Welcome to Random Redheaded Ramblings! My blog is all about my love of books, I have quite a broad taste but I do have a massive soft spot for anything dystopian. I have far too many books but I always need more! I thought it would be a good idea to set up a blog so I can share my passions but I will occasionally also ramble about a lot of other things such as grown up colouring books, tv series,films and my love of Orlando plus did I mention I love books!!! I have a bit more info in my About Me page so please have a look!

Friday, 17 April 2015

REVIEW - Craft-a-Doodle by Jenny Doh and Others


Now as you may or may not know I love colouring books, the ones that are currently available for us grown ups are truly awesome.  Did I just use grown up and colouring in in the same sentence? Crap I did it twice!!

Anyway once I started to explore the wonderful word of colouring I decided that I would maybe colour outside the lines and try creating my own little works of art but unfortunately I really do not have an artistic bone in my body so I bought this book to help me!

Craft-a-Doodle is an immense collection of tips and tricks that allow you to create you own little masterpieces.  Jenny Doh and 18 amazing artists show you how to draw animals and people as well as creating little zentangle marvels plus many other things.


I have tried a few including the owl below and it is not always as easy as it seems but it is worthwhile persevering and most importantly it is good fun!

I suggest before you buy this book you go out and buy a ream of A4 paper to use, you are gonna need a lot of it to practise with!









ART REVIEW - Derwent Inktense 24 Ink Pencils


You may have noticed of late that between my book reviews I have been sneaking in some reviews of the gorgeous grown up colouring books that are available out there.  Well I have been overwhelmed at how well received they have been and today I thought I might share with you what I have been using on these books to bring them to life.

I have many different pencils and pens that I alternate depending on the book I fancy doing and my mood (and the thickness of the paper) but the pencils I use the most tend to be Derwent.  I have been using their metallic pencils, coloursoft and most recently their Inktense pencils which a good friend gave to me as a birthday present last year.


Inktense can be used with water to create stunning effects but I have only used them dry and with 24 colours in this tin to choose from I find they have been perfect for my exploration of Johanna Basford's Enchanted Forest and because I am very traditional my leaves are shades of green and Inktense has a great variety of greens to choose from.


The pencils themselves are great and comfortable to use.  It is very easy to get different intensities of colour from them too, below you will see my use of the green pencils lightly on the Enchanted Forest book, now I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I think the pencils make a fantastic job.


All in all these are beautiful pencils, presentation is everything to me and I love the tin they come in.  Of course if you are much more organised I believe you can buy fancy cases to put your pencils in, I'm not so they are staying in the tin.

I hope you enjoy your colouring adventures as much as me, it truly is pure escapism and so much fun, I'd love to hear from you if you have used these wet!





BOOK BLITZ - True Calling by Siobhan Davis **GIVEAWAY**


Welcome to the Book Blitz for True Calling by Siobhan Davis, read more below including an exclusive extract of the story!




True Calling (True Calling #1)

By Siobhan Davis
Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction/Romance
Age category: Young Adult

Release Date: August 1, 2014

Blurb:
Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17-year-old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana's plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent pre-occupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, The Calling, gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.
EXCERPT

