Buying Books from Across the Pond: A Guide to Amazon U.K.

If you're a book lover, chances are that you've popped over to Amazon on more than one occasion to snag a book that you've been itching to read. But what if the book you're itching for isn't available on Amazon, or even in the United States?

That's what happened to me last September when I fell in love with the Skulduggery Pleasant series, of which only the first three are available in the United States. It's not like I could just not read them, right? Right!

Ordering books that aren't available in the United States* is actually super, super easy through Amazon U.K., and differs very little than an Amazon.com purchase. Still, for those who may not have ordered something from overseas before I've set up a little guide jump to help you.

(Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I am not certain how this guide will impact those in other non-U.K. countries. Please refer to Amazon U.K.'s Help section to tailor your purchase to your needs.)

Pre-Step One: Make sure that you have an Amazon account. It's easy and free to set up, just go to amazon.com, click on the "Your Account" drop-down, and under the yellow "Sign In" button should say "New Customer? Start Here." Start there, and when you're done meet me at step one!

Step One:

Pull up the website, amazon.co.uk., and click on "Your Account." Sign in exactly as you would on amazon.com. 

Step One
Step Two:

The next thing you're going to do is turn on your currency converter, so that you can see the cost of things in USD rather than GBP.

 Under "Payment & GC" click on "Turn On/ Turn Off Amazon Currency Converter."

Step Two
 Afterwards, you'll be presented with some information about the currency converter from Amaon U.K. You're free to read though it, but what we're looking for is the button that reads "Yes, Turn On Amazon Currency Converter."

Step Two (Part Two)
There you go! At the end of your order you should be presented with the approximate cost of your purchase in USD, alongside the actual cost in GBP.

Step Three:

After you've found your books (or other items), add them to your cart ("basket," here.) My book just happens to be a pre-order.

Step Three
Step Four:

Double-check all of your information, making sure that your bill will be sent to the right card and your items to the right doorstep! I'm stopping here for a moment to point out that your items will, obviously, take more time getting to you than a purchase off of amazon.com would, so plan accordingly if you'll need your purchase sooner than later.

Step Four

Step Five:

If you did not turn on your currency converter, your order will appear in GBP. Even though my currency converter was on, my order still comes up in GBP because my purchase is a pre-order. This has happened to me before with no ill-effects; I still paid in USD once my pre-order was sent out.

I have noticed that this does not happen to me if I am making a regular purchase, as shown below (with the currency converter on):

You now have a rough idea as to what your purchase will be in USD. You also have the option to switch currencies and see the exchange rate. You'll might see a few links below the order box, addressing concerns about shipping rates and why you may not have qualified for Super Saver delivery rates. Refer to those as you please.

Lastly, click "place your order in USD" and sit tight! If you have any more questions, you'll want to refer to the Help section of amazon.co.uk, and their North America Delivery Rates can be found here.

Enjoy your books, and if there's anything that I can do to improve this guide please let me know!


Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

From Goodreads:
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. He's also a washed-up child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin's on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transform him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl. Letting expectations go and allowing love in are at the heart of Colin's hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere.
The ideal John Green novel for those who are more interested in lighthearted, funny fiction rather than the heavier stuff that he's known for.

One of his lesser known novels (my friend is a HUGE nerdfighter and hasn't even read it), An Abundance of Katherines still has Green's humor and relatable main characters. The romance in this book is also less apparent than Looking for Alaska (the only other novel of his that I've read), but did a great deal in helping us understand Colin as a person.

He's devoted, almost obsessed even, with dating women named Katherine (the "K" is important) and, later, with his formula which will hopefully explain why he gets dumped by them so often. Speaking of girls, I wish that the Goodreads description had at least mentioned Lindsey Lee Wells. Possessing all of the classic sass and snark that we've come to expect from Green's superb female characters, she comes into play with her determination to teach Colin how to tell a "real story," to keep him from going off on tangents as he normally does.

The ending did not feel very polished, and paled a bit when I again compare it to Looking for Alaska, but was a nice wrap up to a pleasant novel that, you being John Green fan or not, is worth reading.

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Authors: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: September 21st, 2006
ISBN: 0525476881


Fantastic Covers Friday (13): Ash by Malinda Lo

Fantastic Covers Friday is a weekly meme over here at Brave New Shelf where I highlight beautiful covers that I find, from both old books and new, from young adult books.

This Week:

Ash by Malinda Lo
Jacket photography by Amina Bech*
Jacket design by Alison Impey


Certainly not as flashy as other YA covers, the sullen color palette for Ash both haunting and beautiful. A novel about recovering after the death of a loved one, I feel that this cover, as opposed to the updated version, more accurately reflects the pain and withdrawal one goes through when experiencing such a tragedy. 


