A review of the Snugg Live Wire Blue Flowing Light Charging Cable

The lovely people at Snugg have very kindly sent me a blue light charging cable to further accessorise my iPad mini (for which they gave me a beautiful new case a month back).

The charging cable is compatible with my iPad mini, featuring a Lightning Connector to USB connection. The blue light flow shows battery fill: Low battery means fast flow of light and when there is no light flow the battery is full. The USB connection can be used with device’s plug, a laptop/computer port or portable charger.

Snugg Live Wire Blue Flowing Light Charging Cable for iPad mini: Image 1

My kids love it and could happily spend hours simply watching the light flowing through the cable. They play a game in which they pretend to squeeze toothpaste into the iPad mini (please don’t ask me to explain, I simply can’t). It is a quirky accessory that could be ideal if you are looking to either replace a lost or broken cable or looking to further customise your iPad/iPhone 6 (for which it is also compatible.

Snugg Live Wire Blue Flowing Light Charging Cable for iPad mini: Image 2
Snugg have some lovely products, click here for full details on the Snugg Live Wire Blue Flowing Light Charging Cable for iPad mini. I also love the 2 in 1 Silver Stylus and Writing Pen, which I may be getting for my birthday.

My iPad mini’s beautiful new case

Running a fantasy book review website is very much a labour of love. It is never going to make me wealthy and early retirement is looking increasingly unlikely. So if something good comes my way I make sure that I grasp it with both hands. And so when an email arrived the other day from The Snugg, in which they offered one of their products to review and then keep, I was delighted to do so.

I was gifted an iPad mini for Christmas. It was something I always wanted but could never kid myself that it was something I really needed. You see, I have had an iPod Touch for many years and it has been the single most useful gadget I’ve ever owned. I read ebooks on it and I used to listen to audiobooks daily. I typed up my review notes on it and I stored reviewer contact details for when I need to post books out. I kept up email correspondence and I watched movies, TV programmes and listened to podcasts daily. Without it I would be have been more than a little lost. But time waits for no gadget and as apps updated I began to regularly get the dreaded “app not compatible with this iPod Touch” message in the store and so, when I opened my present on Christmas Day, I was delighted. I was current once more.

But there was a problem, there was no case. I can’t abide fingerprints on my iPad, let alone scratches. So I went onto Amazon and looked for a budget case option. I spent £11 and I got what I paid for. It did protect the iPad to a certain degree but there was no getting away from the fact that I had placed almost £300 of cutting-edge technology into a case that cheapened it just a little.

I had previously looked at Snugg cases but at the time (post-Christmas) the retail price of £39.99 was more than I was looking to pay but at the time of this review the cases are on special offer at £29.99, which I think is excellent value for money. The exact cover I plumped for was the Snugg iPad mini PU Leather Case Cover and Flip Stand in Black and it is lovely. The case itself was available in 10 different colours, ranging from Baby Blue up to Denim, but I’ve always found black the classiest and went with my safe and default option. This is what my iPad mini now looks like (minus stylus which is sold separately).Snugg iPad mini leather case in balck.

 

Other than just protecting the iPad the case comes with Automatic Sleep/Wake, a loop for a Snugg 2 in 1 Stylus all in a black, soft, nubuck interior. It safeguards the delicate thin edges of my iPad mini and has a Lifetime Guarantee.
The case is sculpted to fit the new lightning port, both speakers, FaceTime and rear cameras and buttons. The included hand strap has elasticated sides, helping to provide a supportive, comfortable hold position.

If you’re looking for a highly quality leather case for your iPad then I would strongly recommend you look at the range of Snugg products. I am delighted with mine, and now the case matches the quality inside. A big thanks to Snugg for the opportunity.

Scholastic looks to promote next big thing

The U.S. publisher of Harry Potter will premiere a highly ambitious series with a mystery ending. “The 39 Clues” is a planned 10-volume set about young Amy and Dan Cahill and their worldwide search for the secret to their family’s power. The first book, “The Maze of Bones,” is written by Rick Riordan of “The Lightning Thief” fame and has an announced first printing of 500,000. Steven Spielberg has already acquired film rights to the series.

Designed for boys and girls ages 8 to 12, each book will have a different writer, including such best-sellers as Gordon Korman and Jude Watson. Backed by a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, “The 39 Clues” also features game cards, a contest with a $10,000 first prize and a sophisticated Web site that includes games, blogs, videos and thousands of pages of background. A Scholastic team, led by Levithan and including about a dozen editors, thought of the series about three years ago, working from the idea of a treasure hunt. The essential outline, including the ending, was set by the publisher. Authors were asked to fill in the details, taking a thread, as Levithan describes it, and turning it into a blanket.

Scholastic quickly decided that “The 39 Clues,” its title an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps,” would make an ideal multiplatform event. Readers might check out the Web site, just as kids who love online games might then turn to the books. A recent study by the American Library Association revealed that many librarians already use games to attract young people and, ideally, get them interested in books.

Books for all ages often originate with publishers, and countless best-sellers are made through marketing. But a blockbuster, whether “Harry Potter” or Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” novels, virtually always happens spontaneously.

