Awesome Horror Films

Horror films can be a bit of a divider for people – you either love them or hate them. Personally, I love them! They’re dark, exciting and full of suspense. I might be a little bit of a horror film snob, but I’m not really a fan of mindless-gore; I much prefer something that really gets in your head. Psychological thrillers, anything with a real back-story and well explained plot, films that focus around mental illness, old asylums, the paranormal, creepy children or even serial killers with a real motive are my sort of thing.

Because we love horror films so much here at AwesomeBooks, we’ve decided to bring you the best of our horror collection with our list of the top 5 scariest horror films.

The Blair Witch Project Blair Witch Project

It’s a classic that everyone needs to see. It was one of the first films that popularised the use of handheld cameras in horror films (think of more recent ones such as Cloverfield) making it feel even more real and unsettling – you see what the characters see and literally have no idea what’s going on outside the frame.

Final Destination 

The Final DestinationIf you want to be put off aeroplanes, motorways, rollercoasters and just about every other mode of transport / room / object you might come across in day-to-day life then this is the series for you. The Final Destination series follows several groups of individuals reminding them that you can never escape death.

The Village

If you like films with a twist you’ll like The Village. A small village in 19th Century America, is terrorized by unknown beasts from the forests that surround them; the edges of Shutter Island
the forest are patrolled every night to keep the villagers safe. However, things start to change when one man decides to enter the forest…

Shutter Island 

Shutter Island messed with your head. It’s as simple as that. US Marshall, Teddy Daniels, is sent to investigate an escaped patient from Ashecliffe Hospital – an asylum for the criminally insane. However, as he uncovers more and more secrets you’re left questioning what almost Drag Me To Hell
everything you’ve seen. Like I said, it seriously messes with your head but is absolutely incredible.

Drag Me To Hell 

If you’re looking for a film that’s going to make you jump and squirm and just be pretty creepy and disturbing then this is the film for you. The plot is simple enough, Christine refuses to give a bank loan to a old gypsy woman who, as a result gets mad, puts a curse on her and threatens to send her to hell – only after being terrorized by demons for 3 days. This is your typical horror film, except there’s nothing typical about it.

You can check out the rest of our AwesomeHorror collection, including both books and films, on AwesomeBooks

The Horror Collection

September Author of the Month: Peter James

Now I should probably say before I even start writing this post, that when it comes to Peter James I’m a little bit biased – he is easily one of my favourite authors! About 3 years ago I picked up one of his books, Perfect People, on Kindle on a whim, I loved it and a couple of months later my sister leant me a second book by him and from then on I’ve been hooked.

Peter JamesMost of Peter James’ work can be classified as crime or thriller, although there are also plenty of examples of horror and science fiction elements in his work. These elements, combined with his obvious attention to detail and thorough research, make for compelling and believable plots which grips you from the very first page.

Potentially some of his most well known books are his Roy Grace series which follows the Brighton-based Detective Superintendent as he solves major crime, after major crime with intuitive and innovative thinking and a real passion for getting the bad guys! Throughout the series, which is currently 11 books long, James writes the characters, as they grow and their relationships change, in such a believable way that you can’t help caring about them and wanting the best for them. It’s not every day you find a thriller author who makes you just as interested in character development as in the rest of the plot.

Another thing to note about Peter James’ work is their setting. Having been born in Brighton, Sussex, James tends to use this lively coastal town as the setting for the majority of his work. Again, here’s where I get biased again… because having lived there myself the other year I know what a fantastic place it is! I fell in love with Brighton from the moment I first moved there and through reading Peter James’ books it’s clear to see his passion and love for the local area and it’s history too! Plus, it’s always fun when he mentions specific areas and streets – in one Roy Grace book, a car chase occurred along the street I used to live on and I got so excited I instagrammed it to show all my family… I’m so cool!

Ok, like I said… I’m a little bit biased! But hey, I get to pick Author of the Month, why not make it someone who’s work I’m a little bit in love with?!

Anyway… back in reality, whether you’re looking for an introduction into the world of crime and thrillers, or you’re well-read in that area, Peter James is guaranteed to have written something to suit everyone. His books are exciting and enthralling, he knows how to write a likeable yet complex character and, most importantly, he knows how to tell a seriously good story!