Waiting on Wednesday (16): Skylark by Meagan Spooner

From Goodreads:
Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.
Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.
Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret – but can she stay alive long enough to find them?
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
Amazon, Goodreads, Author's website 

I've seen the "never seen the sky" concept appear in writing before, this idea that looking up and having a solid understanding as to what's over your head is a basic human right. It often goes hand-in-hand with some sort of dystopian society and a guaranteed way to show your reasons that something's up (no pun intended.)
This skyless world that Spooner has created sounds genuinely interesting, even amass the high levels of YA dystopian books that publishers have been releasing nowadays.
However, I am a little sick of the "forced to flee," idea that pops up a lot in these kinds of novels. No one is forced to run, they take that choice to step forward and protect themselves and their interests, to make a better life for themselves. No one wants a protagonist that just gives up, and so I'm eager to acquire a copy of Skylark to make sure that Lark doesn't.


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine.


Fantastic Covers Friday (12): How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan

Fantastic Covers Friday is a weekly meme over here at Brave New Shelf where I highlight beautiful covers that I find, from both old books and new, from young adult books.

This Week:

How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan
Jacket photograph copyright © 2008 by Comstock Images/Jupiter Images


Simple, but it gets the point across. I like the use of the magnets to represent the attraction and budding relationships of the characters rather than a more conventionally romantic symbol like a heart or a pair of birds. 


Waiting on Wednesday (15): Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

From Goodreads:

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.
When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.
As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.
In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 7th, 2012
Amazon, Goodreads, Author's Website

Yeah, I know, if I had a dollar for every time a new YA dystopian series came out, claiming to be "exciting" or the next big thing, I'd be pretty rich. In all honesty though, I really am excited for this one. I feel like technology-based plots in YA dystopian novels are underrated, and I wish that there were more of them! As scary as it is, especially mentioned in this context, computers are our present and future, and technological implants are already a reality in our world. I think that it's something that's going to become more and more common, both in fact and in fiction. Not that that's bad, but certainly interesting to think about!


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine.


Waiting on Wednesday (14): A Midsummer Tight's Dream by Louise Rennison

From Goodreads:

It’s the hotly anticipated sequel to the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, WITHERING TIGHTS – laugh your tights off as Tallulah Casey and her bonkers mates return for a new term at Dother Hall performing arts college. Boys, snogging and bad acting guaranteed!
Yaroooo! Tallulah’s triumphant Heathcliff in ‘Wuthering Heights’ the comedy musical was enough to secure her place at Dother Hall performing arts college for another term. She can’t wait to see her pals again, Charlie and the boys from Woolf Academy and maybe even bad boy Cain…
When an international visitor comes to stay could the bright lights of Broadway be calling? And for who? Find out in the next Misadventures of Tallulah Casey.
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 26th, 2012
Amazon, Goodreads, Author's Website

Yeah, I'm a bit late, but I just found out about this recently and needed a WoW post for it! I wasn't a big fan of the first book but I'm still loyal to Louise Rennison and her fantastic sense of humor, so this one is definitely going on my to-read list, and I'm going to try and get my hands on a copy as soon as possible.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine.


Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

From Goodreads:
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them, open. Every night they are closed tight. And that every 30 days a new boy is delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. Only the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets that are buried within his mind.
I was pretty blindsided by this book. I knew that it was something that I would like from the description, but not that it would affect me as much as it did.

Maybe it has more to do with the fact that I was listening to it as an audiobook while I worked, but all of the emotions came off as very real to me. Thomas' fear, Ben's fear at being banished, Newt's and Alby's uncertainty, and Gally's hatred were all fitting for their situations and personalities. There was no character that I truly dreaded meeting again; everyone was well developed.

This book had an eery feeling about it that sent chills up my spine, even while in the library during the day. The Glade is a creepy and mysterious place that is compounded by the fact that the reader learns more and more about The Glade as Thomas does, having entered with him.

One issue I had with the book would have been the ending. We had this beautiful build up with cracking codes and the slow realization as to just how horrifying The Gladers' situation is, and I felt that the end was kind of a weak reflection of that. It moved so fast and ended up being too much to take in at once. A segue into the sequel, sure, but I was uncertain as to what it would bring.

The redemption, however, comes in the epilogue. When I heard it I was just about to pump my fists in the air and shout, I was so happy with it. It was a chilling ending to an equally haunting book, and I certainly hope that the next two (already out) bring just as many intriguing characters and chilling situations.