Puffer and other booksellers are enthusiastic about “39 Clues,” although unsure whether it will be a sensation. Kimberly Diehm, co-owner of the Neverending Story Children’s Bookshoppe in Las Vegas, calls the first volume “a perfect tale” by Riordan, but says she has noticed little discussion about it among her fellow retailers.

Other multimedia projects are being developed. HarperCollins is working with former Scholastic executive Lisa Holton on an eight-book series for girls. Dutton, a division of Penguin Group (USA), recently acquired a mystery trilogy by “C.S.I.” creator Anthony Zuiker that will be complemented by an interactive Web site. Simon & Schuster will release “Spaceheadz,” Internet sites and a series of chapter books co-authored by Jon Scieszka and Francesco Sedita.

Tikatok – where kids channel their imagination into stories

There is a website called Takatok.com that allows toddlers and tweens to write, illustrate and publish their own stories. Sharon Kan and partner Orit Zuckerman, both mothers of two, launched the site in March 2008. Membership to the web site is currently growing at more than 300% a month.

Adora Svitak is ten years old, a Tikatok member, and an internationally published author. Her first book, Flying Fingers, was written and published when she was only seven years old. She will be helping other children to use Tikatok.

The idea for the Tikatok website, named for the tick-tock sound of a clock, came to Kan while perusing the children’s book section at a Barnes & Nobles store with her daughter. The young users write their stories online then, with the help of an adult, scan or mail original artwork to Tikatok to be bound in hardcover or paperback. There is no charge for membership on Tikatok and completed books cost approximately £10 ($20) each. The author’s artwork is also archived as clip art for others to use as illustrations – the artist is notified when their work has been used.

The majority of Tikatok’s content is private to protect the minors involved. The stories visible to the public are real, but the author’s information is not.

Visit Tikatok.com – Tikatok is where kids channel their imagination into stories – and publish those stories into books for you to share and treasure with friends and family.

Times Online run The Wind in the Willows competition

The Wind in the Willows illustration Vintage Classics are looking for a young artist to create an original illustration inspired by The Wind in the Willows. Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows is celebrating its 100th birthday and needs a new cover. The competition is open to UK residents between the ages of seven and twelve on the 25th of July 2008.

Entries can be in black and white or colour and must be submitted on no larger than A4-sized sheet. Entries must not include any text (even the title or the author). Each entry must include a sheet of A4 paper with the entrant’s name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and the name and signature of a parent or guardian (this confirms agreement to the terms and conditions and consent to the entrant’s participation in the competition). Only one entry per person, and one illustration per entry is allowed. Entries must be sent by post only, to The Wind in the Willows Competition, 2nd Floor, Random House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Rd, London SW1V 2SA. Entries must be received by July 25, 2008. Winners will be notified by October 10 and announced in The Times

The winner will have their illustration featured on the cover of the centenary edition of The Wind in The Willows, to be published by Vintage Classics in November 2008. The winner will also receive 40 Random House children’s books of his or her choice. Three runners-up will each receive 20 Random House children’s books of his or her choice.

Wolf Brother: the movie

The movie version of Michelle Paver’s highly successful fantasy novel Wolf Brother was first scheduled for a 2007 US release but news has been think on the ground since. Encouragingly though is the fact that Ridley Scott’s name is still attached to the film, due to be distributed by 20th Century Fox.

In getting Ridley Scott to direct the movie they have employed possibly the greatest living director, his portfolio includes Blade Runner, Gladiator, Thelma & Louise, Alien and American Gangster. Most directors would be proud to be associated with only one of the above films.

Scott’s availability may be the cause of the slow start in filming the movie as I guess that he has a pretty busy schedule and currently has eight movies in pre-production.

We will keep you updated as to any developments.

Fantasy books amongst the list of best selling books

JRR Tolkien and JK Rowling have written books that are amongst the list of the best selling books of all time. The list, topped by The Bible covers all genres and if fantasy readers ever felt that they were amongst a minority then this shows that they couldn’t be more wrong. I have listed below the top 20 selling books of all time and also included the fantasy books that appear in the top 50.

  1. The Bible – between 4 and 6 billion
  2. Quotations from Chairman Mao – 900 million
  3. The Qur’an – 800 million
  4. Don Quixote – 500 million
  5. Xinhau Zidian – 400 million
  6. Book of Common Prayer – 300 million
  7. Pilgrim’s Progress – 250 million
  8. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – 150 million
  9. Book of Mormon – 120 million
  10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 117 million
  11. And Then There Were None – 110 million
  12. The Lord of the Rings – 100 million
  13. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 77 million
  14. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 66 million
  15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 65 million
  16. The Catcher in the Rye – 65 million
  17. The Da Vinci Code – 64 million
  18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 60 million
  19. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 58 million
  20. Heidi’s Years of Wandering and Learning – 52 million

Other notable fantasy entries are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at #48 having sold between 25 and 30 million copies. This must make JK Rowling one of, if not the best selling authors of all time. I will find out who they are and post the results at a later date.