Stepping onboard as soon as the doors glide open, we find two adjoining seats on our left. The instant we sit down, the electronic harness deploys and fastens over my shoulders, across my chest, and locks on both sides of my waist. This activity always serves to remind me of the countless rollercoaster rides I’ve been on. Happy memories of vacations in Orlando flicker through my mind, and I suddenly feel unbearably bereft. Lily clasps my hand and stares at me, her brow creased in concern. 
“I’m fine.” 
“More bad dreams?” she asks, tilting her head to the side.
“No, and I wouldn’t call the dreams bad dreams as such, more confusing than anything else. Anyway, let’s not discuss this here,” I say, pinning her with a serious look.
As the doors shut, an electronic voice announces, “Acceleration in ten seconds.” Taking a deep breath in readiness, we dart forward like a bullet in a gun, whizzing rapidly through the tunnels until we come to a swift but smooth stop. We’ve arrived in Region 3, or Prism, as it’s generally referred to. This is Lily’s stop. Releasing her harness, she rises gracefully. “Love you, big sis, have a great day.” 
Immediately, I sense someone sitting down beside me. Without pausing for thought, I look to my left into the brightest, most intense blue eyes, staring straight into mine. I know the owner. Of course, it’s him. Nervous butterflies flutter in my chest.
Cal Remus is the best Cadet in our year, a natural athlete, destined for greatness in NSAF. He also thinks he’s God’s gift to women, and the way in which my female classmates fall at his feet makes me sick. He’s unnaturally, other-worldly beautiful. Totally, freaking hot. Unable to stop staring at him, I take it all in: golden blond hair swept back off his forehead, deep-set, sparkling blue eyes, sculpted jawline, and full expressive lips. Tall with broad shoulders, and what looks like a well-defined chest, he has a natural prowess and passion for all kinds of sports. Loving the sound of his own voice, he can usually be relied upon to make some kind of contentious or witty remark during class. I know he pushes some of our Instructors to the breaking point at times. Sometimes, I see him at the running track, but I always go out of my way to take the opposite course to him. He has this uncanny ability to completely unnerve me, just as he’s doing at this moment. 
“Good morning, Ariana,” he says, pronouncing my name slowly and distinctly, his lips curved at the corners. 
“Good morning, Cal.” 
“You look gorgeous today,” he says, grinning widely. 
I’ve been told I’m pretty, but I definitely wouldn’t label myself as gorgeous. Everyone says my eyes are my best feature: big, bright blue, with a wide fringe of long lashes. They complement my long, dark brown hair, pale skin, and heart-shaped face. I glance down self-consciously; I’m curvy, but thin and toned, thanks to my natural athleticism and passion for jogging. 
Snapped out of my trance-like state, I scowl at him. He’s constantly teasing me like this, and I really don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it. I avoid him like the plague and I’m never part of the group of girls who hang off his every word, following him around campus like lovesick puppies. Though we seem to bump into each other a lot, abnormally so. “Are you going to be difficult? Because I’m not in the mood for your crap today. Go tease one of your adoring fans instead.” 
“It’s much more fun sitting here, torturing you,” he admits, a mischevious glint in his eye. 
He’s so smug; I cannot stand him. I’m grateful when the announcer communicates our imminent departure. In mere seconds, we’re on our way, and the silence is golden. We quickly stop at Regions 4, 5, 6, and 7 to allow more passengers to alight and exit. Because Regions 8 through 14 are still under construction, the Velo travels without further stops, all the way to Militia.
All of Novo’s armed forces infrastructure are housed in Region 15, Militia, including the Training Academy. Militia is a miniature replica of the Grand Canyon. It’s rugged, dusty terrain combines with steep inclines and voluminous, colorful rock formations. NSAF occupies a prime position at the forefront of the Region. It’s a huge facility spanning fifty thousand acres in size, and it totally dominates the landscape. Several separate units are dotted around the ground, including a massive warehouse, which is the main stealth-craft hangar. Military barracks are located to the western front. 
The new penitentiary is nearing completion. It’s been built into the rock-face, directly underneath the NSAF building. My dad says it’s been deliberately constructed to the highest security specification; however, I struggle to understand the necessity for a prison of this magnitude. 
The Training Academy, my home away from home, is to the far east of the Region, on a huge plot which has enabled the authorities to build a state of the art campus. We want for nothing there.
Retracting my harness, I rise swiftly but stagger to my left unsteadily. Cal places his arm across my back and pulls me in close to his chest. I jerk at the sudden contact. “My very presence makes you weak at the knees.” Releasing me once he sees that I can stand without falling over, he strides out the door, smirking to himself. 
Shaking my head, I bite down on my lower lip. “Aaaggghh,” I shriek, before I can stop myself. 
“Fun ride?” asks Eve, coming up alongside me. Looping her arm amicably through mine, she peers up at me through inquisitive eyes.


You can find True Calling on Goodreads.


