Monthly Archives: May 2011

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Rated Aarg! The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook by Jason Heller

Pirates, by nature, aren’t terribly literate. As a consequence, no book can hope to fully prepare the pampered, modern-day layabout for the lusty life of a pirate.

This book, however, will put you on the right path – the path to adventure, treasure, glory, mystery, and, every so often, the bottom of a barrel of rum.

Just in time for the première of On Stranger Tides comes The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: a Swashbuckler’s Guide from Pirates of the Caribbean.

A handy guides for lovers of the piratical arts this book gives you the hows and wherefores of becoming a scurvy dog of the high seas.

For instance it will educate you in the different types of pirate, no longer when asked “What are Buccaneers?” will you answer “The things you listen through on the sides of your Buccan’head!” There are also corsairs, freebooters and privateers – just so you know!

Not only a shameless tie in to the popular Disney franchise it is also an entertaining and educational tome written with tongue firmly in cheek. It is a good idea to take heed of the warning on the copyright page.

This book is a fine guide for any lubber wishing to become a swaggering Pirate captain in the vein of Jack Sparrow – the finest brigand to sail with the Brethren Court.

You may be thinking that this book will only have relevance whenever a Pirates of the Caribbean  film is released – but you would be wrong.  There is also International Talk Like a Pirate Day on the 19th September. Preparation for Halloween, and any other event you can hang a piratical hat on – remember rum is good any time of year!

This book is rated Aarg!

A book for everyone who is, was or has ever wondered what it is like to be a 15 year old boy!

One seriously messed up week…

… in the Otherwise Mundane & Uneventful Life of Sam Taylor JACK SAMSONITE

Our hero? 
Jack Samsonite
His mission?
1.  pass his GCSEs
2.  get the girl (to notice he exists)
3.  survive the week without a serious face punching 
 Good thing he’s got a plan. Well, half a plan… 

One seriously messed-up week in the otherwise mundane & uneventful life of Jack Samsonite is being billed as a cross between Adrian Mole meets The Inbetweeners. It is also the only book I have had to stop reading on the underground as I was laughing too much in between cringing at the memories of my teenage years it was dredging up. I am seriously in awe of Tom Clempson, the man is a genius with the pen!  He has captured the awkwardness and uncertainty of being a teenage boy perfectly, combining crudity, romance, confusion, lust, friendship and the desire to get through the day without being bullied into the package of Jack Samsonite.

Warts and all protagonists of the male variety appear to be rare in YA fiction, it started with Adrian Mole in the ’80’s and then there was not much.  It is quite possible that we are witnessiong hte birth of a new trend in YA fiction.  The story is told in the form of a diary written as a school project. It begins with an introduction which was written at the end of the week, so I knew where Jack ended up but as someone once said “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it!”

The story starts on a Monday – with nob ache. Which, if I remember my teen years correctly, (and believe me there is not a man alive that does not – no matter what we may say. We remember every embarrassing moment clearly) is how many days start for boys in their teens. 
Read this book, gain some insight into the mind of a teenage boy and perhaps you will even sympathise with them the next time one of them really pisses you off for just being a teenI read it and loved it (unconditionally) for the laughs, the angst and the cringe-worthy memories it evoked. I was Jack without being cool but then most of us were in those days.

The Shadowing: Hunted by Adam Slater

Every hundred years the gateway opens between this world and ours.

The hunt is on. No one is safe.

The Shadowing is coming…

Callum Scott can see ghosts, it is not something that he talks about, but lately he has been seeing them everywhere. It is not just ghosts, there is also the massive black dog that lurks in the woods near his grandmothers house and the bad dreams, warning him of something coming, something evil.

Callum is a chime child, he lives alone with his grandmother outside the town in a small cottage in the woods, a loner by preference he is nonetheless a good rugby-player and well-liked at his school, but becomes a target of the local bullies after a flash of precognition ruins their plans for one of his classmates. Add to this the brutal murders of chime children across the country, the monstrous dog and its master lurking in the woods, a demon that is wearing his face and Callum’s life expectancy starts to look a bit limited, but he is not alone, his school-friend Melissa has an interest in the supernatural and the two of them begin to try to find out why he can see the things he can see.

I started reading The Shadowing: Hunted with music playing in the background as I like a bit of background noise when I am reading. I had just started reading chapter two when Creeping Death
by Metallica started playing – I don’t usually compile a sound-track for books I read, but this track would be the theme-song for this book! Adam captures teenagers incredibly well and the tone and timing of the horror is superb! His descriptions of the attacks is incredibly bloody but never becomes gratuitous and the sense of disquiet that grows throughout the book is brilliant!

I love horror and am not ashamed to say that I am a fan of gore! Hunted fed my hunger for monsters and the macabre but left me wanting more and going by the preview of Skinned I will not be disappointed!

Chime Children are an accepted part of British folklore too!

Chime hours were commonly accepted to be three, six, nine, or twelve o’clock. In the old monastic tradition these were the hours of required prayer and were frequently marked by church bells chiming the hour. In some locales, however, particularly in Somerset and East Anglia, the hours were recognized as eight o’clock in the evening, midnight, and four o’clock in the morning. A chime child is anyone who was born exactly on one of the accepted chime hours, although there was quite a bit of variance in that as well; some locales recognized those born within that hour and some recognized only the night-time hours of nine o’clock, midnight, and three and six o’clock in the morning. Some other traditions even limited the hours to specifically those who were born between midnight and dawn, Friday to Saturday.