Tuesday, 24 November 2015

#LoveOzYAbookclub: November 2015 Book Discussion Post – Illuminae (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)

Hi and welcome to our first book club Discussion Post! 

Now, as book club host, it’s kind of my job to be impartial, but this is the first book off the rank, and (hopefully) the only book I’ll get to choose over the course of book club.  And I’ve got to say, I loved Illuminae – it shook up my head in the best possible way.  I’ve seen a few books that have tried to meld the narrative aspects with graphic-novel style, but this is the first book that I think actually managed to pull it off.  From page one to finish, I absolutely could not put it down (I read it in almost a single sitting) and I was truly blown away by the finale.  Now I’m praying that Brad Pitt and his movie production mates do the novel justice on the big screen.

So – on with the show!  Illuminae is reviewed by Danielle Binks, of Alphareader fame, and she had some great things to say about it, including this:

“Y’know how Battlestar Galactica is actually exploring religion and civil liberty … Or, okay – how Joss Whedon’s Firefly isn’t really just an intergalactic-Western? But rather it’s inspired by the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg and the everyday people who are stepped on in the great moments of history, and that it’s even a story of the immigrant experience and outsiders pushed to the fringe by the victors in a war they never wanted any part of? Yep, okay – well, in the same way there is a lot happening beneath the surface of Illuminae.”

What did you think about Illuminae?  Add comments below, or feel free to join in the Facebook group for discussion about this book, as well as general book talk and a bit of silliness on the side.


Saturday, 21 November 2015

#LoveOzYAbookclub: Author Q&A – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Illuminae)

To value-add to our book club experience, I’ve asked authors whose books we’re reading to either a) answer a short Q&A, or b) participate in an FB author chat, if they’re able.  As authors can get very busy, I’ve tried to keep it light-hearted, with the emphasis on something fun and easy.

The authors of our November book, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, have been very busy indeed of late, so I’m hugely appreciative that they’ve agreed to join in at #LoveOzYAbookclub with the answers to a few silly questions.  The Discussion Thread for Illuminae will go up early next week – until then, enjoy!

* One curious or unusual thing about you that most people don’t know: is that Jay is a Karaoke King (you should hear him do metal songs) and Amie used to work as a professional sailing coach—she walked on a boat before she took her first steps on land.

* Your work space – tell us about it: Right now Amie’s is wherever she can perch amidst towering stacks of boxes, because she’s moving house, but usually it’s a study lined with bookshelves, where she writes at her treaddesk, or in an armchair. Jay has a study too, with a great big fancy desk and a fireplace… but he always ends up writing on the couch in his uggs.

* Writing Must-Haves – snacks, drinks, music…whatever: For Amie, the music is mostly by Muse or Two Steps From Hell, and for Jay, it’s mostly silence, or the classical music of Ludovico Einaudi (which is hilarious, because usually Jay listens to metal.) When we’re brainstorming, Jay drinks Jack Daniels and Amie eats chips. When we’re at home writing, it’s Red Bull for Jay and Pepsi Max for Amie all the way.

* If your book was a ride at SeaWorld, it would be…: banned for its incredibly high death toll.

* The zombie apocalypse strikes, but it’s okay, cos you have your choice of weapons, and you choose…: copies of Illuminae. Seriously, have you seen that thing? It’s the size of a brick. As our secondary weapon, we choose a friend who runs far more slowly than us. That should slow them up.

Thanks Amie and Jay! And see you all ‘round the Discussion Thread next week :)


Monday, 9 November 2015

Spring is for hayfever, and the Every Word NA blog tour

Hello again!  I feel like it’s been ages since I wrote an update post – but that’s okay.  I’ve been keeping busy with speaking engagements and workshops in schools and events, and also with the #LoveOzYAbookclub which has been the topic of my last few posts.  We have our first book for the book club  – Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – which is pretty exciting.  And I’ve been dealing with hayfever and Spring and the last term of school rolling to a close…all in all, that’s been enough to keep me on the hop.

The other thing that’s on the hop is the North American tour for Every Word.

The book was released in the US and Canada a few months ago, and I’m very excited that readers overseas are finally getting their hot little hands on it.  I’ve been receiving some (sometimes irate) emails about WHEN IS YOUR SECOND BOOK COMING OUT HERE OMG WHY THIS WAIT ARGH, so I’m pleased to finally be able to plug Every Word and enjoy the way folks are getting into it.

The blog tour starts next week, and it’s a very full schedule of tour stops.  Some bloggers are doing reviews, and some bloggers have livened up their tour stops with a bit of silliness/seriousness from me.  I’ve answered interview questions (everything from ‘James Mycroft is a jerk: discuss’ to explaining how I got that weird scar on my right foot), and given location pic-tours of London, and hopefully shown everyone a pretty good time.  If you’d like to catch up with what people are saying (or you just want to know how I got the weird scar), please do check out the tour stops below:

Monday Nov 16

Tuesday Nov 17

Wednesday Nov 18

Thursday Nov 19

Friday Nov 20

I’ve also been doing a sneaky little promo for the tour on social media, where I’ve been posting pics of the journey that Rachel and James took from Melbourne to different places all over London:

I hope I haven’t confused anybody, because I’m not actually in London right now…

But the snaps have been very fun!  If you’d like to check out the pics, or signal boost the blog tour by cross-posting, go for your life – they’re gathered under the hashtags #EveryWord  #Wattscroft on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

 I’ll update again in a little while, but until then, hope you’re travelling well, and have fun reading the tour posts!


Monday, 2 November 2015

#LoveOzYAbookclub : November 2015 book selection

Welcome to the #LoveOzYAbookclub debut book selection!

This month’s book is our very first, and the only book I get to choose – after November, the title selections will be made by the authors of the books under discussion.  I spent a long time thinking about which title to choose…and finally made a decision by asking myself Which book would I want to read more than any other?

So…*drumroll*… our book for the month of November will be Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Illuminae is the first book in The Illuminae Files series, and has been described as “a fantastically entertaining space opera with explosions and romance” combined with “a thoughtful and expansive tale of political intrigue and subterfuge”.  It’s one of the biggest things to come out of Australian YA in a long time – it’s already hit the New York Times Bestseller List.  It’s also (if you have a quick glance at the insides) a mashup of graphic design and story – in fact, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

AmieKaufman is the co-author of the Starbound Trilogy with Meagan Spooner, and Jay Kristoff is the author of The Lotus Wars series, and they both live in Melbourne and are both quite lovely.  Amie and Jay have already agreed to choose a title for #LoveOzYAbookclub for next month.

I've made an arrangement with Boomerang Books (who specialise in Australian books and had all the titles I searched for at excellent prices) so that #LoveOzYAbookclub members can get free shipping.  If you would like to order the book through Boomerang Books, use the code loveoz at the ‘use a promotional code’ step, and you won't have to pay for postage.

So go forth and read!  I hope you enjoy Illuminae, and I’ll look forward to the discussion we’ll have about it at the end (probably early in the last week) of November here on the #LoveOzYAbookclub group.