For our full range of Peter James book, check out AwesomeBooks.com

ARTICLE BY: RACHEL OATES

Signed Copy of Sir Nigel – Arthur Conan Doyle

Here at AwesomeBooks we have a huge range of sources where we get our second-hand books from! Each book we recieve goes through quality control and is then checked and scanned into our system. Often we buy in bulk so we have no idea what we’ll be receiving, and every so often we find something pretty special…

Last week our dedicated team found what appeared to be a signed 1st Edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel Sir Nigel.

Sir Nigel

Sir Nigel is set during the Hundred Years War and follows Nigel Loring – a knight of King Edward III. Although set during the 14th Century it was originally published in 1906.

Sir Nigel

Our AwesomeTeam is still working to verify the authenticity of the signature but it’s looking pretty promising at the minute! If this does turn out to be genuine this could be the only know signed-copy of Sir Nigel out there – we’re all very excited in the office!

Sir Nigel

Article by: Rachel Oates

Awesome Soundtracks

Soundtracks, the unsung heroes of films!

More often than not, an unforgettable film is accompanied by an equally unforgettable soundtrack!

Sometimes, the music accompanying your favourite flick will play a larger part in your enjoyment than you thought possible.

That’s why at AwesomeBooks, we’re going to take the time to honour these unsung heroes of films/talkies/the pictures, whatever you want to call them!

1) Gladiator

Gladiator won five oscars at the Academy Awards in 2000 including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe, however, despite being nominated for Best Original Score, it was overlooked on this occasion. The soundtrack is best known for the part it played in the powerful afterlife scenes towards the end of the film.

You can find both the DVD and the soundtrack on our site.

2) Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot is the now famous story of a young boy during the mining strikes of the 1980s.

The dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer is contrasted fantastically against the hard rock sound of T. Rex and The Jam.

The film is a true heart warmer and one of the most feel-good films around.

3) Love Actually

One of the most Christmasy Christmas films ever made!

Love Actually raised the bar for Rom-Coms of its era through a mixture of: clever/intricately woven plot lines, not too much sentimentality, humour and of course, its fantastic musical score.

For many, Christmas won’t be Christmas without at least one viewing of this modern classic.

4) Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs is the film that made Quentin Tarantino the revered film maker that he is today.

Scenes featuring tracks such as ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ helped create unique moments of madness in the film, and cement Tarantino’s reputation as an eccentric genius.

A definite must have for film and music buffs alike.

For more AwesomeSoundtracks, check out AwesomeBooks.com!

Let us know your favourite film soundtrack in the comments below!

Article by: George Neville

Charity Project in Ghana

We love charity work here at AwesomeBooks and are always trying to make sure we do our bit to help others! We’re particularly keen to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, has access to an incredible range of books to help them learn, grow a build a future for themselves.

A little while ago we donated over 20,000 books to schools in Ghana. This is what happened:

Article By: Rachel Oates

Awesome Films for Freshers

With results day over, many of you will be planning ahead to starting uni next month and one of the big questions on every Fresher’s mind is ‘What will my housemates be like?!’ and ‘How will I get to know them?!’

If you don’t fancy making every night a drunken night out with slurred heart-to-hearts at 3am, one of the best ways to get to know your new potential best friends is to grab a pizza and a film and have a fun night in your new flat! That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favourite films for freshers (it wasn’t all that long ago for some of us!)

1. Road Trip
Your classic boy meets girl film, except once they go to separate unis boy cheats on girl and that’s when it all goes wrong. It’s funny, it’s silly and it’s perfect for freshers!
Anchorman
2. American Pie
It’s a classic. Everyone’s seen it, everyone loves it and if they haven’t – this is your chance to make sure they have!

3. Anchorman
With a fantastic cast, Anchorman is one of those films you can just sit back, relax and enjoy without having to think too much. And it’s a great one for flat-bonding – you’ll all be throwing quotes around to each other weeks after watching it.

4. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises
500 Days of SummerWe all know these films are incredibly, the acting is fantastic, the effects are awesome and I don’t know a single person who didn’t like at least one of them. Plus, you can always make a drinking game out of it and take a shot every time Christian Bale puts on his ‘Batman voice’.

5. 500 Days of Summer
Now boys, don’t complain that this is too girly because it’s not exactly your typical rom-com and it has a fantastic soundtrack. It has a great cast, a good plot, it’s quirky and funny and sweet and sad – perfect for a relaxed night in!

