Archive for the ‘Nerd Chat’ Category:

STRAY Blog Tour – Guest Post from Rachael Craw + Review


Hello! And welcome to Book Nerd Reviews’ stop on the STRAY Blog Tour!

The STRAY Blog Tour will be occuring 1 – 7 September, and there are a lot of amazing Aussie blogs bringing you posts about Rachael Craw’s next instalment in the Spark series and posts from Rachael herself!. This tour will include reviews, Q&As and guest posts!

As well as my review for Stray, Rachael is joining us here at Book Nerd Reviews with a guest post about walking the line on social media. Is she an author, reader or friend? Are you a reader or friend? Where is the line… and how blurry is it?

Welcome to the tour… I hope you enjoy the journey.



National Bookshop Day 2015

Tomorrow, Saturday 8 August, is National Bookshop Day!

So, what does this mean? Well, it means that you should #LoveYourBookshop !!

Pop in to your local bookstore, buy a book and two, and show them your appreciation! Some stores around the country are holding special events, ranging from sales, to signings, to giveaways and all other sorts of bookish fun!

To show appreciation to some bookstores, I thought I would share with you some of my favourites. I wanted to share all my favourite stores across Australia – but sadly I haven’t been to every one (or to every state). But here is a list of some of my favourites.


18 Things About Me Blog Hop

18 Things About Me Blog Hop comes from Emily at Loony Literate.

Emily turned 18 this week!!! So firstly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILY!!

(Wow, I feel old. But I will still have a cider with you Emily)


Discussion Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes

Behind 464 Pages

Released: 27 April 2015

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Publisher: Harper Voyager Australia

Buy Me: Amazon  |  Angus & Robertson  |  Booktopia  |  Bookworld  |  Book Depository  |  Fishpond

At the Other End: 

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.

For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.

When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy.

Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.

But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference.

One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.


Book Tag: The Book Cake Tag

I’ve been tagged for the The Cake Book Tag by the lovely Eugenia at Genie in a Book.

And while you can’t eat them, I found the following books to be as delicious as any cake :)

I present to you… The Book Cake Tag!

Insurgent Movie Featurettes


The long awaited sequel Insurgent is hitting theatres today! And I know everyone is excited to see the next instalment in the Divergent series on the big screen!!!

Sadly I won’t be getting to an advance screening (fingers crossed for Allegiant), but I will be heading to the cinemas as soon as I can so that I can see more of Tris and Four (okay, mainly Four.. preferably shirtless).

The wonderful people at Entertainment One Australia have provided us with some featurettes to help get us in the mood for this highly anticipated movie (like we needed any more reasons to get excited – but yay!). So, please enjoy the below featurettes they have kindly allowed us to share with you.



Book Reveal: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Illustrated Edition

To help get us all in the mood for the upcoming Harry Potter Book Night on Feburary 5th, I wanted to share some exciting Harry Potter news: a new and exciting edition of Harry Potter is coming your way! Yes, yes I know, everyone has at least one set of our favourite wizarding series, and we all have at least 2 other editions on our wishlist, but this one is extra special… it is illustrated!!

All seven of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books will be published in stunning full-colour editions, illustrated by the award-winning artist Jim Kay. The first in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, will be published globally on 6th October 2015! This will be the first fully illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling’s original Harry Potter novel, which I am super excited about, as I love illustrated books! There is no cover as yet, but it has beed said that the hardback edition will include ribbon marker, head and tail bands, illustrated endpapers and artwork on every spread.

Here is what Jim Kay had to say about illustrating Harry Potter:

“To be given the opportunity to design the characters, the clothing, the architecture and landscapes to possibly the most expansive fantasy world in children’s literature, well let’s just say I’m extremely excited about it,” said Kay.   “The story is everything, and so I want to bring what I can to really show the depth of Rowling’s stories, to their best.”

Who’s excited?? I am!!!

And just to get you all revved up for this amazing release, Bloomsbury have released 4 images from this new edition. The images show four major characters from the Harry Potter books – Rubeus Hagrid, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy and Ron Weasley, and you can see them below:




You can pre-order this book now from The Book Depository


Also to get you excited for this upcoming edition, thanks to Bloomsbury, we also have a quick Q&A with Jim Kay

Q&A with Jim Kay

How did you feel when you found out you would be illustrating the Harry Potter novels?

Scientists say the Big Bang is to be followed by the Big Crunch, I feel I have firsthand experience of this theory, for hearing the news that I’d got the commission was an explosion of delight, followed instantly by an implosion of brain-freezing terror. From my point of view it is, without doubt, the best commission you can be given – I’m a bit of a control freak, so to be given the opportunity to design the characters, the clothing the architecture and landscapes to possibly the most expansive fantasy world in children’s literature, well lets just say I’m extremely excited about it. However, I am also mindful of the huge responsibility this represents, I just want to make sure I do the best job I possibly can.


Is there a particular character or scene that you are looking forward to illustrating?