From 13 till 17 April True Calling is free! 
So make sure to grab your copy:

- Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/1uIAH2A 
- Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1Dn35fG     
- Amazon India: http://bit.ly/1tEeGa6 

Here’s what reviewers had to say about True Calling:

"In a word, WOW!! Talk about a fascinating and magnetic tale!" Dianne Bylo. Tome Tender. 

"True Calling is a dystopian-sci-fi-romance that is FABULOUS! Siobhan did not fail to impress me with this debut novel." Ashley Colby. The Caffeinated Booknerd  
"True Calling is an excellent read from YA to adult. The entirety of the story is addicting."  Bri Wignall: Natural Bri-Pursuits of Life  
"Story driven with a nice cast of characters. I was pleasantly surprised at the paranormal twists and I found it an original addition." Lola's Reviews
"It is a true page turner. I read this book in 2 days and I can't wait for the sequel." Etnik. Geeky Bookie  
"I really loved this book! I liked the characters, the writing, the plot, the world-building....all of it."  Lillian. Mom With A Reading Problem
"The story line was awesome, it kept me into it, and was hard to put down." Kim Gailey. Superbookgirl13  
"Now my problem is: I WANT THE NEXT BOOK!" Amber Hodges. Paradise of Pages
5 Star accolades from Readers Favorite:
"A perfect blend of reality-TV-show, super high-tech sci-fi and teenage drama meets government conspiracies." Faridah Nassozi 

"This is the type of book you'll recommend to everyone you know and one you'll read again." Samantha Rivera 

"True Calling takes you on a stimulating journey, then screeches to an abrupt halt, leaving you screaming for more." Cheryl E. Rodriguez 

"... A world with a government that's not unfamiliar in YA fiction these days, but a fresh and interesting take on it." Kathryn Bennett 

"... caught my eye immediately and held my attention until the very end." Trisha Dawn 


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Siobhan

About the Author:
Siobhan Davis is the author of YA science fiction romance series True Calling.
A self-diagnosed teenager forever at least when it comes to books, music and movies; Siobhan is totally addicted to teen fiction and superhero/blockbuster movies. Siobhan loves baking, crime novels, shoes, bags, make-up, anti-wrinkle cream, anything pink, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Robert Pattinson (definitely Team Edward).
Siobhan has forged a successful corporate career, in Human Resources, over the last twenty years.
A member of the IWI writers group, Siobhan resides in the Garden County of Ireland with her husband and two sons.

Contact Siobhan at: www.siobhandavis.com

You can find and contact Siobhan here:

Thursday, 16 April 2015

BOK BLITZ - The Violet Hour by Brynn Chapman **GIVEAWAY**

Through Prism Book Tours.

We're celebrating the RELEASE of 
The Violet Hour
By Brynn Chapman

Check out the book and author info, exclusive excerpt, and enter the giveaway below...

The Violet Hour
Brynn Chapman
YA Romantic Historical Fantasy
ebook, 209 Pages


Secrets.

Allegra Teagarden, a musical prodigy, flees her father’s dominance and abuse while touring in pre-civil war Charleston, South Carolina. Plagued by depression over her mother’s suicide during their previous visit, she escapes in an effort to piece together the details behind her mother’s mysterious demise.

Secrets.

Down to her final coin, Allegra happens on Charleston’s Fancy, the first southern amusement park, which is searching for musicians for its orchestra. At first, the park seems her salvation; but she quickly realizes she has traded the dominance of her father, for the even more terrifying madness of the owner, Silas.

And more secrets.

Allegra meets the dashing Brighton LeFroy, Fancy’s engineer and pyrotechnics master. His shabby clothing cannot conceal the brilliant mind beneath. The musician’s whisper he is a witch, is obsessed with storms, and is rumored...to fly. And despite the danger, despite her own misgivings, Allegra is inexplicable drawn to him.

She ventures to his reclusive home on Fire Isle during a thunderstorm and together they seek to unravel an ancient mystery.

