Liked The Hunger Games? Try the Legend series!

marie-lu3

"Los Angeles, California, Republic of America
He is Day, The boy who walks in the light.
She is June, The girl who seeks her brother's killer.
On the run and undercover, they meet by chance. Irresistably drawn together, neither knows the other's past.
But Day murdered June's brother, And she has sworn to avenge his death..."

The Legend series by Marie Lu - Legend, Prodigy and Champion is author Marie Lu's first foray into storytelling. What a debut! I splashed out and bought myself the hardcover boxed set because I had a feeling I was going to love it. The series follows Day, a homeless rebel, and June, star pupil at a military academy. The both live in the Republic, which was once the United States of America, who is currently battling against the Colonies which want to take over the land and attempt to rebuild the United States once more. The alternating chapters from the two protagonists really gives you a good feel for the disparity between them, Day hailing from the slums and June sleeping in a luxury high rise each night.

Day and June cross paths under less than ideal circumstances but go on an extraordinary journey together throughout the trilogy. What really resonated with me about this series is that the romance between the two characters is a minor occurance, and Marie Lu is much more concerned with supplying you with action, adventure and intrigue. The ending of the third book put my emotions through such a rollercoaster that by the end I didn't even know if I was crying tears of happiness or sadness! I feel that Marie Lu is such a skillful writer, particuarly in the third novel, and she has constructed this world so well that it is easy to let yourself get lost in the story. I would definitely recommend this series to fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The 5th Wave.

If you read the Legend series and you find yourself wanting more from this fantastic author, never fear! Her next book The Young Elites is released on October 7, unfortunately not following Day and June but featuring an exciting new cast of characters.

Minecraft Madness

Let's talk about Minecraft.imagesTQO4V7IH

With the enormous Playstation 4 and Xbox One versions likely to see release within the next month, now is the perfect time to jump on board the polygonal redstone-rail hype train. You or your kids probably already love it, but there's a lot more to Minecraft than the graphics and the easy, addictive gameplay would have you believe. Some incredibly talented builders have even used it's cubular world to simulate and visualise travelling at the speed of light, along with a variety of other amazing physics experiments. Here at the Top Secret QBD Research and Development Testing Facility our equally impressive "bookcase that is also a squid" project is progressing nicely. We can't say too much, but you haven't read Lovecraft until you've pried it off the violently flailing tentacle of a deep-sea horror.

Are you a newbie at all this, afraid your friends and children are going to drag you clueless into two-player split-screen gameplay ? Don't worry- we've got you covered.

Minecraft Handbook 01: Official Beginners Guide- If you haven't touched a video game since that one about those guys who invaded from space (whatever that was called), this is the book for you. It contains all the survival tips and crafting recipes you need to make your first few days in Minecraft fun even if you're living in a tiny dirt shack.

Minecraft Handbook 02: Redstone- "How do I build a simple logic gate?", "Is there an easy on/off repeating circuit?", "Why should I need to know any of this stuff?". the answers to these questions and more can be found within these pages. It's for more advanced builders, and will give you a solid foundation in Redstone circuitry.

Minecraft Handbook 03: Combat Handbook- With weapon diagrams, mob statistics and advanced strategy guides this book is a lifesaver. Highly recommended for anyone jumping into hardcore or off to face the Ender Dragon.

Minecraft Handbook 04: Construction- A showcase of some of FyreUK's favourite builds, this title is awe-inspiring. Whether or not you choose to recreate these monumental castles and contraptions is up to you, but if you want to see some of the best Minecraft has to offer, this is the title you need.

First Chapter books for kids…

kids reading

Is your child looking to move on from readers and picture books to something a little more challenging? As parents we want to foster our child's reading as much as possible. Luckily, there are a variety of titles and series aimed at children ages 6-9, that are absolutely perfect for beginning readers to dip their toe into the water. Many intersperse pictures with the text and have short chapters to keep young readers engaged.

There are your adventure series, such as Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter, Geronimo or Thea Stilton, Zac Power, EJ Spy School, or Extreme Adventures by Justin D'ath.

There are also fantasy series involving flying ponies and fairies and other magical creatures. Some of the most popular of these titles are Rainbow Magic, The Rescue Princesses, Beast Quest, Boy vs Beast, Sea Quest , and  Pearlie.

Some other popular series are: Pony Mad Princess, Eric Vale,  Zoe's Rescue Zoo, the Railway Rabbits, Hey Jack and Rascal.

Still stuck for ideas? For this age group Aussie bites and nibbles are always a classic choice as is a good Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton story. Some of the shorter Enid Blyton stories have recently been released in the new Star Reads series, aimed specifically at this age group.

Currently the Children's Book Council of Australia are in the process of naming the book of the year for this age group (amongst others). To see shortlisted titles you can visit their website here.

Love sniffing old books?

QBD The Bookshop readers have confessed they love the smell of old books, with a fair share of readers admitting to taking wafts of the flutter of aged pages.

'14 The Aroma of Books InfographicFor so long, the special old book smell was attributed to a memory, of grandparents' bookshelves, public libraries, second hand book stores and books that have been cherished from generation to generation.

Are you ready for this scientific wake up call? That intoxicating old book smell isn’t magical particles from days long gone. Simply put in this infographic, it’s the breakdown of the cellulose & lignin contained in paper, which creates new organic compounds.

Now that this sacred scent has been explained and shared by all, perfume manufacturers are cashing in on some of the action and selling the aroma of tattered novels. Yes you read it correctly, you can now smell like old books! If the thought is putting a smile on your literary dial, then check out the perfume here.

We don’t want to choose a favourite between the smell of old books and  new ones but we can suggest a few books that will hold a place on our book shelves from now until eternity.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This classic novel about deception, status and what it takes to maintain lies is an important today as when it was first released in 1890.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

OK so an expedition to seek a mysterious sea monster isn’t a tale that is timeless but for this reason, this must grace your shelves to revisit the fictional time and follow the grand ocean adventure.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A novel around a young girl’s feat to reclaim books that risk being lost forever during World War Two is a heroic story that will create pride, suspense, and sadness into readers for years to come. Even death won’t take those memories away from you.