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

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.

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

Competition: Win An Awesome Beanbag!

#Awesome Beanbags

This week we’re launching our very first Twitter competition for your chance to win an Awesome Beanbag worth £80!
#awesomebeanbags
If, like us, you love snuggling up somewhere comfy with a great book then this is the competition for you! All you have to do is send us a tweet telling us your favourite fairy tale with #AwesomeBeanbags! (Do you get it? Beanbags… magic beans… fairy tales… We thought it was clever!)

So head over to Twitter now or just use the widget below, follow us and send us a tweet – it’s as simple as that!


Terms and Conditions
1. You must be following @AwesomeBooksUK to be eligible to win
2. Your tweet must be in the format @AwesomeBooksUK *name of fairy tale* #AwesomeBeanbags to be eligible to win
3. The competition will run from Friday 8th August 2014 until midnight on Tuesday 12th August 2014
4. After 12/08/14 one winner will be selected at random from all entries
5. Prizes: One beanbag, as pictured. Prize is non-transferable and no substitutions or cash equivalents are permitted.
6. By entering you agree that, if selected as a winner, your name can be used on the Awesome Books blog and social media platforms for publicity purposes, and to send us a photo of your prize when it arrives for use on our blog.
7. Only one entry allowed per person.

Author Of The Month: Iain Banks

Our AOTM this month is the wonderful Iain Banks, most well known for his contributions to science fiction and literary fiction.

My point has always been that, ever since the Industrial Revolution, science fiction has been the most important genre there is.
- Iain Banks

Iain BanksAfter writing his first novel at the age of 16, Scottish author, Iain Banks went on to become one of the most influential science fiction writers of his generation. After university he worked in a series of jobs before deciding to pursue a full time career as an author after the success of his first published novel The Wasp Factory in 1984.

The Wasp Factory follows sixteen year old Frank, living on a secluded Scottish Island. While the novel centres around few characters, mainly because Frank finds them neither interesting nor important enough to discuss in much detail, Frank’s character is so complex and enthralling, it is more than enough to keep you hooked throughout.

The Wasp FactoryThe plot is disturbing enough in itself, but when told from Frank’s perspective with his twisted logic and the casual way he talks of committing horrific acts such as murder, as though it’s perfectly natural and everyone does it, it really adds something a little special thank only Iain Banks can really deliver.

I killed little Esmerelda because I felt I owed it to myself and to the world in general. I had, after all, accounted for two male children and thus done womankind something of a statistical favour.
- The Wasp Factory

3 years after the release of his first book, Banks then published his first science-fiction novel under the name Iain M. Banks.

I love writing and can’t imagine not being able to do it. I want an easy life and if it had been difficult I wouldn’t be doing it. I do admire writers who do it even though it costs them.
-Iain Banks

The Culture seriesHis science fiction collection, The Culture, follows a society where humans are free to do whatever they please, in one sense it seems like paradise. However, there are still organisations within this society which leads to conflict and problems – because how fun would a book just set in paradise really be?

It’s no small feat for an author to create a believable and thoroughly enthralling universe, such as this, but Banks does it with the same skill and flair he puts into his literary fiction collection.

Over his career he wrote 26 novels of both literary and science fiction in his own unique style; often combining dark and often controversial subjects with his distinctive style of humour.

You can find our complete collection of Iain Banks’ work here at Awesome Books.

Book Review: The Host – Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer is talented at taking an out-there plot and making The Host ridiculously compelling and romantic.
the host stephanie meyer
The Host is written from the perspective of a parasitic alien who has just entered into a human body. While the book started out a little rough, it soon picked up and became both compelling and romantic.

The plot is wonderfully smart and creative! Wanderer has lived on 9 different worlds and never found anything or anyone that would tie her down. She finds Earth to be the hardest, yet most intriguing, place she has ever lived. However, the hosts are so individual, so emotional and so strong; they fight and Wanderer feels weak because she can’t completely get rid of her host body’s original spirit…Melanie.

As a result, Wanderer remembers Melanie’s memories, feels Melanie’s emotions…and loves the man Melanie loves. But loving him means betraying her own species and way of life.