Exclusive Excerpt

     LeFroy stares out the window, his brow creased in thought. He remains statue-still, as he has for the past quarter hour, oblivious to the late afternoon sun that bathes his face in a beautiful golden-amber.
     I stare intently, reveling in the rare opportunity to drink in his features.
     His dark curly hair is in need of a cutting and his thin lips turn down as he absently bites the side of his nail, lost to himself. He is not a classic beauty—but the singularity of his face demand’s attention.
     Not all women would swoon for him. But something about him draws me…makes him utterly irresistible.
     The warmth on my chest again. Almost hot this time. I struggle not to look down my dress to examine what I imagined to be an inevitable rash, but all I see is the Magnolia pattern—the patch on my dress, lovingly sewn by my mother’s hand.
     I banish the thought. I shall not think on her now.
     Brighton clears his throat, driving away my mother’s ghost and I struggle for words. When he regards me, my tongue seems to shrivel in my mouth.
     It is his eyes. They…speak. Sometimes whisper, sometimes shout.
     They now squint, as whatever vexing scenario playing on his mind continues to dominate his demeanor. He doesn’t move. Doesn’t speak.



Brynn Chapman
Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.  She also writes under the pseudonym R.R. Smythe .



Release Blitz Giveaway

$10 Amazon Gift Card, ebook of The Violet Hour, and Bracelet with: "Well behaved women seldom make history." - Eleanor Roosevelt 
Open internationally (bracelet to US entrants only)
Ends April 21st


Prism Book Tours

BLOG TOUR - Awakening by Shannon Duffy **GIVEAWAY**


Welcome to my blog tour for Shannon Duffy's thrilling Dystopian/YA novel Awakening, read my review below and find out what I thought plus if you live in North America there is an awesome giveaway below for you!



Awakening
Release Date: 04/07/15
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:

A thrilling, futuristic sci-fi novel set in a unique and thought-provoking world, from author Shannon Duffy.


Desiree Six (because she was born on a Friday) believes in everything the Protectorate stands for. She likes the safety and security of having her entire life planned out—her career, her mate, even the date of her death. She doesn't even think to question when Darian, her childhood friend and neighbor, is convicted of murdering his parents. They had seemed like such a loving family. But if he was convicted, then he must have done it.

Then Darien shows up in her room late one night. He has escaped from the Terrorscape—a nightmare machine used to punish all Noncompliants—and needs Desiree's help. What he tells her rocks her world to its core and makes her doubt everything she's ever been told. With this new information, will Desiree and Darian be able to escape the Protectorate before it's too late?





I read a lot of dystopian novels and a lot of them even though they are well written follow the same basic plot, was Awakening any different?

Yes and No, let's start with the No, it is a young adult dystopian and forbidden romance is a major part of the plot, there is a manipulative governing body trying to keep the populace in check and there are rebels trying to stop the government carry out their evil schemes.

However moving on to the Yes, there is a lot that is different, the world has been in a spin, people had been too reliant on technology, their lives chaotic, illness rife and the Protectorate came in a put a stop to that.

They made sure that the population was kept clean and healthy by installing air purifiers, machines in hospitals that detect bugs, making homes clean room clean and also helping the populace fall asleep with the aid of a machine called the Dreamscape.

Desiree Six is 16 and lives in this strange new world but to her it is perfectly normal, her road in life is chosen for her from birth, a chip is installed that syncs her with the Dreamscape and this enables her to have a peaceful nights sleep with nothing but the sweetest dreams, at the age of 5 her career path is chosen and at 16 she is matched with the boy she will spend her short life with.

Now why is her life short?, well Desiree is a 6, she was born on the 6th day and because of this she will live to the ripe old age of 50, hold on a minute 50 that's not old.....

The protectorate has made it that if you have been born on a certain day you will die on a certain day, people born on the 1st day live till they are 25 and then they are terminated and everyone else goes up in 5 year increments, the 2nd days live till they are 30 and so on, it seems cruel to us but to these blissfully happy people it is normal.

Desiree's life is about to turn upside down, her childhood friend Darian has been taken to the Terrorscape for murdering his parents, something she cannot believe but if the Protectorate say it is so then it must be true, at the start of the book he escapes from the Terrorscape and this is when Desiree starts to question all that she knows.

Her first shock is when she is matched with Asher her childhood bully who during their ceremony to bind them together spend his time eyeing up another girl, her second when Darian turns up in her bedroom in the middle of the night and tells her he is innocent and begs her to believe him. Plus her neighbours are taken to the Terrorscape for reasons unknown and their terror is shown Big Brother style on TV.