It’s like trying to choose the shiniest object in Aladdin’s Cave; you pick up one treasure, and another gem
catches your eye. I couldn’t even pick a favourite creature at the moment (maybe a Thestral, or a Bowtruckle, but then the goblins are wonderful characters, mind you there are trolls too – you see my problem!). It’s been lovely thinking about creating the characters, but at the moment my favourite task is creating Hogwarts – it’s the first time I’ve thought about building something supported by magic – it’s harder than you’d think.


How do you as an artist approach such a large job? Where do you begin with such a wide range of possibilities?

It sounds obvious but you start with the text. The story is everything, and so I want to bring what I can to really show the depth of Rowling’s stories, to their best. Then it’s a case of research, and lots of it. The books have made me look at people differently, I’m always scanning crowds for interesting faces. For an illustrator there’s no such thing as an ugly or odd looking person – they are all interesting. Luckily for me, Kettering is home to some very interesting people indeed. Museums and libraries are my favourite places for inspiration. You might see something, it could be a medieval shoe, an old clock, or a stuffed monkey and immediately it gives you ideas about the characters in the story, the things they would do, the way they walk. The tricky thing I’ve found is my annoying habit of reigning in the more fantastical elements of my sketches when working them up, it’s taken a while for it to sink in that for this commission I can go a little bit crazy. Above my desk, the words ‘It’s Fantasy, Stupid” are now a daily reminder to have a bit of fun.


Are you a Harry Potter fan? If so, what are your first memories of reading the books?

I AM a Harry Potter fan, although true to form, I arrived a little late to the party. I actually heard Stephen Fry’s wonderful audio book of Philosopher’s Stone before reading it, initially because I’d sat on a tube train full of school children who were chatting about Potter with great excitement. It was actually the recollections of starting a new school that really connected with me (we moved house when I was young, and I had to start at a big school where I didn’t know anybody). As an adult I’d forgotten how hard school actually was, and it all came flooding back – particularly when reading The Order of the Phoenix – the dread of exams! It’s amazing to think, all of Potter’s world, the streets, the shops, the creatures, the characters, all of these wonderful things come from the brain of one person. To me, that’s magic, some grey matter in someone’s head inspires others to read, play, and create ideas of their own. It’s like a spell that jumps from person to person, recasting itself as it goes. I want to keep that spell going, perhaps adding my own little twist, if possible. I hope over the years we will see lots of different illustrators having a go, in the way that Alice in Wonderland has inspired artists for over a century.


Who is your favourite character from the Harry Potter universe?

This is like trying to choose your favourite record, it changes all the time. I have a soft spot for Neville, particularly because of his awkwardness, but you have to admire Hermione, because she puts the hours in at the library, she’s the cement really that holds it all together, well it would be a different story. I want to know more about Severus, there’s so much depth there. Visually, though, it has to be Hagrid; he’s got a wonderful heart, clothed in an enormous, shabby body. Hagrid’s hut is, for me, like an extension of his physique: it makes him a part of Hogwarts, but keeps him at a distance too.


What were your favourite books as a child?

I remember sitting up in bed, with a copy of one of Willard Price’s Adventure series in my hands, and on my lap a colossal book of facts such as The Encyclopaedia of Natural History. You see, Willard’s books were ripping yarns about two brothers who got into all sorts of scrapes searching for rare and exotic animals in far-flung places. So I’d read about their adventures, then swot up on the animals they found. Those fact books were so heavy, I couldn’t feel my feet after a few chapters, but I was in nerd-heaven, nonetheless.


Who are your favourite illustrators (either classic or modern)?

Crumbs, so many, Eric Ravilious for his paintings, Edmund Dulac for his exquisite colour, I think Alexis
Deacon is an astonishing draughtsman, possibly the most gifted illustrator around, and I love the work of Ian Miller too, who produces wonderful illustrations of castles, knights, goblins and orcs. I’d love to see his version of Harry Potter; it would take a brave child to enter Miller’s Hogwarts I reckon.


How would you describe your own art style?

I tend to change my style to fit the story, which makes life very difficult, but it’s good to keep pushing yourself. If something’s not a little bit frightening, then it’s probably not worth doing. I’m still learning about illustration, and I still feel pretty new to this (this will be my third book), and I hope I never stop learning, because there are so many things I want to try – I feel I haven’t scratched the surface yet.


What tips would you offer to young people who are keen to become artists/illustrators?

I’ve met a lot of children who say they can’t draw or paint very well, and believe that a life as an artist or a
designer is therefore closed to them. It’s tragic because the ideas they have are often incredible, and I think ideas are the most valuable possession of anyone in a creative industry. Drawing and painting is a bit like playing the guitar; if you practise enough you will get better with time, so don’t worry about that side of it, just concentrate on getting your ideas down, because that’s what makes you different from everybody else. And don’t forget, if you have a great idea, it will shine through the crudest of drawings, in the same way a great song might only need three chords on a guitar to bring it to life.