Names like Cloud Spinner, Wanderer, Seeker, Glass Spires & Sunlight Passing Through the Ice. Planets like the Singing World, Fire World, The See Weeds & The Bats. Meyer creates a completely original world you are thoroughly drawn into.

But it’s not just a creative work of fantasy, it is a book about relationships; all different kinds of interesting relationships. I really related with Wanda, the main character, and her dilemmas and desires. I liked her and wanted her to be happy. The ending suited my tastes, too.

All in all it was an amazing read as I haven’t read something that fulfilled all my creative and fantasy wants for quite a long time and The Host did that for me.

Read more by Stephenie Meyer with the Twilight series.

Trayche Kuzmanov Article by: Trayche Kuzmanov
Trayche has been an avid reader since he was a child with a passion for YA fiction emerging in more recent years. For him books are a tool for learning, a chance for adventure and an escape for the monotony of day to day life.
“At this point of life, I can not imagine life without reading books.”

Book Review: The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness

God dammit Patrick Ness. What have you done to me?

The Ask and the Answer
The first book in the Chaos Walking series, The Knife of Never Letting Go, I rated 5 stars because I loved it so so much! It was original and crazy awesome. After finishing it, people were telling me that I shouldn’t expect too much from the second book; apparently it was slow and in no way as good as the first one.

However, after reading it… WHAT? They must have been talking about another book because this one was freaking beautiful and even better than the first one.

The Ask and the Answer starts off right where the first book ended; in Haven, although it’s now called New Prentisstown.

The main characters, Todd and Viola are likable but not entirely remarkable, they’re not my favourite characters in the book. For me, it is the father-son Prentiss duo who really stand out.

Seriously, how awesome is Mayor Prentiss? He is probably my all time favorite villain. He is such a complex character and it’s so hard to guess what he is going to do next, what his next move is or what he’s going to say. He’s smart, powerful and has the ability to manipulate how others see him; in the beginning I genuinely thought he was a good guy, I couldn’t understand why people hated him! However, just one chapter one and my opinion completely changed and I saw a whole different side to him. He’s both smart and evil. Nevertheless, I still love him.

Then there’s Davy Prentiss. He is the one character that we really see mentally growing throughout the book. The development we see from where he started in The Knife of Never Letting Go, to the things he does in The Ask and the Answer, show he makes real progress. Throughout the both books, I would have liked to see chapters from his point of view; the guy had it tough with all the stuff he had to suffer because of his father. Damn I feel sorry for this guy.

Overall, I just can’t explain how much I love this trilogy. Patrick Ness is a mastermind – I’ll admit it, he has the power to make me feel. The Ask and the Answer ended with such a big cliffhanger and I just can’t wait to see what happens in Monsters of Men. This has become one of my favorite series. When it comes to Young Adult Dystopian fiction, it’s hard to top the likes of Uglies and Divergent, but this comes close. Really close.

Trayche Kuzmanov Article by: Trayche Kuzmanov
Trayche has been an avid reader since he was a child with a passion for YA fiction emerging in more recent years. For him books are a tool for learning, a chance for adventure and an escape for the monotony of day to day life.
“At this point of life, I can not imagine life without reading books.”

Wishlist Wednesday is Back!

Wishlist Wednesday

 

Wishlist Wednesday is Back!

Our Awesome Wishlist Wednesday competition is back and going strong!

Once again, we’re offering our customers and fans to win up to £100 worth of books from their Wishlist; and all they have to do to win this prize is enter the email address from their AwesomeBooks account into our competition here: http://www.awesomebooks.com/WishlistWednesday/

That means, you can win up to 40 books from our website- or to put it another way, you could be reading one book a week, every week, for the rest of the year (and even a little bit of next year…) before you have to think about making a new purchase (obviously, if you want to, we’d still be happy to have you back).

This competition will close again on the 12th of May and we will contact our randomly selected winner on the 14th of May, so make sure you keep an eye out for that all important email.

So, start making those wishlists now!