I'm not going to spoil the story for you but the rest of the book is thrilling, Desiree realises that the Protectorate are manipulating everyone but why? With Darian's help she tries to escape her old life and start a new life with the Awakened,a rebel group. Can they make it? Will they find out more about exactly what the Protectorate is up to?

The one thing I love about this book was the whole Dreamscape, as someone who can be found at midnight fiddling with a Kindle or iPhone and then struggling to get to sleep shortly after the idea of a machine to give me sweet dreams is tempting, the Dreamscape programs the dreams so that the dreamer has sweet innocent dreams about their future match. The Terrorscape is also intriguing what better way to deal with criminals than to put them in to their worst fears.

The idea that you need these machines to sleep is a clever one, these people have come to fear sleeping without the aid of a machine, they think without it they will be doomed.

The other thing I loved was the idea of everyone having an expiration date, not something I would like but it was sad during the book when you discover for example that Desiree's parents are due for termination in a matter of months, I don't think that is something you could prepare for no matter how loyal to the Protectorate you are.

So yes, Awakening is sufficiently fantastically different, I really enjoyed it and I read it in one sitting. I liked the main characters of Desiree and of course Darian was a nice bit of book eye candy, I know I mentioned above all of these books having the romance aspect but would it be the same without it?

Shannon has done a great job here and I really am looking forward to reading more from this series.

Thank you to YA Book tours for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review





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About the Author
Author of MG and YA books full of adventure. I grew up on the east coast of Canada in the province of Newfoundland and now live in Ontario. I love writing, reading, fashion, fitness, and traveling.

Author Links:


Book Tour Organized by:

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

REVIEW - Cites Merveilleuses / Dream Cites by Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick


Yes your eyes are not deceiving you, the above is indeed in French.  I can't speak French well apart from the usual, hello, goodbye, my name is that you learn in school, so the question is "Why the hell am I reviewing a book in French?".

Well dear reader it is not a book with lots of words, it is one of my grown up colouring books with lots of pictures.  

It is going to be released in English next month but I have been discovering that the French seem to get a lot of these beautiful books earlier that us Brits.  For example this was a gift for my birthday in November last year (a gift from myself!) but the English version is not available till May.  To be honest I hate waiting and as it is predominantly pictures, the language barrier was not going to be a problem.


It is published in France by Marabout who you should look up on Amazon if you like these sort of books, their collection is immense and a lot of them are slowly being published in English.  The book itself is lovely, good quality paper which is beautiful to draw on and page after page of different landscapes ranging from exotic towers, skyscrapers to intricate maps and forests.

The style of illustration is slightly different than the books that you will see from the likes of Johanna Basford or Millie Marotta but it is a welcome change, I didn't feel as scared to take my pen to paper. 

It is a great book and a superb addition to my growing collection of colouring books, I hope you find a home for it too!




REVIEW - Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta


Continuing on with my quest to own as many colouring books as it is possible for a 36 year old to own, I bring to you today the beautifully illustrated Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta.  

As you know (or may not know) I started my colouring book obsession with Johanna Basford and from her wonderful books I discovered this one and it does not disappoint.  Millie grew up in Wales and has been inspired by the natural world very much in her art.

Obviously as you can see from the cover above it is just gorgeous looking and inside it gets even better, it has nice thick paper for the cover which on the inside of the front and back cover is perfect for colouring in with possibly a nice inky pen as I like to do (big fan of Sakura pens!) and the rest of the book is just page (printed on both sides) after page of breath-taking flora and fauna.

The main part of the book is also printed on nice thick paper, I have seen some books that are fine for use with pencils but will leak through to the other side if a pen even looks at it.  There is also plenty of space on some of the designs to add your own doodles if you like to make your own mark.

Again I also find myself too scared to put pen to paper in case I foul it up but that feeling didn't last long, this book is a pure joy and I'm looking forward to her tropical themed book which is due out later this year.

A must have addition to your colouring collection.

Purchased from Amazon.co.uk