Saturday, 14 December 2013

Top Ten Book Gifts For Christmas

Books are amazing, they draw us into worlds that could only imagine in our minds. They help us get through difficult situation, house photo's of our greatest and happiest memories and store our secrets, addresses and notes. 

Books have been around since the beginning of mankind (well kind of) and I hope they stay around until the end of time. The Kindle's becoming more popular with each passing year but for me you just can't replace the smell of a book, the feel of the pages and the covers and the images that a physical book holds. I have so many fond memories of book shops and libraries - spending hours in silence perusing pages of dinosaurs, castles and far flung countries. As a child I did indeed spent a lot of time creating cartoons, writing short stories and making my own magazines - they weren't very good but I had fun making them. 

I never thought way back then that I would have my own published novels, I also never believed that books would be used for anything other than reading, noting and writing information and stories. I know there's a lot of book worms and lovers of vintage books that I just had to create this top ten, Christmas book gift list for you guys. 

Here's the run down...

What do you think, I absolutely love the book sculptures. Not only are those books being given a new purpose but the time taken to painstakingly fold each page so it creates this wonderful 3D sculpture blows my mind. 

Most of these items are personalised or customisable and come from one of my favourite gift stores called Not On The High Street. I shop there a lot and find the service is simply incredible. You can also go through Quidco to get cashback from your purchases over on NOTHS

You can still shop over on the site for your presents if you're looking for last minute gifts, there's not long though so best be quick. 

Peace & Love 

* M.R Shields *

Book-Vent Days Seven, Eight & Nine

Days Seven - Nine

On the seventh, eighth and ninth days of Christmas our true love gave us... Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. 

Chances are you've heard of these books, read these books or watched the first movie. With a mixture of opinions this trilogy has been pretty hit or miss in some cases. Personally the stories and concepts are well thought out, show emotion in a pretty heartless situation but they're not captivating enough for me to go back and re-read them. 
  • The first book in the series is called Hunger Games, this book was released back in 2008. 

It become popular incredibly fast. I think after the Twilight movement this was a breath of fresh air, a concept similar in that it tells the story of young love in an unusual situation but there are no vampires or werewolves. The main character is a young lady called Katniss Everdeen who gives herself up as a tribute in place of her younger sister in the annual Hunger Games. 

The games consist of at least one girl and one boy from each of the twelve districts of Panem. The aim of the games is to fight to the death, the person who wins of course is rewarded as are their district. The games themselves are vicious, scary even but throughout this battle for survival Katniss finds love... or does she? 
  • The second novel is called Catching Fire and this was released in 2009. 

After Katniss and Peeta won the Hunger Games they return back to their districts as champions, champions who have spread hope among the districts. Although they won the evil President Snow isn't falling for their love and demands that they convince all of the districts and most importantly him that their love is genuine and true. If they can't then there will be major consequences for both themselves and their district. 

During their tour of all districts they try to prove that they're love is true. Peeta asks Katniss to be his wife and marry him but this isn't enough for the President. District 11 start an uprising and the Quarter Quell which is the 75th anniversary draws Katniss once again into the scary world of the arena and the games. Will she survive?
  • The third and final novel in the trilogy is Mockinjay, this was released in 2010. 

Katniss does in fact escape the Quarter Quell arena and decides to take up her role in the uprising at District 13 as the Mockinjay. Peeta at this point has been kidnapped by the Capitol (where the President and those who arrange the games stay), tortured for information on the rebels Peeta doesn't give up any information - he doesn't have any for a start.  

The rebels break in to free Peeta and a girl called Annie from President Snow's mansion. Katniss is incredibly happy to see Peeta but are the feelings mutual? 

As a trilogy I recommend giving it a read, to get the full effect of what the author's trying to show you will need to read all three books. They can be purchased at all good book shops and also Amazon of course. Hunger Games costs £3.85 here, Catching Fire costs £3.85 here and Mockinjay costs £3.85 here. These prices include p&p - fab bargain huh. 

Have you read any of the novels? what are your thoughts on this series? 

Peace & Love 

* M.R Shields *

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Book-Vent Day Six

December 6th 

On the sixth day of Christmas book-vent gave to me... Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. 

This one needs no introduction, chances are you have seen the movie, read the book or heard someone fan-girling over vampires or werewolves. You may have even shed a tear after the final book or final movie. I know there were plenty of 'ehr-ma-gerd my life has no meaning' moments for the COA Team. 

If you have been hiding under a rock for the last few years this story stars Bella. Bella is a kooky teenager who keeps herself to herself in these days she would totally pass as a hipster but that movement doesn't apply to this story unfortunately. Bella decided to go and stay with her dad who lives in a little town called Forks, at first she kind of plods along and doesn't have a connection with her dad. Bella doesn't expect anything amazing to happen in Forks after all it's a dreary little town but she's so wrong - At school she spots a mysterious but beautiful stranger who she finds out is called Edward Cullen. 

Edward's different from the other boys, he gets her, shows so much passion and truly cares for Bella. He sees into her soul. The two get tangled up in a passionate-full on romance and it isn't too long before Bella realises that he truly is different from the other boys. She tells him 'You can run faster than a mountain lion. Stop a moving car with your bare hands.... I know what you are' Edward demands she says it, 'You're a vampire.' 