Check out our full list below on AwesomeBooks.com:
Films For Freshers

ARTICLE BY: RACHEL OATES

Win With Wishlist Wednesday!

Wishlist Wednesday is back and it’s still one of our favourite competitions here at AwesomeBooks! We’re giving you the chance to win all the books on your wishlist up to the value of £100!

Win With Wishlist Wednesday

Entering couldn’t be simpler, just head over to our competition page on AwesomeBooks.com and enter your details to be in with a chance to win up to £100 of books!

Theodore the Thoughtful by Atif Ali

Atif Ali’s children’s book Theodore the Thoughtful is a charming introduction to the fictional island of Khudiland and the 6 part series he is setting there.
Theodore the Thoughtful
Illustrated by Angel Lindberg Vazquez, the book’s bright and colourful drawings really bring the characters and their setting to life and complement the story perfectly.

The series’ setting, Khudiland, is a vividly imagined island which will appeal to any child’s imagination and sense of adventure. It is made up of a series of areas and landmarks, named after the traits they encouarge and beliefs they instill in the reader, such as the Lake of Friendship, Lighthouse of Wisdom and Land of Courage. But it’s not all about teaching; the island still provides a setting for wonder and fun with Polar Bear Island and the Sea of Stars.

Each book in the series follows a different protagonist on an adventure in which they learn about life and how to be the best person they can be. With each instalment, the lesson is woven into an enchanting narrative that presents the teaching in an understandable and easily accessible way.

As the first book in the series, Theodore The Thoughtful, tells the tale of a young nomad who’s family travels the island. As his Grandfather tells him heroic tales of his ancestors, Theodore too learns to become as kind, thoughtful and conscientious as he faces his own dilemmas in life.

A Bit About The Author…

Atif Ali is the founder and head of CV Boosters, a social enterprise that aims to help new graduates find gainful employment in their field of choice. Ali has found during his time at CV Boosters that the most successful students/graduates are those who have a strong sense of self-belief and grit. These, among others, are traits that can make all the difference if encouraged in children from a young age. It was the birth of his niece that compelled him to write these books, and with the help of a local student Angel Lindberg Vazquez (illustrator), he has done so wonderfully.

Buy Theodore The Thoughtful from AwesomeBooks.com

ARTICLE BY: RACHEL OATES

James Patterson – Don’t Blink Review

James Patterson is arguably one of the biggest names in fiction right now; you’ll see his name on the cover of, probably several, crime and thriller books in just about any bookstore you go into. Now I’m a big crime/thriller reader myself; I love it – the mysteries, the plot twists, the drama, but somehow, I’d never read any James Patterson before last week.
Don't Blink - James Patterson
I’d picked up one of his books on a bit of a whim. It was Don’t Blink and it was the plot itself which initially grabbed my attention; a man is brutally murdered in a restaurant, a journalist accidentally records some key evidence and a mob boss is arrested – but did he actually do it? That and the fact it was told from the perspective of a journalist (a feature which I really enjoyed in Peter James’ Twilight) both made me feel it was worth a read.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting from the book – in my experience authors who’ve written so many books, particularly in genres like crime fiction, can be completely overrated, but I was actually pleasantly surprised.
James Patterson
The book itself was quick, simple and easy to read – it made a nice break from some of the heavier stuff I’ve been reading recently and was a perfect companion for my (hellish) commutes to work in the morning, making them a little more bearable. Plus, for such a relatively short novel, Patterson’s characters were interesting, showed some good development and were well written. The plot was full of action, exciting twists and surprises and definitely left me wanting to read more once I’d put it down.

I’ll admit, James Patterson probably isn’t jumping to the top of my favourite authors just yet but he definitely has something in his books that makes me want to read more. His characters aren’t quite as developed as you get with Peter James, and you don’t quite get the same background or technical and scientific knowledge you get with Sharon Bolton, but Patterson isn’t trying to be like that. His books are easy, enjoyable reads that anyone can pick up and get something from regardless of your age, gender or background – if you enjoy good crime fiction, you like thrillers, you want a book with a bit of action and something a bit exciting, then James Patterson is definitely the author for you.

Let us know what you think in the comments! Are you a James Patterson fan? Which of his books would you recommend? Who are your other favourite crime authors?

See our full collection of James Patterson books, here on Awesome Books.

