#Review #Minecraft #TheIsland @maxbrooksauthor @penguinrandom #WhatLilStesays

Today is something a bit unusual and special all at the same time!
Today my ten year old son Lil Ste takes over the blog! Lil ste is an avid book nerd, just like his mum! My son has ADHD, Tourette’s and Autism, making concentration very difficult indeed. Yet with sheer determination and hard work manages to stay focused on novels, if they engage his interest. So without further ado, I shall hand over to my son. Here’s Lil Ste!

*As you can see he was super excited to receive a limited edition proof!

Minecraft Cover
Minecraft The Island by Max Brooks

Washed up on a beach, the lone castaway looks around the shore. Where am I? Who am I? And why is everything made of blocks? But there isn’t much time to soak up the sun. It’s getting dark, and there’s a strange new world to explore!

The top priority is finding food. The next is not becoming food. Because there are others out there on the island . . . like the horde of zombies that appear after night falls. Crafting a way out of this mess is a challenge like no other. Who could build a home while running from exploding creepers, armed skeletons, and an unstoppable tide of hot lava? Especially with no help except for a few makeshift tools and sage advice from an unlikely friend: a cow.

In this world, the rules don’t always make sense, but courage and creativity go a long way. There are forests to explore, hidden underground tunnels to loot, and undead mobs to defeat. Only then will the secrets of the island be revealed.

#WhatLilSteSays – Lil Ste’s Review:

Minecraft The Island was a pleasure to read. It began slow and dull but became rich with it’s hilarious literature. I think it’s good read for someone new to Minecraft but pro’s of the game (like me) might enjoy the book too. Even adults who want to know what the heck, Minecraft is! Any day it is a great read. I found the characters interesting, mainly the cow. The description of the Minecraft world is beautiful. I thank max brooks for writing this great novel. 4*
*All his own words!

What I think:

Anything that grabs my son’s interest usually grabs mine also. Due to his needs, our family resembles a military unit (my husband is ex-forces) lol! We all become involved and encourage Lil Ste to explore his interests. These usually involve surfing and Batman! He is a huge comic book nerd and can recite comic data from the beginning of Bob Kane’s career. To Steven his interests become his obsessions, as is common with Autism. It was a huge treat to see him immersed in a novel and to work together on this little blog project. I am a parent that is pre #Minecraft, I have seen it’s use in teaching various skills including maths (area) and now literature to children.
The way we teach Autistic children or children with SEN needs is evolving everyday. I have seen both Minecraft & Lego used to aid the process of gaining interest and encouraging concentration.
I would highly recommend the series for all children and even some adults too. As Lil Ste has told me multiple times “Minecraft is for everyone, Mum!”

Max Brooks
Max Brooks
Authors Links:
Web: https://www.maxbrooks.com/
Twitter: @maxbrooksauthor

*From Lil Ste and I, Happy publication day Max Brooks 🙂


Q&A with @claidlawauthor #TheThingsWeLearnWhenWereDead @AccentPress

The things we learn COVER FINAL
The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw

On the way home from a dinner party she didn’t want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.

It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident. Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…


Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I was born and brought up in the west of Scotland and am a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. After a number of temporary jobs, I started work as a newspaper reporter, which was all I ever really wanted to do. That journey took me from Glasgow to London.

However, put of the blue, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence and, stupidly, I accepted their kind offer. It took me away from what I loved – and was good at – and put me in a world that was badly paid and which I didn’t much enjoy. In any case, it was dull and don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and that’s what I’m still doing. Of much greater importance, I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian.   And that’s about it.

My current book, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, is a modern fairytale of love and loss. It’s about the subtle ways in which we change, and how the small decisions that we make can have profound and unintended consequences.

On one level, the book is a simple story of a young woman’s life. But, for those readers who want to make the connection, The Things We Learn is also a retelling of The Wizard of Oz: how a young woman in ultimately tragic circumstances comes to reassess her life and find a new beginning.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) Your question suggests a journey and, for me, it started with a journey because the first inkling of the idea for the book came on a train from Edinburgh to London. It was an apt place to have a booky idea because Edinburgh, being a literary kind of place, is the only city in the world to have named its main railway station – Waverley – after a book.

When I got home I then wrote the first chapter and the last chapter and, while the first chapter has changed out of all recognition, the last chapter is much as I originally wrote it.

The next part of the journey was harder. On the back of the completed book, I obtained a glittering London agent who pitched it, without success, to the big publishers. Some were 50/50…so it could have gone either way. In the end, sadly, none pitched for it.

However, I knew that what I had written was good and, frankly, that it could be better. I therefore set about rewriting and rewriting it until it was the best that I could make it. Then in stepped those nice people at Accent Press…

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Oh Lord! Growing up, my favourite authors were the likes of Hemingway and Greene. Then I morphed onto Fay Weldon and Paul Theroux. More recently, my favourite authors have to be the likes of Sebastian Faulks, Kate Atkinson, and the incomparable Joanna Harris. A special mention also to the late great Iain Banks.

Rather than recommend books that everyone has heard of, I would suggest A Visit From the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan), The Panopticon (Jenni Fagan) and Skippy Dies (Paul Murray).

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) The book that stands out is Jennie by Paul Gallico, about a young boy who is knocked down by a car and wakes up as a cat. It was a revelation to me then and, thinking about it, it probably influenced The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, because it’s a book about love and loss and finding a new beginning…in the same way as the Wizard of Oz is.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) There hasn’t been any one special moment. Rather, it’s the quiet satisfaction of knowing that I have outlived all those rejection letters! It’s always nice, I suppose, to achieve something in life and, because writing has been so central in mine, I have an acute sense of real satisfaction.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) I think that would have to be me. Other writers have support networks to read what they’ve written, make comment, and suggest changes. I haven’t really had that luxury. It has, I suppose, made me the biggest critic of me.

It’s a thick-skinned approach to writing that I would recommend every budding author to adopt. Read lots, write lots, tear it all up, start again…and slowly get better. If you have friends and family to do some of the heavy lifting, then great; if not, do it yourself, and be your own worst enemy!

CL bandw
Charlie Laidlaw
Authors Links:
Web: https://www.charlielaidlawauthor.com/
Twitter: @claidlawauthor