I’m going to write them as drabbles (limited to exactly 100 words*) – my lecturers would agree I could do with learning to get to the point more quickly!

I’m really looking forward to giving this a go, so I look forward to seeing you on Monday!

*There are other bloggers already doing this, I’m not claiming to reinvent the wheel I just want to join in with the fun.

Blog News

Ch… Ch… Changes.

I’m going to try and do this blog post in far fewer words than the last time I posted about changes to the blog. Here goes.

I’ve talked about the fact that I’m currently partway through a degree in Information and Library Studies before, well I’m now around the halfway point and it’s taking up more time and more energy. I really want to do well with this degree, and I want to still be as healthy as I can be when I finish it, so I’ve had to have a look at everything I’m doing and work out what should go. The answer sadly is book blogging.

I’ve really loved becoming a part of this thriving, wonderful community over the last couple of years but it’s definitely my time to bow out. I’ll still be reading of course, I just won’t be reviewing any more. I have a small list of books that I’ve committed to review so there will be a few more reviews appearing over the next couple of months, but these will be the last ones I do for the forseeable future. I will still be blogging here, but on an ad hoc basis and about anything that springs to mind, back to the way it was when I first moved to blogging here.

I’ve already emailed and let all of the wonderful publishing people who’ve supported my book blogging know about these changes, but I’d just like to take this opportunity to publicly thank them for all the wonderful opportunities they’ve given me.

Blog News · Geek Stuff · Life · TV Stuff

I’m not really here today…

… instead I’m guest blogging over at Fluttering Butterflies as part of Clover’s excellent Love Month. There have already been some brilliant guest posts and loads of great reviews, and today I got to play. I’m talking about my many tv boyfriends, you can see who made my list here.

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More exciting titles from Strange Chemistry.

Since announcing their first two titles a couple of weeks ago Strange Chemistry have continued to be really busy. Tomorrow I’ll be posting about something a little different they’re doing, but first up we have the announcements for two more brilliant sounding books.

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond.

About the book: On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

About the author: Gwenda Bond is a contributing writer for Publishers Weekly, has reviewed books for the Washington Post and Locus Magazine, and has appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition. She won the 2010 Veritas Media Award from the Romance Writers of America for her article “Romancing the Recession” in PW, and recently guest edited a special YA issue of Subterranean Online featuring work by Kelly Link, Sarah Rees Brennan, Malinda Lo, and others.

Gwenda also holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ program in writing for children and young adults, and maintains an active online presence. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, SF author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie.

Visit Gwenda online at http://gwendabond.typepad.com/ and on Twitter as @Gwenda

Katya’s World (Part 1 of The Russalka Chronicles) by Jonathan L Howard.

About the book:The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent.

Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history. She is making her first submarine voyage as an apprentice navigator; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career. But there is nothing nice and simple about the deep, black waters of Russalka and soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges.

For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin. And when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet…

About the author: Jonathan L. Howard has been a game designer for the last twenty years, and a full-time author for the past three. He is the author of the Johannes Cabal series of novels. He lives near Bristol.

Visit Jonathan online at http://johannescabal.com/ and follow him on Twitter as @JonathanLHoward

I really love the way that Strange Chemistry is already announcing titles that span the genre world so well, I think there will be something to please everyone.

Blog News · Book News

Introducing… Atomic Fez.

For the rest of this week I’m going to be featuring indie Canadian publisher Atomic Fez.

Atomic Fez publishes “good books”. It’s probably easiest to use their own words to explain:

Books, let’s face it, have been in the same situation as music for some time now: rarely are they of one specific genre or variety of content. Even if there is a dominant type, it’s likely either a mis-understood one like “horror” (which can be anything from Edgar Allan Poe, to Albert Camus, to any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s non-Holmes stories), or it’s a category saddled with an imprecise, all-encompassing term such as “mystery”, which basically states that there’s something which needs to be discovered by the end of the story, and any tale that doesn’t have that at its core may not have a lot going for it already.

No one listens to one variety of music exclusively, nor does anyone read any one style of book to the avoidance of others. Likewise, Atomic Fez was created to make available the books which are ‘good’, which are worth spending whatever time and money you have to read them, and which free you to dive-in without any pre-conceived notions of what they’ll be like before doing so.

The books available from Atomic Fez are not selected because they don’t fit specific markets, but are chosen despite the fact that other publishers have declared them ‘tough to market’. This is, at its roots, a business after all; no one’s actively trying to make their job tougher that it already is selling books. That said, the best recommendation a book can get is probably “you gotta read this, it’s awesome! I’m not going to tell you anything more; just read it, okay?”

The books Atomic Fez publishes will, hopefully, engender just such a reaction in you and others.

I love this ethos, and have been excited to get to read a couple of their books. So far Atomic Fex have published seven books with one of these, Ponthe Oldenguine, being shortlisted for the British Fantasy Society’s Best Novella Award 2010.

You can find Atomic Fez’s website here, and you can find them on Twitter and Facebook.

I shall be reviewing Andrew Hook’s Ponth Oldenguine tomorrow, and Chris Roth’s Dirk Danger Loves Life so make sure you come back to see what I thought of these books.

Blog News

An answer.

Remember my post last week about the intriguing post I’d been receiving? Well today everything became clear. I received a final parcel, and having been alerted to its content by fellow book blogger Liz I thought I’d photograph each stage of opening the parcel.

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Inside was a copy of S. J. Watson’s debut novel Before I Go To Sleep, and I needed my key to get into it. A brilliant idea that clearly worked, I proceeded to settle down with the book and read it in one exhilarating sitting. It’s the first time I’ve got completely lost in a book like that for a while, look out for my review later this week (sneak preview – I loved it!).