Do you have a daily routine when it comes to illustrating?

Well, it’s remarkably unremarkable: Get up, walk the dog, draw all day and all night, throw all of the days work in the bin, and go to bed hoping tomorrow is one of those days where something stays out of the bin. At the moment the bin is winning 3-0, I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll score a couple of away goals.



Also, just a quick reminder not for forget Harry Potter Book Night on February 5th! Events are happening all over the world, so be sure to check with your local school, bookshop or library for Harry Potter Book Night events. For those who cannot get out to attend an event, the Aussie YA Bloggers & Readers group will be taking part in a Potterthon. We’ll be tweeting, and sharing our Potter themed posts, GIFS and your reviews of any book in the Harry Potter series and spin offs (I even have a very different Harry Potter themed post planned). But don’t forget to use the hashtag #HarryPotterBookNight when Tweeting your quotes and readalong progress!




Celebrate Australian Authors

Happy Australia Day everyone!!!! Not only is it a day to celebrate the our pretty amazing country, but also to celebrate what it contains – which includes fabulous authors. And why should we just celebrate all things Aussie on one day only? We shouldn’t – especially our authors! So here is a (incomplete) list of Aussie books being released in 2015.


The Book Closes on 2014



I cannot believe that 2014 is almost over! Melissa and I have had a big year, and I thought I would share our thoughts on the year that has flown by!


Giveaway Winners of Crash (Twinmaker #2) by Sean Williams

Hello everyone! Thanks to the lovely team at Allen & Unwin we hosted an Australian giveaway for five lucky winners for a copy of Crash (Twinmaker #2) by Sean Williams. The giveaway is now closed, and the winners are announced below!

SynopsisThe Matrix meets the Uglies series in this science fiction thriller, the second in the Twinmaker trilogy by Sean Williams.

Where is Q?

Clair and Jesse have barely been reunited when the world is plunged into its biggest crisis since the Water Wars. The d-mat network is broken. The world has ground to a halt. People are trapped, injured, dying. It’s the end of the world as Clair knows it—and it’s partly her fault.

“The girl who killed d-mat” is enlisted to track down her missing friend Q—the rogue AI who repeatedly saved Clair’s life. Q is the key to fixing the system, but she isn’t responding to calls for help, and even if she did…can she be trusted?

Targeted by dupes, abandoned by her friends, caught in a web of lies that strike at the very essence of who she is, Clair finds powerful allies in RADICAL, secretive activists who are the polar opposite of anti-d-mat terrorist group WHOLE. However, if she helps them find Q, will she be inadvertently trapping her friend in a life of servitude—or worse, sending her to an early death by erasure?

Caught between pro- and anti-d-mat philosophies, in a world on the brink of all-out war, Clair must decide where she stands—and who she stands with, at the end.


Bad Blogger


I just wanted to drop by and say sorry! I have been such a bad blogger and I truly am sorry!


Book Tag: Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I’ve been tagged for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by the lovely Bernadette from The Bumbling Bookworm. Make sure you pop on over and check out her wonderful blog!! (more…)

Giveaway Winners of Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Signed)

Hello everyone! As you all know (well you should), I have recently held a giveaway for 2 signed copies of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. This giveaway was to celebrate this phenomenal book, this amazing lady and to rejoice in her recent Australian tour. Whilst I don’t want to part with these books, I did promise them to two lucky followers, so I will announce the winners below!

Synopsis: “Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came.”

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.


SIGNED Daughter of Smoke and Bone Giveaway: International

So anyone who has ever spoken to me knows that I absolutely adore Laini Taylor and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is my all-time favourite. So why would I not celebrate this wonderful series, and this magnificent lady? Well, there is no reason. So I am celebrating by giving away 2 signed copies of Daughter of Smoke and Bone!


Australian YA Bloggers Exclusive Interview with Laini Taylor


Laini Taylor visited Australia in September and I was lucky enough to be able to interview this phenomenal author on behalf of the Australian YA Bloggers group. As I adore Laini, I naturally jumped at the chance to chat with my idol about her books and ask the questions that Aussie readers and bloggers submitted (and to fangirl just a little).

The first part of the interview was posted in the Australian YA Bloggers October newsletter, but there was even more to the interview (mainly because I talked Laini’s ear off) that didn’t make it in to the newsletter. So instead of it sitting on my computer for me to re-read over and over again, it was suggested that the rest of the interview should be posted for everyone to enjoy. The first part of the interview can be found at the Australian YA Bloggers website, with more of the interview found at Diva Booknerd and here at Book Nerd Reviews. But that is not all – there will a final part of the interview posted back at the Australian YA Bloggers website, this will be a spoiler edition! So if you have read the series, be sure to read the final part of this interview in November. Better yet, sign up for the newsletter and it will be delivered right to your mailbox!

Below are some of the questions asked in the interview. My section will be focusing on Laini’s writing and her work; past and future titles, as well as her work with her amazingly talented husband Jim Di Bartolo.