Instead of scaring Bella off she is drawn in more, she wants more and falls passionately in love with this supernatural being. Throughout the novel Bella's very open to the fact that Edwards a vampire, she sees his soul and knows he's a good person - she feels no fear from him. Edward however is very apprehensive, he's scared he will break his delicate girlfriend and tries to take a step back. Every time he does so Bella takes a step forward. 

We personally loved the writing in this novel; it was warm, passionate and full of angst as well as having elements of action, suspense and supernatural edge. It's considered to be a modern day romance - forget Romeo and Juliet as they had nothing on this super couple. 

Quotes of note: 

  • “About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him-and I didn't know how potent that part might be-that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” 

  • “And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.” 

  • “And you're worried, not because you're headed to meet a houseful of vampires, but because you think those vampires won't approve of you, correct?” “That's right,” I answered immediately, hiding my surprise at his casual use of the word.He shook his head. “You're incredible.” 

  • You can purchase Twilight over on Amazon here for only £3.85. We plan to pass our copy down each generation, that's truly how much we adore this story. Have you read Twilight? where you team Edward or team Jacob? 

Peace & Love 

M.R Shields & The COA Team. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Book-Vent Advent Day Five

December 5th 

What's behind door number five?....... Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. 

Forget the movie, the book is so much better in every way. Thoughts, emotions and even character personality comes across so much clearer when you read the novel; personally we found the movie to be a bit hit-or-miss as the emotions of the novel form characters just didn't transfer. The book however clearly shows rather than tells which is where I think the movie got it so wrong. 

The book tells the tale of Lena Duchannes and a boy called Ethan Wate who both reside in a small town called Gatlin in South Carolina. Nothing ever changes in this small town and there's never any excitement. Those that stay in Gatlin have always lived there as far back as history goes. Ethan hates living in Gatlin, he years for some excitement and can't wait to turn sixteen so he can get the heck out of there. 

Ethan's starting to have these lucid dreams about a beautiful girl and a song about sixteen moons. Having never met the girl before he wishes he knew who she was but he needn't wish any more as the girl literally walks into school - the girl is called Lena Duchannes. 

Most of the students at school are scared of Lena as her family are known to be sorcerers, witches and evil. As a god-faring town this is not something you want to get involved in except Ethan does; he wants to get to know Lena more than anything in the world. 

Lena's troubled but once he breaks through her emotional barrier she opens up a new world to him one that he never thought was possible especially in Gatlin. As each day passes the threat of the sixteen moons get's closer. With Lena's sixteenth birthday nearing the book of moons promises to take what it's due - does this spell death for Lena? If so how can Ethan save her? 

You can purchase this over on Amazon here for the teeny price of £3.85 including delivery. 

Peace & Love 

* M.R Shields *

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Book-Vent Advent Day Four

December 4th 

Our fourth advent kicks off with Mater's Tall Tales behind door number four. Mater's the dizzy hill billy best friend of Disney Car's leading superstar - Lightning McQueen. 

It's a PR team kids favourite, if you're child loves Disney's Cars movie then I urge you to purchase this book or tune into the Mater's Tall Tales shorts over on the Disney Channel on Sky. So what's the difference between Disney Cars and Mater's Tall Tales? The difference is pretty drastic, Mater takes centre stage with Lightning being his accomplice. 

As a child you may have been told to stop telling 'tall tales' these stories are based on Mater's tall tales or made up scenarios. Mater likes to tell everyone stories of times he did a variety of things such as when he was a fire-truck and saved Lightening, when he was a matador and won and also when he was a superstar jumping cars and breaking records. Of course Lightning tells Mater 'It didn't happen' 

But did it happen? Is it that Lightning can't remember being apart of these scenarios or is Mater lying through his teeth? Usually at the end there's something that makes Lightning doubt that it didn't happen leaving him utterly confused. 

The stories are short but are hilarious and as a parent they're a joy to read to my son. He laughs every time Mater does something (especially when he 'jumps' the cars) which results in me laughing at his laugh - it's enough to cure any amount of stress I can promise you that. Also because the books colouring and easy to follow children of all ages will get use of it. 

You can purchase this book over on Amazon here. It's currently £4.92 including delivery and would make an excellent stocking filler for boys or girls. 

Peace & Love 

* The COA Team *

Want To Win? Here's How....

Christmas Giveaway

You may have heard that The Chronicles of Astoria Facebook page are currently holding a super awesome giveaway. Hadn't heard? here's the details... 

We are holding our first ever Christmas giveaway as a way to say thank you for your support. All you need to do to be entered into the giveaway is head over to our Facebook page and answer a simple question. There is no right or wrong answers guys. 

The competition will run from December 5th until December 15th midday UK time. Unfortunately due to the postal services at this time of year the giveaway is only open to UK followers - apologies. The winner will be drawn after the 15th and will win the items you see above which retail at around £70. Perfect prize for the perfect season don't you think? 

How do you enter? 

You can head over to Facebook now by clicking HERE

Good Luck, 

M.R Shields & The COA Team. 