Goodreads, Amazon
Title: The Maze Runner
Authors: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 6th, 2009
ISBN: 0385737947


Have we found Johanna Mason?

Entertainment Weekly has reported that Jena Malone has been offered the part of Johanna Mason in the second Hunger Games film, Catching Fire, out November 2013.

Image Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Any thoughts? I know that there was some talk of people hoping that Johanna would be played by a woman of color, along with some hopefuls, but I didn't have anyone in mind for the part. One thing that we can be certain of is that if Johanna is here, Finnick isn't very far behind.

Fantastic Covers Friday (11): Witch Born by Amber Argyle

Fantastic Covers Friday is a weekly meme over here at Brave New Shelf where I highlight beautiful covers that I find, both old and new, from young adult books.

This Week:

Cover Reveal Here
Witch Born (Book II of the Witch Song series) By Amber Argyle
Art by Eve Ventrue

Revealed on her blog just this week, Argyle brings us the cover to her second book and it is stunning! I LOVE the colors, the soft amber, golden, and brown tones mesh well together, and come off as very natural.
I took a peek at Ventrue's blog, linked to in her name above, and she has plenty of beautiful artwork to look at; go see! You can also see more cover pics, including the textless one, back on Amber Argyle's blog. Be sure to leave her a comment with your thoughts, I for one think that she should be proud to have such a gorgeous cover for her novel!


One YA Dystopian Anthology, Coming Up!

Picture from Divergent Fans
Divergent Fans, to go-to place for all things Veronica Roth related, has announced that Roth will have an upcoming story in Shards and Ashes, a dystopian anthology due out early 2013. Whether or not the story will relate back to the Divergent trilogy or be a new story all together has yet to be mentioned.

After I learned that Brave New Worlds, a dystopian anthology that I've reviewed before, was out of print I was pretty upset, so I'm glad to see that there's another collection of stories on the horizon.

I'm very eager to see what these ladies have come up with, building a dystopian world can be tricky when you have a page limit, but I'm sure that our authors will come out on top.

You can read more about the anthology over at Divergent Fans.


Waiting on Wednesday (13): Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas

From Goodreads:
It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.
A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

In this frighteningly dark and captivating novel, Lex Thomas locks readers inside a school where kids don’t fight to be popular, they fight to stay alive.
Publication Date: July 10th, 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
Amazon, Goodreads, Author's Website

I've become more interested in survival fiction recently, so I'm adding anything remotely along those lines to my to-read list instantly. It isn't so much a "got to prepare for the Mayan calender" thing as it is a morbid fascination one. Survival fiction, I think, brings out the best in characters, and makes it easier for both the author and the reader to see more of how a character thinks and reacts in tough times because they are put in a desperate situation to begin with. How one acts under pressure says a lot about a person.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine.


Review: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

From Goodreads:
It’s Jessie’s sophomore year of high school. A self-professed “mathelete,” she isn’t sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved his mohawk and started dating . . . the prom princess!) . . .
Things are changing fast. Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high-school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way—the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes?

If you go into the wild nerd yonder, can you ever come back?
 There isn't a whole lot to say about this book that isn't in the description, but that's more of my fault than Halpern's. I don't normally enjoy realistic fiction to begin with. I mean, what do I say about it? Congratulations, Jessie, for being average?

And that's what Jessie is: pretty average. She's bright, sure, but so are a lot of people that I know in real life. She makes a big deal throughout a majority of the book that she doesn't want to be seen as a "nerd" (though she seems to have a pretty narrow definition of that. I mean, she spends her free time sewing skirts with Pikachus and buckets of popcorn on them to wear to school) and puts off hanging out with people that she just ends up friends with in the end.

My main issue with the book was Jessie's stubbornness. It's clear that she wants to play Dungeons and Dragons (which is a bit of a cop-out in the "let's make nerdy characters" department if you ask me), but she constantly belittles herself for wanting to. Why would she keep herself from doing something that she's curious about? That interests her? I'm glad she gave in and played in the end, because she became so much happier than she was at the beginning of the book with her cruddy friends.

If you are a fan of YA realistic fiction, you'll find a lot in this book that you'll enjoy. Jessie's voice did not feel forced at all, and came off as very natural. Her experiences were easy to relate to, and faced issues that a lot of teenagers do today (relationship issues, finding your place in the world, etc.) The writing had a sarcastic tone that I like in YA books, and even though she's a bit stubborn Jessie never seemed snotty or not open to change. She was a good, well-rounded character, and I'm happy that she got what she deserved in the end.

Goodreads, Amazon
Title: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder
Authors: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: September 29th, 2009
ISBN: 0312382529