ARTICLE BY: RACHEL OATES

The Awesome Books Team’s Favourite Reads of 2014

Here at AwesomeBooks we, if you can believe it, love books! So I’ve spent this week asking around the office to find out our team’s favourite books they’ve read this year, so hopefully we can give you a little inspiration for deciding your next read!

1. Tampa – Alissa Nutting
Tampa CoverA bit of a controversial one to start off the list but after reading it all the way back in April it’s stuck with me ever since. It’s dark, disturbing and, in places, difficult to read, but it’s also brilliant. Nutting’s protagonist is a twisted but beautiful and charismatic young woman with an unhealthy interest in teenage boys, so much so that she takes a job as a teacher just to get closer to them. Like I said, it’s pretty dark.

But despite how awful the narrator’s motive are, she also very difficult to hate. It’s one of those books that keeps you completely hooked and seriously messes with your head but it’s well worth the read. Many have compared it to a modern day, gender-swapped, Lolita and it’s easy to see why. Despite the obvious plot similarities, Nutting’s characters are believable and well developed, her writing is strong and, in some places, beautiful and overall it’s a book that will probably be talked about a lot but that you really need to read for yourself, to be able to fully appreciate how fantastic it really is.

2. High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
High Fidelity This one was a favourite of a few of us here in the office! And understandably so, it’s easy to get lost in Rob’s world and in his mind. I remember back at school being taught about how authors sometimes used a ‘stream of consciousness’ and if there was ever a perfect example of that then this is it. Hornby creates such a realistic voice for Rob it’s not difficult to relate to him and his problems and empathise with him completely; he’s awkward, often unsure of himself, his thoughts jump around all over the place as you see him trying to convince himself to try and do the right thing, but he also understand that he’s flawed and, as the novel progresses, we see his opinion of himself shift and change and grow.

High Fidelity is one of those books that just about anyone can pick up and enjoy regardless of what age they are because the problem’s Rob faces are problems we all have to deal with – who hasn’t had arguments with their family, felt lonely, broken up with a partner or felt unsure about their career or future? You don’t just empathise with Rob, at times you realise you are Rob, and that’s what makes High Fidelity such a brilliant book.

3. Divergent (series) – Veronica Roth
Divergent A young-adult series of dystopian fiction that adults can be not-so-embarrassed to admit they’ve read. I’ll admit I’m a bit addicted to dystopian fiction and sci-fi and anything set in a different world or society; I love the classics like 1984 and A Clockwork Orange and I love more recent attempts like The Hunger Games, so when I heard about the Divergent series, I pushed aside all thoughts of ‘well I’m an adult, maybe I won’t enjoy it’ and just went for it! And I am so happy I did, I loved this series and got so hooked I read all 3 books, one after the other, in just over a week.

The characters, on the whole, are pretty likeable and it’s great to see them develop and change and grow throughout the series, the plot itself is full of exciting twists and action, and the writing style is very easy to read but not in a patronising or full-of-chichés sort of way.

The series follows a 16 year old girl called Tris in a society where people are categorised according to their abilities and personality traits. In between all the action, the uncovering secrets and adventures, the books raise a number of questions about how we identify ourselves and each other, what it means to be a part of something, and how the decisions we make in our teenage years can affect our entire lives. So despite being aimed at a YA audience there’s a lot there that readers of any age can enjoy!

4. The Roy Grace Series – Peter James
Peter JamesIt would be impossible to pick just one book from this series by Brighton-based author, Peter James (I’ll admit, I’m a little biased for including this one, he’s one of my favourite authors!). The series centres around Detective Superintendent Roy Grace – a Brighton based detective working to solve serious crimes in and around Brighton.

Throughout the series he faces the case of 4 dead bodies and 1 missing man, a lost CD which puts a man and his family in danger, illegal organ trafficking, a murder committed by a man who couldn’t possibly have been there and a number of other thrilling cases, all the while Grace is re-building his life after the mysterious disappearance of his wife several years ago.

James’ writing is enthralling and action filled, he develops some really likeable and interesting characters who, throughout the series, you really grow to care for. His mix of using a factual background within his fictional world, makes the novels seem all the more real; exactly what you want from a good crime-fiction novel! And what’s even better (or maybe worse…) is that once you’ve finished one book, you can’t wait to start on the next!

Our Other Recommendations
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Brave New World
Nature Cure
A Visit From The Goon Squad
Sharp Objects

ARTICLE BY: RACHEL OATES