Terms & Conditions

Only UK entries will be accepted. 
The competition will run from December 5th until December 15th midday 2013 GMT. The winner will be announced after the 15th. 
All entries will be checked for validity. 
The prize is shown above, this can be amended or altered at our request but will still total the £70 retail value. 
We are not liable for any losses in the postal service, we do maintain proof of posting at all times. 
We cannot guarantee delivery before Christmas. 
This giveaway is not held by Facebook and Facebook is not liable in any way. 
The winner will be announced on this blog and not Facebook due to Facebook's competition rules. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Book-Vent Advent Day Three

December 3rd 

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me.... Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella. 

The Twenties Girl is like no other Sophie Kinsella novel let me tell you that straight off the bat. It tells the story of Lara who is the main character, she finds herself crying over her life, romance and well, basically everything - her life is not going how she planned it. 

Without going hugely into the story, mainly because it's a story worth reading and I really don't want to give too much away, Lara's great-aunt Sadie pops into the story in ghost form looking for a missing necklace. Lara's the only one that can see her so debates if she might be loosing her mind. Great-aunt Sadie decided to return looking like her twenty three year old self and all that being a flapper girl brings. 

There's a lot of laughs along the way as Sadie tells it as it is, honestly I want to be her friend! she's a hilarious or as some say 'amazeballs' She grabs Lara's life by the horns and shakes it up - Sadie's demands on Lara are infuriating of course but as a reader I can only imagine the cheekiness of Sadie and feel the empathy that she has for her great-niece. As much as she's a pain in the butt she's a caring pain in the butt and that's OK - isn't it? 

Along the way both ladies lives change but not in the traditional sense that you maybe thinking of right now. Sadie is a book form comic-act and Lara not so much, the two characters definitely bounce off each other in the right way so that neither grate on you. I know it's so frustrating when a character stands out for the wrong reasons or there doesn't seem to be chemistry at all. 

Fully recommended for comedy lovers or those just looking for an easy read to brighten up your day. 

You can purchase this over on Amazon here. It's currently only £3.85 including postage which is an amazing bargain in our opinion. 

Peace & Love 

* M.R Shields *

Monday, 2 December 2013

Book-Vent Advent Day Two

December 2nd 

Day too kicks off with a PR team favourite - The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. If you're a fan of supernatural stories with a storyline that borders on romance without the sappiness then you're going to love The Replacements. If you're a fan of the rom-com genre or chick-lit then it's not going to be romantic enough. There's a definite storyline to this and it is aimed at the YA reader but any book worm will tell you YA books are fantastic for all ages, especially if you're just trying to get back into reading or want to ignite that imagination. 

So, what is a Replacement? 

Replacements are fey that have taken the place of a human baby; human babies were being stolen by the naughty fairies and taken to the fey underworld of Gentry which was known as Mayhem. Mackie Doyle is a replacement. 

Mackie Doyle became a replacement sixteen years ago when he took on the life of a stolen baby in the small town of Gentry - Mackie's real home is the fey world which consists of tunnels, dark and murky waters and trash. That world is run by a group of living dead girls that are ruled by a little tattooed princess - it all sounds very nice but it's not, it's a horrible way to live which is why most of the fey want to be replaced. Mackie's fey blood has given him fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground and slowly but surely is dying in the human world. He just want to be a normal human being, play the guitar, live quietly and spend time with his crush Tate.  

Tate's baby sister goes missing and Mackie has a feeling he knows where she's been taken too - The fey underworld. To help his crush get her sister back he's drawn back to his old abode back in the underworld of Gentry where he must face those dark creatures to rescue the child. 

Going back means that Mackie will ultimately find his rightful place - either in our world, or theirs. 

You can find The Replacement over on Amazon here

Peace & Love 

* M.R Shields *

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Book-Vent Advent Day One

December 1st 

The countdown has begun, happy first of December to everyone! We wanted to kick off December with an advent of such which we've named 'book-vent' (terrible play on words we know) Basically behind each door you will find a suggested book. We do plan on covering all genre's and book tastes so please keep checking back each day to find what's behind each door. 

Behind door number one we have Horus Rising which is the first book of the Horus Heresy series.  

For those not familiar with the series it's set in the 31st millennium, the year of the Great Crusade. The Emperor has left the front lines and has trusted Horus who is his favourite son to carry out his crusade. Horus finds himself promoted to Warmaster but his brothers are jealous and the seeds of heresy and rebellion have been sowed amongst them. The Emperor returns to isolation to undertake a secret project that he doesn't even share with Horus - Will this cause Horus to rebel against his own father - The Emperor of Mankind? 

This book also focuses on Garviel who is captain of the Luna Wolves' 10th Company. He's a member of the Horus advisory body and participates in Crusade projects against anti-Imperials and aliens. 

If you're a fan of action, fantasy or even Warhammer you're going to undeniably love the Horus Rising series. Book one has received fantastic reviews across the world and remains a firm favourite with Warhammer fans of any age. 

You can find this book over on Amazon here. I thoroughly recommend this series but even if you don't normally read this sort of genre I urge you to give it a try. 

Peace & Love 

* M.R Shields *